Archive | September 2012

Say NO to fear!

Jesus knew the human heart so well. He knew how often we would base our personal and collective security on our surroundings.  The Apostles fell into it before the day of Pentecost and today we still fall into it. It’s that great big pit called FEAR.  It has the ability to paralyze us in our tracks and stop us moving ahead if we let it.

Gone are the times of economical and political security. Our religious freedoms are being attacked on a daily basis. We watch and can hardly believe our eyes when we see one politician after another make blunders that will dig us into a deeper financial, spiritual or moral hole. The more we become educated about what is going on in the world, the more we have the potential to become overwhelmed by all the poverty, inhumanity and plain hatred around us.

Knowing all this, some choose the route of escape. They no longer watch the news or expose themselves to situations outside their own family bubble. Other’s get angry and take up political arms or soap boxes. How are we to respond to all the chaos going on around us?  The word of God has many words to address that. Despite the cause of fear, the answer is always the same….

Let’s look at a few verses and see…Phillipians 4:6-8 NIV Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.

2 Thessalonians 3:16 NIV 16 Now may the Lord of peace himself give you peace at all times and in every way. The Lord be with all of you.

John 14:27 NIV 27 Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.

1 Peter 4:19 NIV 19 So then, those who suffer according to God’s will should commit themselves to their faithful Creator and continue to do good.

These four beautiful verses alone, offer us the way for a follower of Christ to respond..We are to lay aside our anxiety and instead take all matters to God in prayer, not forgetting to thank Him for the answers. When we lay these things at the feet of Jesus we can rest and stop  fretting, allowing God’s peace to reign! He promises to  provide  peace at ALL times and in EVERY way. It is available to us 24/7, regardless of our circumstances! We just have to rest in it.  We are to replace our fear based thinking with  those things that are right, lovely, admirable, excellent and praiseworthy! Finally, though we may come up against obstacles and oppression while we serve God, we are to continue to trust in God’s faithfulness and to keep on truckin’ so to speak!

Don’t allow fear to keep you back from achieving what God has called you and set your apart to do! Despite what is going on around you, trust in the One who laid the foundations of the world and who has created you for a time such as this!

Freedon From Fear

1 John 4:18 NIV

 

Related Articles: http://work4christ.wordpress.com/2012/09/

Signs of the times are everywhere..

In my teens I used to hear about how things would get worse before Jesus returns.  Back then, when I looked around it was difficult to  to imagine some of the Bible verses actually coming to pass. Things in the world were a little crazy but peace still reigned, at least in my neck of the woods. There were difficult financial years and wars going on afar but North America still seemed like a haven for peace. All that has changed in the last ten years or so. There has been an increase in wars, famines and incredibly unpredictable weather conditions worldwide.  Things are heating up here in North America. Our religious freedoms are being attacked daily. Our leaders seem to lack leadership and seem as confused about what to do as the rest of the population.

All that being said, should Christians panic and worry. NO. We have been warned that all these things and plenty more would come to pass. It is not a surprise to anyone that has studied God’s word. Should we give up on the goals and purposes God has put in our hearts. Absolutely not!  We have been born for a time such as this.  It is all the more important that we live as God has called us to live. Serving and growing in his grace and wisdom. No man knows how much time we have. It could be 10 years, 20 years or 50 years. It really doesn’t matter. The important thing is that we fulfill our God ordained purposes. It is vital that we ask God for continued wisdom and direction for each and every one of our lives and that we stop wasting time! We need to be basking in Christ’s love and soaking in His word. After all, we know how it all ends.

If you have been getting spiritually lazy and not seeking God on a daily basis, it’s time to put aside your laziness and get on your knees before Him. Get back into the word of God and encourage yourself with His wonderful promises. Let’s look at a few of them..

