Love & Forgiveness

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As we approach the rememberance day of Jesus’ crucifixion and resurrection, let us concentrate on the unfathomable LOVE Jesus had for all people. Love which included even those who hated him, and permitted a cruel death of himself to set us free. The amount of love it took for Him to suffer through flogging, humiliation, nails driven through his hands and feet, and death by hanging on a cross for all to witness, is beyond the human comprehension. Think about Mary also, witnessing her son be beaten beyond recognition and dying like that. How would you react to your child being killed in such a manner, would you forgive? The agony and pain she must have endured, especially knowing who her son truly was, the anger Jesus could have felt, yet it was love He choose even in the moment of final pain. “Father forgive them for they know not what they do” Luke 23:34

The Bible explains Jesus is our Bridegroom and the church is His bride. As we think about it, one must understand what love is according to Him because essentially Jesus is marrying the saints of the church, (us). Reading a group of related scriptures can open our eyes and reveal Gods truth to our hearts and minds. So I have put together a group of scriptures that hopefully will unveil the truth of what Love really means. It has been said that love is an intangible thing. However, love is very tangible in our actions, words, and how we live on a daily basis.

Psalm 143:8: “Let the morning bring me word of your unfailing love, for I have put my trust in you. Show me the way I should go, for to you I entrust my life.”

Proverbs 3:3-4: “Let love and faithfulness never leave you; bind them around your neck, write them on the tablet of your heart. Then you will win favor and a good name in the sight of God and man.”

1 John 4:16: “And so we know and rely on the love God has for us. God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in them.”

1 Peter 4:8: “Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins.”

John 15:12: “My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you.”

1 Corinthians 13:13: “And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.”

1 Corinthians 16:14: “Do everything in love.”

Ephesians 5:25 Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it;
26 That he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word,27 That he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish.

“Love does not keep a score of wrongs. Love doesn’t bring up past failures. None of us are perfect. In marriage and our close relationships, we do not always do the best or right thing. We sometimes do and say hurtful things to one another. Once done, we cannot erase the past. However we can confess and admit our wrongs. We can ask for forgiveness and behave differently in the future. Once we have confessed our failure and asked forgiveness, we can do no more to mitigate the hurt it has caused another. When we have been wronged by another and asked to forgive them, we have two choices Justice or forgivensss. If we choose justice and seek revenge, we make ourselves the judge and the other person the felon. This choice will destroy the relationship and make an intimate relationship impossible. On the flipside, if we choose to forgive (as we have been forgiven by The Christ) the relationship will be restored and a intimate closeness can evolve.

It is amazing how many people mess up their lives with living and dwelling in yesterday. Too many insist on bringing into today the failures and hurts of yesterday. By reliving yesterday over and over again, today is polluted and ruins a perfectly wonderful day denying a fresh new start each morning. Statements like “I can’t believe you did that, I don’t think I will ever be able to forget it, You can’t possibly know how much you hurt me, I don’t know how you can sit there so smugly after you treated me that way, You should be on your knees begging me to forgive you, I don’t know if I can ever forgive you, destroy us from the inside out. These thoughts and words are not of love and forgiveness, but indicate bitterness, resentment and justice. The best action we can take with the failures of our past and the hurts we have endured is to let them be history. Yes it happened, yes it hurt, and may even still linger. We cannot erase the events of yesterday, But we can accept it as history and choose to live life today free from the failures and hurts of the past, to move forward instead of letting our yesterdays holds us hostage in each new day. Forgiveness is not a feeling, it is a committment to let go of our yesterdays hurts and failures. It is an expression of love choosing to forgive and build up instead of tearing down a relationship with unforgiveness.” [1Chapman, pg 47-48]

Let us love one another as God has loved us. God has already demonstrated His love and forgiveness for us by permitting His only Child to be murdered for our sins in a most horrible display of injustice. Going a step further He forgave the persecuters in a demonstration of real love. Can you imagine as a parent witnessing your child going through what Jesus did? And then forgiving them for it? Even in His last breaths Jesus asked for forgiveness for those who partook in his crucifixion. Luke 23:34 (NIV) 34 Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they do…”

There is a demonstration of love and forgiveness from God the Father and Jesus the Son in the crucifixion. Jesus asking God in the Garden of Gethsame to take the cup from Him if possible and God reassuring Jesus He must go forward, and Jesus askling God to forgive His persecutors.

The last thought I want to mention about love is when we chose unforgiveness instead of love we are on very dangerous ground ourselves with God. Forgiveness by Love is so important to Him, He made it clear to His church, in Matthew 6:15 (NIV)15 “But if you do not forgive others their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.”

1-Chapman, Gary, The Five Love Languages, Book

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Moments of Renewal

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Each day the reports of daily events in the media gets more disheartening. As we go through our day, we are sounding blocks for our friends, family and co-workers. Their stories are often full of sorrow and troubles. Between the media and people we care about issues’, we can become sad and downhearted ourselves. But God doesn’t want that for us. God does expect us to do all we can for each other, but not to take on the sorrow of others. Be empathetic yes, be supportive yes, but then to give it all over to Him.
 
To do this we need to include short little spiritual breaks during our days schedule. These can be just deep breaths right where we are; allowing the Holy Spirit to come in and renew us. It also could be a 15 minute break or lunch hour spent in meditation with God, turning over the things we need to thoughout the day. Take time in quiet reflection to think about the truth that is above and beyond the current situations and circumstances. Think about God’s presence, power, and activity in our lives and those we know.
 
These spiritual renewal moments will help us be in touch with the His truths for everyone and boost our personal faith, strength and wisdom. They help us stay on track with God’s divine plan for life. It helps us to allow the life of God resonate from us more and more each day as we honor Him and let it be expressed through our actions. Every moment of our lives has meaning and purpose. Life is a wonderful and precious gift. What and how we choose to work out His love with our lives matters. Live it fully and freely, staying in close touch with the Trinity all day and night, making every moment and breath we take momentous and filled with God’s love and will.
 
