Before you let this Christmas end learn to handle the supernatural extremes.

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December 26, 2012:  Before You Let This Christmas End.  Before you let this Christmas end learn to handle the supernatural extremes.

Twenty children killed.  There is a strange connection between Newtown and Bethlehem.   Brian C. Stiller said, it is a similar refrain to the early life of Jesus. King Herod ordered children under two killed in the Judean village of Bethlehem when he heard from the Persian travelers that a “king of the Jews” was to be born. Historians estimate that in this tiny village some twenty were hacked to death by the mad man, subservient to Rome and insecure in his kingship.  The death of children, innocent and vulnerable, is cast in the very beginnings of the Gospel and Christmas story.”

The tragedy brought forth soul-searching and grief around the globe. Families as far away as Puerto Rico began to plan funerals for victims who still had their baby teeth, world leaders extended condolences, and vigils were held around the U.S.

The lesson in this strange connection is that we are in a world of supernatural extremes.  Joseph, Mary and every other character in that first Christmas had to stay on course in an explosive situation.  Imagine how strange it must have felt to have amazing miracles and amazing danger coming at you all at once.  It must have been confusing that even though there were angels, wise men and a star, their life was still a mine field that they had to navigate with extreme caution.

Today, the realities that were muted by our festivities may be returning with a vengeance.  We live in a world of extremes.  Evil is doing more than ever and yet, God is moving strongly.   Deny either one of those realities and you will be victimized.

The angels understood the intense paradox of the spiritual warfare.  That is why they said “fear not.”  Fear will bring panic and cause you to make mistakes in the new year.  Learn from Christmas to stay on course with the angelic “fear nots”

1. The “fear not” of salvation: “And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings…which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, which is Christ the Lord” (Luke 2:10,11).

2. The “fear not” of the humanly impossible: “Fear not, Mary:… the Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of the Highest shall overshadow thee:…For with God nothing shall be impossible” (Luke 1:30, 35, 37).

3. The “fear not” of unanswered prayer: “Fear not, Zacharias: for thy prayer is heard; and thy wife Elisabeth shall bear thee a son, and thou shalt call his name John” (Luke 1:13).

4. The “fear not” of immediate obedience: “Joseph, thou son of David, fear not to take unto thee Mary thy wife :.. Then Joseph … did as the angel of the Lord had bidden him” (Matthew 1:20,24).

The greatest threats you have ever faced may come at you.  The most vile, wicked acts of violence of all time may be on their way.   However, the greatest miracles you have ever seen and the most powerful anointing to face life is also on its way.   Stay the course!

Why You Never Stop Praying

Why You Never Stop Praying

Luke 18: 1Then He spoke a parable to them, that men always ought to pray and not lose heart,2 saying: “There was in a certain city a judge who did not fear God nor regard man. 3 Now there was a widow in that city; and she came to him, saying, ‘Get justice for me from my adversary.’ 4 And he would not for a while; but afterward he said within himself, ‘Though I do not fear God nor regard man, 5 yet because this widow troubles me I will avenge her, lest by her continual coming she weary me.’” 6 Then the Lord said, “Hear what the unjust judge said. 7 And shall God not avenge His own elect who cry out day and night to Him, though He bears long with them? 8 I tell you that He will avenge them speedily. Nevertheless, when the Son of Man comes, will He really find faith on the earth?”

Jesus introduces us to an amazing woman.  He picks her story because she is a widow.  You could not find a more desperate situation or a more helpless person. Through circumstances that are completely out of her control she is being defrauded of her inheritance, her home, and her meager pension. How could a life once filled with love and security end in up in an old age of , humiliation, homelessness, and starvation? Yet this is precisely what is happening right now all over America.

Amazingly, this widow will teach us a great lesson on prayer not by praying but by demonstrating the power of human persistence.  She memorized the judge’s routine. She stood for hours outside the court house. She was there when he walked in and when he walked out. She followed him to restaurants, the marketplace, and even to his home. Late at night when he tried to sleep she would cry to him from outside his window. 

Finally it was too much for the judge to bear:  “afterward he said within himself, Though I fear not God, nor regard man;  5Yet because this widow troubles me, I will avenge her, lest by her continual coming she weary me.”  In mere human terms, importunity must inevitably triumph.  

How much more! Jesus now says, “Hear what the unjust judge is saying!” And shall God not avenge His own elect who cry out day and night to Him, though He bears long with them?”  Jesus is contrasting two extremes. How much mightier is fervent prayer than human persistence?  If importunity brings results on a human level how much more are we certain to see results in prayer?  How much more will God the Father, who gave His only Son, hear us than a cold unfeeling judge?

This parable proclaims, she held on until she got victory; even though she had no hope, no love, no comfort, no Holy Spirit, a cruel judge, and a vicious predator. How much more then can you hold on in prayer since you have a loving almighty Father, the Holy Spirit and the Word of God!  

But Jesus warned that there may be a delay in the answer!  But why is God waiting to answer me? It is clear from the story that this widow’s adversary had defrauded her. He committed a crime. She was begging the judge for justice. However, to get justice would mean that this man would go to jail. It would mean his ruin.  There may be a villain in your life who is robbing you. The delay maybe God’s giving them a last chance to make things right.

Another possibility: God delays success until He knows it will not destroy you!  Ahab had agents all over Israel searching for Elijah to kill him.  Premature promotion would have destroyed Elijah. It must have been sheer torture for such a righteous man of God to watch the wholesale dismantling of God’s law in a nation born of God. He begged God to get him back in the battle. Instead, God orders him to let a widow provide for him. You may think that your talent and accomplishments should have opened doors for you by now but there are divine reasons for delay.

Beyond this there may be a myriad of reasons, all with our very best in mind.  However, a breakthrough is inevitable!

Let me say this to you with compassion and conviction. It is life and death for you to gain a new awe and respect for the power of importunate prayer. Times have changed. Aggressive evil, rampant disease, financial earthquakes, and convulsions in nature demand a new kind of prayer warrior. 

We have no promise that the sun will rise tomorrow but we do have the greatest and surest promise of all: “And shall God not avenge His own elect who cry out day and night to Him, though He bears long with them8 I tell you that He will avenge them speedily. This is why you never stop praying!