Archives

The WAY back

It is an amazing thing to me that the Son of God came to the earth in such a beautiful, simple manner. There was no pomp and circumstance at the time of His birth in the lowly manger. He came as a baby in order that He would go through and experience the various stages of life we would and yet not sin. The Word of God tells us He was tempted in every way just as we are. Hebrews 12:15 NIV 15 For we do not have a high priest who is unable to empathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are—yet He did not sin.  Our temptations are not foreign to Him. That in itself is sometimes hard for me to wrap my mind around. When He came to the earth He could have come in all His glory and majesty as the exalted Son of God, but rather He came humbly to demonstrate His love and affection for us in a way that we can understand. He was man and He was God. He dealt with the same things many of us deal, with yet did not sin. Through His holiness and obedience He made a way as the sacrificial lamb for us to become holy. When He willingly sacrificed His sinless body for our sin ridden bodies He opened  the door for our redemption by the blood that was shed.   That is love!

Until we really grasp that fact not just in our head but in our hearts, we will continue to strive to make ourselves acceptable to Him. However, striving will never accomplish acceptability. On our own, we will NEVER be clean enough, kind enough, loving enough, or giving enough. We simply cannot make ourselves be acceptable by anything we do. It is only by accepting that when He died on that cross, His shed blood made me acceptable in the eyes of God. It is through Christ alone that we are able to stand clean before God. It is through Christ alone that we are changed. When we come to Him and ask His forgiveness and ask Him to be Lord of our life we receive the Holy Spirit who begins to work in us to conform us into the image of Christ. Through prayer and prayerfully reading our Bibles we will grow closer to Him and deeper in our walk as followers.  There will be times in our walk that we stumble. It is during these times it is most important that we confess our sin quickly, get back up and move forward. If we allow the accuser of the brethren (Satan) to cause us to feel we are no longer good enough to come before God we have missed the most important message of the gospel.  We will NEVER be good enough. That is why we need our redeemer! That’s why God sent Christ! John 14:6 NIV Jesus answered, “I am the WAY and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.

If you are a Christian that is struggling with feelings of defeat, discouragement, failure etc. because of a stumble, a fall or outright disobedience than it’s time you confess your sin, and accept His forgiveness. He promises that if we confess our sin He is faithful and just to forgive us from our sins and to cleanse us from ALL unrighteousness. (1John 1:9) HE does NOT LIE. Don’t allow pride or fear to keep you from intimacy with the lover of your soul. Pride will tell  you that you need to straighten yourself up first before you come to Christ. You can’t straighten yourself up without Christ! Too often we listen to the wrong voice when we stumble and rather than confessing our sin and turning back to the One who willingly died for us, we try and fix ourselves up first. It is pride cloaked in works.  His love for us is more than sufficient to forgive us and set us back on track!

Don’t waste another minute striving to get back to a place where you feel you will be good enough to come back to Christ. It’s impossible on your own. Instead accept once and for all that the blood He shed on the cross will cover every one of your sins. Not just some but every one. Ask for forgiveness right now and KNOW that  if we confess our sins, He is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness. Begin to thank Him for His love and mercy and get back into a place of intimacy with Him through spending time with Him and in His Word.

Lord I am sorry for the things that I have done that have grieved You. I am sorry for hurting or disappointing myself and others through my actions. I pray for your forgiveness right now and I believe Lord that when I confess my sin You are true to Your word and that You are faithful to forgive me and to cleanse me from ALL unrighteousness.  Thank You Lord! Keep me close to You and give me a hunger for Your word that I may grow closer and deeper in love with You.

In the precious name of Jesus,

Amen

Are you ALWAYS prepared to give an answer?

As we follow Christ it’s important that we always remember that our lives are to exemplify His character.   I don’t think we really get this until we realize deep down how much He loves us. I spent years knowing in my head He loved me but it really has been only the last few years when I began to believe in the depths of my heart that HE LOVES ME!  Me, who stumbles from time to time. Me, who wasted years living a life without the intimacy I now share with Him. Me, who is so far from perfect it isn’t funny. That’s right, HE LOVES ME and HE LOVES YOU too! The more I think about what He did for me on the cross and what He continues to do for me daily, I can’t help but love HIM!

It’s not enough for us to simply enjoy our relationship with Christ, but out of that relationship He has called us to love and serve others. This is going to look a little different in each of our lives.  Some are called to minister as evangelists, prophets, teachers etc.. others are called to minister in their daily life as parents, neighbors, friends etc. but all are called to minister in one manner or another.  We are to be ready and willing to not only do the labor He has called us to but also to give any man or woman that asks, the reason why. We read in 1 Peter 3:15-16 NIV 15 But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect, 16 keeping a clear conscience, so that those who speak maliciously against your good behavior in Christ may be ashamed of their slander. 

Those are powerful words. That means when we are waiting in line for half an hour to pay for our purchases and the cashier is learning as she goes, we need to exemplify the character of Christ and be willing to give the reason why should we be asked. That means when someone cuts us off in traffic we are to exemplify the character of Christ and be willing to give the reason why, should someone ask. That means when someone blames us for something we haven’t done, we need to respond with the character of Christ and be willing to give the reason why should someone ask.  This is something we need to be mindful of regardless of where we are, who we are with or what we are doing.

Often we designate certain areas of our lives that we know we must tow the line so to speak, but the word of God tells us that we should ALWAYS be prepared to give an answer to EVERYONE who asks to give the reason for the hope that you have! The only way this is possible is by staying close to Christ. It is out of His love and Holy Spirit that we are able to see each person we meet as someone He has put in our path. When we abide in Him throughout the day, we see as He sees. When we walk in our own strength we see as we see and will miss many opportunities to share His love to a world that desperately needs Him.

Over the last year I have formed a habit of praying each morning on my way into work that the Lord will bring people into my office that He wants there. I ask Him to help me to demonstrate His love to those He brings in. Yesterday I had a new client come in that was particularly challenging. After listening to her for a few minutes I was ready to respond with some “attitude.”  It was then the Lord reminded me, “Did you not ask me to bring people in? This is one of the people I have sent.”  Instantly, my response changed! I realized it was by His appointment this woman had come into my office and I was to respond to her the way Christ would. It made the rest of our conversation go so much smoother and by the end of the conversation her entire demeanor changed for good!  However, even if it hadn’t improved, I was still to respond as Christ would. It is not dependent on how others treat us but how Christ would treat them.

Too often we become desensitized to the fact that we are His hands and feet everywhere we go and to everyone we meet. If you find yourself struggling with this please join me in the following prayer…

Lord, please stir our hearts to be prepared to answer ANYONE who asks the reason for the hope we have in You. Give us a love for what You love and a hate for what You hate. Let us be Your hands and feet today in all that we do, remembering to do all with gentleness and respect.

In the precious name of Jesus, our beautiful Lord and King,

Amen

Waiting Room behavior

Have you been waiting on God for some time for an answer? I have. I have cried out to God several times for a situation to be resolved and I am still waiting. I had initially hoped He would resolve the issue quickly and all would be well. He has not done so, despite many prayers and petitions. Do I think He is ignoring me? NO, I know He hears my cry and I also know He will answer it in His time.

If I am completely honest I must admit in my earlier walk with Christ I used to get very annoyed and sometimes very angry when I didn’t see answers come quickly. Sadly I see many believers still behaving in the same way. If God doesn’t answer them how and when they want Him to, they rebel in their hearts. It’s as if we think by being annoyed or angry we are going to strong arm God into giving us our results when we want them. Manipulation may have worked with others we have dealt with but it will NOT work with our Heavenly Father.  You can’t rebel yourself into getting your way!  I am grateful to God that He has taught me that the hard way! He didn’t give in to my immature demands. Instead, He waited for me to get to the end of my arrogant demanding and when I humbled myself often I would see results that  I had longed for. He requires our love and obedience even when we don’t see things going our way. Even when things seem so wrong! We must never forget that He is the creator of the universe. He knows the beginning from the end. His ways are not our ways!

I am learning to praise Him despite immediate unanswered prayers. I am learning to worship Him and love Him despite difficulties I am facing. I am learning to trust Him despite what I see with my eyes. That is what the word of God tells me to do and that is what I want to do. When I find myself starting to grumble and complain, He reminds me that I am to trust Him with everything. Not just what I happen to understand. It’s called growing up in faith. No longer demanding my way and when I don’t get it withholding my love and affection from the One who NEVER withholds His love from me.  My prayer is that as I journey on through the rest of my life I will do as David says in Psalm 130:5 NIV 5 I wait for the Lord, my whole being waits,  and in His word I put my hope.  And as I wait, I hope I will continue to praise Him and worship Him for who He is, not just for what He does or how quickly He does it.

Lord help us all to   Rejoice always,  pray continually,  give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus. (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 NIV)

Keep Him in your goals

There are many things I hope to accomplish in this coming year. I have goals I hope to achieve in my home, at my place of work, at my church and even personal  goals I want to accomplish. I think these things are important. I find when I have a goal it is much easier to keep moving forward.  A goal keeps me focused. It helps remind me of what I need to do and how I need to do it. Without a goal I tend to stagnate.

As important as our short term goals are they must never become more important than or take the place of God’s long term goal for us. In fact we may have to tweak our short term goals on occasion when the Lord reveals to us that it is in the way of something He has planned for us. We must learn to be flexible with our goals, always being sensitive to the Spirit of God’s leading. After all, His ways are better than our ways! He knows the beginning and the end! We form our goals with short term vision. He doesn’t.

With that in mind, there is one long term goal He has for all of us. This goal must never change! This goal can be found in the book of Hebrews 12:1-3 NIV 12 Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart. 

Any goals we set, any plans we make must include “fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith.”  Even our own personal goals must not impede the ultimate goal of running the race God has marked out for us. A race that will ultimately result in hearing the words, “Well done though good and faithful servant!”   Anything we plan that pulls us away from Christ is not a plan that He will bless or flourish but as we submit ourselves to His will for us and plans for our future, we can be assured that He will guide us as we go. He will also nudge us when we get off track.

Why not join me in 2014 and ask God to direct every goal and plan for the future?

Lord we pray that in this coming year You will guide our steps, You will give us vision for the future and You will keep us close to You. We know that anything done without You is done in vain. We ask for Your hand in all we do, no matter how small the plan or goal. If we begin to wander off the track You have planned for us, help us to be sensitive and obedient to the nudging of Your precious Spirit and get back on track.  We ask this in the name of our beautiful Savior and King, Jesus.

Amen

Don’t make an idol of your peeps!

It wasn’t too long ago since I realized I had been making an idol out of some of the people in my life. This may sound extreme but believe me it isn’t that unusual. I see it done all the time. When we choose to put others before our relationship with Christ we are really making an idol of them. We have been called to follow Christ in love and in obedience. He longs for our heart. He longs for us to seek Him daily and to be sensitive to the gentle voice of the Holy Spirit.  Too often we put the needs and desires of others before His and we in turn tune Him out.

When we put Him first we are allowing Him to work in us and through us in the most effective way possible, enabling us to love better, make wiser decisions and to walk out a life that will be much more fulfilling. We must make a daily choice to do this. It will not just happen. When we do, our family and friends will also benefit. We will be the person God has called us to be and be able to bring His love and wisdom into many of their circumstances. When we put them first, we lack both and we operate  in the flesh. We also become dependent on them for our happiness and satisfaction. No person is capable of giving us true happiness or satisfaction but Christ.

We are called to love our family and friends. We are called to serve them and others outside our circle but we are called to love the Lord our God with all our heart, soul and mind. (Matthew 22:37 )  When we keep Him first in our lives, He will guide us in how to love others. Not in a self serving, suffocating love but in a love that has their best interests at heart. When we reverse this and put other people first we lose our abiding love for Jesus and others become our focal point. They become our source of joy and will inevitably let us down from time to time. Jesus never will. He will equip us to love others in the healthiest way possible!

If you are allowing anyone or anything to come between you and your intimacy with Christ, I challenge you today to ask  for His forgiveness. Tell Him you want Him to be first in your life and ask for a renewed love for Him and His Word. He delights in answering such prayers. Don’t waste another day. Put Him first this Christmas season and see Him move through you to reach others in the most effective way possible!