John 1:4 “In Him was life, and life was the light of all people”
 
1 Thessalonians 1:8 “In every place your faith in God has become known”

Faith’s Victory

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This morning as I was watching the last few minutes TV broadcast. The host was talking about faith without works is dead. It definitely was a “God thing” moment as it triggered my thoughts about the scripture in James in a different way.

Typically I correlate that passage with our faith being visible in our actions towards others. Which is a true fact; our actions should speak without words about who we are in Christ. However, there is another side of it. Faith in God is a cornerstone on which we build the foundation of our lives. We live in a way which reveals who we are in Christ. Yet when we come against a challenge or obstacle we can become so focused on it we forget the power of our faith can move mountains. We pray expecting God to move the mountain, forgetting He gave “us” the power in our faith to do it.

Even in the middle of a crisis or dilema, we can have thoughts and doubts, thinking maybe we misunderstood God’s direction or plan and we tread off course. We tend to think and believe if it is truly God’s will or plan, he will pave the way and we will not encounter hurdles which seem to deter or derail us completely. Even with fervent prayer the hurdles too often seem to continue to prevent our way from the finish line.

Let us think about it for a minute or two. We are on a journey doing God’s will and hit a wall; a big huge stone wall so hard we rethink  our situation and consider we took the wrong road at the intersection. But what about all our preparation prayers, our lifeline of awareness to the divine inner power? We sell ourselves short too often. We are stronger and wiser than we often realize. So what about our faith? If we truly have faith then our works cannot be stopped by any wall or obstacle. Our faith should be so powerful by the might of the Holy Spirit, that we jump those hurdles (like on a trackfield) and press on to the finish line. Real faith does not permit us to second guess our paths. God is with us all the time.  When we are in earnest prayer seeking His will we do not take the wrong crossroad. Instead we are on the exact path that is our correct journey. Many times those walls, bumps, hurdles are deliberate to test our faith and character making it even stronger than before.

God never gives up on us, even when we are ready to give up on ourselves or the path we are on. Faith rushes in when we allow the doorway to our hearts and mind to be open just for Him, even if it is only barely ajar. Our faith creates an atmosphere of hope that supernaturally draws us in the right direction to people, jobs, ideas, seed planting and whatever else is purposed for us. Our faith is our guiding light.

When all else seems to fail or be too difficult, dig deep and pull out of those crevices all the faith within you. Stand firm and tall in your faith. Perhaps this is the meanings of “Faith without works is dead.”   It is true our deeds reveals our faith, but going even a step further, let us allow our faith to rule and power through every obstacle and situation.  Not letting the hurdles and walls cause us to question why or to doubt our path. But, to instead use our faith as a ladder to walk right over those things of the enemy, intended to cause doubt and stop us from winning. Let us remember always that the battle has already been won, and we have the power by the Holy Spirit to overcome any situation by the might of our faith.

Recommended reading entire chapter James 2

James 2:14 “What good is it, dear brothers and sisters, if you say you have faith but don’t show it by your actions?”

17 “So you see, faith by itself isn’t enough. Unless it produces good deeds, it is dead and useless.”

21 “Don’t you remember that our ancestor Abraham was shown to be right with God by his actions when he offered his son Isaac on the altar? 22 You see, his faith and his actions worked together.”

26 “Just as the body is dead without breath,[d] so also faith is dead without good works.”

Hebrews 11:1 ” Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see.” (NIV)

Philippians 3:14 “I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.”

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

Deuteronomy 20:4 “For the LORD your God is the one who goes with you to fight for you against your enemies to give you victory.”

1 John 5:4 “4 For whatsoever is born of God overcometh the world: and this is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith.”

Miracles Happen

This is a true short story.
God answers all prayers, even those lifted up in the heat of a moment. God has answered so many of my prayers it would take all day to list them. But I want to share one in particular with you. It was mid-June, and the hot summer heat in Clarksville AR was reaching over 100 degrees.  My son Matt and I travelled toward California to his new Tech Grad program in Rancho Cucamonga. It was a tough time, it was 2009, and the previous year had nearly devasted my husband and I financially.
Matt and I were travelling on a very tiny budget from East Tennessee to California. On our journey as we crested the top of a steep hill the Blazer conked out completely. We are on the side of the road with engine hood up, Matt (just graduated from UTI Auto Tech Secondary School) was looking to see if he can fix it.  We were on our second day travelling and it was horribly hot.  Our budget did not include money for repairs let a lone towing.  We were stranded and out of options at that moment.  Desperate, I say outloud, God We Need A Miracle right now.
Within a few minutes a truck pulls up containing a husband and wife.  They say, “we passed you and felt like we were supposed to turn around and see if we can help.” My son and I are very skeptical of highway stalkers, looking at each other reading each other minds that this could be very dangerous.  However we were in such a desperate situation, we decided to accept their offer to sit inside the truck in the AC while we figure out what to do. As we craw into the back of the crewcab, the man gets on the cell and calls a towing company.  He arranges the tow of our vehicle back to the last exit where a motel was located.  He then offers to drive us there while our blazer was in transit there.
We arrive safely and the tow cost $100… money we really didnt have to spend because it would cut the budget too short to get to california. The hotel discounted our room 🙂 . The man and woman tell us they got a room for the night too. With Stalker thoughts in our minds we are again weary. Matt and I discuss the crazy fact of who picks up strangers takes them to a hotel and gets a room beside them?  Stalkers thats who!  The man knocks on our room door and offers to drive Matt to the nearest store to buy some parts to try to fix the vehicle, Ugh more money.   As they went in search of a parts store, I was left with the mans wife.  She tells me about her spiritual journey and I was very touched and let down my guard a little more with her open candor.
The men arrive back with a few things the man paid for and my son tries to fix the car without a positive result.  Meanwhile, I have been in touch with my husband during the whole time.  I call him again and tell him we are stranded and Matt cannot fix the blazer here.  My husband prepares to make the 10-12 hour drive to where we are and swap vehicles for us to finish our journey to California. That same night the couple knocked on our door and invited us to dinner, we agreed. We arrived at a Mexican Style Restaurant and ate very good.  I went to pay for our portion of the food and the waiter tells me no charge, the man I’m with took care of it. Looking back at our table and the strangers smile, I am speechless. The evening was filled with good conversation that continued even after we travelled back to the motel. At the end of the evening the man came to me and hands me $100. saying its not a loan, I know you could’nt afford that tow bill, hopefully this will get you to California, your son is quite a wonderful young man. Shocked at the generosity of this man, I didn’t know whether to accept the gift or not.  At that moment I recalled my open prayer for a miracle just earlier that day.  I asked him why did he do all this for us? We are complete strangers to each other. He simply said he had done this before, when he gets the feeling someone really needs help he answers. He told me of other stories where he and his wife had helped others.
Matt and I went to sleep that night exhausted, but our bellies were full and we were safe in a cozy bed.  We woke up early the next morning and went to the couple’s room hoping to share the continential breakfast with them. They were gone. We never saw them again, although I did call a few times to report Matts progress at the Grad program and to thank them for their generosity and answer to God’s prompting.  We lost touch soon after unfortunately.
God answered my request for a miracle that day and I will never forget it. Miracles happen everyday all around us, God answers prayers in so many ways, we just need to keep our eyes open a little bit more to see them.

