Going for “All” God Has

Seek Gid with ALL Your Heart and He Will be Found

Seek Gid with ALL Your Heart and He Will be Found

As I attended a new prayer meeting last week, I opted to listen before speaking. I could tell their hearts were quite sincere. These people had taken valuable time out of their lives to intercede for other people.  Praying in their midst proved to be a blessing.

One term kept coming up in their prayers repeatedly.  It was the word, “just” in their requests to God.  “Lord could you just heal the person and let them get through their chemotherapy appointments.”  I listened at a literal level and found myself wanting to interject, “No Lord, don’t ‘just’ get them through chemotherapy; I ask that you heal them completely.”  I figure the Lord will do what He wants with the request. I believe in asking for big things since we serve a big God.  He can answer as He pleases.

I notice that I add the “just” word to my sentences when I’m asking for something I’m not sure is possible.  It’s often a limitation of my faith level.  When I catch myself interjecting this word to a prayer request, I stop and restate the sentence taking out the word “just.”  When I think about it, I want “all” that God wants to do.  I may need to stretch my faith to believe for bigger things.  I may not really think it all too possible that someone will get healed.  Nonetheless, I focus on the goodness and the bigness of my God, and make my request.

Toastmasters has a tradition of adding a quarter to a small pot in the middle of the table every time the speaker has an “a” or “um” in their speeches.  One may start with 11-15 “um’s” in their speech (owing $2.75 to $3.75 to the pot), but they quickly get it down to zero.  What if we had a pot in the middle of the table at the next prayer meeting for every time the word “just” was used?  It might make all of us stop using it subconsciously and consciously choose to ask God for all that He wants to do with our requests.


Going From Rout to Route

We call on God to Rout our Enemies along the Route of Life

We call on God to Rout our Enemies along the Route of Life

When it comes to warfare prayers, Psalm 18 beautifully articulate the feelings of David calling on God to be His rock and fortress and deliverer.  Substituting my name in challenging circumstances and this Psalm read out loud make me feel better.  With regard to our enemies, verses 16-18 read, “He sent out His arrows and scattered the foe, lightnings in abundance, and He vanquished them.  He sent from above, He took me; He drew me out of many waters.  He delivered me from my strong enemy.  From those who hated me, for they were too strong for me. They confronted me in the day of my calamity, but the Lord was my support.  He also brought me out  into a broad place; He delivered me because He delighted in me.”

For verse 14, the New American Standard Bible translates, “He sent out His arrows and scattered them, and lightning flashes in abundance, and routed them.”  The footnote notes that “routed” literally means “confused.”  I find this an interesting strategy point. I have heard many prayer warriors ask God to confuse their enemies. Maybe they are referencing Psalm 18.

After a “routing” of our enemies, it is often time to get back on track and continue on our life’s journey.  By adding an “e” to rout, the new word is route.  Life is a journey along a path that can be called our route. All routes contain obstacles.  Like David does in Psalm 18, we can call upon God to rout our enemies, confuse them, and scatter them.  Then we continue on in the life course God has for us.  “The Lord will accomplish what concerns me; Thy lovingkindness, O Lord, is everlasting; Do not forsake the works of Thy hands.”  Psalm 138:8


Rebekah’s Giving – Doing the Math

Rebekah's offer of water for multiple camels took hours to fulfill.  The rewards were huge.  Photo by GraceClovis.org

Rebekah offer of water for multiple camels took hours to fulfill. The rewards were huge. Photo by GraceClovis.org

Genesis 24 tells the story of Rebekah standing by a well in a small town when a stranger approached and asked for a drink.  She said yes. Verse 19 continues, “And when she had finished giving him a drink, she said, “I will draw water for your camels also, until they have finished drinking.” Let’s look at the math of her offer. One camel can drink twenty gallons, so ten can consume two hundred gallons. Two hundred gallons drawn with a five-gallon jar, equals forty trips back and forth to the well. Forty trips at three minutes each, equals two hours of hard work – for a stranger. Think about it: Rebekah showed uncommon kindness to a stranger, and became the bride of Isaac and an heir to Abraham’s fortune.

Rebekah must have good shape to be able to draw from a well and pour that kind of water, possibly in hot temperatures. She also offered more than the minimum. She didn’t have a “What’s the least I have to do here?” mentality. She had the gift of hospitality and went to great lengths to extend this effort.

The Biblical principle is that we determine the level of which we receive by the level at which we give. “Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap.  For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.” Luke 6:38 NIV.

