first shot from the cannon caused the
hair on every man's neck to stand on end.
By the time the smoke cleared, every sword
had been drawn and the attacking force
engaged. The lookout in the crow's nest
had seen something moving in the distance.
The shot from the cannon was both a warning
to the approaching forces as well as a
wake-up call to the pirates on the ship.
The attackers had spied out the ship and knew where the captives were being held. It was imperative they free them and they were willing to do whatever it took to get them out alive. The attackers had good reason for using the element of surprise.
In a matter of minutes, the captain was on deck and fighting with the best of them. In fact, he was a wanted man. The ship's captain gave orders that no one was to kill the leader of the attacking band of raiders; the captain was saving him for himself. Before long, Peter Pan and Captain Hook were fighting it out, swords clashing as they battled back and forth. You probably know the rest of the story.
Their battle was make believe our battle's for real. While serving in Portugal as missionaries, we were engaged in a very real and quite intense battle. An unseen enemy, with sword drawn and an eternal prize at stake, attacked our son unremittingly. The attacks would not cost him his life, but the affects would be long-lasting. He totally shut down. He stopped eating, he stopped talking, he stopped laughing, he stopped sleeping he lived in terror for several years. When we first came home from the mission field, the therapist thought he was autistic because he so shut down and withdrew into himself. We couldn't get anything out of him.
After a year-and-a-half of therapy, we began to see a glimmer of hope. God was at work in his life. But for the next few years, he insisted on dressing up in one costume after another. He loved "being" Peter Pan. When he had on that costume, he was a go-getter; bold, happy, full of life. One day I asked him why he always wanted to wear that costume. He said, "Because Peter Pan is brave; I am not." When he put on that costume, in his mind he put on courage, bravery, and hope; all the things he felt the enemy stole from him when he was attacked.
We are each called to put-on something as believers. With an enemy intent on attacking each one of us, we are told to put on the Lord Jesus Christ. Paul wrote this in Romans 13:14: "But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to fulfill its lusts." When we put on Jesus, we put on everything: the full armor of God, salvation, hope, redemption, sanctification, and victory; for victory comes in no other name. He's our warrior. He stands up and fights for us.
In Joshua 5:13-15, Joshua met the preincarnate Christ. The Bible says: "And it came to pass, when Joshua was by Jericho, that he lifted his eyes and looked, and behold, a Man stood opposite him with His sword drawn in His hand. And Joshua went to Him and said to Him, "Are You for us or for our adversaries?" So He said, "No, but as Commander of the army of the LORD I have now come." And Joshua fell on his face to the earth and worshiped, and said to Him, "What does my Lord say to His servant?" 15 Then the Commander of the LORD's army said to Joshua, "Take your sandal off your foot, for the place where you stand is holy." And Joshua did so."
Joshua quickly learned that the Lord didn't come to take charge, He came to take over. When we put-on the Lord Jesus Christ, we allow Him to be in control and to fight our battles for us. He's eternally brave, He's eternally courageous, He's eternally hopeful. These are the things He gives us when we put Him on and walk in Him.
Now our son has learned to put on for himself, not a Peter Pan costume, but the Lord Jesus Christ and, in Christ, he is once again bold, courageous, and full of hope himself.
Are you? Have you put-on the Lord Jesus Christ? Do you walk in His courage, His bravery, His hope? I challenge you today to put aside the lusts of the flesh, which spell defeat; and to put-on the Lord Jesus Christ and to walk in Him. Only then can you be victorious in your battles today and every day.
But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to fulfill its lusts.
R. A Torrey on Prayer
Importance of Prayer
One of my favorite authors on prayer, R.A. Torrey, asked: "But why is this constant, persistent, sleepless, overcoming prayer so needful?" We've already considered the first eight of his reasons:
1. BECAUSE THERE IS A DEVIL;
2. PRAYER IS GODS APPOINTED WAY FOR OBTAINING THINGS, AND THE GREAT SECRET OF ALL LACK IN OUR EXPERIENCE, IN OUR LIFE AND IN OUR WORK IS NEGLECT OF PRAYER.
