How Can I Pray for You?

You need to persevere so that when you have done the will of God, you will receive what he has promised. For…my righteous one will live by faith. And I take no pleasure in the one who shrinks back.” But we do not belong to those who shrink back and are destroyed, but to those who have faith and are saved. Hebrews 10: 36. 38-39

Encourage one another… 1 Thess 5:11

As Savior, Jesus Christ is in the preservation business. He is the ultimate Preserver of Salvation, but not just salvation; also peace, love, strength, grace, and a host of other attributes that experienced by humans alone can never be fully realized or utilized.

We need Jesus to help us find the path of salvation and to make sure we stay on that path.

Some of us believe in an eternal connection to the Giver of salvation that makes it impossible for us to falter in our journey toward heaven’s gate. Others of us believe that the exercise of our free will has to at least make falling away a possibility. Regardless of where we land on the topic of eternal security, we believers all confess that without Jesus we are on our way to perdition.

Without Jesus, we don’t have in us what is necessary to end up anywhere else, for our fleshy nature causes us to wander as we face a multitude of temptations specifically designed to pull us away form our Lord and into the abyss.

It is in holding on to Jesus alone that we gain security and are saved from such a fate. Only holding onto Him makes it possible for us to escape hell’s snare.

Today, pray for those who have turned their heads away from the Living God to look at other things.

Pray for those, who like Lot’s wife, are worried for what they have and for what they will be asked to surrender if they decide to follow Jesus. Pray that they will have the strength to turn their back on this world, repent of their love of it, and pursue the Lord wholeheartedly and without a thought for the rubbish they will leave behind after making that decision.

Pray for Christ’s strengthening for His Saints, His Church, His Gospel and the little ones who are growing up in this fallen world.

Pray for Christ’s presence to be with us always, and for strength of character to always and only do those things that are pleasing in His sight.

To the Lord Almighty be all glory now and forever more. Amen!

 

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Desperate for Hope?

Do you ever wonder if God loves you? Have you thought that the troubles you face in life are a punishment and not coincidence? Are you now, or have you ever faced a period in time when you doubted if God could turn things around, could heal your hurt, could make you whole again?

I know. I’ve been there…

…but I will tell you something I know equally well: Pain cannot stop the work of the Living God when He is on a redemption tour!

Our Heavenly Father knows what he is doing, and every minute of every day, of every year of our lives He is working redemption; through the pain, through the doubt, through the sickness, through the laughter, through the disappointment, through the exhaustion, and through the endless nights of questions and confusion.

Love does for us what we could never do for ourselves.

I share the following link today in the hope that you will follow it to Jared Barden’s blog.

Jared is my nephew, the husband of Danielle, son to Brian and Brenda, and awesome dad to Fitzgerald and Enoch. He is part and parcel of my family, and one of the bright lights in my life. I love him. Not only do I love him, but I love what God is doing through him.

I think if you would ask Jared, “Are you fearless?” He would say, NO.

I disagree. I think he is fearless, and moreover, I think he and Danielle are surrendered. They are victors in this world, because they see what others don’t see and they obey when others would run.

Jared, Danielle, Fitzgerald, Enoch: I am praying for you today, and I’m so proud of you. Stay strong, dear ones, and keep looking up. Jesus has a plan he’s working out through you and it includes others. Keep leaning in toward Him. He will never let you down.

Take a minute.

Be refreshed.

Renew your hope.

Find assurance.

Be confident.

Trust the right One.

Don’t give up.

Read THIS BLOG today!

http://www.jaredbarden.com/2014/07/25/one-year/

And may the love and safety, and purpose God has for all his children, shine down on you and give you peace.

Shalom!

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Come Alongside

You wouldn’t think that you’d have to be on your guard with those you love, would you?

You wouldn’t think you’d have to walk so lightly.

You wouldn’t think you’d have to parse out every word in careful sentences, so that offense could be avoided and peace maintained.

You wouldn’t think you’d have to pray so hard to avoid problem areas when actively involved in ministry, but you’d be wrong.

Being a disciple of Jesus Christ is simple.  It is not easy.

Anyone who has ever tried to serve Jesus first, last, and always has run up against a brick wall at some point. The world is full of people who don’t serve Jesus. In fact, truth be told, there are many more of them than there are us, and sometimes we share the same living space with them.

That’s where problems are born.  But…

…we know something those others don’t know.  The born again understand that the air we all breathe, the hope any of us has, the love any of us feels, and the reality any of us experiences is due to one thing–One King–and His name is Jesus. He is first, last, and always with us; guiding us,

encouraging us

strengthening us

equipping us

instructing us

rebuking us, and…

…moving us back onto the path of His will for our lives when we wander off.

This work Jesus does without fail, every day, week after week, for as many years as walk on this earth and beyond.

