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April 10, 2017, 5:00 AM

Pray without ceasing, Oh Boy!

Does the term pray without ceasing intimidate you?  Do you feel defeated even before you’ve begun?  You are definitely not alone in this one.  I have always been a little (a lot), intimidated by the challenge of “praying without ceasing.  I find those challenge people are always giving about praying for this amount of time and on this hour very difficult for me.  So I decided to look up the word “ceasing” in the original Greek text and found that it meant “ongoing communication without intermission.” Now don’t let that make you feel defeated. Let me explain, I believe that we can have ongoing communication with God if we truly realize with communication means.

“Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.” 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18


For me communication just starts with talking.  I don’t know about you, but I am always talking to God.  Do you know that we can talk to God just like we talk to anyone else?  You know, there’s always a time and a place for formal prayer. I don’t know about you, but I cannot get through a day without just talking to God just to talk to Him, and you know what He blesses that just as much as He blesses formal prayer.  I can’t tell you how many times I’m sitting outside or in my car or where ever and I just have something on my heart and I’m like:  “You know Lord, I really appreciate this beautiful day.”  Listen, I don’t walk around all day saying:  “My gracious Heavenly Father, how I thank Thee for what Thou is doing, Oh that Thouist wouldist…”  I honestly think if I went around talking to God like that He’d probably in return be like:  “What are you doing?  Why are you talking to me like that?  Don’t you know how ridiculous you sound?”


Now listen, I’m not making fun of the way people pray, and if that’s on your heart to pray that way that’s awesome.  Can I ask you a question?  Would you walk around talking to your dad like most people pray?  I don’t talk my dad like that, so why in the world would I talk to my Heavenly Father like that?  I can assure you that I’ve gotten more out of my informal chats with God than I’ve gotten when I do the formal praying like we hear in churches and everywhere else. 


No, like I said.  Sometimes, I will just start talking, and I know that God knows I’m talking to Him.  That’s what Paul means to pray without ceasing…it doesn’t mean I going to pray 24 hours a day 7 days a week.  It just means I gonna talk to God.  I gonna talk to Him about things that bugging me and about things that make making me happy.  I’m gonna talk to Him about how my day is going and ask Him how His is going.  We all know that prayer is talking to God, so just talk to Him.  Think about it this way, if we just talked to our friends whenever we felt like it they would probably start to get the feeling that we really don’t care about them, and don’t want to talk to them.  God’s no different.  He wants us to talk to Him.  He wants us to put down our fake religious praying and just talk to Him like we’d talk to anyone else.


I believe that sometimes the reason people don’t get their prayers answered is because they approach Him in a way that’s fake and inauthentic, and He’s not impressed by that.  Believe me, He’ll let you know when it’s time to get into your prayer closet, and really sincerely seek Him and pray like we do at church.  But friend, what I believe God wants is for us to be real with Him.  So be real, be yourself, be authentic, and I promise you that God’s not going to throw fire down from Heaven to consume you.  He’s going to honor that because you’re being open, honest, and vulnerable to Him. God’s blessed more by you coming to Him as you are, than coming to Him the way you think He wants you to approach Him.  He wants you to approach Him like He’s your Father, your Friend, and anyone else you’d talk to because that what is meant by “praying without ceasing”.


This is my prayer: God I ask You to help me to be more real and authentic with You.  Lord teach me to just talk to You, like we would anyone else.  Jesus show me how to communicate with God like you did.  God help me to be real, open, and honest and just spend my day talking to You.  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

April 9, 2017, 5:00 AM

Can you imagine what would’ve happened if the guys at Jericho would’ve been like us? 

Have you grown weary in an area of your life? Do you feel like you have stayed the course and nothing has changed? What amazes me about the story of the Fall of Jericho is that the people kept going.  Can you imagine what would’ve happened if these guys would’ve been like us?  Shoot if we have to admit that most of us wouldn’t have even lasted twelve hours into the march as we’d have thought that because twelve hours had passed that God wasn’t really ready to move on our behalf and probably somewhere in the middle of that we’d start thinking that maybe we didn’t really receive a Word from God, we heard wrong or imagined it.


”So let’s not get tired of doing what is good. At just the right time we will reap a harvest of blessing if we don’t give up. “Galatians 6:9

The problem in today’s microwave society is if God doesn’t instantly do something we decide that maybe it really wasn’t God’s Word after all, and since God didn’t answer or operate on our time frame He’s not going to.  We even say spiritual stuff like “it must not have been the right timing”.  No friend it was the right timing, but we grew weary in waiting upon the Lord and therefore our impatience caused us to lose out on the blessing God had for us.