3. THOSE MEN WHOM GOD SET FORTH AS A PATTERN OF WHAT HE EXPECTED CHRISTIANS -- THE APOSTLES -- REGARDED PRAYER AS THE MOST IMPORTANT BUSINESS OF THEIR LIVES; AND
4. PRAYER OCCUPIED A VERY PROMINENT PLACE AND PLAYED A VERY IMPORTANT PART IN THE EARTHLY LIFE OF OUR LORD.
5. PRAYING IS THE MOST IMPORTANT PART OF THE PRESENT MINISTRY OF OUR RISEN LORD.
6. PRAYER IS THE MEANS THAT GOD HAS APPOINTED FOR OUR RECEIVING MERCY, AND OBTAINING GRACE TO HELP IN TIME OF NEED.
7. PRAYERS IN THE NAME OF JESUS CHRIST IS THE WAY JESUS CHRIST HIMSELF HAS APPOINTED FOR HIS DISCIPLES TO OBTAIN FULLNESS OF JOY.
8. PRAYER, IN EVERY CARE AND ANXIETY AND NEED OF LIFE, WITH THANKSGIVING, IS THE MEANS THAT GOD HAS APPOINTED FOR OBTAINING FREEDOM FROM ALL ANXIETY, AND THE PEACE OF GOD WHICH PASSETH ALL UNDERSTANDING.
Below is his next reason.
9. The ninth reason for constant, persistent, sleepless, overcoming prayer is that PRAYER IS THE METHOD THAT GOD HIMSELF HAS APPOINTED FOR OUR OBTAINING THE HOLY SPIRIT.
Upon this point the Bible is very plain. Jesus says, "If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children, how much more shall your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to them that ask Him?" (Luke 11:13.) Men are telling us in these days, very good men too, "You must not pray for the Holy Spirit," but what are they going to do with the plain statement of Jesus Christ, "How much more will your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit TO THEM THAT ASK HIM?"
Some years ago when an address on the baptism with the Holy Spirit was announced, a brother came to me before the address and said with much feeling,
"Be sure and tell them not to pray for the Holy Spirit."
"I will surely not tell them that, for Jesus says, 'How much more shall your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to them that ask Him'."
"Oh, yes," he replied, "but that was before Pentecost."
"How about Acts 4:31? was that before Pentecost, or after?"
"After, of course."
"'And when they had prayed, the place was shaken where they were assembled together; and they were all FILLED WITH THE HOLY GHOST, and they spake the Word of God with boldness.'"
"How about Acts 8:15? was that before Pentecost or after?"
"'Who, when they were come down PRAYED for them, that they might receive the Holy Ghost.'"
He made no answer. What could he answer? It is plain as day in the Word of God that before Pentecost and after, the first baptism and the subsequent fillings with the Holy Spirit were received in answer to definite prayer. Experience also teaches this.
Doubtless many have received the Holy Spirit the moment of their surrender to God before there was time to pray, but how many there are who know that their first definite baptism with the Holy Spirit came while they were on their knees or faces before God, alone or in company with others, and who again and again since that have been filled with the Holy Spirit in the place of prayer!
I know this as definitely as I know that my thirst has been quenched while I was drinking water. Early one morning in the Chicago Avenue Church prayer room, where several hundred people had been assembled a number of hours in prayer, the Holy Spirit fell so manifestly, and the whole place was so filled with His presence, that no one could speak or pray, but sobs of joy filled the place. Men went out of that room to different parts of the country, taking trains that very morning, and reports soon came back of the out-pouring of God's Holy Spirit in answer to prayer. Others went out into the city with the blessing of God upon them. This is only one instance among many that might be cited from personal experience.
If we would only spend more time in prayer, there would be more fullness of the Spirit's power in our work. Many and many a man who once worked unmistakably in the power of the Holy Spirit is now filling the air with empty shoutings, and beating it with his meaningless gesticulations, because he has let prayer be crowded out. we must spend much time on our knees before God, if we are to continue in the power of the Holy Spirit.
Later we'll look at the other reasons Torrey gives.