Tag Archives: pray

Stop Testing God

Over the past few weeks, I have been saddened by pastors and churches ignoring the government recommendations to not gather in large groups and to practice social distancing. Pastors are holding worship services. Pastors are being arrested. All of this is because of the defiance to the government.

There is separation of church and state. There is freedom of religion. There is also free will. God has given us free will. We get to decide if we will listen to the government, if we will obey God’s Word, or even if we want to go a totally different path. We get to decide.

Too often, people cherry pick scripture rather than read all of God’s Word. We select what we like or what fits our agenda. This is a big reason why I always wanted the congregation to have their Bibles open when I preached. It is important for you to know all of God’s Word, not just pieces. It’s very dangerous to blindly follow someone who wants to feed you a piece of God’s Word, but not adhere to scripture found elsewhere. God’s Word is the entire Bible, not portions that favor you. 

Whether you love and fear God, or you disbelieve, read Romans 13:1-7. This is what God says about authority. As a follower of Jesus, we are to follow the government unless it is something that defies something that goes against the law of God. This means that when the government says STAY HOME, that you stay home. You are not defying God to stay home and worship in your home. Please understand that nowhere in the Bible does it tell you that you must go to a building to worship. The church is people. We can worship right from our homes. Plus, we have the added blessing today of technology. We can actually join together online, without anyone having to leave their homes, through Facetime, Zoom, YouTube, etc. It’s all there. God has provided. 

Additionally, claiming that God will keep you safe from the virus so you can defy the government is also wrong. Yes, God says that no one can pluck someone from His hand (see John 10:28). This actually speaks of the soul of a believer being safe; souls don’t get the Coronavirus. However, Jesus also tells us not to test God (see Matthew 4:7). Remember when the devil tried to tempt Jesus to throw Himself down so the angels would catch Him? We should not live life trying to get ourselves into trouble to see if He will rescue us. He has given us wisdom and discernment. He has given us resources. Faith isn’t declaring that He will keep you safe from Coronavirus and entering a large group of people to show everyone God is keeping you safe from the illness. Faith is trusting that even while this great pandemic is taking its toll on the whole world, you are trusting in God’s plan, you are trusting in God’s Word, and you know that He will use everything for His good purpose.


Not staying home, choosing to go out when you are not essential… This is not love. This is pride. This is ignorance. This is wrong. If you are going to the grocery store more than once a week, there is a problem. Plan a little. Be creative with the items you have in your cupboard. God made us in His image and He is the most creative. So you have creativeness in you. Let it flow. If you feel like you are climbing the walls at home, ask yourself why you cannot stand to be home… let God and you work that out. As you find yourself adapting to a life very different from what you once knew, draw near to God and He will draw near to you (see James 4:8). Repent. Pray. Love. Be a blessing. 

“Everyone must submit to governing authorities. For all authority comes from God, and those in positions of authority have been placed there by God.So anyone who rebels against authority is rebelling against what God has instituted, and they will be punished.For the authorities do not strike fear in people who are doing right, but in those who are doing wrong. Would you like to live without fear of the authorities? Do what is right, and they will honor you. The authorities are God’s servants, sent for your good. But if you are doing wrong, of course you should be afraid, for they have the power to punish you. They are God’s servants, sent for the very purpose of punishing those who do what is wrong.So you must submit to them, not only to avoid punishment, but also to keep a clear conscience. Pay your taxes, too, for these same reasons. For government workers need to be paid. They are serving God in what they do. Give to everyone what you owe them: Pay your taxes and government fees to those who collect them, and give respect and honor to those who are in authority. – Romans 13:1-7 [NLT]

My Prayer, My Life

Consider how often you pray. Do you pray only when you are in church? Do you pray before meals? Do you pray only when you need something? Maybe you pray every morning or every evening. Consider your prayer life.

The Psalmist speaks of prayer life as just that – his life. For some, this may sound like a strange concept. Though the Bible tells us to pray continually (see 1 Thessalonians 5:17), we typically see prayer as another resort or a good habit rather than a lifestyle or life itself. This is a problem for us as long as we see prayer as words to recite or a legalistic act to fulfill. 

This verse speaks of God’s love for us, a love that God has promised us. His love for us is unfailing and overwhelming and unchanging. His love for us is not impacted by anything that we do or say. When we look at prayer, we need always to remember this love—His love for us—and what a relationship with God means. As a child approaches a father, so it is with us and God. Stop focusing on the words you say in your prayers. Talk to your Father. Engage. Try to keep talking with Him all day as something comes to mind—about the small things and the big things. Be ever mindful of His presence, His love, and His desire to bless you with His goodness. As you continue to recognize your dependence on God and your desire for Him, you draw near to Him and He will draw near to you (see James 4:8). Perhaps one day, you will be able to say that your prayer to God has become your life.

