John 14:6 NKJV – Which way, what truth, whose life

Jesus said to him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.

This is a powerful and strong affirmation that Jesus Christ alone is the way of salvation. To even imagine or proclaim any other way is simply misleading people and forgets the necessity of His coming and redemption. (John 1:4 NKJV)

The world will try to convince us that we can only live as best as we can live and that there is little else we can do. That through our acts of kindness and thoughtfulness to humanity, we can feel secure that we’ve placed our mark on this world. Our legacy rests on being a good and loving person.

Well, that’s one opinion and I simply don’t align with that opinion. My belief rests in the truth and the knowledge of God’s eternal Word that also says, “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.” (John 3:16 NKJV) Certainly, the attributes of Jesus Christ includes being kind and thoughtful. But if we live a life that relies on just this, without the power of God’s Holy Spirit living in us, we are falling fatally short. The things of this world are temporary. We see proof of that each and every day. It’s called disappointment. It happens every day in the life we lead in this world because the world is flawed.

Do I face disappointment being a believer in Jesus Christ? Yes, I do. But I am never disappointed in Jesus. He is where my strength and my absolute trust lie. It’s the world that disappoints me. People disappoint me. Things disappoint me. But God never disappoints me. That’s a lot to believe for someone who doesn’t have a relationship with Jesus like I do or cannot believe because God just isn’t a part of their life right now. I know how that feels. I was in that place as well. And I was disappointed when I lived outside of Christ. I thought I had it all together, but life and this world disappointed me. I needed to find stability in my life and Jesus brings me that stability. His love and truth and mercy and grace and sustaining strength gives me stability in an unstable and mixed up world. I live in this world, but I am no longer of this world. (1 Corinthians 3:19 NKJV)

How do I keep on keepin on? Prayer. The more I pray, the stronger I become. The more I pray, the more compassionate I become. The more I pray, the wiser I become. The more I pray, the more patient I become. The more I pray, the healthier I become. The more I pray, the happier I become. The more I pray, the more loving I become. The more I pray, the more I prosper. The more I pray, the more clearly I can hear. The more I pray, the more I understand. This list can go on and on. When did I learn to pray? When I chose to put my faith and trust in the blood of Jesus Christ and His saving grace. My point is without Jesus Christ, there is no way.

Nowhere in God’s Holy Word does it say that the way to eternal life is being a good person. Nowhere in God’s Holy Word does it say that the way to eternal life is giving the most to those who need it the most. And it’s in God’s Holy Word that I choose to place my trust. “Jesus answered and said to him, ‘Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.” (John 3:3 NKJV)

What or who will you believe? What is your truth? Which way is your way? What or who defines your life? For me, the answer is Jesus. How about you?

Father, thank You for Jesus. Thank You for sending us Your Son to live and suffer and die for us so that in belief of Him we would have eternal life. Forgive us Father when we think that we can control our life. We can do nothing. It’s only in our belief in Jesus and His shed blood on the cross that we can find assurance of our life with You eternally. Draw us Lord unto to You. In Jesus Name. AMEN

Don’t believe me, believe God!

Isaiah 14:3 KJV – How could you love someone like me – Part 3

And it shall come to pass in the day that the Lord shall give thee rest from thy sorrow, and from thy fear, and from the hard bondage wherein thou wast made to serve

God, You are so wonderful. Thank You, Lord, for my testimony of Your great love for me. I love You, Lord. None of this is possible without You.

Part 3 – How God Enables

But I wanted more. I wanted to serve my Lord. I wanted to do whatever God would lead me to do. But again, I thought, I didn’t even know where to start. My friend and coworker Mark was a musician and vocalist and he was very gifted. We talked about his unselfish obedience to the Holy Spirit when he prayed with me in Part 1. Well, as I continued to attend church, I felt that one of the coolest things in “my” church was its choir. They were very talented and I always felt blessed to hear them and join with them in praise from the congregation. I remember praying once, “Lord, if I could just worship You in song like they do.” Yup. Really. That’s what I prayed. I was still a fairly new believer. Just a little over a year old, I think. And God answered again. Praise the Lord!!!

I asked Mark at work one day, how does someone get to sing in the choir? He said, “You just show up for practice.” Sounds silly. But it was true. So I went and I found myself now in the choir with my very own choir robe. WooHoo! I had always loved to sing and now I was serving God in praise and worship. What a blessing that turned out to be. Glory to God!!!

