YOUR LABOR IS NOT IN VAIN
“Therefore my beloved brethren, be ye steadfast, unmovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labor is not in vain in the Lord.” (I Corinthians 15:58 KJ)
It is hard work to stay consistent with our constant communion with Father and takes a dedicated heart and a strong determination to not just visit but LIVE in His divine reality. Our flesh will always hate the Spirit but the overcomers will be rewarded with His joy and peace that passes all understanding. The hindrance to our joy level is not always an outside demonic attack from Satan but many times it is simply dwelling too much in the flesh realm and not spending enough time in the awareness of His presence. I believe if we continue to function in a “worldly” perception, we will allow our emotions to grind us down to a complete shutdown and will eventually throw in the towel. The world say’s, “if it’s not working – cut your losses and fold the tents” but God say’s, “What I have told you to do – obey me and continue working in faith until I tell you to stop!” The difference is KNOWING that God does not fail even though our dreams might not be turning out like we thought it would; we are still being used to accomplish a “portion” of the big picture of “His will” and His plans. “For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments: and His commandments are not grievous (burdensome). For whatsoever is born of God overcomes the world: and this is the victory that overcomes the world, even our faith. Who is he that overcomes the world, but he that believes that Jesus is the Son of God?” (I John 5:3-5)
It is no secret that everyone wants to be appreciated. Anyone who does anything wants to know their gifts and labors are having a positive effect, somewhere, somehow and that it has added or will have an impact on someone. Who else do you think besides God, sits around and observes our “deeds? That’s right – the enemy of our soul. He knows that we desire for our visions to accomplish something positive, and he will devise a strategy to make it as difficult as he can to not only prevent it from happening but to also “corrupt” our intentions. He knows we want feedback (we do want to know), but what happens to us when we do not get it? Will we keep going? Will we stand strong and not be disappointed if no one says’s anything about our labor? Or will we become so discouraged and frustrated that we will quit because it looks like we are wasting our time? How long will we continue the cycle of moping around, feeling sorry for ourselves, and waiting for a reward or at least someone to tell us what a blessing we are to the body of Christ? What did Mother Teresa do when she felt the “Night of the soul”? She stayed the course – she held on by faith – she denied herself and continued to take up the cross of Christ. She realized that her labor and suffering was not in vain and that God would reward her along with everyone else according to their faithful obedience. She knew this was not our “pay-day” but that we would enjoy God’s presence for eternity. We may not receive anything in this life according to mans recognition but do not worry – God remembers everything! It is crucial for our effectiveness in God’s service to settle once and for all that we will not judge our spiritual success on a human scale of reasoning. Either we have heard from God or not! If we know we have heard from God then we must never again question the power or impact that we are having in this life. If we are not sure we have heard His instructions then we should seek His face until we have a specific divine direction. Abraham ended up doubting God as he became weary in waiting for the promise but as we all know – God had his own time and His own agenda that was exactly as He wanted it and our mission and destiny is based on the same principal. “And let us not lose heart and grow weary in acting nobly and doing right, for in due time and at the appointed season we shall reap, if we do not loosen and relax our courage and faint.” (Galatians 6:9 Amp) Do not lay down your faith – for His vision. Selah.
It is easy for leaders to become so busy working for the Kingdom they forget about those all around them that are helping them. If you have ever felt that pastors did not appreciate you or was just using you, you must NOT take it personally. They probably forgot what you said or did and did not mean to insult you. Or have you ever respected a person’s opinion and asked them about your ministry or an idea, only to have them shoot you down and reject your thoughts? We all blow it from time to time and just because you caught this person at a bad time does not give us the right to hold a grudge. Maybe they were wrong and completely missed the blessing that God had given to you! We must forgive and let it go so that we can enjoy the freedom of a clear conscience. The enemy would love to use someone’s neglect to pay attention to you, as a stumbling block of offense. We cannot afford to be offended in ministry! I have experienced this several times and it is not spiritually healthy for anyone. It is strife that is very upsetting and discouraging to the body of Christ. It causes separation and deep wounds that drive us away from each other. We who labor for the Lord are not working to build someone’s ministry; we are working directly for God so that His will can be accomplished and in turn our destiny can be completed. We sacrifice our time and energy and can “help” but our main vision must always be to see others connect with The Lord. When our labor becomes distorted we can become disappointed and hurt which is why it is so very important to keep our conscience saturated in the spirit of humility and the eyes of our heart on the Lord Jesus. If all Christians would try to do this, our unity and love would be amazing!
We must never forget that God is always listening and sees every motive and intention whether good or bad so let us stop for a moment and ask ourselves; if He asked us to do something privately and no one else would even know our deed, would we be enthusiastic about it? If we received no recognition at all, would we still give it our complete sincere effort? If our entire ministry was “unseen” and anonymous to everyone would we still invest our time, energy and finances to it and be filled with joy and encouragement? It is important to examine ourselves and make sure that we are not just going through the motions of ministry or becoming sidetracked with all the voices and distractions from the enemy. The prayer closet is not a place of trophies and television interviews. Many saints that were “unknown” to the attention of the world have spiritually moved “mountains” so that others could stand on lighted stages to publicly proclaim God’s word. There is no greater place of personal intimacy and knowing God personally than living under the shadow of His wings. The ideas and works that we perform in our flesh as religious entertainment or a political way to enhance our own reputation, will be destroyed along with the “wood, hay and stubble” works of all imposters. Our perfect response to His voice is the “gold” that will endure the fire of His holiness and these rewards will be preserved forever for His good and faithful servants. God’s Kingdom is not built on the glory of flesh but on the omnipotence of His absolute, eternal truth and sovereign, holy Majesty. Selah.
“For it is God (not in your own strength) who is all the while effectually at work in you (energizing and creating in you the power and desire), both to will and to work for His good pleasure and satisfaction and delight. Do all things without grumbling and faultfinding and complaining (against God) and questioning and doubting (among yourselves). That you may show yourselves to be blameless and guileless, innocent and uncontaminated, children of God without blemish (faultless, unrebukable) in the midst of a crooked and wicked generation (spiritually perverted and perverse), among whom you are seen as bright lights (stars or beacons shining out clearly) in the (dark) world. Holding out (to it) and offering (to all men) the Word of Life, so that in the day of Christ I may have something of which exultantly to rejoice and glory in that I did not run my race in vain or spend my labor to no purpose.” (Philippians 2:13-16 Amplified) All glory and honor to His Name!
I read the other day a series of statements from a ministry website that was answering a question about miracles. I was shocked as they went on to say that miracles were not needed in this age. They said that Jesus only used His super-natural power to promote His ministry and expand the popularity of His Name. Now that His Word and Christianity is known worldwide, He did not need to manifest His power. I want to say right now that whoever wrote that ridiculous article needs to go back to Sunday school and start all over with the basic foundations of whom God is! Super-natural power has always been a part of the character of God because that is His nature and identity. He is the sovereign creator of the universe and performs thousands of miracles each day. To believe that God does not intervene with our faith is to insult His divine plan of spiritual principles. If Father does not perform miracles anymore then why in the world are we praying and what are we praying for? HE IS THE MIRACLE GOD and we need it NOW more than ever! No wonder that many Christians and churches are dead and cold because evidently many believe that God has left us alone to conduct our own religious activities. Father has never changed! He is a covenant keeping God and is waiting for our faith! Will you be the vessel of honor this year that He can pour from? Selah. “The Lord is my rock, and my fortress and my deliverer; my God, my strength, in whom I will trust; my buckler and the horn of my salvation, and my high tower. For by Thee I have run through a troop; and by my God have I leaped over a wall. It is God that girdeth me with strength, and maketh my way perfect.” (Psalm 18: 2, 29, 32)
THE HEARTACHES OF FAMILIARITY
V-MAIL TO THE FRONTLINE
THE HEARTACHES OF FAMILIARITY
I was invited recently to play some live music at a country store that sells Christian and primitive crafts. I noticed several plaques and pictures that said, “You may be the only Bible some people ever read”. I was reminded about how I had been convicted lately of dropping my guard in front of those I work with and how easy it is to blend in with those that are not children of the light. There are no legitimate reasons for allowing ourselves to become a hypocrite. I know it is strong language but I must face it head-on and not hide behind the long list of excuses that we love to whine about. When we meet someone for the first time it is easy to raise our standard to the top because they have only seen our best effort to portray an image. The problem comes when we see someone everyday and it becomes apparent that we cannot keep up the stress and labor of walking the tight rope of perfection. The best example of familiarity that all married couples can understand is how well behaved we are when we are trying to capture someone’s heart when dating. Then after the wedding we begin to pull off the mask and be more honest with our mate. We become relaxed and comfortable and tend to let go a little more each day until many times we become nothing like the image we were trying so hard to be. The same is true with the people we work with when we let down our guard and become too relaxed. It might start with laughing at a crude joke or agreeing with someone when they are backstabbing another person. Then someone might have a picture of pornography and you willingly lean in to see. After awhile your team begins to look at you in a different light that is less pure and less respectful than before. A strong Christian emits a type of conviction which establishes a standard that people are aware of. God uses this to remind the lost they are hopeless in their own strength and they need to reach up to Him. When Christians backslide, the higher standard they have been called to falls down to the lower level of the unredeemed and unfortunately they begin to feel comfortable and justified with the current state of their lifestyle. Without the conviction from the so-called Christian, the sinner grows more confident and will actually end up lashing out at the backslider with mockery and hate. We as Christians must hold the bar high for the sake of obedience to God and the love for lost souls. So how can we stay strong and not fall prey to becoming lukewarm and overly familiar with friends and family? Here are seven simple points to remember as we pray and ask God to help us be salt and light to the world and especially to those who “know” us.