“Yet all day long God’s promises of love pour over me. Through the night I sing his songs, for my prayer to God has become my life.” – Psalm 42:8 [TPT]

Knowing God Would Come Through

When I was a little girl, I prayed often; perhaps some days I prayed more than I do now as an adult. I was desperate for God to move in certain areas of my life. Despite not seeing what He was doing at the time, I waited and waited and waited some more. I was patient. Though it was early on in my faith walk, I knew God would come through. I was persistent. I prayed daily. I knew that He heard me and that He would answer.

 Our God comes through. Your prayer of today may not give you the results you expect. Keep praying. Your prayer of today might not be answered until sometime down the road. Keep waiting. Keep pouring it all out before the Lord. We do not get to see everything that God is doing for us. Even so, we can trust God will come through.

When I look back at the prayers of my youth, I consider how innocent and free my prayers were spoken to our Father. I didn’t contemplate how to best articulate a prayer or what I should withhold because it failed to meet the standard format spoken by others. I simply spoke to God. I made a request of my Father. I had a discussion with my Dad. I did this knowing that He would come through. Today, ask the Spirit to help strengthen your prayer life. Ask Him to open the floodgates to a better connection. Ask Him to remove the hindrances to your communication.

“I waited and waited and waited some more, patiently, knowing God would come through for me. Then, at last, he bent down and listened to my cry.” – Psalm 40:1 [TPT]

Restores and Revives

On a Saturday morning, I find myself sleeping in and spending more time in the Word. It is certainly a time of refreshment for me—the sleep and the time with God. We need rest. We need God.

Today’s verse speaks about how God restores and revives. The actual word translates to mean restore, refresh, renew, or revive. When you take a closer look, the Hebrew word “shub” means to turn back or return. This return is to a state you were once in, and this return is not from an occasional nap or reading the daily verse of the day. Shub points to a revival of your life, your strength, your energy. This is something God offers you daily, but it cannot happen if we are not staying connected and being mindful of His presence every day as we go through our day.

If you are feeling tired or drained or if you would like to sleep the next week of your life away, perhaps it is a good time to for shub, to turn back to Him and allow Him to pour into you. What is needed for shub? You simply return. Be intentional about prayer and reading your Bible. As you lean into Him in prayer, as you dig deeper into His Word, you will be restored and revived. Remember this shub isn’t a cat nap that gets you to finish your day with no major issues—there’s so much more! I pray this return to your first love will restore and revive you. The fruit of this revival points to the fullness of God.

“That’s where he restores and revives my life. He opens before me pathways to God’s pleasure and leads me along in his footsteps of righteousness so that I can bring honor to his name. – Psalm 23:3 [TPT]

 

Mentor Outline

6-18-17 Mentor

A mentor is a wise & trusted counselor or teacher

The word “mentor” is not used in the Bible; many mentor relationships appear.

 

2 Thessalonians 3:7 –For you yourselves know how you ought to imitate us, because we were not idle when we were with you,

Philippians 4:9 –Keep putting into practice all you learned and received from me–everything you heard from me and saw me doing. Then the God of peace will be with you.

1 Peter 5:3 –Don’t lord it over the people assigned to your care, but lead them by your own good example.

1 Corinthians 11:1 –And you should imitate me, just as I imitate Christ.

 

 

PREPARE FOR FUTURE – ALL ABOUT GROWTH /CHANGE (Embrace, Encourage, Equip, Empower)

 

Moses – Joshua (Exodus 33, Numbers 27)

  • Exodus 33:11 –Joshua assisted Moses at Tent of Meeting
  • Numbers 27 –Joshua commissioned to lead

 

Eli  – Samuel (1 Samuel 3)

  • Samuel served Lord by assisting Eli (v. 1)
  • Eli taught Samuel how to respond to God – “Speak Lord, your servant is listening”

Elijah – Elisha (1 Kings 19, 2 Kings 2)

  • Elisha was plowing the field when called to be a prophet
  • Elijah told Elisha to consider what he did for him
  • 2 Kings 2– Elisha was still beside Elijah & he was prepared when Elijah taken up

Jethro – Moses (Exodus 18)

