A message of August 15, 2021 for Akron Alliance Fellowship Church, Akron OH:
This past Wednesday, I went to Forest Hills Place, where my mother lives, to host a Bible study for residents. I do this on the second Wednesday of each month, and I can pretty much count on the fact that I have to navigate around Satan’s attacks every time I have to make the trip there. So what happened this past Wednesday? I had a bad dream before I woke up, and it was a silly dream (at least this time). I had a car that I was driving that I didn’t recognize that was stolen from me, and that’s how the dream ended. So I woke up and decided to start reading the Bible before I got out of bed. That helped to get the day going, but then I logged in for work thinking that I had to prepare for a meeting with my supervisor while facing a number of distractions within the first hour. I then realized, when I looked at the calendar, I didn’t have a scheduled meeting with her that day. I was relieved, of course, but I usually have a good handle on my schedule for the day, which means I was more than a little out of sorts. Knowing that I had a Bible study later to go to, I was praying all morning for peace and calm as I reviewed the Bible study notes once more, and as time went by, I just told myself to keep it up with the prayers.
And with good reason. It was the middle of the day, and I saw at least six examples of the most insane and ridiculous driving on the freeway. Not just merely speeding, but barreling up the road with speeds of 80 and 90 miles per hour in relatively busy traffic. Cars that were weaving back and forth in lanes once they blew past me. One of them came really close to my car while going by. Now my prayers were audible—I prayed that everyone in front of me doesn’t freak out when they see these clowns driving recklessly. (I don’t normally get weirded out by reckless driving, but just for context, an already unsettling morning was coupled with too many examples of Fred Flintstone’s Rubstone Special driving like it was the Indianrockolis 500. At the time, it wasn’t very funny.)
I just kept praying. At that moment, it was a necessity.
Have you ever considered that God’s presence is a necessity when you are encountering all types of craziness? If you haven’t thought this way before, let me assure you that God’s reassuring presence through your persistent prayers and petitions will smooth out all of the bumps in the moment.
Persistence is the key.
Keep asking for calm.
Keep seeking relief.
Keep knocking for more of God’s peace, and as you serve Him, His wisdom and inspiration.
Satan’s attacks and hindrances require persistence in prayer and reflection on God’s goodness and His enabling power.
Are you up for battles with Satan? You’d better be.
1 Peter 5:8-10 CSB
8 Be sober-minded, be alert. Your adversary the devil is prowling around like a roaring lion, looking for anyone he can devour. 9 Resist him, firm in the faith, knowing that the same kind of sufferings are being experienced by your fellow believers throughout the world. 10 The God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, will himself restore, establish, strengthen, and support you after you have suffered a little while.
John 10:10 ESV
The thief (Satan) comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I (Jesus) came that they may have life and have it abundantly.
Soldiers in combat make it their responsibility to have as much intel as possible of their enemy combatants. We are all living in a series of spiritual battles—and more often than we realize. In spiritual warfare, like a soldier, you have a responsibility to gather intel, which is basically information, about your enemy. It requires seeking the abundance of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, as often as necessary. It is His counsel in these moments that bring us success in our spiritual battles. We may win or lose a few battles along the way, but always take heart—we already have the complete victory in Jesus!
We are to always seek truth. Seek the truth of Jesus Christ in His presence, His guidance and His power through the Holy Spirit to serve Him at our very best.
Now, I mentioned earlier about my quest for peace with constant prayer. Well, the answer here is still the same. Who better to go to for peace than the Prince of Peace? The Prince of Peace is Faithful and True.
Revelation 19:11-13, 16 CSB
11 Then I saw heaven opened, and there was a white horse. Its rider is called Faithful and True, and with justice he judges and makes war. 12 His eyes were like a fiery flame, and many crowns were on his head. He had a name written that no one knows except himself. 13 He wore a robe dipped in blood, and his name is called the Word of God.
16 And he has a name written on his robe and on his thigh: King of Kings and Lord of Lords.
There’s no one better to fight with you through your battles with Satan than the King of Kings—but you have to keep asking Him. Keep seeking Him. Keep knocking on the door to request His presence and draw upon His strength and endurance.
By the way, the Bible study this past Wednesday was a glorious experience! Through such an amazing Bible study, or anything that He shows you in His involvement, He can make your day! He made mine, and He gets all of the credit. He is worthy of praise!
When things aren’t so hectic in the moment, your normal process remains the pursuit of an active relationship with Jesus Christ. Your quest for His wisdom, knowledge and guidance is part of your daily routine—as you fellowship with believers, meditate on the Word at work or play, and at home in your quiet moments of Bible study and daily devotions.
Matthew 7:7-8 ESV
7 “Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. 8 For everyone who asks receives, and the one who seeks finds, and to the one who knocks it will be opened.”
Start by asking of Him.
The search for answers has some basic components that are within the search process. The first of these is relatively straightforward—to ask for information. We must be prepared to ask questions in order to receive answers that will provide comfort and guidance. Once you hear the answers, now you can test their veracity as you are challenged to be obedient to God and heed His Word:
Acts 17:10-12 ESV
10 The brothers immediately sent Paul and Silas away by night to Berea, and when they arrived they went into the Jewish synagogue. 11 Now these Jews were more noble than those in Thessalonica; they received the word with all eagerness, examining the Scriptures daily to see if these things were so. 12 Many of them therefore believed, with not a few Greek women of high standing as well as men.