He is a refining fire that is with us, in us, around us, and working through us at all times.

So then, what shall we fear?

Today, pray for those who are stepping out in faith with the Lord.

Pray for those who are struggling to keep in step with him and bring balance to their lives.

Pray for those who have slipped in their footing and fallen.

Help them up if you can. Move to their side.

Listen. Pray. Avoid giving advice, but be present.

When you speak, speak to them the words of Life that renew spirits and rebuild confidences, but not from a point of personal advantage.

Hasten their understanding through your own dedication to prayer and meditation; studying, showing yourself approved and rightly handling spiritual truth, seasoned with grace–always seasoned with grace.

Be ready and armed with all you need to bring life to another living in darkness, and KNOW that God has chosen YOU to be his hands, his feet, and his mouthpiece in this world.

Pray, then do, and watch as the miracle happens.

Love DOES!

 

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Chasing the Fog

…he is like the light of morning at sunrise on a cloudless morning, like the brightness after rain that brings grass from the earth… 2 Samuel 23:4

Encourage one another… 1 Thess 5:11

In my devotions this morning, I found this:

“Fog in one’s spiritual life need be no more lasting than that in nature. ‘It will burn off before long.’” Maltbie Davenport Babcock, Thoughts for Everyday Living.

This quote reminded me of a conversation I had recently with some of my fellows. We were talking about the assurance of salvation, when I shared my experience that time and maturity had helped me set aside fears that I might be disqualified for “the race” at the end of my days. I was talking, of course, about my fears that I might somehow lose my ability to feel secure in Christ before I came to the end of my time on earth.  We’d been discussing Paul’s second letter to the Corinthians, and the strong reference he makes to “reprobate” in the King James version of the Bible when closing out his letter. Oddly enough, Paul was directing the saints at Corinth to encourage one another in their faith (and particularly in their distress), when he penned those words. Paul knew the church at Corinth had false teachers–wolves in sheep clothing–among them, and that those false teachers were stirring up confusion, doubt, speculation about the validity of the gospel Paul preached, and fear concerning the spiritual journey of anyone who didn’t think they way they thought.

Note: They thought wrong.

Wolves always breed fear in the hearts of grazing sheep.

Today, if you’re working out your salvation with fear and trembling, and wondering whether you have what it takes to make it over that finish line without being disqualified, know, you’re in good company. Paul voiced the same concerns for himself in his epistle writings. Fears have a tendency to drift in like thick fog over our path, and there’s not much we can do about that, but like fog that is lifted when the sun comes out, God’s only Son calms our fears.

When we lean into Jesus and trust him wholly our fears begin to melt away, like morning fog over the river banks. Soon, we see clearly once more.

Are you worried today about the fog that has drifted into your life? Do you question whether you’re thinking right, or making the right decisions?  Are you wondering whether you’re doing enough for God, or hitting the right notes in your relationships with others?  I have found that prayer and meditation helps me to consciously connect with God in my own life, and opens me to the power of a clear sky.  Ask Jesus to shine on you today, so as to bring clarity, assurance, understanding and confidence your way.

Ask Him to dry your tears and erase all fear.

Most of all, praise Him for the work he’s doing in your life right now, and the lives of those you love.

Salvation comes of relationship with Jesus, so stay close, stay open, stay teachable and grow in the love of the Lord, as much as it is in you to do these things.  Salvation remains with those who remain with Jesus through the ups and downs of live.

Remember:  Our God is full of compassion and long on mercy, and salvation is found in Him alone. Praise Him for clearing on the foggy days.  He’s good, all the time!

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A Grateful Heart Reflects on Freedom

freedomToday is the eve of another national holiday here in America. Tomorrow we celebrate our national independence from the oppressor’s heavy hand. Tomorrow will also be a celebration of our strength, our resilience, our independent spirit and our calling to be one nation under God. Tomorrow, we will remind one another what it was to once be economic slaves, if not physically bound, and what it feels like to toss off that cloak of oppression and be FREE.

Happy Independence Day, everyone!

As you party hardy on July 4th, celebrating your freedom with gladness, don’t forget that even as you claim independence from human rulers, you are called to be a slave and servant for Christ. This slave status born again believers have with their Savior was not thrust upon them, though. No, it was us who asked to be counted among those who live their lives and surrender their freedoms for Christ’s purpose. We asked, neigh, pleaded with Christ to include us in the ranks of those who gladly bow, for we understood, if not completely then, better now, that the salvation of mankind was dependent upon Christ being able to bleed and die for lost men and women everywhere. And this is not such a strange notion, for American men and women have been dying on national and foreign soils for millennia for the chance to win their freedoms and escape tyranny’s hold.  We do it for ourselves, on a battlefield, while Christ did it for all men everywhere, and made his sacrifice on a wooden cross.  Our sacrifice was for our generation.  His, once for all time.

