Monday, July 25, 2016

It's Smart To Take Time Every Day To Pray In The Spirit!

So too the Holy Spirit comes to our aid and bears us up in our weakness; for we do not know what prayer to offer nor how to offer it worthily as we ought, but the Spirit Himself goes to meet our supplication and pleads in our behalf with unspeakable yearnings and groanings too deep for utterance.  And He who searches the hearts of men knows what is in the mind of the Holy Spirit [what His intent is], because the Spirit intercedes and pleads [before God] in behalf of the saints according to and in harmony with God's will (Romans 8:26-27).
  
Praying is the spirit, in other tongues, is such an effective means of prayer! Think about all of the incredible benefits you gain by spending time with your Father praying in your heavenly language.
  
Praying in the spirit gives us the ability to pray unlimited prayers about any subject and any person worldwide! It takes us out of the finite and places us in the infinite. It takes us out of the realm of reason and places us in the realm where God knows, understands, and sees all! We literally pray the perfect will of God when we take time to pray in tongues.
  
Many times you’re praying about future events in your life when you pray in tongues. Romans 8:28 reveals that all things work together for a pattern of good to those who love God and are called to His purposes. Things work out for good in your life if you’re a person given to spiritual praying.
  
Praying in the spirit helps us pray about the most important things. 1 Corinthians 14:2 calls them secret truth and hidden things that are not obvious to the understanding (Amplified). Family, friends, business, government, ministry, relationships, finances, the list goes on as to areas covered by this kind of praying.
  
Praying in the spirit builds up your spirit. It brings edification, rest, and power to the human spirit. Think of it, this is the rest with which the weary rest (Isaiah 28:12). I work hard often to the point of weariness mentally and physically. But after a season of praying in the spirit comes a sense of refreshment from the inside.
  
None of these things I’ve mentioned are attached to feelings. Most of the time your mind will tell you praying in tongues is a waste. But nothing could be further from the truth! It’s the best way to pray!
 
I encourage you to take at least an hour each day to pray in the spirit. Over time it will lift you into the purposes of God for your life and bring blessing to everything around you.

Friday, July 22, 2016

Healing Belongs To Us In Christ!

Christians have a covenant right to be healed! Jesus took our sicknesses and sins on the cross of Calvary! Make sure that you avail yourself to this benefit of healing power for your body.
Notice Isaiah 53: 4-5: Surely our sicknesses he hath borne, And our pains — he hath carried them, And we — we have esteemed him plagued, smitten of God, and afflicted. And he is pierced for our transgressions, bruised for our iniquities, the chastisement of our peace is on him, and by his bruise there is healing to us (Young’s literal translations).
Healing is not automatic, just as forgiveness of sin is not automatic. To be forgiven of sin, you must exercise faith and believe that Jesus died for you, and then confess with your mouth that you are forgiven and that Jesus is your Lord. You have to be proactive!
 
It’s the same with healing of sickness. At the first symptom, don’t let anything come out of your mouth but what the Word of God says about you. When a symptom appears, speak to the mountain according to Mark 11:23, and command the symptoms to go from you in the name of Jesus. Tell Satan that Jesus took your sicknesses and diseases when He took your sins and that he can’t put that on you. Then, ask God to heal you and thank Him for Jesus taking your sicknesses when He took your sins. Tell the Lord that you believe you receive healing for your body.
Continue to walk in thanksgiving and voice your praise for the Father healing you even while the symptoms persist or get worse. Satan has the ability to put a thought in your mind and a feeling on your body. Walk by faith and not feelings. Confess what you believe in the face of the thoughts and feelings. Side with the Word of God and not with your feelings and symptoms.
I’ve been healed hundreds of times over the years from symptoms all over my body by simply acting on the Word of God in this manner. He sent His Word and healed us!
Glorify God in your body today by availing yourself to the healing that Jesus provided for you. It gives God no glory for you to be sick. His will is for you to be healed and whole. Let your thoughts and Words agree with God’s Word about your healing today. Resist the thoughts that the enemy brings. Healing is yours. Walk in your covenants rights. The same faith that cleanses sin will heal sickness. Healing belongs to you!
 

Thursday, July 21, 2016

Failure To Forgive Creates Deep Personal Stress

Be gentle and forbearing with one another and, if one has a difference (a grievance or complaint) against another, readily pardoning each other; even as the Lord has freely forgiven you, so must you also forgive (Colossians 3:13 – Amplified).
   