For Rebekah’s hospitable efforts, her loved ones got blessed too. After Abraham’s servant revealed who he was, he brought out gold and garments and gave them to Rebekah. Then he added gave precious gifts for her family. The rewards of our generosity often overflow and touch the lives of those around us.


The New Year 2015 Comes with a Call to Prayer

Prayer and Fasting has powerful results

Prayer and Fasting has powerful results

Everywhere I turn, churches and ministries and pastors are pleading with their congregations to pray as this New Year commences.  Some are praying for their personal welfare and families.  Some are praying for their states and the nation.  It is a time to acknowledge the ways of the world that don’t line up with God’s ways.  Many people point to the moral decay in the land.  We have movies and television shows promoting lies, revenge, sexual promiscuity, cheating on one’s marital partner, murder and greed.  Coming from many angles, the entertainment industry offers a diet of human desires and lusts suggesting that these things are normal under certain conditions.  Truly, that is not what God teaches in the Bible.

God wants his people to pray and humble themselves and turn from their wicked ways. The mere suggestion seems so out of day and un-fun. If we do these things, God promises to hear our prayers and forgive the sins of the land and heal the land.  This promise is found in 2 Chronicles 7:14.  Without the diligent prayer of His people, society is headed toward bleak consequences of destruction.  God takes note of the condition of the hearts of man, of people’s choice for violence and the collective sins of the people. He is a God of love and justice.  Love and justice are two sides of the same coin.  Jeremiah tells us that it is out of His lovingkindness that he brings justice to a people so they can seek righteousness once again.    Jeremiah 9:23-24.

This New Year rings in with a somber note.  Coming from so many echoes, the call to prayer carries urgency with it.  Join the ones that love God with your own prayers for what you would like God to do in this nation.

Many people add fasting to this call for prayer.  It becomes a prayer and fasting time.  Whether we give something up or take something on for 7 or 21 or 40 days, fasting gets noticed in the heavenlies.  Read more about fasting here.


God’s Christmas Presents – Part 7

Jesus is God's Christmas Present to Everyone

Jesus is God’s Christmas Present to Everyone

Advanced Gifts Options 1 Corinthians 12:8-10 “For to one is given the word of wisdom through the Spirit, to another the word of knowledge through the same Spirit, to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healings by the same Spirit, to another the working of miracles, to another prophecy, to another discerning of spirits, to another different kinds of tongues, to another the interpretation of tongues.”  Ask for MORE.  There are gifts available to us just for the asking.  Ask, seek and knock if you want any of these gifts.  It could be the best part of Christmas so far!

Treasures in Darkness  Isaiah 45:3  “And I will give you the treasures of darkness and hidden riches of secret places, that you may know that it is I, the Lord, the God of Israel, Who call you by your name.”  Have you ever noticed that we learn the most precious lessons during our darkest times?  Isn’t it interesting that God can give us something good and lasting out of adverse circumstances?  It can be hard to praise God during trilas.  But we we can do this, the lessons we learn, the closeness we experience with God becomes turning points in our lives.  Our test do become testimonies.  Only God can turn our dark places into treasure troves.

Forgiveness of Sins I John 1:9 “If we confess our sins, God is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and cleanse us from al unrighteousness”  This amazing promise holds true for every sin we have every done and confess.  This gift comes at the cost of Jesus’s life.  It is no light thing.  For those who grasp it and receive it and appropriate forgiveness, it opens up a whole new way of living.

See more on God’s Christmas Presents from the beginning:  God’s Christmas Presents Part 1

Check out some of God’s other Christmas Presents:  God’s Christmas Presents Part 6


God’s Christmas Presents – Part 6

God Gives the Best Christmas Presents:  Hope, Joy, Peace, and Unconditional Love

God Gives the Best Christmas Presents: Hope, Joy, Peace, and Unconditional Love

Responsibility for Our Gifts 1 Peter 4:10  “As each one has received a gift, m minister it to one another, as good stewards of the manifold grace of God.” God calls us to be good stewards of our gifts.  God’s gifts are not to be buried.  My Dad and his brother are artists.  They can draw something on the back of a napkin that explains some engineering feat.  Dad can draw animals and nature, and Uncle Don can draw people and clothing lines.  They may do it as part of a discussion over coffee.  I have given them both charcoal pencils, paints, water colors, art pads, and begged them to draw me something I could frame.  Neither one of them think their artistic gift is worthy enough of taking the time to develop it.  Every  Christmas I pull out a piece of bark from a tree in New Hampshire that my Dad wrote out a verse John 14:27 in a red pen.  In green ink, he wrote Merry Christmas, and drew a big holly plant with red berries. The Holly plant is perfectly designed and shaped for the piece of bark.  I cherish this every Christmas because of the design and the natural materials used.  It’s a unique Christmas touch that helps decorate the house. It’s not much, but drawing is a gift, and I appreciate it.  I know they will both have easels waiting for them in their houses in heaven.  Then they will have “the time.”

