Mark 1:35 NKJV – Is that You, Lord?

Now in the morning, having risen a long while before daylight, He went out and departed to a solitary place; and there He prayed.

I’ve blogged about going into the still of the night to pray where you can be alone with God. These are the best of times with the Lord. There’s something about the stillness that enables your senses to experience things that you wouldn’t normally notice. Your ears become more aware of the sounds of the night. Your eyes get accustomed to the lack of lights and become keener; more able to see through the darkness. Jesus also enjoyed the times before daylight to pray.

There have been times in the middle of the night or very early morning that I have woke up only to feel a pressing need to pray. I believe that the Holy Spirit at times stirs up my heart and this causes my body to wake up and find a place to pray. Sometimes the things brought to my heart and mind are individuals. I sense the Holy Spirit leading me to pray for specific people at times without the knowledge of any particular need. Then there are times that I’m not praying for individuals, but rather I may be praying for events, or churches, or God’s presence over a community, or even Holy Spirit revival.

What is my point? Prayer is a part of every Christian’s life. Or should I say, God commands us to pray in His Word. His Word doesn’t say when to pray, but it does say “that men always ought to pray and not lose heart.” (Luke 18:1 NKJV) Prayer is our opportunity to have conversation with God. Have you ever been called late at night by a friend or maybe a family member? And they may have said, “Did I wake you?” And your response may have been, “Oh, not really. I was just laying here.” After all of the niceties, you spend time in conversation because they must have called you for a reason and that reason was important to them.

Well, I believe the Holy Spirit does the same thing. The Holy Spirit has a reason and it’s important to Him that He gets your attention. We may never know what a person is facing in the people the Holy Spirit brings to our hearts and minds, but that’s ok. I leave that to God. If we will spend time talking to family or friends to hear and help them out, how much more important is it to hear what the Holy Spirit has to say. You might say, “I’ve never experienced that. I’ve never felt the Holy Spirit needing me to wake up in the middle of the night.” You may never have. And that’s ok. No condemnation here. But I’m just saying again, prayer is our opportunity to spend time with God and have conversation with Him. If you feel the sudden presence of God and the need to pray, take the time to pray. No matter what the time. God will certainly bless your obedience.

Heavenly Father. Thank You for those times You send the Holy Spirit to stir me up in the middle of the night to spend time with You and pray. Thank You Lord that I have experienced that. Lord, help me to lay aside the time of day and the things that would distract me, and lead me into Your presence. In Jesus Name. AMEN.

Don’t believe me, believe God!

Ephesians 3:14-21 NKJV – Running on empty

For this reason I bow my knees to the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, from whom the whole family in heaven and earth is named, that He would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with might through His Spirit in the inner man, that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the width and length and depth and height—to know the love of Christ which passes knowledge; that you may be filled with all the fullness of God. Now to Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us, to Him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus to all generations, forever and ever. Amen.

Have any of you felt that your personal “gas tank” is getting low and you are running on empty? What I’m talking about is your body’s gas tank. I’m sure you’re all saying, “I’ve been there.” Me, too. The world as we know it is a very busy place and our days are very busy days. We have learned to adapt and try to keep up with the pace. I endeavor each day to complete my “To Do” list. This list is a way for me to keep track of the highest priority things that I need to accomplish. I grade each item as to its particular importance (A1,A2,A3, B1, B2, B3…etc) and I go about my day. I’m a little geekish when it comes to organizing. But if you looked at my desk, you wouldn’t think that. Oh my!

You know, running on empty is one of the most successful, yet devious schemes of the enemy. The enemy will use strategies of organization to keep your list full and to get you to strive to complete it. If you’re not careful, the enemy will get you to believe you can squeeze even more into your day and have you believe it’s because you’re a master of getting things done. When he does that, it directly attacks your pride cells in your brain and the vicious circle begins. The more I do, the more I can get done and the more I can get done, the more I can do. Etc, etc, etc. Whoops!

