For he [Luke] makes it clear that both the Savior himself and his followers are empowered for the life and ministry of the kingdom by the Holy Spirit. Especially in his Gospel, Luke singles out the Spirit as the power for Jesus’ life and mission; and it is by that same Spirit that he ties together his Gospel and Acts in terms of the ongoing proclamation of good news to the poor – and thus to the ends of the earth.
As with them, so with ourselves. The kingdom has come; it is still to come. With Jesus the time of the future, the day of salvation, has been inaugurated. But the empowering was the work of the Holy Spirit. What Jesus began “both to do and to say” is now the ministry he has left his church until he comes again. The mission is that of Jesus himself – God’s kingdom as having come as good news for the poor. But the empowering for the kingdom, as then, is the continuing work of the Spirit. May God help us by his Spirit both to will and to do of his good pleasure – salvation for all through Christ.
[Gordon Fee, Listening to the Spirit in the Text, 179-180]
Prayer: “Lord, fill and empower us, your church, with the Holy Spirit, to continue the mission and ministry of Jesus today. In Jesus’ name, Amen.”
Let’s close in singing “Miracles” by Jesus Culture – (Click Here)
Joshua 10:12b-14 NIV 12 … Joshua said to the Lord in the presence of Israel: “Sun, stand still over Gibeon, and you, moon, over the Valley of Aijalon.” 13 So the sun stood still, and the moon stopped, till the nation avenged itself on its enemies… The sun stopped in the middle of the sky and delayed going down about a full day. 14There has never been a day like it before or since, a day when the Lord listened to a human being. Surely the Lord was fighting for Israel!
Joshua had the audacious faith to command the sun and moon to stand still so that Israel could finish fighting the battle. We are not given an abundance of details on the how or why of Joshua’s actions. No matter the reason, the Lord had told Joshua that he had given the enemies into their hands, and Joshua was ready to persist until the job was done – to the point of commanding the sun and moon to stand still so they could defeat the enemy. And the Lord listened!
Audacious faith is faith that the Lord listens to – on behalf of our own lives, our families, our communities, our ministries, and our churches. Where is the battle waging, that is yet to be won in the victory promised you by the Lord?
Prayer: “Lord, awaken my heart and mind to the victory you have promised your church through Jesus Christ. In Jesus’ name, Amen.”
Today, let’s worship the Lord by singing “Surrounded (Fight My Battles)” by Upperroom – (Click Here)
Luke 11:5-8 NLT 5 Then, teaching them more about prayer, he used this story: “Suppose you went to a friend’s house at midnight, wanting to borrow three loaves of bread. You say to him,6 ‘A friend of mine has just arrived for a visit, and I have nothing for him to eat.’ 7 And suppose he calls out from his bedroom, ‘Don’t bother me. The door is locked for the night, and my family and I are all in bed. I can’t help you.’ 8 But I tell you this—though he won’t do it for friendship’s sake, if you keep knocking long enough, he will get up and give you whatever you need because of your shameless persistence [NIV: audacity].
Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary Tenth Edition provides the definition of audacious with two of the following entries:
Intrepidly daring, adventurous
Marked by originality and verve
In Luke 11:5-8, the situation is bleak, as v. 6 says, “I have nothing for him to eat.” When asked for help, the neighbor’s first reply is, “I can’t help you.” But Jesus encourages us to pray audaciously – “if you keep knocking long enough” you will get what you need. Perhaps, it might not be the answer we want, but it will be the answer that we need from the Lord.
Today, how do you need to pray with shameless audacity in your life?
Prayer: “Lord, embolden my heart to pray audaciously, to keep knocking until you answer me. In Jesus’ name, Amen.”
1 John 5:3-5 NIV In fact, this is love for God: to keep his commands. And his commands are not burdensome, 4for everyone born of God overcomes the world. This is the victory that has overcome the world, even our faith. 5Who is it that overcomes the world? Only the one who believes that Jesus is the Son of God.
“This period of failure was a learning experience, a time in which I was purged of my pride and self-sufficiency. I was humiliated, and I was humbled. God had first to cleanse a vessel before it was fit to fill with his precious oil of healing. I believe God began healing the sick through me only after I came to a place of total dependence on his grace and mercy.”
“I also learned about obedience to God’s Word. In the past I had been able to get some good results without God’s help. But praying for the sick was different. I realized that I could get no results without God’s anointing. My job was to obey, prayer, and rely on his sovereign mercy; his part was to heal.” – [John Wimber, Power Healing]
In the Gospels, Jesus directly connects obedience to God’s commandments with audacious prayer. Audacious obedience leads to audacious faith. With this heart, let’s pray, “Lord, show me the next steps of obedience in my life. Lead me into deeper trust and dependence on you. In Jesus’ name, Amen.”
Today, let’s worship the Lord by singing “Peace Be Still” by The Belonging Co. (Click Here)
Joshua 5:13-15 NIV 13Now when Joshua was near Jericho, he looked up and saw a man standing in front of him with a drawn sword in his hand. Joshua went up to him and asked, “Are you for us or for our enemies?” 14“Neither,” he replied, “but as commander of the army of the Lord I have now come.” Then Joshua fell facedown to the ground in reverence, and asked him, “What message does my Lord have for his servant?” 15The commander of the Lord’s army replied, “Take off your sandals, for the place where you are standing is holy.” And Joshua did so.
We could paraphrase Joshua as saying, “Lord, are you for my agenda, my plans, my purposes, or not?” This is why we have difficulty when we pray at times, because we think the Lord is not for us, because our plans don’t seem to be working. The Lord’s answer here to Joshua, and to us, is abrupt and to the point, literally it reads, “No.” He graciously comes to meet with us to bring us into his plans and purposes. Just as God had met Moses at the burning bush, God met Joshua here. This was holy ground.
Today, may we align our hearts, our vision and our worship around God’s throne. Let’s pray, “Father, I fall in worship before you alone. Come and meet with me, and align me with your purposes and plans today. In Jesus’ name, amen.“
Let’s close by singing, “Yours (Glory and Praise)” by Elevation Church. (Click Here)