Pray Without Ceasing

What does that mean? How on earth can someone pray without ceasing?

As a teenager, I was attracted to what the Apostle Paul wrote in the following Scripture:

Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, in everything give thanks, for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.” (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 NKJV)

God’s will for His children is to be continually rejoicing, always in prayerful communion with Him, and thankful in every situation, whether good or bad. That is how God wants us to live as His saints!

The idea of praying without ceasing captured my attention the most. On that day, I purposed in my heart to do it. I was learning to become a doer of the Word.

The Apostle James wrote:

But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves.” (James 1:22 NKJV, emphasis added.)

Being aware of a truth is not enough, we have to actively do what God says, otherwise we are only fooling ourselves.

Jesus said:

If you know these things, blessed are you if you do them.” (John 13:17 NKJV, emphasis added.)

The blessing comes after we take action on what God tells us to do, not just from knowing it. For example, if we know that Jesus died on the cross for our sins, we will receive no blessing at all from it unless we repent of our sins and receive Jesus as our Savior. That is being a doer of the Word!

This applies to everything God has instructed us to do in His Word. In order to receive the benefit of His promises, we have to do what He tells us to do. In the case of the opening passage of Scripture, we must learn to pray without ceasing.

The Apostle John wrote these interesting words:

That which we have seen and heard we declare to you, that you also may have fellowship with us; and truly our fellowship is with the Father and with His Son Jesus Christ.” (1 John 1:3 NKJV, emphasis added.)

The King James Version uses the word “communion” in place of fellowship. I like that word because it implies communication. We can’t have fellowship with someone unless we communicate with them. When we pray without ceasing we are communing with the Father and with the Son. The Greek word for fellowship can also be translated “sharing.” When we pray without ceasing, we are simply sharing every moment of our day with our heavenly Father or the Lord Jesus Christ. We simply talk with them as we would with any other friend. God wants us to have a personal friendship with Him!

The Psalmist also wrote something very interesting:

I have set the Lord always before me; because He is always at my right hand I shall not be move.” (Psalm 16:8 NKJV)

If we are a doer of the Word, then we will make this our practice every day, to keep the Lord always with us. He is present in our homes, businesses, in the store, driving down the highway, even while walking the dog! When we picture the Father or Jesus in this way, it will be easier to talk to Him. He loves it when we choose to be aware of how close He is!

Notice also in the opening Scripture that we are to rejoice always and give thanks in everything. In our fellowship with God, our prayer life should involve rejoicing in Him, lifting up our hearts in praise, and being thankful. When we practice that, we will be amazed at how much joy and peace we feel, even when things are not going well in our circumstances. That is what praying without ceasing is!

You are holy, dear saint!

Steve Smith

Have you learned the secret of always being in communion with God? Let me know in the comments below!

[All Scripture quotations have been taken from The Holy Bible, New King James Version, copyright 1982, Thomas Nelson Inc.]

 

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A Pearl of Great Price

“God, what do I mean to You? Do I have any value in Your sight?”

Eventually, most of us will at some point go through low periods in life when our self-esteem seems to have reached the bottom. Those moments are usually accompanied by deep discouragement about our circumstances. We may have lost a job, become estranged from a spouse, been betrayed by someone we trusted or suffered a financial reversal. Regardless of what it took to push us down this dark road, we may feel that God does not think much of us at that moment.

“God, do you love me?”

For most of us, being loved by someone increases our feeling of self-worth. As much as we appreciate the love of our family and friends, these relationships are temporary. Our true value comes from the fact we are loved by God. When everyone else’s love has failed us, we hope that God’s love is still there to lift us up. At some point in our lives, we want to know for certain that God really loves us. Does He?

Jesus said something reassuring to His disciples:

Do not fear therefore; you are of more value than many sparrows.” (Matthew 10:31 NKJV, emphasis added.)

There it is! That nagging, underlying fear that maybe we are not of any value to God at all. If we have ever experienced rejection in our lives, our greatest fear is that even God would turn His back on us.

