Are You Living in Fear, Doubt, and Discouragement?

April 6, 2020By PK ManagerDevotional

When I am afraid, I will trust in you. — Psalm 56:3

In 2 Chronicles, chapters 19 and 20, we read about how King Jehoshaphat of Judah endeavored to honor God during his reign. As a leader, he spent a great deal of his time among the people. He appointed judges to carry out the rule of law while directing builders to fortify the towns. He was a good king as he regularly reminded his leaders, “Now let the fear of the LORD be upon you. Judge carefully, for with the LORD our God there is no injustice or partiality or bribery.” (2 Chronicles 19:7)

Jehoshaphat was also open and honest about his faith. He prayed to God publicly, reminding them not to be afraid or discouraged. But the Israelites were fearful of the battles before them. They were afraid they would lose everything to the invaders, including their lives.

Today, many folks are fearful and discouraged. No matter what battle you face, let the words of Jehoshaphat speak truth to you and bring you peace: “You will not have to fight this battle. Take up your positions; stand firm and see the deliverance the LORD will give you, O Judah and Jerusalem. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged. Go out to face them tomorrow, and the LORD will be with you.” (2 Chronicles 20:17). The truth is: the battle is the Lord’s!

Jehoshaphat’s prayer, in chapter 20, has six components that were true then and now:

  • He acknowledged that God’s intervention was the only way their nation would be saved.
  • He reminded the crowd how God had helped them through past difficulties.
  • He admitted God’s complete sovereignty over the situation.
  • He thanked and praised God for the protection He had given them and for what He would do to protect them in the future.
  • He claimed God’s promises.
  • He placed his dependence on God alone for the deliverance from their pending struggles.
  • As believers in Christ, we can come boldly into our Father’s throne room and seek His help and mercy. Whatever your struggles, whatever your situation, and whatever your financial dilemma — know that the God who saved the Israelites will save you and yours.

Personal Application

“Therefore, I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more important than food, and the body more important than clothes? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life?” (Matthew 6:25–27)

“All those gathered here will know that it is not by sword or spear that the LORD saves; for the battle is the LORD’s, and he will give all of you into our hands.” (1 Samuel 17:47)

Suggestion for Prayer

If you’re in a battle, struggling for deliverance, worried about tomorrow, meditate on the truths of Jehoshaphat’s prayer. Let God take on this battle and free you.

This devotional is a guest post by Dr. Jim Grassi. He is the founder of Men’s Ministry Catalyst, a ministry partner of Promise Keepers. Don’t miss the resources on the topic of fear over at his website.

What Are You Afraid Of?

April 6, 2020By PK ManagerDevotional

Come quickly to help me, O Lord my Savior. — Psalm 38:22

My good friend Jim Knuppe is a great pilot and holds many aeronautical records. He has flown around the world in his private planes a number of times. I remember Jim once shared a story of an encounter he had with a powerful thunderstorm just outside Denver.

The unusual air currents caused the plane to momentarily lose power and fall from the sky. Jim told me what came to mind was just that simple desperate prayer of a believer, “Jesus Help Me!” Scripture records the same prayer used by numerous kings, prophets, and disciples. Jim was spared from tragedy; the plane went on to have a safe and happy landing. God always answers this prayer… even when it’s our last.

Todd Beamer prayed this prayer. The following email I received records the spiritual strength Todd demonstrated on his fateful flight:

“JESUS HELP ME”

The Faith of Todd Beamer

“I don’t think we’re going to get out of this thing. I’m going to have to go out on faith.” It was the voice of Todd Beamer, the passenger… and Wheaton College graduate… who said, “Let’s roll” as he led the charge against the terrorists who had hijacked United Flight 93, the one, you will remember, that crashed in the Pennsylvania countryside.

The whole world knows how brave Beamer and his fellow passengers were on September 11th. But this week we learned more fully what buttressed that bravery: Faith in Jesus Christ.

Todd died as he lived, a faithful evangelical believer. In an article titled “The Real Story of Flight 93”, Newsweek reveals gripping new details from the actual transcripts of the now-recovered cockpit voice recorder. “Todd had been afraid,” Newsweek relates. “More than once, he cried out for his Savior.” After passengers were herded to the back of the jet, Beamer called the GTE Customer Center in Oakbrook, Illinois. He told supervisor Lisa Jefferson about the hijacking. The passengers were planning to jump the terrorists, he said. And then he asked her to pray with him.

