April 1st, 2020

Strategy 1:Your Passion (Fervent Bible study # 2)

If they handed out Bible awards, Peter would definitely win “the most passionate follower of Christ.” The fisherman dropped everything (literally) when Jesus called him. He asked Jesus to call him out of the boat onto the water in the middle of a storm. He was the first disciple to proclaim Jesus as the Messiah. Jesus even commended Peter’s great faith in Matthew 16. Yet skip forward ten chapters and our man of passion crumbles. When the pressure is on and fingers are pointed, the guy who proclaimed Jesus as God’s Son denies even knowing Him.

What went wrong? How could Peter go from fired up to checked out? Maybe because things didn’t go the way he wanted.

In Matthew 16 after recognizing Jesus as God’s son, Peter rebukes Jesus when He speaks of His death and resurrection. Peter liked a Savior who reigned but didn’t see the need for suffering. When the suffering starts to become a reality, his faith crumbles.

“That’s why, if I were your enemy, I’d make stealing your passion one of my primary goals. … If I could chip away at your zeal, at your hope, at your belief in God and what he can do, I could chisel down your face to a whimper. Make you want to quit. And never try again.” (Shirer 26-27)

Do you realize that Satan not only wants to destroy you but he knows where to hit you? Where is it that he seems to hit you the hardest?

Now, if Peter’s story ended there, it would be depressing. He would be like a one-hit-wonder. People would say, “What happened to that one disciple who started off strong? I thought he was gonna make it.” Not only was Peter forgiven by Jesus, he went on to perform great wonders and miracles in Jesus’s name. Everywhere he went (including prison) he spoke the name of the Lord.

I think it’s important to remember THAT part of Peter’s history. We are sinners. We will blow it. But God wants us to get back up and keep going. He can make the last half of our lives more sold out for Him than ever before. No matter where we were or what we’re doing now, we can step into the light of God’s grace and thrive in our faith again.

Shirer pulls four points from the story of the missing ax head from 2 Kings 6:1-7 and relates them to our lives.

1) Despite the lost ax head, the presence of God was still near.

2) The servant was doing something good when he lost his cutting edge.

3) The ax was borrowed.

4) Only a work of God could retrieve the ax head.

Which of these points made you think or made you nod in agreement? Number one hit me hard. In this season of physical and emotional pain, there have been times when I thought God stepped aside to allow Satan to do his thing.

“It mattered that God’s presence and the man’s loss occurred within close proximity to the other. Satan would like to convince you that your lack of passion is an indication that God was either never there at all or has gotten disgusted with you.” (Shirer 32)

For years I’ve watched the events of my life in somewhat disbelief. At times I allowed them to come between me and my God rather than constantly looking at them through the lens of the Bible. The truth is He is using them to purify my faith, He will work all things for good because I love Him, and God is always with me and will never forsake me. Moses tells Joshua in Deuteronomy 31:6, ”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.” (NIV)

Friends, remember that we don’t need to dwell in the places of trials, hardships, even unbelief. But they are good to exam for a time to consider how we can maneuver this life more successfully.

Shirer goes on to share many verses we can include in our prayer for passion. Which did you incorporate into your prayer? My husband laughed when I sang Psalm 51:10, but that was one of the first verses I memorized as a teen. During this season of my life, it’s a verse I want to claim daily.

On page 38, Priscilla quotes Hosea 6:3 ~ “He will come to us like the rain, like the spring rain watering the earth.”

“How does a person receive rain? Not by prying it loose from the sky but just by watching it fall, by standing in the downpour, by thanking him for opening the floodgates and sending what he knows we need and can’t get for ourselves, yet what he is so faithfully, regularly, and graciously gives.” (Shirer 38)

We have a job to do, my friend. We need to carve out the time, make the investment of our attention to prayer, and then be ready to receive all our Lord has to shower upon us. I don’t know about you, but I’m ready for a downpour. I am ready to dance in the rain and I’m willing to invest the time and effort on my part so I can.

 

Discussion questions:

Do you realize that Satan not only wants to destroy you but he knows where to hit you? Where is it that he seems to hit you the hardest?

Which of the four points from the ax head example made you think or make you nod in agreement?

Which verses from the end of Strategy 1 did you incorporate into your prayer?

 

All quotes not from the Bible are taken from:

Shirer, Priscilla. “Fervent.” B & H Publishing Group, 2015.

