On Wings Of Eagles

free counters

Wednesday, October 17, 2018

Day 5 WHEN WE PRAY

Daniel 6:10 (ESV)
10 When Daniel knew that the document had been signed, he went to his house where he had windows in his upper chamber open toward Jerusalem. He got down on his knees three times a day and prayed and gave thanks before his God, as he had done previously.

I recently read a passage of Scripture regarding the call to pray that really struck a chord in my heart. Matthew 26: 36-46 recounts the instance when Jesus went to the Garden of Gethsemane with his disciples to pray. We find that at a certain point, Jesus instructs the majority of the disciples to stay back while asking Peter, James, and John to come with Him deeper into the garden to pray. Then the Bible says that Jesus “went a little further to pray.”

There is something to be said about the example of Jesus illustrated in those five words: “a little further to pray”. When God desires to take us further in our purpose, He calls us to go further in our prayer life. And in order to go a little further in our purpose, we must purpose to go a little further in our prayers. Sometimes prayer requires an extra effort or a greater intention; sometimes it needs to be elevated in our priorities.

 I once read that if you don’t have a time and place to pray, it won’t happen.  Having a set time and place or an appointment on the calendar helps in making our prayer life more consistent. Sometimes when God wants to take us “a little further,” He calls us to change not the length of our prayer time but the consistency of it.

Our prayer life is not the litmus test for our spiritual discipline but rather the indicator of the health of our relationship with God. Relationships are built and sustained by constant communication. Of course, God already knows the details of our lives, but there is an expressed dependence upon God when we invite Him into those details. The man or woman who does not pray is essentially telling God, “I've got this,” revealing alarming pride and self-sufficiency.

God desires to take us beyond what we can do in our own strength in order to fulfill His purpose in our lives. But truthfully, we can only journey in our calling insofar as we’ve paved the distance in prayer.

God equips us for our destiny in the moments we share with Him in prayer.

How consistent is your prayer life? Do you have a designated time and place to pray?

Dear Lord, help us to set a place and time for prayer. We know we can’t do this thing called life without you. In the Name of Jesus, Amen.

Tuesday, October 16, 2018

Day 4 WHEN WE PRAY


1 John 5:14 (ESV)
And this is the confidence that we have toward him, that if we ask anything according to his will he hears us.

I read a book several years ago that changed the way I prayed. It’s called Circle Maker by Mark Batterson. In it, Batterson emphasizes the point that in order to see God work in a specific way in our lives, we must pray specifically; conversely, general prayers get general answers.

I know that there have been times that I’ve prayed very generic, vague prayers—prayers like, “Lord, touch my life and lead me in your ways.” Not a bad prayer, right? And that’s a good place to start perhaps, but admittedly it isn’t a very specific prayer. A much more powerful approach to this prayer would be, “Lord, you see what’s happening right now in my life. I am being faced with the difficult decision to relocate due to my job. Align my heart with your will. Examine the motivation of my heart for wanting to follow this opportunity and relocate. Help me see the impact of this move on my life and family five or ten years down the road. Give me clarity about the right decision to make. Your Word instructs me not to lean on my own understanding and to submit all my ways to you. So I submit this opportunity to you. If this is what I should do, make the path plain before me. If it’s not the right direction, close the door before me. I place it in your hands and trust you to be my guide.” That direct prayer will often yield a direct answer from God.


Let me clarify that Jesus isn’t some “genie in a bottle.” But when we make His kingdom our priority and when our lives revolve around His will, the desires of our heart will align with His and He will make a way for us to live out what He has called us to do.

Could your prayers be more specific today?

Dear Lord, help us when we pray to You to be specific on the needs we have. We know that You already know our needs but help us to come before You as Your children. In the Name of Jesus, Amen.

Monday, October 15, 2018

Day 3 WHEN WE PRAY


Job 42:10 (ESV)
And the Lord restored the fortunes of Job, when he had prayed for his friends. And the Lord gave Job twice as much as he had before.