Well, lots of things transpired over the years with the choir. One thing led to another and I found myself leading some worship during our Wednesday Night Service from time to time. In 2006, I joined a Praise and Worship Group called “UnDone” and we ministered inside and outside of church. Other opportunities came to serve and I tried to be as open as I could with all that came my way. I was nominated to serve on the church’s Board as Board Secretary. I was ratified and served for 6 years. Praise the Lord!!!

One particular summer I was asked to help out with Vacation Bible School. I said yes, and my wife Nancy partnered with me. I thought how hard could it be to tell kids about Jesus and have fun at the same time. Well, I learned a great deal about 9-10 year old boys that year. By the end of the VBS, I was bruised and sore and tired and said, “Lord, I’m not gifted in working with kids. Praise the Lord.” Well, God had different plans. By the next year in September, I found myself on a mission’s trip to El Salvador working with children. God led me to a small village just outside of San Salvador that first night. And on a street corner, just on the other side of a steel fence, the local pastor began to shout over a loud speaker in Spanish to come. He said he told them to come hear the man talk about Jesus. My then pastor, who I came with, gave me the opportunity to speak. I am so thankful to him for it because that night 16 kids gave their little hearts to Jesus. It was there in El Salvador that I accepted my calling to work with kids back home. For the next 6 years, Nancy and I worked together alongside of our children’s pastor as lay teachers and support to our KidzBlast Children’s Ministry. Glory to God!!!

And that leads to today or at least what’s happening now in my life. Back in 2009, I began to feel God wanting me to study His Word and gather up some notes and begin writing a daily prayer devotion. I didn’t know how to respond, but kept it in prayer and set it aside. I was loving children’s ministry and felt I just couldn’t leave. In 2010, our church along with many dozens of other churches hosted a Convoy of Hope outreach in our local community. I was asked to lead the Intercessory Prayer team. Praise the Lord!!! In 2011, I felt a tug on my heart to spend more time in prayer. That I was in a time of preparation. That God was going to move Nancy and me out of children’s ministry. We both prayed and Nancy had told me she felt there was a gifting in me for prayer. Again in 2011, I was asked to lead another intercessor team for a 2nd Convoy of Hope outreach. Glory to God!!! In the summer of 2012, I was given the opportunity to lead a group of prayer warriors pray over our city-wide revival meetings. God moved so greatly in that prayer time. Praise the Lord!!! At the end of those meetings, I was approached by a friend and pastor and he asked me if there would be some way I could help with organizing a regional prayer network. So with the help of three community pastors and some wonderful prayer warriors, a monthly Intercessory Prayer Gathering is held at our local YMCA which Nancy and I facilitate. Glory to God!!!

Fast forward to February 2013; Nancy and I said farewell to the children of KidzBlast for now and told them we were moving into leading a Prayer Ministry at our church. In July of 2013, God brought to fruition the prayer devotion He spoke to me about in 2009. He began to give me words, thoughts, He led me in His Word and on July 8, 2013, this devotion began. Praise the Lord, again!!! I am not qualified or nor talented enough to write every day without God’s hand upon this devotion. My only prayer is that God is glorified.

I started out in Part 1 with “How could you love someone like me?” God did and continues to love me. But I am not the only one that God loves like this. God loves you and everyone else just as much. In fact, He can’t love you any less. He loves you with an everlasting love and desires to bless you. Please don’t take my word for it. Take God’s Word for it. You see, “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.” (John 3:16 NKJV)

Is this the end of my story? I pray it’s not. But what I have shared with you can be duplicated and heard over and over again with everyone that has called upon the name of Jesus. God demonstrates His love by Saving Us, Restoring Us, and Enabling Us. He is no respecter of person. He cares for every breath you breathe and every step you take. He’ll pour out His love and blessings on everyone. God bless all of you.

I humbly submit to You Lord. Continue to take me on new journeys with You. Guide me and lead me and all of my days, I will praise Your Holy Name. Amen and Amen.

Don’t believe me, believe God!

 

Isaiah 14:3 KJV – How could you love someone like me – Part 2

 And it shall come to pass in the day that the Lord shall give thee rest from thy sorrow, and from thy fear, and from the hard bondage wherein thou wast made to serve

Welcome back. In Part 1 of this devotion, we heard of a man who lived a life outside of the will of God and it pushed him to the point of making a decision to take his own life. But praise the Lord that God had a different plan. We learned that God used a man named Mark to minister to him when this man initially thought he was in control. God led Mark to pray for him that day and two days later, this man found himself in church and then at the altar and finally giving his life to Jesus as his Savior. Glory to God!