 

Comments :

  1. Laura Forberg says:

    1. I never seem to realize it’s Satan in the midst of it but realize after the fact. He makes me doubt and I hate that!

    2. The 2nd point stood out to me. Just because we are doing something good doesn’t mean we are protected.

    3. I put in, “I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; I will remove your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh.” Ezekiel 36:26. I liked how she told us read that one slowly. That caught my attention.

    • Kelly Harrel says:

      Laura, I think point number two is very important. Sometimes as a Christian we think if we are going good things it should be smooth waters. Often times, it’s the contrary.

  2. Kristin says:

    The enemy gets me with frustration and impatience when things don’t go my way. I don’t know why everything should go my way. What’s up with that? Of course, God is the one in control. Only a work of God could retrieve the ax head! If I lose hope then there is no need to pray. Priscilla writes, “Don’t try to regain it yourself. Don’t set your hopes on other people or circumstances to fuse it back into the fiber of your being. Trust it into God’s care.” I underlined the last sentence and then she continues by saying, “And He is more than willing to do it.”
    Lamentations 3: 22-23 resonated with me: The LORD’S loving kindnesses indeed never cease, for His compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is Your faithfulness.
    Great is Your faithfulness! I love that worship song.
    My prayer is to put my hope in only God in all circumstances in this crazy life!

  3. Patty So says:

    I LOVED the intro and the first chapter! I think, in my prayer, I need to work more on the “P” and “R” when I’m talking TO God. I’m great at calling out my shortcomings, and I’m equally great at giving God the glory most of the time, but I don’t do either of those things enough directly TO Him.
    I have to say, being one who looks for the blessings in bad situations, I sometimes have to ask forgiveness because I get a little “judgy” about people who don’t do the same. Probably a little “holier than thou” attitude. (That’s an R for me…ha!)
    I best identify with God being there when the ax head goes in the water— I DO know He is always near me, and I don’t understand why creating things happen, but I DO know He is in charge and will work it all for good. That being said, I end up being like a cloud that waits until it’s so full that it rains all day. I will kind of take a day to simply CRY while I’m doing all the things I need to get done. I’m not “sad,” per se, just letting ALL the small and big griefs I have been carrying around GO.
    I think that my passion never fades much, but my INTENTION fades. That’s where satan gets me. I have made it a deliberate point to have 2 daily devotions that stay in the 2 spots I am in every single day so that I have no excuse to say I’m “too busy.”
    My husband and I use the prayer wall like her grandmother used her notebook to “remember” every day. ❤️

  4. Patty So says:

    *creating should read “certain”

  5. Brenda Lee Maingot says:

    Do you realize that Satan not only wants to destroy you but he knows where to hit you? Where is it that he seems to hit you the hardest?

    Satan always starts with my mind. All my doubt, condemnation, fear, etc. It begins there and then gets completely out of control. I do not realize that it is Satan in the mist, although, I am getting better at recognizing it!

    Which of the four points from the ax head example made you think or make you nod in agreement?

    Example #4 spoke to me. I have been in such a dry desert for so long, that it will take God’s miracle to bring it back.

    Which verses from the end of Strategy 1 did you incorporate into your prayer?

    My verse is: Ezek. 36:26, I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; I will remove your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh.

  6. Rachel Dupray says:

    How easy it is to say something is an attack from the enemy. The truth, he is here to destroy you, destroy me… (John 10:10, 1 Peter 5:8) brings the real picture into view. Oh that I not forget it. I seem to be hit hardest by family or temptations. Short term pleasure that I’ve chosen over the long term gain. In the past, I would get stuck in the condemnation Shirer talks about, the one “that leads to guilt laden discouragement.”

    Number 3 – The ax was borrowed. I must remember Phil. 2:13, “For it is God who works in you (me) to will and to act according to His good purpose.” I highlighted Shirer’s words in this section…”–whenever your passion in prayer is weak or missing, realize instead that it is God’s work both to give it and then to fan it into flame inside you. Which means you cannot manufacture it on your own. Your enemy, however – coy as he is – wants to burden you with blame for not having something that didn’t originate with you in the first place. Don’t fall for that.”

    Jeremiah 24:7 has been on my heart to pray for our country and Ez. 36:26 is one I can thank God for and have personally experienced.

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