Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Dedicated To Prayer

“Dedicated To Prayer”
By Zach Wood
Daniel 6:10 NIV
Now when Daniel learned that the decree had been published, he went home to his upstairs room where the windows opened toward Jerusalem. Three times a day he got down on his knees and prayed, giving thanks to his God, just as he had done before.

The past couple of weeks, I have been thinking about Daniel.  What impresses me the most about him is that he was completely faithful in keeping his prayer life even though he was among the minority.  For years and years, he prayed to God three times a day, no matter who was trying to stop him or ridicule him.  He was absolutely faithful in prayer. 

In my life lately, I’m ashamed to admit that my prayer life isn’t anywhere near what it needs to be.  Don’t get me wrong, I do pray, but I know I don’t pray enough.  I don’t dedicate myself enough to prayer in everything.  I have my devotion time in the morning each day, but I don’t consume myself throughout the day in prayer as I should. 

Prayer is such a wonderful privilege to come before God and share our concerns and communicate with a loving Father Who wants to commune with us.  Prayer is so powerful if we will intentionally tap into it often, throughout our days. 

Throughout the Old Testament, we find many others, including Daniel, who dedicated themselves to the power of prayer and continued their efforts often to go to Him.  So many prayer warriors we can read about and learn from as we read His Word.  I must admit that I let myself slack in making prayer a priority in my life and in my family.  I want to be closer to Him in prayer and bringing things before Him and bringing concerns of others to Him.

What about you?  Are you lacking in your prayer life?  Of course, we all can always pray more for sure, but many of us, if we’re honest, don’t put a high priority on our prayer lives.  We sure need to be more like Daniel who prayed, even in the face of adversity.  He didn’t stop praying even though he was going to be thrown into the Lion’s Den.  He stayed faithful even when he found out the new law was passed.  He stayed faithful in prayer.  He was dedicated to prayer.

Are we dedicated to prayer?  If we’re not, then what are we doing about it?  I want to be more dedicated and be more of a prayer warrior.  I hope you do as well.

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Running From Obedience

“Running From Obedience”
By Zach Wood
Jonah 1:1-3 NLT
The Lord gave this message to Jonah son of Amittai: “Get up and go to the great city of Nineveh. Announce my judgment against it because I have seen how wicked its people are.”  But Jonah got up and went in the opposite direction to get away from the Lord. He went down to the port of Joppa, where he found a ship leaving for Tarshish. He bought a ticket and went on board, hoping to escape from the Lord by sailing to Tarshish.

Imagine you are watching the World Series.  There are 2 outs and the score is tied.  This is so intense and everyone is on the edge of their seats waiting to see what happens at this crucial moment.  The batter swings and there’s 1 strike.  The batter swings again and now 2 strikes.  The batter swings for the third time and cracks the ball way out into the outfield.  But, what if the batter then starts running toward third plate?  Could you imagine how the players and fans would react?  They’d all be yelling “You’re running the wrong way!”  Not only would the runner look foolish, but this choice would not win the game. 

Now imagine a basketball player getting the ball inbounds and he starts going down the wrong side of the court.  He goes up for lay-up and he scores…..for the other team!  The player would also look foolish.  Why? Because the player didn’t do what he or she was told to do!  The player ran the wrong way.

Now, if we were watching these games on TV, we would drop our jaws and open our eyes wide and shout, “What were you thinking??”  Who would be that foolish?  Who would jeopardize a game like that and be so careless and do the wrong thing intentionally? 

These things would be foolish of course, but before we point our fingers in judgment, don’t we do the same thing?  I have read the Jonah story many times and I think to myself why he would flee like that?  And then I look at my own life and I see so often how many times I have disobeyed God and fled from His commands.  He has asked me to do so many things in life and I have disobeyed Him a lot and done my own thing.  I ran my own way and I paid the price.  Jonah ran and he sure paid the price for what he did.  The Lord let him run and let him suffer the consequences. 

Aren’t we so like Jonah?  What are we running away from?  Are we running away from a conflict we need to address?  Are we running away from a marriage that we should stay and work out?  Are we running away from a relationship with a friend that we need to sort out?  Are we running away from a choice at work that we need to be strong about making? 

What are you running away from right now that you need to face?  What is God calling to do that you are intentionally going the opposite way?  Obedience is always the most successful way.