Sometimes that scheme works its way into ministry for the Lord. I am sure you’ve heard someone say, “I just got burned out serving.” What that statement really means is “I didn’t see what the enemy was doing and I didn’t go to God to get refilled and refreshed.”

These Scripture verses encourage me. It’s a prayer for those who serve. It’s a prayer as to where we can get restored and get our “tanks filled up again”. Paul is praying for believers in the church to be strengthened by the Holy Spirit in might. In other words, all that the Holy Spirit has. And directed to the inner man so that the power of the Holy Spirit grips them to maintain the faith in Christ. Then he prays that they would be empowered to grasp the extent of God’s love by which they have been saved and made secure and filled to the measure of all the fullness of God. Hallelujah!!! Giving God the glory that He is able to go above and beyond anything they can ask or imagine according to the Holy Spirit power that lives in them. Again, Hallelujah!!!

In the same way, as Paul prayed for the church, we also should be praying not only for ourselves, but for others who serve God. For other believers so that they too would be strengthened. We should be praying for our pastors. We should be praying for Sunday School teachers. We should be praying for our Deacons/Elders. We should be praying for our Trustees. We should be praying for our ministry leaders. We should be praying for the church staff. We should be praying for our missionaries. We should be praying for all those who serve. Daily prayer for those who serve the Lord is fundamental and essential.

Before I conclude, I have another thought when I read these verses. It doesn’t matter how often we need to go back to God to be refilled and refreshed. We can come to God over and over and over for a touch from His Holy Spirit. There are no boundaries. These verses are promises encapsulated within a prayer. For within prayer is the power to release God’s promises. Let’s not look to other ways to be refilled and refreshed. Let’s look to God and the power of the Holy Spirit.

Thank You, Oh Lord, for Your Word and the promises that live inside of it. Help us understand that we are not made to keep going and going and going until we are empty, but that we can come to You for refilling and refreshing. We accept and submit to Your call for our lives and we eagerly serve for Your glory and honor, but we rebuke the scheme of the enemy that would lead us to believe that we would be more effective serving You by doing it all. We humbly receive our strength by the power of Your Holy Spirit. Refill us Lord today with Your fullness and help us comprehend the magnitude of Your love for us. Do exceedingly, abundantly above all that we can ever ask or think in our lives for Your glory and in Your Holy Name, Jesus. AMEN.

Don’t believe me, believe God!

Romans 8:26-27 NKJV – A Dear Friend thought to share this with me

Likewise the Spirit also helps in our weaknesses. For we do not know what we should pray for as we ought, but the Spirit Himself makes intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered. Now He who searches the hearts knows what the mind of the Spirit is, because He makes intercession for the saints according to the will of God.

FOR MY FRIENDS NEEDING PRAYER AND GOING THROUGH TOUGH TIMES

Have you ever just NOT known how or what to pray? Perhaps you have run out of words, or a situation has left you speechless or in so much pain that all you can do is groan? In Romans 8:26 Paul explains a prayer resource we may not realize we have or do not take advantage of: the Holy Spirit. When circumstances or pain leave us without words to pray, we can yield to God’s Spirit. This means that we do not pray out of our own understanding or try to figure out what to pray but we rest in the fact that HE knows our heart and HE knows the situation. Verse 27 says that the Father who knows all hearts also knows what the Spirit is saying on our behalf in the most baffling or distressing times. HE makes prayers out of our tears, our sighs and our groaning’s. What a wonderful thing to know that the Holy Spirit is interceding and, even beyond that, pleading for us believers in harmony with God’s will. In addition, Jesus, at the right hand of the Father in heaven, the place of highest honor is praying for us! Thank-You, Holy Spirit, for praying through us in perfect agreement with God’s will and, with Jesus, interceding for us at the throne of God. When we don’t know the words to say or have no words at all, you carry our sighs, groans, and tears into God’s presence for us. What Amazing Grace!” (From “The One Year Book of Praying Through the Bible”, Copyright 2003 by Cheri Fuller, www.tyndale.com)

Thanks, Rachel.