Luke 12:35-40 NIV 35 “Be dressed ready for service and keep your lamps burning, 36 like servants waiting for their master to return from a wedding banquet, so that when he comes and knocks they can immediately open the door for him. 37 It will be good for those servants whose master finds them watching when he comes.Truly I tell you, he will dress himself to serve, will have them recline at the table and will come and wait on them. 38 It will be good for those servants whose master finds them ready, even if he comes in the middle of the night or toward daybreak. 39 But understand this: If the owner of the house had known at what hour the thief was coming, he would not have let his house be broken into. 40 You also must be ready, because the Son of Man will come at an hour when you do not expect Him.”

1John 2:28 NIV 28 And now, dear children, continue in Him, so that when he appears we may be confident and unashamed before him at His coming.

1 Thessalonians 4:16,17 NIV16 For the Lord himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. 17 After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the Lord forever. And finally.. Revelation 3:3 NIV Remember, therefore, what you have received and heard; hold it fast, and repent. But if you do not wake up, I will come like a thief, and you will not know at what time I will come to you.

If you find yourself growing weary with the increase in worldwide craziness take heart and remember we already know how the story ends. God is not surprised nor stressed about any of this. He is still on His throne and continues to extend His love and mercy to everyone that cries out to Him. Our Messiah didn’t die in vain and offers an eternal peace and joy for any that call on His name!!

Riot Police Surrounding Demonstration

“Signs of the times are everywhere, there’s a brand new feeling in the air. Keep your eye upon the Eastern sky. Lift up your hands, redemption draweth nigh.” From the song “Redemption Draweth Nigh” by Gordon Jensen

Prayer DOES change things!

I was thrilled this weekend to hear that Pastor Youcef Nardarkhani was released from an Iranian prison after three years of imprisonment.  Pastor Nardarkhani had been  charged with apostasy and was given a death sentence for being a Christian in Iran and for refusing to recant his faith in Christ. I and thousands of other Christians, worldwide had been praying for his release. Thanks to the International Christian Concern organization, his plight was made known to tens of thousands of believers. Through facebook and Twitter his name was kept in the public eye.  The pressure they kept up and their monthly reminders for prayer had many of us interceding on his behalf.  I have no doubt whatsoever that God heard our prayers and answered!  Not all of our brothers and sisters in Christ will be released from their plights as it’s not always God’s will. Obviously God has a bigger purpose for Pastor Nardarkhani being a free man.  I do believe, however, that the fervent prayers of righteous men and women helped to accomplish this!

God calls each of us to intercede on behalf of our brothers and sisters. Our prayers can make all the difference in the world. When I was reading my devotions last night, I was reminded again of the beautiful power in collective prayer. It is found in  Acts 12:1-11 NIV 12 It was about this time that King Herod arrested some who belonged to the church, intending to persecute them. He had James, the brother of John, put to death with the sword. When he saw that this met with approval among the Jews, he proceeded to seize Peter also. This happened during the Festival of Unleavened Bread. After arresting him, he put him in prison, handing him over to be guarded by four squads of four soldiers each. Herod intended to bring him out for public trial after the Passover.So Peter was kept in prison, but the church was earnestly praying to God for him.The night before Herod was to bring him to trial, Peter was sleeping between two soldiers, bound with two chains, and sentries stood guard at the entrance. Suddenly an angel of the Lord appeared and a light shone in the cell. He struck Peter on the side and woke him up. “Quick, get up!” he said, and the chains fell off Peter’s wrists.Then the angel said to him, “Put on your clothes and sandals.” And Peter did so. “Wrap your cloak around you and follow me,” the angel told him. Peter followed him out of the prison, but he had no idea that what the angel was doing was really happening; he thought he was seeing a vision. 10 They passed the first and second guards and came to the iron gate leading to the city. It opened for them by itself, and they went through it. When they had walked the length of one street, suddenly the angel left him.11 Then Peter came to himself and said, “Now I know without a doubt that the Lord has sent his angel and rescued me from Herod’s clutches and from everything the Jewish people were hoping would happen.”