HANDS OF WISDOM

Hands! I love the hands of a wise woman.  She is elderly in years yet has the wisdom young can only hope for.  Her experiences are broad and humbling, yet to be discovered by her juniors. Her gray hair glistens in the sunlight yet pales in comparison to the exquiste beauty within her precious hands.  There is great value in those soft aging hands of our mothers, grandmothers and great-grandmothers. Oh! the babies those hands have rocked gently to sleep, the endless hours of diligently snapping green beans on hot summer days, carefully hand mending clothes, bandaging boo-boos, gentle weeping over things she wishes she could have prevented. And most of all the endless hours on her worn knees with folded hands in prayer to the Father asking for provision, love and protection for her children and family.  Her hands with every wrinkle, crease, age spot and scar reveal the real story of life without ever saying a single word.

 

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End Times & False Prophets

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Someone recently said to me to check out Prophetic Mark Taylor, in their excitement they told me all about how Trump is going to redeem America and has changed Gods course of action against America. It has taken me a while to visit You Tube and to review his prophetic messages to God’s people. Today especially it was weighing on my mind. I see that there is a lot of fodder for proving his predictions and disproving. I believe prophecy is alive and well today, but I also believe there are more fake or false prophetic messages out there and it can be difficult to know which is truth and which is false. My belief is scripturally based on Acts 2:17.  I decided to look further for more information….and I came across this very insightful writing from “Study – Grow – Know, Ministries”. I do not agree with all his points, in fact some I think are wrong and more denominational than scriptural. But there are a few paragraphs that really caught my attention and the Holy Spirit, said listen carefully….. Here are those paragraphs that are insightful…

Prophecy “from the Mark Taylors of the world is that they all imply one very sad thing without saying it. They imply that God is not in control at all and if the Church remains silent or fails to take up her mantle of responsibility, then God cannot be victorious. This is clear when he says that “our job is to not let them” in referencing the spirits of Jezebel and Pharisaism that are attempting to control society.
In short, like Mark Taylor, Thompson believes that Donald Trump is God’s choice for the next president of the USA. What I find fascinating is that it appears as though God needs our help. Without our prayers, without our efforts, without our ability to recognize lies and ignore them, Donald Trump just might not win. What does that say about what these men are teaching about God?
There are people on YouTube who also call themselves prophets and believe that Donald Trump won’t be president. Who’s right? I think God has already decided who will be America’s next president and I don’t think He needs to let anyone know ahead of time by bringing them up to the “third heaven” where they can speak with angels to learn about it.
Here’s what we know. Jesus told us that we essentially have one job to do as Christians. That job is the Great Commission found in Matthew 28:16-20. That is our job, our commission. It is not to worry about this political leader or that one. It is to evangelize the lost. This is how we glorify God in Christ. It is not through politics. While we can and should vote, our job given to us by Jesus Himself, is to evangelize the lost.
Instead, too many Christians are worried about the “destruction” of America. The 150,000 people who die daily? No worries, but let’s be sure to enter into spiritual prayer warfare about the next president.
Christians need to have their heads on straight and wrapped around God’s Word, not some self-proclaimed prophet or apostle who has no clue and speaks from his vain imaginings.
The lost and dying need Christ. Who will tell them if Christians are too busy involved in politics?”

What caused me to stop and think deeper are a few points the writer stated. The first being the disputed notion God needs our help to accomplish something. God does not need our help for anything, He can certainly accomplish everything without our help. But His word does instruct us to do several things, Mark 16:15 tells us to spread the Gospel to all ends of the earth. Matthew 7:15-20 tells us to beware of False Prophets in sheeps clothing (there are many other scriptures to this point as well), and then theres the instruction to be on watch for the signs of the return of Christ; Acts, 1 Corinth, Thess., on so on.  Lastly in this reference He reminds us that a divided people cannot prevail – Mark 3:25 and we need to work towards living together in love.

