What is a promise?

My notes on Every Day with Jesus, written by Selwyn Hughes; revised and updated by Mick Brooks, published by CWR.

May/June 2014 Issue – ‘Revive us again’

Today’s text for reading and meditation:

2 Samuel 7:18-29 (NIV-UK): “Then King David went in and sat before the Lord, and he said: ‘Who am I, Sovereign Lord, and what is my family, that you have brought me this far? And as if this were not enough in your sight, Sovereign Lord, you have also spoken about the future of the house of your servant – and this decree, Sovereign Lord, is for a mere human!

‘What more can David say to you? For you know your servant, Sovereign Lord. For the sake of your word and according to your will, you have done this great thing and made it known to your servant.

‘How great you are, Sovereign Lord! There is no one like you, and there is no God but you, as we have heard with our own ears. And who is like your people Israel – the one nation on earth that God went out to redeem as a people for himself, and to make a name for himself, and to perform great and awesome wonders by driving out nations and their gods from before your people, whom you redeemed from Egypt? You have established your people Israel as your very own for ever, and you, Lord, have become their God.

And now, Lord God, keep for ever the promise you have made concerning your servant and his house. Do as you promised, so that your name will be great for ever. Then people will say, “The Lord Almighty is God over Israel!” And the house of your servant David will be established in your sight.

‘Lord Almighty, God of Israel, you have revealed this to your servant, saying, “I will build a house for you.” So your servant has found courage to pray this prayer to you. Sovereign Lord, you are God! Your covenant is trustworthy, and you have promised these good things to your servant. Now be pleased to bless the house of your servant, that it may continue for ever in your sight; for you, Sovereign Lord, have spoken, and with your blessing the house of your servant will be blessed for ever.’”

Selwyn talks about the nature of promises. He states: “The validity and dependability of any promise rests on the character and resources of the one who makes it.”

I agree with Selwyn, and in the case of God’s promises; we trust in His character and we know He has all the resources. Consequently, we can totally trust in His promises. I don’t have any thing else to say – as you may have guessed from yesterday’s post.

‘Pleading the promises’

My notes on Every Day with Jesus, written by Selwyn Hughes; revised and updated by Mick Brooks, published by CWR.

May/June 2014 Issue – ‘Revive us again’

Today’s text for reading and meditation:

Psalm 119:25-32 (NIKJV)): ‘“My soul clings to the dust; Revive me according to Your word.
I have declared my ways, and You answered me; Teach me Your statutes.
Make me understand the way of Your precepts; So shall I meditate on Your wonderful works.
My soul melts from heaviness; Strengthen me according to Your word.
Remove from me the way of lying, And grant me Your law graciously.
I have chosen the way of truth; Your judgments I have laid before me.
I cling to Your testimonies; O Lord, do not put me to shame!
I will run the course of Your commandments, For You shall enlarge my heart.”

I can understand what Selwyn is saying in today’s study, but I don’t know if it’s in my nature to remind God of His great and faithful promises. He has a perfect memory.

Here is what Selwyn says: “We look now at a fourth characteristic of revival praying, which I am calling persuasiveness. … One of my dictionaries defines it this way: ‘The art of being able to marshal one’s arguments in a convincing way so as to leave the other person or persons little or no option.’

When some people refer to ‘pleading the promises’, they mean the art of taking a clear promise which the Lord has made, reminding Him of it and insisting (I’m – ill at ease – with this word.) that He be held to it.”

I know that we can find cases in Scripture where this type of conversation occurs between one of the prophets and God.

A good example can be found in Exodus 32:9-14 (NIVUK): “‘I have seen these people,’ the Lord said to Moses, ‘and they are a stiff-necked people. Now leave me alone so that my anger may burn against them and that I may destroy them. Then I will make you into a great nation.’

But Moses sought the favour of the Lord his God. ‘Lord,’ he said, ‘why should your anger burn against your people, whom you brought out of Egypt with great power and a mighty hand? Why should the Egyptians say, “It was with evil intent that he brought them out, to kill them in the mountains and to wipe them off the face of the earth”?

Turn from your fierce anger; relent and do not bring disaster on your people. Remember your servants Abraham, Isaac and Israel, to whom you swore by your own self: “I will make your descendants as numerous as the stars in the sky and I will give your descendants all this land I promised them, and it will be their inheritance for ever.”’ Then the Lord relented and did not bring on his people the disaster he had threatened.”

I think special people at special times are able to talk to God is such a way; and even at these times – I feel – it’s more a test of the person’s motives and conviction. Perhaps, in the Exodus case, it demonstrates to us the commitment Moses had (because of his love for God and the Israelites) in leading his people to the promised land.