No more moaning or wait like Paul!

In my walk with Christ, there have been many times that I have had to wait on God for direction for the future. Times when things have not gone the way I expected. Times when tragedy has knocked at my door.  I haven’t always waited with the right attitude. I have often moaned and groaned and complained. I am learning however that there is a better way!  Our attitude during the wait says so much about who we believe our God is and how much He loves us!

I believe Apostle Paul gives us a wonderful example of just how we are to wait. Throughout Paul’s life he  went through many things that most of us have never had to endure. He educates us on some of his sufferings in the book 0f 2 Corinthians 11:16-33 NIV16 I repeat: Let no one take me for a fool. But if you do, then tolerate me just as you would a fool, so that I may do a little boasting. 17 In this self-confident boasting I am not talking as the Lord would, but as a fool. 18 Since many are boasting in the way the world does, I too will boast. 19 You gladly put up with fools since you are so wise! 20 In fact, you even put up with anyone who enslaves you or exploits you or takes advantage of you or puts on airs or slaps you in the face. 21 To my shame I admit that we were too weak for that!

Whatever anyone else dares to boast about—I am speaking as a fool—I also dare to boast about.22 Are they Hebrews? So am I. Are they Israelites? So am I. Are they Abraham’s descendants? So am I. 23 Are they servants of Christ? (I am out of my mind to talk like this.) I am more. I have worked much harder, been in prison more frequently, been flogged more severely, and been exposed to death again and again. 24 Five times I received from the Jews the forty lashes minus one. 25 Three times I was beaten with rods, once I was pelted with stones, three times I was shipwrecked, I spent a night and a day in the open sea, 26 I have been constantly on the move. I have been in danger from rivers, in danger from bandits, in danger from my fellow Jews, in danger from Gentiles; in danger in the city, in danger in the country, in danger at sea; and in danger from false believers. 27 I have labored and toiled and have often gone without sleep; I have known hunger and thirst and have often gone without food; I have been cold and naked. 28 Besides everything else, I face daily the pressure of my concern for all the churches. 29 Who is weak, and I do not feel weak? Who is led into sin, and I do not inwardly burn?

30 If I must boast, I will boast of the things that show my weakness. 31 The God and Father of the Lord Jesus, who is to be praised forever, knows that I am not lying. 32 In Damascus the governor under King Aretas had the city of the Damascenes guarded in order to arrest me. 33 But I was lowered in a basket from a window in the wall and slipped through his hands.

Thankfully most of us will not endure all the sufferings that Paul did. We will however, have to face our own. No one escapes from life here on earth without enduring some difficulty and suffering. We live in a fallen world and until we see Jesus face to face, there will be things from time to time that we will have to endure.  Instead of complaining and moaning, I believe the Lord has shown us in the book of Acts how we are to wait.  Acts 16:16-34 NIV16 Once when we were going to the place of prayer, we were met by a female slave who had a spirit by which she predicted the future. She earned a great deal of money for her owners by fortune-telling. 17 She followed Paul and the rest of us, shouting, “These men are servants of the Most High God, who are telling you the way to be saved.” 18 She kept this up for many days. Finally Paul became so annoyed that he turned around and said to the spirit, “In the name of Jesus Christ I command you to come out of her!” At that moment the spirit left her.

19 When her owners realized that their hope of making money was gone, they seized Paul and Silas and dragged them into the marketplace to face the authorities. 20 They brought them before the magistrates and said, “These men are Jews, and are throwing our city into an uproar 21 by advocating customs unlawful for us Romans to accept or practice.”

22 The crowd joined in the attack against Paul and Silas, and the magistrates ordered them to be stripped and beaten with rods. 23 After they had been severely flogged, they were thrown into prison, and the jailer was commanded to guard them carefully. 24 When he received these orders, he put them in the inner cell and fastened their feet in the stocks.

25 About midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the other prisoners were listening to them. 26 Suddenly there was such a violent earthquake that the foundations of the prison were shaken. At once all the prison doors flew open, and everyone’s chains came loose. 27 The jailer woke up, and when he saw the prison doors open, he drew his sword and was about to kill himself because he thought the prisoners had escaped. 28 But Paul shouted, “Don’t harm yourself! We are all here!”

29 The jailer called for lights, rushed in and fell trembling before Paul and Silas. 30 He then brought them out and asked, “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?”

31 They replied, “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved—you and your household.” 32 Then they spoke the word of the Lord to him and to all the others in his house. 33 At that hour of the night the jailer took them and washed their wounds; then immediately he and all his household were baptized. 34 The jailer brought them into his house and set a meal before them; he was filled with joy because he had come to believe in God—he and his whole household.

Many in the church today would have spent the first few days in prison complaining to God that they had been imprisoned unjustly! The focus being on how it was affecting their life! Instead, Paul used every opportunity, no matter how difficult or painful, to allow Christ to use him for His glory. He and Silas prayed and sang hymns and God answered supernaturally! They glorified Christ right there in that prison cell and ultimately many others were saved because of their response!

God wants the same from each of us. He wants us to trust Him completely as we wait on Him for our answer. He wants us to glorify Him in our response and our actions, regardless of the situation we find ourselves in. We don’t have to run to everyone else and tell them all of  our woes, we need to run to our Master. He will hear us and answer us and while we wait, we need to pray and sing hymns and glorify Him in our behavior. Just as the jailer watched Paul and Silas, others our watching us and our response during these times  has the ability to make a difference in where they and their families may  spend eternity.

Prayer and praise are the oars by which a man may row his boat into the deep waters of the knowledge of Christ. ~ Charles Spurgeon

Seriously, do I really need to go to church?

When we come to Christ, God fills us with His Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit than gives each of us spiritual gifts as He sees fit. All the gifts are necessary for the collective body of Christ to grow. God does not give us our giftings to hoard or to sit on. He wants us to use our giftings to minister to one another. Let’s take a look at what Paul says about the gifts and the purpose of the giftings in 1 Corinthians 12:1-28….

1 Corinthians 12:1-28 NIV 12 Now about the gifts of the Spirit, brothers and sisters, I do not want you to be uninformed.You know that when you were pagans, somehow or other you were influenced and led astray to mute idols. Therefore I want you to know that no one who is speaking by the Spirit of God says, “Jesus be cursed,” and no one can say, “Jesus is Lord,” except by the Holy Spirit.

There are different kinds of gifts, but the same Spirit distributes them. There are different kinds of service, but the same Lord. There are different kinds of working, but in all of them and in everyone it is the same God at work.

Now to each one the manifestation of the Spirit is given for the common good. To one there is given through the Spirit a message of wisdom, to another a message of knowledge by means of the same Spirit, to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healing by that one Spirit, 10 to another miraculous powers, to another prophecy, to another distinguishing between spirits, to another speaking in different kinds of tongues, and to still another the interpretation of tongues.11 All these are the work of one and the same Spirit, and he distributes them to each one, just as he determines.

12 Just as a body, though one, has many parts, but all its many parts form one body, so it is with Christ. 13 For we were all baptized by[ one Spirit so as to form one body—whether Jews or Gentiles, slave or free—and we were all given the one Spirit to drink. 14 Even so the body is not made up of one part but of many.

15 Now if the foot should say, “Because I am not a hand, I do not belong to the body,” it would not for that reason stop being part of the body. 16 And if the ear should say, “Because I am not an eye, I do not belong to the body,” it would not for that reason stop being part of the body. 17 If the whole body were an eye, where would the sense of hearing be? If the whole body were an ear, where would the sense of smell be? 18 But in fact God has placed the parts in the body, every one of them, just as he wanted them to be. 19 If they were all one part, where would the body be? 20 As it is, there are many parts, but one body.

21 The eye cannot say to the hand, “I don’t need you!” And the head cannot say to the feet, “I don’t need you!” 22 On the contrary, those parts of the body that seem to be weaker are indispensable, 23 and the parts that we think are less honorable we treat with special honor. And the parts that are unpresentable are treated with special modesty, 24 while our presentable parts need no special treatment. But God has put the body together, giving greater honor to the parts that lacked it, 25 so that there should be no division in the body, but that its parts should have equal concern for each other. 26 If one part suffers, every part suffers with it; if one part is honored, every part rejoices with it.

27 Now you are the body of Christ, and each one of you is a part of it. 28 And God has placed in the church first of all apostles, second prophets, third teachers, then miracles, then gifts of healing, of helping, of guidance, and of different kinds of tongues. 29 Are all apostles? Are all prophets? Are all teachers? Do all work miracles? 30 Do all have gifts of healing? Do all speak in tongues? Do all interpret? 31 Now eagerly desire the greater gifts.

Each and every one of us have a part to play in God’s family. This is the way He created it to be. We need each other to fulfill God’s plan for sharing Christ with the world. We also need each other to grow and mature in Christ. Our Creator did not want us to be alone. He knows what we need to mature and minister to others. The church provides the avenue for this to happen.

I spent several years away from church. There were many reasons I stopped going, none of which were any particular church’s fault. I had begun to doubt God’s love for me after being battered by a few life storms. I think I even wanted to punish God for not keeping the storms away. I am thankful to say God wooed me back with His love. I am now certain that, thanks to Christ, His love for me is limitless. I am also convinced that the church, though not perfect, is the best place for seekers of Christ and followers of Christ to grow in our love for God and one another.

Under solid, loving, Godly church leadership, we are able to learn our individual giftings and begin to use them in building up the church body. We are able to conquer giants through corporate  prayer.  We are able to be loved and love on one another. We able to help one another through difficult days and we are able to reach out to a dying world with the good news of Jesus.

I am so thankful to belong to my church family. My prayer is that if you don’t belong to a church family you will pray and ask God to show you where you should be going. You are missing out on all the blessings a church family brings. You are also missing out on fulfilling your purpose in the body of Christ. God has a church for you somewhere.  Don’t expect it to be perfect after all it’s made up of imperfect people like you and I but it is the place God’s designed for each of us to grow in and He knows what He is doing. 🙂

Mercy triumphs over judgement!

1 John 1:9

Our God is a holy God. I believe many of us have minimized His holiness from time to time in order to make Him seem more approachable. His holiness is not dependent on our needs, wants or desires. His holiness is who He is. He will never be any less holy or more holy. He is holiness.

So the question is, how then can we sinful people, approach God who is so holy with our prayers? We know deep down we don’t deserve to. We know we will never be “good enough” on our own. We know He will see right through our cleaned up appearance to a heart that is deceitful.

I am thankful that although He is holy , He is also merciful. Because of His mercy, He sent His most precious Son to this earth to make a way for us to approach His holiness.  He made a way where there was no way! He provided His Son as the sacrificial lamb for  you and I. He watched His perfect and holy Son suffer a painful death on the cross because of His love for us. Our sins were on His back as He died on that cross.  He indeed made a way where there was no way!

If you do not know Him as your Savior, it’s time you did. Pray this Salvation Prayer today. Don’t wait a minute longer and you too will become a child of God.

Heavenly Father:

I come to you today asking for forgiveness for all my sins. I know I am a sinner and need saving. I am truly sorry for all my sins and the life I have lived without you and I ask for your forgiveness. I believe that Jesus Christ, Your Son, died on the cross and shed His blood for my sins. I believe that He rose again from the dead and is now seated in Heaven. I accept Jesus Christ as my personal Savior right now and according to Your word from Romans chapter 10 verse 9 If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved,” I am now saved!  Thank you for this gift of salvation. Please guide me now and fill me with your Holy Spirit so that I may live my life for You. In Jesus name, Amen. 

You have now become a child of God! It is so important that you begin to read the Bible, perhaps starting in the book of Matthew (New Testament). It is also important that you look for a Bible based church where you can grow as a believer and have fellowship with other Christians.

If you are a follower of Christ but have gotten off track and have forgotten that He died for ALL your sins, not just the “little” ones, bring the rest to Him. Confess them and be restored. If you are bound by thoughts, feelings, fears etc. bring them before Him. He is able to set you free. Ask for forgiveness for the things you have opened yourself up to that have brought these things about and ask Him to free you.

