Monthly Archives: September 2016
Monthly Archives: September 2016
It’s been said, “if we really believed in prayer, we would pray a lot more.” Each time that I hear this I am convicted because I realize that there are times when I don’t pray because I am not fully convinced that praying will solve the problem. This thought is false because James 5:16 in the Message Version tells us that the prayer of a person living right with God is something powerful to be reckoned with. The New King James Version reads that the effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much.
We know that prayer is powerful but what kind of prayer? Do we need to pray out loud by verbalizing our prayers, or can we pray silently? I’ve been asked this question several times over the years and while I believe that we have the liberty to pray silently within ourselves, I have found that verbalizing prayer is more effective. Praying out loud increases our faith when we pray using scripture.
Romans 10:17 Then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God. Therefore, as we pray the word of God, our faith increases. It is entirely possible to pray without faith. We might pray something like, “Lord please help me, I really need your help right now. I know that You are able and that You are willing.” The words here are fine, yet it is more effective and it will build more faith to pray the scriptures out loud. Instead, we can pray “Lord I am asking You for help because You are my strength and my refuge and a very present help in times of trouble (Psalms 46:10) and You promised that You never leave me or forsake me so I say boldly that You are my Helper, I will not fear. What can man do to me? (Hebrews 13:5-6) Father God I know that You are faithful to help me because You perfect that which concerns me (Psalms 138:8) and I know that You will give me wisdom to handle this situation because in James 1:5 You said that I can ask for wisdom and You will give wisdom to me liberally.” When we pray the verses out loud we are building our faith because we are hearing the word of God.
There are many voices that influence us – our spouses, parents, friends, children, pastors, mentors, God, bosses etc. Of all these voices there is one voice that we believe the most, our own voice. Others may have great influence however it is our own voice that we hear most. What we say within ourselves, and what we say out loud shapes our lives. Proverbs 18:21 death and life are in the power of the tongue and those who love it shall eat it’s fruit. Praying and speaking the word of God releases life.
What we say aloud also reveals what is in our heart. Luke 6:45 A good man out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth good; and an evil man out of the evil treasure of his heart brings forth evil. For out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks. When we consciously listen to what we think and what say, we will hear faith or we will hear doubt, and we will also hear who we believe God is and what we believe God will do. Many times we hear doubt and we hear ourselves accusing God of failing us or not keeping His promises. This is another reason why praying aloud is critical.
When we pray the scripture out loud daily, we build our faith and begin to believe what we are saying. In doing so, our thoughts start to align with the word of God. Praying out loud makes it easier to recognize when our thoughts, beliefs, or words contradict the truth of God. When we recognize this misalignment we can cast down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ, according to 2 Corinthians 10:5. A preacher once said, “you don’t replace a thought with a thought. You replace a thought with a word.” We must verbally declare the word and/or pray when our thoughts are incorrect.
Growing up my parents always told me that I was smart. I honestly believe that I did well in school simply because I believed my parents. As I grew older and entered the workforce I encountered many situations that required me to learn new skills quickly. Years ago I was promoted to operations manager in a sales company, and I had to learn operations, sales, office management, and contract negation simultaneously. I was overwhelmed and then I began to pray Philippians 4:13 I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. I would pray this verse everyday and say it several times per day when needed. God answered this prayer by sending me co-workers who graciously trained me and helped me whenever needed.
Later I began managing two locations. Again, I was overwhelmed and consumed with fear of failure. I kept praying Philippians 4:13 and I also began praying Daniel 1:17 Lord I thank You that You have given me knowledge and skill in all literature and wisdom, and You have given me understanding in all visions and dreams. The funny part about this prayer is that when I first started praying this verse I was not concerned about understanding dreams and visions, but then I started thinking that it would be nice to understand dreams. For years I have prayed Daniel 1:17 and the Lord has faithfully helped me learn many new things, including interpreting dreams.
Job 22:28 instructs that we shall declare a thing, and it will be established for us; so light will shine on our ways. When pray the scripture out loud we are declaring. Likewise the Lord says in Isaiah 55:11 that His word that goes forth from His mouth, it shall not return to Him void, But it shall accomplish what He pleases, and it shall prosper in the thing for which He sent it. There is power in praying the word. In Romans 10:9 we see that we receive salvation by confessing with our mouth.
Dilemmas and conundrums will arise, and when they do we must choose to pray the word of God out loud despite peril or disillusionment. Last November my doctor told me that I could not get pregnant under any circumstances. I was 32 years old with no children. At that moment fear and sorrow consumed me. What if died before I could marry and have kids? What if no one wanted to marry because I could not have kids? Why was this happening to me? It was a horrible moment and I cried…until I remembered what God had promised me through the Bible and through prophetic words. I remembered that He promised me health, a husband, and children. I still had to make a decision though, and I needed to make it quickly. I chose to trust God and pray the word. I see my doctor regularly and follow her instructions as I pray and trust God for my health and my children. I have not had a baby yet. Even so, I continue to pray the word aloud and declare life to my body because I know that the Father will fulfill His word and His promises to me.
In Genesis God speaks the world into existence. We are made in His image, and He also gave us the ability to speak life and change into existence. We speak life and change into existence by praying the word of God out loud.
Through it all I have learned to trust in Jesus. Even so, adversity comes, and we and usually to find ways to avoid opposition. Our search for an easy life is nearly impossible, and this searching masks our need for Jesus. Instead of avoiding adversity we can allow Christ work in us as we walk through it.