Jesus told His disciples to look at the way God takes care of nature: He clothes the fields with the beauty of wild flowers and feeds the birds of the air every day. If God takes such care of natural things, Jesus reasoned, how much more does He want to take care of us who are of so much greater value to Him?

The Bible tells us why we are more precious to God than all the other things He has created:

So God created man in His own image; in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them.” (Genesis 1:27 NKJV))

God created us in His image, whether we are male or female. He created us to be like Him so that we might live in fellowship with Him. He wants us to know Him as our God and ultimately as our heavenly Father. However, we fell into sin and became estranged from God. Humanity went from life to death and from light into the depths of darkness.

Aren’t you glad to know that God had a plan to redeem us back to Himself – to restore us to our original position of great value in His sight?

Jesus told a very interesting parable to His disciples:

“Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a treasure hidden in a field, which a man found and hid; and for joy over it he goes and sells all that he has and buys that field.” (Matthew 13:44 NKJV)

Although this parable can be seen in two different ways, consider that the field represents the world and we are the treasure that is hidden in that field. Jesus then was the One who found us and sold all that He had, laying down all the wealth and glory in Heaven to purchase us with His own blood.

Jesus didn’t stop there in His parable:

“Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant seeking beautiful pearls, who, when he had found one pearl of great price, went and sold all that he had and bought it.” (Matthew 13:45-46 NKJV)

If we follow that same train of thought, we are the pearl of great price that Jesus purchased for Himself.

The Apostle Peter wrote:

“Knowing that you were not redeemed with corruptible things, like silver or gold . . . but with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish or without spot.” (1 Peter 1:18-19 NKJV)

This was God’s great plan of redemption, to purchase us back to Himself so that we would become His precious possession for all eternity. What did God pay for us? He gave the most valuable thing He prized – His Son. He purchased our redemption from the devil, sin, death, and darkness through the shedding of the precious blood of Christ. Jesus took personal ownership of our sins on the cross and died in our place so that we might be restored. That is how valuable we are to Him!

Yes, we are loved extravagantly by God and we are extremely precious in His sight. We are of the same value to Him as His only begotten Son. That is how special we are to Him and that is also how much He loves us – just as much as He loves His Son!

If that is what God has done for us, then we should hold our heads up high, come into His presence, love Him, worship Him and adore Him. We are loved and we are precious in the sight of our heavenly Father!

You are holy, dear saint!

Steve Smith

When did you discover that you are of great value in God’s sight? Let me know in the comments below!

[All Scripture quotations are taken from The Holy Bible, New King James Version, copyright 1982, Thomas Nelson Inc.]

Blessed Are Your Eyes

Have you ever had your eyes opened to see Jesus or an angel in the spiritual realm?

This question shouldn’t be a surprise, as we are now living in the last days before the great appearing of the Lord Jesus Christ. As we approach that day, we will be hearing increasingly more reports of angelic visitations and visions of Jesus. The Lord is preparing His Bride, which is the Church, for His return. There is more activity in Heaven now than ever before. Heaven will one day invade earth when Christ descends upon this planet!

The Book of Acts is full of accounts of those who saw angels or had visions of Jesus. It was the Prophet Joel who prophesied that these things should be expected in our day. Notice what he wrote:

And it shall come to pass afterward that I will pour out My Spirit on all flesh; your sons and daughters shall prophesy, your old men shall dream dreams, your young men shall see visions. And also on My menservants and on My maidservants I will pour out My Spirit in those days.” (Joel 2:28-29 NKJV, emphasis added.)

In this prophecy, Joel foretold a period of time in which God would pour His Spirit out upon all mankind: young, old, male and female. The result is that God’s people would experience what previously only the Prophets of old had been able to see and do.

If it’s possible that God’s people can hear His voice, we should consider that they can also see what God is showing them in the Spirit.