1 John 1:9NIV If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.

Heavenly Father:

 I come before you today, asking for forgiveness for all my sins. I have strayed and disobeyed you and your word. Please forgive me of all my sins and transgressions. I confess (name the sins you are carrying around) I am truly sorry. Please forgive me for opening up areas of my life to sin and bondage. I am sorry and ask that you close the door on any areas I have opened that need shutting. Please restore my peace and joy in You. Guide me with your Holy Spirit so that I may live a life that is pleasing to you. Give me a hunger for your Word, my Bible. Give me a love for others. Create a clean heart in me and renew a right spirit within me today. I ask it all in the precious name of Jesus, Amen.

Don’t waste another day wallowing in the mire. For everyone that has asked Christ to be their Lord and Savior has indeed been made His righteousness!

2 Corinthians 5:21 NIV21 God made Him (Jesus) who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in Him we might become the righteousness of God.  

You now have every right to come before God as His child with your prayers, praise and thanksgiving at any time in any place.   Jesus paid the price in full for your sin and has opened the door for you to enter into the holy of holies to your Heavenly Father. Don’t delay, enter today!

Are your sins becoming to HEAVY to carry?

Has prayer become something you would rather avoid ?  Are you carrying around a suitcase of sin that needs to be carried to and opened before Christ? When we find ourselves carrying sin baggage, it weighs us down. It keeps us from moving forward with God. Instead of eagerly coming to Him, we find ourselves trying to keep busy with other things. Things that distract us from the One who is willing to take that baggage and throw it in His sea of forgetfulness.

You are not alone in your sin. It is something all of us inherited, thanks to Adam and Eve.  I, like yourself and even  Apostle Paul have a battle brewing within us.  Romans 7:15-25 NLT says, 15 I don’t really understand myself, for I want to do what is right, but I don’t do it. Instead, I do what I hate. 16 But if I know that what I am doing is wrong, this shows that I agree that the law is good. 17 So I am not the one doing wrong; it is sin living in me that does it.

18 And I know that nothing good lives in me, that is, in my sinful nature. I want to do what is right, but I can’t. 19 I want to do what is good, but I don’t. I don’t want to do what is wrong, but I do it anyway. 20 But if I do what I don’t want to do, I am not really the one doing wrong; it is sin living in me that does it.21 I have discovered this principle of life—that when I want to do what is right, I inevitably do what is wrong. 22 I love God’s law with all my heart. 23 But there is another powerwithin me that is at war with my mind. This power makes me a slave to the sin that is still within me. 24 Oh, what a miserable person I am! Who will free me from this life that is dominated by sin and death? 25 Thank God! The answer is in Jesus Christ our Lord. So you see how it is: In my mind I really want to obey God’s law, but because of my sinful nature I am a slave to sin.

Does this scripture give us an excuse to carry on in deliberate sin?  NO, it does not. It does however explain the battle we have. It also gives us our solution.

It is to bring every sin back to the cross of Christ. We are not to excuse them but confess them and leave them at the foot of the cross, where the One who died for us wants us to leave them. The more we love Him and spend time with Him, the more it grieves us when we do do the things we know He hates.  When Paul says “Oh what a miserable person I am! Who will free me from this life that is dominated by sin and death?” we get a glimpse of the pain his sin has caused him.  This is the pain we as followers of Christ too should feel when we are grieving the heart of God. Rather than this pain leading us to despair and discouragement it should lead us to Jesus where we can confess it and be forgiven.

As long as we walk this earthly journey we will be in battle. Let’s not become callous to the things that grieve our Lord. Let’s not harden our hearts to sin to the point that we no longer feel the need to bring it before Him. Ask God to keep your heart tender before Him. Spend time with Him in prayer, and in reading His Word. Stay close to the lover of your soul. Don’t allow unconfessed  sin to build  a wall between you and the One who willingly died for every one of your sins. You can’t win the battle without coming before our Mighty Warrior, which is Christ. He is our solution to our sin. He and He alone.

The following scripture beautifully tells us followers of Christ of our inheritance and position in Him.

Romans 3:23-30 NLT 23 For everyone has sinned; we all fall short of God’s glorious standard. 24 Yet God, with undeserved kindness, declares that we are righteous. He did this through Christ Jesus when he freed us from the penalty for our sins. 25 For God presented Jesus as the sacrifice for sin. People are made right with God when they believe that Jesus sacrificed his life, shedding his blood. This sacrifice shows that God was being fair when he held back and did not punish those who sinned in times past, 26 for he was looking ahead and including them in what he would do in this present time. God did this to demonstrate his righteousness, for he himself is fair and just, and he declares sinners to be right in his sight when they believe in Jesus.

27 Can we boast, then, that we have done anything to be accepted by God? No, because our acquittal is not based on obeying the law. It is based on faith. 28 So we are made right with God through faith and not by obeying the law.

29 After all, is God the God of the Jews only? Isn’t he also the God of the Gentiles? Of course he is. 30 There is only one God, and he makes people right with himself only by faith, whether they are Jews or Gentiles.

Don’t let another minute pass before coming before Him. He is waiting to hear from you. He will not turn you away.

Busyness without abiding = wheel spinning

There are times when we feel like our lives are stagnating. Though we may be incredibly busy, we just don’t see ourselves moving forward in any particular direction. This is often a time of personal spiritual reflection. A time for us to seek the face of God for direction. My prayer is that during this time we will not jump into more “spiritual” activity. Instead, use the time to get deeper into the Word of God and spend more time talking to the lover of our soul.  Though busyness can make us appear very spiritual, if we are not doing what God has called us to do in the right spirit, we are just spinning our wheels.  He longs for us to abide in Him, leaning on Him for His strength and guidance as we do His will.

If  you find yourself feeling rather useless right now, begin to seek His face. Talk to Him, read His Word and ask for direction at the beginning of each day. He doesn’t want us doing “His deeds” without Him. He wants relationship. He wants our attention. He wants our love and devotion. It is through abiding in Him and His Word that we are to live out our lives. We are not to do what we deem our spiritual duty, checking in with Him once in a while for approval. We are to seek Him daily and allow Him to use us for His service as He leads, all the while obeying what we know to be His will.

Jesus himself, told us of the importance of remaining close to Him. It is out of that abiding that we will bear spiritual fruit for His Kingdom.

John 15:4-5 NIV 4 Remain in me, as I also remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me.“I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.

If you find yourself just trying to stay busy (even doing “His deeds”)  in order to cover the emptiness inside, perhaps it’s time to get plugged back into the source. Spend time with Jesus today. Let Him know how you are feeling. Ask for direction. Ask for a renewed love and increase in faith. He longs to give us good gifts!  Spend time in His Word. It is a love letter to each of us from God Himself. When we come to Him with a sincere heart He will not ignore us! He is faithful to answer! He has been waiting to hear from you.

“Our greatest fear should not be of failure but of succeeding at things in life that don’t really matter.” ~Francis Chan

Trust in Him who can’t be shaken!

Job 12:10 NIV  10 In his hand is the life of every creature     and the breath of all mankind.

Job 12:10 NIV
10 In his hand is the life of every creature
and the breath of all mankind.

With all the craziness going on in the world today, it is a challenge to not worry about the future. We see government corruption, unrest,  wars and rumors of wars everywhere we look. Things that for generations people relied upon, are now being shaken.  Senior pensions, family security, trust in the government, job security and many other things are no longer things you can rely upon. We tend to find ourselves angry at those in charge. Those who we believe are responsible for the changes that we don’t seem to be able to prevent.

I was reminded this morning that none of this is a surprise to our King. We were warned  in Hebrews 12:25-29 NIV 25 See to it that you do not refuse him who speaks. If they did not escape when they refused him who warned them on earth, how much less will we, if we turn away from him who warns us from heaven? 26 At that time his voice shook the earth, but now he has promised, “Once more I will shake not only the earth but also the heavens.” 27 The words “once more” indicate the removing of what can be shaken that is, created things-so that what cannot be shaken may remain.28 Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, let us be thankful, and so worship God acceptably with reverence and awe, 29 for our “God is a consuming fire.”

We are currently experiencing the birth pangs of what is prophetically to come. If we study the Word as we are called to do,  these pains should not surprise us either. They were foretold and they will happen. Though it is vitally important to pray for our leaders, we cannot count on them to “save” us from all the difficulties we currently face or those to come.  For all of us who follow Christ, our hope and trust must be in the One who truly holds the future in His hand.

God calls His people to trust Him with every area of our lives. He is our King, Redeemer, Provider, Protector and will be with us till He calls us home. When we look to world leaders and political parties alone to keep our future secure, we are trusting in sinking sand. In 1 Peter 2:9 NIV, we read of our position  as followers of Christ, But we are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that we may declare the praises of him who called us out of darkness into his wonderful light.10 Once we were not a people, but now we are the people of God; once we had not received mercy, but now we have received mercy.

Because of our position in Christ, we can trust Him to be ever present with us regardless of the environment we find ourselves living in. Just as God assured Moses that he would deliver His people out of the land of Egypt, through the wilderness and into the Promise Land, we too can trust Him to bring us through any situation or environment until either Christ returns or He calls us home.

When we find ourselves yelling at the tv or ranting over what mess the current politicians have got us into, we need to remember the following verses…

Psalm 118:8 NIV It is better to take refuge in the Lord than to trust in humans.

Psalm 18:30 NIV 30 As for God, His way is perfect: The Lord’s word is flawless; He shields all who take refuge in Him.

Psalm 27:5 NIV For in the day of trouble He will keep me safe in His dwelling; He will hide me in the shelter of His sacred tent and set me high upon a rock.

And finally one of my favorites from the NT…

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.

Have a wonderful day!

A good start makes for a good finish!

Every morning we are faced with new opportunities. I am finding that if I want to fulfill what God has for me to do each day, I need to start my day off remembering just who He is and seeking His guidance.  That first few minutes in the morning before I even get out of bed gives me a great opportunity to talk to the One from whom I want direction. If I wait for my feet to hit the floor often I get so busy doing things before I even realize I have missed seeking Him.

How many days in this lifetime have we spent spinning our own wheels and living out our own plans without His guidance? For most of us, probably far too many. We serve a God that offers us new mercies everyday!  Lamentations 3:22-23 NIV 22 Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. 23They are new every morning;  great is your faithfulness.

What a blessing to know that we can come before Him every day and start fresh.  Through Christ death and resurrection we have been made the righteousness of God and therefore we can boldly come before His throne and ask for His guidance and direction each and every day.  2 Corinthians 5:21 NIV 21 God made Him who had no sin to be sinfor us, so that in Him we might become the righteousness of God.  That truly is awesome! 

Why waste another day spinning your own wheels?  Why not start your day and end your day with the lover of your soul?  Join me and let the words of David be your prayer.

Psalm 63 KJV 63 O God, You are my God; Early will I seek Yo 2 Corinthians 5:21 NIV 21 God made Him who had no sin to be sinfor us, so that in Him we might become the righteousness of God. u; My soul thirsts for You; My flesh longs for You In a dry and thirsty land Where there is no water. So I have looked for You in the sanctuary, To see Your power and Your glory.

Because Your  is better than life, My lips shall praise You. Thus I will bless You while I live; I will lift up my hands in Your name. My soul shall be satisfied as with marrow and fatness, And my mouth shall praise You with joyful lips.

When I remember You on my bed, I meditate on You in the night watches. Because You have been my help, Therefore in the shadow of Your wings I will rejoice. My soul follows close behind You; Your right hand upholds me.

But those who seek my life, to destroy it, Shall go into the lower parts of the earth. 10 They shall fall by the sword; They shall be a portion for jackals.

11 But the king shall rejoice in God; Everyone who swears by Him shall glory; But the mouth of those who speak lies shall be stopped. 

Amen

Is He your priority?

Our calling, as followers of Christ is not a following of convenience. It is a following of love and passion for the One that first loved us. The One who willingly suffered excruciating pain, shed His blood and laid down His life in order that we would have access to fellowship with the Father. He provided the ultimate sacrifice on the altar of the cross and that was Himself. Enabling us to become the righteousness of God through Him.

It would do us well to remember every time we come before Him in prayer of the high price He paid. Also, the deep love of God our Father that He loved us enough to provide His Son as the ultimate sacrifice!

1Peter 3:18 NIV 18For Christ also suffered once for sins, the righteous for the unrighteous, to bring you to God. He was put to death in the body but made alive in the Spirit.