Knowing that on our own we are utterly and totally confused and lost in sin, we still turn away from the darkness and begin journeys toward the light–journeys that have brought us greater satisfaction, purpose in living, and passion than we ever thought possible.

Praise God, He rescues the captives in every generation!

Today, let’s remind each other to thank God for granting us the opportunity to serve Him first, our fellows next, and our selves last. Salvation is a free gift, but it cost Jesus everything. Thank Him, and bow low with a grateful heart to receive his blessing, His love, His guidance, and His peace for you and yours during this upcoming holiday weekend. Pray, also, that those still caught in sin’s web of destruction will find salvation on this weekend full of potential. Pray and watch, for many will come in this generation seeking the freedom only Christ can provide. Be ready for them when they come to you.  Be ready to share, lead, and rejoice with all who come.

Jesus brings true freedom, now and forever more.   Hallelujah, what a Savior!

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Prayers for Healing

Well done, though good and faithful servant. Matthew 25:23

Have you ever wondered how long you ought to pray for someone to be healed by God when the healing doesn’t come? Should you continue to pray for a week, a month, several months, longer?

What if that person is elderly and at the end of days anyway, should you pray then?

What if medical science says there is no hope–should you pray for healing then?

What if you’ve prayed, and prayed, and PRAYED with no sign of recovery, should prayers for healing continue even then?

Does God really approve stubborn prayers, and will he really say “well done” when the prayers for healing are ended?

What do you think?

000Serenity

The writer of Ecclesiastes tells us, “As you do not know the path of the wind, or how the body is formed in a mother’s womb, so you cannot understand the work of God, the Maker of all things.”

To my way of thinking, a truer statement was never spoken, especially in light of divine healing and those times when the healing refuses to come. So what are we, the faithful, to do?

We continue to pray for God’s glorious will to be done.

Prayers for divine healing are never wrong and they should continue up to the point when God’s Spirit whispers to our spirit that a physical healing in this realm is not the Divine Father’s will. When that whisper becomes a clarion call in our hearts it is time to shift our prayer emphasis. At that time our prayers change to urgent intercessions for peace, comfort, rest, surrender and strength to surround those we love, and we ask that they might be delivered to Jesus’ side as painlessly and quickly as possible.

Today, if you know someone who is struggling with a disease that does not seem to respond to prayer, pray anyway. You never know when their miracle might happen.

If, however, God’s Spirit has spoken to your spirit loud and clear that it is time for this loved one to return to Him, release them, and ask God to bless their passage from this world to the next for your sake. It’s not wrong to pray this way.

Today, pray for those who will be healed, and for those who won’t. It may be the greatest gift you have to give–so give it freely and often.

Your prayers most assuredly pave a smoother path for every person you bring to the Father in prayer, whether they are sick or not. Every person benefits when someone else is praying for them.

Glory Hallelujah!  Thank you for praying for others.

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What is our Purpose?

You, however, know all about my teaching, my way of life, my purpose, faith, patience, love, endurance… 2 Timothy 3:10

Encourage one another… 1 Thess 5:11

What is your purpose in this place?

Have you asked yourself that question?

I know I have. I know others who have. Everyone asks that question of themselves or others at one time or another.

We have inquiring minds–we want to know.

I find it interesting that as Paul writes to his friend and companion in the faith, he takes it for granted that Timothy knows all about his way of life, and his purpose.

How does he know?

He knows because Paul demonstrates his purpose every day by the choices he makes and the truths he holds dear. These truths…

…that God is not dead.

…that Jesus rose again.

…that Paul’s life is about spreading the gospel.

…and that it was not going to be an easy mission…

…these were fuel to Paul’s fire.

Add to these truths the understanding the Apostle had that his time was short, and we see in Paul one highly motivated individual who moves through the world with purpose.

The Apostle Paul was driven by a compulsion to tell the truth whenever he could, to whomever he could, for as long as he could.

Today, as you wonder about your purpose, would you take a minute to pray? Prayer is just talking to God, letting Him in on what you’re thinking, and/or starting a dialogue with Him. As we pray, let’s ask the Lord to reveal to us what needs to go, what needs to stay, and what needs to change in our lives for us to have a better understanding of our purpose in His world.

One thing is for sure: YOU are here for a reason.

And I suspect You are incredibly valuable to the turning of God’s page in His Book of Life.

You matter!

Don’t miss out on what He has for you to do just because you’ve never asked Him what you can do for him, for others, for yourself to get you a little closer to serenity.

Never surrender until your job is done. If you don’t know what that job is, pray. Ask God for strength to keep moving forward and for wisdom along the path. He will answer, perhaps in amazing ways.

I’m excited for you!

Remember: Together, we get better, so if you want to talk, I’m here. I’d love to hear all about what God is doing in your life.

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