As Newsweek relates, “Beamer kept a Lord’s Prayer bookmark in his Tom Clancy novel, but he didn’t need any prompting. He began to recite the ancient litany, and Jefferson joined him:

Our Father which art in heaven,
Hallowed be Thy name.”………

As they finished, Beamer added, “Jesus, help me.” And then, Beamer and his fellow passenger prayed a prayer that has comforted millions down through the centuries. The prayer that David wrote in a time of great anguish:

The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want…
Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,
I will fear no evil……….

And then the famous last words: “Are you guys ready? Let’s roll.”

We now know from the cockpit voice recorder that Beamer and other passengers wrestled with the hijackers and forced the plane to crash into the ground, killing themselves, but foiling what was believed to have been the hijackers’ plan to fly Flight 93 into the Capitol or the White House.

As Christians, we know that God can bring good out of evil. In Todd Beamer, the world witnesses a faith that held up in the extremity of fear. A faith that is even now comforting his widow and two young sons.

God answered Todd’s prayer and delivered him safely home… to Heaven.

Most of us will never have to demonstrate the type of courage Todd did in overcoming the terrorists on Flight 93, but most of us will find an occasion when we need to cry out to Jesus for help.

The world tells us to cope. Our culture offers many options, and some can be really destructive: shopping, eating, alcohol and drugs, even exercise and busyness. When we try to soothe our fears or fill our pain with activities or substances, we rob God of opportunities to comfort us, fight for us, and rescue us. We rob ourselves of opportunities to grow closer to God and experience Him intimately.

Ultimately, when times are really tough, the Lord waits for us to cry out to Him. Whether it’s a crisis of the moment or an ongoing circumstance of endurance, turn to the Lord. Ask Jesus to save you. You never know… it could be your last and greatest testimony.

 

Personal Application

What is going on in your life that prayer would help? Lean into these verses and be comforted?
“Help me, O LORD my God! Save me because of your unfailing love.” (Psalm 109:26 NLT)

“Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the LORD your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.” (Deuteronomy 31:6)

“… The LORD is my light and my salvation—whom shall I fear? The LORD is the stronghold of my life—of whom shall I be afraid?” (Psalm 27:1)

 

Suggestion for Prayer

If you’ve been coping through life, rather than turning to the Lord, cry out to Jesus. Ask Him for courage and strength to face your circumstances, and then let Him be your Savior, not just “once and for all”… but everyday.

This devotional is a guest post by Dr. Jim Grassi. He is the founder of Men’s Ministry Catalyst, a ministry partner of Promise Keepers. Don’t miss the resources on the topic of fear over at his website.

Coronavirus and Prayer

April 4, 2020By PK ManagerDevotional

Because of the LORD’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.— Lamentations 3:22–23

This pandemic strikes fear and concern even in the hearts of mature believers. Let’s turn to God’s Word for comfort. The book of Lamentations was penned by Jeremiah (a.k.a. the weeping prophet). He wrote this book to teach people that to disobey God is to invite disaster. Jeremiah also shows us God suffers when we suffer.

As we dust off this Old Testament verse, we find Jeremiah sitting in a cave weeping as he looks over the rubble of a destroyed Jerusalem. A city he loved so much — God’s city — was in ruins. The tang of smoke and the stench of rotting flesh intensified the atmosphere of utter hopelessness. Some of you may be feeling the same way as Jeremiah… but read on… there is hope.

As Jeremiah took in this awful sight, he realized just how big our God really is. Jeremiah reminds us that having faith in our Heavenly Father is the only thing that can cast out fear and despair. The prophet assures us that God’s compassion will never cease. God is present with us always and we can count on Him no matter the circumstances.

What a powerful illustration for us to ponder today during one of the most serious global crises we have seen in a long time. The unprecedented response, while necessary, is causing intense fear and insecurity. In this country, not since 9/11 have we seen such anxiety and confusion. The obvious question that comes up at times like this is, what is God doing?

During the weeks and months following 9/11, masses of people flocked to local churches and places of worship looking for answers. Church attendance soared. But now we are being asked to stay home… to hunker down maybe until July and beyond. Both our sons are worship pastors in mega-churches, and they are now just doing video broadcasts with no audience. Our approach to worship and spiritual growth is changing. What can we do?