Jesus said to His disciples:

“But blessed are your eyes for they see, and your ears for they hear.” (Matthew 13:16 NKJV, emphases added.)

Here, Jesus is referring to hearing and understanding His Word. God wants us to realize that this ability includes seeing and hearing what He shows us in the Spirit. Today God is showing His people many things that we never imagined possible. He is drawing His people into a deeper relationship and intimacy with Him.

There will always be people, however, who are afraid of being drawn into deception. Because of this fear, they may try to shut down anything they don’t understand. God’s power to keep us from being deceived is far greater than the devil’s power to deceive us. If what we see agrees with God’s Word, then we can be confident that it comes from Him. When we walk close to the Lord at all times, we will not be led astray.

One day Jesus said something very strange:

But I tell you truly, there are some standing here who shall not taste death till they see the kingdom of God.” (Luke 9:27 NKJV, emphasis added.) 

A few days later, an event took place that explained the meaning of this statement:

Now it came to pass, about eight days after these sayings, that He took Peter, John, and James and went up on the mountain to pray. As He prayed, the appearance of His face was altered, and His robe became white and glistening.” (Luke 9:28-29 NKJV)

This is the account of the Transfiguration in which the appearance of Jesus was transformed before the eyes of His three disciples. At that time, the eyes of the disciples were opened to see into the spiritual realm.

For the first time they saw what Jesus really looked like:

But Peter and those with him were heavy with sleep; and when they were fully awake, they saw His glory and the two men who stood with Him.” (Luke 9:32 NKJV, emphasis added.)

What they saw was His glory shining out of His human body! Because of the glory of Jesus, His face shone like the sun and His clothes appeared as white as light. They were also able to see two of the prophets of old, Moses and Elijah.

Jesus called this experience on the Mount of Transfiguration a vision:

Now when they came down from the mountain, Jesus commanded them, saying, ‘Tell the vision to no one until the Son of Man is risen from the dead.” (Matthew 17:9 NKJV)

This account illustrates how God sometimes reveals things by opening our eyes to see what is taking place in the spiritual realm. God doesn’t want us to seek visions but to seek Him. He also wants us to be sensitive to the presence of the Holy Spirit and be open to what He is showing us. Just as we listen by faith to hear His voice, we must also look by faith to see what He is revealing to us. The closer we walk with Him the more we will see!

You are holy, dear saint!

Steve Smith

Have you ever had an experience where God has opened your eyes to see what He is doing in the spiritual realm? Let me know in the comments below!

[All Scripture quotations have been taken from The Holy Bible, New King James Version, copyright 1982, Thomas Nelson Inc.]

 

 

Hear God’s Voice

Have you ever heard God speak to you?

Perhaps you have heard God speak to you through a verse of Scripture. This usually happens when we have asked God to speak to us about a decision we have to make. As we ponder on God’s Word, a verse may suddenly be highlighted to us. The words seem to be God speaking right into our situation. However, this is not the only way that God communicates with us. He will also speak to us through His still small voice.

The Prophet Elijah fled for his life when Queen Jezebel threatened to kill him. He ended up in a cave on the side of a mountain. It was there that the Lord spoke to him:

“Then He said, ‘Go out, and stand on the mountain before the Lord.’ And behold, the Lord passed by, and a great and strong wind tore into the mountains and broke the rocks in pieces before the Lord, but the Lord was not in the wind; and after the wind an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake; and after the earthquake a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire; and after the fire a still small voice.” (1 Kings 19:11-12 NKJV, emphasis added.)

So many times we look for the Lord to speak to us through our circumstances when God is not in our circumstances. He prefers to speak to us with that still small voice that we sense in our spirit.

Jesus said this about hearing His voice:

But he who enters by the door is the shepherd of the sheep. To him the doorkeeper opens, and the sheep hear his voice; and he calls his own sheep by name and leads them out.” (John 10:2-3 NKJV, emphasis added.)