So what does this all mean? We must be very careful of people stating they have prophetic words for the future, for they could be false prophets in sheeps clothing. Further more we really don’t need others to tell us the future.  The Bible gives us all the instruction we need to see where we are on the timeline ourselves. All we have to do is read and listen to the Holy Spirit speaking within us. Anytime anyone claims something cannot be done without our prayers, is dangerously dangling on a highwire about to break. GOD DOES NOT need us to accomplish anything!! Does He want us to pray? YES, Does he want us to help fight spiritual warfare with our prayers and petitions YES!! BUT He does NOT NEED us to accomplish things. There is a big difference between commanding us to do things and needing us to do things so He can accomplish. The slight twist on words shows us the truth between prophet and false prophet.

We are commanded to watch for signs of Jesus second coming. The Bible itself tells us exactly what to look for, we do not need someone else to tell us when, if we are reading the Bible as God has told us to do. Is it helpful for others to inform us? Yes it is, but its also very tricky because one false word among many can fool us if we are not careful and biblically read up. The Bible also clearly states we will not know the day or time and anyone who predicts such is a lier; Matt 24:36, and I believe the not knowing is for our own good. Who after all would not fret and worry because you knew the day? God clearly tells us not to worry, that it is sinful, so He is not going to give us information that would cause sin. However, just because we don’t know when exactly,we are not to be totally caught off guard either. I highly recommend reading Matthew 24 to understand this better. There are many other scriptures also; like 1 Thess. 5.

The easy road to destruction is division.  It happens daily world wide.  Division in reglious views, division in our homes, division between races and division in political views.  These are all distractions or more bluntly…EVIL in sheeps clothing.  Unified we prosper, divided we fall, pure and simple.  If all people knew and understood Mark 3:25, we would live in a more peaceful world.

In conclusion: There will be people who say they know and want you to listen to them. Some will be called prophets, apostles, etc. But be very careful for the majority will be false with only a twist of a word or two; being very convincing. Do not lean on them for where we are on the timeline or signs of the end. Instead turn to the Holy Spirit and scriptures and trust Him to give you understanding. Whenever we ask such things He answers and He will show you exactly where we are and what you should know. The portion of the article I posted is a good example of twists and turns that can sound correct and convincing but in it is destruction. So if this isn’t the truth, where do we turn to find it??? It is found in our Bibles and the Holy Spirit. God does not want us to be afraid or fearful of the end of times, He just wants us to be watching for it. If anything invokes fear or intrepidation in your spirit, it is not of God. For God is love and fear is evil.  If something causes division then it also is not of God, but evil.  Think a minute about our political world today and how much strife and division it causes its not where God wants our minds.  Nor is it in the race wars, nor in the church denomination wars.  What He wants is for us to be unified in the Word of the Holy Bible and listening to Him directly not others who just might lead us astray.  We need to STOP the madness and listen to the Holy Spirit given to us by Our Heavenly Father by the crucifixion of Jesus on the Cross.  All the bickering and division is not of God nor is any said prophet who causes strife through predictions.  It is deception disguised as good.

THE POWER OF PRAYER

This blog is from a term paper I wrote a few years back.  I enjoyed writing it so much I thought it would make good reading for a blog.

 
May 4, 2015

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How many times have we said or heard the phrase “Well, all we can do is pray about it.”  What!  Did I just say that or hear someone make that statement?  What foolishness we speak and forget the true greatness which is manifested through sincere prayer.  Prayer is a gift from God; it is communication with our creator.  Our prayers can move mountains, it can make or stop things from occurring, and it can provide, heal and change hearts.  At bedtime, in the quiet huddles at a hospital, through email and Facebook posts, in fasting and church services, prayer is at the heart of each of these and in unlimited access to the Father.  Many times we put limitations on what we allow God to help us with and we try to carry too much of the load ourselves.  Our silly phrases can lend to serious foolishness, our words matter much.  Prayer is a powerful expression that can even be a resolve to life or death situations.

 

So what is prayer and what does it do?  Whenever a person goes into prayer, the forces of heaven are released and the same power that freed Jesus from the grave becomes available to us only by the Father.  The limitations of what he is willing to do for us are those we impose ourselves.  In prayer, the Holy Spirit intercedes and raises each of our petitions to the Father, made possible by the sacrificial blood of Jesus on the cross.  This is confirmed in Romans 8:27, “And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints in accordance with God’s will.” (NIV)  Magnificent and mysterious things happen through prayer.

 

It is through prayer we are renewed by the Holy Spirit daily and we are redeemed in salvation.  Comfort and love fill the air space we inhabit when we pray, our souls are soothed.  God’s warm love is exhibited during prayer time and envelopes the worshipper, his presence is great and wondrous.  During these precious moments we are alone with Him, he hears our voice and we know him.   We become conscious of the fruits of the Spirit in earnest prayer seeking, Galatians 5:22 &23      “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.”       Prayer defeats the enemy as stated in 2 Chronicles 20:2-25.  Praying is life sustaining and keeps the church alive in unity, as is exampled in Acts 4:24-33.  Praying honors God and is an important part of all Ministry; 1 Kings 18:24-39 and Ephesians 6:18. [Morris: pgs 4 &5]

As we can see, prayer is a critical daily element to life itself.  It accomplishes more than we can imagine.  For these reasons among many others, we also need to understand how to approach The Father in prayer.  “God rewards the Believer who operates in faith, it pleases him.  It is important to come in faith, ask in faith and receive in faith.” [Morris: pg 7] People go without necessities because they do not ask God in prayer to provide for them.  We are told in 1 John 5:14 & 15 to make our requests known to God.  We are also reminded in James 4:2 that we do not have because either we failed to ask for it or we asked with the wrong intention at heart. “…You do not have, because you do not ask God.  When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures.”  Another essential part of prayer is to always pray in the name of Jesus, as we are told to do in John 14:13.  When we go to the throne of the heavenly Father in prayer, we only have this privilege because of the sacrifice Jesus made on the cross.  Therefore when we pray it must always be in the name of Jesus.  When we pray in this appropriate manner, God is glorified and responds to our prayers.  [Morris: pg 8]  Another part of prayer is physically how we approach the throne, or ‘positions of prayer’.  [Morris: pg 27]

 

There are at least 9 or more positions individuals use to pray.  Some of these include Lifting up our hands, bowing our faces to the ground and just before sleep in the bed.  Let us focus for a few minutes on my three most used positions of prayer, standing, kneeling and the position of my heart.  Often a big deal is made out of the way we pray by the church.  First let me remind you, God hears all prayers offered in the name of Jesus.  In fact there are at least 27 scriptures that reassure us he hears our prayers.  Some of my scripture favorites regarding the Father hearing us are Psalm 55:17, Matthew 7:7 & 8, Hebrews 11:6 and John 15:7.

