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Breaking Through to Praise

Encouraging Prayer / James Banks
The Truth Network Radio
October 15, 2022 12:00 pm

Breaking Through to Praise

Encouraging Prayer / James Banks

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October 15, 2022 12:00 pm

Robby and James discuss what is to break into praise as we are changed after we believe in Lord Jesus.

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This is the Truth Network. Encouraging Prayer. God offers an open invitation for His people to talk with Him at any time about anything. On Encouraging Prayer, Dr. James Banks, author of the bestselling Prayers for Prodigals and many other books on prayer, provides weekly biblical insight to help you learn to love to pray. And now, here's James. So today on Encouraging Prayer, James, you want to talk about Eustace Scrub? You're going to have to explain that one a little bit. All right.

All right. Well, Eustace Scrub was a character from C.S. Lewis Chronicles of Narnia series. You first see him in The Voyage of the Dawn Treader, and Lewis introduces him with these words. There was a boy called Eustace Clarence Scrub, and he almost deserved it. I love that. Eustace is this kid who only thinks about himself, at least at first, and he's always complaining.

You know, nothing is ever good enough. I resemble that remark. Tell me more.

Okay. Well, Eustace ends up in Narnia, this magical place, and wanders off one night and falls asleep on a dead dragon's hoard. And the next morning, when he wakes up, he finds himself transformed into a dragon. And Lewis mentions that this is because he's thinking selfish, greedy, dragonish thoughts all night, you know. And shortly after this, the character Aslan, who represents Jesus, sets Eustace free. Basically, the boy comes out of the dragon.

Yeah. How does he do that? Well, actually, it's not pretty. He has this golden bracelet on his arm that's way too tight, and it causes him pain because, you know, he was just a boy when he put it on, and now he's a dragon, and so his arm's much bigger. And Aslan takes him to this clear pool and tells him to bathe in it. But first he says he has to undress, and what that means is he has to take off his dragon skin. So he tries and tries, but it's useless. You know, kind of sounds like Eustace.

I wonder if Lewis meant that. Anyhow, he is so discouraged, and he's still this dragon, and then he has to admit that he needs Aslan to help him. And then there's this scene where Aslan takes his claw and rips through all the dragon skin and then throws him into the water, and suddenly Eustace realizes he's a boy again.

But there's this incredible pain, you know, as he goes through that. But he comes out a changed boy, and he's more thoughtful of others. He's less selfish.

He's less of a complainer. Not perfect, but changed. Wow. I mean, there's a lot in that. And that's all about sin, right, and confession of sin, and really Jesus giving us a new identity and a baptism, right, in the water, and salvation.

Wow. Yeah, it's all right there. And what I love about this illustration is that we can all see ourselves in it. I mean, isn't it true that Jesus is always making us new after he saves us? He's still working in those areas of our lives to help us be the people he created us to be. So he gives us a spirit who continues this work of making us more like him, and sometimes that means there are breakthroughs that we need to make with him, just like Eustace, you know, breaking through that old dragon skin. And one of those areas where we so often need a breakthrough, I think, and I'm speaking for myself here, is in this area of thinking less of myself and more of God and learning to love him more and praise him more. Yeah, and that's the title of today's talk, right? Actually, Breaking Through to Praise.

You know, so let's talk about that. How do we get rid of our dragon skin and begin to praise him more? Well, first, I think that we, just like Eustace, Robbie, have to admit that we need Esalen's help. You know, we need Jesus to change our hearts in this because it goes so deep. So it starts by asking him to help us see things in a new way and make the choice to praise him.

Yeah, that's such an important point. I mean, ask him to help us make the choice because we really, we can't do it at our own strength. So we also have to kind of make a choice to do that, but, and as we do that with his help, right, begin to praise God more. Well, it's not just a matter of singing songs and quoting verses, you know, that's important, and it's all a part of this, but it has to start even deeper than that. And so when we praise God, this is, I think the thing we have to recognize to start this is we're actually walking by faith, and that means that we really are seeing things in a different way.

So what do you mean? Well, if I'm just living in the moment, thinking pretty much, again, mostly about myself, then I see everything on this short-term basis. Something bad happens, and it's like, why God, how could you allow this? And I'm not talking about larger things, tragedies. I'm talking about even little things.

You know, I walk out my door and my car has a flat tire, or my kids are just dawdling, and I don't get them out of the door on time, so they missed the bus, and I have to take them to school, and now I'm late for work, and we can all get sucked into this negativity so quickly. And this is where we need to take a step back and take a breath and realize, okay, I'm not exactly happy in this moment, but God is still good, and I'm going to ask for his help to keep my eyes on him. That's what faith does, right? It sees beyond our temporary circumstances. So praise, then, is that next step of another step of not only seeing beyond, but reaching there.

Wow, really, above the clouds. I mean, the sun still shines, and this is helpful, because otherwise we can find ourselves even getting mad at God, right? A little like Martha and Mary, like, Lord, tell her to help me. Yeah, great point, because Martha was so busy, and Jesus said Mary chose what's better, but faith helps us to make the choices we need to form new habits. So we start by praying for more faith, and again asking God to help us in that, and then we make up our minds. We reach for that breakthrough into a new way of thinking with the strength God gives. So there we're walking by faith. And remember, Scripture says, be transformed by the renewing of your mind. It's a command, actually, you know? We're to choose this.

If it's not sort of some spell, be transformed. You know, we have a part in this. And the interesting thing is that this is right after Paul talks about offering ourselves to God as a holy sacrifice. So we're living for him. And then even right before that, at the end of the 11th chapter in Romans, Paul gives this statement of praise, for from him and through him, and to him are all things. To him be the glory forever and ever. So God's word is pointing us to there, pulling us out of the dragon skin, you know, out of our self-focus and saying, keep your eyes on God no matter what, because he is so worthy of it.

Darrell Bock Yeah, so James, in the time we have left, let's break this down a little more. Breaking through praise starts, breaking through to praise starts by asking God to help us to have more faith, right? And then by making specific choices that will help us see beyond our circumstances and just focus on him. Could you finish up the day with a prayer, you know, so that we can all break through to praise right here?

James Lovell Here's one out of Isaiah 26, three. You will keep in perfect peace, Lord, all who trust in you, all whose thoughts are fixed on you. Father, we want to be like that more and more.

You must increase, we must decrease. So we praise you today and we ask for more faith to do it, more faith to live like this, and we thank you that as we do, you will set us free into even more praise. In Jesus' name, Amen. Darrell Bock Amen. You can hear more from Pastor James by visiting his website,, or by visiting Peace Church in Durham, North Carolina. May God bless you and encourage you as you pray. This is the Truth Network.
Whisper: medium.en / 2022-12-04 10:38:31 / 2022-12-04 10:42:48 / 4

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