When Jesus was baptized the Bible says, ". . Jesus also being baptized, and praying, the heaven was opened, And the Holy Ghost descended in a bodily shape like a dove upon him, and a voice came from heaven, which said, Thou art my beloved Son; in thee I am well pleased." (vv. 21-22). After the crucifixion the disciples "These all continued with one accord in prayer and supplication, . . " (Acts 1:14) and "And when they had prayed, the place was shaken where they were assembled together; and they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and they spake the word of God with boldness." (Acts 4:31). Make no mistake, prayer can be hard work, but our most rewarding moments will come from time spent on our knees. God uses prayer to accomplish things that won't happen any other way. Henry Blackaby says: "As we pray our attention is turned towards God and we become more receptive to aligning our lives with His will. He won't equip us with His power while we're racing off to our next appointment! His Spirit won't empower us if we're oblivious to what He's saying. He requires our complete attention.." Jesus told his disciples...they should always pray and not give up' (see Luke 18:1). If you'll commit yourself to spend sustained time in prayer...God will work in your life as He did in the lives of Jesus and His disciples ...The fervent prayer of the people at Pentecost didn't induce the Holy Spirit to come upon them. Prayer brought them to where they were ready to participate in the mighty work God had already planned." The Bible says, "And in the morning, rising up a great while before day, he went out, and departed into a solitary place, and there prayed." (Mark 1:35). And before He chose His disciples, ". . he went out into a mountain to pray, and continued all night in prayer to God." (Luke 6:12). If it took a whole night for Jesus to determine His Father's will, what makes you think you can do it in a few hurried moments?
"Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us, Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God." (Hebrews 12:1-2)
We have so many 'witnesses' that have gone on before us. So many men and women of faith (Hebrews 11) that are the examples the Lord has given us to follow. We are to lay aside every weight. Now, what are these weights? They are the things that bring about stress and worries. They are the things Jesus wants to carry for us! We also need to lay aside our sin. Sin is inevitable. Even the lives of the very witnesses spoken of in Hebrews 11 are fraught with sins and the remorse of sin! Even though we cannot be perfect of ourselves, we must lay aside our wants and desires and choose to follow the Lord (Romans 6:15). This is a hard thing to do, but we must run with patience.
Jesus has given each of us a race to run. Each of our races are different, this means that we cannot compare our race with others. At times, our race is difficult. We become tired and worn out, but then God reminds us of how much we need Him! We are not running alone! We have the Creator of the world running beside us and He is willing to carry us when we cannot go on! In order to run and run well, we need to fix our eyes on Jesus.
There are so many things that can take our gaze off Jesus! People. Circumstances. Difficult struggles. Self-pity. But as Peter learned, it is when you take you eyes off Jesus that you sink! In all that we do, no matter the circumstances, we need to keep our eyes focused on Him for He knows all things (Proverbs 4:25-27)! If we fix our eyes on Jesus, our paths are made straight.
Jesus has endured the cross for us! We are the joy set before Him! He went through so much pain and shame, for us! Think about it, Jesus, the SON of GOD came to EARTH as a MAN and was crucified as a CRIMINAL!! What a humbling experience! We often do not recognize how much shame He went through for us! But now! Now He is seated at God's right hand! And He continually intercedes on our behalf!
Week #41 Schedule for reading the Bible
This schedule will take the Bible student through the Bible in one year. Just click on the text to read and get started today.
Sunday: (Law) Numbers 25-27
Monday: (History) 2 Chronicles 16-20
Tuesday: (Psalms) Psalms 119
Wednesday: (Poetry) Proverbs 29-30
Thursday: (Prophecy) Micah
Friday: (Gospels) Acts 5-6
Saturday: (Letters) Hebrews 8-10