“Today’s Seed” from E-MIN Jan. 11, 2023

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Need a “How to…”?

Got one for ya.

The most powerful way to learn is by seeing and doing. Knowledge is necessary, but the application of knowledge is what is accomplished by seeing something done. This is the ultimate “how to”.

So, how can we see something done spiritually when we cannot see spiritual things with our natural eyes? We must first accept it by faith. This is essential. Then–and only then–will the natural event, process, or results follow.

Take today’s Scripture passage for example. You have probably read these verses many times. They describe Jesus’ last hours before His crucifixion. I would submit that everything in that time is significant. Therefore, let’s look closer at this.

Today’s passage is essentially a “how to”. Jesus continued to teach even in His final hours–His most trying and difficult time. He gave those with Him a powerful principle: Prayer is the means to overcome temptation.

So.. do we do it? For the most part, we do not. Instead, we whine and complain about how hard it is “out there”, how we are tempted, and how difficult it is to avoid it. We make excuses for our failures–but do we PRAY to avoid the temptation or overcome it? Again, for the most part, no.

We pray (plead, beg) for God to make things better after the fact (after an event has taken place), but seldom do we pray for power and authority to repel the temptation or overcome it BEFORE we encounter it. This must change–especially in the times in which we live.

Read the four Gospels. Take note of what Jesus says. Begin to notice how many of His teachings are actually “how-tos”. Do this and it will enable you to be stronger, have greater faith, and understand more of how to overcome what opposes you, hinders you, or causes you difficulty or grief.

Jesus does not say, “Now, this is how to do it.” He states the principle, as He did in today’s passage. It is then up to us to put the principle into action. As you read, look at His life: Not only did He give us “how-tos”, He lived them. He is our application of the knowledge, our “seeing” of it being done.

I said that we must first accept it by faith and then we would see the natural result. This is also a principle. It is repeated in several of Jesus’ teachings. First the spirit; then the natural; never the opposite.

Though natural experiences can result in spiritual understandings, this is different from results. In other words, we can learn from experiences–but as far as action goes, it is always spirit first.

How, then, can we apply this?

  • Pray first–always and much.
  • Expect results because you prayed.
  • Be patient in the process.
  • Don’t dictate the results–leave that to God.
  • Recognize the results when you see them.
  • Acknowledge God as the source.

Even when they do all the others, many fail in the last step. They pray for healing, for instance, and then say, “I took this medicine and it helped me.” How about, “I’m well because God healed me.”?

There is nothing mysterious about Jesus’ teachings. They are straightforward and simple. We make them hard because we either do not believe them, we want (demand) to know how before we do, or we look for results before we believe.

Jesus gave us the “how to”. We must then “do” by faith. We may never know the “how” (the mechanism or method by which results happen). The latter is above our pay-grade because that is God’s business. Our responsibility is to take Jesus at His word, pray, believe, and therefore expect. FYI: It’s just the way it works.

At last he stood up again and returned to the disciples, only to find them asleep, exhausted from grief. “Why are you sleeping?” he asked. “Get up and pray. Otherwise temptation will overpower you.” (Luke 22:45-46 NLT)

Prayer: LORD, when I face deep emotional issues or difficult and trying circumstances, help me keep my spiritual AND physical eyes open and be vigilant in prayer. Since prayer can keep me from being overpowered by temptation or testing, help me pray ever more and more! Draw me deeper in prayer with You and in our relationship. Make it so. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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“Today’s Seed” from E-MIN Jan. 11, 2023