We serve an awesome, holy, just and loving God who has provided His Holy Spirit to draw us to Him and enable us to be transformed from glory to glory. He provides His Word that we can feed on. His supernatural Word that teaches, guides, transforms and gives us a firm foundation of promises to stand on.

There is nothing He hasn’t provided for us to live a life in union with Him. However, just as any good Father He will never force us to choose Him. It is ultimately up to us to turn to Him. He wants our love to be given freely. He did not create us to be robots but gave us freedom to choose to love and follow Him or to reject Him.

If we love Him, we need to live as if we do. If a loved one told you they loved you yet never spent time with you,  you would have a very difficult time believing it. When we decide to put other things and people before our relationship with God we demonstrate disregard not love.  No relationship will grow with neglect and abandonment and it is the same with our relationship with Christ. We need to spend time with Him in prayer, reading His Word and following His will for our lives. We need to serve others as He served.

Colossians 3:1-4 NIV 3 Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God.Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God. When Christ, who is yourlife, appears, then you also will appear with him in glory.

If you have been neglecting Him, it’s time you put aside the things that are temporal and spend time with the lover of your soul. No other can compare or replace Him. Time spent without intimacy with Christ is time wasted on things that will soon pass. Time spent with Him and in His Word gives us the wisdom and guidance to make the right decisions in all the other areas of our life. When we put Him first the rest of our lives work out for His glory. When we put things and others first it ultimately results in chaos.

Matthew 6:31-34 NIV 31 So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ 32 For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. 33 But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. 34 Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.

Don’t put your relationship with Christ in a “convenience” category, thinking you will get around to spending time with Him later after you get all the things that are so much more important done.  We are told to watch and be ready for His return at any time. There really is nothing worth sacrificing our intimacy with the One who gave His life as a sacrifice for us. My desire is that when He does return we will be found ready and waiting!

1 John 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.

Personal peace

From time to time I find myself picking up old worries, frustrations and fears. I will temporarily focus on the situation at hand and allow it to disrupt my peace. This used to go on for days at a time. I would fret or get annoyed and allow the issue to consume my thoughts. Though I am still a work in progress, I am learning to yield sooner.  🙂  However, sometimes I have a bit of a flare up before I realize what I am doing!

Anytime we find ourselves worrying, anxious or angered by a situation or circumstance we need to bring ourselves back to the Prince of Peace. He has given us His Word and we can trust in Him. As the Word says, worry never changes anything. It can however be a springboard to bringing things to the One who can. Our emotions have a purpose. If we live by them alone we will live a life of confusion, with too many ups and downs to count. They can be the very thing that draws us back to Jesus. When we are sad we can come to Him and bring our sorrow. He has promised that He will be there for the brokenhearted. When we are angry, instead of venting it in ways we will come to regret, we can bring it to Him. As we tell Him our thoughts and feelings in prayer, He will speak to our hearts if we are willing to listen and He will change those thoughts into ones that are more productive to us and others. When we are happy, we can run to Him with a thankful heart knowing all good things come from Him.

Jesus truly is the Prince of Peace. True peace cannot come from any other source. Not your friends, not your family or even your Pastor.  He alone offers it to us. There is something we must do however to tap into that peace.  One of the scriptures that outlines this can be found in the book of Isaiah. 

Isaiah 26:3  NIVYou will keep in perfect peace those whose minds are steadfast, because they trust in you.

We must remain steadfast in our trust in Him, knowing He will see us through every situation, every circumstance. If you find yourself confused, angry, anxious or fearful cry out to Him and lay everything at His feet in prayer. Be sure to confess any sin in your life including unbelief and then ask for His hand to move in your circumstance. He will not ignore a sincere prayer from one of His children.

Staying in a state of fear, anxiety or anger will never fix anything. It will completely rob you of your peace, joy and will render you unable to fulfill the purposes God has for you. Don’t waste another minute fretting. Come to Him today. Confess your sins, and lay all that you are carrying at His feet. Then trust Him. And when old slew foot tries to persuade you to pick up any of the old worries etc.. remember you have brought them to the King of Kings and Lord of Lords and He does not ignore the cries of His kids.

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.

John 16:33 NIV 33 “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”

Something we can learn from Esau’s life

God has called each one of us to have an intimate relationship with Him.  As the saying goes, God doesn’t have grandchildren. Each of us must come to Christ as individuals. We can turn to others for advise from time to time but in order to sustain our abiding in Christ we need to talk to Him regularly and read His Word.  As we do these things, we begin to grow closer and closer to Him.  Without abiding in Christ we leave ourselves vulnerable and tend to make decisions based on our feelings or by seeking answers from others.

This morning I was reading from Genesis and I couldn’t help but notice that Esau was a man that did not walk in intimacy with God.  Without seeking God regularly his  impulsive nature caused him at times to make rash decisions, thereby losing God’s favor and blessing on his life.  The first example being when he sold his birthright to Jacob for a bowl of stew!

Genesis 25: 29-34 NIV 29 Once when Jacob was cooking some stew, Esau came in from the open country, famished. 30 He said to Jacob, “Quick, let me have some of that red stew! I’m famished!”  31 Jacob replied, “First sell me your birthright.” 32 “Look, I am about to die,” Esau said. “What good is the birthright to me?” 33 But Jacob said, “Swear to me first.” So he swore an oath to him, selling his birthright to Jacob. 34 Then Jacob gave Esau some bread and some lentil stew. He ate and drank, and then got up and left. So Esau despised his birthright.

Then he went on to marry two Canaanite women, Judith and Bashemath who were Hitites from Canaan.  The Hitites  did not serve God and were an idolatrous people yet even with his amazing heritage of faith,  Esau seemed to make decisions that caused himself and his family grief because he made them without a heart for God’s will.

In Genesis chapter 28, we find Esau listening to a  conversation between his father Isaac and his brother Jacob with regards to choosing a wife for Jacob.

Genesis 28:1-9 NIV 28 So Isaac called for Jacob and blessed him. Then he commanded him: “Do not marry a Canaanite woman. 2 Go at once to Paddan Aram, to the house of your mother’s father Bethuel. Take a wife for yourself there, from among the daughters of Laban, your mother’s brother. 3 May God Almighty bless you and make you fruitful and increase your numbers until you become a community of peoples. 4 May he give you and your descendants the blessing given to Abraham, so that you may take possession of the land where you now reside as a foreigner, the land God gave to Abraham.” 5 Then Isaac sent Jacob on his way, and he went to Paddan Aram, to Laban son of Bethuel the Aramean, the brother of Rebekah, who was the mother of Jacob and Esau.

6 Now Esau learned that Isaac had blessed Jacob and had sent him to Paddan Aram to take a wife from there, and that when he blessed him he commanded him, “Do not marry a Canaanite woman,”7 and that Jacob had obeyed his father and mother and had gone to Paddan Aram. 8 Esau then realized how displeasing the Canaanite women were to his father Isaac; 9 so he went to Ishmael and married Mahalath, the sister of Nebaioth and daughter of Ishmael son of Abraham, in addition to the wives he already had.

Esau did what many of us do. Instead of seeking God’s will in our decision making, we at times make rash, foolish decisions that prevent us from receiving God’s blessing and favor on us.  Could it be that Esau really wasn’t aware of the fact he should not marry outside his people? Abraham and Isaac most certainly would have instructed their descendants not to marry idolaters.   In any case, judging by verse 8, it seems to be the first time Esau really acknowledges how upsetting it was to his parents that he married Canaanite women and so he goes out and marries another woman, this time a  woman who is a descendant of Ishmael. (Ishmael and his descendants were not part of the Covenant God had made with Abraham and thereby were not part of the blessing.) He appeared to make one poor decision after another.

This story reminds me how important it is that I don’t get so busy doing life my way.  Just as Esau made many poor decisions with little thought of the consequences, I am capable of doing the same thing when I don’t seek God’s will along the way.  God doesn’t want to be an afterthought.  He wants to be our all in all. When we abide in Christ and seek His will daily, we won’t live a life of regret. We will fulfill the purpose He has for us, whatever that may be. We may get sidetracked from time to time but as we continue to turn to Him, He will see that we finish well.

“Our greatest fear should not be of failure but of succeeding at things in life that don’t really matter.” ~Francis Chan

Don’t be surprised

After reading 1 Thessalonians chapter 5 this morning, I realized how absolutely fitting this chapter is for followers of Christ today.  It is descriptive of our world in 2013. We are living in strained times. When we look at what is going on in the Middle East there is no question these are  the days Jesus warned us about.

For centuries Israel ceased to exist as a country but today it is once again a nation!  Not only is it a nation but it is once again central to world politics, peace etc.  It is fulfilling it’s destiny. Before 1948, it had been centuries since it had been considered a nation. Time is quickly propelling us into the fulfillment of  so many of the prophecies written in the Old and New Testaments. God’s Word is true. It never changes. It will be fulfilled, regardless of what naysayers say or do! So we need to make every day count and use our time wisely!

Today, without any additional words, I would suggest you meditate on 1 Thessalonians chapter 5.  It may be a month, year or several decades before Jesus returns. We don’t know. We do know however, that many will be deceived by not knowing the Word and not abiding in Christ. Deception is increasing and will continue to do so.  It  is so important we hold  on to what is good and reject every kind of evil. As Paul states we should not be surprised by His return. He will come as a thief in the night and we need to be ready. I encourage you to mediate on this beautiful chapter today. It is not only a word of warning but also a word of encouragement for those of us in the body of Christ. It is a reminder that our King of Kings is coming soon and we need to live our lives with that in mind!

1 Thessalonians 5 NIV 5 Now, brothers and sisters, about times and dates we do not need to write to you, 2 for you know very well that the day of the Lord will come like a thief in the night. 3 While people are saying, “Peace and safety,” destruction will come on them suddenly, as labor pains on a pregnant woman, and they will not escape.

4 But you, brothers and sisters, are not in darkness so that this day should surprise you like a thief.5 You are all children of the light and children of the day. We do not belong to the night or to the darkness. 6 So then, let us not be like others, who are asleep, but let us be awake and sober. 7 For those who sleep, sleep at night, and those who get drunk, get drunk at night. 8 But since we belong to the day, let us be sober, putting on faith and love as a breastplate, and the hope of salvation as a helmet. 9 For God did not appoint us to suffer wrath but to receive salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ. 10 He died for us so that, whether we are awake or asleep, we may live together with him.11 Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing.

12 Now we ask you, brothers and sisters, to acknowledge those who work hard among you, who care for you in the Lord and who admonish you. 13 Hold them in the highest regard in love because of their work. Live in peace with each other. 14 And we urge you, brothers and sisters, warn those who are idle and disruptive, encourage the disheartened, help the weak, be patient with everyone. 15 Make sure that nobody pays back wrong for wrong, but always strive to do what is good for each other and for everyone else.

16 Rejoice always, 17 pray continually, 18 give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.

19 Do not quench the Spirit. 20 Do not treat prophecies with contempt 21 but test them all; hold on to what is good, 22 reject every kind of evil.

23 May God himself, the God of peace, sanctify you through and through. May your whole spirit, souland body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. 24 The one who calls you is faithful, and He will do it.

25 Brothers and sisters, pray for us. 26 Greet all God’s people with a holy kiss. 27 I charge you before the Lord to have this letter read to all the brothers and sisters.

28 The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you.

Blessings!

Who do you turn to for advice?

When you find yourself needing advice who do you turn to? Do you rely solely on others for their wisdom? Do you pick up the phone and call your Mom, brother, friend, boyfriend or girlfriend or spouse?  There are times when we find ourselves in need of some sound advice and yet we need to be so careful who we turn to for advice. There are those people who may be promoting  their own agenda or may try and manipulate us for their own personal gain. Than again, there are those who wish to help us but they really don’t know what or how God wants to move in our life and may offer us advice that goes contrary to that plan.

I am learning that when a thing is important enough to seek advice, before I pick up the phone to call another I need to bring it before God in prayer.  Taking the time to ask God to guide me with my decision making should not be done as a last resort.  I need to seek Him first and then as He leads, go from there.