GO TO THE DRAWING TABLE: This is another way of saying we are going to make the willing decision to become a living sacrifice upon God’s alter. Maturity is a process that progresses and advances. When we are convicted to move up to a higher level with God, it is good to lay our cards on the table and evaluate where we are and where God wants us to be. Obviously our flesh does not want anything to do with the hot burning coals of as sacrificial furnace because it spells death but that is exactly what we must endure to become transformed into his image. Gold is purified with heat for the purpose of refining and removing the impurities. We protect our secrets and our will but these are the very things we must “hand over” to him. Without this kind of serious commitment we will continue on the frustrating merry-go-round of religious depression, failure and frustration. When someone wants a new “custom” house built they first go to the architect. God is our author and the finisher of our faith and if we are going to become a new structure then we must go to him first and allow him to design us and build us “his way”. We have developed habits that are so hard to break that it leaves us depressed because we realize we are a hypocrite. We try to hide behind the mask of “I’m ok” but it leaves us with a sad, empty feeling inside. We must admit that we cannot change on our own and openly confess that we desperately need him. We say we know and understand there are two realms; one that is lived in the spirit and one that is carnal but just knowing it is not enough. We claim to love God and desire to walk in his spirit but somehow we cannot seem to control ourselves; the truth is – we cannot.
PRAY FOR AWARENESS: I know we seem to enjoy playing games but God is really not amused and does not think we are funny or cute. He does have patience with us as we are trying to learn but there comes a point where we must begin to grow. I believe that Father wants to reveal the way we are and is hoping that we will come to our senses and see ourselves the way we really are. The Word of God is intended to be a mirror that exposes our own condition which in turn should develop humility. Worship is bowing before God and giving honor and adoration to Him that is Omnipotent, omniscient and Omnipresent. Pride is being self-deceived and is one of the most common and dangerous problems between Father and mankind. If we are ready to stop living in denial then our eyes need to be opened to the “reality” of our problems and the “revelation” of what he is saying. We first need to realize that we need to change – then let us ask God to show us our own attitude and to make us aware of the way He wants us to be. If we are really serious about changing into His image, we will fervently pray for Him to do a deep work in us. If we are satisfied with being religious and do not believe we need transformation then our odds for failure increases drastically. Many people have all of God they want and do not desire any more. They are not praying for awareness because they are uncomfortable with the truth. Selah.
NO SUBSTITUTE FOR OBEDIENCE: Whether we want to admit it or not we will all be judged in the light of our obedience. We are constantly bombarded by someone trying to help us become a better person and steps to help us become happier. The truth is these self-help methods and ideas will never bring us spiritual peace unless they include obeying God and his word. We want to volunteer and serve in charitable organizations and we might even work within the structures of ministry but cringe when faced with personal obedience. We want to create our own life filled with our own ideas but once again God is not impressed. The Christian life is not just a philosophical arrangement of morals and values it is a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. This is based on us hearing his voice and responding to his voice. The hay, wood and stubble of our works and deeds will be burned up in the final judgment because they were either not God inspired or were in direct opposition of what he was trying to tell us.
KEEP A PRAYER JOURNAL: This may sound simple and really it is, but it has the practical potential to cause a personal revolution in our spiritual life and that is our goal. We all say we know that agape love is what being a Christian is all about but do we really practice it? What I mean is; do we really take the time to think about the needs of others and say a specific prayer for them? Get into the routine of keeping a journal and include within the pages the names of those that you know who need a touch from the Father. This will also cause a stirring that will lead to self-examination and repentance because we must become pure and holy before we go to the throne of his alter. This spiritual habit is very powerful and will bring us closer to him, fill us with his spirit and help us to walk more sensitive in his presence. As we begin to actually care more for others we will begin to reflect his image and character more than ever before. This is real Christianity! Let me also add that moving into the direction of serious prayer produces the power that shakes the foundations of the universe. We must prepare for intense spiritual warfare because the enemy pays more attention to fervent prayer than most anything we can do for the kingdom. It is exciting to record the victories and celebrations of what God has done. Maybe the reason why saints do not have prayer journals is because they do not pray. We focus and spend time with what we are interested in. Of all the things we can do – there is nothing more important than prayer. Prayer is the holy fruit of spiritual love.
A BURDEN FOR SOULS: It is no secret that we as Christians spend most of our communication time with God asking for “things” that will bring pleasure and what we think will satisfy our flesh. What most people never realize is that our petitions usually are thin when it comes to concentrating and focusing on what is really important. We must turn away from only seeing our needs and desires and somehow begin to notice other people. Let us take the time to write out a brand new prayer list and change our way of thinking not for any other reason than agape love. Selfish request are for the young Christian but as we grow into maturity we should begin to see deeper than just the shallow “feelings” of our flesh. What if we made a list of request that was devoted exclusively for our spirit and had nothing on it for our flesh? Try asking God for more spiritual things like, having a burden for lost souls, more wisdom, more love, to be a generous giver and so on. God is filled with love and has a burden for souls twenty four hours a day but we are so concerned with our life that we have become calloused. If we are not filled with his spirit then we will not see people the way he sees them. Ask God to make you less aware of the “world” and how it affects you. May we be filled with his discernment and grow to love and care about souls enough to pray for their salvation.
WHO WILL COMMITT? Billy Sunday once said,” Many people have just enough religion to make them miserable”. We talk, talk, and talk all day and all night about things we really do not understand because we have refused to sacrifice the quiet time necessary to know God. It is so much easier to talk about the holy alter of sacrifice than to actually crawl upon it and be used by God. This is exactly why prayer is the most “talked” about Christian duty yet the least practiced. We have become a “ME” society than has grown more self-centered. Our pride causes us to judge others according to our opinions without even considering what God might say. This negative attitude has a direct influence on how much we choose to help others who are in need. Devoting any of our time for the purpose of expressing true love toward others or to God himself is a labor worthy of our sacrifice. We are servants of Christ and to Christ. We will never come into the fullness of God’s will or become the useful vessel he has called us to be without becoming a lump of willing clay in the hands of the potter.
DISCIPLINE IS PAINFUL: Some may say, “What does discipline have to do with familiarity? Well, it is only the foundation of who we are and has a positive effect on close relationships. In sports, discipline is widely used as the law of being the best you can be. Those who are disciplined are not just more likely to succeed but also gain the respect from all who know them. Discipline is an outward sign of someone who is serious, focused and determined. Those who are not disciplined are labeled lazy, uncaring, and not dependable. So if we apply these same principals in a spiritual light we begin to see how the Lord moves within the hearts of his servants and uses his people within the boundaries of their own personal discipline. Of course it is not easy to adjust our words and actions so that we can gain more respect but it is worth it if we desire for God to trust us and have more confidence in us. This in turn will create a chain reaction that will be noticed in our personality among our friends and family. The question must be asked within our own mind, “Just how much passion do I have to change?” We must take command of our body and our mind and depend on God to give us the strength and courage to overcome our flesh. Discipline does not fall from the sky but comes from the spirits of those who want it more than anything.
We all fall short and have failed God many times; it is a part of learning and growing. I encourage you to study, pray and find him in the quiet place of sincerity and truth. Jesus loves us very much and of all the things he has created he desires our heart.
Among the skaters was a boy so small and so evidently a beginner that his frequent mishaps awakened the pity of a tender-hearted spectator. “Why, sonny, you are getting all bumped up,” she said. “I wouldn’t stay on the ice and keep falling down so; I’d just come off and watch the others”. The tears from the last painful spill were still rolling over his rosy cheeks, but the child looked from his “advisor” to the shining steel on his feet, and answered, half-indignantly, “I didn’t get some new skates to give up with; I got them to learn how with”. The whole philosophy of earthly discipline was in the reply. Life’s hard tasks are never sent for us “to give up with;” they are always intended to awaken strength, skill, faith and courage in learning how to master them.
THE DEADLY WALK OF APATHY
THE DEADLY WALK OF APATHY
“It is true that you have heard Him, and have been taught by Him, as the truth is in Jesus: That you put off concerning the former conversation the old man, which is corrupt according to the deceitful lusts; And be renewed in the spirit of your MIND: And that you put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness.” (Eph. 4:21-24)
Being a person of joy and peace is a result and reflection of a FERVENT personal relationship with Jesus. When we are first “birthed” into God’s Kingdom, we experience a very exciting and joyful time because the weight of sin and guilt has been lifted and the new feeling of freedom and purity is such a happy occasion. Like a bird that has been released from its cage we fly around and are amazed at how everything seems fresh and appears optimistic and hopeful. The bubbly, “lightness” of being clean causes us to float around in a euphoric dream-state that cannot be explained. Then sadly, we get used to our new “suit” and eventually the new begins to wear off. We are still spiritual infants and have not come to realize that we are leaky containers that can go from being filled to empty in a matter of hours or even less. It is a hard lesson to learn but we are told how we need to keep allowing God to “fill” us everyday and how we need to guard our joy with a very sensitive spiritual security system. It is like we are toddlers, still crawling some, pulling up on things, nursing a bottle and stumbling around. But, what we are trying to achieve in our “spiritual” journey is to come to the place where we can put on some sturdy spiritual shoes and become an “asset” to His Kingdom. Unfortunately many saints become comfortable with their immaturity and choose to stay in the playpen. On the flip side the disciples who are determined to go all the way with Jesus and live according to His gospel have made the CHOICE to endure the painful growing pains and are committed to make the responsibility of developing into a mature follower of Christ their highest priority.
Age has nothing to do with maturity because it’s easy to be old and unlearned. No wonder people avoid Bible study because the more we know the more responsibility we have. In this light, we can accept the possibility that many Christians are spiritually uninformed because they intentionally desire it to be that way. Selah. Being used in God’s plan does not come automatically anymore than Gold medals and Doctorate degrees are accomplished lying on the beach. We as Christians have a major opponent that is “dead serious” to make sure a victorious manifestation does NOT occur in our life. I know it may seem surprising but it is not necessarily the devil, neither is it the laziness of our body. Our enemy is APATHY! It is such a strange little word but it carries the weight of the world – and beyond. It is a MENTAL attitude, a state of MIND that resembles the old hound dog lying on the front porch. Its not that the dog can’t run – it just does not want to! The dictionary explains it as meaning “indifference, the absence of interest, the lack of passion, desire or emotion.” Moreover, as we look around we can literally see that much of the church has adopted apathy as a personal “pet”! Many have gone to sleep as their spiritual joy in the Lord has been replaced with fleshly contentment and compromise. Where is the repentance for sin? Whatever happened to prayer meetings and evangelism? Whatever happened to revivals? Why doesn’t anyone cry anymore in church? Where are the miracles, the joy and the power? In many places the Lord has turned away because He is grieved and angry. Remember Jesus rebuked the attitude of the established church of His day because they had organized The Father completely out of their life. They had turned His house of prayer into a legalistic program. The church is not to be a man-led ceremony but an intimate, personal, spiritual experience of worshipping, learning, knowing and loving God. If today’s popular, style of ministry is all about “entertainment” – they have fallen into this same dangerous religious deception and the Lord is very clear that He wants nothing to do with it! Selah.
