Morning Prayer Summary for  Thursday, October 5, 2023

Morning Chapel Prayer Playlist

Brother John…

Thank you all for coming this morning.

No prayer tomorrow on Friday…

Before we get started, tomorrow, Friday, there will be no prayer because of the event for Flashpoint that is going to be going on. But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t pray. We’re just not going to gather formally, but there’s a lot of amazing things that will be going on with this event.

Yesterday, I was trying to go through some different things and maybe things I’ve heard someplace, a place where I can start from and encourage others in whatever you’re going through. Yes, we’re going through! We’re not sitting in the mud. We’re getting picked up and we’re moving on.

Dr. Charles Stanley, “The Courage to Keep Going”

And so about a day or two ago, I was looking at videos on YouTube which is not a real good habit. However, things can come up when I’m not necessarily looking for them. There’s always something good out there. If we just keep our eyes open and our ears alert. And so I happened to come across a teaching by the late Dr. Charles Stanley. He’s got some really good teachings about the Word. And I came across this one teaching and the title caught my eye, “The Courage to Keep Going.” And I think it might be a series, but I just saw this one video. And it was very good. But there were some points that really stuck out for me from what he said. And so part of what I want to go to but seeing this as a prayer for people. And I actually pulled up the transcript, which was kind of nice. And so there’s going to be a point where there’s a passage that he was talking about that I want to read through that as well, because it was just really encouraging me. And so that will be part of it.

Every generation goes through something hard…

But then the Holy Spirit reminded me that there’s encouragement all throughout His Word. And I guess you could say in every generation or every year, we’re always going through something that’s hard. Every one of us, unless you’re probably already dead or haven’t been born yet, is going through something hard. And no one loves to go through hard things because they’re hard.

There will be victories and there will be defeats…

However, what I’m also reminded of is since the fall going way back when, the enemy has just been running free and we are in a battle. And sometimes it’s so obvious, but sometimes we just need to be reminded that as we’re going through this world, we are going to have victories. We’re going to have defeats. We’re going to have easy times. We’re going to have hard times. We’re going to be discouraged. We’re going to be empowered. We’re going to be lifted. This world and our experience, everything, we’re going to experience it all.

And so going through all this, I was getting so fired up last night. It was like, okay, I hope this is still where Holy Spirit wants us to go because we’re going to be praying. And I just pulled out some scriptures. And there’s dozens and dozens and dozens of them. That I was getting encouraged of when we’re going through hard times. How are we going to get through these things? And some people might not be experiencing hard things right now where it’s like, “Oh well, things are just okay.” And some of us might be just struggling and not know what to do.

Sometimes we get off track…

Now, hopefully if you’re a believer that you know that there’s answers from God. But sometimes, it does feel… Because we’re experiencing this as humans trying to understand more about God. We get off track. We miss it. We let all sorts of things affect us in the wrong way. And so a lot of these things encouraged me. And so I hope they encourage everyone. Not just now but going forward. I always need this reminder. You would think… Being a believer or having been studying the Word for two years or 50, 60, 70 years, that everything would just be easy. And that’s, of course, people know that’s not always the case.

God gave us many tools…

However, God gave us so many tools, examples, and encouragements of when things go bad, what we can do. And you know what? The thing is, sometimes it’s really, really difficult to do those things. I’m just trying to think of an example. Let’s just say you had a bunch of winter clothes on. For those in the south, maybe you don’t have as many. But if you’re wearing big pants and a big… And let’s just say, you just got completely soaked in water. You can still go around, but you’re really miserable. It’s heavy. It weighs you down. It slows you down. But you know, well this isn’t going to be my life forever but man, right now, I can’t see a way out of this. Thank God for His Word.

I’m going to read a few excerpts from the transcript of this…

So Holy Spirit, I thank you that you are faithful to meet every single person wherever they are today, right now. And that even though I’m reading these words, we trust that you are speaking to us through your Spirit to our spirit. We’re going to hear it with our minds. Hopefully, we hear it with our hearts as well. That we can be encouraged, that despite of irritations, massive disappointments, or just little irksome things, that you always come through.

So one of the first things He was kind of talking about us setting this up is in a sense of when things are happening, you’re going through time. So I’m going to be reading some of it, but I’m going to be skipping just really to a couple points here that stuck out for me.

I really want to quit…

One of the things he talks about here … he kind of sets it up by saying, “I’m going through something and I really want to quit.” And he says here, “As a follower of Jesus Christ, giving up is not who we are.” Now, he didn’t say we don’t feel like giving up. Cause a lot of times we feel like giving up on something at some level. Maybe it’s not giving up. Maybe it’s just pulling back enough so something doesn’t hurt. It’s like, okay, I don’t want to stand this close to the bonfire. Cause that’s way too hot. I’m going to burn up. But this is pretty good. But even if I back up too far, that might be even better.

I love that that’s how he starts…

“Giving up is not who we are. Surrendering is not who we are. Throwing in the towel is not who we are. As followers of Jesus Christ, we have the right to expect the best from Him. He has the right to expect the best from us. When I think about giving up, it doesn’t fit who we are. And if you’re in the process right now of giving up on your marriage or giving up on your job, giving up on your children or your financial situation, whatever it may be, stop and ask yourself the question, “Does this fit who I am as a follower of Jesus?”

