Believer Receiver

Mark 11: 24

Therefore, I say to you, all things for which you pray and ask, believe that you have received them, and they shall be granted you.

If you want to receive, then you must believe. I was imagining a football wide receiver running down the field anticipating a reception. You know, those guys want to catch the football, they want the quarterback to throw it to them. They are eager and they believe that if the ball is thrown to them, they will receive. I imagine, though, that if they ran down the field not expecting the ball, not believing the quarterback will pass to them, that it would be quite difficult, if not impossible, to receive. There is a direct connection between believing and receiving. Jesus certainly makes that point in today’s passage.

There are three words in this verse that stand out to me. They are pray, believe and receive. That is basically the formula. There is, however, another word which is perhaps the most important in the verse. That word is “have”. Jesus said that as we pray we should believe that we HAVE received. In other words, we should believe that we have already received that for which we petition him. If we want our petitions granted then we must believe that we have received. 

This is a very radical way of thinking. It certainly is not the way we were taught as we grew up. We were taught, at least most of us, that seeing is believing. What you see is true. It is reality. Unfortunately, that logic does not hold in the Kingdom of heaven. If you wait to see it in order to believe it, you will be waiting a long time.

A pastor friend of mine was accosted this weekend by a “believer” (complete misnomer) who was perplexed about a prayer of his. He had prayed for someone to be healed and that person was still exhibiting symptoms. He questioned why his prayer had not been answered. There are two faith answers to his question. First, who says it hasn’t been answered. If you prayed, believing then Jesus said your petition will be granted. Secondly, I want to ask, “Where is your believing?” Is he praying believing or praying hoping? He looked at the evidence from the world and concluded that his prayer had not been answered. Well, he is going to have a hard time because clearly he is not in belief. That is big time doubt. Jesus didn’t say to look to the evidence of the world for ratification. As a matter of fact, that is the absolute worst thing you can do. Where, do you suppose, that information comes from? Well, from the world at best, so it is carnal not of faith and certainly not of the Kingdom. Worst case scenario, it is the evidence that the devil is presenting. Why do want to believe that? No, you can’t believe what your eyes see, you must believe what the Word says. You have to let that Word from God issue from your heart and overwhelm your believer. Then if the worldly evidence does not agree you get to choose who to believe. If you stick with Jesus then he will grant your petition. If you choose to side with the world’s view of circumstances then that is the result you have selected.

The one thing that seems to trip up people the most is the duration of belief. We stand in prayer and during that time we confess our belief. We screw up our faith and commit our hopes and prayers to Jesus. Then here comes the problem – after we pray, we run out to the world to “see” if our prayer has come true. So, we are letting the evidence of the world validate the Word of God. Instead, your belief needs to survive beyond the duration of the prayer. If you believed, then keep on believing. So when you see that friend still sick your response is, “No, I have believed he is healed so I receive that healing and will not be talked out of it.”

Christians are often called believers. I think we need to make that a true declaration of how we interact with the world and with the Kingdom of God. Believing really is not some big “faith” thing, it is a obstinance thing, a decision really. Just refuse to be dissuaded. You have all the faith you need. Now, do you have all the resolve you need? Believe and keep on believing. Pray, expect and receive. It is time for you to look back up field for the ball coming towards you. Open your eyes, open your heart and receive.

Warfare Made Easy

2 Chronicles 20: 15, 17

Do not fear or be dismayed because of this great multitude, for the battle is not yours but God’s.   You need not fight in this battle; station yourselves, stand and see the salvation of the Lord on your behalf, O Judah and Jerusalem. Do not fear or be dismayed.

How easy is a war that you don’t even have to fight in and yet you prevail? That is exactly what happened for Jehoshaphat and Judah. They were living peaceably when three nations rose up against them. Do you know what they did? They prayed, yeah, that was their great strategic ploy. Jehoshaphat, the king of Judah, stood before the assembly and magnified God and sought God’s solution. And God answered, “Don’t worry about it. This battle isn’t yours. I will fight it for you.” And that is exactly what He did. The next morning as the three armies rose against Judah God moved and the three invading armies ended up killing each other. When Judah arrived there were bodies strewn all over. Among the slain soldiers were weapons, clothing and “articles of value” (v. 25). In fact, there was more booty than they could carry.

Sometimes people wonder what relevance the Old Testament has for modern Christian believers. Well, here you go. This is the model for spiritual warfare. You face battles almost every day. Think about it. How often do you feel like you are fighting an uphill struggle? Well, no longer. Today God is giving you a battle strategy. Wisdom recommends that you read the prayer that Jehoshaphat prayed before the assembly. It will probably inspire your thinking and your prayer. Next, assemble your crew whether that be your family, your office, your employees, your church or your team. Whoever will be impacted by the result of the battle should congregate with you. Then you, as the leader, stand in the name of the Lord and pray the prayer of faith. Let God and everyone else know upon whom you rely. Then just cast the entire problem into His hands. In the example from today, the Holy Spirit alit upon one of the assembled who prophesied telling the nation of Judah what it should do. Today’s verse is taken from that declaration. The next thing you do is to follow God’s instructions. If He says march around the city, do it. If He says get out your guitar and sing, do it. His ways are not our ways and we do not need to question His logic. Just accept it and obey. And if it sounds a little bizarre, it probably is God because the spiritual realm operates in an almost diametrically opposed manner as does the worldly realm. Part of the beauty of the assembly is that if you have doubt you can take the pulse of the crowd. “Did that resonate in your spirit as the instruction of God?” I would ask this question too; if the instruction you receive sounds odd like going and washing in the river what would it hurt you to do it? Marching around Jericho had to sound pretty nuts to Joshua but they won the city without a fight. 

So, today the battle is yours. The hard part is not in battling the enemy. The part that challenges us is standing up as a leader and doing what we should do. “Dare I pray in front of my whole family or my employees?” Well, this is why many of us do not live in the victory that Jesus bought for us. There are still things that we must do that challenge us on the inside. But Jesus will help us to grow and accept these new responsibilities with grace. The first prayer might just have to be, “Jesus, help me.” He will be with you all the way and you will win every battle because Jesus has already overcome. Now, we just have to stand in the power that grace has provided. Go win your battles today in the might of the Lord.