Dear God. Thank you for my dear friend who thought enough to share this wonderful study from Your Word. Holy Spirit when we don’t have the words to pray, You are already there. All we need to do is submit to Your love. When our tears run dry and our hearts are breaking, You make prayers out of our sorrows. Direct to the Your throne room where they will reside in God’s presence. Thank You Jesus! Help us understand that when there is nothing left in us, even words, that You are always there. We love You Lord and pray in Your Name. AMEN.

Don’t believe me, believe God!

John 14:16 KJV – The Comforter

And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you forever.

What an incredible promise of the Lord. Jesus was giving final instructions to His disciples on what was next. What would lie ahead for them. This was Jesus reassurance to them. That God would send “another” Comforter. The true meaning here in the word “another” is from the Greek word “allos” which means “another of the same sort”. Jesus was telling His disciples that the Comforter would be just like Him, an exact representation of Himself. The disciples were hearing that even though Jesus was leaving, God cared enough for them to send His Holy Spirit who would live and abide with them forever.

Wow! I remember hearing this passage as a new believer and it impacted me a great deal. It gave me a feeling of great security in Christ; that the Holy Spirit would live and reside in me to guide me along the way of serving Jesus. I realized I wasn’t going to have to follow Jesus alone and be a servant of Him all by myself. That God had sent “another”, just like Jesus to walk with me, to guide me, to teach me, to comfort me. In my prayers in the morning, I try to remember to pray that the Holy Spirit direct my path so that everything that I say and do would bring honor and glory to God. What great love God has for us that since the beginning of time, God’s plan was to be with us at all times. Thank You, God!!!

Heavenly God, thank You that You sent Your Holy Spirit to be with us and live in us. To guide us as we live our lives. Help me, God, to seek Your Holy Spirit in time of need, in time of trouble, when I need direction, or when the world overcomes me and I need a Comforter. Help me to not try to figure it out all by myself but seek You Lord. In Jesus Name. AMEN

Don’t believe me, believe God!

Psalm 5:11 AMP – Get hooked up

But let all those who take refuge and put their trust in You rejoice; let them ever sing and shout for joy, because You make a covering over them and defend them; let those also who love Your name be joyful in You and be in high spirits.

Are you getting all that is in this Scripture? The psalmist says that those who take refuge in God and put their trust in Him will shout for joy because God will place a covering over them and forever be their defender. Hallelujah!!!

High spirits in this context literally means spiritual vitality; the quality of possessing a living faith. The key words here are “living faith”. Living faith is faith that never quits, never dies out, never ends. And the means of developing spiritual vitality begins with abiding in Jesus Christ. “Dwell in Me, and I will dwell in you. [Live in Me, and I will live in you.] Just as no branch can bear fruit of itself without abiding in (being vitally united to) the vine, neither can you bear fruit unless you abide in Me.” (John 15:4 AMP) Abiding in Jesus Christ means to be hooked up to the Vine; to be connected so that His life giving flow reaches us.

Yet, there can be some obstacles to spiritual vitality. One of those obstacles is to lack a sound teaching as in a lack of the Word of God in your life. “I charge you therefore before God and the Lord Jesus Christ, who will judge the living and the dead at His appearing and His kingdom: Preach the word! Be ready in season and out of season. Convince, rebuke, exhort, with all longsuffering and teaching. For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine, but according to their own desires, because they have itching ears, they will heap up for themselves teachers”. (2 Timothy 4:1-3 NKJV) God intends for His Word to be understood and has provided the means for understanding it through the Holy Spirit. Look at what Scripture says about this:

“But as it is written: “Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, nor have entered into the heart of man the things which God has prepared for those who love Him.” But God has revealed them to us through His Spirit. For the Spirit searches all things, yes, the deep things of God. For what man knows the things of a man except the spirit of the man which is in him? Even so no one knows the things of God except the Spirit of God. Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, that we might know the things that have been freely given to us by God.” (1 Corinthians 2:9-12 NKJV)