Gifts of Healings 1 Corinthians 12:7-9 “But he manifestation of the Spirit is given to each one for the profit of all:  to another gifts of healings by the same Spirit.”  This gift is plural.  It’s not just one gift of healing, it’s multiple gifts of healings.  Healing miracles happen all the time.  Listen to people’s stories and you’ll hear things that amaze you.  Some churches have entire services dedicated to healing people’s stories (sometimes called testimonies) because it builds up the faith of those listening to the stories.  If you haven’t tried healing, take a class from a local Healing Rooms (www.healingrooms.com) Practice this gift in a safe place and see what happens.  It could bey our biggest gift and you don’t even know how to implement it.  Pray and see what God tells your heart.  It’s an amazing privilege to pray and then have a front row seat as God heals people.

See more on God’s Christmas Presents:  God’s Christmas Presents Part 7

Check out some of God’s other Christmas Presents:  God’s Christmas Presents Part 5


God’s Christmas Presents – Part 5

 

Jesus is God's Christmas Present to Everyone

Jesus is God’s Christmas Present to Everyone

In Part 5, we continue to look at gifts from God outlined in scripture.

Gifts Package Options  Jesus tells us in John 16:7 “Nevertheless I tell you the truth. It is to your advantage that I go away; for if I do not go away, the Helper will not come to you; but if I depart, I will send Him to you.”  Jesus was talking about the Holy Spirit, who is our Helper.  Having the Holy Spirit come to us and take residency in us is a huge gift!  He brings with Him the fruit of the Spirit.  Galatians compares the gifts of Satan with the gifts of the Spirit.  The enemy brings, adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lewdness, idolatry, sorcery, hatred, contentions, jealousies, outbursts of wrath, selfish ambitions, dissensions, heresies, envy murders, drunkenness, revelries, and the like.”  Gal 5:19-21.  Lots of people choose these gifts.  The Spirits brings love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control.  Gal 5:22-23.  Gal 5:25 reads, “If we live I the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit.”  There are two gift sets.  Let us choose the Holy Spirit package and develop them.  The gifts of the spirit benefit us.  As we steward the gifts and develop them, they benefit those around us giving God glory as the fruits of the Holy Spirit become evident.

As we fill up on the Holy Spirit’s fruits,  we fill to the point of flowing out.  Let us continually seek to fill to the point of becoming ministers of God’s gifts to those around us by being His hands and feet.  May we give out God’s gifts this Christmas season and throughout the year.

See more on God’s Christmas Presents:  God’s Christmas Presents Part 6

Check out some of God’s other Christmas Presents:  God’s Christmas Presents Part 4


God’s Christmas Presents – Part 4

God Gives the Best Christmas Presents:  Hope, Joy, Peace, and Unconditional Love

God Gives the Best Christmas Presents: Hope, Joy, Peace, and Unconditional Love

This is Part 4 in a series looking at Christmas gifts from God

Every Good Gift is from Above James 1:17  “Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and comes down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow of turning.”  Every good gift is from above.  Well, now I know who to thank. Our Father is the giver of every perfect gift.  Let us develop the practice of giving thanks as we partake of these good gifts.

No Shortage of Gifts in Community 1 Corinthians 1:4-9  “I thank my God always concerning you for the grace of God which was given to you by Christ Jesus,5 that you were enriched in everything by Him in all utterance and all knowledge, 6 even as the testimony of Christ was confirmed in you, 7 so that you come short in no gift, eagerly waiting for the revelation of our Lord Jesus Christ, 8 who will also confirm you to the end, that you may be blameless in the day of our Lord Jesus Christ. 9 God is faithful, by whom you were called into the fellowship of His Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.”   Beyond being a classic example of Paul’s lengthy sentence structure, this very is about spiritual gifts in the church.  A church needs all of the gifts that God has put in people to work together in unity.  Most of the time, God followers are not designed to be islands and do God projects solo.  We are designed to work in community as the Body of Christ.  Everything has something to contribute and to share.  We grow working with one another.  So many sappy movies at Christmas time highlight the way that communities can come together when their hearts are softened at Christmas to do the Christmas play, or help someone in need. It’s the simple truth in these movies that make us cry when we see it come together.  When we seem short on a needed gift, ask God.  He has many ways of answering the prayer for help. I find the more specific we are, the more we realize it was God who heard and answered the specific prayer request.