Jesus is the Good Shepherd in this parable. If we have received Jesus as our Lord and Savior, we are His sheep. One of the major characteristics of His sheep is that they hear His voice. As His sheep, we should expect to hear His voice!

Then Jesus said:

“And when he brings out his own sheep, he goes before them; and the sheep follow him, for they know his voice.” (John 10:4 NKJV, emphasis mine.)

In order for us to be able to follow Jesus wherever He goes, we have to learn to recognize His voice. This comes through experience. The more we hear God’s voice, the quicker we will come to recognize His voice and obey Him instantly. That comes through spiritual maturity!

Now God is not the only one who tries to speak to us. The enemy also tries to whisper thoughts into our minds. As we develop our relationship with the Lord, we have to learn to distinguish between the voice of God and the voice of the enemy.

Jesus said:

“Yet they will by no means follow a stranger, but will flee from him, for they do not know the voice of strangers.” (John 10:5 NKJV, emphasis added.)

As God’s sheep, we do not accept what the enemy speaks to us. He speaks words of doubt, fear, and confusion. God wants us to learn to refuse what the devil speaks to us and hold fast to what God has told us to do.

In our relationship with Jesus, He wants us to learn not to do anything or go anywhere unless He has spoken to us first. He will bless us if we follow Him. That is the secret to walking in the blessings of God!

As God’s sheep, He wants us to follow closely to Him. The closer we walk with Him, the clearer we will hear His voice.

The Psalmist wrote:

My soul follows close behind You; Your right hand upholds me.” (Psalm 63:8 NKJV, emphasis added.)

Every day, God wants us to quiet our hearts before Him and listen to His voice. Listening is an act of faith that focuses our attention on what God is saying to us.

When Samuel was a young lad, he heard God speak to him for the first time. At first, he didn’t recognize that the Lord was speaking to him, because he had not learned to distinguish the voice of God in his spirit. Eli perceived that God was speaking to this young boy, so he gave him specific instructions:

“Therefore Eli said to Samuel, ‘Go, lie down; and it shall be, if He calls you, that you must say, ‘Speak, Lord, for your servant hears.’ ” (1 Samuel 3:9 NKJV.) 

Even little children can hear God’s voice. The key is to listen. It takes faith to listen and believe that God has spoken to us. It also takes faith to do what He says. The more we listen and obey God’s voice, the greater our faith will grow. This means we can develop our ability to hear Him.

Here is an important spiritual principle: If we learn to hear God’s voice in the little things, then we will be more likely to hear His voice when the big challenges come our way.

God gave the Prophet Jeremiah a wonderful promise:

Call to Me, and I will answer you, and show you great and mighty things, which you do not know.” (Jeremiah 33:3 NKJV)

As God’s people, this promise also belongs to us. We can come to God on the basis of this promise with the full assurance that God will answer us and show us what we need to know. It is all about learning to hear His voice!

You are holy, dear saint!

Steve Smith

Have you learned to develop your ability to hear God’s voice? Let me know in the comments below!

[All Scripture quotations have been taken from The Holy Bible, New King James Version, copyright 1982, Thomas Nelson Inc.]

Tasting God’s Goodness

Why is it that so many believers wonder if they are being punished by God if something bad happens to them?

One of the most wonderful aspects of God’s nature is His goodness. Those who earnestly seek to please God can have the assurance that He only wants to lavish His goodness upon them. It is the devil who wants to steal their joy and happiness. Jesus made this contrast clear when He said:

“The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy; I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.” (John 10:10 NKJV, emphasis added.)

Every blessing we have came from God. It is the devil who wants to steal it from us. If possible, he will even try to destroy us. That is his nature! In contrast, the nature of God is to bless us and show us His goodness. He wants us to enjoy life to the full!

It is important for us to recognize that it is the devil who is behind every adversity that we face. If we understand that, we won’t blame God when bad things happen. Too many times God’s people are quick to blame Him when difficulties and hardships arise. However, when things go well, we often forget to give God the glory and thanks for His goodness to us.