Perhaps every day of our lives we will face opportunities to forgive those who harm us in some way. Life in a fallen world means facing imperfections at every turn. Wise living is knowing how to deal with the imperfections of others! I seek to live by Romans 12: 18: If it is possible, as much as depends on you, live peaceably with all men. That means I must be willing to practice what Jesus said to Peter when He told him to forgive 490 times (infinitely) the brother that offends him.
 
Failing to forgive produces some major problems and one of them is stress. Medical research indicates that the majority of illness is stress induced, so unforgiveness plays a significant role in sickness. Proverbs 14:30 (Amplified) reads: A calm and undisturbed mind and heart are the life and health of the body, but envy, jealousy, and wrath are like rottenness of the bones.
  
Unforgiveness means holding on to a certain thought pattern about a person or event. That thought pattern creates emotional hurt (anger) and pain. And if the thought pattern is not dealt with by releasing forgiveness to the offending party, then it cogitates underneath the surface in subconscious thinking. And this type of underlying negative thought pattern saps needed physical strength.
 
I’ve had people over my years of ministry tell me that they are tired all the time. They feel drained of strength. After speaking with these people I have found that often they are carrying a list of grievances in these underlying thought patterns and their emotions are draining them of needed energy. They simply need to practice forgiveness. There’s a lot of wisdom in Ephesians 4:26: Be angry, and do not sin: do not let the sun go down on your wrath. Each day we should clear our mind and emotions of the offences of others before we go to sleep.
 
In her book Who Switched Off My Brain, Dr. Caroline Leaf from South Africa mentions that thoughts release chemicals into every organ of our body through our central nervous system. She mentions that all thoughts basically come under two categories, faith based or fear based thoughts. She reveals that fear based thinking releases toxic chemicals that coats the cells of our bodies and can eventually make us ill. On the other hand, faith based thinking that trusts God and expects the best; likewise releases helpful chemicals that aid the body and help it resist illness.
  
Unforgiveness affects our spiritual life. According to Jesus, you can’t go to heaven with it in your life (See Matthew 18:35 and Mark 11:25-26). And unforgiveness affects our physical bodies, hindering the health and healing provided to us by the Father.
 
Make a choice today to quickly deal with each offence. Readily and freely forgive as the Father through Christ Jesus has forgiven you. You’ll find heaven’s smile, soundness of mind, clearness of emotion, and renewed physical strength when you choose the path of forgiveness!

 

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Let's Make Sure We Forgive

And whenever you stand praying, if you have anything against anyone, forgive him and  let it drop (leave it, let it go), in order that your Father Who is in heaven may also forgive you your [own] failings and shortcomings and let them drop. But if you do not forgive, neither will your Father in heaven forgive your failings and shortcomings (Mark 11:25-26 – Amplified).

Forgiving those that commit offences against me releases me from the damage the offence can bring to my future. Unforgiveness affects me, not the person I’m holding the offence against.
 
My relationship with the Lord is directly affected by my willingness to quickly forgive those who do me wrong. My relationship with others is directly affected by how I deal with those who do me wrong. My relationship with my body is affected by my willingness or unwillingness to forgive. Many diseases have their origin in the stress produced by unforgiveness.
 
We are to forgive even as God in Christ forgave us. Nothing another person has done or will do to us can come close to the weight of our personal sin debt that we owe to God. He has forgiven us all of our past sins in Christ. We therefore have the obligation to forgive every single offense committed against us by another person. There are no exceptions.
 
Novels and history books are filled with the resultant harm brought upon individuals and families because of unforgiveness. No person is immune from the devastating effects of unforgiveness in their personal life. Unforgiveness will ruin life, period.
  
I’ll leave you today with God’s commands to us concerning forgiveness:

Judge not [neither pronouncing judgment nor subjecting to censure], and you will not be judged; do not condemn and pronounce guilty, and you will not be condemned and pronounced guilty; acquit and forgive and release (give up resentment, let it drop), and you will be acquitted and forgiven and released (Luke 6:37 – Amplified)

And become useful and helpful and kind to one another, tenderhearted (compassionate, understanding, loving-hearted), forgiving one another [readily and freely], as God in Christ forgave you (Ephesians 4:32- Amplified).

Be gentle and forbearing with one another and, if one has a difference (a grievance or complaint) against another, readily pardoning each other; even as the Lord has freely forgiven you, so must you also [forgive] (Colossians 3:13 – Amplified).