And what are the consequences, or shall I say, benefits of spiritual vitality or a “living faith”? First, spiritual growth is a benefit. “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law.” (Galatians 5:22-23 NKJV) Then there is the ability to love others regardless of what they may have done. “And this is His commandment: that we should believe on the name of His Son, Jesus Christ and love one another, as He gave us commandment.” (1 John 3:23 NKJV) Then there is the ability to rejoice in the Lord. “Rejoice in the Lord always. Again I will say, rejoice! Let your gentleness be known to all men. The Lord is at hand. Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 4:4-7 NKJV) And then last in the context of this discussion, but certainly not least, is the ability to spiritually persevere. “And we desire that each one of you show the same diligence to the full assurance of hope until the end, that you do not become sluggish, but imitate those who through faith and patience inherit the promises.” (Hebrews 6:11-12 NKJV)

Friend, we’ve been studying about spiritual vitality or a “living faith” in our lives. I’ve communicated that obstacles are very real, but there are, equally if not more, benefits to being alive and vital spiritually in Christ. We need to place our everyday focus on connecting to our source, Jesus Christ. We need to get plugged in to Him so that His life giving power can flow to us and enable His light to shine brightly in us for others to view. And as a reward, His power, living in and through us, defeats the schemes of the enemy and causes the devil to flee from us. “Therefore submit to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you.” (James 4:7 NKJV)

Dear Lord, thank You that You place Your covering over us when we choose to take refuge and place our trust in You. We sing for Joy and shout Your Name. Thank You for spiritual vitality through a living faith in You. Forgive us Lord when we stray away from contact with You. Bring us back, Lord. Back to Your loving care. May we always give honor and glory to Your name. In Jesus Name. AMEN.

Don’t believe me, believe God!

Philippians 4:19 NKJV – I call Him Jesus

And my God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus.

We know this Scripture, probably by heart. We have spoken this Scripture into our lives over and over again. Am I making some presumptions here? I don’t think so. God shall supply all of our needs. Through Jesus Christ, God’s riches cover every circumstance. Every circumstance whether physical or spiritual.

What an incredible promise to those who believe! Jesus is by our side, walking with us, resides in everything we face, and is in our tomorrows. So then what’s the problem? Why is it that so many times we don’t accept these truths? Jehovah Jireh, “The Lord who provides”. “Both riches and honor come from You, and You reign over all. In Your hand is power and might; in Your hand it is to make great and to give strength to all.” (1 Chronicles 29:12 NKJV)

Well, I think part of the answer as to why we don’t accept the promises of God is because we see our circumstances from our own eyes and our own strength and not from God’s point of view. That is a fatal flaw. God sees the bigger picture and possesses all the strength needed to deliver us, to sustain us, to lift us above our burden, to love us, to provide everything we need and to conquer what holds us down.

When we go to the Lord in prayer for whatever we need, how do we approach it? Do we ask God for help if He sees our need as important? Yikes! Or do we seek God because we believe that God is above all things and is our All in All. When the bible says to humbly seek the Lord, “Lord, You have heard the desire of the humble; You will prepare their heart; You will cause Your ear to hear” (Psalm 10:17 NKJV) it doesn’t mean we go to God without confidence and belief that God is able. Scripture says so much about this:

“Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need.” (Hebrews 4:16 NKJV)

“And God is able to make all grace abound toward you, that you, always having all sufficiency in all things, may have an abundance for every good work.” (2 Corinthians 9:8 NKJV)

“Therefore He is also able to save to the uttermost those who come to God through Him, since He always lives to make intercession for them.” (Hebrews 7:25 NKJV)

“Now to Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us” (Ephesians 3:20 NKJV)

Friend, what is it that you need God to do? What is it you need God to accomplish? God is your Jehovah Jireh, the Lord who provides. I know some things to be the truth. God and His Holy Word is the truth. The power of the Holy Spirit to guide and direct us and to lead us into all understanding is the truth. And that Jesus Christ loves you with an everlasting love and died for you so that you could have eternal life is the truth. If you don’t have complete understanding of the truth, the power of God and the love of Jesus I talk about above than I might be able to help you with these questions. My family seems to be breaking apart, can you help me? No I can’t but I know a man who can. I’ve lost my job and I don’t know what to do. Can you help me? No, but I know a man who can. My kids seems so distant to me. Can you help me restore our relationship? No, but I know a man who can. I’m so sick. My doctor’s seem to think all is lost. Can you give me something to get well? No, but I know a man who can. I feel I don’t belong. I feel no one loves me. Can you change my circumstances? No, but I know a man who can. I call Him Jesus.