Today, I have two questions for you…

The first is a question I was asked years ago: “If God answered the prayers you’ve been praying, would it change anyone else’s world but your own?”

The next is a question God put on my heart as I studied about prayer: How much of God’s miraculous power are we unable to experience because we never pray prayers that are bigger than us?

Now of course God is concerned with the details of our lives, and what a glorious truth that is! But He’s much more concerned with His kingdom, will, and glory being expressed through our lives as we activate His power through our prayers on behalf of others.

In the world in which we live, with the deep issues and problems we face as people, we often look to governments, kings, policies, presidents, and world systems to cure the symptoms of the spiritual depravity present in humanity. The truth is, we will always come up short hoping to cure the ills of society with man-made systems. There are many strongholds that dominate our culture. We often point to a people group or a person on which to place all the blame for the issues of our culture. However, the Bible teaches us that it is never merely a person—“flesh and blood”—but spirits—“principalities and powers”—that we actually fight (Ephesians 6:12). Spiritual issues require spiritual solutions. The answer to spiritual strongholds is prayer. Prayer will do more than politics, protests, or even pulpits. Practical solutions are good and necessary to manage symptoms, but they are ultimately inadequate in overcoming them.

Who and what can you pray for today beyond your own immediate circumstances and dreams? How about praying for the several thousand victims of human-trafficking? Pray that God would expose the deeds of evil people and bring rescue to those held captive. How about praying for presidents, kings, and countries? Pray that God would grant godly leadership, justice, and harmony in various places all over the world. How about praying for that girl in your class or that co-worker at your job? Perhaps they need encouragement and hope.

Pray prayers beyond the scope of your own life, and watch what God will do in your own life.

Dear Lord, as we pray help our eyes, ears and hearts be open to the world around us.  In the Name of Jesus, Amen.  

Sunday, October 14, 2018

Day 2 WHEN WE PRAY


Proverbs 3:1-6 (ESV)
1 My son, do not forget my teaching,
    but let your heart keep my commandments,
2 for length of days and years of life
    and peace they will add to you. 
3 Let not steadfast love and faithfulness forsake you;
    bind them around your neck;
    write them on the tablet of your heart.
4 So you will find favor and good success
    in the sight of God and man. 
5 Trust in the Lord with all your heart,
    and do not lean on your own understanding.
6 In all your ways acknowledge him,
    and he will make straight your paths.

I have heard it said, in one way or another, that prayer is good but that ultimately you have to do something. Although I completely agree with that statement, I have to admit that in my own life, I’m typically very good at “doing something,” From my perspective, we are quick to act and slow to pray when it ought to be that we are quick to pray so that our activity is directed by the clarity and understanding we receive when God aligns our hearts with His.

I’m no car mechanic, and I know just little about car maintenance, but I do know that proper alignment is essential to keeping a vehicle moving in the right direction without constantly pulling one way or the other. In the same way, alignment is integral to the life of the believer. Prayer is about aligning our heart’s preferences with God’s will.

When Jesus teaches the disciples to pray, he begins by saying, “Our Father, which art in heaven, hallowed be thy name. Thy Kingdom come, they will be done on earth, as it is in heaven.” Notice that before we petition God to meet our daily needs or to forgive our sins, we align ourselves with the glory of God and His will for His kingdom.

In your journey today, do you feel your soul pulling to the left or the right? Is your life full of activity but without clear direction? Seek God in consistent prayer, and He will align your steps with His purpose for your life.

Dear Lord, we pray today that You will align our steps in a way that is pleasing to You.  We pray for a clear direction from You today. In the Name of Jesus, Amen.

Saturday, October 13, 2018

Day 1 WHEN WE PRAY


Matthew 13:31-32 (ESV)
31 He put another parable before them, saying, “The kingdom of heaven is like a grain of mustard seed that a man took and sowed in his field. 32 It is the smallest of all seeds, but when it has grown it is larger than all the garden plants and becomes a tree, so that the birds of the air come and make nests in its branches.”

Show me a praying person, and I’ll show you a person full of faith!

