Posts Tagged ‘Prayer’

I Am Strong

Biblical Truths often seem backward and contrary to common sense… even crazy. Sometimes this is because they are stated in paradoxical ways, like the parables Jesus taught. Even when these Truths are stated in a straightforward way; they still strike us as odd, because they do not conform to worldly thought patterns we have to negotiate.

Perhaps our greatest challenge as Christians is to understand the Biblical principle of strength being released through weakness… notice the following verses.

“Consider your calling, brethren, that there were not many wise according to the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble; but God has chosen the foolish things of the world to shame the wise, and God has chosen the weak things of the world to shame the things which are strong, and the base things of the world and the despised, God has chosen, the things that are not, that he might nullify the things that are, that no one should boast before God.” (1 Cor 1:26-29)

“(God) has said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness.’ Most gladly, therefore, I will rather boast about my weaknesses, that the power of Christ may dwell in me. Therefore I am well content with weaknesses, with insults, with distresses, with persecutions, with difficulties, for Christ’s sake; for when I am weak, then I am strong.” (2 Cor 12:9-10)

Worldly wisdom says that power is rooted in natural resources like money, good looks and intellegence. Since these resources are limited, true power is always limited to just the few individuals with access and favor.

God’s wisdom says that true power comes from the Holy Spirit and has no correlation with prestige or riches, that are hinged to natural resources. A persons influence in this world is not some kind of license to heavenly influence. True power; as it relates to the Kingdom of God, is accessible to anyone who depends on God. Jesus was the personification of this principle… anointed as the “Christ” or “Messiah”. He was the Prince of Peace; even without religious ordination or title, yet His power was directly connected to His anointing from heaven. His perfect obedience to the Heavenly Father released His influence in the Earth.

The early Church had great power, not because they had access to money or political influences; but because they were filled with the Holy Spirit! It is dependence on God; through faith, that lays hold of real power. We must believe and place our trust in the Holy Spirit to release power into our lives.

God longs for people He can wear like a glove!

Living His life through us, is how the power of heaven comes into the natural realities we so much want to see change. By the supernatural work of the Holy Spirit, He demonstrates His power, He transforms culture and makes His Kingdom visible in the Earth.

It might just sound a bit strange to boast in weakness, until you begin to participate in the transformation first hand. Then you begin to see how something as simple as prayer, praise or thankfulness, can tear down walls and crush strongholds of fear. Only when we begin to understand spiritual realities; though unseen, are more powerful than the natural, will we become convinced that… ”when I am weak, then I am strong”.

Hunger for the Glory

The Glory of the Lord is the most awesome reality of Heaven. It moves the Angels to sing of His holiness and bow to His majesty. Although, the Glory of the Lord may be experienced; it is often misunderstood and seen as a rare occurrence here upon the Earth. The Bible talks about the Glory in many ways in both the Old and New Testaments. Still it remains only a vague concept to most Christians. It is my belief, that the Glory of God should be a central focus for the Church and a passion for all who long to know Truth.

Just consider for a moment the experience that King Solomon was able to share with us at the completion of the Temple in 2 Chronicles 6-7.

Then Solomon spoke: “The Lord said He would dwell in the dark cloud. I have surely built You an exalted house, and a place for You to dwell in forever (2 Chr. 6:1-2). Now, my God, I pray, let Your eyes be open and let Your ears be attentive to the prayer made in this place. Now therefore, Arise, Oh Lord God, to Your resting place, You and the ark of Your strength. Let Your priests, Oh Lord God, be clothed with salvation, and let Your saints rejoice in goodness. Oh Lord God, do not turn away the face of Your Anointed; remember the mercies of Your servant David.” (2 Chr. 6:1-2 & 40-42)
When Solomon had finished praying, fire came down from heaven and consumed the burnt offering and the sacrifices; and the Glory of the Lord filled the temple. And the priests could not enter the house of the Lord, because the Glory of the Lord had filled the Lord’s house. When all the children of Israel saw how the fire came down, and the Glory of the Lord on the temple, they bowed their faces to the ground on the pavement, and worshiped and praised the Lord, saying: “For He is good, for His mercy endures forever.” (2 Chr. 7:1-3)

“For the earth will be filled with the knowledge of the Glory of the Lord as the waters cover the sea.” (Hab. 2:14)

Moses Gives Insight:

Moses contends for God’s Presence… with a passionate plea, we hear his desperation, “If Your Presence does not go with us, do not bring us up from here.” (Ex 33:15-17). We need to contend for the Presence of God in our lives and never settle for our perception of reality. Note that Moses pulled upon God’s heart with an earnest expectation of going beyond the Presence and seeing something more… encountering something more. And God says, “I will do this thing that you have spoken; for you have found grace in My sight, and I know you by name.” He wanted God’s Presence to go with him, but he wanted something greater… something visible, tangible and real. He wanted to see evidence of God’s goodness and encounter His Glory.