In Jericho after the first day of marching, the Bible doesn't say there were any noticeable cracks in the walls or shifts in the foundation. In fact, it's highly likely that the people who resided inside those walls didn't feel any different. Yet, the Israelites marched.   The residents of Jericho probably thought that the Israelites looked ridiculous. I imagine there might have even been some "nanny, nanny boo-boo, stick your head in doo-doo" sayings thrown out. Yet, they marched.  I figure quite a number of them wondered if Joshua was a lunatic. Wondering how in the world marching could make some walls fall down had to be a lingering question in their minds. Yet, they marched.


This is where a lot of us give up.  When the people around us see us believing God for something, but what we’re believing God for hasn’t happened yet. People begin to say things like:  “Why don’t you just give up on this waiting on God stuff it doesn’t work.”  When that happens we start to doubt ourselves.  I have most definitely been in these shoes.  I know exactly what happened to me, and I can be real enough with you all to admit that I have came up short in waiting upon God a time or two.


I wonder what it was like to be there with them as the walls of Jericho came crashing down at the end of that seventh day.  I can imagine the faith that sprung up in the hearts of all that were there.  They endured ridicule and all the lies that satan could throw at them.  They marched no matter what, and God showed off.  You know every time I find myself in a place like this my first thought is to give praise and glory to God for bringing to pass what He spoke into my life, but shortly thereafter is the thought of what it would be like if I would trust God in everything the way I did during these the times.  If He can bring down the walls of a city for the Israelites, He can do the same for your lives.  But the key is that when you and I get that Word from God, we march on until those walls fall.

This is my Prayer:  Father, I pray that in the midst of marching around my walls of Jericho.  God help me overcome my weariness and the wondering of if You’re really going do to what You spoke to my heart that You would do.  Lord I pray that You would renew my  strength, guiding me, and directing my path.  Jesus I trust that You’re in control.  Lord I ask when I do grow weary that You would remind me of what You spoke to me, help me to hear Your voice, and show me how to march on.  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

April 8, 2017, 5:00 AM

Have you screwed up so badly that you think you are not qualified to be a witness for Christ?

Have you screwed up so badly that you think you are not qualified to be a witness for Christ? Are you hiding in a corner hoping that no one will remember what you've done?  You’re not alone, I’ve screwed up in life so badly that people still cannot reconcile who I am today because of Jesus, and who I was. The good news in my life is that Jesus gave up everything He had so that I could have a right relationship with God, and then He worked patiently upon me to get me to a place where I began to understand who I was as a result of what He did. For about 10 years I ran from it because I couldn’t stop seeing myself through the world’s eyes.  Growth in my life came from stepping out and believing in the person that God sees instead of the person I see.


If anyone should have been disqualified from being a witness for Christ, it was Peter. He walked with Christ, ate with Christ, followed Christ, and left his family for Christ. He told his Lord that he'd be with him till the end.  He was even willing to fight for Him, slicing the ear from a guard showing his undying loyalty to the King of Kings.   But all that change when he was asked if he knew this Jesus character. And to that he replied, "I do not know or understand what you are talking about." Not once, not twice, but three times.  The second crow of the rooster was heard and Peter broke down and wept.


Peter could have forsaken all that he knew and experienced with Jesus. Instead, he chose to deal with his failure, shake the dust off his sandals and press on to share the amazing love of the Son of God to the world. For this, I am so grateful.  Peter story is one that really hits me in the heart.  The very reason it took me ten years to respond to the call of God on my life is because I felt unqualified to do what it is I’m doing today.  I couldn’t stop looking at my past failures, at the old me, at the old creation and as long as I kept looking back at those things it kept me from feeling qualified. 


I have good news for you to, God doesn’t call the qualified He qualifies the called.  While there will still be consequences to the sin you once allowed to entangle you, it does not have to keep you strangled from here on out. You can repent of your sin, receive God’s forgiveness, and proclaim God's faithfulness for the rest of your days.  We are still gonna stumble, fail from time to time, and miss God on a regular basis, but none of that disqualifies us from serving Him, none of that disqualifies us from His grace, and therefore it gives us the ability to know that no matter what we may think or feel it’s about what He has said in His Word.

“Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.” 2 Corinthians 5:17


This is my Prayer:  God please renew me from the inside out. Help me Lord to see past the experiences of my past that still hold me in shame.  Jesus show me how to remove the feelings of shame and uselessness, and replace it with a peace and joy I find in You.   Lord help me to see myself through Your eyes, so that I can share Your amazing love with those that need to hear it.  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

April 7, 2017, 5:00 AM

Is your faith strong enough to surrender it all?

Is your faith strong enough to surrender it all?  You know the faith that Abraham had was legendary, and thanks to his faith I’m an heir to the promises that God made him.  However, I believe one of the things that impresses me about the life of Abraham is his level of surrender.  It took a lot of faith to surrender his identity and walk around all that time with everyone knowing you as Abram but enduring all the ridicule to introduce himself to people as Abraham “the father of many nations”, especially since he didn’t even have one child yet.