See more on God’s Christmas Presents:  God’s Christmas Presents Part 5

Check out some of God’s other Christmas Presents:  God’s Christmas Presents Part 3


God’s Christmas Presents – Part 3

Jesus is God's Christmas Present to Everyone

Jesus is God’s Christmas Present to Everyone

We continue to look at gifts from God outlined in scripture.

God’s Gift of Jesus  John 3:16 “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believes in Him shall not perish but have everlasting life.”

I am a “whosoever.”  Are you?  “Whosoever believes in Jesus shall not perish, but have everlasting life.”  What a promise.  What an amazing condition. Believing in Jesus is no light matter.  It’s a life changing decision.  Believing in any religion is life changing and life shaping.  God gave Jesus to the world so He could reunite with us humans forever.  That makes me feel very loved.  We have the assurance that we will be with God forever.  The assurance comes as an extra gift.  We might have had earned this everlasting life with God by believing in Jesus.  This verse assures it.  Thank you God.

God Is With Us  Hebrews 13:5,6 “…for He [God] Himself has said, I will not in any way fail you nor give you up nor leave you without support. [I will] not, [I will] not, [I will] not in any degree leave you helpless nor forsake nor let [you] down (relax My hold on you)! [Assuredly not!]  So we take comfort and are encouraged and confidently and boldly say, The Lord is my Helper; I will not be seized with alarm [I will not fear or dread or be terrified]. What can man do to me?”  This passage is rather long in the Amplified, but it is so reassuring that God is with us.  Isaiah had prophesied this thousands of years earlier when he wrote in Isaiah 7:14, “Therefore the Lord Himself shall give you a sign: Behold, the young woman who is unmarried and a virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel [God with us.]”  Having God with us in every situation we face means we are not alone- ever.  Having God with us means we have access to divine counsel for every decision we make. Having God with us means we have His comfort for every disappointment life brings.  Having God with us means we are in relationship with the divine creator of the universe.

See more on God’s Christmas Presents:  God’s Christmas Presents Part 4

Check out some of God’s other Christmas Presents:  God’s Christmas Presents Part 2


God’s Christmas Presents – Part 2

God Gives the Best Christmas Presents:  Hope, Joy, Peace, and Unconditional Love

God Gives the Best Christmas Presents: Hope, Joy, Peace, and Unconditional Love

We continue to look at gifts from God outlined in scripture.

God’s Gifts Include Eating, Drinking and Enjoying our Work  Ecclesiastes 3:13  “…also that every man should eat and drink and enjoy the good of all his labor—it is the gift of God.”  Eating and drinking is a gift from God for every person.  It makes sense to ask for this gift for people who can not eat and drink well for various reasons.  It is designed by God as a gift.  It is also the gift of God that a man should enjoy his labor.  This also is something we can ask God to fulfill as his purpose for man.  It was given to mankind as a gift.

Every Person Gets a Gift 1 Corinthians 7:7  “But each one has his own gift from God, one in this manner and another in that.”  Every person has gifts from God.  Many times they are designed to be used in community.  Paul is describing that each person is unique.  This verse is a great antidote to jealousy.  Let us not waste time being jealous of someone’s talents and gift.  It is for us to discover what we have been given, and develop them so we can use them to give glory to God.  A composer needs musical instruments to make his work come alive.  A choir director needs multiple voices of a choir to bring forth sound.  Within a choir there needs to be tenors, altos, sopranos and baritones.

Stir Up the Gifts of God 2 Timothy 1:6  “Therefore I remind you to stir up the gift of God which is in you through the laying on of hands.” People who seriously want to know God’s will for their lives seek out prayer. We see this in the Healing Rooms when people come to ask God’s help and direction in their job searches.  We see this in churches when people humble themselves to come forward and receive prayer at the end of service for whatever is going on in their lives.  Sometimes only after trying everything else, we see people come for prayer about their physical ailments.  God hears every one of these prayers.  He also loves it when healthy people seek prayer through the laying on of hands to stir up the gifts of God in them to fulfill the calling of God for their lives.

See more on God’s Christmas Presents:  God’s Christmas Presents Part 3

Check out some of God’s other Christmas Presents:  God’s Christmas Presents Part 1