Tag: prayer

How to deal with insurmountable problems?

I find the following excerpt taken from the Bible in One Year with Nicky Gumbel quite interesting and practical. Hope you think so also.

 Intercession for deliverance (from your problems)

2 Kings 19:14-20:21

Sometimes in our own lives we are faced with seemingly insurmountable problems.  This is a great model of how to deal with them.  Hezekiah did not despair.  He did not panic.  He did not give up.  He turned to God in prayer.

This account of Hezekiah’s prayer and God’s deliverance is recorded three times in the Old Testament – see also Isaiah 36–39 and 2 Chronicles 32.  The events of this period are corroborated by Babylonian sources.

When Hezekiah received the threatening letter and was faced with a seemingly insurmountable problem, ‘He went up to the temple of the Lord and spread it out before the Lord’ (19:14).  He prayed to the Lord, ‘O Lord … you alone are God over all the kingdoms of the earth.  You have made heaven and earth.  Give ear, O Lord, and hear; open your eyes, O Lord, and see … Now, O Lord our God, deliver us from his hand, so that all kingdoms on earth may know that you alone, O Lord, are God’ (vv.15–19).

Hezekiah’s intercession begins by consciously recognising who God is.  As Andrew Murray says, ‘The power of prayer depends almost entirely upon our apprehension of who it is with whom we speak.’  When we intercede we are speaking to the one who alone is, ‘God over all the kingdoms of the earth’ (v.15).  He has the power to resolve these seemingly insurmountable problems.

Hezekiah’s prayer was for God’s honour and glory, ‘so that all kingdoms on earth may know that you alone, O Lord, are God’ (v.19).  Jesus taught us to start our prayers, ‘Hallowed be your name, your kingdom come’ (Matthew 6:9–10)

I love the expression, ‘He … spread it out before the Lord’ (2 Kings 19:14).  He spoke to God about the problem.  The apostle Paul writes, ‘Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.  And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus’ (Philippians 4:6–7).

The prophet Isaiah sent a message to Hezekiah saying that God had heard his prayer.  He delivered the people from the threat of the Assyrians in answer to Hezekiah’s intercession.

Hezekiah also prayed for his healing.  He was ill, at the point of death (2 Kings 20:1), and he interceded on his own behalf:  ‘Hezekiah turned his face to the wall and prayed to the Lord’ (v.2).  Again, God answered his intercession: ‘I have heard your prayer and seen your tears; I will heal you … I will add fifteen years to your life’ (vv.5–6).

Hezekiah experienced God’s amazing blessings in answer to his intercession.  However, the passage ends with a note of warning.  When envoys came from Babylon, Hezekiah showed off all his treasures (vv.12–15).  He appeared to be taking the glory for all that the Lord had given him.  Isaiah told him that as a result, ‘nothing will be left’ (v.17).  If we take the glory for what the Lord does for us, it is at our own peril.


Best way to Plan

God’s Purposes – taken from The Bible In One Year by Nicky Gumble

Back in 1981 Pippa and I felt that God was calling us to full-time ministry in the Church of England and for me to become an ordained minister.  We also felt that we should do our training in Durham starting in September 1982.  I was on the top of the waiting list for the theological college at Durham University.  I was told it was almost certain someone would drop out and I was virtually guaranteed to get a place.  Based on this I announced our plans widely, including telling the set of chambers, where I was practising as a barrister, that I was leaving.

Just before I was due to start we received news that, exceptionally, no one had dropped out that year and it would not be possible for us to go.  We tried everything to persuade them to change their minds.  We desperately tried to find another theological college that would accept us.  We prayed and pushed as hard as we could but to no avail.  The door was firmly shut.

The following year was extremely difficult.  I was given very little work by my chambers as they knew I was leaving and so had no incentive to build my career.  It was a huge disappointment and mystifying at the time.

In the end, we went to Oxford to study the following year and eventually started a curacy at HTB in 1986.  With hindsight, had we got the place at Durham, the timing would have meant that a curacy at HTB would have been out of the question and we would not be doing what we are doing today.  I am so thankful to God that he blocked our plans and that what we now believe were his purposes prevailed.

There are times when life is not easy.  It is difficult to work out what God is doing in terms of our work, family, temptation, finances, disappointments, bereavement or opposition.  How do we cope in these situations?

1.  God’s purposes and our plans

Proverbs 16:8-17

It is right to plan.  However, we need to do it with the necessary humility, recognising that our plans will only succeed ‘if it is the Lord’s will’ (see James 4:13–15).  The writer of Proverbs says, ‘In your heart you may plan your course, but the Lord determines your steps’ (Proverbs 16:9).

His purposes are ‘good, pleasing and perfect’ (Romans 12:2).  Sometimes we align our plans with God’s purposes, but from time to time – certainly in my experience – God thankfully overrules our plans.  We should always bear in mind that we may have got it wrong and ultimately it is the Lord who determines our steps.

God often works out his purposes through good leadership.  Good leaders motivate others (Proverbs 16:10).  They do not base their decisions simply on what is popular: ‘Sound leadership has a moral foundation’ (v.12b, MSG).  They cultivate an environment of candour: ‘Good leaders cultivate honest speech; they love advisers who tell them the truth’ (v.13, MSG).  They ‘invigorate lives; they’re like spring rain and sunshine’ (v.15, MSG).

Thank you, Lord, that although we make plans in our hearts ultimately it is your purpose that prevails.  In making our plans may we always say, at least in our hearts, ‘If it is the Lord’s will’.

 

 


Why Me? Me and my wind shield.

WHY ME – Me and my wind shield

Have you ever wondered why things just happen?

This is the first in the series of Why Me?
I dropped my son to the Lynden Pindling International Airport in Bahamas around 10.45 am and on my way back, travelling west on the John F. Kennedy Drive which is undergoing some road works, a vehicle going east went by so fast that it caused a stone to hit my car’s wind shield. All I heard was  ‘PAX!’

I ducked, and then quickly, but cautiously looked up to see a crack in my car’s  wind shield right in front of my face. Oh my God!!

My mind started to race – WHY ME? There is a power outage – seems island wide, the communication system is down, so I cannot call my husband or anyone. I continued driving slowly afraid that the wind shield will come apart. As I continued along the road I noticed someone was having car problems and was being given a jump start. I looked at my crack which now looked like an extended   “Nike” trade mark.

I thanked God that at least I did not have to stop to flag down anyone for help.

I reached home safe with my extended Nike trade mark in my wind shield, but I am now worrying about the cost to replace. I thought everything is expensive. How long will it take to be repaired? Do they have wind shields in stock? Would we have to rent a car? Would the insurance pay? What if the Insurance Company will not pay?

Of course in times like these you drop to your knees and ask for help so before retiring to bed, knees to floor – ‘Holy Father let me get the wind screen repaired free of charge’.

The next day my husband arranged for me to visit the Wind Shield Repairs Company and the Insurance Company. The Insurance Company did agree to settle and it was just $480.00. What a relief!

I ask myself was there a lesson to be learnt from this? Why did this have to happen to me? There I was taking my time on the road, driving within the speed limit, a bit sad that my son had left,  but happy that we had a good time together, and now this!

The thing is we worry so much about things that may not even happen. We put the body under so much stress, which causes a lot of different illnesses, when we can just have faith that all will be well.

So today I want you to put the worry aside and know that whatever you are going through all will be well. As the saying goes –“You never get more than you can handle”.

 

 

 

 

 


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