Too often we look for  quick resolutions or pat answers and in many cases neither will  bring about the long term results God wants for us in our lives.  When we find ourselves having to make a  decision about anything or anyone that requires another’s opinion, it should be our first instinct to bring it before God. He is always looking out for our best long term interests. His advice will never lead us astray or down the wrong path.

Sadly, friends may come and go. Family, though it may believe it, may not always know what is best for us in our walk with Christ. We need to depend on and trust in the lover of our soul, Jesus.  Ultimately we will one day stand before Christ and either hear, “Well done thou good and faithful servant,” (Matthew 25:21) or “Depart from me for I never knew you.” (Matthew 7:23). The choices we make, here on earth, will determine which response we will hear. Regardless of what another tells us, we are ultimately responsible to Christ for working out our own salvation and therefore we have to be very careful who we turn to for advice.

The next time you are unsure about a decision, take the time to ask God to provide the wisdom to make the right choice. There will be times you may have to wait on an answer for a time, but seek Him first. He will never lead us astray!

Psalm 118:8 NIV 8 It is better to take refuge in the Lord than to trust in humans.

Psalm 146:3-5 NIV 3 Do not put your trust in princes, in human beings, who cannot save.4 When their spirit departs, they return to the ground;  on that very day their plans come to nothing. 5 Blessed are those whose help is the God of Jacob, whose hope is in the Lord their God.

Proverbs 3:5 NIV 5 Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding.

Who are you interceding for?

Anyone that has been watching the news lately realizes there is an escalation of persecution for our brothers and sisters in Christ. Egypt, Nigeria, Ethiopia, India and the list goes on and on…. even to a degree here in North America where it is no longer politically correct to stand for the principles of God’s Word and if you do, you may be mocked or criticized. Though Jesus warned us that this day would come, it is difficult to hear how so many are being martyred worldwide for their faith. Most of the perpetuators are extremists on the outside but it is the same spirit of antichrist that ruled the world in times past. It is just escalating as Jesus warned us it would, as time draws closer to His return. We need to not only pray for those being persecuted but that the persecutors will come to know this Jesus that we love so much!

Everything we see going on today is a petition to prayer! Pray for North Americans to be bold in Christ and not be as the Word of God says, whitewashed tombs. Spiritually dead on the inside and appearing righteous on the outside! We need to wake ourselves out of a spiritual slumber of comfort and begin interceding for our families, Pastors and those in Christian leadership, churches, friends, leaders of nations, and our brothers and sisters in Christ worldwide! We need to stop wasting so much time doing things that have no permanent value and become warriors in prayer for the lost, the persecuted and for each other. Prayer is the wheel that will begin to get change rolling in the lives of others and ourselves. Without it, we cannot expect to see God intercede. It really does change things, people and situations.

The Bible has several verses on praying for others. Too many to list them all here but here is a start….

James 5:16 NIV 16 Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective.

Matthew 5:4  AKJV44 But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you.

These next few verses in the book of Luke show just how important it is not to quit praying. God hears our prayers and we are not to quit!

Luke 18:1-8 NIV 1 Then Jesus told his disciples a parable to show them that they should always pray and not give up.He said: “In a certain town there was a judge who neither feared God nor cared what people thought. And there was a widow in that town who kept coming to him with the plea, ‘Grant me justice against my adversary.’

“For some time he refused. But finally he said to himself, ‘Even though I don’t fear God or care what people think, yet because this widow keeps bothering me, I will see that she gets justice, so that she won’t eventually come and attack me!’”

And the Lord said, “Listen to what the unjust judge says. 7 And will not God bring about justice for his chosen ones, who cry out to him day and night? Will he keep putting them off? I tell you, he will see that they get justice, and quickly. However, when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on the earth?”

Ephesians 6:18 NIV 18 And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people.

2 Thessalonians 3:1 NIV 3 As for other matters, brothers and sisters, pray for us that the message of the Lord may spread rapidly and be honored, just as it was with you.

and finally…

1 Timothy 2:1 NIV 2 I urge, then, first of all, that petitions, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for all people.

We have a valuable tool available to us that can bring about enormous change for the lost, the weak, the broken, the persecuted, the hurting, those in authority, those being used by our enemy etc…  Let”s use this tool and do what the Word of God says to do!  If we spend more time interceding in prayer and less time complaining we will begin to see the changes our hearts long for before Jesus returns!

“Prayerlessness is disobedience, for God’s command is that men ought always to pray and not faint. To be prayer less is to fail God, for He says, ask of me.”~ Leonard Ravenhill

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

What are you putting before Him?

Isaiah 42:8

Isaiah 42:8

“Idol” definition taken from Oxforddictionaries.com

noun  -an image or representation of a god used as an object of worship.

-a person or thing that is greatly admired, loved or revered:  a soccer idol.

I’ve been rethinking many of the things I have allowed in my life that could certainly fall into this category.  Particularly a person or thing that is greatly admired, loved or revered.  Is it wrong for us to love those around us? NO, Jesus said that people will know we are Christians by our love for others! So when do people or things become an idol? I believe it is when we place their importance, opinions and or influence above our relationship and obedience to the King of Kings. Anything or person that we allow to detract us from our obedience to Jesus is an idol. Anything or anyone that we love more than Him is an idol. When we find ourselves compromising what we know is truth in order to accommodate others or to participate in something we know we shouldn’t we have allowed that person or thing to become an idol in our life.

For the last few months, I have begun to realize I am way too dependent on electronic gadgets! My blackberry is always within reach, facebook is readily accessible, the internet is a click away and tv is all too available. Though none of these things in themselves are wrong, when I allow myself to be caught up in never wanting them out of reach, I have made  them an idol in my life.

I feel a stirring in my heart that we may be facing some incredibly difficult days ahead as believers. Our Christian heritage is being attacked on every front. Things are changing rapidly in society and most of the changes are tearing down our Judeo Christian foundation. Though I do use my gadgets to share my faith in Christ and to keep in touch with others, I am realizing that I really have to discipline myself not to give them too much space in my life.  The only way for me to maintain an intimate walk with Christ is to spend adequate time in prayer and in reading my Bible and in fellowship. There have been occasions when I have been praying in my car on route to work and my cell phone has wrung and I have interrupted prayer to answer it!  Responding as if the world would collapse if I missed that  call!

Gadgets are but one thing that can become an idol. Other idols can be people. Perhaps a friend that demands too much time and keeps you  from spending time with the Lord. A boyfriend or girlfriend that has become an idol and has replaced the need for Christ in your life. A teacher, Pastor, neighbor or musician. A hobby, a sinful habit, food, tv, sports etc..  Anything or anyone that takes the place of putting Christ first is an idol.

Though all of these things and people may have great value in our lives, we have to keep them in perspective and not allow anything or anyone to steal our heart from God. If it keeps us from or causes us to run from intimacy with Him it is an idol.  The Bible tells us that God is a jealous God and wants us to put Him first. He knows how easily distracted we can become and knows it is vital for us to maintain intimacy with Him for the rest of our lives to work out according to His plan.

Let’s take a look at a few verses from God’s Word on idolatry….

Colossians 3:5-6 NIV 5 Put to death, therefore, whatever belongs to your earthly nature: sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desires and greed, which is idolatry. 6 Because of these, the wrath of God is coming.      This is a sobering verse of warning of God’s wrath for people continuing in this type of idolatry.

1 John 5:21 NIV 21 Dear children, keep yourselves from idols.

1 Corinthians 10:7  NIV 7 Do not be idolaters, as some of them were; as it is written: “The people sat down to eat and drink and got up to indulge in revelry.

1 Corinthians 10:14 NIV 14 Therefore, my dear friends, flee from idolatry.

The following verse from the book of Samuel  simplifies the value of anything or anyone we put before God in our lives.

1 Samuel 12:21 NIV 21 Do not turn away after useless idols. They can do you no good, nor can they rescue you, because they are useless.

Our hope is in the Lord. Other things and people have their place, but NONE are to take the place of Him in our lives. We are to put NO OTHER gods BEFORE HIM.  Though taken from the Old Testament ten commandments, this  word has never changed. He loves us so much and does not want to be second in our lives. Perhaps we need to ask Him  to show us people or things  that we have allowed to become idols in our lives and then ask for His forgiveness. The Word tells us He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

When we put anything or anyone before Him we lose out on the things God wants to do in us and through us. We get waylaid from the course He has set for us. Let’s determine to love Him wholeheartedly. Confess and set aside anything that will keep you from your intimacy with the lover of our soul! After all, in order to be used by God and a blessing to those around us, we need to keep our hearts right with Christ!

What are you feeding your mind?

The Word of God says Jesus is coming back for a church without spot or wrinkle. I want to be part of that and I expect all followers of Christ do too! So why is it we see so many in the body of Christ  more concerned about watching the next big game, or episode of their favorite tv show than they are about being ready for our Kings return? We need to be like the virgins with their lampstands and be ready! Sadly we have allowed our minds to become too preoccupied with  temporal things and have shelved eternal things, thinking we can always get back to them.

I feel a stirring in my heart that I need to lay aside the things that easily distract me and move into a deeper walk with Jesus. I have spoken to many people lately that have that same stirring. So how do we go about doing that? We need to start by changing what we are feeding our minds. If we haven’t been reading our Bibles it’s time to get back to doing that. It’s our love letter from our Father and without it we will not grow spiritually. We need to humble ourselves and ask for forgiveness for putting anything and or everything before Him. We need to renew our minds on truth.  Our walk with Christ is a journey from glory to glory. In order to grow more like our Savior we need to spend time with Him in prayer and spend time in His Word renewing our minds.

As much as I like to watch and read current news, I realize though it  informs me of the troubles of the world,  it can’t offer any real solutions. And though I like to educate myself on issues like health, food, gardening etc.. I need to bear in mind that these things too are temporal. Good to know but if I am spending more time on them than time with the lover of my soul, my walk with Him will begin to suffer.  The things we spend the most time feeding  our minds on are the things that will grow and flourish within us. What we feed grows and what we neglect dies that’s why it is so critical to keep our minds set on eternal things. Otherwise, our walk with Christ will suffer greatly and our growth will stop. We will find ourselves stumbling around in the dark wondering what happened? We lose our peace, joy, spiritual discernment and so many other things that God freely gives us when we don’t abide in Him.

If you find yourself in that place now, cry out to Jesus. Ask Him to forgive you for putting anyone or anything before Him, confess your sins to Him. His Word tells us that,  If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from ALL unrighteousness. ( 1John 1:9)  He longs to have fellowship with you again! Get back into the Word of God. Just as your body needs food daily, so does your spirit. Begin to renew your mind on the things of God through His Word. Aim to spend less time on the temporal and more on the eternal, where the fruit born is eternal.

Romans 12:2 NIV2 Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—His good, pleasing and perfect will.

2 Corinthians 10:5 NIV We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.

Phillipians 4:8 NIV 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.

Is your prayer life lacking?

 I have come to really enjoy my prayer time. I love spending time talking to the lover of my soul. It is no longer a chore or done out of a sense of obligation. It is done out of love and a longing to spend time with God. The change began to take place when I began to spend more time reading my Bible and realizing just how much I am loved!  Without that time in God’s Word, I would still be praying out of a sense of duty but it is because of the life His Word has breathed into me, I am now aware that my prayers are not said in vain but through Christ, are direct words shared with the Creator of the Universe!

The more time I spend soaking in His Word, the more I love to spend time talking to Him. It has opened up the line of communication between me and my Creator! It is abiding. As we read the Word, we become convicted of things in our lives we need to get rid of or surrender to God. As we shed these things and align our lives with His Word, our intimacy grows. Gone is the shame and separation that so often keep us from being able to boldly go before His throne. Through our faith in Christ, we know we can ask for forgiveness and be cleansed and renewed and move forward in what God has in store for us. The more we learn of Him, the more we long to be like Him!

Abiding is the secret to seeing our prayers answered. Why? Because when we abide in Christ, we no longer ask for things that are outside the will of God, not only for us but for others. As in any relationship, you must spend time getting to know another before you can really share anything of  depth. You wouldn’t share a deep hurt or wound with a complete stranger, or ask for their help if you didn’t know them. You wouldn’t feel you had the right to expect from them when you didn’t know them and hadn’t invested anything in a relationship with them. It is the same with our relationship with God. If we don’t read His Word and learn of who He is and what  He has done for us, than we really don’t know how to approach Him. We may throw up an occasional prayer now and then but won’t really spend the time with Him that we need to in order to cultivate intimacy.