He said, “Please, show me Your Glory!” (Ex 33:18).

What a prayer! He not only wanted to know that God was with him, he insisted upon the manifestation of that Presence… God’s goodness. We could say, he wanted God’s Presence made known to him, a manifestation… made visible and tangible. Think about it… if Moses could see the Glory of God, why shouldn’t we? Why can’t we see His Glory?

I believe as a Child of God, we can see the Glory! (Heb. 1:3)

The Bible speaks about our ability to see the Glory with the eyes of faith. We must understand that the whole earth will be filled with the knowledge of the Glory of the Lord.

  • ”But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the Glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the the same image from glory to glory, just as by the Spirit of the Lord.” (2 Cor 3:18)

The Bible also points to where we find the knowledge of the Glory of God.

  • ”For it is the God who commanded light to shine out of darkness, who has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.” (2 Cor. 4:6)

Look Into the Face of Jesus:

Spending time beholding Him and worshiping at His Throne, takes us somewhere in the spirit. It transforms our sense of reality and moves our heart into intimate places with the heart of God. These encounters deepen our knowledge of how love and grace are imparted, because we are introduced to heaven’s atmosphere. These encounters cause us to have a greater hunger for His Voice and His revealed Glory in our lives. Seeing Him in the pages of God’s Word is just the beginning… faith inspires a deeper search, knowing that there is more available for our lives. Deep cries out to deep… we go deeper and we begin to have Glory encounters of our own, where we gain firsthand knowledge of His goodness and His power.

You and I were made to drink of His Spirit and share in His Glory! (1 Cor 12:13)

Run With Vision

“Then the Lord answered me and said: Write the vision and make it plain on tablets, that he may run who reads it. For the vision is yet for an appointed time; but at the end it will speak, and it will not lie. Though it tarries, wait for it; because it will surely come, it will not tarry.” (Habakkuk 2:2-3)

Vision is a calling to something greater than yourself. Vision always takes into consideration God’s plan, your gifts, and your unique experiences. It’s something that started forming before you were born as God created you. It has been developing and growing with each experience. It’s something you were called to do and if you don’t seek it out you will rarely be truly happy. Vision is given by God, but emerges from the heart.

Three Keys about Vision:

1st. Vision grows from how God wired you. God never gives us a vision without giving us the personal gifts and spiritual anointing to get the job done. He wants us to be successful. He loves us and sees us as an extension of Himself on the earth. God gives us a vision for what He wants us to do. He knows how He has gifted us and how to best use our gifts.

The God who created the whole universe also made you. He made you for a specific purpose. That purpose is good, and will bring you happiness and satisfaction. God also gave you unique abilities that are perfectly matched to His specific plan for your life.

2nd. Vision bubbles to the surface through prayer. Prayer is not just about asking God for needs, but about listening to what God says in response to our needs. God’s response unlocks clues to the calling God has for you. Vision comes from prayer. As we pray and listen, God has time to speak to our hearts. We get a sense of peace as the Holy Spirit directs our thoughts and guides our actions. God speaks to us through prayer.

Perhaps there has never been a person who had more vision than Jesus and He prayed with such consistency that His disciples ask Him to teach them how to do it. Something significant was bubbling up out of Jesus’ prayer life that they wanted. ”Jesus rose before dawn to pray to His Father” (Mk. 1:35). This was His daily habit and it allowed Him to confidently say to the disciples that He only spoke what He heard from His Father saying (Jn. 5:19).

3rd. Vision begins with obedience. God’s will for your life is to obey Him… and it serves as the testing ground for increased knowledge and spiritual revelation. The closer you get to abiding in Him and discovering His voice the easier it is to watch vision emerge. The closer you get to God’s heart the easier to see how you fit into His plan.

