July 13, 2017
Today’s Text and Thought of Encouragement:
“Yet the Lord will command His loving-kindness in the daytime, and in the night His song shall be with me, a prayer to the God of my life.”
“What can it mean? Is it aught to Him
That the nights are long, and the days are dim?
Can He be touched by the griefs I bear,
Which sadden the heart, and whiten the hair?
Around His throne are eternal calms,
And glad, strong music of happy psalms,
And bliss unruffed by any strife,
How can He care for my little life?
When shadows hang o’er me the whole day long,
And my spirit is bowed ’neath shame and wrong;
When I am not good, and the deepening shade
Of conscious sin makes my heart afraid;
And the busy world has too much to do
To stay in the course to help me through;
And I long for a Savior – Can it be
That the God of the universe cares for me.
Oh, the wonderful story of deathless love!
Each child is dear to that heart above;
He fights for me when I cannot fight,
He comforts me in the gloom of night,
He lifts the burden for He is strong,
He stills the sigh, and awakens the song;
The burdens that bow me down He bears,
And loves and pities because He cares.
Oh, all that are sad, take heart again!
You are not alone in your hour of pain;
The Father stoops from His throne above
To soothe and comfort us with His love.
He leaves us not when the storm beats high,
And we have safety, for He is nigh.
Can it be trouble when He doth share?
Oh, rest in peace, for your Lord does care!”
Today’s Study Text:
“Jesus raised His eyes to heaven and prayed, ‘Father, I’m grateful that You have listened to Me. I know You always do listen.”
The Message Bible
“The Fragrance of His Presence” Part 37
“He’s Praying For You”
“Jesus is praying. He ever lives to pray us through. Thirty years of living, three years of serving, one tremendous act of dying, twenty-one hundred years of praying! What an emphasis on prayer! Yet all through, praying had its roots deep down in the living, and serving, and dying.”
S. D. Gordon
How does it make me feel to know Jesus is praying for me?
“Christ our High Priest, is ascended into heaven, and sits on the right hand of God the Father, where, without ceasing, He makes intercession for us.”
“Now that we know we have – Jesus, this great High Priest with ready access to God – let’s not let it slip through our fingers. We don’t have a priest who is out of touch with our reality. He’s been through weakness and testing, experienced it all…So let’s walk right up to Him and get what He is so ready to give. Take the mercy, accept the help.”
The Message Bible
I’ve been led to wonder what it would have been like standing in front of Lazarus’ grave when after weeping, Jesus all of a sudden, “raised His eyes to heaven and prayed” (John 11: 41, Amplified Bible). To be honest, this verse in Scripture almost seems out of place. Let’s not forget, the stone in front of the tomb had been rolled away and now a gaping hole exposed a corpse wrapped in burial linens. And then, without warning, Jesus raised His hands and starts to pray.
This is just additional, unusual behavior in a long-line of acts of strange conduct which had been evident in the life of Jesus from the moment the message about Lazarus’ illness was given to Him. Delays. Tears. And now, a prayer which among other things, thanked God for His answer even before a request was made.
With a dead body in a rock tomb and two weeping women at His side, the Bible tells us that Jesus looked upward to heaven and began to talk with His Father. Bible commentator Matthew Henry calls this specific gesture of Jesus, the raising of His hands and eyes to heaven, “ very significant,” and here’s why he comes to this conclusion. As Henry explains, when Jesus lifted up His eyes it was “an outward expression of the elevation of His mind, and He showed those who stood by, where He derived His power from…Jesus lifted up His eyes, as looking above, looking beyond the grave where Lazarus lay, and overlooking all the difficulties that had arisen, that He might have His eyes fixed upon divine omnipotence…His address to God was with great assurance and confidence…Christ speaks of this miracle as an answer to prayer…Being assured that His prayer was answered His thankful acceptance of this answer is: ‘I thank Thee that Thou hast heard me.’ Though the miracle was not yet wrought, yet the prayer was answered, and Jesus triumphed before the victory.” Don’t you just love the fact that when we come before the Father’s throne, we are promised that our Advocate, the perfect Son of God, stands in support of each of us, sharing our needs and requests. As Henry points out, “no other can pretend to such an assurance as Christ had; yet we may by faith in the promise have a prospect of mercy before it be actually given, and may rejoice in that prospect and give God thanks.”
How our spirits should soar when in the face of trials, afflictions and pain we find ourselves bowed to the ground without an ounce of hope, yet if we will only, “Look Up,” following Jesus’ example, we too will find that hopelessness will turn into assurance that at our Father’s throne, we too will find “grace to help in time of need.”
But there’s more to the prayer of Jesus at the dead man’s tomb for looking heavenward, our Lord and Master said, “I know that Thou hearest me always.” The first thought which entered my mind as I read these words was this: How wonderful to have a 24-hour a day champion who is ready and able to hear my cry for help at any moment. What’s more, my Defender promises that, “before they call out, I’ll answer. Before they’ve finished speaking, I’ll have heard” (Isaiah 65: 24, The Message Bible). As Matthew Henry assures, “Let none think that this was some uncommon favor granted Jesus (at the tomb of Lazarus)…He had the same divine power going along with Him in His whole undertaking…The interest our Lord Jesus had in heaven, as the Father heard Him always, He also had access to the Father upon every other occasion…We may be sure that His interest is not the less for His going to heaven, which should encourage us to depend upon His intercession. We should put all our petitions into His hand, for we are sure the Father hears always.” This we know: “This is the confidence, the assurance, the privilege of boldness which we have in Him; we are sure that if we ask anything (make any request) according to His will, in agreement with His own plan, He listens and hears us. And since we positively know that He listens to us in whatever we ask, we also know, with settled and absolute knowledge that we have granted us as our present possessions, the requests made of Him” (1 John 5: 14, 15, Amplified Bible).
As Pastor J. R. Macduff so eloquently shares: “If Jesus delights in asking, God delights in bestowing. Let us put our every want and difficulty, and perplexity, in His hand, feeling the precious assurance, that all which is really good for us will be given, and all that is adverse will, in equal mercy, be withheld. There is no limitation set to our requests. The treasury of grace is flung wide open for every suppliant.”
“Whatever you ask for in prayer, having faith and believing, you will receive.”
“And I will do, I Myself will grant, whatever you ask in My Name, as presenting all that I AM, so that the Father may be glorified through the Son.”
“In everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.”
“Grant us, Lord, to know
in weakness thy strength;
in pain Thy triumph;
in poverty the riches of Thy Godhead;
in reproach Thy sympathy;
in loneliness the comfort of Thy continual presence;
in difficulty the power of Thy intercession;
in perplexity the guidance of Thy wisdom;
and by Thy glorious death and resurrection
bring us at last to the joy of seeing Thee face to face.”
Dorothy Valcárcel, Author
When A Woman Meets Jesus
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