In the book of John we read the words of Jesus 15:1-11 NIV 15 “I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener. 2 He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit He prunes so that it will be even more fruitful. 3 You are already clean because of the word I have spoken to you. 4 Remain in me, as I also remain in you.No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me.

5 “I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing. 6 If you do not remain in me, you are like a branch that is thrown away and withers; such branches are picked up, thrown into the fire and burned. 7 If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. 8 This is to my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples.

9 “As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Now remain in my love. 10 If you keep my commands, you will remain in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commands and remain in his love. 11 I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete.

If you are lacking a desire to pray, get back into the Word of God and reacquaint yourself with God and His awesome love for you that He willingly demonstrated through Jesus.  Spending time in the Word of God will increase your faith and give you fresh revelation of who Jesus is and how much He loves you!  As you begin to fathom just how great that love is, you will long to spend more time with Him in prayer, praying things in line with His will for you and others!

“If you want that splendid power in prayer, you must remain in loving, living, lasting, conscious, practical, abiding union with the Lord Jesus Christ.” C.H. Spurgeon

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Don’t sit idle!

Some days my heart hurts for this world we live in. I watched the news and heard about the British soldier slaughtered on the street in London. He wasn’t in battle but simply walking down the street when he was approached and slaughtered by a raging terrorist who felt justified in killing him  because he wasn’t of the same faith. Today, I heard of an attempted plane high jacking from Pakistan to England, that thankfully it was thwarted but could have ended in tragedy. Again, an attempt to take the lives of others who don’t share their extreme ideology…

Anyone that doesn’t see the evil in this world we live in has to be wearing blinders. There are wars and rumors of wars all around us. Governments are involved in corruption on so many levels and refuse to admit or take any responsibility for their actions. One country feels the right to annihilate another because of a difference in beliefs. We hear stories of parents killing their children and children killing their parents, abuse in homes, schools, churches and so much more…

So what is the answer to all of this mess? Do we just resolve ourselves to the fact there is nothing we can do? Do we live in our own little bubble and refuse to help and make a difference? Do we harden ourselves by ignoring others and moving forward without a thought for their difficulties?

As Christians, God has called us to a world such as this.  We are men and women with the tool of prayer at our disposal. We are men and women with the answer. Christ didn’t come to save the “found” but the lost! We have the good news and we need to share it with a dying, messed up world.

Luke 19:10 NIV 10 For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost.

Matthew 20:28 NIV 28 Just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.                                                              

Luke 5:32 NIV 32 I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.

When you see destruction and heartache all around, take the time to ask God what it is you can be doing to make a difference? There is always something we can do! Pray, pray for the lost, pray for the hurting, the broken, the rebellious, the bitter, your enemies and then do something to demonstrate the love of Christ to another!

It’s important that we don’t sit on our hands and moan about the state of things without getting down on our knees and praying! Prayer is the thing that will usher in the most change.  It is a mighty and powerful weapon that is at the hands of every follower of Christ!  Even the most frail, limited body can pray and therefore is capable of bringing about huge change in this world of ours!

When you have done that ask God how you can serve others?  What can you do to be the hands and feet of Christ?  Ask Him to put people in your life that need to hear the GOOD NEWS and when He does, share it!  Ask Him to provide opportunities where you can minister love and compassion to others and when He does, do it!

We are only limited by our indifference!  Determine to make a difference in this world. Determine to help others by sharing the good news. Determine to not sit back and watch but get involved in doing Christ’s work here while you still have time and while you are able.

Psalm 145:18-19 NIV 18 The Lord is near to all who call on Him, to all who call on Him in truth.19 He fulfills the desires of those who fear Him;  He hears their cry and saves them.

 James 2:14-17 NIV 14 What good is it, my brothers and sisters, if someone claims to have faith but has no deeds? Can such faith save them? 15 Suppose a brother or a sister is without clothes and daily food. 16 If one of you says to them, “Go in peace; keep warm and well fed,” but does nothing about their physical needs, what good is it? 17 In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead.

Acts for today!

Luke 24:49 NIV 49 I am going to send you what my Father has promised; but stay in the city until you have been clothed with power from on high.”

Luke 24:49 NIV 49 I am going to send you what my Father has promised; but stay in the city until you have been clothed with power from on high.”

My method of studying the Bible is to read it through front to back over and over again. It takes me months to do it but I find reading it in chronological order helps me to understand it so much better. There is so much of the New Testament we really don’t understand without reading and being familiar with the Old Testament such as the meaning and value of sacrifices, covenant etc..

Recently I finished reading the book of Acts. I love this book. It is a power keg! I decided instead of moving on to Romans I would reread it. Every page demonstrates the Father’s love for His kids. When Christ rose again He did NOT leave us comfortless or powerless to live out a life of blessing and anointing.  Through the Holy Spirit we are enabled!

Acts 2:1-21 NIV 2 When the day of Pentecost came, they were all together in one place. Suddenly a sound like the blowing of a violent wind came from heaven and filled the whole house where they were sitting. They saw what seemed to be tongues of fire that separated and came to rest on each of them. All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit enabled them.Now there were staying in Jerusalem God-fearing Jews from every nation under heaven. When they heard this sound, a crowd came together in bewilderment, because each one heard their own language being spoken. Utterly amazed, they asked: “Aren’t all these who are speaking Galileans? Then how is it that each of us hears them in our native language? Parthians, Medes and Elamites; residents of Mesopotamia, Judea and Cappadocia, Pontus and Asia, 10 Phrygia and Pamphylia, Egypt and the parts of Libya near Cyrene; visitors from Rome 11 (both Jews and converts to Judaism); Cretans and Arabs—we hear them declaring the wonders of God in our own tongues!” 12 Amazed and perplexed, they asked one another, “What does this mean?”13 Some, however, made fun of them and said, “They have had too much wine.

14 Then Peter stood up with the Eleven, raised his voice and addressed the crowd: “Fellow Jews and all of you who live in Jerusalem, let me explain this to you; listen carefully to what I say. 15 These people are not drunk, as you suppose. It’s only nine in the morning! 16 No, this is what was spoken by the prophet Joel:

17 ‘In the last days, God says,     I will pour out my Spirit on all people. Your sons and daughters will prophesy,     your young men will see visions,     your old men will dream dreams. 18 Even on my servants, both men and women,     I will pour out my Spirit in those days,     and they will prophesy. 19 I will show wonders in the heavens above     and signs on the earth below,     blood and fire and billows of smoke. 20 The sun will be turned to darkness     and the moon to blood     before the coming of the great and glorious day of the Lord. 21 And everyone who calls     on the name of the Lord will be saved.’

The Spirit of God was promised to God’s sons and daughters and that promise was first fulfilled on the day of Pentecost! He has not reneged or removed that promise. The Holy Spirit is necessary and available to every follower of Christ today! It is through God’s Spirit that we are wooed to Christ and it is by that same Spirit we will move and operate in our giftings as we serve Him. The same giftings and blessing that those men and women received on the day of Pentecost are the same giftings and blessing that we can receive today!

So how do we go about being filled with the Spirit?  The Word of God tells us just that….

First we must repent of our sins and confess Christ as our Lord and Savior. Water baptism should follow according to the Word of God and then we are simply to have another Spirit filled believer lay hands on us and pray.

Acts 8:14-17 NIV 14 When the apostles in Jerusalem heard that Samaria had accepted the word of God, they sent Peter and John to Samaria. 15 When they arrived, they prayed for the new believers there that they might receive the Holy Spirit, 16 because the Holy Spirit had not yet come on any of them; they had simply been baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. 17 Then Peter and John placed their hands on them, and they received the Holy Spirit.

If you are a follower of Christ and you have not had pray for the baptism in the Holy Spirit than maybe it’s time you did. God has called us to a life of service and when we do it in our own strength and power we do it in vain. The Father’s gift is for each of us and will perfectly equip us for the calling on our lives!

Lean In & Trust Him

Proverbs 3:5-6  5Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; 6 in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.

Proverbs 3:5-6 5Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding;
6 in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.

From time to time most of us find ourselves in situations that we really don’t understand. When things outside our control seem to take off with a life of their own and before we know it we are reeling from the after effects. I have been in that situation more than once and initially want to react out of fear. But as followers of Christ, God has NOT given us the spirit of fear, but of power, love and a sound mind! 2 Timothy 1:7  I don’t quote this to make light of any difficult time you may be encountering but to get you back to the reality of who God is and what His Word ensures us.

Without any trials, testing or difficult times, we never really get to see just how faithful and true God’s Word is. It can be depended upon in every situation. There are no surprises to God. Though we don’t understand why some of the challenges in life come our way, we can trust that He knows the beginning from the end and is not intimidated or stressed by our difficulties. He longs for us to bring our needs before Him and then do something that does not come natural…TRUST HIM.  As we read in Romans 8:28 NIVAnd we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.  Not in some or the odd one but in ALL things.

Though we most often don’t understand what the purpose is for our difficult times, we still have no reason to fear. His ways are far above our ways. So when we find ourselves in one of these situations the first thing we must do is seek Him and ask for His help. James 5:16 NIV 16 Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective. Prayer is the most powerful tool God has given us! Use it without hesitation.  If God does not bring instant relief from our circumstances, we need to wait on Him and trust Him while we wait. Often the most growth happens during the waiting and trusting period. It is when we learn to trust our God with abandon!

While you wait on God, there are many scriptures that will strengthen you and sustain you. Here are just a few to start with…

Proverbs 3:5,6 NIV Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.

2 Corinthians 4:8-18 NIVWe are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed. 10 We always carry around in our body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be revealed in our body. 11 For we who are alive are always being given over to death for Jesus’ sake, so that his life may also be revealed in our mortal body. 12 So then, death is at work in us, but life is at work in you.13 It is written: “I believed; therefore I have spoken.” Since we have that same spirit of faith, we also believe and therefore speak, 14 because we know that the one who raised the Lord Jesus from the dead will also raise us with Jesus and present us with you to himself. 15 All this is for your benefit, so that the grace that is reaching more and more people may cause thanksgiving to overflow to the glory of God.16 Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. 17 For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. 18 So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.

Isaiah 41:10 NIV 10 So do not fear, for I am with you;  do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.

and finally one of my favorite verses….

Joshua 1:9 NIV 9 ” Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.”

——–

“Anything under God’s control is never out of control.”-Charles R. Swindoll

Before you say I do

I love being married. I am thankful that Mike and I have been able to date to share 34 years together. It hasn’t always been easy. We have had many great days and we have had some incredibly difficult days during our marriage. We don’t always agree on everything and I’m sure never will. We have been tested, tempted, tossed and turned but the one thing that has remained through it all is the commitment we made before God. Though we were young when we married, we knew from the Word of God that it was a very serious commitment. When times have been rough, we honored that commitment. Today, I am so thankful we did. We are able to see the fruits of that now in our life as we are able to enjoy our grown children and grand children as a couple.

I am convinced that the reason we have been able to make it to date, is before we married we were both committed to Christ. When we were first introduced, I had recently come to Christ and was very involved in my church. Though he had been raised in the Catholic faith, he was not attending church. He was however seeking a deeper walk with God. While dating the one thing God impressed upon me was that if he was not willing to make a commitment to Christ, I was not to continue in the relationship. At a Billy Graham Crusade that year, he did make a commitment and the rest is history. In our early years, we attended bible studies together and both grew in our faith as we saw God answer many prayers. It was the teaching we received and prayers of those early days that sustained us when we hit a few rocky paths. And we did hit rocky paths!  With the busyness of raising five children, Mike working long hours and often away and all the rest of what life throws at you, we found ourselves drifting apart and becoming quite resentful of one another. It just seemed that we were both kept so busy doing what we needed to to get by that we neglected our time with God and with one another.

Through it all, God continued to woo us back into intimacy with Him. As we drew closer to Him we were able to put all the rest in perspective. Spending time in prayer and getting back into His Word gives us clarity in our thoughts and hearts enabling us to forgive past hurts and resentments and move on to the future.