Wow, what an answer to the cries of the church! Similarly, the odds of Pastor Nardarkhani being released from an Iranian prison were very slim. It was the obedient response of the church to pray unceasingly on his behalf that brought about his release.  I am sure Pastor Nardarkhani would agree!

When you have a need go to God in prayer and watch His hand move in amazing ways to bring it to pass.  Jesus promised that we would not only do things He did but that, through the power of the Holy Spirit, we would do even greater things.  John 14:12 NIV 12 Very truly I tell you, whoever believes in me will do the works I have been doing, and they will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father.

Through Christ, God has provided this amazing tool that allows us all to  boldly come before His throne with our requests. He hears the prayers of His kids. Collective prayer offers a special promise.. Matthew 18:19 NIV 19 “Again, truly I tell you that if two of you on earth agree about anything they ask for, it will be done for them by my Father in heaven. What an awesome promise from an awesome God!

Keep prayer as a mainstay in your life. Don’t allow anything to come between you and your intimacy with God. Pray for others. If you want the support of many, ask others to pray for you and or your situation. Too often we don’t see results in our lives because our prayer life is lacking.

Leonard Ravenhill was a true man of God. An Evangelist and author, he spent his life focusing on the importance of prayer and revival.  His words still ring true today,“No man is greater than his prayer life. The pastor who is not praying is playing, the people who are not praying are straying. We have many organizers but few agonizers; many players and payers, few pray-ers; many singers, few slingers;lots of pastors, few wrestlers;many fears, few tears;much fashion, little passion; many interferers, few intercessors;many writers but few fighters. Failing here, we fail everywhere.”

Prayer: James 5:16

Prayer: James 5:16

Like a mighty warrior is our God

Sometimes things seem a wee bit overwhelming.  When we look around us life circumstances can seem insurmountable. I am a fixer by nature. I like to do what I can to fix situations. Perhaps being a mother of five has made me so.  I don’t know, but I do know that I like to do everything within my power to make things right when I can.  There are times that is not enough. The older I get, the more I realize that God will often allow us to get to the end of ourselves in order to reveal His mighty hand in the situation. At times it really frightens me to let go and let God.  However, I find myself in that situation more and more and am beginning to see a pattern.  Trial comes, I engage in trying to do all I can and it is not enough to fix the situation so I let go and let God. Perhaps if I relinquished my efforts earlier and yielded to God earlier I would not be seeing this pattern so often! 🙂

Because God’s love for me (and everyone else) is relentless, He doesn’t give up on us. He does continue to allow us to go through these lessons however, until we finally do get it! He does not want us fighting our own battles. We are ill equipped. He knows all and sees all and is much more able to fight them for us.  If we are abiding in Him and walking in His ways He promises to do just that.  The following verse makes that very clear, Jeremiah 20:11 NIV 11 But the Lord is with me like a mighty warrior; so my persecutors will stumble and not prevail. They will fail and be thoroughly disgraced; their dishonor will never be forgotten.

I am determining in my heart to yield faster. It is simply a waste of time battling it out on our own. Satan knows the areas of our lives that we are most vulnerable and these are the areas he is relentless in. If we yield the battle to God earlier, we retain our peace and joy throughout the trial. If we get into an out and out battle ourselves we lose both.

We are King’s kids. Through Christ, we have obtained all the promises and blessings of the Father. It’s time we stop wasting time struggling on our own and let Him fight the fight for us. 2 Chronicles 20:17 NIV 17 You will not have to fight this battle. Take up your positions; stand firm and see the deliverance the Lord will give you, Judah and Jerusalem. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged. Go out to face them tomorrow, and the Lord will be with you.’”

Determine to let God fight your battles for you. Walk right, love much and seek His will in all areas of your life. When we strive to do it on our own our hearts can become bitter and angry. This will prevent us from interceding and seeking God for the ones that need Him most. Let the “lover of our soul” do the fighting for us.