 

When I go to prayer I typically begin in the standing position, with worship music on, my eyes closed, incense offered and often a candle lit to remind me of the presence of the Holy Spirit.  Everyone has their own way they offer prayer in their closet; I do not believe there is specifically a right or wrong way as long as the position of the heart is in right standing.  The right heart is being earnestly seeking God and His will for us.  James 4:3 & 4 clearly says, God knows our heart and motive for the things we seek in prayer, and it is imperative that it be pure.  “When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives that you may spend what you get on your pleasures.”

 

My prayer closet routine helps me lose focus on me and daily life things and solely reflect on God.  Some prayer closet actions may become habit and I believe that is fine as long as it leads your focus on God and not the rituals themselves.  After preparing my prayer room for worship, I stand and soak in the words of worship music and the soothing smell of incense.  I seek the comfort of the Holy Spirit.  As I move into that precious secret prayer place my next actions depend on the leading of the spirit.  I often sing praises, I always pray and most times end up on my knees for a while listening to what the Lord has to say to me.  “Solomon both stood and kneeled to pray and scripture tells us that Stephen and Jesus kneeled to pray.  Scriptures 1 Kings 8:54, Acts 7:60 and Luke 22:41” [Morris: pg 27] It really boils down to your heart and God and nothing else.  If the position of your heart is in the right place everything else is mute.  God is interested in our authentic worship and heartfelt faith, not whether we are standing or sitting, positions are the human way of honoring and glorifying God in prayer.

 

The types of biblical prayers used for specific desired outcomes are unlimited.  However let us focus on three kinds of prayers that are purposeful to all believers; Spiritual Warfare, Discouragement, and Knowing God’s Will. We will begin with Spiritual Warfare.  This is an aspect of prayer life too many Christians know little about or completely overlook.  To gain a better understanding of the magnitude of Spiritual Warfare a few facts are helpful to understand about Heaven.  Spiritual warfare is the largest topic of the three in my opinion.  One of my favorite books and author “War in Heaven” by Derek Prince explains the subject of Heaven and warfare very well.  Let us start by looking at 2nd Corinthians 12:2-4 in which Paul is speaking about visions and revelations from God.  In these passages he explains about a man he knew in the past who was caught up to the “Third Heaven”.  This clearly tells us there are three Heavens, the third being the place of God’s personal dwelling and the most sacred paradise.  The Greek word for paradise is ‘Paradeisos’ meaning garden.  God’s garden is in heaven and a second biblical reference to this can be found in Luke 23:43.  [Prince: pg 12]

The Book of Revelation briefly talks about the second or mid Heaven.  In both Revelation 14:6 and 19:17 references are made to an angel and birds in the midst of heaven or mid-heaven.  The Greek word used for mid-heaven is ‘mesouranema’ which means mid-heaven.  There are no specific references to the location of the first heaven so its location is not specifically known.  One of the many inhabitants of the heavens is angels.  There are two categories of angels those of God and those of Satan.  The Bible makes many references to the angels and the various purposes of them, such as in Matthew 18:10 Jesus speaks about the children who have angels.  Angels are mentioned as God’s messengers, God’s agents of protection and warrior angels, who engage in conflict with the opposing angels.  The third heaven God’s garden is said to be a peaceful place of beauty.  The mid-heaven is where angelic conflict and warfare occurs as Satan pours out slanderous accusations against Christians to God.  Revelation 12:10 tells of Satan being the accuser of our brethren before God.

 

What do the facts about heaven have to do with prayer?  The two go hand in hand with each other.  Human life has many conflicts, struggles and even war and it is the same with the Godly and demonic angels.  For the most part people accept conflict as an acceptable regular part of life.  But as noted in 2nd Corinthians 10:3-5 the conflict we accept are really to be battled by us spiritually with the tools God has provided for our benefit.      “For though we live in the world, we do not wage war as the world does.  The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world.  On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds.  We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.”

 

Paul tells us the Christian war is different than what is seen with our eyes on a regular basis.  He tells us this is a spiritual war and our weapons to fight this war are not the same as those which our human soldiers use on the earthly battlefields.  They are something much more that comes from God and is very powerful.  Ephesians 6:12 specifically tells us that our battles are in the spiritual realm and not on the human level. Over and over again the Bible refers to our Lord who is mighty in battle.  The book of Ephesians provides us a detailed description of what our spiritual weapons are.  In Chapter six Paul tells us again that we do not struggle human against human, but against the powers of the dark world and against the forces of evil in heaven.  The spiritual weapons (armor) he speaks of is, salvation, truth, righteousness, faith, the biblical word and prayers (also in spirit).  There it is one of our main weapons to fight against the evil principalities is prayer.  The reality and situation we face as warriors in spiritual warfare is described well in the book of Daniel beginning in chapter 10.  There we find him fasting and praying for 21 days.  He was sad about the enslavement of his people and Daniel was seeking God’s help.  An archangel of God called Gabriel came to Daniel and made known to him that his prayer was heard by God on the very first day he prayed it.  When Daniel asked why it took 21 days for God to acknowledge, Gabriel explained that it took that amount of time and help from another angel Michael, to battle past the prince of Persia.  Daniels persistence in prayer was the key, he helped the angels battle against Satan through his prayer.