People love to hear about what they can “receive” from God but are not interested in what they need to do to walk in it! How many Christian homes have replaced nightly Bible study and prayer with television? How many Christian parents are NOT raising their children with Godly wisdom, spiritual integrity or Biblical principals? How many Christians have never witnessed to anyone or led anyone to the Lord? Why? It’s simple, because they did not have enough interest in it! When anyone has a burning conviction for something, it will become their highest priority. Many in the faith have lost their first love and this spiritual coldness affects everything and everyone in their life. True disciples of Christ have been called and commissioned to be the light and salt in their network. This is not an option but a command to love others as they love themselves. Without love, there is no conviction, without conviction, there is no prayer and without prayer, there are no demonstrations or manifestations. Christians are passionate about their beautiful homes and their luxury cars. They are proud of their jobs, education, furnishings, clothes, jewelry, and bank accounts but have blocked out the idea of surrendering their will to Christ. Somehow, our thinking has been distorted to believe that being successful and “religious” is the same thing as walking in God’s Divine reality. “Love not the world (the default system), neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world, the desires of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world. And the world will pass away and the lust thereof: but he that does the will of God will abide forever.” (I John 2:15-17)
Apathy is becoming a highly contagious virus that is causing God’s army to take off their armor to find a comfortable recliner. We hear so much about people who are giving up, it has become like a broken record and until we overcome this mental barrier we cannot advance further in our development. How can we succeed in the daily battle if we are not paying any attention to what we are doing, what is happening or the strategies and forces that are trying to stop us? How can we relay the message of being “sold out” to others if we resist God’s consuming fire in our own life? The day any Christian starts wearing the deceiving, prideful mask of “religiosity” – will be the day they become a prisoner of war to the devil! Let us look at the word “indifference” that was a part of the definition of apathy. “Having or showing no preference; neutral; no motivation; of no importance or meaning; inactive; without concern.” This is it! This is the blindness that has blanketed the organized church and has become America’s greatest danger! Being indifferent is being lukewarm! The idea that all churches, doctrines and religions are the same is being accepted by the younger generations. Many believe in a doctrine called “the total restoration of all things” as it teaches that it does not matter what we do because all will be saved in the end. People are more worried about the stock market than their souls and many will be unprepared to face the persecution and devastation of a collapsed economy and the coming New World Order of anti-christ. Why aren’t pastors blowing the trumpet of truth? Because they are AFRAID and have not studied God’s Word for themselves! The fire from many pulpits have been reduced to a cold, secular “lullaby” as the hearts of the masses have become as white washed tombs filled with dead men’s bones. Neutral, uninterested and without concern is being a half-hearted, distant and unenthused religious zombie.
Many Christians feel they have already met the basic necessary requirements of salvation and just need to relax and wait for the next train to heaven. Powder puff preachers are telling the masses how wonderful they are and there is no need to worry because Jesus may come tonight and rescue them from their troubles. Others have lost the vision of their destiny and are tired because they have allowed their eyes to turn from the face of Jesus to the pleasures of the flesh. Multitudes are depressed because things have not worked out as they planned. Many have become afraid, have lost all confidence, and do not trust anyone. Yet, people spend more time watching the news and believing what man is saying than watching God’s Word and praying in faith! Their passion and Intensity has turned to sporting events and entertainment and it is very evident in their daily spiritual walk. The body of Christ must awaken and arise! It is time for God’s people to put on their armor and stand on the unfailing promises of God’s Word! It is time to dust off our shield and sword and CHOOSE to be filled with His victory!
Let me ask a personal question; Would you be “into” Christ if He did not offer the blessings of love, money, health, wisdom, peace, joy, miracles, favor, rewards, eternal life, victory, etc..? Would you follow the Lord and love him unconditionally even in the face of death if He told you there was no heaven? Do you feel that many people put their “hope” in heaven just because they long to go to the most beautiful place in the universe and fear a place of eternal torment? This is not true salvation! Let me ask another question; would you still want to go to heaven if God lived somewhere else? Do we long to see HIM – or what He has for us? If heaven was a hot windy desert without riches, where we live in a tent, fighting enemies and struggling to survive – but God was there – would you still be just as excited about going? Do you thirst after God’s Word that helps you know him better or do you spend all your prayers asking him for things? Is God alone enough to satisfy you forever? “Thy WORDS were found, and I did eat them; and Thy WORD was unto me the joy and rejoicing of mine heart: for I am called by Thy name, O Lord God of hosts.” (Jeremiah 15:16) “He ONLY is my rock and my salvation; He is my defense; I shall not be greatly moved. In God is my salvation and my glory: the rock of my strength and my refuge, is in God.” (Psalm 62:2,7) Selah.
PRAYER IX: THE HOUSE OF PRAYER
V-MAIL TO THE FRONTLINE
PRAYER IX: THE HOUSE OF PRAYER
We now understand more clearly that prayer is not just a chore on our “things to-do” list. It is the ultimate “privilege of power” that can change the world! It is the honor of sacrificing our will so that we can be filled with the mind and nature of Christ. The obedience of the disciple of God brings glory to Him and is used as an instrument for His desires to be done on earth as it is in heaven. Jesus referred to the temple in His day as His Fathers “house of prayer” which was actually a shadow of our heart. “And what agreement hath the temple of God with idols? For YOU ARE the temple of the living God; as God has said, I will dwell IN THEM, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people”. (II Corinthians 6:16) After Jesus died and rose again, the Holy Spirit was sent to dwell within each of His followers to help us live in Fathers divine reality. But trying to keep people and their emotions from turning the holiness of prayer into a religious “parade” has not been easy.
There are so many Christians that feel they have not been very successful in their calling and in their frustration try to prove their spiritual “status” by publicly demonstrating their praying skills. Those who actually abide in God’s presence do not feel the need to prove or be noticed as someone on a high level of spirituality, neither do they need the respect from others. They understand the difference between being religious and being spiritual. The principal remains true; the Lord saturates us with His anointing when we develop the attitude of humility, but it quickly leaves us when we launch out into the pride of seeking our own glory which could be one reason why many of the traditional church’s have become dry and powerless. Selah.
We must avoid the temptation of being seen and heard so that we will not miss God’s genuine divine appointments. It is fine to pray in public if our heart is submitted to the will of the Father and He is directing us to do it, but we need to be aware that we are not trying to bring attention to ourselves. Many churches will schedule evenings of prayer where the group will gather and each person takes turns praying and that is awesome as long as our motives are pure. In family gatherings, meetings at work or with special occasions, the person praying should be spiritually in-tune with the Father and not try to “push” a personal agenda. It is not easy to block out our own thoughts but we must focus on whom we are talking to. We must pray intimately and sincerely like we are alone with Him.
Yes, of course we want to see our loved ones saved, delivered and filled with the Holy Spirit but this deep “work of the heart” usually will have a much greater chance to succeed if we privately stand in the gap for them instead of making a public announcement about it. If our public ministry is not in obedience with God’s divine appointments it can cause resentment, but if we intercede and wait patiently for Father’s perfect timing, we can relay His message “smoothly” and it will be received with the power of HIS conviction – not our condemnation. The place to pray and fast is in secret. But the pride of our flesh realizes there is no glory when we do things that no one knows about. Even many who pray sacrificially will end up bragging about how they rise in the middle of the night to pray and for how many hours – because they crave the respect and are proud of their spirituality. We can talk with Him privately all through the day and night because He can hear our whispers, thoughts and our songs of love, worship and joy. Our intercession and being alone with Him in the secret chambers of intimacy is in our spirit and mind and will always be the heart of our spiritual communication. “But thou, when thou prayest, enter into thy closet, and when thou hast shut thy door, pray to thy Father which is in secret; and thy Father which seeth in secret shall reward thee openly”. (Mathew 6:6)
Our prayers are not for the purpose of us having the chance to preach to others and see them fall at OUR feet in repentance. We may be used to plant a seed but not see the harvest until we get to heaven, and that’s ok! Praise God, we had the privilege to be a part in their life. We also may be used to lead someone to the Lord that others have been planting and watering for years. Father uses us to stand in the gap for those who need spiritual help, to strengthen and to soften their heart so that He can continue His process of trying to reach them. “And he that reaps receives wages and gathers fruit unto life eternal: that both he that sows and he that reaps may rejoice together. And herein is that saying true, one sows and another reaps”. (John 4:36-37)
It is the “drawing” power from God that causes people to sense His presence intervening in their conscience. When God chooses to draw someone it is definitely an act of love and grace. All of us would be lost if He had not drawn us to Himself because our flesh and the old human nature does not think about Jesus neither desires to serve Him. “No man can come to me, except the Father which has sent me DRAW him: and I will raise him up at the last day”. (John 6:44) I believe that true prayer is our spirit that discerns God’s voice because we would not know what to pray specifically unless we were inspired by Him. As we draw closer to Him, He relays His desires to us which guides us in knowing how to pray. When we are walking in His divine reality we can more easily sense when He is activating and generating His mercy within us to direct His compassion toward those He gives us burdens for. In this we see how crucial it is to constantly seek God’s face and ask to be filled with His love and the agape love for others. Father listens to our fervent prayers and is waiting to change circumstances and perform miracles. He is a covenant keeping God and loves to fulfill the promises of His Word. He longs to see His Word performed and to manifest His power through our faith.