Of this I am sure, had we both not been committed Christians, both to God and to each other, when we married, we would never have lasted to enjoy the time we now have together. Both life and marriage can be difficult at times. However, I wouldn’t trade any of the those difficult times. As we have surrendered to God’s will, He has taken those difficult times and used them for our good. He has strengthened our bond together. He has given us an empathy and understanding we would never have had had we not experienced some of the hard times we did. Most of which were the result of our own disobedience or selfish behavior! 🙂

For Christians looking for a future marriage partner, I would suggest two things. Be sure the person you are going to commit your life to shares your commitment to Christ. The Old and New Testament are full of warnings to those who are wanting to link up with non-believers. It doesn’t usually end well.  2 Corinthians 6:14,15  NIV 14 Do not be yoked together with unbelievers. For what do righteousness and wickedness have in common? Or what fellowship can light have with darkness? 15 What harmony is there between Christ and Belial? Or what does a believer have in common with an unbeliever?

Secondly, stay close to the lover of your soul and He will give you the wisdom you need in choosing your partner. Feelings alone are NOT sufficient to sustain a long term relationship. They change, they rise, fall and sometimes even fade. It takes more than romantic feelings to keep any couple together long term.

James 1:5 NIV If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you.

To those already married, that have since come to Christ, pray for your spouse. God will honor your prayers! He is faithful and longs to give you the desires of your heart! He loves your spouse more than you do and wants to have a relationship with him or her.

1 Corinthians 7:12-16 NIV 12 To the rest I say this (I, not the Lord): If any brother has a wife who is not a believer and she is willing to live with him, he must not divorce her. 13 And if a woman has a husband who is not a believer and he is willing to live with her, she must not divorce him. 14 For the unbelieving husband has been sanctified through his wife, and the unbelieving wife has been sanctified through her believing husband. Otherwise your children would be unclean, but as it is, they are holy.15 But if the unbeliever leaves, let it be so. The brother or the sister is not bound in such circumstances; God has called us to live in peace. 16 How do you know, wife, whether you will save your husband? Or, how do you know, husband, whether you will save your wife?

2 Peter 3:9 NIVThe Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. Instead he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.

There are so many people being wounded as a result of a broken marriage. Sadly, Christian stats are almost as high as non believers. If we walk in obedience and honor God’s Word before we say I do, it will give us much better odds of our marriage lasting. Too often believers compromise on their choice of partner out of fear or impatience. It starts by dating outside our faith. If we honor God’s Word and obey Him in choosing our marriage partners we stand a much greater chance of having His favor and blessing over us when we need it most. Marriage is wonderful and challenging all at the same time. Why not start out on the right foot?

Plug into the Source!

  Do you find yourself getting frustrated when you have to wait for something or someone more than just a few minutes? I know since using a blackberry and working online all day, I have become so accustomed to having answers right away. If I need to check our bank account I can do it anywhere right from my phone and see the results within seconds. When I am curious about a name, person or just about anything I can google it and immediately up pops my answer! I have found myself becoming quite dependent on instant access.

In our walk, as followers of Christ, we too can have instant access to the King of Kings. When Christ died on the cross, He became our Way to the throne room of God. He made a sure way that allows us to come to Him at anytime and anywhere. In fact, He longs for us to stay in fellowship with Him as we move throughout our day and into our nights. Unlike our gadgets, He never breaks down, is always accessible and loves us beyond measure!  It is an awesome thing to know that we are never alone!

Why not spend a little less time with your electronic gadgets this coming week and spend more time with the lover of your soul? When we seek Him for answers they are always right and true! When we trust Him, He will never break down or disappoint! When we need His help, He is a friend that sticks closer than a brother and will be there for us. (Proverbs 18:24 NIV)

If you are not enjoying a close walk with Christ, confess your sins before Him and spend time with Him getting reacquainted. There is no replacement for the love and joy that comes from your relationship with Him. It will sustain you through any of life’s curves and bumps! Unplug your gadgets and spend some real time plugged into a conversation with the lover of your soul!

John 15:4-5 NIVRemain in me, as I also remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me.“I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.

Matthew 6:6 NIV But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.

Phillipians 4:6 NIV Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.

Prayer, access to the throne!

As followers of Christ we have so many fantastic blessings! Our salvation has been bought with the high price of the shed blood of God’s own Son. When we think on this alone, we begin to realize how much God loves us! How Christ paid the ultimate price for us to be able to be in intimate fellowship with the Father! One of those fantastic blessings is the ability to go to God in prayer. It’s important that when we come to God in prayer that a few things are considered….
If you are seeking God for an answer to prayer, first off ensure that what you are asking lines up with His will by making sure it does not go against His Word. He will never go against His nature or His Word. Isaiah 55:11 NIV 11So is my word that goes out from my mouth, it will not return to me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it.

If your prayer request lines up with His Word then be sure that you have come before Him with a clean heart. If you have unconfessed sin or bitterness against another you need to confess it and make it right. The Word of God tells us that we are not to come before God with unforgiveness in our hearts towards another or He will not hear our prayer. Mark 11:25 NIV And when you stand praying, if you hold anything against anyone, forgive them, so that your Father in Heaven may forgive you your sins.

If we know that are prayer lines up with God’s Word and have come to Him with a clean heart than we are to come expecting and believing. James 1:5-7 NIV 5 If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you.6 But when you ask, you must believe and not doubt, because the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind. 7 That person should not expect to receive anything from the Lord.

It’s important we never forget, that one of the amazing privileges of being a child of God is that through Christ we can come boldy before the throne of God and make our requests known. Through the blood of Christ being shed for us, when God sees us He sees us as covered in the precious shed blood of His Son. It allows us to ask boldy from a Father that loves us and has made a way for us to come into His presence with complete confidence.   Hebrews 4:16 KJV16 Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need.

God longs for us to have intimacy with Him and through Christ, we have direct access to the throne of God. Take full advantage of one of our greatest blessings! Don’t waste another day without spending time in prayer!

Are you hiding from the Light?

Jeremiah 23:24 NIV "Who can hide in secret places so that  I cannot see ?" declares the Lord. "Do not I fill heaven and earth?" declares the Lord.

Jeremiah 23:24 NIV “Who can hide in secret places so that I cannot see them?” declares the Lord. “Do not I fill heaven and earth?” declares the Lord.

I am thankful to God for His patience with me.  I am so grateful that He is slow to anger and kind. That He longs for fellowship with each and every one of us.  I can remember at one time believing that whenever I screwed up in my walk with Christ, God would be angry with me, so I would find myself avoiding Him for a while. I would steer clear of  the intimacy of prayer as it would require my having to come clean and fess up.

Before too long however,  I would miss our fellowship. I would toss up the odd prayer but with no real expectancy due to the fact I knew there were things between us putting up a barrier from intimacy. Eventually I would cave and come before Him with a heart of repentance and fess up. The peace and freedom that would follow was amazing. I’m not sure why I ever thought things would get better on their own!

I am thankful that I no longer try and hide anything from Him. He sees all, knows all and it is a complete and utter waste of time allowing any sin to remain between us.  When I screw up now, I don’t waste the time  I used to fessing up. It keeps the lines of communication open with the lover of my soul. It allows for instant access and freedom in making my requests known when I come to Him with a need for others or for myself.  If you have drifted from intimacy in your prayer life, perhaps it’s time you tear down the  barriers.

If  you have sin in your life you have been holding onto, hoping neither God nor anyone else will see it,  it’s time to get rid of it!  Don’t waste another day without intimacy with the King of  Kings.

The Word of God says in 1John 1:9 NIV If we confess our sins He is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and will cleanse us of ALL unrighteousness.

Let His light shine  into all the dark areas of your life. Don’t allow anything to keep you from coming boldly to the throne!

John 3:19-21 NIV 19 This is the verdict: Light has come into the world, but people loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil. 20 Everyone who does evil hates the light, and will not come into the light for fear that their deeds will be exposed. 21 But whoever lives by the truth comes into the light,  so that it may be seen plainly that what they have done has been done in the sight of God.

Staying close to the source!

Madoc-20130225-00132[1] I enjoy learning as much as I can about Biblical prophecy. So much of what the media has portrayed over the last several decades is just bunk. Before I came to Christ I remember watching movies that would touch on the subject, demonstrating God pouring out his wrath in various ways but never told anything even close to the real story.

It is a subject that brings fear to a lot of people. Fear that motivates them for a while to seek God, but over time they lose interest and move away from anything resembling  intimacy with Him. Anyone that is seeking God just to avoid His wrath in days to come, is missing the most wonderful thing about Him. They are missing a relationship of love and intimacy that only He can offer. When we come to know who God is, through Christ, we begin to see Him as the loving Father He is and understand that He always desires our fellowship. Fear can draw us to Him but only LOVE will keep us walking with Him.

As we learn of who He is through reading the Word of God, spending time in prayer and spending time in His presence, it slowly begins to sink in how NOTHING can separate us from the LOVE of God.  NOTHING! Paul said it beautifully in the book of Romans….

Romans 8:38,39 NIV 38 For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, 39 neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

If you are finding yourself fearful of the things you see on the news and it is causing you anxiety or stress, realizing many of the things  coming to pass have been prophesied, take yourself back to the Word of God. Rediscover through Christ, how very much He loves you and what He did for you!  When we know how much He loves us, we can than trust that He will never give us anymore than we can handle.

1 Corinthians 10:13 NIV 13 No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it. 

As a young believer, I remember feeling incredible fear at times when I would read or see something on the news that had been predicted to happen in  the latter days. It used to cause me a lot of anxiety and I would lose sleep over it. I would dwell on all the possibilities of what could result and how it could affect me, my loved ones and friends.

Today, though it upsets me to see things that are going on; mans inhumanity to man, abuse, mistreatment, hatred, wars etc., I no longer fear the future. I am sure of one thing, Christ will never leave me or forsake me. He has seen me through many trials and will continue to be with me as I complete my journey here.  He is faithful and true.  His love for me is available every morning! He hears me when I cry out to Him. He walks with me through every minute of every day! What He does for me, He does for all His followers. He is no respecter of persons but loves us all equally.

When we take our eyes off of Him and focus on the outward things around us only, we become a slave to our fears and emotions. So while we wait for His return, let’s spend more time with the lover of our soul. As we remain in close intimacy with Christ, fear departs!

1 John 4:18 NIV For there is no fear in love, But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love.

Our Myopic vision

imagesCAJQJQ9X God has a plan for each of our lives. In order to fulfill that plan we need to spend time in His presence, in His Word and allow ourselves to be obedient to the prompting of the Holy Spirit. Our walk, as followers of Christ, is a walk of relationship and just as in any relationship if we don’t spend time with the other person we really don’t learn who they are and what they are expecting of us.

I was reminded this morning how easy it is to take our eyes off the things God wants for us and put them on our circumstances and thereby making very poor choices as a result. I know I find myself at times thinking that this “difficult thing” can’t be what God has for me or for a loved one, only to realize that I was using my “natural” thinking and that God has indeed allowed certain things I would deem “difficult”  to further His Kingdom. It really isn’t all about me or what I want for myself or others.  I would certainly do some things differently, if it were up to me.  :/

With my reading this morning I realized how similar Peter’s thinking was at times…..

Matthew 16:21-27  21From that time Jesus began to show to His disciples that He must go to Jerusalem, and suffer many things from the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and be raised the third day. 22Then Peter took Him aside and began to rebuke Him, saying, “Far be it from You, Lord; this shall not happen to You!” 23But He turned and said to Peter, “Get behind Me Satan! you are an offense to Me, for you are not mindful of the things of God, but the things of men.” 24Then Jesus said to His disciples, “If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me.  25For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it.  26″For what profit is it to a man if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul? Or what will a man give in exchange for his soul?  27″For the Son of Man will come in the glory of His Father with His angels, and then He will reward each according to his works.”

How many times do you catch yourself insisting God intervene in a difficult situation for someone or for yourself for that matter and when He doesn’t react immediately and according to your wishes you pout and whine? We need to remember that His ways are not our ways! He happens to be the Creator of the Universe and has an edge in the wisdom department over and beyond us!