Today, we examine how God began His plan of restoration in the man’s life and redeemed everything that the enemy had taken away. Today’s devotion:

Part 2 – How God Restores

Well, this man continued to come to church. He was open to Godly leading from Mark who discipled him over many, many months. How blessed he was to work in the same office as Mark. God really had His hand over all of his life. Eight months would pass and he would encounter his first real test of faith.

He had just returned home from being away on business and he pushed the play button on his answering machine to listen to the messages. The first message was from his brother. The message was to call him as soon as he could. Something had happened to their dad. He quickly dialed up the number of his brother and listened as he was told that dad was in a very bad way. He was told to call his mother for the details.

His mom lived in Florida with his dad. They were retired. He called his mom to find out that his dad had been kidnapped, beaten, left for dead in the woods, and was not doing well at all. Mom asked, “Can you come down and help?” He was stunned. He didn’t know how that could have happened to his dad, but he told his mom he would come down as soon as he could.

Since he had just returned from a 2 week business trip, he didn’t see how he could possibly put enough funds together to get down and see his mom and dad. It would take some time for his expenses to be paid from the previous trip. He went to work and began to think about what he could do. He remembered that though he didn’t have the answer on how he could afford the trip, he knew at least he could pray. So he did. He also took time to post a prayer request on his workplace’s prayer chain.

A few hours went by and he received a phone call from someone on the prayer chain to tell him that he was going to Florida and that he would be able to see his dad. He wondered how could this be. He was told that the Plant Vice President had heard about his dad and what happened. The Plant Vice President had provided the necessary funds to purchase a plane ticket to Florida. And he also arranged for expense money to be given to him. He was overwhelmed. God had answered his prayer. A few days later, he would be in Florida.

He sat in his seat on a flight to Florida waiting for the runway to clear before takeoff. Some fog had rolled in and it was going to be a little while. But he had time. On to Atlanta, then on into Orlando. He had some time. He prayed again. He prayed, “Lord, you’ll have to help me with this. I’m still a new believer. I have no idea what I’m to do or how I need to help mom and dad. How could anyone know what to do if they were in the same place as I am?”

Well about an hour had passed and the flight took off. He arrived safe in Atlanta where he called his mom and told her that in a few hours he would be there. Mom said she would arrange for his pickup at the airport. Well, with the delay at the initial airport, his flight from Atlanta to Orlando had already departed. He would now have to find an alternate flight. He called his mom and assured her he was still on his way. As he waited at the gate of the plane he was told he was on standby on, he heard a young lady talking. She had been waiting for 36 hours to get a flight to Orlando. It was spring break. She, too, was on standby. About 6 more hours passed, when he heard his name called. He went to the desk and was told he had a ticket and it was time for him to board. He thought about the young lady waiting for 36 hours. He thanked God that He had intervened on his behalf. He finally arrived in Orlando and found his mom. Soon he would see his dad.

They got to their home and his dad came to the door. He was shocked to see the man at the door. He couldn’t recognize him as his dad. This man was unclean, unshaven, and had bruises all over his back. The man had broken fingers. He looked awful. But when this man spoke in a timid and quiet voice, he realized it was dad. But Dad was never a timid and quiet guy. He always spoke with conviction and integrity. But now it was different. The man said, “Dad, we’ll do this one day at a time.”

You see, his dad was carjacked at a gas station after stopping for gas after work. His dad still worked though he was “retired”. He liked that. Sometimes, mom did, too.

His dad was told to get down on the floor between the seats in his van. Over the next 3 hours, his dad’s assailants beat him while they drove around. When his dad would put his hand over his back to block the repeated blows, the assailants broke his fingers. Then when they got bored with his dad, they took his dad’s belt and put it around his dad’s neck and began to hang him. They opened the side door of his dad’s van, and dumped his dad in the woods to die. But dad didn’t want to die. He put his hand behind the belt and when they raised him to hang him, he passed out. His assailants thought they were successful in getting rid of the witness. But, God had a different plan. When his dad woke up, he crawled out of the woods on his hands and knees and signaled someone walking their dog for help. His dad told him that this was the hardest point of the ordeal. His dad said, “I didn’t want the people I called out to, to think I was a vagrant. I just wanted help.” The rescue squad came and took his dad to the hospital and then the fire department called his mom.