We cannot manifest God’s power when preaching, leading worship, counseling or even teaching Sunday school if we are not flowing in the Lord’s anointing. Our efforts no matter how eloquent or professional will always fall flat when they come from our own abilities. One of the reasons with why many churches have cooled off is because the people have traded the holy anointing for worldly entertainment. Satan wants to steal our vision of Christ by captivating our state of mind with human intelligence and talent. Opening the church doors to the sensuality of the kingdom of darkness has brought in the dangerous leaven of sin. Church members cannot fill their heart with the world day in and day out and expect to live in a constant awareness of God’s presence. The devil’s strategy is to bring tolerance and compromise into the personal lives of God’s people and then it will be a cakewalk to establish it in the church. Selah. “No servant can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one and love the other; or else he will hold to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and money”. (Luke 16:13) Brother, I do not believe I am serving money! Just because people do not literally bow down to idols doesn’t mean they have their priorities in the right place. It is all about what is important to you in the deepest recesses of your heart. Money represents the materialistic world; all that you have, all that you want and all that you can get! If our “stuff” means more to us than praying for the soul of one of our lost neighbors, then something is wrong and God is trying to get our attention. You do not realize how much money means to you until you decide to give it away. Selah. “Do you not understand, that to whom you yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants you are to whom you obey; whether of sin unto death or of obedience unto righteousness?” (Romans 6:16)
Distractions are not coincidences; they are designed to fill our heart with everything but Jesus and living defeated is not always recognized by the ones that are in bondage. It is true, when people are struggling and suffering they are feeling the effects of oppression but there are also many that are empty on the inside and do not discern they are deceived. It is time that we come to the understanding that our bible knowledge, our prayer life and our worship experience is not limited to the four walls of the church. We are the temple of the Holy Ghost, we are the house of prayer and we have God in our heart to teach us and lead us into all truth. The churches cannot be seen as a duty to fulfill all of our spiritual obligations because it is organized and governed by people. We must look to God as the author and finisher of our faith and fix our gaze upon Him! The modern idea of a church service and the everyday walk of a disciple are two different things! It’s easy to look spiritual in church – but the real Christian life is how we react to being ridiculed and persecuted in the world, at work or with our family. The church is for the equipping of the saints to do the work of the ministry in the world. The problem is that just “going to church” can lull people into a coma as they choose to be a spectator and not a participator. There is a time of ministry and patience and even personal counseling that can bring revival and restoration but the merry-go-round of carnality must be conquered within the heart of the one that professes Christ as their Lord. The more we edge away from prayer – the more satisfied we will become to just go through the motions. It is no secret that our earthly development and love of technology is causing a lifestyle of instant gratification and at the same time distorting our spiritual understanding of faith and patience concerning prayer. Sadly, the concept of what God’s Word is all about and the responsibility of interceding is fading away as old fashioned and boring. This attack against praying in faith is not only a result of our rebellious human nature but is deteriorating the courage from the body of Christ that is needed to represent God and His Kingdom. Worldly philosophies are taking the place of spiritual principals because the church is more concerned with being politically correct instead of taking up their cross! “It is written, My house shall be called the house of prayer; but you have made it a den of thieves”. (Mathew 21:13)
THE ATTITUDE OF GIVING II: THE FIRST WILL BE LAST
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THE ATTITUDE OF GIVING II:
THE FIRST WILL BE LAST
“For we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out”. (I Timothy 6:7)
“And behold, one came and said unto Him (Jesus), Good Master, what good thing shall I do, that I may have eternal life? And He said unto him, why do you call me good? There is none good but one, that is, God: but if you will enter into life, keep the commandments. He said unto Him, which ones? Jesus said, Thou shalt do no murder, Thou shalt not commit adultery, Thou shalt not steal, Thou shalt not bear false witness, Honor thy father and thy mother: and, Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself. The young man said unto Him, all these things have I kept from my youth up: what lack I yet? (what else do I need?) Jesus said unto him, if you will be perfect, (an obedient, faithful disciple) go and sell all that you have, and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven: and come and follow me. But when the young man heard that saying, he went away sorrowful: for he had great possessions”. (Mathew 19:16-22)
Wagner said, “Joy is not in things – It is in us”. How true and yet how mysterious. The treasures of this world are cold and empty but people believe they can bring true joy. The revelation of joy is – knowing and loving God with “ALL” your heart! We have read this story many times and have thought about what it means. Most of the time we understand the seriousness of what Jesus is saying, but only from a view of someone in the audience watching the drama. We seldom stop to consider the point of this “real life” scenario is to reveal a “deep” truth to us about the attitude of giving. How many times have we thought about the rich young ruler in a negative light for being so attached to his possessions that he just could not fathom having to sell them and give everything away? Or did we secretly think that Jesus was being a little too hard on him by presenting this difficult ultimatum? After all it seems this young man was a good boy and had been raised with good morals. Maybe we thought that this extreme request only applied to those who were called to be “sold-out” disciples – not normal Christians. And some might have come to the conclusion that Jesus was just testing him to see how he would react. Whatever we have pondered, it seems most everyone believes this story does not pertain to their life as I do not personally know anyone that has actually done what Jesus wanted this man to do. After every sermon on this subject that I have heard preached, I have never felt compelled to do this, neither has anyone else even mentioned it. Why? Because even if we did feel conviction to radically change our life, our “human logic” would revolt and scream against immediately! This interchange between the Son of God and this man is a reflection of every disciple and is intended to “expose” the attitude of our heart.
How can any of us be down on this man for feeling the way he did? How would you feel if Jesus asked you to do this? Are we to feel sorry for him? Should we embrace him and tell him that we would feel the same way if Jesus told us that? Allow me to ask a question; IS Jesus asking us to do this? Now brother, let’s not get fanatical, He did not REALLY mean for all of His children to literally go through with this! Well, you may be right, although I am sure this has happened with several people throughout the ages and if the Lord does ask us to do this I pray we will have the courage and faith to do it. But even if we do not get rid of everything and walk around with a backpack, I do believe we should be WILLING to do it out of obedience and trust. We should have a constant attitude that walking with Him is THE most important meaning of life. I believe Father wants us to NOT be so absorbed in this world’s treasures that we cannot let go of them on a moments notice. “Then said Jesus unto His disciples, Verily I say unto you, that a rich man shall hardly enter into the kingdom of heaven. AND AGAIN I SAY UNTO YOU, (strong emphasis) it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God.” (Verses 23 and 24) We can start with asking, is He talking about a lost person or a saved person? Well, the rich young ruler said that he had kept the commandments so we must presume that he knew the Word of God and was living according to God’s law. It would seem that wrong attitudes can infect the Godly and have extreme consequences. Selah. And another question, is “rich” in God’s perspective the same as our opinion of rich? Most of us have everything we need but are not considered rich compared to millionaires. Yet to the third world countries we would appear to be very wealthy in their eyes. I believe the Lord is talking about a deep root of carnality that comes from our old nature and which rules the default system. He seems to be saying the danger with being wealthy is the subtle power of deception. When we dream about the blessing more than the one who gives the blessing, we have fallen under the evil spell of idol worship. Wealth creates authority but carnal attitudes fuel pride. If the Christian allows their wealth to be controlled by their emotions, the dark side of pride can deceive the mind and blind the eyes of the heart. The more selfish we are, the more in bondage we are to our “stuff”. In this light we can conclude that the more generous we are – the more true freedom and joy we can experience in His Spirit! Selah. “But they that will be rich fall into temptation and a snare, and into many foolish and hurtful lusts, which drown men in destruction and perdition. For the love of money is the root of all evil: which while some coveted after, they have erred (turned away) from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows”. (I Timothy 6:9-10) Wealth is a blessing and giving to others is a blessing and as long as this “flow” continues in the joy of the Holy Ghost – all is GOOD! Jesus is just trying to say, this is not as easy as it sounds because there are many spiritual battles in the realm of money. We can use it all day long – but are not fall in love with it! “And God is able to make all grace abound toward you; that you always having all sufficiency in all things, may abound to every good work”. (II Corinthians 9:8) “Not that we are sufficient of ourselves to think anything as of ourselves; but our sufficiency is of God”. (II Corinthians 3:5)
I believe that wealth is a healthy part of the blood covenant blessing that God intended for His people the same as physical healing. But if you look closely at the conditions of obedience you will see that miracles are manifested through our faith. After miracles are given it is also clear that obedience is what keeps the life on track with God’s will. If the Lord has given us the blessing of wealth, then He will fulfill the promises of His Word if we continue in our faith and obedience to His voice. His Word does not fail and He is no respecter of persons. Many teachers will stop when it appears that no one that is wealthy can be saved, but I do not believe this is what is being said. We are not to be afraid of money because it is through financial resources that God’s Kingdom can reach out to the masses. We are to be so close to Father in our personal relationship, that even large amounts of money cannot distract or influence us. We need money and He is waiting for us to reach higher levels of maturity so that we can be trusted to fulfill His desires. The gospel is printed, the poor are housed and the hungry are fed because somebody has the money to pay for it! There are many ministries that provide many needs for the poor and there are individuals that are walking in the divine reality as they always have their ears and eyes open for the next divine appointment. I believe in a “perfect world”, God would love for all of His people to be wealthy so they could use their resources to introduce the world to Jesus. As we continue in the text we notice where the super-natural power of God steps in. “When His disciples heard it, they were exceedingly amazed, saying, who then can be saved? But Jesus beheld them, and said unto them, with men this is impossible; but with God ALL THINGS ARE POSSIBLE”. (Verses 25-26) I have heard about a gate in Jerusalem that was in existence when Jesus was ministering called the “eye of the needle”. It supposedly was a low gate and to go under it, the camels would have to get on their knees. Whether this is actually true or just a folk legend, the point is the same, that all of us must stay in an attitude of prayer and humility in order to resist the powers of temptation.
“One day a rich but miserly old man came to visit a Rabbi. The Rabbi led him to the window and said, “Look out the window and tell me what you see?” “People,” answered the rich man. Then the Rabbi led him to a mirror, “What do you see now?” he asked. “I see myself” answered the man. Then the Rabbi said, “Behold in the window there is glass and in the mirror there is glass. But the glass of the mirror is covered with a little silver, and no sooner is a little silver added – we cease to see others and see only ourselves”. (S. Ansky.)