God wants us to feed on His goodness every day. He is a good God and He wants to give His children good things. Jesus said:

“If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask Him!” (Matthew 7:11 NKJV)

Now that is an amazing statement! Those of us who are parents delight in giving gifts to our children. Our heavenly Father delights in blessing His children more than we could ever imagine. We just need to learn to trust Him to do what He has promised in His Word!

The Psalmist wrote:

“Oh, taste and see that the Lord is good; blessed is the man who trusts in Him.” (Psalm 34:8 NKJV)

God also loves to show His goodness to those who have no interest in serving Him. He is not looking down from Heaven just to condemn people for their sins. He has already taken care of those sins on the cross through His Son! He is always reaching out His hands of love and mercy to a lost and dying world.

The Apostle Paul wrote:

“Or do you despise the riches of His goodness, forbearance and longsuffering, not knowing that the goodness of God leads you to repentance?” (Romans 2:4 NKJV, emphasis added.)

Everywhere Jesus went, He called people to repent of their sins and turn to God. He didn’t condemn them for their sins but healed their sick to demonstrate God’s goodness toward them. He did this so that they would respond to the message of the Gospel. This is why Jesus said:

“For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved.” (John 3:17 NKJV)

Yes, God has already taken care of the sin problem. His focus is on drawing the sinner to Himself. He wants everyone to be saved from their sins and receive eternal life. Now that is the goodness and mercy of God!

Once we receive Jesus as our Lord and Savior, the Father’s attitude toward us does not change. He still looks to lavish His love upon us. We need to believe that and accept His love every day. Instead of cringing every time we miss it, we need to be quick to confess our sins and get back into right relationship with Him. He is not there to condemn us but eager to forgive our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness. The Apostle Paul wrote:

“There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit.” (Romans 8:1 NKJV, emphasis added.)

As God’s children, we can live free from any sense of condemnation, knowing that the Father has not only forgiven our sins but has also forgotten them. The writer of Hebrews explained this when he wrote:

For I will be merciful to their unrighteousness, and their sins and lawless deeds I will remember no more.” (Hebrews 8:12 NKJV)

When we walk in the reality of this truth, we will be living in the fullness of God’s goodness toward us. This should fill us with great joy and give us a wonderful sense of freedom in our walk with God. When we come to Him in prayer for our needs, then we can stand boldly before His throne full of confidence that He welcomes us into His presence. The writer of Hebrews expressed this when he wrote:

“Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need.” (Hebrews 4:16 NKJV, emphasis added.)

To express this in simple terms: Every good thing we receive comes from God and every evil thing comes from the devil. We do have to be careful to discern what is from the Father and what is from the enemy. When bad things happen to us, we should immediately recognize where that is coming from and run to the Father for help when things go wrong. He will always be there to help and lavish us with His goodness.

You are holy, dear saint!

Steve Smith

Have you learned the joy of living in the Father’s goodness? Let me know in the comments below!

[All Scripture quotations have been taken from The Holy Bible, New King James Version, copyright 1982, Thomas Nelson Inc.]

 

 

Remembering Our Blessings

“Nothing is going right. Everything seems to be going wrong. It almost seems like I am cursed.”

Have you ever felt that way or said something similar to that?  Whether the situation is a long unanswered prayer or a series of difficulties, we often come to this wrongful conclusion. This happens when we are tempted to focus on our circumstances instead of the truth in God’s Word.

When we feel discouraged and alarming thoughts fill our mind, God wants us to realize where those negative thoughts are coming from: the enemy! He is the one who is firing those thoughts of doubt, fear, and discouragement into our minds. The Apostle Paul wrote:

“Above all, taking the shield of faith with which you will be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked one.” (Ephesians 6:16 NKJV, emphasis added.)

When the devil shoots those thoughts into our mind, we are not meant to agree with him. God expects us to resist him, firm in our faith, until he leaves us alone. The way we are to resist him is by declaring what the Word of God says about us instead. That is what Jesus did when He was tempted by the devil in the wilderness, and that is how God wants us to deal with the devil today.