The place, I’m in at the moment, is that I totally trust Jesus and I don’t need to remind Him of His promises; because I know that He loves me, cares for me and is leading me home.

At times my prayers may mention His promises, as found in Scripture; yet, these references are more of a comfort to me that these promises have been made, and I can depend on them with my life.

Your view?

Prayer God delights to answer

To Follow Jesus

My notes on Every Day with Jesus, written by Selwyn Hughes; revised and updated by Mick Brooks, published by CWR.

May/June 2014 Issue – ‘Revive us again’


Today’s text for reading and meditation:

Psalm 59:1-8 (NIV -UK): ‘‘Deliver me from my enemies, O God; be my fortress against those who are attacking me. Deliver me from evildoers and save me from those who are after my blood. See how they lie in wait for me! Fierce men conspire against me for no offence or sin of mine, Lord. I have done no wrong, yet they are ready to attack me. Arise to help me; look on my plight!

You, Lord God Almighty, you who are the God of Israel, rouse yourself to punish all the nations; show no mercy to wicked traitors. They return at evening, snarling like dogs, and prowl about the city. See what they spew from their mouths – the words from their lips are sharp as swords, and they think, ‘Who can hear us?’

But you laugh at them, Lord; you scoff at all those nations. … ‘

The above text is the first half of Psalm 59, it was written by David about the time when Saul sent men to David’s house, in order to kill him. Therefore, you can appreciate the urgency of David’s desperate call to God, for help (to be saved).

I don’t have much to say about what Selwyn has written. However, his conclusion was good: “When those two things combine – passion and (honest) daring – you have the ingredients of the kind of prayer that God delights to answer.”

Any views?

God – sleeping on the job?

To Follow Jesus

My notes on Every Day with Jesus, written by Selwyn Hughes; revised and updated by Mick Brooks, published by CWR.

May/June 2014 Issue – ‘Revive us again’

Today’s text for reading and meditation:

Psalm 44:13-26 (NIV -UK): ‘‘ … You have made us a reproach to our neighbours, the scorn and derision of those around us. You have made us a byword among the nations; the peoples shake their heads at us.

I live in disgrace all day long, and my face is covered with shame at the taunts of those who reproach and revile me, because of the enemy, who is bent on revenge.

All this came upon us, though we had not forgotten you; we had not been false to your covenant. Our hearts had not turned back; our feet had not strayed from your path. But you crushed us and made us a haunt for jackals; you covered us over with deep darkness.

If we had forgotten the name of our God or spread out our hands to a foreign god, would not God have discovered it, since he knows the secrets of the heart? Yet for your sake we face death all day long; we are considered as sheep to be slaughtered.

Awake, Lord! Why do you sleep? Rouse yourself! Do not reject us for ever. Why do you hide your face and forget our misery and oppression? We are brought down to the dust; our bodies cling to the ground.
Rise up and help us; rescue us because of your unfailing love.

I found today’s study to be really interesting.

The psalm above, presents the anguish felt by suffering people when they cannot identify (in human terms) a ‘good’ reason for it. Much the same as a martyr’s lament, or the feelings experienced by Job.

Selwyn talks about the spiritual decline as seen by the psalmist but many commentaries take what the psalmist has written at face value, that is, the people had not been false to their covenant with God. (verse 17).

In any event, what Selwyn has written about the psalmist language is very good. He writes: “You and I, can come before God and use similar language but if it is not accompanied by the kind of holy desperation that the psalmist felt, then it is only manipulative and demanding, false and hollow – even impertinent.”

We can only speak to Jesus in a desperate way – when we, in fact, feel spiritually desperate; that should make sense. Otherwise, we risk letting our pride take over and we may start to demand that God answer our prayers, according to our wants – which, usually results in very dire consequences. 

Any comments?

A revival is on the way

To Follow Jesus

My notes on Every Day with Jesus, written by Selwyn Hughes; revised and updated by Mick Brooks, published by CWR.

May/June 2014 Issue – ‘Revive us again’


Today’s text for reading and meditation:

Ephesians 6:10-20 (NIV -UK): ‘‘Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on the full armour of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.

Therefore put on the full armour of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand.
Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled round your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace.

In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.

And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people. Pray also for me, that whenever I speak, words may be given me so that I will fearlessly make known the mystery of the gospel, for which I am an ambassador in chains. Pray that I may declare it fearlessly, as I should.”

The above verses, taken from Paul’s closing comments in his letter to the Ephesian church, are well known in regard to his description of the armour of God. I particularly like this verse (highlighted above): ‘Take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one.’ These words confirm that we can have the confidence that our faith (as given to us by Jesus) will protect us from all attacks.

