Morning Prayer Summary for Thursday, April 13, 2023

 Well, good morning everyone. Thank you for joining us. Normally it would be my wife, Jeanie, and I. She’d be leading, but she’s a little under the weather this morning.

Today, regardless, we’re still here to pray and worship our God. We’re still here to come together. We each bring our gifts to whatever we’re doing, whatever the Lord has this morning. And I’ve got a couple things that I might just start off with. But I think it’s just going to be, letting the Holy Spirit work with us today. Whatever you’re going through or facing today, we all have challenges that come and go. And so hopefully if you’re watching today, you’re doing awesome. But if you’re not, it’s still going to be an awesome day. And so we thank you for joining us here.

And, Father, we thank you that you’ve given us this space just to set aside all the distractions that we’re facing in this world.

We recognize, Holy Spirit, that even though whatever we may end up praying today, as you lead us, that if there’s something we need to hear individually, it might be something completely different than what we’re actually praying, I just pray that you hold onto that and know that He’s speaking to you.

Sometimes it doesn’t feel like God is with you. But that’s not the truth. The truth is that God is always here. He’s always wanting to help us through every situation we have, not just so we can get through, but so that we can actually get through it with His love, His power. And then it actually propels us to do more, see more, be able to overcome every obstacle.

The Bible says He overcame, but we are more than conquerors. I’ve heard a lot of people preach about how He was a conqueror and we are “more than conquerors.” Meaning He went through all of it, and we get the victory and the spoils.

But you know what, He’s also got the spoils too, because His spoils are us! Yes! There’s things that we can get, but really He did all of this for the joy that was set before Him. He endured the most horrific thing of the cross. But as we just celebrated this last weekend, He overcame it and is alive. And thank God He’s alive!

So that now we have hope. Even if we’re feeling hopeless, there’s always hope. There’s always hope. And hope is that expectancy that something good is going to come from whatever situation we’re facing. And even as well too, if we feel like things are going well for us, there’s always someone that could use that word of hope.

So, Father, I thank you that even as we go through our day, if we’re doing really great, that there might be somebody who just needs a small word of encouragement and it might seem insignificant to us. Maybe it’s… I don’t know, complimenting somebody on their outfit or the smile on their face or something. That’s You speaking to them through us.

So I thank you, Father, that we can be open today and just shut out everything that could be a distraction. Because as we start our day with you, that’s where we get filled up.

It’s kind of like, have you ever gotten… You start your day, get in your car and realize you’re that far from empty. It’s a whole lot different feeling than when you walk in and it’s at full. In fact, sometimes the needle even shows it’s past full, which I don’t get. But that’s how we’re going to start today. We’re going to be full and even past full so that we have more than enough for everyone.

So one of the things that we were kind of talking about maybe starting with today… there’s so many things today that can distract us. And it feels like there’s various people here who are probably older than 20, I’m guessing. But there was a time when we were probably either young or young adults. And it seems every generation has its “something” that could distract them. But I got to say when you look around today, it feels like there’s so much more that is distracting that we never had to deal with.

And the thing is, God doesn’t make mistakes. He put us here at this time because He knows we can handle it. He knows that despite what we’re going through right now, He knows that we are here at this time and right now to not only just believe Him but have an impact on this world. And sometimes it feels like, “Man, things are so crazy, how can I even get through it?” And maybe you just turn the news off for a day or so. You start to feel rest and then you’re like, you got to go back to it just to see what’s going on. And it dumps crud on you all the time and you’re thinking, “God, how in the world can all this crazy stuff be happening?” I have a feeling every generation could probably be saying the same thing. We just get it a lot faster now and we get it immediately.

But He overcame for us, not just so that we could hold on until we’re out of here. It’s so that we can truly… some people might even say it’s an honor and a gift to live in this time because we get to see for at least for our time here, how good God is through the mess of it all.

So a couple verses that we were going to go over this morning are in the Amplified Classic. Hebrews 12:2. It says, “Looking away from all that will distract to Jesus, who is the leader and the source of our faith, giving the first incentive for our belief and is also its finisher, bringing it to maturity and perfection. He, [meaning Christ], for the joy of obtaining the prize that was set before Him endured the cross.” You know, even that, it’s hard to imagine. Sometimes these words sound good. But sometimes when you’re reading the Word, God can bring things out to you or highlight things. And it can be just coming out of if you want to call it the Easter season… that season isn’t done. That was just the beginning and now it’s for the rest of things. The joy of obtaining the prize that was set before Him. His prize. He was seeing all of us and our freedoms. He was seeing all of us set free. He was seeing us all having that veil torn away so that we could actually step right into the presence of God.