I would prayerfully ask you to consider the following:

  • Pray for our country that God would heal our land and guide our leaders (Proverbs 25:13).
  • Using social media, phones, or texting reach out to family, friends, and neighbors to comfort them with God’s promises. (1 Thessalonians 4:18).
  • To the degree you are able, physically assist people who may be older and high risk with their basic needs (Galatians 4:13–14).
  • Become a Jeremiah man/woman and consider how your prayers and words can bring about, peace, hope and spiritual focus to others (Mark 5:35–36).
  • Drop off some packaged cookies, comfort food, or notes of encouragement to the patio or front porch of your first responders and medical professionals. You should not enter their workspace. (Hebrews 3:13).
  • Operate like the First Century Church – small groups meeting through social media for fellowship and spiritual support (Act 20:7).
  • Join in pushing this email and the Pandemic of Prayer idea to your database (Matthew 4:23).
  • Utilize our vast library of on-line personal and church resources to encourage and empower you during these troubled times (mensministrycatalyst.org/resources).
  • Go to (mensministrycatalyst.org/devotional-archives/) to send out any of our 460 devotionals to comfort those around you (John 14).
  • Our ministry stands ready to encourage and support anyone wishing for special prayer, comfort, and some resources to help you through these troubling times. God is our refuge and our fortress (Psalm 91).

God bless you!

Pandemic of Prayer

As an indication of your commitment to pray for this Country and your neighbors, place a Cross in your front yard. If you are Jewish, place a Hebrew Star. Any homemade or manufactured Cross or Star will do. We all have scrap materials or can go to a place like Home Depot and get some wood or metal to make a simple symbol. If don’t have any wood or metal, then tie a “white ribbon” around a tree. Send an email to your neighbors indicating that your cross or star is an indication that you are praying for them and their families.

This devotional is a guest post by Dr. Jim Grassi. He is the founder of Men’s Ministry Catalyst, a ministry partner of Promise Keepers. Don’t miss the resources on the topic of fear over at his website.

Do You Believe in Miracles?

April 1, 2020By PK ManagerDevotional

A man with leprosy came to him and begged him on his knees, ‘If you are willing, you can make me clean. – Mark 1:40

In this fast-paced, high-tech world some people have forgotten that God is in the business of making miracles. Mankind has explored the depths of the universe and the bottom of the seas. We have modified DNA and created artificial parts for the human body. Through technology, we can supply an endless stream of information and artificial intelligence. We’ve become pretty self-sufficient. But the reality is, we still can’t create miracles. We still get into situations where we’re just stuck.

One name for God is Miracle. What man sees as impossible; He sees as possible. Before we come to a relationship with the living God, we describe unplanned situations as “chance” or “coincidence”. As believers, we should look for God’s hand in the unbelievable, impossible, and unimaginable.

Too often we let our own logic, rather than God’s spirit, take control of our lives. How many times do we miss the opportunity for a miracle because we’re determined to “fix it”? The prophet Isaiah had a reply for people who thought they could work their own miracles: “Therefore once more I will astound these people with wonder upon wonder; the wisdom of the wise will perish, the intelligence of the intelligent will vanish.” Isa. 29:14. God is amazingly creative—He works outside the realm of normal reasoning! There’s no boundary to His love, His power, or His ability.

Still, in the midst of our personal storms, it is sometimes difficult to remember that God can handle it. We too often let fear take a foothold in our thinking. The opposite of fear is faith—the faith that ultimately builds courage. Ask those who have been miraculously healed of cancer, those who have conquered their fears, addictions, and emotional issues, or farmers and ranchers who continually see God’s miracles from the soil. Ask moms and dads who have witnessed the miracle of birth. Remember the miracles in your own life…and those reported to us in the Bible. God’s Word gives us so many examples of how our Father works through miracles. It reminds us to “Remember the wonders he has done, his miracles, and the judgments he pronounced.” Psalm 105:5.

Today, through the power of the Holy Spirit, Jesus continues to heal people. He heals bodies, marriages, broken hearts, financial messes …you name it! He is the ultimate comforter, encourager, healer, and provider. He is our advocate.

Sometimes we “miss the miracle”. Too often the power of God, through His mighty miracles gets overshadowed by the boasting of man’s accomplishments, flashy technology, or sizzling sideline stories. Don’t expect the media to report on miracles. You may have to read between the lines to see it, but you can be sure, God is still in the business of making miracles…everyday!

Personal Application:
What is God saying to you through these verses?

Men of Israel, listen to this: Jesus of Nazareth was a man accredited by God to you by miracles, wonders and signs, which God did among you through him, as you yourselves know. – Acts 2:22

Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us… – Eph. 3:20

Suggestion for Prayer:
If you are in a jam, ask God to work a miracle in your life. He can handle it!

This devotional is a guest post by Dr. Jim Grassi. He is the founder of Men’s Ministry Catalyst, a ministry partner of Promise Keepers. Don’t miss the resources on the topic of fear over at his website.