Before we talk about prayer, we must first address faith. In fact, the prayers we pray say a lot about the faith we possess. It takes faith to pray. Faith is the foundation on which we build our knowledge of the reality of God. Faith is the currency of heaven, and prayer is the means by which we exchange sorrow for joy, ashes for beauty, and spiritual deadness for supernatural power.

When we attempt to fulfill ourselves by placing our faith in anything other than God, we always come up empty. Instead of praying and receiving the joy of the Lord as an outflow of our relationship with Jesus, we try to purchase joy and peace by other means. Life becomes one social escapade after another—buying as much stuff as our credit card limit will allow, hanging out with friend after friend after friend, filling our lives with shallow relationships and meaningless things—and all the while, true joy and real peace and genuine companionship and lasting satisfaction are waiting to be found in an intimate relationship with Jesus, a relationship which is initiated and sustained by faith.

Jesus speaks of faith as a “grain of mustard seed.” In this parable about the mustard seed, Jesus is sharing an important idea with us: faith begins in seed form. Faith in God is planted in the soil of our hearts and cultivated by the Spirit of God, and over time, it produces joy, peace, humility, fulfillment, power, and every other rich quality of the character of God. Faith is the source of these blessings, and prayer is the way that the source gets into the soil.

Some people do not feel inclined to pray because often times, prayer just looks like a seed. Nothing too thrilling about a seed, right? But through the eyes of faith, we don’t just see our prayers for what they are when we’re praying them; we see the potential of what they can become when God answers them! Great prayer reveals great faith, and great faith releases great prayers. Great faith isn’t measured in magnitude but in our resoluteness to believe God against all odds.

Jesus tells the disciples to have faith in God and to speak to mountains without any doubt in their hearts. Perhaps instead of seeds of faith, you’ve had seeds of doubt and fear planted in your heart. Pray for the Spirit of God to uproot those things today and activate your faith through prayer.

Dear Lord, we thank You that we can come to You anytime trough prayer. Help us to get rid of the seeds of doubt and fear that are planted in our heart. In the Name of Jesus, Amen.

Friday, October 12, 2018

U2 Front Man Bono Extols Love of Psalms, New Testament Through Song Lyrics


Matthew 6:10 (ESV)
Your kingdom come,
your will be done,
    on earth as it is in heaven.

It’s difficult to argue that any general market band has injected the Bible into its songs more than Rock & Roll Hall of Fame legends, U2. From the opening track of its 1981 sophomore release October to its 2017 album Songs of Experience the iconic Irish foursome has consistently gone back to its spiritual roots as former members of the Shalom Fellowship in Dublin.


There’s no better example than “I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For” from the 1987 platinum album The Joshua Tree. Not only did the song provide U2 with its second U.S. #1 radio single, but it was also loaded with biblical references:


I have spoke with the tongue of angels (1 Corinthians 13:1)


I believe in the Kingdom Come (Matthew 6:10)


You broke the bonds/And you loosened the chains (Psalm 107:13-14)


Carried the cross of my shame (1 Peter 2:24)


Four years later, U2 dedicated an entire song from Achtung Baby to Judas (one of the original 12 disciples) and his betrayal of Jesus. “Until The End of the World” begins with a scene from The Lord’s Supper (Matthew 26:17-30), continues in the Garden of Gethsemane where Jesus is betrayed (Matthew 26:36-56), and concludes with a guilt-ridden Judas taking his life (Matthew 27:3-5).


Another example can be found on “Yahweh” from the 2004 release How To Dismantle An Atomic Bomb. The song title itself references the biblical name of God usually written as Lord in modern English Bibles), which is found in the Hebrew Bible well over 5,000 times and first appears in Genesis 2:4. Then, towards the end of the song, there is this refrain taken from Matthew 5:14-16:


Take this city


A city should be shining on a hill


Take this city


If it be your will


While three of its four members grew up around the Bible, lead singer and primary lyricist Bono is often credited for bringing its content into U2’s musical offerings. His love for the book of Psalms is especially apparent and has even impacted the band’s live performances in unique ways. Bono noted this in the 2016 documentary The Psalms, in which he was featured along with Eugene Peterson, author of The Message.