Well, they took one day at a time. The detective bureau at the Sheriff’s office was a big help. He spoke with them daily. They were tracking down his dad’s van. They had a victim advocate working the case and she was a blessing. Dad had to restore his identity by getting a new drivers’ license, social security card, etc. Everything you have to do when someone takes your wallet and identity from you. Each day, Dad would get up and he would seem to get stronger and stronger. He cleaned himself up and began to be the strength he had always remembered dad to be. Then a few days later while watching the evening news, something startled the man and his family. There being displayed, live on TV, was an arrest being made. You know. Like the “OJ Simpson kind of thing”. Pictures overhead from a news chopper. They were showing three men being pulled from a vehicle and being arrested. Right there, on TV, in front of this family was a picture of his dad’s van. They had found his van and found three men in it that shouldn’t have been in it. God allowed the man and his family to see His justice being served.

The detective’s called and this family had to go to the Sheriff Department’s Forensic Lab to retrieve the van. His mom was really angry and bitter. She said she would never ride in the van again. He said he would take it somewhere to be cleaned up and it would be alright. He told his mom he would pray over it and ask God to bless it. He went away to find an auto detailer.

A few hours later, he returned to his mom and dad’s home only to find the news media all over the place. There was a big satellite tower in the front yard and camera’s everywhere taking pictures. His dad was there doing an interview for the local news station. They had heard of his dad’s story. He heard the news anchor ask his dad, “What were you feeling when this happened?” And on camera, in a live broadcast over entire the Orlando area to thousands of television sets, He heard his dad say, “I knew this is not how I was to die. I prayed, Jesus save me.” He was amazed. He was overwhelmed. The neighbors all came out. It was a sight to see. His mom wanted her turn with the camera to give her point of view, but praise God, He had different plans. You see, his mom always spoke what was on her mind.

The man began to talk to the people from the news channel and found out the reporter was a woman of God herself, and the main camera guy, GREW UP IN THE SAME NEIGHBORHOOD OF THIS MAN!!!

This man went home a few days later. He stayed with his mom and dad for 11 days. They witnessed miracle after miracle. This man never forgot. He prayed, “God if You could make a way for the world to know this story. Not for my glory but for Yours.”

When this man returned to work the following Monday, he went to see the Vice President and Plant Manager to say “Thanks”. And God moved again. In the waiting area just outside of the Plant Manager’s office this man told the story. People began to come out of adjacent conference rooms just to listen. God gave this man his first pulpit.

He started with a simple prayer to help him help his mom and his dad. His dad prayed, “Jesus, save me” and the story continues with God being glorified on a local news channel for a whole city to see and ends in front of this man’s peers for them to hear as well.

God restores. He loves us with an everlasting love. In our darkest hours, God hears us, God answers us , and God delivers us.

Remember how I said in the beginning of this blog, that God would redeem everything the enemy took away from this man. Well, there is more. This man’s children, both his daughter and son, also gave their lives to the Lord, shortly thereafter. And, God blessed the man again when God brought His choice to him to take as his wife.

Well, as you may have already guessed, this is my testimony. I share it for one single purpose and that’s to give glory to God; My Savior, Redeemer, and friend, Jesus.

Tomorrow, we’ll look at how God continued to work in my life as I began to serve Him as He called me. Part 3 examines, “How God enables.”

Heavenly Lord, thank You that You hear our prayers and answer them. Thank You that in our darkest hours You are near. Closer than a whisper. Thank You that we can place our trust in You to be our protector and defender. Help us Lord to always call upon Your name. We love You Lord. In Jesus Name. AMEN.

Don’t believe me, believe God!

Isaiah 14:3 KJV – How could you love someone like me – Part 1

And it shall come to pass in the day that the Lord shall give thee rest from thy sorrow, and from thy fear, and from the hard bondage wherein thou wast made to serve.

Today begins a 3 part Prayer Devotion entitled, “How could you love someone like me”. The foundational scripture comes from the Book of Isaiah, chapter 14, verse 3. God is speaking here to the children of Israel as they were held captive in Babylon. God is making a promise that He will again deliver them from bondage as He once did in Egypt. But His blessing is going to take on two characteristics. God is going to work to make a blessed change in their present state and also in their spiritual state.

