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Lift Up Your Eyes

Genesis 19:25-26 “And he overthrew those cities, and all the plain, and all the inhabitants of the cities, and that which grew upon the ground. But his wife looked back from behind him, and she became a pillar of salt.

Luke 9:62 “And Jesus said unto him, No man, having put his hand to the plough, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God.”

Psalm 121:1-2 “I will lift up mine eyes unto the hills, from whence cometh my help. My help cometh from the LORD, which made heaven and earth.”

Colossians 3:2 “Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth.”

Hebrews 12:1-2 “Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us. Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.”

Our investment documents often contain the following legal caveat – “past performance is no indication of future results.” It is the fine-print of the financial industry, providing investment companies legal cover.  As they entice us to purchase their products based on their dazzling past results, they are not guaranteeing that the future will be as successful as the past. That warning is true as it applies to the many facets of our lives – our successes of the past won’t automatically assure a bright future.

It is also true that past stumbles, sins, shortcomings, enticements, or distractions will necessarily doom us to future failure, especially with an all-powerful, all-loving God in the midst of our lives and on the throne of our hearts. Yet, sometimes an errant gaze locked on the past prevents us from achieving a God-ordained future. It happened to Lot’s wife, and it happened to a man who inquired to Jesus about discipleship. It happens to people all around us every day, and it can even happen in our own lives as we look backward and downward.

God directs us to carefully affix our gaze forward and upwards towards Him. We are to set our affection on things above, not on things on the earth. We are to lift up our eyes unto the hills. We are to lay aside the weights and sins that so easily beset us, and look unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith. It is then that we can properly and faithfully shed our past and strive towards a brighter future.

PLEASE PRAY THAT AMERICAN CHRISTIANS WOULD LIFT UP OUR EYES UNTO THE HILLS. It is there that we will find our help from the One who made heaven and earth!

It Begins With Yourself

II Chronicles 7:14 “If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.”

Isaiah 6:8 “Also I heard the voice of the Lord, saying, Whom shall I send, and who will go for us? Then said I, Here am I; send me.”

I Peter 4:17 “For the time is come that judgment must begin at the house of God: and if it first begin at us, what shall the end be of them that obey not the gospel of God?”

II Kings 22:19 “Because thine heart was tender, and thou hast humbled thyself before the LORD, when thou heardest what I spake against this place, and against the inhabitants thereof, that they should become a desolation and a curse, and hast rent thy clothes, and wept before me; I also have heard thee, saith the LORD.”

This story from “The Innovator’s Way” has a powerful spiritual application:

“It is the year 1720. You, a traveler, arrive in the Italian town of Cremona in search of the best violins made. You look on the street of the violin shops. At the mouth of the street, immediately to the left, you see the shop of the Guarneri family. In its window is a very large sign with majestic calligraphy: ‘Best Violins in All of Italy.’ Farther down on the right you see the shop belonging to the Gagliano family. In its window is an even grander sign: ‘Best Violins in the Whole World.’ Down at the far end of the street, tucked in the shady cul-de-sac, you find a small shop belonging to the Stradivarius family. In its window there is a small card. You have to lean over and squint to read the handwritten message: ‘Best Violins on This Street.’”

The author goes on to provide his own application from this story: “The lesson is that being excellent on a global scale begins with being excellent in the neighborhood. That excellence begins with yourself.”

This is true of temporal excellence, it is true of spiritual excellence, and it is true of revival!

We quickly lament the global problems of our day. We yearn for worldwide and nationwide revival. We seek a return of America back to its Christ-centered foundation. We are grieved by institutional and corporate sin. But yet, we quickly forget that such change begins on our own street and in our own neighborhood. It starts in our own Christian community, in our own church, in our own family, and in our own lives. It begins with us!

PLEASE PRAY FOR AMERICAN CHRISTIANS TO SEEK PERSONAL REVIVAL AS A NECESSARY PRECURSOR TO NATIONWIDE REVIVAL. Excellence and revival begins with myself and yourself.

Undaunted

Romans 1:16 “For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ; for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek.”

I Corinthians 15:54-57 “So when this corruptible shall have put on incorruption, and this mortal shall have put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, Death is swallowed up in victory. O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory? The sting of death is sin; and the strength of sin is the law. But thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.”

The following is a powerful and faith-fueled testimony from Pastor Abba Martin during the challenging conditions of World War II, as recorded in “Strength for Service”:

“I believe it is eminently worthwhile to contend for righteousness, justice, and truth in the world; and that Heaven will reward those who thus take their stand. I am so thoroughly convinced of the presence of the everliving God in the affairs of men that I refuse to become panic-stricken when the sins and selfish ambitions of the usurpers of authority bring about destructive wars and international chaos. So sure am I of the life eternal that even death is robbed of its sting, and I go forward with courage undaunted.

I am so proud of this faith that is mine that I shall not hesitate to declare it anywhere, in any environment, by my deeds, by my words, by my attitudes, and by every outward manifestation of my life.”

