No More Excuses

(Scripture)
1 Thessalonians 2:18 (NLT) We wanted very much to come, and I, Paul, tried again and again, but Satan prevented us.

(Observations)
1. Why did Paul say “Satan prevented him” but was concerned that Satan tempted the people of Thessalonica? Satan tempted Jesus (Mat 4:1-11) with no success.

2. God permitted Satan to attack Job (Job 1:12). Satan said to God (Job 1:11), “But take away everything…” God didn’t, but He permitted Satan. Later God restored Job.

3. Satan must have God’s permission and, “He will not allow the temptation to be more than you can stand. When you are tempted, He will show you a way out so that you can endure.” (1 Cr. 10:13)

4. Satan told God, “I have been going back and forth across the earth watching everything that’s going on”. (Job 1:7) Satan is real, and looks for ways to stop us.

5. Although God permitted Satan to block Paul visiting this new church, Paul did not quit. Paul did the best he could and wrote them a heart filled letter.

(Application)
This last week, our church was having our annual prayer blitz. This was when we call all our members to ask if we could pray with them over any specific prayer concern they may have. With over 10,000 members we needed a lot of volunteers, which I was one. I left many prayers on answering machines, however there was one call where we witnessed God’s loving hand.

She was distraught over her inability to find an affordable place to live. She was being drained financially and emotionally where she did live. Combined with other difficulties, it seemed impossible to get ahead. She was praying at the time of my call. When I asked if she had any prayer concerns and if I could pray with her, she broke down. She explained her desperation, I listened, and then poured out my heart too in a prayer. The prayer was perfect, because it was clear the words came from the Holy Spirit and not me. Thank God.

It seems there is seldom a time when I don’t say, “I can’t do it”. What I needed to say, “I can’t do it without God.” Since nothing happens without God’s permission, I must trust His decisions and have no more excuses. When I think about it, is there anything worthwhile I should do without God?

(Prayer)
Loving Father. You came into my heart years ago and you are still coming into my words and actions today. Thank you for using me. Thank you for letting me feel like Peter sometimes. You let me walk on water to touch a woman’s heart in your name. It was all you. Do what you want with me. In your name I pray, Amen.

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