 

As we pray throughout the day, over food, and in our closets we are going to battle against evil principalities that hinder us.  As told in the book of Matthew, we have the power to bind these principalities and loosen its grip on us.  We need to be suited for spiritual prayer by putting on our armor; reading the Bible, walking out our salvation in righteousness and truth. Having unwavering faith and trusting him for everything and then there is prayer itself, the critical link of communication to the Father for life.      “The reality we must grasp in spiritual warfare prayer is that though Satan has been attached, overpowered, and stripped of his armor, he is still holding on to a lot of plunder that isn’t rightfully his.  Through warfare prayer we help others go in and get back the stuff in their lives that Jesus secured for His own purposes through his death and resurrection.” [Rhodes:  Pg 111]

 

Sometimes it may seem like our prayers are not being heard or answered and we begin to doubt and become discouraged.  I think this happens often because we do not understand the second half of the statement, ‘God answers prayers.’  Yes he does, but the second part is; we have accountability and there are hindrances to answered prayer.  When we pray, are we asking for selfish reasons (Psalm 66:18), is there any unbelief within us (James 1:5-7) are our motives from the right place, do we abide in Him, do we have any idols in our life, do we believe God’s rewards and answers, is there any un-forgiveness in us?  God is very specific about un-forgiveness (Mark 11:24-26) within us, this is a critical part of our walk.  God has said if we do not forgive others, he will not forgive us.  If you feel like God is not hearing your requests, the answer could be pending until these reasons are all in balance.  [Morris: pgs 12 &13]

 

Overcoming discouragement can be very difficult if we are not in regular prayer time with God and using our spiritual weapons daily.  Depending on the root of our discouragement being experienced will determine how quickly you recognize it for what it is and take victory over it.  Sometimes discouragement is because you have been waiting for a long time for answered prayer or it could be a battle of depression, feeling of inadequacy or other areas of exposed weakness.   We are not alone.  Even Moses felt discouraged at times and complained to God (Exodus 5:22, 23).  But he did it with an attitude of integrity and humility. [Copeland: pg 150] We can feel like it is inappropriate to approach God with these types of things, but the truth is He already knows.  If we attempt to cover up our discouragement we cannot get past it and we are not being truthful.  Remember that Truth is one of our spiritual armor items.  When we become discouraged this is the time to turn to the Father even more.  We also need to check ourselves to see if we have lapsed or failed to follow God’s direction along the way.  Even in times of discouragement sincere prayer is still the battle key to our freedom.

 

In times of discouragement we need to have some scriptures hidden deep within our memory bank to pull out and use.  God wants to help us, he wants to adhere to his word and perform it (Jer. 1:12). [Copeland: pg 151]  We should not become discouraged if we are enduring trials, James 1:2, 3 says we are to be joyful when we encounter trials, because they are proving our faith and will complete patience.  It goes on to say that once patience has had her perfect work, we will become developed and lack nothing.  This promise alone should make us want to be patient and not be discouraged, however in the middle of it sometimes we cannot see what is right in front of us.

 

Wisdom and God’s will is something we can never have enough of when applied appropriately.  The saying that comes to mind is; ‘I wish I knew back then what I know today.’  I have said this so many times, but the truth is some of that wisdom I wished for could have been possible through Bible study.  We cheat ourselves out of this important element called wisdom, when it is available to us just by studying the Bible.  Now that does not mean we could know all of what we do today back then, because of life experience.  It is true that we have trials and experiences that teach us as we go through life and it is improbable to expect that as a youngster.  However the wealth of wisdom found in the scriptures, can make life easier and it is available to us even as young children.  All we have to do is read, study and then apply it.  God’s will is also explicit in the Bible and available to us from childhood until life ends.

 

God’s will for us is twofold.  There are things he wants for each and every one of us and there are individual specific things he desires for us too.  For example, it is God’s will that sinners are saved according to Romans 10:8-11.  It is his will to heal the sick (Exodus 23:25) and prosper us (3 John 1:2).  God also wills us to walk in the Spirit (Romans 8:1, 4) and to walk worthy of our calling (Ephesians 4:1). [Morris: Pg 19].  We should desire to do God’s will, and trust his will to be the perfect thing for our life.  His will is designed to complete us and bring joy with purpose.  We should pray in a way that honors God and requests to know what his will for us is.  A way to ask God to show us his will is: “Father, I ask you to fill me with a knowledge of Your will through all the wisdom and understanding that the Spirit gives so that I will live a life worthy of You, Lord, and please You in every way.  Let my life bear fruit in every good work, as I grow in the knowledge of God.” [Copeland: pg 189]

 

Prayer builds dreams and yours is in the process right now if you have been spending time with God in prayer.  We are called to make the most of each and every day while we wait patiently for our journey to be complete and prayers answered in God’s timing.  Only he knows when the perfect time for answering our prayers is.  We are to honor God by trusting him and following his lead.  We have no way of knowing exactly when our answers will come, but we can take solace in being assured he answers all of our prayers exactly at the right time.  Impatience with God breeds frustration and moves us into a place of instability.  “Be generous with patience, give it away freely to yourself and others.” [Meyers: pg 38]

 

Christians are Intercessors.  When God saved us he filled us with the life of Christ who is always interceding.  And through our propensity to identify with another’s pain or pray on their behalf out of love and compassion, intercession occurs and is every believer’s call and destiny.  When it comes to prayer there are no chosen few.  We are all called to pray, whether it is for spiritual warfare, wisdom, encouragement or for one another.  Prayer is not a request of God, it is a requirement and expected from each of us.  Prayer is for our own beneficial good and we are wise to obey.  [Donihue: Pg13]