We need to be mindful that at times,  God allows circumstances we don’t understand to happen or continue because of His ultimate purpose.  His timing is perfect.  Jesus rebuked Peter because his insistence that Christ would not be killed was based on his “natural” desires only. He wasn’t looking for nor did he see God’s plan in action at that time.  And as we all know, if it were not for Christ’s death on the cross there would be no sacrifice,no resurrection and therefore no means of salvation for you and I!

When we pray for ourselves or others we can boldly come before the throne of God, through the blood of Christ and make our requests known. We should not however, insist that it be done our way and in our time. God loves us and when we are walking and abiding in His will and presence we can ask with confidence however, we cannot demand our way.  When I look back  to earlier  times in my life, I am thankful for many of the prayers God refused to answer. Prayers that were prayed out of selfish ambition and desires that I now realize, had they been answered would have taken me from the path God has prepared for me. A path that isn’t always easy but is a path of deeper growth and intimacy with Christ.

If you are walking with Christ and are seeking answers to prayer that appear to be on hold, don’t allow your heart to grow discouraged or bitter. His ways are far above our ways. Unless He tells you no, allow God to work out the details and learn to trust in His perfect timing and Lordship.

Proverbs 19:21 NIV 21Many are the plans in a person’s heart, but it is the Lord’s purpose that prevails.

1 Corinthians 13:12 KJV12 For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known.

No longer a slave!

Galatians 5:1 5 It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery.

Galatians 5:1 5 It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery.

When we accepted Christ into our lives we not only received salvation and eternal life but we also received the Holy Spirit. The Word of God tells us that where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom! 2 Corinthians 3:17 NIV 17 Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.

God has provided us freedom from the bondage of sin. We no longer have to be controlled by habitual sin and striving. As we turn to Christ, He will guide us and lead us away from and apart from those things that used to easily ensnare us! Hebrews 12:1-2 NKJV 12 Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.

Now that we have been made free, it is so important that we don’t become spiritually lazy. We need to be reading the Word of God, be in prayer and fellowship on a regular basis. Without doing these things we will begin to compromise our walk with Christ. Life as a believer is exciting. We get to see the hand of God move first hand in our lives and the lives of those around us. Let’s not take for granted all that Christ has done. Let’s run the race He has set before us. If we are busy spending time in the presence of God we will not want to do those things that end up causing us pain and separation from the lover of our soul.

God has bought you freedom from spiritual bondage at a great price! The price of His precious Son. Don’t take it for granted. Instead enjoy intimacy with Him while you read your Bible and learn who He is and how much He loves you. Talk to Him. He is never more than a breath away. And lastly stand firm. Don’t look back or side to side. Move on forward in love and obedience. God has great things in store for each of us and if you allow the things that once held you in bondage to gain a foothold back in your life you will not only lose your intimacy with God but you will lose sight of the purpose for which He has called you.

Galatians 5:1 NIV 5 It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery.

Faith like a child

386796_10152017011765444_650072240_n

Matthew 18:4

  While enjoying my morning coffee, I was thinking  of a day I spent with my awesome granddaughters this past summer.   We set out early and spent all day  together having a blast. We went to the Peterborough zoo.  We started out by checking out the animals, one by one and ended the day at the water park. The girls loved it. Though the zoo is small and relatively simple, it was fun.

 What came to mind was an incident that took place in front of the deer cage. The girls ran from one cage to another and raced on just ahead of me to see the deer. Suddenly they stopped and pushed their faces up to the fence.  I could see them chatting about something when I finally caught up.

They both turned to me and said, “Grandma we need to pray, we need to pray!” I wasn’t sure what had just happened in the matter of seconds so I asked them what we needed to pray about. They quickly pointed to a deer, favoring one leg and limping about in the cage. “Ohhhh I see,” I responded.  I told them we could pray later but they insisted we stop and pray right there on the sidewalk in front of the cage. Here they were at 4 and 7 years of age and it was their first response!

So we prayed. Right there with people walking past us. I was so proud of the two of them. They saw something hurting and wanted to do the only thing we could do, pray! They didn’t postpone what could be done right then and there. Simple but beautiful!

Lord let me keep life simple and bring everything to you sooner rather than later!  Let me trust in you as little ones do!

Matthew 18:4 NKJV Therefore whoever humbles himself as this little child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.

Matthew 11:25,26 NKJV At that time Jesus said, “I praise you Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because you have hidden these things from the wise and learned and revealed them to little children. yes, Father, for this was your good pleasure.

418594_10152017009050444_563566797_n

Be RELENTLESS in prayer

images (1)

Ephesians 6:18 NIV 18 And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people. 

A few months back I was in prayer and I believe the Lord gave me a word. The word was that I was to be RELENTLESS in prayer.

So what exactly does that mean?  I looked up the word in the Oxford Dictionary and here is the definition..

Relentless:
never stopping or weakening, harsh or inflexible.

Keeping this in mind, during one of our evening Church services, I was asked to pray for a gentleman in our church that had been suffering with bursitis. I did as asked and remember saying , “Lord, we don’t ask this because we deserve it but simply because of the price Jesus paid we are able to come before your throne and ask and you will hear our prayers.”  The gentleman had been in pain for a long time and been unable to lift his arm due to the pain and therefore it was really limiting his physical abilities. At the time we prayed I believe God heard our prayer but we didn’t see any instant miracle. The next day when I was driving to work the Lord reminded me that I was to continue to pray for this man. I was not to relent until I no longer had the burden of prayer for him. So I did. I held him up in prayer during my morning prayer time for about a week and a half and then the burden was gone.  I no longer thought about it or prayed about it but believed I had done what I was to do,and left the rest to Christ.

A few months later I was leaving the Church and this gentleman approached me and took me aside. He mentioned he wanted to talk to me about something. He asked if I remembered that I had prayed for him for his bursitis problem?  I let him know that I did. He had no way of knowing that the Lord had told me to continue to hold him in prayer until the tug of prayer for him was gone. He then told me that that Sunday he went home and didn’t feel any different, the pain was still there.  Then he said about a week later he noticed that when he went to do something physical he had not been able to do prior, because of the pain and reduced mobility, the pain was completely gone! He began to move his arm all over and realized the bursitis was gone! Needless to say he was thankful to God and relieved!

I learned a valuable lesson that day. Christ could have healed him instantly but He didn’t. He had given me the word that I was to continue in prayer until the prayer tug was gone. I did and it would seem that the bursitis was healed around the same time I no longer felt the tug. I don’t know why this gentleman wasn’t healed instantly but I do know that I obeyed the Spirit’s leading and continued to pray until I was released of that prayer. Perhaps the lesson was something both myself and my brother in Christ were both to learn. We are to be RELENTLESS when it comes to praying a matter through until we no longer have the burden to pray.

I have since wondered how many prayers are not answered simply because we get lazy and don’t press through?  If you are praying for a job, lost loved ones, a difficult marriage etc. go to God and ask for His Spirit to guide you as to how to pray and then do so relentlessly. If you offer or are asked to pray for someone else and you agree to do so then do it!  Don’t neglect to fulfill the responsibility because you don’t receive an instant answer, persevere. George Muller had  it right when he said, “It is not enough to begin to pray, nor to pray aright; nor is it enough to continue for a time to pray; but we must patiently, believingly, continue in  prayer until we obtain an answer.”

I am not suggesting you pray RELENTLESSLY for things that don’t line up with the word of God. Regardless of how often and how much you pray, if it goes against the nature of God or His word, being relentless in prayer will not get you your answer. James 4:3 NIV  When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures.  Be sure that what you are asking for is in line with God’s word and His nature and then be bold.  The word of God says in James 5:15 NIV And the prayer offered in faith will make the sick person well; the Lord will raise them up. If they have sinned they will be forgiven.  We were able to boldly ask God to heal our brother because His word says so.  Be sure what you are praying for is not something against God’s laws or against another.

When you bring your needs, or the needs of others before God make sure what you are asking for lines up with the word of God and if it does pray it through. As followers of Christ, our walk is not one of instant gratification. There are times the Lord requires us to persevere. While you wait on your answer don’t grumble and complain but remain steadfast and thank Him for what He is doing and what He is going to do. Make 2013 your year to be RELENTLESS in prayer and then thank Him for the answers as they come!

Hebrews 6:11-15 NIV 11 We want each of you to show this same diligence to the very end, so that what you hope for may be fully realized. 12 We do not want you to become lazy, but to imitate those who through faith and patience inherit what has been promised. 13 When God made His promise to Abraham, since there was no one greater for Him to swear by, He swore by Himself, 14 saying, ” I will surely bless you and give you many descendants”. 15 And so after waiting patiently, Abraham received what was promised.

Romans 12:12 NIV 12 Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction and faithful in prayer

Keep-praying-until-God-answers

Utilize your access to the throne!

This old world of ours is quite the mess these days. There are rumors of wars in the air. Society as a whole has decided that good is bad and bad is good and anyone that questions that is quite simply politically incorrect. At times it’s tempting for followers of Christ to just tune it all out and live in our own little spiritual cocoons.

Our calling however is not to ignore the plight of others. We need to do what we can to help when and who we can. This doesn’t mean enabling but assisting. We need to contribute to charities or activities that are a blessing to others that have less than we do. We are to reach out in tangible ways when we can and in ways that we are able. Most importantly, however, we are called to pray! Prayer DOES change things. It changes people, circumstances and brings God’s infinite wisdom into some pretty messed up situations. People can laugh and mock believers for their “blind faith” but as the saying goes, a person with an experience is never at the mercy of a person with an argument. I have  seen first hand God move in my life and the lives of those around me in supernatural ways. This year alone I have seen God provide supernaturally in many ways…financially, in healing, with  jobs and in answering heart cries from many people that have sought Him. Prayer is a precious gift from God Himself. As followers of Christ, we can go boldly before the throne of God and make our requests known. This is not done on our own merit, thankfully, but on the saving blood and redemption of Jesus. He has opened the door for us to the throne room!

There are a few things we need to be mindful of however, as we come before the throne of God in prayer. We are to confess our sin before God and ask for forgiveness through Christ. As shown in 2 Chronicles 7:14 NIV 14 if my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land.   

Sin should never keep us away from God, it should motivate us to ask for forgiveness and humbly come before Him. He will hear our prayers. We are also warned about coming to God in prayer with bitterness or resentment against someone. We need to confess and rid ourselves of bitterness and unforgiveness if we want Him to hear our prayer.  Matthew 6:14-15 NIV 14  For if you forgive other people when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. 15 But if you do not forgive others their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.  This statement is very clear and doesn’t leave any wiggle room for holding onto bitterness. Sometimes it is only by an act of will that we are able to forgive, we may not feel it but we do it as an act of obedience knowing that we too need forgiveness for our own weaknesses and sins.

As we confess our own sins and forgive others of theirs against us, we are able to boldly come before God, through Christ.  Hebrews 10:19-23 KJV says19 Having therefore, brethren, boldness to enter into the holiest by the blood of Jesus,20 By a new and living way, which He hath consecrated for us, through the veil, that is to say, His flesh;21 And having an high priest over the house of God;22 Let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience, and our bodies washed with pure water.23 Let us hold fast the profession of our faith without wavering; (for He is faithful that promised). When God looks down at us He sees a child that has been washed in the blood of His precious Son and delights to hear our prayers. Through the blood of His Son we are given exclusive rights to come before Him and make our requests known.

We need to take advantage of this amazing opportunity God has provided for us. Instead of worrying and complaining, we need to be bringing our needs and the needs of others to Him and allowing Him to work in us and through us.  He not only loves us but He wants us to come to Him with these needs.

Phillipians 4:5-7 NIV Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. 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.

1Peter 3:12 NIV 12 For the eyes of the Lord are on the righteous and His ears are attentive to their prayer, but the face of the Lord is against those who do evil.”

Matthew 7:7 NIV “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you.

John sums things up beautifully in the following verse,  1John 5:14-15 NIV 14 This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us. 15 And if we know that He hears us—whatever we ask—we know that we have what we asked of Him.

Spend more time talking to the “lover of your soul” and less time worrying and complaining about things.  He longs to have the intimacy with you that prayer provides.  Finally, don’t forget to thank Him for all the answers to your prayers!

MEDION DIGITAL CAMERA