Luther used to say that every Christian needed a three-fold conversion, that of their heart, their head and their pocketbook. We need to know that every dollar in our keeping belongs to God and must be used so as to best promote the interest of His Kingdom. One of the most important realities to learn is to make Him the Lord of our finances by consecrating everything we have to the Father. “But whoso hath this world’s goods and sees his brother have need, and closes up his bowels of compassion from him, how can the love of God dwell in him? My little children let us not love in word, neither in tongue; but in deed and in truth”. (I John 317-18) “And everyone that has forsaken houses, or brothers, or sisters, or father, or mother, or wife, or children, or lands for my name’s sake, shall receive a hundred-fold, and shall inherit everlasting life. But many that are first shall be last; and the last shall be first”. (Mathew 19:29-30) To be like God is to be a constant channel of giving, “for God so loved the world that He gave”. Selah.
THE ATTITUDE OF GIVING: JESUS IS THAT YOU?
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THE ATTITUDE OF GIVING:
JESUS IS THAT YOU?
“For I was hungry and you gave me no meat: I was thirsty, and you gave me no drink: I was a stranger and you did not take me in: I was naked and you did not clothe me: I was sick and in prison and you did not visit me. Then shall they also answer Him, saying, Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty, or a stranger, or naked, or sick or in prison and did not minister to you? Then shall He answer them, saying, verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as you did it NOT to one of the least of these, you did it not to me”. (Mathew 25:42-45)
Have you ever thought about what a blessing it is to be convicted about something? Even though we might completely blow it, it is still good to know that Father has not given up on us. All glory and majesty to His Name! He is filled with mercy toward us and His unconditional love is still trying to teach us. Being convicted means His hand is upon our heart, trying to get our attention. Walking in His Spirit is a process of change that will take an entire lifetime. Even then, we will still only be able to see shadows and images of where we need to be. For example, I am amazed at how I can have a great evening with the Lord, praying, reading and writing and the next day I am attacked from every side with me trying to fight with my emotions and ultimately making bad decisions. Why do I do that? I know that I should stop and pray and find the mind of Christ. I know that I should step out of the default system and step into His divine reality – so why don’t I? Have you ever become frustrated at something and behaved carnally in front of others who are not Christians? I have – and it is embarrassing. I have felt convicted over my immaturity and the lack of spiritual sensitivity and in most cases we cannot go back and fix it. We can just ask the Lord to forgive us and those who were watching us, and try to learn from our mistakes that we may not do it again. The Christian road is a challenging narrow path.
I was convicted the other night about something else. We had been to Wal-Mart and were driving down the street when I saw a man up ahead holding a sign. He was standing at the intersection and his sign said, “Hungry – homeless”. Yes, I admit it, I drove off without helping him but I was convicted about it. It was at night and on a poorly lit back street and it does make you a little weary of strangers especially in this day and age but what should we do? I know we should follow the leading of God’s voice but sometimes I cannot tell the difference between Him nudging me and my “feelings”. Should we give him a bag of groceries? Should we invite him to come home with us? Should we take him to a restaurant and order him a meal? Should we hand him some cash? It is true, he could have been an angel and maybe it was a test for me that I completely failed. Or he could have been a violent criminal waiting for me to stop so he could rob us and kill us. Whatever the case, I confess there are times when my generosity has sympathy and other circumstances when I feel that I should not intervene. As far as my obedience with divine appointments, I pray that I can be more sensitive and be aware of when they are obviously right in front of me. I have wondered about that man ever since the other night. I wanted to know more about what drove him to stand and hold a sign of desperation. But, wait a minute – what does that have to do with anything? Why does it matter? Because we want to make sure that people are really suffering and not just scamming us! We want all the background information so that we can make the “right” decision. Is this what Jesus did? Is this the way He wants us to handle these situations? Have you ever been faced with these questions?
Yes, I admit, I have also walked past people begging for donations at Christmas. We have heard about large salaries and the corporate waste and sometimes this causes us to draw back. Everyday our world reveals so many sickening disappointments and deceptions that we are subconsciously becoming paranoid. This is all the more reason for us to stay “glued” to the Fathers heart. I admit I have not picked up hitch-hikers and I do not give to the Special Olympics or fireman’s fund every time they call. Most of time I am involved with something and I do not stop and ask God if I should give. I receive letters in the mail from different ministries almost every day wanting money and I do give to some but I admit I do not give to all of them. I believe we are stewards of our finances and should consult with Father in every decision especially in finances. I am also convinced that most of the time it is the Holy Spirit who will nudge US when He wants us to give and these moments of obedience are the most rewarding. We just need to learn to stop arguing about what He is telling us to do – and do it! But at the same time we cannot be led by our emotions every time someone holds their hand out because we may interfere with what God is trying to work out in someone’s life. I have asked the question before; if the Lord is trying to deal with someone and we stumble into the situation with our emotions, are we being an enabler for them to continue resisting God’s voice? As long as they are refusing to yield to God’s will and trying to be independent – are we interrupting what Father is trying to reveal to them? Maybe – maybe not, this is why it is so important to walk in God’s presence. I am sad for all the ones I have failed in the past because of my own brain trying to analyze people. I think sometimes it is really our “feelings” trying to justify our rebellion as we try to come up with reasons not to give. I repent for my selfishness and for walking in the carnal nature of trying to imagine what they really need.
You know, maybe this goes even deeper. Our old human nature loves to see everyone receive what they have coming to them. We accept the idea of judgment and punishment because when people make mistakes we want to see them suffer for it. When Jonah was sent to Ninevah, he was excited to know they were going to be destroyed and was disappointed to see them repent! We love to watch revenge which we call justice and we believe that fairness includes everyone getting what they deserve! We think we know what others deserve and until those requirements are met we believe they should continue to suffer. When people do hideous acts, we are ok with them burning in hell. But it is a different story when we judge our own life. (We call our trespasses “mistakes” and we look for complete forgiveness and restoration.) Is this why many people do not give? Because they believe that people’s misfortunes are consequences of their own choices and do not “deserve” help? Have you ever thought; why should I help them when they have messed up their life and it is entirely their fault? Is our giving to be influenced by the motives and intentions of those in need, or are we to just give and let God take it from there?
Generally speaking, I believe generosity is a Christ-like character trait while being selfish is leaning toward the carnal. Some may have a natural giving personality while others may need to work hard to be transformed into a giver. In either case, the important thing is to walk through life with a loose grip on money and material treasures because they belong to this world. They are to be used as a “tool” to help us in the harvest of souls. We can enjoy them for a season because they are a blessing but we must not allow them to become an idol and possess our heart. Lord, help us to be more like You, in Jesus Name, amen.
PRAYER VIII: RESPONDING TO THE CALL
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PRAYER VIII: RESPONDING TO THE CALL
It is not too late to begin today to convert our complaints into seeds of hope. I hear people all around me everyday murmuring and criticizing in anger about hating where they work, the government, the economy and so on, but if all that energy was transformed into fervent prayer, it would have the potential for changing the way things are – to the way they should be! If each Christian would develop a prayer journal for their personal network of associations the world would be a different place. Who will receive this insight as a life changing revelation? Who cares enough about people, neighbors, family, the government, the churches and pastors, missionaries, and all those in need? Who will spend their evenings in the secret place with God instead of being entertained? What if you knew that your prayers could really change other people’s lives and yet you were too lazy to do it? What would you say to someone like that? The problem is that in order to pray, a person must allow themselves to undergo a total self-examination of their own heart and life. The burden to intercede must become stronger than the desire to pleasure the flesh. It is much easier to shake our fist in disgust at the failures of the world than to close our mouth and put on the prayer garment of humility and love. The mind must be renewed through the wisdom of truth and then with repentance the heart can be filled with the power and confidence of the Holy Spirit. God’s soldiers are prayer warriors!
Prayer is a very serious approach to God’s throne and only with holy sincerity can we connect with His presence. No doubt that is why there is way more talking “about” prayer than actually praying. How many will sacrifice to pray? Love is the foundation for praying which is another reason why praying has dried up like a river bed in the desert. Our love, respect and trust has drained out of our hope container and the new attitude that is spreading like a plague is “Why should I care anymore”? Our society has been exposed with so much failure that our subconscious is convinced that we can trust no one. It is difficult to accept that most humans are more carnal than we can imagine but we cannot allow that fact to damage our faith in God. This dangerous feeling of depression can bleed over from our emotions into our spirit and cause us to become withdrawn and possibly backslide away from God’s Word. The intention from Satan is to amplify disappointment in the heart of the saint for the purpose of causing hopelessness and lukewarmness. The Lord wants us to know that He never intended for us to put our hope in man, but to keep our eyes and hearts fixed upon Him! The darkness of the world should make us want to stay close to Him even more now than ever!
Here is a key point; no one has ever been made to sin which means that sin is preventable. It is not God’s will for anyone to sin. As we see in the Old Testament how that God brought severe punishment for disobedience and Jesus in the New Testament emphasized very sternly to “go and sin no more”. Every time we make a wrong turn from God’s will we have wasted an opportunity to be used for His service. He can help us salvage from the wreckage of our disobedience and with our repentance and His miracle power, He can make all things work together for the good. But, our rebellion will not always be excused without consequences. God’s perfect will does not make room for our carnal addictions or personality dysfunctions because we have been commanded to allow Christ to “manage” us completely. Yes, we will completely blow it from time to time but even though our destiny is altered, we can still learn from our experiences and become more determined to change. But, brother everyone sins, plus I am not being intentionally perverted with filth. Well, good for you! You may be avoiding the “committing” of sin but how are you doing in the “omitting” department? The sins of omission are where most Christians are failing because they are “NOT doing” what the Lord is telling them TO DO! Just because we are not going to the bar every night or robbing a bank, does not necessarily mean we are living as a faithful and obedient disciple of Jesus!
One problem is that most people do not know what God’s perfect will is for their life. Most children are not raised in homes where the parents stand for God. Thus, they are not trained in the Word of God neither do they understand about the divine reality. The lack of knowledge and the failure to develop wisdom definitely damages their chances of finding God’s perfect will, which is why it is so important for parents to be “real” Christians (not just religious) and to help spiritually guide their children. Am I talking about living in a monastery and praying all day within a dark dungeon? Well, I see where that idea came from – but since we need to function within society on a daily basis we need to “manage” our walk with God and not excuse our responsibility to follow His voice! It is time to stop straddling the fence and be totally committed!