Our fully-committed life as Christian citizens is eminently worthwhile as we contend for righteousness, justice, and truth in the world. Heaven will reward us for taking a stand. Our trust and faith in the everliving God in the affairs of men must strengthen us such that we can refuse to become panic-stricken when the sins and selfish ambitions of the usurpers of authority bring about destructive wars and international chaos. Life eternal robs death of its sting, and allows us to go forward with courage undaunted. And, we must be so proud of this faith through Christ that we shall not hesitate to declare it anywhere, in any environment, by our deeds, by our words, by our attitudes, and by every outward manifestation of our lives.

PLEASE PRAY FOR AMERICAN CHRISTIANS TO BE BOLD ABOUT A LIFE LIVED THAT DECLARES THE GOSPEL OF CHRIST THROUGH EVERY OUTWARD MANIFESTATION. Even in the midst of a world filled with destructive wars and international chaos, we must go forward with courage undaunted.

Moving Mountains II

Jeremiah 33:3 “Call unto me, and I will answer thee, and shew thee great and mighty things, which thou knowest not.”

Ephesians 3:20-21 “Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us, Unto him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus throughout all ages, world with end.  Amen.”

I Corinthians 2:9 “But as it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him.”

Matthew 8:5 “And when Jesus was entered into Capernaum, there came unto him a centurion, beseeching him.”

Matthew 17:19-21 “Then came the disciples to Jesus apart, and said, Why could not we cast him out?  And Jesus said unto them, Because of your unbelief: for verily I say unto you, If ye have faith as a grain of mustard seed, ye shall say unto this mountain, Remove hence to yonder place; and it shall remove; and nothing shall be impossible unto you.  Howbeit this kind goeth not out but by prayer and by fasting.”

God has amazing plans for His people!  He has incredible purposes for the Christian community and for American Christians!  His planned and prepared path for us is mind-blowing and unbelievable.  These things from Him are great and they are mighty.  They are characterized by exceedance and abundance.  They are more than anything we have seen, have heard, have felt, or have thought.  Yet, they are only limited by us.

In order to activate God’s preeminent plans and purposes for us, we must do our part.  We must call unto Him and beseech Him.  We must glorify Him.  We must have pure and expectant faith.  We must pray and we must fast!

If we are falling short in any of these areas, then we must regroup and recover.  We must realize that our shortcomings are the only things standing in the way of a tidal wave of blessings and a powerful movement of influence and impact. 

PLEASE PRAY FOR AMERICAN CHRISTIANS TO HAVE THE FAITH OF A MUSTARD SEED, ACTIVATED THROUGH PRAYER AND FASTING.  If we do, then we can move mountains in our land!

ADMIN:  Please see the following for related thoughts:

Humbly Bold

Matthew 8:5-8 “And when Jesus was entered into Capernaum, there came unto him a centurion, beseeching him, And saying, Lord, my servant lieth at home sick of the palsy, grievously tormented. And Jesus saith unto him, I will come and heal him. The centurion answered and said, Lord, I am not worthy that thou shouldest come under my roof: but speak the word only, and my servant shall be healed.”

Philippians 4:6 “Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God.”

Hebrews 4:16 “Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.”

Matthew 7:7-8 “Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you: For every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened.”

The powerful Centurion beseeched Jesus to apply His divine saving power to make whole a sickly servant. He boldly begged Jesus to take action. He petitioned and pleaded with Him to remedy the palsy of a subordinate who was grievously tormented by an affliction. 

At the same time, the Centurion acknowledged an important truth – that he was not worthy to ask such things from the Lord nor even to linger in His presence. Even this mighty man had no right to expect standing in the eyes of the Lord, the Creator, the Sustainer, and the Savior. Nevertheless, the Centurion pleaded and he begged. He asked, he sought, and he knocked. 

As a result, it was given unto him! He found what he was searching for as the Lord’s door of blessings opened wide. It was all because he approached Jesus with humble boldness.

This may seem oxymoronic. Yet, it is exactly what the Lord directs from us. 

We are to beseech Jesus to apply His divine saving and sustaining power to our sickly lives. We are to boldly beg Jesus to take action. We are to petition and plead with Him to meet our needs and to overcome our limitations. 

At the same time, we must acknowledge an important truth – we are not worthy to ask such things from the Lord nor even to linger in His presence. We have no right to expect standing in the eyes of the Lord, the Creator, the Sustainer, and the Savior. Nevertheless, we are to plead and beg. We are to ask, seek, and knock.

As a result, we may find that it has been given unto us as the Lord’s door of blessings opens wide. It will all be because we approach Jesus with humble boldness!

PLEASE PRAY FOR A SPIRIT OF HUMBLE BOLDNESS IN THE LIVES OF AMERICAN CHRISTIANS. While the linkage of these characteristics may seem oxymoronic, it is God’s formula for proper standing with Him to enable His power to fully act in our lives. Come to the Lord with humble boldness!

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