Jethro was father-in-law to Moses – Moses had RESPECT for him (v. 7), they had CONCERN for each other (v. 7), they had COMMUNICATION with each other (v. 7), Jethro had DELIGHT for what God was doing with Moses (v. 9-10), Jethro offered ADVICE to Moses (v. 14, 17-18) and God was at the center of the advice – GOD-CENTERED (v. 19-23)

 

Samuel – Saul

1 Samuel 10:8Samuel was RELIABLE

1 Samuel 13:8-11 – Samuel took long time to show up and Saul handled offering

1 Samuel 15:26-28 –Samuel says the hard things / SPEAKS TRUTH / ACCOUNTABILITY

 

Mordecai – Esther

Esther 2– Mordecai took Esther in – she was his young cousin, her parents died – He helped when she was in need – ASSISTANCE

Mordecai told her to not disclose herself as a Jew for safety (2:9, 2:20) – GUIDANCE / DIRECTION

He had CONCERN for her – every day walked to check on her (2:11)

 

Barnabas – Paul (Acts 9, Acts 11)

INVEST in person, ENCOURAGE / MOTIVATE person (Acts 9:26-27)

Brought Saul alongside him to serve (Acts 11:22-26)

 

Priscilla & Aquila – Apollos

Acts 18 – Paul lived and worked with Priscilla & Aquila as tentmakers

Apollos knew scripture well, but only knew John’s baptism so Priscilla & Aquila took him aside and explained more accurately. (Acts 18:24, 26) – KNOWLEDGE & UNDERSTANDING

Naomi – Ruth

Naomi and Ruth had a tight bond as mother-in-law / daughter-in-law

Naomi gave Ruth ADVICE (2:22), told to be patient (3:18)

Naomi looked for BEST INTEREST in Ruth (3:1)

 

Paul – Titus

Wise instruction to young Pastor Titus – KNOWLEDGE, UNDERSTANDING, EXAMPLE FOR LIFE

 

Paul – Timothy

2 Timothy 1:3 –Timothy, I thank God for you… Night and day I constantly remember you in my prayers – PRAYED FOR HIM

2 Timothy 1:12 –Paul talks about his suffering, but reminds Timothy about the importance of sharing the Good News. He says he’s suffering in prison, but not ashamed because he knows the one in whom he trusts. Reminds Timothy to carefully guard the precious truth entrusted.            BE REAL

2 Timothy 4:17 –The Lord stood with me and gave me strength so that I might preach the Good News in its entirety for all the Gentiles to hear. And He rescued me from certain death. SHARE TESTIMONY

2 Timothy 2:2 –You have heard me teach things that have been confirmed by many reliable witnesses. Now teach these truths to other trustworthy people who will be able to pass them on to others. PASS IT ON

 

False Way of Life

The Psalmist declares hate for every false way of life. Other translations translate this as hating the wrong path or false propaganda. The Hebrew word “sheqer” is used here, meaning falsehood or deception. The complete verse says that the commandments of God result in understanding. When we have this understanding, the result is then hatred towards deception and falsehood.

We can better understand life and move forward living for Jesus by following the commandments of God. As we do this, we grow in our understanding and in our faith. In time, we begin to detest that which is false. God reveals to us His Truth. We aim to live by His Truth. Anything apart from that is no longer acceptable as our eyes are opened.

There are still people today who live the false way of life. Some of these people have always been blind to the Truth, while others have traded the Truth for a lie (see Romans 1:25). Today, pray that God would reveal to you hidden things to grow your understanding. Take some time to pray for those who are still on the wrong path, that eyes may be opened to the deception. Thank God for His commandments who are just, perfect, and true.

“Your commandments give me understanding; no wonder I hate every false way of life.” – Psalm 119:104 [NLT]

Search Inward

Many of us are celebrating the Lenten season. It is a season of fasting and renewal, a season that reminds us that we are but dust. Life is fragile. Life is but a breath. It is a season that looks to the Cross. We spend these weeks mindful of the shortness of life, but even more mindful of the One Who poured out His blood at Calvary so that we could have new life—life in Him. As Jesus spent 40 days fasting in the Wilderness, so we spend this time in self-reflection, repentance, and prayer.

Some people are trying to stick diligently to the removal of some item from their life. Some people may have even publicly noted an ongoing battle with trying to stay true to a vow to give up this thing for Lent. It is important to remember some things about Lent and fasting, because many get lost on the journey to the Cross. Lent instructions are not found in the Bible—it’s something that was instituted by the Church. However, with the fasting, one should be mindful that publicly boasting or grumbling is not applauded (see Matthew 6:16). Fasting is personal. The idea of fasting during Lent is to remove something that is getting in the way of your relationship with Jesus, and then replace that thing with something that will bring you closer to Jesus Christ.