 

RESOURCES:

Bible, King James Version:  Thomas Nelson Publishers, 1970, Book

Bible, New International Version: The Knowing Jesus Study Bible, Zondervan, 1999, Book

Bible, Good News Bible Today’s English Version: American Bible Society, 1993, Book

Bill Morris Ministries, Inc.: Syllabus, Prayer – TH 408

Copeland, Germaine, Prayers that avail much:  Harrison House LLC, 2012, Book

Meyers, Joyce, When God When:  Warner Books Inc., 1994. Book

Donihue, Anita Corrine, When I’m On My Knees: Barbour Publishing Inc., 1997, Book

Prince, Derek, War in Heaven: Chosen Books, 2003, Book

 

Gods Gifts for Everyday Use, devotional 12-28-16

As I am thinking this morning about devotions I am led to the Book of Matthew and how it talks to us about the power given to us by Jesus on the Cross. I think we too often forget the magnificent gift that was provided for us by Jesus. A gift that we can access and use at any point we need to day or night. A gift that gives us a better life, only we fail to put it into action. Not because we dont know about it, because I think most Christians do; but because we forget its there for us. We forget because our minds are to busy on too many other things that in the end dont amount to a hill of beans.
Matt. 16:15 “But what about you?” (Jesus asked) “Who do you say I am?” (Addressing Simon Peter)
Lets start here; have you asked yourself; who do you say Jesus is in your life and to you? This is a very important self anaylsis we really need to answer. Why? Because it reveals to ourselves whats in our heart. It reveals to us how we are living our lives. If you say Jesus is Lord and Savior over all…does your life reflect it?

Matt. 18:3-7 “I tell you the truth, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. 4 Therefore whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. 5 And whoever welcomes a little child like this in my name welcomes me. 6 But if anyone causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin., it would be better for him to have a large millstone hung around his neck and to be drowned in the depths of the sea. 7 Woe to the world because of the things that cause people to sin.” (Jesus speaking)
I come back to this passage so many times, for so many reasons. I think we all understand that we have been told it is wrong for us to cause another person to stumble in faith and their walk with God. But do we think about the applications of it? What I mean is if we are putting ourselves out there as a Christian, people notice. They can tell by the way we dress, the cross we adorn ourselves with, the bumper sticker on our cars, even the cross on our keychain. They SEE IT and they OBSERVE US. How many times have we tarnished the Christian attitude with our words in a long check-out line at a store, our driving manners, the way we talk to our children or spouse in front of others, or perhaps even the way we present our appearance? Like the little child mentioned in the verse, people of all ages watch, listen and learn. Then they decide based on what they witness if its something they want or not. Something as little as being rude to another person in a long cashier line can become a stumbling block for someone considering Christianity. We are often talking about the cost of being faithful to Christ. Our actions is a cost. We cannot behave like the world, we must behave as Christ has modeled for us.

Matt. 17:20,21 “Because you have so little faith, I tell you the truth, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there’ and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you.” (Jesus speaking)
We were talking about the magnificent gift (in addition to the greatest of all; salvation) this little verse is huge. We often hear it in reference to our faith and the mustard seed…but what about the rest? Jesus clearly tells us that if we have a little bit of faith we have been given the power to move mountains!! Now we know that Jesus can move any mountain, and we pray often for Him to move our mountains and that is ok. But this verse clearly and explicitly tells us even with just a tiny bit of faith we can move the mountain, because Jesus has given us the power. Now think about that for a minute, if we just have a little faith we can do this, so how much more can we do with a lot of faith in our Lord and Savior?? Do we forget we have this gift of power? Or do we continue to be as the little child and ask others to move our mountains when we clearly have the power through Christ to do it ourselves?

Matt. 18:18-20 “I tell you the truth, whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven. 19 Again, I tell you that if two of you on earth agree about anything you ask for, it will be done for you by my Father in heaven. 20 For where two or three come together in my name there I am with them.” (Jesus Speaking)
Two more gifts provided to us by Jesus on the Cross. He is telling us to use our words, for they have power. Power to bind up the enemy when he is attacking our minds, bodies, families, work places, or whatever.
All we need to do is say: In the name of Jesus I bind the enemy from (Add your issue) putting ugly thoughts in my mind! I tell you to go devil and by the promises of MY SAVIOR, you must leave! &/or According to Matt. 18:18 I loosen more of the Holy Spirit in my heart and spirit and home, to provide more wisdom and revelation of Gods will for me.
Yes our words spoken have been given the gift of power to move mountains, to bind up the enemy and keep him away from you, and to loosen the things of God more abundantly in our lives and that of our families. Magnificient gifts we have been given, yet do you use them?

Lastly, in regards to prayer and our war room, our fellowship halls, churches, friendships and especially our homes. We have been given the gift to have the Holy Spirit dwell right with us in a mighty way. He tells us that when we come together in prayer in agreement HE our Savior dwells right there with us as we seek His help for others, ourselves and whatever we agree upon in accordance with Gods word. What bigger gift could we want than to have our Jesus come and be present with us as we pray in unison? Now please dont misunderstand me, He hears all our prayers without any doubt, singularly or in groups. But it is obvious He has put an emphasis on group prayer in His word for good reason.

Use the gifts Jesus gave us on the Cross, use them wisely and use them with the power specified by Jesus for our benefit and most of all to present ourselves to onlookers as something they want and need. Use the gifts to fight off the enemy attacks. Use them to pray in a mighty awesome way with Jesus and the Holy Spirit present in the midst of it.

devotion Oct 3, 2016

A beautiful and thoughtful devotion for anyday.