Dear Lord, thank You that You will supply all of our needs according to Your riches. Thank You that we can put our complete trust in Your glorious abundance. Thank You for Your everlasting love and provision. You are our Jehovah Jireh, the Lord who provides. Lord forgive our wicked ways. Lord we believe that You died for us and rose from the grave to defeat our sin and death and give us eternal life. Come into our lives Lord and be our Lord and Savior. May we rest in Your provision and care in Jesus Name. AMEN.

Don’t believe me, believe God!

Psalm 90:17 NKJV – Your presence is all we need

And let the beauty of the Lord our God be upon us, and establish the work of our hands for us; yes, establish the work of our hands.

The beauty of the Lord encompasses so many things. He is glorious. He is matchless. He is wonderful. He is all loving. He is Almighty. In the midst of life, in wilderness or not, it’s the blessing of God’s own presence which gives meaning and joy. When we are wandering in the wilderness of life, we may not leave any monuments or boast to any of our own accomplishments, but God will give eternal significance to the deeds of hands that serve Him. It is God that establishes the work of our hands. It is God who receives the glory.

There are times when we just “keep on keepin on” because we are called by God to live out His will in our lives. We press in when it gets tough. We labor in the face of discouragement. We endure the hardships. The reason? It’s all about Jesus. God gave His all for us. “But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” (Romans 5:8 NKJV) Now we give our all for Him.

An essential part in the life of believers is more than a matter of external observance. It’s more than a matter of what other people will observe, but it’s a total commitment to God. We serve because He served. We love because He is love. We give because He gave. We submit because He submitted. We press in toward the goal because He established our prize. We give our all because He is our all in all. And if others see our service as being different, or see us as “peculiar”, than glory to God. Pleasing God involves inward attitudes, not simply external observance. “For the kingdom of God is not eating and drinking, but righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit. For he who serves Christ in these things is acceptable to God and approved by men.” (Romans 14:17-18 NKJV)

The beauty of all of this comes from the eternal and everlasting desire for God to spend eternity with His creation. His desire to be with us has never changed. His gift to us, Jesus, opened the gateway to God’s presence. Jesus Christ is the way to engage God’s Holy presence. Jesus Christ is the way to eternal life. Jesus Christ was given to us because God loved us first. “There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves torment. But he who fears has not been made perfect in love. We love Him because He first loved us.” (1 John 4:18-19 NKJV) And when we accept Jesus Christ into our lives, God continues with His promise to establish the work of our hands.

No matter what we may face, no matter what circumstances we find ourselves in, no matter the time or the day, no matter how severe our situation is, as believers, God will establish the work of our hands. “For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.” (Ephesians 2:10 NKJV) And if we keep our eyes on God and if what we accomplish by the hand of God touches someone else’s life, than Praise God!

Friend, join me today in prayer, thanking God for His work in us. Thank God that He prepared beforehand the good works we would do. Thank God that He establishes our way for His purpose and His glory. And thank God for giving us His Son, Jesus, as our gateway to His glory.

Precious and eternal God. Thank You that since the beginning of time You desired to spend eternity with Your creation. Thank You that You establish the work of our hands. Keep us Lord as we serve You. Strengthen us with Your mighty hand. Restore us Lord when we become weary. Thank You God that You gave Your all for us, Your Son Jesus, so that we can receive Your greatest gift. May all we say and do give glory to Your name. In Jesus Name. AMEN.

Don’t believe me, believe God!