“Sanctify a fast, call a solemn assembly, gather the elders and ALL the inhabitants of the land into the house of the Lord your God, AND CRY UNTO THE LORD”. (Joel 1:14) I am a believer that prayer has always been a direct opportunity to listen and speak to Father with the purpose of accomplishing His perfect will. Since God is perfect – everything He thinks, says and does is perfect! When He does not intervene, things become distorted and confused – which I believe it is our prayers (or the lack of our prayers) that are connected with this revelation. Well, now brother are you trying to say the fate of the world is in the hands of some people praying? In all humility that is exactly what I am seeing! I know that most people want to “hitch a ride” on a fast train to heaven but they need to be careful about the intentions of their heart. If people had the Agape love of the Father it seems to me they would want to stay and help others find their way to the train station. The commitment to intercede is not a special gift that only a handful of people have – but it is a divine requirement for all who call themselves a disciple of Christ! Many say they are looking forward to His appearing but may be shocked when they realize that He was very disappointed in their laziness and their lack of caring. He may be more interested in why they ignored His commands to love others and stand in the gap for those in need than the “golden ticket” for heaven they are waving. Selah.
When God’s people pray, miracles change the course of circumstances and when they do not pray, situations can suffer which also includes the destiny of those who choose NOT to pray. This is the point of this prayer series; everything is CONDITIONAL and involved in the benefit of prayer or the consequences from the lack of it! Repenting of our sin may not be the only trespasses we will answer for – it may be explaining why we did not invest much more of our time in the meditation of prayer. Well, brother, doesn’t God do what He wants to do whether anyone cares or not? It is true that God is sovereign in His holiness and He is perfectly free to do whatever He wants BUT – this does not nullify the validity of how we have been given the responsibility to love and intercede. It’s useless for us to know how to pray effectively if we do not actually take the time to pray! It does no one any good for us to know how much Father wants us to be a giver – if we do not give! Jesus said, “If you “continue” in my Word – then are you my disciples indeed”. (John 8:31) Lord help us, as we take a moment and ask for your wisdom. I love you with all of my heart, mind and spirit.
I pray for a guard to be put on my mouth. I realize in order for me to live a life of peace and effectiveness I must become a positive influence to myself and others. Lord, cause my tongue to reveal your nature and character and reflect your wisdom.
Please help me to be spiritual salt and light to all people. It is easy to become relaxed and lukewarm in a comfortable environment. Father, use me some how, some way in this last hour to help encourage others. Give me strength to stand even if everyone turns against you. Familiarity can ruin our influence if we compromise our witness. Make me aware of your presence that I may stand strong in the hour of temptation.
Lord, cause me to be sensitive of other people’s feelings. Draw me closer to you and remind me that you live inside of me. Please help me develop self-discipline so that I might pull away from the lies, distractions and confusion of this world’s system. If the economy falls and if life becomes difficult, please use me to help lead others to you and anoint me to teach your truth.
I pray for the entire government structure in this country. From the President down to the local authorities, I pray they will choose to draw near to you and your Word. May my words be nothing but positive concerning their character and may I pray for their salvation instead of cursing them and their decisions.
Help me to remember that YOU are the one who places leaders in authority to do your will. You use these leaders to carry out blessings or curses upon the masses according to the people’s obedience. Lord, help me to realize that you are sovereign and in control of all things and that we are – what we say and do.
Give me hope and courage and faith to stand in the hour of persecution. Help me to overcome my critical attitudes. Teach me to appreciate my job as a blessing and not complain. Teach me that working hard and doing a good job is an important witness as a Christian. I ask you to make me more generous and compassionate. Help me to do the walking and not just the talking! Please give me a desire to intercede for those I work with and everyone I hear about that needs prayer. Give me a burden to pray for those going through trials and to not be so haughty and judgmental. I cast down depression, fear, apathy, discouragement and anxiety in Jesus Name, amen.
PRAYER VI: BETWEEN PATIENCE AND THE MIRACLE
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PRAYER VI: BETWEEN PATIENCE AND THE MIRACLE
“For therein is the righteousness of God revealed from faith to faith: as it is written, the just shall live by faith”. (Romans 1:17)
“But they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run and not be weary; and they shall walk and not faint”. (Isaiah 40:31)
Faith is in you and measured by the amount of the Word of God that has become a revelation to your heart and mind. Every Christian does not have the same amount of faith because each individual has different levels of understanding and degrees of spiritual maturity. As there is a difference between knowledge and wisdom there is also a difference between faith and hope. People who do not know God personally can only “hope” for things like wishing upon a star. Hope leans toward chance while faith stands steady without budging. Christians can live on a spiritual merry-go-round if they do not develop a working understanding of how faith operates and sadly – many do. When knowledge is not allowed to grow into wisdom, hope usually does not grow into faith. If we pray without faith, our request loses the potential to activate the release of God’s miracle power. The most difficult place to be is after we have made our petition and we are trying to be patient while waiting for the answer. The substance is our vision and the evidence is the mystery of holding onto what we cannot see or hold. “NOW faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen”. (Hebrews 11:1)
We can have as much of God as we want and can be filled with all of His Spirit and revelation that we choose to make time to receive. Each one of us has the free-will to choose between pleasures of the world and the desires of the spirit and the one that is given the most attention is the one that will lead us. “Don’t you know that to whom you yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants you are to whom you obey; whether of sin unto death, or of obedience unto righteousness?” (Romans 6:16) Woven into the fabric of the creation of our free-will is found the principal and harmony of conditions. Life is based on conditions and if you look closely to the spiritual realm you will find that God’s Word is also. His willingness to use His super-natural power on our behalf is multiplied to us and through us by our revelation of His Word. God’s Word is filled with faith and those who fill themselves with the revelation of His Word are literally filling themselves with faith. He gave everyone the same Bible but some believe it and others do not. Some pick out the parts they like or that fits their world view while others just read it but never really understand what it means. We get out of it what we put into it! Going through the motions of just being religious will create a legalistic and lifeless existence, but if we realize that His Word can re-create our life when we live in Him and His Word lives in us – then we are connecting with God through faith and are ready to receive all His promises! “If you abide in me, and my Words abide in you, you shall ask what you will, and it shall be done unto you”. (John 15:7)
I am sure you have noticed that most answers are not instantaneous. And along with that, you no doubt have battled with the frustration of trying to keep a positive attitude while you wait for your miracle. Patience is confidence that knows an answer is on the way! “But let patience have her perfect work, that you may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing”. (James 1:4) Patience is not a place where we just sit around and wait on the solution but rather it is a state of mind and condition of the heart that is resting in peace while staying focused and keeping the hand to the plow. Patience is the brother to faith and they cannot be separated. We must have patience to have faith and faith to have patience because waiting is a part of believing that God has heard our prayers and KNOWING He is in the process of bringing them to pass. “Thy Words were found, and I did eat them; and Thy Word was unto me the joy and rejoicing of mine heart: for I am called by Thy name, O Lord God of hosts”. (Jeremiah 15:16) Faith is having a vision of something and patience is realizing that in God’s time – the vision will manifest into reality no matter long it takes. Selah. God’s word for you this week is that He has heard the cries of your heart, the prayers in your thoughts and is working on a plan to make everything fit perfectly according to His will and for His glory. “Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ: By whom also we have access by faith into the grace wherein we stand and rejoice in hope of the glory of God”. (Romans 5:1-2)
Worry, anxiety, doubt and fear are enemies to faith and patience. The heavenly order of God’s divine reality is based on very strict principals when it comes to the positive and negative forces in the spiritual realm. Faith and patience generate a positive power when the disciplined mind and the confessing mouth join together in a “unified” determination. Selah. When God speaks to create something, it will be changed because God speaks in the faith of “knowing” that it will happen. When we confess His Word in faith we must also be convinced and know within our spirit and conscience that it is His will and as He is omniscient – He never fails! “So shall My Word be that goes forth out of My mouth: it shall not return unto Me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing whereunto I sent it”. (Isaiah 55:11) Likewise if the mind and mouth are allowed to agree with negativity they can create devastating curses and dangerous influences. Whoever can receive the revelation of the power of words and allow this awareness to become a lifestyle, will definitely reap the harvest of blessings and the anointing to do God’s work! “According as His divine power HAS given unto US – ALL THINGS that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of Him that has called us to glory and virtue”. (II Peter 1:3)
Father has never been too busy to remember every word you have told Him in secret. He knows how we feel inside from our emotions all the way into the core of our bones. “For the Word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart”. (Hebrews 4:12) He knows you – He died for you – He loves you intensely – He wants to be with you constantly, and He wants to help you in every way He can! But, He can only be as much of a Father to you – according to the amount of your heart you give to Him. Selah. Many people trust that miracles WERE given by God in the Bible and they may believe that God CAN change any circumstance or situation, but they are not convinced that God WILL do it for THEM! Some might be deceived into thinking they are not worthy to be given a miracle or their independent attitude tries to fix everything with their own brain. Sometimes people will exhaust every possibility with doctors, medications, loans, lawyers, counselors, psychiatrist, escaping and everything they can think of. But, why do saints that claim to know the divine reality leave prayer as a desperate “last resort” measure? Because maybe they have never really experienced a personal relationship and have never received the revelation of just how much He loves them! When His love made us His child, we became an heir to everything He has, including the privilege to seek Him, love Him, worship Him and pray to Him! “And Jesus answering said unto them, “Have faith in God”. For verily I say unto you, that whoever will say unto this mountain, be thou removed, and be cast into the sea; and shall not doubt in his heart, but shall believe that those things which he said shall come to pass; he shall have whatever he says. Therefore I say unto you, whatever you desire when you pray, BELIEVE that you receive them, and YOU SHALL HAVE THEM.” (Mark 11:22-24) Doubt is a thief that can steal our miracle if we allow it to live in our conscience. We must KNOW we have what we are praying for.
I am friends with a youth pastor from London Kentucky and he was sharing with me the other day about a lady in his church that gave a powerful testimony about how God had healed her from cancer. I asked him to see if she could write it down and send it to me. I have been encouraged with this wonderful miracle and wanted to share it with all of you as a blessing.
