Scripture reading for September 14th: 1st Thessalonians 2
Key Scriptures for over-comers: 1st Thessalonians 2:17-20 “But, brothers, when we were torn away from you for a short time (in person, not in thought), out of our intense longing we made every effort to see you. For we wanted to come to you–certainly I, Paul, did, again and again–but Satan stopped us. For what is our hope, our joy, or the crown in which we will glory in the presence of our Lord Jesus when He comes? Is it not you? Indeed, you are our glory and joy.”
Paul was sent out of town by night by the brothers from Thessalonica because of severe opposition and threat of death. He had sought again and again to return to them, but stated: “Satan stopped us.” Satanic opposition is part of every believer’s life and is especially active when missionaries take the Gospel where Satan has strongholds. Prayer by believers and persistence to do God’s will on the part of missionaries brings breakthroughs. Paul viewed the believers in Thessalonica as his “crown” and “glory and joy” when Jesus Christ would return!
Observations for over-comers: Over-comers keep their eyes on the mission and on the return of Jesus Christ and their reward when He comes. Satan is a defeated foe who will suffer in the Lake of Fire forever! “Then those who feared the Lord talked with each other, and the Lord listened and heard. A scroll of remembrance was written in His presence concerning those who feared the Lord and honored His name. “They will be Mine,” says the Lord almighty, “in the day that I take up My treasured possession.” (Malachi 3:16-17)
Scripture reading for April 4th: Luke 10:38-11:13
“Persistence breaks down resistance.” This little saying turns out to be similar to a teaching of Jesus about the importance of praying with persistence. The resistance isn’t on God’s part, however. God loves to answer prayers and to give good gifts to His children. Persistence is an exercise of faith that keeps our hearts focused on God for the answer to our prayers in difficult or impossible situations.
The disciples asked Jesus to teach them to pray. Jesus responded by teaching them a short prayer that would help them approach God with a right heart and perspective. First, God was their ‘Father’ and was holy and to be approached with reverence. He had a plan and His followers should always line their requests up with His kingdom and will. They were always to recognized their dependence on God for daily sustenance and forgiveness of sins. Only God could deliver them from temptation and the evil one, Satan. Disciples must boldly and humbly ask God for those needs to be met! (Luke 11:2-4)
Then Jesus told them a story about a friend who had a need in the middle of the night. He went to his friend’s house and began to knock on the door. The friend was at first unwilling to get up and give him what he needed. But because of persistence, this friend got up and gave the man what he needed. The story shows us that we are to ask and keep on asking, seek and keep on seeking, and knock and keep on knocking. The one who by faith persists will find the answer.
True faith trusts the character and word of God. It is unwilling to give up at the first adversity. Faith is the result of hearing God’s word and choosing to believe and wait for the answer. Faith is anchored in God and His faithfulness to what He has promised. Prayer is an act of love and conversation with the object of that love. God talks to us and we talk to Him. Each party listens and responds. The asking, seeking, and knocking end up in answers, finding, and opened doors! Develop a daily time of persistent prayer with the One who loves you! Use the pattern Jesus taught and be faithful! Persistence in prayer pays big dividends!