When it comes to general Bible knowledge, asking questions during bible studies or Sunday school classes will most certainly be confirmed with the appropriate scriptural fact checking. The Spirit guides us into truth and godly wisdom if we are paying attention. Jesus promises that when we ask, we will receive the answers that we need through the Spirit.
John 16:13 CSB
“When the Spirit of truth comes, He will guide you into all the truth. For He will not speak on His own, but He will speak whatever He hears. He will also declare to you what is to come.”
Continue your quest by seeking. Jesus advises you to keep seeking. You’re always looking for truth and godly wisdom, especially in this realm of falsehoods and worldliness. If you persist, there will come a point where what you are looking for will be found. Notice that Jesus does not immediately proclaim that you are to seek Him directly, but what you will find is that the more you actually search through the Scriptures, the likelihood is that you will come to the same conclusion:
John 5:39 NLT
“You search the Scriptures because you think they give you eternal life. But the Scriptures point to me!”
This verse notes that while you are studying Scripture and asking questions, you could still miss an important message that Jesus is trying to tell you. Matthew Henry’s Commentary of this verse is that even though the Jews were scholars and believed that they had everything they needed because they had God’s Word in their hands, they still neglected God’s true message and had lost their love for God. Many people believe they are very religious, but sadly do not love or even know Jesus in a relational way.
Persistence in your search for Jesus also requires a desire to be comfortable with the results. You may not always like what you find when you seek Jesus—because what you find out about who you are may be very uncomfortable. As you humble yourself before Jesus, you are laid bare before Him. Humble yourself as you repent, and remove the blocks in your life that are preventing God’s truth from getting where you need it most—in your heart.
The answers come from Scripture, and as we seek the truth, we should have the desire to seek it even more.
Psalm 1:1-3 CSB
1 How happy is the one who does not
walk in the advice of the wicked
or stand in the pathway with sinners
or sit in the company of mockers!
2 Instead, his delight is in the Lord’s instruction,
and he meditates on it day and night.
3 He is like a tree planted beside flowing streams
that bears its fruit in its season,
and its leaf does not wither.
Whatever he does prospers.
The search for truth requires asking for information, seeking answers to your questions, and another act of persistence, knocking. The act of knocking on a door, specifically in Matthew Chapter 7, is a sound that creates attention. To knock on the door is to alert someone on the other side that you wish to obtain entry to a place that you cannot readily access without the door being opened for you. Logically, if you could open the unlocked door and enter the room, there would be no need to knock.
Let’s examine the reference of “knocking and the door will be opened.” It is a description of persistence and also endurance. The door being knocked on is considered to be an obstacle. The obstacle can be perceived as a small thing, or it can be a very great trial. Of the commentaries that you may review in looking at this verse, there are references to the combined efforts of prayer, persistence, and endurance within the act of knocking. You continue to knock on the door until it is opened. Let’s look at the parallel verse, which gives a more detailed example of this:
Luke 11:5-9 CSB
5 He (Jesus) also said to them, “Suppose one of you has a friend and goes to him at midnight and says to him, ‘Friend, lend me three loaves of bread, 6 because a friend of mine on a journey has come to me, and I don’t have anything to offer him.’ 7 Then he will answer from inside and say, ‘Don’t bother me! The door is already locked, and my children and I have gone to bed. I can’t get up to give you anything.’ 8 I tell you, even though he won’t get up and give him anything because he is his friend, yet because of his friend’s shameless boldness, he will get up and give him as much as he needs.
9 “So I say to you, ask, and it will be given to you. Seek, and you will find. Knock, and the door will be opened to you.
An open door after persistent knocking brings on a sense of relief and satisfaction. Couple this with what it is to receive rest and security in the Lord. If you notice closely in the verse that the Lord makes a promise that He will open the door—not that he might open it or could open it: He will open the door. He opens the door to truth. The door to peace and comfort. The door to His restful and secure presence. This is a promise that He gives to those who remain persistent in seeking Him, enduring hardships to fellowship with Him, and looking for ways to understand Him and His wisdom as much as possible.
Notice that this is exactly what Jesus Christ wants you to do in your efforts to seek Him. To keep asking questions, to keep seeking understanding, to continue to pray in earnest through your hardships until the time He responds to you. Seeking the truth means that you are doing much more than just learning about Jesus Christ—you are learning that the actions of asking, seeking, and knocking move you consciously to a closeness with the living Christ. The One who knows all about you while you are learning more about Him, learning how to love Him as He already loves you:
Romans 5:8 CSB
But God proves his own love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.
John 3:16-17 ESV
16 “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. 17 For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him.
Seeking truth is all about seeking Jesus. We are to never stop seeking Him, for the more we learn about Jesus, the more wisdom, knowledge, and understanding that we will receive from Him through the presence of the Holy Spirit.
Proverbs 9:10 CSB
“The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, and the knowledge of the Holy One is understanding.”
Keep asking, seeking and knocking. The best things come to those who remain faithful to Jesus.
© 2021 Melvin Gaines