The Salted Snail

sailboat painting (1 of 1)

I want you to turn away from what you can do for Me. I want you to turn to the understanding that I Am! I know you think that you know what’s best for you, and you fear surrendering to Me. You want to know and to understand, but, your rest comes from TRUSTING ME, even when you don’t know or understand. I know that those in your past, who were supposed to be FOR you, have disappointed you, but I am not those people. I am Your Creator. Your Heavenly Father. I know you are tired of waiting and have grown weary in the process. I am calling you today to be careful for nothing, but to bring your requests to Me, to trust Me with them. As you give Me your requests, I will give you peace that passes understanding. I am asking you to believe that I…

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Living with Hemochromatosis Cont. (4)

Programs_FosterCare.html-0Its been a little while since I have reported on my journey with the hereditary disease.  One of the reasons is because of clear and quick progression of its symptoms effecting my ability to function like I had previously.  With that said, here is my account of recent events.

I went to the new doctor that provided hope of having someone in the medical field that demonstrated concern, willingness and cause to help me with several issues I am experiencing.  I went to see Dr. Miller initially on March 21st of this year.  In the short time that has elapsed, I know more about whats happening to me than what all the other physicians were able to communicatein all their office visits combined.

He began with reviewing my labs and stating he was not totally convinced that I in fact had developed full blown Hemochromatosis (HFE).  He went on and explained that just because I inherited the genes for it, doesn’t mean I have developed the actual disease, only 2% of the population actually develops the disease. To be sure it was HFE, he wanted to double check that it is not Rheumatoid Arthritis as the two can mimick each other in some ways such as joint pain, fatigue and morning stiffness.  When he reviewed my labs he noted that I had been tested for the RA Factor which was positive and indicated some level of inflammation in my joints, but the Sed Rate test to determine actual RA was never performed.  He ordered the lab along with an updated Ferritin level and Cardio CRP, and B-12 tests.  A new appointment was scheduled for two weeks later.  Before leaving I was administered a B-12 shot to help with the fatigue and provided a prescription for “Mobic” for the arthritis like pain.

The next contact with Dr. Miller was by phone.  His nurse passed along this message on his behalf.  Unfortunately the test results confirmed Hemochromatosis has developed and there is no evidence of RA.  Additionally all my inflammation lab results are elevated including the Ferritin being up almost a hundred points.  A phelbotomy has to be done dispite my borderline anemia hemocrit number of 37%.  He provided the documentation for a Handicap vehicle window marker and a blood center order for 6 monthly phelbotomy draws and a lowered limitation preventing draws with a hemocrit % lower than 30%.

I felt more confident in the diagnosis, because to my knowledge his extra labs and thoroughness made sure the Hemochromatosis diagnosis was correct.  He also gave it the benefit of the doubt before just accepting what his collegues had said.  While I wish it was something that had available and successful treatments, this is what I am left with to deal and face in the time to come.  I was very disheartened to learn that when two of the previous doctors said today is my best day each and every day going forward, they were probably the honest truth I did’nt want to hear or accept.  I take comfort in knowing I just didnt accept it, I fought it in the effort to make sure the diagnosis was factual; first seeking other answers before giving in to the darker future painted for me by the physicians.

I went and had my second attempt at the phelbotomony done.  Successfully this time and my hemocrit was up to 39% from the 37 good news I guess.  Expectant to feel a little less fatigued within a couple of days of the draw, I have been disappointed.  Instead of feeling better, I feel worse, more tired and fuzzy headed than usual.  Since my initial diagnosis in December my symptoms continue to increase at an alarming rate.  The amount of pain in my hands and hips and sporadic body locations is rising significantly.  The mobic is not very effective.  According to Dr. Miller and the other specialist there is nothing they can do that is not currently being done.  On a day to day basis, its hard for me to plan things as I never know how my day is going to be. Labeling my days as good, bad and existing, lately the odds have not been in favor of a good day.  I continue to try my best to push forward and not just laze around all the time, but doing so is getting harder and harder to do.

I am told that after several phelbotomonies are completed the ferritin levels will come down and I will feel better.  But I am doubting it based on how I feel after the first one.  I am trying to make plans to lighten my life load “again”.  Making daily life simpler, less complicated and hopefully more enjoyable with my complicated health condition.  The thing that concerns me most is how quickly the pain is increasing and how the increasing fatigue is taking over my life.  I feel dispondent for my family, it cant be easy for them.  And my husband is having to do so many things now that I have always taken care of previously, it makes me sad.  The depressive and difficult mindset I have lately in trying to cope with the downward spiral of pain and fatigue is hard to fight.  It is getting harder to pretend everything is okay when clearly it is not.  I am not able to cope with the pain well, my tolerance is either very low or time is erroding my ability to deal with it.  Which is situation factual I do not know.  My mind has good days and bad.  The bad days mentally is when things are fuzzy, I cannot think clearly enough to manage important affairs, but yet I am functional enough to take care of daily routines such as feeding the grandbaby and getting dressed, and doing other piddling things  So I am not incapacitated mentally, just challenged on some days with things that require me to think financially or remember where I put my keys or what time it is and things like that.

This is my update, tomorrow is another day…where this is all going I dont know, but I am very comforted to know that my Lord and Savior is walking this path with me and before me.  I am comforted to have a wonderfully devoted husband and mother that I just cannot do without at this time in my life.  I pray for healing and believe it will take place at anytime, but until then I hope my journey in writing will help someone else on this same journey.  I would love to hear from you and how this helps you and how your journey may help me.

I want to mention that I joined a Facebook group that is closed (and honors request memberships only), the members are very knowledgable and has been supportive and helpful.  It is dedicated to individuals diagnosed with Hemochromatosis.  If you have this disorder, here is the link… https://www.facebook.com/groups/160715070784986/?fref=nf

Until another update impresses upon me to write….

God Bless you,

Lovada Rae