Promise 3: Taming the Tongue

March 24, 2020By PK ManagerDevotional

Promise 3: Virtue

A Promise Keeper is committed to practicing spiritual, moral, ethical, and sexual purity.

 

When we put bits into the mouths of horses to make them obey us, we can turn the whole animal. Or take ships as an example. Although they are so large and are driven by strong winds, they are steered by a very small rudder wherever the pilot wants to go. Likewise, the tongue is a small part of the body, but it makes great boasts. Consider what a great forest is set on fire by a small spark. The tongue also is a fire, a world of evil among the parts of the body. It corrupts the whole body, sets the whole course of one’s life on fire, and is itself set on fire by hell.

All kinds of animals, birds, reptiles and sea creatures are being tamed and have been tamed by mankind, but no human being can tame the tongue. It is a restless evil, full of deadly poison.

With the tongue we praise our Lord and Father, and with it we curse human beings, who have been made in God’s likeness. Out of the same mouth come praise and cursing. My brothers and sisters, this should not be. Can both fresh water and salt water flow from the same spring? My brothers and sisters, can a fig tree bear olives, or a grapevine bear figs? Neither can a salt spring produce fresh water.

– James 3:3-12

In this short passage, James bluntly addresses the issue of our speech. Read over this passage again to catch the metaphors he uses to describe the tongue. Have you ever realized what a potentially wicked thing that little muscle in your mouth is? Make no mistake about it—the words you speak are powerful beyond imagination. They expand or limit your friendships. They can make or break your career opportunities. If you’re married, they’ll help determine the quality of your marriage. If you’re a father, they’ll shape your children.
A godly man recognizes the tongue’s power to build up or to tear down. But the tongue only shapes the words that originate in our hearts and minds. Hearts that are controlled by the Spirit’s power will produce speech that builds other sup instead of tearing them down. In other words, if we want to control our tongues, we must ask God to help us control our hearts.
The book of Proverbs is filled with verses that address a person’s speech. Turn to that book and take an hour or so to read through it. As you do, highlight in some way every verse that addresses this subject. Allow the Bible’s wisdom and the Spirit to direct your heart—and your tongue.

Since our founding in 1990, Promise Keepers has challenged men to keep seven promises. Learn more.

Promise 3: Contamination Alert

March 19, 2020By PK ManagerDevotional

Promise 3: Virtue

A Promise Keeper is committed to practicing spiritual, moral, ethical, and sexual purity.

 

“Do not be yoked together with unbelievers. For what do righteousness and wickedness have in common? Or what fellowship can light have with darkness? What harmony is there between Christ and Belial? Or what does a believer have in common with an unbeliever? What agreement is there between the temple of God and idols? For we are the temple of the living God. As God has said: ‘I will live with them and walk among them, and I will be their God, and they will be my people.’

Therefore, ‘Come out from them and be separate,’ says the Lord. ‘Touch no unclean thing, and I will receive you.’ And, ‘I will be a Father to you, and you will be my sons and daughters, says the Lord Almighty.’ Therefore, since we have these promises, dear friends, let us purify ourselves from everything that contaminates body and spirit, perfecting holiness out of reverence for God.”

– 2 Corinthians 6:14-7:1

If you’ve ever had a bad cold or the flu, then you know what contamination is all about. Just as a single flu germ can infect a healthy person, so a little evil can contaminate a spiritually healthy person. Paul warns us to guard against the power of evil to contaminate good. His message about the dangers of alliances between believers and unbelievers (vv.14-16) refers not only to marriage, but also to business, religious, and other personal relationships. Notice that Paul emphasizes both a negative and a positive duty of every believer. First, we must avoid being corrupted by the influence of unbelievers, keeping both body and spirit clean from anything that might defile us. Second, we’re to continually seek to please God with our lives out of reverence and awe for him.
Paul raises five questions in this passage. Take a moment to read and answer them for yourself as you think about your relationships. How can you go about avoiding spiritual contamination? What steps can you take to pursue holiness?

Since our founding in 1990, Promise Keepers has challenged men to keep seven promises. Learn more.

Promise 2: Real Men Weep

February 28, 2020By PK ManagerDevotional

Promise 2: Brotherhood

A Promise Keeper is committed to pursuing vital relationships with a few other men, understanding that he needs brothers to help him keep his promises.

“Jesus wept.” – John 11:35

“Jesus wept.” Those two words comprise the shortest verse in the Bible. Yet, they say volumes about real manhood, don’t they? They tell us that real men love deeply (see 11:5 and 36), real men cry when they’re in pain, and real men allow others to see their pain (see v. 38). Most men find it difficult to openly share their pain. After all, if they should cry, others might think they’re weak or inadequate. For most men in our society, crying as Jesus did leaves a sense of being uncomfortably vulnerable. Yet Jesus, during this time of intense emotion, wept. His display was such that others who saw him weeping could openly see the love he had for Lazarus and his two sisters.