A happy heart is good medicine and a cheerful mind works healing, but a broken spirit dries up the bones (Proverbs 17:22 – Amplified).

A calm and undisturbed mind and heart are the life and health of the body, but envy, jealousy, and wrath are like rottenness of the bones (Proverbs 14:30 – Amplified).

THEREFORE YOU have no excuse or defense or justification, O man, whoever you are who judges and condemns another. For in posing as judge and passing sentence on another, you condemn yourself, because you who judge are habitually practicing the very same things [that you censure and denounce (Romans 2:1 – Amplified).

Exercise foresight and be on the watch to look [after one another], to see that no one falls back from and fails to secure God's grace (His unmerited favor and spiritual blessing), in order that no root of resentment (rancor, bitterness, or hatred) shoots forth and causes trouble and bitter torment, and the many become contaminated and defiled by it (Hebrews 12:15 – Amplified).

Make sure no one gets left out of God's generosity. Keep a sharp eye out for weeds of bitter discontent. A thistle or two gone to seed can ruin a whole garden in no time (Hebrews 12:15 – Message).

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Heaven - The Christian's Destination

Do not let your hearts be distressed. You believe in God; believe also in me. There are many dwelling places in my Father's house. Otherwise, I would have told you, because I am going away to make ready a place for you.  And if I go and make ready a place for you, I will come again and take you to be with me, so that where I am you may be too.
And you know the way where I am going (John 14:1-4- New English Translation)
 
Heaven is our destiny as believers. Most Christians today don’t think much about heaven, but we should. Saints of yesteryear plodded through harsh, difficult years of toil and labor by keeping their eye on the goal of heaven. In western culture, our creature comforts, toys, and nice homes, have had a dampening effect on us when we think of going to heaven. We don’t want to leave here to get there!
  
Many people think of heaven as a place where there are hours of boring church services and where you just sort of float around and do much of nothing.  This attitude is summed up in Mark Twain’s book, The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn.  Chiding Huck of his fun loving spirit, a Christian lady named Miss Watson gave Huck a negative view of heaven. In Huck’s words: She went on and told me all about the good place. She said all a body had to do there was go around all day with a harp and sing forever and ever, so I don’t think much of it…
 
But heaven will be a place of bustling activity and will be the fulfillment of all of our desires as a human. Charles Spurgeon said about heaven: To come to thee is to come home from exile, to come to land out of the raging storm, to come to rest after long labor, to come to the goal of my desires and the summit of my wishes.
 
Our future home in heaven will be a place far better than what we have now. Paul said, But I am hard pressed between the two. My yearning desire is to depart (to be free of this world, to set forth) and be with Christ, for that is far, far better (Philippians 1:23 – Amplified).
 
John saw the New Heaven and New Earth in vision form while on the isle of Patmos: Now I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away. Also there was no more sea. Then I, John, saw the holy city, New Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from heaven saying, "Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and He will dwell with them, and they shall be His people. God Himself will be with them and be their God. And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes; there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying. There shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed away (Revelation 21:1-4).
 
David mentioned what the full manifestation of the presence of God brings with it: You will show me the path of life; In Your presence is fullness of joy; At Your right hand are pleasures forevermore (Psalm 16:11). That’s what heaven will be like.
  
In heaven, you will be the you that know now, minus the flaws. You’ll look like yourself, you will eat, you will walk, you will laugh, you will be busy with life, you will know your family members there, you will take your thoughts, your memories, your likes and dislikes, and your personality with you. Heaven is planet, but not like earth. It is a perfect environment for life. You will experience perfect life there. You will experience the senses that the glorified human body has. You will be totally satisfied. Earth is but a pattern of what heaven is like. You will feel at home there!
 
The current state of affairs on earth seems to point towards our going to heaven sooner rather than later. Let’s stay ready to go. I’m personally looking forward to it!

From the book Heaven by Randy Alcorn (Carol Stream, Ill: Tyndale House, 2004) p.7
Heaven, p. 7









Monday, July 18, 2016

God Disciplines Us With His Word!

And you have forgotten the exhortation which speaks to you as to sons: My son, do not despise the chastening of the Lord, Nor be discouraged when you are rebuked by Him; for whom the Lord loves He chastens, And scourges every son whom He receives. If you endure chastening, God deals with you as with sons; for what son is there whom a father does not chasten? (Hebrews 12:5-7). Blessed is the man whom thou chastenest, O Lord, and teachest him out of thy law (Psalm 94:12).
  
