This past Christmas, I gave a Joel Rosenberg novel to a friend. It was the first book in his first series of books, and as I expected, my friend is now hooked! He not only polished off that first novel in a hurry, but he’s rushed out to buy number two.
I’m like that. I find an author I like and then search out all the other works by that same person.
At the close of 2011, my personal alone time with the Father was spent in the Gospel of Luke. I added some of what the Lord was teaching me to this blog under the heading Lessons from Luke. Then we turned the corner into a brand new year and the Holy Spirit prompted me to check out another book by this same author – the book of Acts.
Have you studied the book of Acts lately? It’s been a while since I poured over those pages. It is truly an amazing, power-packed read. There’s a fresh yearning in my soul for an outpouring of God’s Spirit as a result of hanging out in Acts. I want to taste and see God at work in my own heart, in my family and in my church the way He worked in Acts.
Beginning with next week’s post we’ll draw regular Applications from Acts, but before moving on, I can’t pass up one last lesson from Luke’s gospel.
Luke 21:36 reads: “But keep on the alert at all times, praying in order that you may have strength to escape all these things that are about to take place, and to stand before the Son of Man.”
Strength to escape all what things that are about to take place?
Wars and disturbances. Nation rising against nation. Kingdom against Kingdom. Great earthquakes. Various plagues and famines. Terrors. Signs from heaven. Persecution of Christ followers – leading to an opportunity to share our testimony. Betrayal by parents, bothers, relatives and friends. Killing Christians. Hatred of those who identify with Jesus. Jerusalem surrounded by armies. Signs in the sun, moon and stars. Dismay among nations. Roaring seas and waves. Men fainting from fear. The powers of heaven shaken. (Luke 21:9-26)
In light of all these things Jesus instructs us to keep on the alert and pray. Literally this particular word for prayer implies that we beg God. We plead for God’s Kingdom to come on earth as it is in Heaven.
I was drawn to this verse in Luke due to its similarity to my theme verse for 2012. Colossians 4:2 says, “Devote yourselves to prayer, keeping alert in it with an attitude of thanksgiving.”
The literal word for prayer in Colossians 4 has a slightly different implication than the verse in Luke. Colossians 4 tells us to be devoted to our place of prayer. Devoted to spending time, investing time, in our Tent of Meeting, communing with the Father. While we’re in that place of prayer, we follow Luke 21:36. We beg God. We plead with Him that we may have the strength to escape all the things that are about to take place.
It’s no coincidence that both verses advise us to be alert. Alert: a word we hear often these days from Homeland Security. The United States now has a system of alert levels that warn of possible threats. Outside the Louisville airport loud speakers instruct travelers to stay with their own luggage and cooperate with safety screenings and procedures because security is at high alert.
Personally, I hear the Lord calling me to high alert. No room for casual commitment. No time for small praying. This is a season to be devoted to Tent time with Him. These are the days for interceeding for the lost, pleading for strength for Christ followers, casting my cares daily on Him and looking upward every moment for the great glory of God to be revealed!
We are the army of the Lord. Will you devote yourself to prayer? How is Tent time going? What would it take for you to carve out more time to “waste” in His presence?
Will you stay alert in prayer?
Will you walk each day with an attitude of thanksgiving for all God has in mind to do to bring His Kingdom on earth as it is in Heaven?