Crying can bring healing and much-needed emotional release. In a sense, it cleanses the soul. It also places us in a position where others can express their love to us. They can comfort us during our times of deep pain, and in so doing reinforce the emotional connections that are imperative to strengthening the bond of friendship.

Since our founding in 1990, Promise Keepers has challenged men to keep seven promises. Learn more.

Promise 2: Greatness Comes By Serving

February 22, 2020By PK ManagerDevotional

Promise 2: Brotherhood

A Promise Keeper is committed to pursuing vital relationships with a few other men, understanding that he needs brothers to help him keep his promises.

Then the mother of Zebedee’s sons came to Jesus with her sons and, kneeling down, asked a favor of him. ‘What is it you want?’ he asked. She said, ‘Grant that one of these two sons of mine may sit at your right and the other at your left in your kingdom.’

You don’t know what you are asking,’ Jesus said to them. ‘Can you drink the cup I am going to drink?’

‘We can,’ they answered.

Jesus said to them, ‘You will indeed drink from my cup, but to sit at my right or left is not for me to grant. These places belong to those for whom they have been prepared by my Father.’

When the ten heard about this, they were indignant with the two brothers. Jesus called them together and said, ‘You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their high officials exercise authority over them. Not so with you. Instead, whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first must be your slave—just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.'”

– Matthew 20:20-28

Men often find it hard to get close to other men. Why? One reason is because men tend to view each other as competitors, as rivals. Most men think that opening up to other men will put them at a disadvantage and give the others some kind of an edge. That’s probably why the disciples were ‘indignant’ when they heard about the request of James and John’s mother. If this woman succeeded in her behind-the-scenes lobbying, the rest of them would be on the bottom of the ladder looking up at their rivals.

But Jesus turned their thinking upside down. He told them that the key to true greatness isn’t in climbing over others, but in helping them up and serving them. From Jesus’ perspective, men aren’t rivals who need to compete; they’re allies who need to help each other along on the journey of life.

Since our founding in 1990, Promise Keepers has challenged men to keep seven promises. Learn more.

Promise 2: Faithful Friends

February 1, 2020By PK ManagerDevotional

Promise 2: Brotherhood

A Promise Keeper is committed to pursuing vital relationships with a few other men, understanding that he needs brothers to help him keep his promises.

When Job’s three friends, Eliphaz the Temanite, Bildad the Shuhite and Zophar the Naamathite, heard about all the troubles that had come upon him, they set out from their homes and met together by agreement to go and sympathize with him and comfort him. When they saw him from a distance, they could hardly recognize him; they began to weep aloud, and they tore their robes and sprinkled dust on their heads. Then they sat on the ground with him for seven days and seven nights. No one said a word to him, because they saw how great his suffering was.”

– Job 2:11-13

Faithful Friends

Job’s cultivation of friendships like these is a mark of his greatness. Note how these men responded to news of Job’s suffering. When they heard of his trouble, they traveled from their homes to be with him. They wept and mourned with him, and for seven days they just sat on the ground suffering in silence with their friend. These men spoke volumes to Job’s heart without saying a word. Think about what it takes to develop friends who will do that. Think about what it would mean for you to suffer like that with one of your friends. The investment of quality time in a few other men can pay off for all of you in the tough times.

Since our founding in 1990, Promise Keepers has challenged men to keep seven promises. Learn more.

Promise 1: The Test for Tough Times

January 31, 2020By PK ManagerDevotional

Promise 1: Honor

A Promise Keeper is committed to honoring Jesus Christ through worship, prayer and obedience to God’s Word in the power of the Holy Spirit.

One test of a man’s greatness is what he grabs for on his way down. Job clung to his belief in God’s deliverance. Even in the deepest pit of despair Job knew his Redeemer was alive and would not abandon him. Job believed that even though his disease would probably bring about his death, he would see God with his own eyes after death. His heart yearned to do so.

Where is your center of gravity? What (or who) do you hold on to when you feel your stability slipping? To understand Job’s response in this tough time, read the comment about Job in Job 1:1. What we do about God in the normal times determines what we do about the tough times.

“I know that my redeemer lives, and that in the end he will stand on the earth. And after my skin has been destroyed, yet in my flesh I will see God; I myself will see him with my own eyes—I, and not another. How my heart yearns within me!” – Job 19:25-27