Selwyn states; ‘We continue looking at the quality of tenacity or persistence as a component of ‘revival’ praying. Prior to a revival this characteristic is often seen even in those who were not naturally persistent or tenacious people.’ He concludes, with the thought that when people start to demonstrate this characteristic then ‘a revival is on the way’.

What are your thoughts on this issue?

‘Great prayer warriors’

To Follow Jesus

My notes on Every Day with Jesus, written by Selwyn Hughes; revised and updated by Mick Brooks, published by CWR.

May/June 2014 Issue – ‘Revive us again’


Today’s text for reading and meditation:

Genesis 32:22-31 (NIV -UK): ‘‘That night Jacob got up and took his two wives, his two female servants and his eleven sons and crossed the ford of the Jabbok. After he had sent them across the stream, he sent over all his possessions.
So Jacob was left alone, and a man wrestled with him till daybreak. When the man saw that he could not overpower him, he touched the socket of Jacob’s hip so that his hip was wrenched as he wrestled with the man. Then the man said, ‘Let me go, for it is daybreak.’ But Jacob replied, ‘I will not let you go unless you bless me.’
The man asked him, ‘What is your name?’ ‘Jacob,’ he answered. Then the man said, ‘Your name will no longer be Jacob, but Israel, because you have struggled with God and with humans and have overcome.’ Jacob said, ‘Please tell me your name.’ But he replied, ‘Why do you ask my name?’ Then he blessed him there.
So Jacob called the place Peniel, saying, ‘It is because I saw God face to face, and yet my life was spared.’ The sun rose above him as he passed Peniel, and he was limping because of his hip.”

I’m not too sure I really understand some aspects of today’s text (above). Why couldn’t the ‘man’ overpower Jacob, without wrenching his hip? Perhaps, you can tell me your answer?

Now, onto today’s study; Selwyn has this to say: “We look now at the second characteristic of revival praying – tenacity and persistence. Read the record of revivals and you will find that this quality is also present. …

It is important to recognise that often this persistence was not something that was normal for these great prayer warriors of bygone days but was given to them by the Holy Spirit.”

I entirely agree with Selwyn – God’s work is directed and empowered by His Spirit.

The story of Jeremiah Lanphier

To Follow Jesus

My notes on Every Day with Jesus, written by Selwyn Hughes; revised and updated by Mick Brooks, published by CWR.

May/June 2014 Issue – ‘Revive us again’

Today’s text for reading and meditation:

Psalm 69:1-16 (NIV -UK): ‘‘Save me, O God, for the waters have come up to my neck. I sink in the miry depths, where there is no foothold. I have come into the deep waters; the floods engulf me.
I am worn out calling for help; my throat is parched. My eyes fail, looking for my God.
Those who hate me without reason outnumber the hairs of my head; many are my enemies without cause, those who seek to destroy me. I am forced to restore what I did not steal. You, God, know my folly; my guilt is not hidden from you.
Lord, the Lord Almighty, may those who hope in you not be disgraced because of me; God of Israel, may those who seek you not be put to shame because of me. For I endure scorn for your sake, and shame covers my face. I am a foreigner to my own family, a stranger to my own mother’s children; for zeal for your house consumes me, and the insults of those who insult you fall on me.
When I weep and fast, I must endure scorn; when I put on sackcloth, people make sport of me. Those who sit at the gate mock me, and I am the song of the drunkards.
But I pray to you, Lord, in the time of your favour; in your great love, O God, answer me with your sure salvation. Rescue me from the mire, do not let me sink; deliver me from those who hate me, from the deep waters. Do not let the floodwaters engulf me or the depths swallow me up or the pit close its mouth over me.

Answer me, Lord, out of the goodness of your love; in your great mercy turn to me.”

In today’s study, Selwyn uses Jeremiah Lanphier, as an example of a man who prayed with passion and enthusiasm – the characteristics of ‘revival praying’.

This is part of what Selwyn wrote about this man. “On 1 July 1857, Jeremiah decided to hold a noon-day prayer meeting and distributed a few handbills inviting others to join him during the lunch hour every Wednesday.

At the first meeting six people were present. The second week there were twenty and the third week over forty. It was decided to hold the prayer meeting every day. Within months, 10,000 people were gathering in the city every day to pray.

Thus begun in New York the spiritual awakening which eventually spread through America and in 1858 crossed the seas to the British Isles.”

[If interested, you can read further details about Jeremiah Lanphier on the internet; just google his name – there are lots of references.]

In this type of case, I believe it’s God’s Spirit who encourages certain individuals to pray for revival; the evidence of the Holy Spirit’s involvement, for me, is the dramatic increase in numbers in the weeks following the first prayer meeting. Do you agree?