“In 2006, I was diagnosed with an incurable cancer. It had spread from both sides of the lymph nodes in my neck down to my chest, stomach and the lymph nodes in my pelvis. I had a bone marrow biopsy, which confirmed 60% involvement in my bone marrow and I had 30 chemo treatments at that time. I relapsed after that and had 15 treatments with much stronger chemo. At this time I was getting worse and my future did not look good.
My white blood count went down after these treatments and I was very weak and sick. I had started attending church at Philpot Chapel in London and my church family, along with other churches that some of my relatives and friends belong to, were all praying for me. The doctors were telling me the whole time that this cancer was incurable and I was put on a donor list for a stem-cell transplant. Because of what doctors were saying, I was afraid and had anxiety about receiving a miracle from God. Oh, I would pray; God please heal me, I don’t want to leave my children, my husband, and my family, they need me, but if it’s your will, I will go home. I would go back and forth with my faith but most of the time I think I doubted that I would really be healed.
Then a couple of months later, one night I started hurting in my hips and legs and the pain was unbearable. I knew it was from the cancer in my bone marrow. I started to pray, “Dear God, please take this pain away from me. I know that you can! I believe that you can! You have taken care of me through this whole sickness and I know that you will not put more on me than I can stand. Please God, in the name of Jesus!”
I said this over and over, In the name of Jesus, take my pain away and heal me from this terrible disease. And all the sudden I stopped hurting. A peace came over me like never before. The doubt was gone and I was so happy. I drifted into the most peaceful rest while praising Jesus and telling Him I love Him.
My daughter had surgery the next morning and I told her to pray in Jesus’ name and she would be fine, which she was, thank God! That same day I was supposed to get my new bone marrow results. My doctor’s office called and said they needed to send my bone marrow off for more intense testing and it wouldn’t be back until the next week. Some of my family was afraid they had found some more problems. But I had such a peace. I knew I was okay and that I was healed. So, on Wednesday of that next week, I went to the doctor to get my bone marrow and CT scan results. For the first time since 2006, they showed 0% cancer in my bone marrow and nothing on my scans! Praise God! With my Dr. scratching his head, he said he would send it off for one more test just to make sure there was not even a fraction of cancer – and it also showed 0%. Awesome God! All glory to His Name! He can do anything! He can take your pain away in a split second and He can cure an “incurable cancer” just as fast. I just want everyone to know that He can still perform miracles! He did it for me and He will do it for you. When you stop doubting, He will show up and He will take care of you like you have never dreamed possible. Praise God!! I thank Him for my family and church family and want to live the rest of my life for Jesus and lead other people to Him! Praise God! Praise God! Sincerely, Sherry Sizemore-Watkins, 2011”.
Dear heavenly Father, we praise You and worship You for who You are. If we have any sin in our heart toward someone, we ask that you would forgive us. Create in us a clean heart and renew a right spirit within us. Teach us how to pray Lord. Help us to build stronger faith so that we can believe and know that your power will be released. Use us as instruments for your glory so that all can see and know that You are God! Amen.
PRAYER V: MAKING THE INVESTMENT
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PRAYER V: MAKING THE INVESTMENT
“Then said Jesus unto His disciples, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross, and follow me. For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: and whosoever will lose his life for my sake shall find it. For what is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world and lose his own soul? Or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul”? (Mathew 16: 24-26)
It is true that sometimes, things we have sacrificed deeply to obtain, have more value to us than objects that we have been given. It is the same idea that people generally take care of homes they own, better than places where they pay rent. Why is that? Because, if we do not make a personal investment, we have a tendency to take things for granted. Those who are born into wealthy families and have never really worked a job might not fully appreciate the value of money. People usually highly esteem something that has “cost” them greatly! The price connected to what we love reminds us of the investment we have made into it and that is what creates the value of it to us. An old war medal in a musty old box would not have any value to someone rummaging through some yard sale junk, but the Purple Heart I have displayed in my office represents the life of my uncle that was only 20 years old when he was killed in Korea. They found his dog tags, put all they could find of his body in a coffin, gave his Mother a flag and he was buried with honors. He was never married and I have not heard any childhood stories about him and only have one picture of him. Who really knew him? The medal represents his sacrifice and to me has value because he was a hero that gave his life fighting for his country. He made the investment into the freedom I now enjoy with my family and I am very sad at what it cost.
The idea of making an investment can also be applied to the spiritual realm and is connected to what we think and what we say. We know how powerful our words are according to God’s Word and that we can speak blessings or curses according to our free will. “A fool’s mouth is his destruction and his lips are the snare of his soul”. (Proverbs 18:7) “Death and life are in the power of the tongue: and they that love it shall eat the fruit thereof”. (Proverbs 18: 21) The Lord say’s in Isaiah 57 and verse 19 that He, “creates the fruit of our lips” which is an awesome promise for those who confess their prayers in faith. But it is very dangerous to speak forth negativity and darkness as this can open demonic portals associated to our carnal thinking. It is emphasized in scripture to pull away from the old nature and the default system and become saturated in the divine reality of God’s Word. “And be not conformed to this world: but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God”. (Romans 12:2) Our words originate with our thoughts, so we must allow God to rearrange the way we think so that we can control what we say. This is done with asking God to perform a miracle in our mind along with the serious determination on our part to sincerely desire to be changed. We must have the personal revelation of the awareness of His presence or we will not take the “guard duty” of our mouth seriously! The reason why people have knowledge but are void of revelation is because they do see themselves the way God sees them. “So then because thou art lukewarm and neither cold nor hot, I will spew you out of my mouth. Because you say, I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing; but you do not realize you are wretched, and miserable, and poor and blind and naked”. (Revelation 3:16-17) We are convinced our carnality is just a normal part of our personality and that it’s ok, but the truth is that He is waiting for us to submit to His fire so He can “refine” our gold. Selah.
So, what exactly are we helping by watching the news every night and allowing the tragedies of this world upset us and twist our stomachs into knots? If we absorb the negativity and darkness of all the lying, deception, violence and pain we become like a balloon that is being filled with the pressures of stress. Our anxiety and fear levels increase along with our subconscious anger that punches holes in our “well” of hope and trust. If we do not protect our level of God’s presence, we can literally become dry, causing us to experience a lukewarm attitude and eventually tumble into a state of backsliding. Now brother, you are being fanatical thinking that all of that can come from just absorbing the news everyday. I do not believe that I am. Satellite technology has enabled the events of the entire world to be poured into our mind every minute, which is stretching our capacity to contain an excess of knowledge. This overload of information keeps the senses on alarm mode as our neurological defense mechanisms stay on edge. The devil knows our emotional buttons and loves to push them. Our senses are designed to warn us when we are being threatened and our natural impulses react accordingly. This is the reason why we all become so upset! As hormones and other chemicals are released that are intended to help us in crisis situations, we unleash our frustrations through physical protesting instead of heading to our prayer closet. Our minds are reeling from images and statements that bring chaos and confusion into our perception that only adds to our depression and agitation. This relentless pounding of our mental receptors is contributing to our conscience being formed into a calloused state of paranoia. I admit that our government is in such bad shape that it would drive an intelligent person to the brink of insanity but it is how we “handle” the interpretation of information that will depend whether or not we live in the peace of His presence. We must convert the problems into possibilities by using the information as a target for the arrows of prayer! This is the only way we can remain overcomers for Christ instead of being “overcome” by the darkness. I desire for my conscience to be clear and to walk in the quiet contentment that comes from pouring out my heart to God in prayer. “Pray without ceasing”. (I Thessalonians 5:17)
In the vineyards of Israel the foxes were abundant and the young ones were a common problem in destroying the vines by chewing on them. “Takes us the foxes, the little foxes that spoil the vines: for our vines have tender grapes”. (Song of Solomon 2:15) The idea here is that slowly but surely when something seems innocent but occurs frequently, the damage can grow and become serious over time. Hearts do not turn hard and cold overnight but blisters turn to calluses when the act is repeated. If we absorb negative knowledge into our conscience everyday without processing it correctly we are allowing the darkness of discouragement to invade the sanctuary of our mentality. I am not saying to run and hide from the reality of world events because how can we pray if we are not aware of what is happening? But I believe the Lord is trying to teach us how to discern information and convert what seems to be hopeless into an opportunity to pray – for we know that HE can change any circumstance. Arguing with the world will not change them!
I have intentionally laid a groundwork for what I am about to say and I must confess, it has become a revelation to me. It is learning that making the spiritual investment of praying for others – causes us to protect what has now become valuable to us. Selah. It is easier to listen to bad things and talk negatively about others when it does not cost us anything! We all have opinions and are armchair quarterbacks because we have nothing at stake. If we were part owners of the team we would be more likely to protect and support those in question. We are ready to fight when someone comes against our children but do not give a thought about coming against someone else’s son or daughter if we disagree with their politics. When we do not have any personal concern or respect for someone else, we have no bond or connection to who they are or what they are going through. But, we are more likely to DEFEND those we are pleading with God to help, than to be OFFENDED at them! Just because we do not agree with someone’s world views, it does not mean we are not obligated to love them and receive a burden for their soul. How do we receive burdens? When we care enough to sincerely ask God for them! Just because we do not agree with them or even like them, it does not mean that we are not called to pray for them. The flesh does not want to worry about someone else and certainly does not want to pray for them. It is going to take a revelation of this principal for us to go deeper in our spiritual maturity. Father is calling us to stop reacting like the world and obey our spiritual responsibility to stand in the gap for those who are in authority over us.