God’s response or answer to our prayers is like an open door into the vision God has for us (Rev. 4:1). We need to pray often asking God for guidance and revelation of the vision for our lives. Be sure to track how God is answering your prayers and look for patterns that reveal His purposes, because vision emerges out of purpose. It’s through prayer that you learn how to stay in sync with the rhythm of heaven. And it’s through obedience your vision becomes something written upon your heart.

All that is left is to write it down – read it often & run with it… for it has an appointed time! It has a voice of its own, it will speak and though it tarries, you can count on God to bring it forth.

First Things

“But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you.” (Mt. 6:33)

When we seek first the Kingdom of God every part of our life is effected. Our values, choices and even our dreams come into alignment by some very significant Truths… Truths that are foundation to a Christlike lifestyle. To place something first means it carries the most influence, weight and authority in our lives. It most often makes the most sense to us and appears first in rank or preference.

The “first thing” is the most important thing!

When we make the decision to follow Christ and put our faith in His power to lead us; we are immediately struck by the reality, that other things will challenge us for the position of “first place”.

First place is the high place!

Devotion and discipline are huge factors in our ability to maintain our goals to serve God with our gifts and honor God with our hearts. Yet it was Jesus’ own promise to us that if we would seek first the Kingdom of God; all the important things we value most, would come after our obedient lifestyle.

Seeking transforms our focus and aligns our desires with His will.

It is a sure thing that our commitment will be tested, but we can trust our Heavenly Father to deliver on the Promises of His Word. Seeking first the Kingdom of God actually releases the Holy Spirit’s Presence in our lives, for discernment and convictions to come to the surface. As we process life on spiritual levels, our hearts are moved and behaviors are adjusted by a sense of the peace of God, which passes our understanding (Phil 4:4-7).

Four things are required in the seeking first model:

  1. Rejoice in the Lord always… Praise and Activate Your Trust!
  2. Prayer Maintain Communication with Heaven!
  3. Supplication… Ask and Keep on Asking in Faith!
  4. Thanksgiving… Be Grateful for His Promised Best for You!

Making a lifestyle out of seeking God for the first things in our life will cause us to recognize all those less important things, that tend to release worry and fret. Worry does nothing to change our situation or shape our future for the better. Worry actually is the first thing our spiritual enemy (Satan) will look for to try and bring destruction through lies and fear.

Worry is irresponsible and distracting.

The Apostle Peter said “…casting all your care upon Him, for He cares for you.” (1 Pet 5:7) Trusting God’s character and faithfulness, is often the biggest test of our heart, but when we press through and renew our courage… we become more tenacious with a testimony on our side. Recognize God is more invested in you coming into your first things, than you are; because He cares for you!

Disciple or Believer

Then Jesus said to those Jews who believed Him, “If you abide in My word, you are My disciples indeed.  And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.” (Jn. 8:31-32)

Not everyone who believes in Jesus is a follower of Jesus. Knowing the difference is vital to living an inspired life!

  • “Do you believe that there is only one God? Good! The demons also believe—and tremble with fear.” (James 2:19-26)

Jesus calls us to more than belief… He calls us to be His disciples. So… What is a disciple? There is much to say about that word, but the idea is clear… it pertains to the one who follows a master’s way of life and teaching. The word “Disciple” makes us think of the twelve disciples, because they forsook everything and followed Jesus. The heart of discipleship is following!

How are disciples different from believers?

1. THE CROSS: Believer look to the cross. A Disciple picks up the cross (Mt. 16:22-24).

2. OBEDIENCE: A Believer obeys God if it’s convenient. A Disciple obeys no matter the outcome (1 Pet. 4:17).

3. DECISIONS: A Believer decides once, A Disciple decides daily (Mt. 6:33-34).

4. FOCUS: Believers focus on eternal life, A Disciple focus is about eternal rewards (Col. 3:1-4).

5. PRAYER: A Believer prays when things get tough. A Disciple prays no matter the circumstance (2 Cor. 4:16-18).

6. SCRIPTURE: A Believer twists the Bible to fit his or her lifestyle. A Disciple works to make his or her lifestyle resemble the teachings of the Bible (Jms. 1:21-22).

7. ETERNAL IMPACT: Believers make heaven. Disciples make history (Mt. 28:18-20).

The Key question then is… “Are you following Christ, or are you merely a believer?” It’s a huge decision to make, but it is worth everything you have… to gain what only Christ can give!

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