(1.) In their present state. The children of Israel, they shall have rest from their bondage; the days of their affliction, though many shall have an end; and the rod of the wicked, though it is long, it shall not always lie on them.

(2.) In their spirit. They shall have rest from their sorrow and fear, sense of their present burdens and dread of worse things to come. Sometimes fear puts the soul into a torment (confusion, upheaval, turmoil, uproar) as much as sorrow does. Those who are freed from the bondage of sin have a foundation laid for true rest from sorrow and fear.

But this 3 part devotion is not a study on what God accomplished in the children of Israel. The focus will be on what God accomplished in the life of someone who too was trapped in bondage and now is free.

Part 1 – How God Saves

He went to work on this particular Friday because he had extra work to complete. There were very few people at work that day because most everyone was working a 4 day work week. Mark, his boss, was working with him. They were the only ones in their group that was working that day. It was Friday, July 17, 1999.

It started out to be a regular sort of work day. But something changed. He began to have thoughts of his past. The past of being a drunk and a drug user that included all of the bad things that go along with that. How he neglected his duties as a father. How he would waste money and time getting drunk or high on the weekends. Going to drug houses and the things that go with that. Can anyone imagine the heartache that he encountered when he would bring his little daughter with him to the drug houses only to wait until she fell asleep so that he could satisfy his desires?

That Friday, he began to feel awful. So much so, that he couldn’t concentrate on his work. It got harder and harder and he began to feel pushed into a corner and out of control, squeezed. He didn’t know what was happening to him only that it had to stop. It was the hardest emotional and psychological attack that had ever happened to him. He was shaking and not feeling well. Then came the thoughts of taking his life to put an end to it all. Only then did he realize that it was the one year anniversary of his divorce. He then began to remember all that divorce meant to him and his children. He thought that if he took his life, he would not be a burden to anyone and he wouldn’t have to re-live the things going through his mind.

Mark was his boss at the time. He gave Mark a lot of respect and thought of him as a good person. Mark was someone he could like and get along with. They had a mutual respect and friendship for each other as coworkers. He thought to himself that he probably could get Mark to let him go home early for the day. That way he could take his life. He had the means to do it; he just had to get Mark to say he could go home.

He went over to Mark’s office to talk to him. He said, “Mark, it’s the one year anniversary of my divorce and I can’t keep my mind on my work. Can I go home?” Mark said, “Can I pray for you instead?” He said, “OK” and he sat down on the empty chair in Mark’s office. Mark held his hands and Mark began to pray. He never had a man pray for him before. He began to cry. Mark then told him that he went to church and wanted to know if he ever went to church. He said no and that he hadn’t gone in a long time. Mark gave him the phone number of the Pastor and asked him to call the Pastor and find out when church is on Sunday. Mark asked if he would think about coming to church that coming Sunday morning. He told Mark that he would think about it. He remained at work that day and didn’t go home. The next 36 hours or so he can’t remember.

The next thing he remembered was waking up on Sunday morning and getting ready to go to church. He didn’t want to, but kept getting ready and actually drove to the church. When he parked he still didn’t want to be there, but the church door opened and there stood Mark.

Mark took him to Sunday School and then had someone sit with him in the service while Mark led worship as the worship leader. Then the Pastor began to preach and he felt something different happening in him. That sermon had his name on it. He began to cry again and then the Pastor said there was someone there today that didn’t want to live the life he is leading any longer. The Pastor then said I want him to come up here to the altar. There is someone waiting for him and His name is Jesus. He immediately went to the altar to pray but didn’t know how. Right then and there, Mark put down his guitar and came down to where he was kneeling and asked if he knew what was happening. He said no, but he didn’t want to live like he was living any more. Mark then led him to accept Jesus as his personal Savior. They hugged each other and prayed for over 2 hours.

Two days earlier, he had plans to take my life. On Sunday, July 18, 1999, God had different plans and saved him from eternal death and gave him eternal life. That was 15 years ago and this is now.

Just as God worked in the lives of the children of Israel to make a blessed change in their present and spiritual state, God worked in this man’s life. He didn’t realize that there was a God who could love him. He wondered, “How could you love someone like me?” God poured out his love on him that day. And his life was never the same.

Tomorrow, we’ll look even more deeply into this man’s life when Part 2 examines, “How God Restores”.