The devil wants us to believe we are cursed and live in defeat. However, God says that we are blessed. He expects us to believe what His Word says about us and not what the devil is whispering in our ear.

Sometimes we forget all the benefits we enjoy as God’s children. That is why the Psalmist wrote:

“Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all of His benefits.” (Psalm 103:2 NKJV, emphasis added.)

God wants us to remember the blessings that He has promised us in His Word. He has promised these things to us because that is His will and desire for each one of us. The Apostle Paul wrote:

“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ.” (Ephesians 1:3 NKJV, emphasis added.)

This verse should be on our lips every single day! In fact, it would be a great blessing for us to memorize it and add it to our list of foundational Scriptures. These verses shape the way we live and define who we are in Christ. Every morning we should wake up rejoicing: “I am blessed with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ!” 

We have to realize is that we don’t have to beg God to give us the blessings we find in His Word. All we have to do is receive them! How do we do that, by faith!

As we look over our lives, since the day we received Jesus as our Lord and Savior, we can recall all the times that God has answered our prayers and blessed us in various situations. Each one of those blessings was a token of His love and faithfulness toward us. When we get discouraged because of adverse circumstances, and things don’t seem to be going right, God wants us to remember all of those moments. That should encourage us to believe that what God has done for us in the past He can do it for us again. Not one of His promises has changed, belongs to us today.

The Apostle Paul wrote:

“For all the promises of God in Him are Yes, and in Him Amen, to the glory of God through us.” (2 Corinthians 1:20 NKJV, emphasis added.)  

Not only can we count all the blessings that God has done for us in the past, we can also thank Him for all the blessings He has promised in His Word. All we need to do is take God at His Word and thank Him for the answer by faith until it comes.

Many times we give up when we are on the brink of a miracle. By counting our blessings and remembering God’s promises we encourage ourselves. That is how we can strengthen our faith and keep trusting God until the answer comes. He wants us to rejoice in Him all the way to victory!

You are holy, dear saint!

Steve Smith

Have you learned to remember your blessings when you go through periods of discouragement? Let me know in the comments below!

[All Scripture quotations have been taken from The Holy Bible, New King James Version, copyright 1982, Thomas Nelson Inc.]

Mountain-top Experiences

We love those wonderful experiences, where God gives us a great victory and we are full of joy. We sometimes call that a mountain-top experience! However, we don’t often have those moments of triumph without having overcome a very difficult situation. That was Abraham’s experience with his young son Isaac.

“Now it came to pass after these things that God tested Abraham, and said to him, “Abraham!” And he said, “Here I am.” (Genesis 22:1 NKJV, emphasis mine.)

It may come as a surprise that God actually tests us to see what is in our hearts. It is important to recognize when God is testing us, so that we can focus our attention on God and not try to run away from it. In every test, God is right there to help us through it. All He wants us to do is cling to Him and depend completely on His strength and ability to succeed. He helps us because He loves us. He’s delighted when we do well!

“Then He said, ‘Take now your son, your only son Isaac, whom you love, and go to the land of Moriah, and offer him there as a burnt offering on one of the mountains of which I will tell you.’ ” (Genesis 22:2 NKJV) 

Abraham was called the friend of God because of his intimate relationship with Him. It took twenty-five years for Abraham to finally see the birth of his son. Now God was asking for that same son to be sacrificed. God did this because He wanted to know: Did Abraham really trust Him, even with the life of his son?

Abraham’s response was to obey the voice of God immediately:

“So Abraham rose early in the morning and saddled his donkey, and took two of his young men with him, and Isaac his son; and he split the wood for the burnt offering, and arose and went to the place of which God had told him. Then on the third day Abraham lifted his eyes and saw the place of which God had told him.” (Genesis 22:3-4 NKJV)

Can you imagine what was going through Abraham’s mind during those three days as the mountain loomed into sight? We know from Paul’s writings that he believed that even if Isaac died, God was able to raise him again from the dead. Through it all, Abraham clung to the Lord in faith. We know this by the words he spoke to his two servants:

“And Abraham said to the young men, ‘Stay here with the donkey; the lad and I will go yonder and worship, and we will come back to you.” (Genesis 22:5 NKJV, emphasis added.)