I can’t think of an example, but I’m sure Holy Spirit will give me one. But we don’t know, in a sense, what it’s like to not have that access to the veil. Back then they were living under the Old Covenant and that’s all they had for hundreds and hundreds of years. That’s all they knew. And now we can look back and say, “Oh, that was just religion. We don’t associate with that.”

But all that was, was a mindset. It was a mindset that came and it stuck, and it just kept getting progressively more and more and more and more. God gave the law to protect the people. Unfortunately, people took it too far with the influence of the enemy and made it into a controlling thing. But it says, “For the joy of obtaining the prize that was set before Him.” And I love that, how God set it before Him. Somehow, even as a man, He saw what the prize was.

And I have to also believe that He’s also setting prizes before us. We’re supposed to be like Jesus, and thankfully we don’t have to go through the crucifixion. He did it once for all. We don’t have to endure that thing. But there’s all sorts of other things that we have to face these days. But He knew it was such a great prize that He endured the most horrific, embarrassing…. I mean, there’s probably not enough words to describe how horrific it was going to the cross. I heard people talking over the last week about Easter and the crucifixion. I heard someone talking about how… it was 20 years ago that when the “Passion of the Christ” came out, Mel Gibson’s movie, and in researching it, what they said was when he really understood and researched what a crucifixion was, he said, “I can’t show that. I can’t go that far.”

I remember the first time I saw it, I could barely look at it. It was disturbing. Why? Because it just never ended. And they were probably very familiar with what our crucifixion was back in those days because it was a form of torture, and basically, “we’re putting on display how horrific we can be to you if you disobey.” But He endured that. Jesus knew very well what it was going to be like. And as He’s experiencing it, I can’t even imagine His thoughts. Was He thinking that prize… that prize… that prize of all these people. All I have to do is get through this for those people. He endured it, despising and ignoring the shame. How could you ignore that? Ignoring the shame of being stripped naked and being beaten for something you didn’t even do. But now He is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.

Even in the Garden of Gethsemane, He was sweating drops of blood. And in Luke 22:44, it says, “And being in agony of mind, He prayed all the more earnestly and intently.” I’m sure Jesus prayed good prayers pretty much His whole life. But at this point, knowing what He was going to be facing, He prayed all the more earnestly and intently, and His sweat became like great drops of blood dripping down upon the ground. He could have backed away, but He didn’t. He knew He had to go through it.

And sometimes I feel that as we’re going through things now, we feel like we just want to tune out. This is too much. I’m going to watch Netflix. It’s too much. I’m just going to go eat some comforting food for a while. And just kind of back away from it for a while.

Jesus had, like He even said in the garden, “Don’t you think that I could call 12 legions of angels to come and take care of everything?” He didn’t back away from what He was facing. And what He was facing, we will never have to face anything of that intensity ever.

So thank you, God.

But how wonderful it is that He gave the example of when things get hard, He’s like, “but there’s a prize for Me.” There’s a prize for enduring this. And in Galatians 6:9, it says, “And let us not lose heart and grow weary and faint in acting nobly and doing right, for in due time and at the appointed season, we shall reap if we do not loosen and relax our courage and faint.” All through the Bible He talks about… That’s part of the overcoming thing. There’s going to be times that we’re going to come and it’s just going to feel overwhelming. I mean, you only need to spend about 10 minutes looking through social media to realize, wow, there’s a whole lot going on. But let us not lose heart and grow weary and faint in acting nobly and doing right for in due time and at the appointed season, we shall reap.

It doesn’t say there’s a really good chance we’re going to reap. The odds are in our favor. Or it’s kind of 50/50 what’s going to happen. No. His Word promises so much and regardless of what you’re going through, we have that promise over and over and over again.

So Father, right now, whatever we’re going through, whatever we know what our friends are going through, acquaintances, we see people we don’t even know going through these challenging and horrific times, people that are struggling to know who they are. And I’m even talking believers too. We’re struggling sometimes to know who are we really? Father, I thank you that your Holy Spirit is ever present. He’s always here… always ministering to us. And, Father, we have the Word that we can go to every single time.

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