Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Blessed Persistence

Persistence is what this widow encapsulated within her. Through her persistence blessings flowed. Not only did a judge choose not to continue to ignore her pleas for justice, but her faith grew and gave others a window to see what happens when we decide to trust our God. 

"He then told them a parable on the need for them to pray always and not become discouraged: "There was a judge in a certain town who didn't fear God or respect man. And a widow in that town kept coming to him, saying, 'Give me justice against my adversary.' "For a while he was unwilling, but later he said to himself, 'Even though I don't fear God or respect man, yet because this widow keeps pestering me, I will give her justice, so she doesn't wear me out by her persistent coming.'" Then the Lord said, "Listen to what the unjust judge says. Will not God grant justice to His elect who cry to Him day and night? Will He delay to help them? I tell you that He will swiftly grant them justice. Nevertheless, when the Son of Man comes, will He find that faith on earth?" Luke 18:1-8

No one knows why this widow was going before the judge. It doesn't give us that information in scripture, but what we do get to understand is that this was a widow. One that was hopeless. Not that she didn't hold hope near her heart, but that she was looked upon as hopeless. Her words didn't matter. She was made to feel that her voice meant nothing and had no determination for any matter. I think just in that we can relate. I know I can. 

Ever feel defeated and hopeless? Feeling as if you have tried everything and are ready to give up? Satan would want nothing more than to see God's people give up. You know what it takes for Satan to succeed? For good men to do nothing. That's right. When we stand in fear and say nothing when we could say something we are giving Satan the room he needs to spin his web. This widow knew that her persistence would turn to a blessing. Not in the fact that it was her that would bring the blessing, but in the fact that she was praying! Through her prayers she became encouraged. 

So often we think all we must do is pray and wait. If that is what the Lord is calling us to do, then that's what we do, but too often He is calling us to action. We pray and ask God to move on our behalf. We pray and leave no detail void. We share every aspect with our Lord. Oh, the raindrops my friend Bobbie has felt upon her heart. Trials don't always end with prayer. It is through prayer that we are capable of living through our trials with grace and mercy, strength and wisdom, love and compassion. Sometimes we feel hopeless. We have tried everything and feel as though there's nothing else left for us to do. God says, NO! Don't give up, my friend. God is near. He is moving and He needs you to trust Him as never before. It is in these moments of hopelessness that God shows Himself mighty. He moves in our heart and counts each step, guiding us forward, to live out His will. 

Our actions end up being meaningless unless our steps are prayed over and guided by our Savior. When we obey Him something happens. We listen and wait. There in the moment we least expect there is God with an open door and He is there guiding His children through the hardest moments in our life. 

You know, we become so discouraged when things seemingly aren't going our way. We want things to happen right now in our time, but we forget that all good things come to those who wait. We courageously pray and pray and pray until we hear from God. He hears our every prayer. Nothing goes unnoticed by Him. He sees beyond our vision and knows exactly what needs to happen next. It's when we step ahead of Him that we tend to make a mess of things. Been there and done that. How about you? 

"The Lord values those who fear Him, those who put their hope in His faithful love."
Psalm 147:11

"The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge; fools despise wisdom and discipline." 
Proverbs 1:7

"Don't worry about anything, but in everything, through prayer and petition with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses every thought, will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus."
Philippians 4:6-7

This is what we do as brothers and sisters in Christ. We put action behind our prayers. We stand with one another and give room for the Holy Spirit to speak, for our hearts to hear Him and then we move. We obey His call and in standing together we create a beautiful bouquet of belief that joins heart to heart as God leads. We take hold of the hand next to us and we pray for God to move. To stir the hearts of those who don't believe. We ask God to do the impossible. To move in ways that will make the world stand up and take notice. Knowing that this would be impossible for people, but through praying hearts there is nothing impossible for we know God is listening and He is all about action and truth and justice! 

"Who can bring an accusation against God's elect? God is the One who justifies."
Romans 8:33

"Dear friends, don't let this one thing escape you: With the Lord one day is alike a thousand years, and a thousand years like one day. The Lord does not delay His promise, as some understand delay, but is patient with you, not wanting any to perish but all to come to repentance."
2 Peter 3:8-9

God views time differently than we do. We want justice here and now. We want to see things go our way and have things happen in our desired time. But God's desire is bigger than ours. Our wishes are not always His and what should be most important to us is His will above all else. What I'm learning is that He is patient with me. There is more than 'me' in the picture and through even a smallest faith He can move in ways I've never imagined, touching hearts and the souls of man. I have to believe in Him and in His way. Without Him I have nothing. Without Him there is no hope. So, I pray His Word. I search Him and when I do I find Him. 

This widow was searching. She knew her God would move on her behalf. She wasn't giving up. She knew that God could change the mind and heart of this judge. Even if this judge failed to see that it was God moving she knew without a doubt. 

Can you imagine the fear this woman held as she went before the judge over and over again? Maybe she wasn't like me. Maybe she was fearless knowing that God was on her side and justice would prevail. Yes, this is the woman I want to live as. Fearless! 

Yes, I can imagine this widow going before the judge and being turned down once again. But the amazing part is she didn't give up. She was courageous and made the choice to stand firm in the God she believed in. Once again we see her godly character give us a glimpse of just how we continue to fight the good fight and allow God's light to shine. 

Friends, don't grow weary in your belief. Allow room for your faith to unlimited! Trust your God. Pray and seek Him for everything. There is nothing too small to bring to God. He cares for His children. This brings me to the very last sentence in this parable: "Nevertheless, when the Son of Man comes, will He find that faith on earth?" Luke 18:8 Friends, it is our time to show the world what belief can do. God knows our name. He knows the need. We pray, bringing everything to Him, trusting Him to move on our behalf. With our trust, we listen and must be willing to move, placing action behind our prayer. Sometimes God calls us to be still and others He calls us to action. He's listening. The question is: Are we? 

"Therefore we do not give up. Even though our outer person is being destroyed, our inner person is being renewed day by day. For our momentary light affliction is producing for us an absolutely incomparable eternal weight of glory. So we do not focus on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal." 
2 Corinthians 4:16-18
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