“In the dressing room before a show, we would read the psalms as a band and then walk out into arenas and stadiums—the words igniting us, inspiring us,” Bono revealed.


The lead singer has also been known to read Psalm 116 from The Message before the band kicks into opening set. Then, at some point in the concert, U2 will play its earliest biblically inspired song, “Gloria” (from the 1981 album October), which references Psalm 51:15. Another popular tune for concertgoers is “40” (from the 1983 album War), which is literally taken from Psalm 40:


I waited patiently for the Lord


He inclined and heard my cry


He brought me up out of the pit


Out of the miry clay


Bono explained his admiration in the introduction to the book Selections From the Book of Psalms.


“At 12, I was a fan of David, he felt familiar…like a pop star could feel familiar. The words of the psalms were as poetic as they were religious and he was a star…He was forced into exile and ended up in a cave, facing the collapse of his ego and abandonment by God. This is where David was said to have composed his first psalm—a blues. That's what a lot of the psalms feel like to me, the blues…Words and music did for me what solid religious argument could never do, they introduced me to God, not belief in God, more an experiential sense of GOD. As a result, the Book of Psalms always felt open to me and led me to the poetry of Ecclesiastes, the Song of Solomon, the book of John.”

Dear Lord, we thank You for the Bible.  We thank You for all the lessons we can learn from applying to all aspects of our life. In the Name of Jesus, Amen.

Thursday, October 11, 2018

Journey Songwriter Jonathan Cain Injects Biblical Themes Into Legendary Catalog


John 8:32 (ESV)
And you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.

Known for their unforgettable rock anthems (e.g. “Don’t Stop Believing,” “Separate Ways,” etc.) and chart-topping power ballads (e.g. “Faithfully,” “Open Arms,” etc.) Journey has been a significant part of America’s pop culture for over 40 years.


The casual fan, however, might not be aware that the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame band has at times laced its lyrics with biblical references. On the 1978 breakout album Infinity, the hit song “Wheel in the Sky” had some critics and fans speculating that the title might be taken from Ezekiel 1 and the prophet’s elaborate vision.


While the band has never confirmed a direct correlation, there have been other more obvious instances such as the song “Believe” from the 2005 album Generations, which utilizes a portion of John 8:32.


I believe in you, believe in me

I believe in you, believe in me

Oh, I believe the truth will set you free

I believe in you, believe in me


The most obvious shift towards biblically themed lyrics, however, can be found on the 1996 album Trial By Fire, which featured the songwriting team of Steve Perry and Jonathan Cain for the last time before Perry parted ways with Journey. According to Cain, Perry brought his Bible into the studio and the two pondered what would happen if they used some of its text as their inspiration.


One such song was the lead track, “Message of Love,” which included these two lines from the bridge:


I hear…but I never listen


I see…and still I’m blind


Those bars invoked the words of Jesus who explained to the disciples why he used parables to share his message:


“Though seeing, they do not see; though hearing, they do not hear or understand.” (Matthew 13:13, NIV)


Another biblically inspired song was the title track, “Trial By Fire,” which invokes Psalm 66:10 and 1 Peter 1:6-7 and includes direct references to 2 Corinthians 4 within the first three lines of the first verse:


Treasures in the jars of clay (v. 7)

Let the light shine out of darkness (v. 6)

Fallen down but not destroyed (v. 9)

It's just another trial by fire


“There I am with a Bible on my console,” Cain recalled. “It was profound and wonderful, and we wrote this beautiful song.”


In 2016, Cain recorded the solo album What God Wants To Hear and for the first time wrote all of the songs based on the Christian faith and the Bible.


“I’ve always been seeking out songs since I was young,” Cain said. “I never had any idea how rich the Bible was with imagery. I got lost in it.”

Dear Lord, we thank You for the way Your word finds its way into the may stream. We pray that those that hear the words will be open to the message. In the Name of Jesus, Amen.