As the Lord directs our steps, He teaches us about Himself and we become more like Him. He empowers us to live on a supernatural level by depending on Him. When we are weak, we can encounter His strength. As we trust in Him we begin to understand that His yoke is easy, and His burden is light. We will face situations that are literally beyond our ability to handle on our own. The reality of our inadequacy is not something we should try to avoid. We can’t. When we face our inadequacy and weakness, this is the perfect place to encounter God’s glory and power! Because at those moments, we know He is moving on our behalf.
Watch Him working on your behalf, as you rest in the shadow of His almighty presence! Psalm 91:1 says: “He who dwells in the secret place of the Most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty.” We take refuge in His shadow when we abide in His secret place. He towers over our problems, and is strong comfort in our sorrow.
In the busiest of times, issues whirl around me so quickly they become a blur. I quietly whisper His name recognizing He is still with me, all while maintaining my activities. I find strength and peace through praying His name. Later, when the issues that I faced have run their course, I talk with Him in depth. I show Him gratitude for bringing me through and express my thankfulness for all He’s done.
Let’s learn to accept each day as it comes and not to waste time and energy on wishing for a different set of circumstances. Instead, let’s trust Him enough to yield to His design and purposes. Remember, nothing can separate us from His loving presence. Say daily: “I am His and He is mine.” Rejoice with heaven. Revelation 19:1 says: “After these things I heard a loud voice of a great multitude in heaven, saying, “Alleluia! Salvation and glory and honor and power belong to the Lord our God!”
It will be worth it all!
When the Woman saw that the tree looked like good eating and realized what she would get out of it—she’d know everything!—she took and ate the fruit and then gave some to her husband, and he ate. Genesis 2:6 Message Bible
Eve woke up every morning in total bliss. She was with the man that God had custom designed for her, surrounded by beauty with so many choices of fruits and smells and then visited by God daily. Who could ask for more? Who wouldn’t love to wake up every morning surrounded by a beautiful garden, with the perfect man and walks with God? Yet, it would only take one conversation to change her world.
Sometimes you don’t know you are missing something until someone tells you. Growing up our dad worked for General Motors and made a decent salary but with 8 kids it didn’t always show. We all had chores, shared clothes, bedrooms and one bathroom. One day I went to a friend’s house and it was beautiful and grand. She had two closets full of clothes, a dishwasher, her own bathroom and no chores! That was it, I knew I was missing out on something better. I had never felt poor in all my life until that day. When I returned home nothing was the same. I now hated to wait for the bathroom, resented the fact I had nothing new, and hated washing the dishes. It changed my entire perspective from content to discontent in one moment. Just as Eve had access to so many trees all she could focus on was the one tree she couldn’t experience.
The Enemy tries to convince us of two things; to focus on what you don’t have and to believe that God is holding back His best.
Eve was surrounded by trees and the enemy came in to change her focus on the one tree she wasn’t to eat from. The enemy is using the same tricks on us and trying to convince us that we are poor. At first, Eve could see God in everything around her and with one conversation she changed her perspective. In order for the enemy to gain access to her life he had to get her to buy into a lie. The lie?
That you are poor in some area of your life and you must leave what you have and search for what is missing.
I hear so many people who break up with someone and say “What was I thinking?”, “What did I ever see in them?”. At first, everything they did was cute. You only focused on the good things and never even noticed the big nose, the crooked teeth, the little belly or the flaws and you married it. Now the things that attracted you now repel you. Now you are convinced you deserve a better husband/wife instead of working on the relationship you currently have you begin to change your focus on someone or something new. The tree that is off limits starts to look better than your own tree.
What if your tree represents your church? First you were so happy to connect and run with the vision but now you are convinced there’s a better tree out there. The enemy will try to convince us to leave the church where we are planted in order to stop our growth process. We encounter a offensive situation in church with people and think that by leaving it will keep us from ever experiencing hurt again. Instead of allowing the situation to mature us we choose to uproot and slow down the growth process. Church is full of imperfect people and it’s possible you could experience offenses, hurts and disappointments but you also experience those things on the job, in families and at school but we don’t easily walk away. Don’t allow the enemy to convince you that growth is suppose to be easy. It stretches you beyond your limits. You must forgive when your feelings are slow to catch up and persevere when you can’t see clearly ahead. Maturity requires a stretching. The only way your roots will become strong is to stay long enough for them to spread out. Before checking out ask God where you can grow though instead of just going through.
BELIEVE THAT GOD IS FOR YOU
The enemy challenged Eve to change her view of God. She knew God, walked with Him in the cool of the day and had conversations with God. The enemy convinced her she was not only missing something better but that God was holding back His very best.
Have you ever believed that God could answer your desire or need but wondered if He would? You know He has the capacity but not sure if He will. The enemy has no new tricks he is still trying to convince us that God is holding out on us. We start to doubt that He has our best interest at heart and we begin to move out into our own efforts as Sarah did with Abraham. We think God needs our help when He really needs our surrender. He created us and knows us through and through and he has designed a plan to grow us and to bless us! Be convinced that you are not forgotten, overlooked or dismissed by God. He wants you to walk in His blessings more than you do but He is also wanting both our soul (mind, will & emotions) and spirit to prosper. The trees that God has provided are everything that you have need of and it’s enough to prosper you in every area of your life. Be convinced that God wants the very best for you and His best is better that we could ever ask, think or imagine.