Those who are in leadership have been put in power from the hand of the Lord and instead of us railing against them, He has commanded for us to use the key of change (prayers of faith) to agree with His will and His super-natural power will change their heart. We are not to pray that they will support “OUR” opinions, views or persuasions, but for the eyes of their heart to be opened so they can receive JESUS as their Lord and connect with HIS divine will! “By Me king’s reign, and princes decree justice. By Me princes rule, and nobles, even all the judges of the earth”. (Proverbs 8:15-16) “And He (God) changes the times and the seasons: He removes kings, and sets up kings: He gives wisdom to the wise, and knowledge to them that know understanding. He reveals the deep and secret things: He knows what is in the darkness and the light dwells with Him.” (Daniel 2:21-22) We are to pray that Father will provide divine appointments for them and “DRAW” them through the Holy Spirit’s conviction to reach out to Jesus. “No man can come to me, except the Father which has sent me draw him: and I will raise him up at the last day”. (John 6:44) So why is everyone not automatically being drawn? Because of our lack of love, concern and prayers! The distractions of this world are more powerful to dull the hearing of the lost and backslidden when we choose to murmur against them instead of interceding for them. It is much easier to talk bad about others when it does not cost us anything. When we love someone enough to pray, we are sacrificing our time and giving our thoughts to them and the Lord. When we make an “investment” into someone else’s life we are transformed in our thinking from being critical to supportive! Instead of being on the opposite sides of the fence with what they believe, through prayer we allow the fence of resentment to be torn down and become a spiritual cheerleader for God to open their eyes. We become more sympathetic to them because we realize their ignorance is a spiritual blindness. Our anger is converted into compassion because we are seeing things through the eyes of Jesus and not a television network or a radio talk show. It is just another aspect of walking in the Holy Spirit all the time and in everything! It is true that in a democratic society the majority chooses the candidates and supports the issues but that does not mean that all hope is lost. Christians no matter how few in numbers are more powerful than the unsaved masses because God is greater in them than the spirit that is in the world. If we do our part – God will do His part! Those who lead, are subject to the intervention from the Almighty through the prayers of the saints because remember, the heart of the king is in the hand of the Lord. They may go into office leaning on their own understanding but when they encounter the living God, they can become born-again, filled with the Spirit and completely sold-out to God’s Word!
“Let every person be loyally subject to the governing civil authorities. For there is no authority except from God (by His permission, His sanction), and those that exist do so by God’s appointment. Therefore he who resists and sets himself up against the authorities resists what God has appointed and arranged (in divine order). And those who resist will bring down judgment upon themselves (receiving the penalty due them). For civil authorities are not a terror to people of good conduct, but to those of bad behavior. Would you have no dread of him who is in authority? Then do what is right and you will receive his approval and commendation. For he is God’s servant for your good. But if you do wrong, you should dread him and be afraid, for he does not bear and wear the sword for nothing. He is God’s servant to execute God’s punishment and vengeance on the wrongdoer. Therefore one must be subject, not only to avoid God’s WRATH and escape punishment, but also as a matter of principal and for the sake of CONSCIENCE”. (Romans 13: 1-5 AMP.) Father we pray for the president and every government official. May each one come to know you, love you and serve you as the Lord of their life. In Jesus Name, amen.
PRAYER IV: STANDING IN THE CROSSROADS
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PRAYER IV: STANDING IN THE CROSSROAD
“If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves and pray, and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land”. (II Chronicles 7:14) Father, please help us see our need to pray. Give us a strong desire to pray. Give us the strength and determination to overcome our flesh and emotions. Give us Agape love for everyone – that we might have a burden to pray. May we have the revelation that life and death is in the power of the tongue. Forgive us for our murmuring and critical attitude. Forgive us for spending more time lashing out in resentment than praying to you. We ask that you draw our leaders to you through your Holy Spirit. May they be convicted to seek your face, repent of their sin and have a hunger for your Word. Give them your divine wisdom and the reverential fear of your presence. For thine is the Kingdom, and the power and the glory forever, in Jesus Name, amen.
What happened to America? This is a question in past tense because we are presently standing at a crossroad. In one sense we are looking back at the devastating destruction of our morals and Christian standards. The enemy has been very subtle with his strategy of slowly desensitizing the conscience. At the same time we are also realizing that our future will suffer because of the consequences from our past. The first word of this verse carries the weight of heaven and earth! “IF” is at the center of all spiritual principals and conditions and will decide every destiny. Selah. As Eve was not aware of the danger from the serpent, the masses also believe they can play with black widow spiders and not be bitten. I am sad that we have come to this point but I am filled with joy and hope that we are seeing how fervent prayer can still make a positive, eternal difference!
Generally speaking, I believe this country began with good intentions. I am convinced there were good people that loved God and desired a land where they could worship Him and to establish a society that could live according to the Bible. I am not saying that everyone was pure in heart, neither am I persuaded that all things were done according to the leading of the Holy Spirit, but I believe most of them prayed – and with that, I believe God heard their prayers and moved on their behalf. Followers of Christ like the pilgrims, puritans and founders of our constitution had spiritual vision and passion and at the core of faith you will always find courage and determination. Their spirit and God’s Spirit was willing but their flesh was weak – just like ours and the Lord accepted them when they repented and judged them when they sinned – just like us! I am sure they rejoiced in their victories and wept in their defeats but the Lord is merciful and compassionate toward those who fear Him and love Him. Unfortunately as the people multiplied, so did the idolatry and rebellion against His Holy righteousness and as praying was replaced with carnal politics we began the devastating descent into humanism.
The potential has always been there for God’s people to lead the world to Jesus, but as the humility and desperation to seek God’s face weakened – so did the reverential fear of the Fathers demands and requirements. The commitment to walk in His divine reality of holiness grew lukewarm and the refusal to repent and surrender our will to the obedience of God’s perfect will became passive. Little by little, one compromise leads to another and before you know it there is full blown disobedience and blatant sin. When the gates are open, the horses run freely and only God can bring chaos back into order. It only takes one generation that ceases to uphold the standards of purity and holiness, to lose the awareness and sensitivity of God’s presence. Children that were raised in Godly homes grew up to have their own families and decided NOT to pass on to their children what they were taught as absolute truth. The strong convictions of theological doctrines and strict principals of sanctification were weakened with worldly pleasures and the love for materialism. When pride causes praying to cease, every life in that network is directly affected. Many times we do not realize the full impact of our prayers or the lack of them. Selah.
Did the education system produce the dangers found in the parable of the sower and the seed? Did the birds of humanistic relativism and tolerance devour the Words of God that had been sown in the hearts of the children? How much poisonous influence did the unlimited flood of entertainment have on the developing minds of our youth? Were the strong convictions for God’s absolute truth weakened with worldly philosophy and the drive for success? Did the parents work so many hours trying to make more money that God’s Word was replaced with the frantic lifestyle associated with bigger and better “stuff”? How many parents neglected to lay hands on their children and anoint them with oil to protect them against the strategy of this world to sear their conscience? Did the aggressive criticism against being dogmatic about Jesus and the Bible cause the feeble to buckle with peer pressure and abandon their cross? How did the church react to this obvious satanic attack on the family? The church was only as strong as the Mothers and Fathers courageous commitment to follow God. Selah.
Do not misunderstand my world views concerning the role of America and the importance of Christians as God’s chosen people to lead the world to Christ. The nationality of a person has nothing to do with the spiritual identity of an individual, the same as the name of a denomination does not determine someone’s relationship with God. There are Christians that are Americans but not all Americans are Christians! The United States government is not the representation of God’s Kingdom but rather only the saints of God “within” the nation, and this principal applies to all countries and all Christians. I believe this nation has experienced the blessings of God and that He gave us an opportunity to be governed by His Word but, like Israel we have drifted away and turned to other idols. Actually Israel should be leading the world to Christ but for now we are to stand in the gap and pray for them until their eyes are opened.
There is a bad freedom and a good freedom. The carnal freedom that allows us to choose and make decisions on our own is what the flesh lives for. This type of liberty fights for the right to overindulge in the pleasures of the imagination, while Spiritual freedom praises God for the honor and privilege to serve Him without resistance. If Christians would be the light and salt that God has called them to be, and begin to pray and walk in the awareness of His presence, we could not only feed the world but also minister to their soul. But instead it has made the choice to be the aggressive enforcer of undisciplined freedom which has spoiled and desensitized the conscience of the masses – and for this we will be judged. The philosophy of freedom was misinterpreted and twisted into a carnal advantage to express the sin of rebellion. Lucifer is the father of strife and the master of chaos and as the spiritual leaders of God’s church became lethargic in the discipline of prayer, they slowly allowed compromise to deteriorate spiritual purity. The church was criticized for being too strict and was accused of being condemning but; there is a huge difference between delivering a Word of conviction and a word of condemnation. As the sermons became more watered down so did the convicting power of God’s Word and the Holy Spirit had nothing to work with. In this attitude of spiritual leniency, the medicine becomes too weak to heal anyone. As the flesh grows stronger and more aggressive, the reverential fear of God is reduced from a roaring fire – to a smoldering ember. This fear of being dogmatic to God’s Word, along with the strong sensual influence of our society is slowly cutting the spiritual lifelines of humility, tenderness, hope, love, trust and faith. The fire comes from God’s Word and we must not lose our zeal to stand strong for His truth without fear of criticism, rejection and persecution.
Can you see how much there is to pray for and what is at stake everyday? How many people all around us need us to intercede for them? Father is trying to communicate and get our attention but are we so desensitized and perplexed with the shaking of this world that we are not hearing His still small voice? Can you and I make a difference between someone receiving Christ and them living in darkness? Can the Lord encourage others through our prayers? Can our prayers help generate resources for God’s Kingdom? If we stand in the gap for those who are sick, and agree with them in their faith, could Father actually bless them with healing and deliverance? I hope we never come to the point where we try to rationalize what we believe. With prayer there is not luck or coincidence! We are not to live by the seat of our pants but to comprehend that our prayers are actually giving us divine favor. We should not panic when situations arise because we should instantly know that prayer can change any crisis! There is no disease so devastating that we cannot be healed. There is no financial problem that is hopeless because God owns everything and the hearts of all the doorkeepers are in His hand. When Sarah was old she was given a prophecy that she would have a child, she laughed, but the lord asked in Genesis 18:14, “Is there anything too difficult for me”? And in Mathew we hear Jesus saying, “But Jesus beheld them and said unto them, with men this is impossible; but with God ALL things are possible”. (Mathew 19:26) He was saying that men always try to find a way to “fix” their own problems but it does not matter how many degrees we have or how much money we have, human strength cannot change a heart or save a soul. We pray in the Spirit because it is the LORD that brings the victory! We have been given the Holy Spirit to HELP us DO the works of our faith! We can pray as much as we want and be a catalyst of as much change as we desire. How many miracles do you want to be a part of? Selah.