Anyone other than me feel like they may not have been as successful with that as Abraham was?  Seriously.  Year after year went by no kids and eventually the one that I did have was the one that wasn’t ordained by God for me to have.  Day after day, week after week, month after month, and year after year goes by.  “Hi.  I’m Abraham the father of many nations”. Abraham was 100 and Sarah was 90 when Isaac was born. To say they were old is just being nice. Yet despite all of the odds that were against Abraham, Scripture says he did not waver and was fully convinced that God would do what he promised.


He did not waver at the promise of God through unbelief, but was strengthened in faith, giving glory to God, and being fully convinced that what He had promised He was also able to perform. And therefore “it was accounted to him for righteousness.” Romans 4:20-22


There are certainly times in my life that I have waivered.  Over the last couple of years I’ve learned to trust God more, but there are still times where I am tempted to get into fear, doubt, and worry. I make mistakes on a daily basis.  I have times where I doubt God.  I have times where I disobey God.  There are times I let a lot of me gets in God’s way.  Although there’s a much more peaceful and restful feeling in my life today, not because of anything other than the fact that I’ve begun to be convinced that God is in control and that He keeps His promises.


Abraham believed and it was credited to him as righteousness. He was absolutely certain that God would do as He said He would and He did.  "What about Hagar and Ishmael?" you might ask. Good question. I don’t know, but the Scripture says he did not waver, he continued to believe God even though he made the wrong choice by trying to help God. What I learn from Abraham is that no matter how bad you mess up, God still keeps His promises.  Friends I long to have the kind of faith it takes to be fully convinced that God’s always going to cause everything to work out for good.  I certainly want my life to be more surrendered to the Lord than it is.  Where are you lacking faith? Where is God calling you to step out in faith and trust Him?

This my Prayer:  God I trust You with all my heart.  I may not always display that trust, and I may sometimes find myself having doubts but the truth is You’ve come through in my life time and again, and I trust that You always will.  Lord show me how my life can bring You glory, honor, and worship. Help me Lord to surrender more of myself to You.  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

April 6, 2017, 5:00 AM

Do know what God’s will is for you, and what he is telling you to do? 

Do know what God’s will is for you, and what he is telling you to do?  When I was a child, I couldn’t wait to be a teenager. When I was a teenager, I couldn’t wait to go to college. When I was in college, I couldn’t wait to get out in the world.  If I am being completely honest then I have to admit that I have certainly wished and day-dreamed many a day away.  I’ve spent plenty of time not really appreciating what I had, and wanting more or better or what I perceived to be better than what I had.  I’ve spent plenty of time complaining about the difficulties of life especially about the area that seemed not to going according to my plans.  Oftentimes I have done my griping, while becoming discouraged and angry; wondering what God’s will was for me.  


“Look here, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we are going to a certain town and will stay there a year. We will do business there and make a profit.”  How do you know what your life will be like tomorrow? Your life is like the morning fog—it’s here a little while, then it’s gone.  What you ought to say is, “If the Lord wants us to, we will live and do this or that.”  Otherwise you are boasting about your own plans, and all such boasting is evil. Remember, it is sin to know what you ought to do and then not do it.”  James 4:13-17


It tells us in these verses “Remember, it is sin to know what you ought to do and then not do it”.  Many times in my life I have known what God’s will for me was, I knew what God was telling me to do, and choose to deny it and go my own way.  These times always led to pain, anguish, and disappointment.  They led me further away from where God wanted me.   It was only when I returned to God and followed His lead that I had peace and joy, no matter how hard the situation was, because I knew I that He was with me. 


One of the greatest things I believe we can learn is to appreciate the blessings we have now.  Everyone is always talking about how we need to plan for tomorrow, and dream big and I think that some times that robs us of the ability to look at where we are right now.  Don’t allow the discouragement of regret to rob you of today’s blessing.  Press on and receive God’s grace over any regret you may have in your life and live today as a new day in Him. Enjoy every moment God has given you and every second you have with Him.   Most of all I encourage you to enjoy God, His plan, His purpose, His will, His salvation. God’s plan is for you to accept the saving grace of Jesus Christ, His purpose is reconcile you with God the Father but removing your sin, and His will is for you to deliver this message to the lost world around you by living it out and sharing His good news.  What are you waiting for?  Do know what God’s will for you is, and what he is telling you to do?  Go and enjoy doing it!


Prayer:  God what would You have me do.  Lord help me to let go of those days I wish I could go back to.   Help me to make the most of every day and more importantly show me how I can lay down more of myself so that you can use me more.  Jesus help me to continue to learn to be content with the things You’ve given me.   God show me how I can bring You glory and share Your message.  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Page 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 36 37 38 39 40 41 42 43 44 45 46 47 48 49 50 51 52 53 54 55 56 57 58   Entries 221-225 of 286