Remember, Lent is all about Jesus. If you are keeping yourself from drinking soda or eating sweets but that doesn’t interfere with your relationship with Jesus, and you have not supplemented these things with more time in prayer, reading God’s Word, or spending time doing something that brings you closer to Jesus, then you are missing out. This is a time to search inward, a time to repent and renew yourself in Him. Today, whether or not you celebrate the Lenten season, take time to look inward. What is getting in the way of your relationship with Jesus? What has become a stumbling block? Pray for the removal of this from your life. Pray for a closer relationship with Jesus. Seek Him diligently today. Pray for your heart to open and spend time in the Word. Ask Him to speak to you in a new and awesome way.

“O God, you are my God; earnestly I seek you; my soul thirsts for You; my flesh faints for You, as in a dry and weary land where there is no water.” – Psalm 63:1 [ESV]

“As a deer pants for flowing streams, so pants my soul for You, O God.” – Psalm 42:1 [ESV]

“Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a huge crowd of witnesses to the life of faith, let us strip off every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily trips us up. And let us run with endurance the race God has set before us. We do this by keeping our eyes on Jesus, the champion who initiates and perfects our faith. Because of the joy awaiting Him, He endured the cross, disregarding its shame. Now He is seated in the place of honor beside God’s throne.” – Hebrews 12:1-2 [NLT]

How Quickly

One minute we seem to be all about Jesus, and the next minute we have changed our focus. Sometimes this means that we are not deeply rooted, or not rooted at all. When things are going well or when God is at the forefront of our lives, we are all about worshiping God and serving His people. We are attending church on Sunday and perhaps even interacting with a Bible study group. But then something happens. Boom. Something shakes our world and oh how quickly we do an about face. We change direction. It’s as if we are a different person. What happened to the way we were living? What happened to our focus on God?

It is important for us be deeply rooted in Christ, to have a strong foundation that will stay standing despite any circumstances that will come our way. Yes, we will falter from time to time; however, we should not sway every time to wind blows. Focus on your roots. Study the Word. Hear the Word. Spend time with fellow believers. Pray daily. Do whatever you can to be closer to God. Allow your eyes to be fixed on God. Understand that the moment will come when your world will be shaken. Hold on tight and keep pressing forward.

“At the end of the forty days and nights, the LORD handed me the two stone tablets inscribed with the words of the covenant. Then the LORD said to me, ‘Get up! Go down immediately, for the people you brought out of Egypt have corrupted themselves. How quickly they have turned away from the way I commanded them to live! They have melted gold and made an idol for themselves!’” – Deuteronomy 9:11-12 [NLT]

Seek Most

What do you seek most? The Psalmist wrote that the thing he desired most was “to live in the house of the LORD” forever. What? That was the one thing? If you had one thing to choose, would it be the same thing?

When I consider what I seek most, it really throws me for a loop. It gets me to remember again that today is just a short moment. It’s a small nothingness when compared to eternity. And yet when we pray, we likely are not saying that the one think we desire is to live in the house of the LORD all the days of our lives. How many times is that on your prayer list?

Today, remember some of the prayers this week. What are you seeking? Are you seeking the temporary? Are you fixed on Him? Is the thing you seek most to forever live in the presence of God?

“The one thing I ask of the LORD–the thing I seek most–is to live in the house of the LORD all the days of my life, delighting in the LORD’s perfections and meditating in His Temple.” – Psalm 27:4 [NLT]

My Life

The Psalmist begins Psalm 25, “O LORD, I give my life to You.” This is such a simple statement. It can be translated as “I put my trust” (NIV), or “I lift up my soul” (ESV), or “I turn to You” (HCSB), or “I’m looking to You” (MSG). As we review what this verse says, we can also review what it does not say.

In this verse, the Psalmist is saying he is coming to God. He has put his trust in God. He is lifting up his prayer to God alone. He is looking to God for everything. He has turned to God. The Psalmist continues his prayer, asking that the Lord show His ways and teach him His path (v. 4). He requests that God lead him in His truth (v. 5). He asks for his sins to be forgiven (v. 7, 12).

This passage is written by a humble servant seeking God, lifting his soul to Him. There is no mention of anyone else involved. The focus is all on the Psalmist fixing his eyes on God. The focus is completely on Him. To Him alone do we lift up our souls. To Him alone do we put our trust. To Him alone, the giver of life, do we lift up our lives.

“O LORD, I give my life to you.” – Psalm 25:1 [NLT]