The apostle Paul…

And he brings up some scriptures and things like that. And he ends up talking a lot about the apostle Paul. And really, I think one of the challenges that we have as believers is we’re reading these things and it can be really easy to separate ourselves from the humanity and the experience that people in the Bible were facing. To us, they can be encouraging stories. But when you’re in it, it’s always much harder than when you’re past it or have gone through it or reading about somebody who went through it.

And that’s where I believe, especially when we’re reading the Word, that we truly engage with Holy Spirit so that we can understand what God is trying to tell us. That we’re not seeing this as merely information, but He is really wanting to encourage us the whole way.

So this one section here might be a couple minutes of reading, but it was so good. He’s talking about the apostle Paul. And when Paul was listing this whole thing of what he went through… he was beaten with rods and whipped 39 times. He was shipwrecked. In thinking about this and really stopping to think and imagine, he was probably covered in scars. Who knows if he walked like this or if he was like, “Oh my gosh.” However, he had been through so much. And so I’m just going to pick up here. So again, if you want to listen to the message, just to remind you, it’s called, “The Courage to Keep Going” by Charles Stanley. He lists all the things that Paul went through. And then he says…

“I wonder how many of us would have survived that? What made him survive that? He had a lot of reasons to give up and quit but didn’t. Why?”

And even as I’m reading through this, I just pray Holy Spirit shows you, whatever you’re going through, that you can apply what he’s trying to get through to us through this message.

“He had a lot of reasons to give up and quit but didn’t. Why? Because of his awareness that almighty God was with him. When I think about the things, so many things, the apostle Paul said about God’s presence with him. He said, for an example, in Acts 23 going through a difficult time, he said, ‘The Lord stood by him.’ He knew the Lord was with him. He said to him on other occasions, “Don’t be afraid, I’m with you.” And so all through Paul’s epistles, we are continually reminded that God is with us.

“Now, if I should ask you, if you believe God is with you, you’d probably say yes. Do you claim that when things are tough? Do you remind yourself, no matter what is going on, who is treating me this way? Almighty God is with me. He said, I’ll never leave you nor forsake you.”

And I just want to interject really quick. I’ve said that so many times. But do I always believe it without fault? No. Not at all. It’s easy to say it when everything’s going awesome. But we struggle. We struggle. And God knows all of this. Nothing is a shock to Him. Even though we think it’s a shock. I’m going to go on.

“Either we have to believe God will do what He says He would do or we don’t. If we begin to question Him, we’ll begin to consider giving up in some situations. If I believe what He says is true and He’s true to His Word, I’ll not give up no matter what’s going on.”

And oftentimes we give up right before victory is about to break loose. Right before opportunity stares them in the face, people are willing to give up. People are willing to give up right before there can be reconciliation, right before things can change, they want to give up. That’s why it’s dangerous to ever give up. And then he says…

“When we give up in a situation, we’re giving up on God. He said, I’ll never leave you nor forsake you. As long as you and I are walking in His will and His way, it doesn’t matter how tough it gets. If we don’t give up, we’ll be rewarded. Paul said shipwrecked all these times a day and a night in the sea and over and over and over again, the Jews tried their best to kill him.”

Well thankfully no one has been… I’m assuming that most of us haven’t gone through a fraction of what Paul has gone through in the sense of all these terrible things and people trying to kill him.

“They tried to trap him. They tried to kill him. They did everything imaginable to try to get rid of him. Yet, you find him in jail rejoicing in the Lord, praising God for what He’s doing in his life. Do you know why? Because Paul never felt rejected by Jesus. Or that Jesus Christ was absent in any situation he was in. The awareness of His presence will take you through things nothing else will.

“The second thing is this: the experience of God’s strength within him. Whenever you feel weak and worn, when these things hit, we’re more prone to give into them and give up. He talked about the strength that was in him. When you think about all these experiences he survived, he had to understand and experience the strength of almighty God.”

And I love how he says here, “to understand and experience the strength of almighty God, three shipwrecks, beaten all these many times, jailed. In other words, he was a frequent visitor to the jail, which is kind of funny. So all these things he has experienced, how did he experience it? He had strength. And then he says he probably wasn’t necessarily a strong man physically, but he had strength. The same strength you and I have to go through any situation we face in life. And that is the strength of almighty God.

“Most of us know the verse when Paul says in Philippians, I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. Paul was aware of God’s presence. And being aware of God’s presence, he was aware of the strength that God released in him in that awareness of His presence. No matter what you’re going through, what you’re facing, you have the strength of God within you. Because you have the Holy Spirit living inside of you. And that is what Jesus promised His disciples. He knew they were going to be tempted. He knew they would go through tough times that would seem impossible. He said the Holy Spirit will be in you, with you, upon you, He’ll empower you, strengthen you to do whatever the Father called you to do. Every single one of us has within us adequate strength to do the will of God. You may say, ‘I don’t feel I do.’ You may not feel like it. The truth is, are you claiming it? You can have the spiritual gifts, the spiritual blessings. And if you don’t claim them, you don’t understand them. And if you don’t understand them, you can’t experience them.”

That was one of the things that kept the apostle Paul from giving up. Keep on keeping on. He was experiencing the strength of almighty God in his life when he stood in councils and they criticized him and wanted to crucify him if possible. Everything he did, he never gave up. He never quit. Does that mean he always just stood like a man? I’m sure there were times when he was frightened for the moment. That’s why the Lord would say to him, ‘Here I am beside you. I’m going to be with you in this no matter what you’re going through.’

And then he says, “So when I think about his prayer, for example, in Ephesians, he was encouraging them to pray for the strength that God would give them for what he called them to do.”

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