God is the most wonderful Father! He loves us enough to discipline us. I loved my four children enough to discipline them when they were young. They needed the correction that only a parent can give. MY goal as a parent is that by the time my children are out from under my care that they are guided by a conscience tender towards God from within.
God disciplines us for our profit, so that we will become just like Him in holiness. But contrary to religious ideas, God does not chasten with sickness and disease, accidents, poverty, and a host of hurtful things. God is not an abusive parent. We’d send law enforcement after a parent caught breaking a child’s arm or leg to teach him a lesson! But many accuse God of being a child abuser when they say he disciplines us with all these hurtful things.
God disciplines us with His Word. When we get out of line, the Holy Spirit deals with us and removes His peace. He reminds us again and again of the promises of God, and draws us to the Father through the Word. A believer out of line with the Word is under the discipline of the Father. Over and over, the Word challenges, and His presence within woos away from the hurtful thoughts or actions that will bring ruin. Everywhere the disciplined believer turns, he’s reminded of what God says and why He says it.
A believer who doesn’t receive the discipline of the Word is in danger of hardening his conscience toward God, and is in a place where the enemy can deceive. Be careful not to violate conscience. When you do, repent immediately. A believe who will not listen to the Word and to the voice of conscience is eventually left to reap the consequences of his wrong choices.
  
God said to Israel, Choose today whom you will serve, life or death, blessing or cursing. The Father wants us to choose life through obedience to the Word, so that His blessing can be ours to enjoy.
  
Choose to yield to the discipline of the Father’s Word today. He’s training us in right living, and is pleased when we choose the discipline of His Word. He wants you to have His best!
 

Friday, July 15, 2016

How To Stay Positive When Life Is Really Hard

And David was greatly distressed; for the people spake of stoning him, because the soul of all the people was grieved, every man for his sons and for his daughters: but David encouraged himself in the Lord his God (1 Samuel 30:6).
 
David and his men came home from a battle to find their wives and children missing, and their city burned. His men blamed him for what happened and wanted to stone him. Even his friends and best buddies turned against him. But David found a way to keep himself strong. He encouraged himself in the Lord!
When hardship is pressing, and the test is of long duration, you must find a way to keep yourself encouraged and not lose strength. I’ve used David’s example many times when pressed. I’ve learned to encourage myself. And here’s how.
 
I forced myself to praise God, not because I feel like it, but because I know that praise brings the manifestation of God’s power into my situation. Israel won battles without lifting a sword by putting the praise team on the front line! Praise brings God’s presence, where there is fullness of joy. Joy produces strength.
 
One other thing I do is to remind myself of times in my past when the Lord has answered prayer and delivered me from a difficult situation.
Many years ago I endured a severe test while pioneering the church in a small city in South Carolina. Nothing was going my way. I was challenged from all sides. To deal with the pressure, I would take long walks alone and praise God for honoring His Word. Then I would remind myself of all the times that the Lord has answered prayer and had helped me in my past. I would start with the beginning of my walk with God and go from their, sometimes speaking aloud of the Lord’s mercy that had manifested in my life time after time.
 
By the time I was finished, time after time I found new zeal and fresh strength. The Lord did not bring me this far to let me down now! This exercise enabled me to press through the hard place to victory.
Read about how David encouraged himself in Psalm 42, and go and encourage yourself in the Lord today!
Psalm 42 – New Living Translation
As the deer longs for streams of water, so I long for you, O God. (2) I thirst for God, the living God. When can I go and stand before him? (3) Day and night I have only tears for food, while my enemies continually taunt me, saying, "Where is this God of yours?" (4) My heart is breaking as I remember how it used to be: I walked among the crowds of worshipers, leading a great procession to the house of God, singing for joy and giving thanks amid the sound of a great celebration! (5) Why am I discouraged? Why is my heart so sad? I will put my hope in God! I will praise him again— my Savior and (6) my God! Now I am deeply discouraged, but I will remember you— even from distant Mount Hermon, the source of the Jordan, from the land of Mount Mizar. (7) I hear the tumult of the raging seas as your waves and surging tides sweep over me. (8) But each day the Lord pours his unfailing love upon me, and through each night I sing his songs, praying to God who gives me life. (9) "O God my rock," I cry, "Why have you forgotten me? Why must I wander around in grief, oppressed by my enemies?" (10) Their taunts break my bones. They scoff, "Where is this God of yours?" (11) Why am I discouraged? Why is my heart so sad? I will put my hope in God! I will praise him again— my Savior and my God!