Abraham firmly believed that both of them would return from the top of that mountain!

“But Isaac spoke to Abraham his father and said, ‘My father!’ And he said, ‘Here I am my son.’ Then he said, ‘Look, the fire and the wood, but where is the lamb for a burnt offering?” (Genesis 22:7 NKJV)

Again we hear the faith of Abraham in his words:

And Abraham said, ‘My son, God will provide for Himself the lamb for a burnt offering.’ So the two of them went together.” (Genesis 22:8 NKJV, emphasis added.)

On both occasions, Abraham declared what he believed God was going to do for him. The One he trusted all of these years would not let him down. It is little wonder we call him the father of faith!  

Some say: “The teacher doesn’t speak when you are taking a test!” It is meant to help some people feel better when they are going through a difficult situation and God doesn’t seem to be speaking to them about it. However, this isn’t always true. God talked to Abraham throughout this whole test! When we are going through a difficult situation, we need to believe that God is right there with us to help us through it. We also need to believe that He is eager to speak to us and tune our hearts to His voice. He wants us to depend completely on Him!

“Then they came to the place of which God had told him. And Abraham built an altar there and placed the wood in order; and he bound Isaac his son and laid him on the altar, upon the wood. And Abraham stretched out his hand and took the knife to slay his son.” (Genesis 22:9-10 NKJV)

This event symbolized the death of Jesus, God’s only begotten Son. He was laid on a wooden cross as a sacrifice for our sins. We can see the whole picture painted before us through this story. For those of us who have never heard this story before, we may wait at this point with bated breath to see what will happen next.

“But the Angel of the Lord called to him from heaven and said, ‘Abraham, Abraham!’ So he said, ‘Here I am.’ And He said, ‘Do not lay your hand on the lad, or do anything to him; for now I know that you fear God, since you have not withheld your son, your only son, from Me.’ ” (Genesis 22:11-12 NKJV, emphasis mine.)

Abraham must have breathed a great sigh of relief, as he turned to look in the direction of the voice.

Then Abraham lifted his eyes and looked, and there behind him was a ram caught in a thicket by its horns. So Abraham went and took the ram, and offered it up for a burnt offering instead of his son.” (Genesis 22:13 NKJV)

Thousands of years later, we would see Jesus, as the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world, sacrificed in our place so that we might be redeemed from sin and have eternal life. What an amazing picture of God’s great plan of redemption!

God came through! He provided the sacrifice that Abraham had been believing for.

“And Abraham called the name of the place, The-Lord-Will-Provide.” (Genesis 22:14 NKJV, emphasis added.)

This is one the great redemptive names of the Lord: Jehovah Jireh, The Lord Will Provide. God revealed Himself to Abraham as his great Provider through this test of his faith. Each test God gives us is an opportunity to develop a deeper level of intimacy with Him.

“Then the Angel of the Lord called to Abraham a second time out of heaven . . . ‘In your seed all the nations of the earth shall be blessed, because you have obeyed My voice.’ ” (Genesis 22:15-18 NKJV, emphasis mine.)

It was through the seed of Abraham that Christ, the Messiah, was born, and by Him all of the nations of the world would be blessed.

Through this extraordinary journey, we can see that God gives us mountain-top experiences so that we may see great victories and have stronger relationship with  Him.

You are holy, dear saint!

Steve Smith

Have you ever experienced a mountain-top experience that tested you to the core but brought great victory? Let me know in the comments below!

[All Scripture references have been taken from The Holy Bible, New King James Version, copyright 1982, Thomas Nelson Inc.]