Heavenly Lord, thank You for the cross. Thank You for meeting us at our time of need and giving us Your Son Jesus to forgive us, cleanse us, and set us on the path that You have chosen. Help us Lord to live a life that gives You the glory. In Jesus Name. AMEN.

Don’t believe me, believe God!

Isaiah 26:3 NKJV – What kind of peace do you desire?

You will keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on You, because he trusts in You.”

I don’t know about you, but I desire to be at peace all the time. Life’s tough enough to be constantly agitated or disturbed. One of the things that I don’t like is coming home from work and bringing home “the office”. Or some might say bring home “work”. What I mean to say is that sometimes the work environment gets to be so stressful that you literally bring home that stress and the emotions that go with it. I despise not being at peace when I come home.

I love my wife, Nancy, so much that I try not to bring the worries and troubles of the office home with me. As a matter of fact, one of my greatest joys is to see Nancy’s smile. If I were to bring home all of the disturbances that occur at work, I might miss that bright smile. And that would break my heart.

What this scripture verse is reminding us to do is to keep our thoughts and our minds fixed on God. When we do that, it demonstrates our trust in Him. This is accomplished through prayer and meditation. The Apostle Paul writes, “Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy—meditate on these things.” and he follows with, “The things which you learned and received and heard and saw in me, these do, and the God of peace will be with you.” (Philippians 4:7-9 NKJV) Hallelujah!

Our foundational verse in the Book of Isaiah is a promise from God. It doesn’t say that God might, it says that God will. And what kind of peace does God promise? Perfect peace. Peace that is perfect in all ways with no lack or defect. Let’s fix our minds on God and trust Him and let’s carry with us His perfect peace. You never know when God might use you to demonstrate His perfect peace to someone else. What an opportunity that would be to share the love of Jesus.

Dear Lord, thank You for Your perfect peace. Thank You for this promise. As we set our thoughts on You, pour out Your peace upon us. Forgive us Lord when we allow the stresses of this world to overtake us. Help us to turn our eyes upon You, our Lord. In Jesus Name. AMEN.

Don’t believe me, believe God!

James 5:13-14 NKJV – The occasion to pray

Is anyone among you suffering? Let him pray. Is anyone cheerful? Let him sing psalms. Is anyone among you sick? Let him call for the elders of the church, and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord.

There are a lot of occasions to pray. We all know that we face many things each day, some noted above in this scripture. In these verses, James engages the reader in a personal way. His desire is for them to put prayer into practice. He notes here some of the times when prayer should be a definite course of action.

Here we see prayer in times of trouble with “Is anyone among you suffering? Let him pray”. I think that you would agree that when we get ourselves in trouble for whatever reason that would be a very good time to pray.

Next we see prayer in times of happiness with “Is anyone cheerful? Let him sing psalms”. We might allow ourselves to fall into the trap that prayer is less important when we find ourselves in a season of happiness. I think just the opposite. The psalms were written as songs of praise. Songs of praise are the highest form of prayer. It sets God above all things and He finds favor with that kind of prayer. Happiness is the very time we should be singing (praying) songs of praise. You want to know something? Prayer is an active response to the grace of God and it’s Worship.

And then lastly, James asks, “Is anyone among you sick? Let him call for the elders of the church, and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord”.   Again, wouldn’t you agree with me that when we are sick, we are the most vulnerable? When we are sick, don’t we feel defeated and weak? Weakness makes us feel there’s little hope as if there is nothing we can do. Weakness is the very time for prayer.

As you see, we can be praying in all circumstances. In good times and in not so good times. It’s a matter of choice. I know that when I’m feeling sick, I feel comforted when someone acknowledges that they’ve heard of my illness and that they are praying. I know how it makes me feel when brothers and sisters in the Lord come together in corporate prayer for my needs and my sickness. It’s equally as rewarding to both myself and those praying when I can share times of great praise with them when God answers our prayers and He is carrying me on eagle’s wings.

One final thought. The enemy likes to use some of what I talk about here as a scheme. He is a liar and the father of all lies. (John 8:44) He wants believers to think that no one cares when they’ve found themselves in trouble. He’ll lie and say, “Everyone gets into trouble. Why is your trouble any different?” He’ll also tell you nobody wants to hear how sick you are. He’ll say, “There are others who are sicker than you.” And when we want to rejoice in Christ for what He has done for us, the enemy will call you a braggart. THESE ARE ALL LIES AND DON’T BELIEVE THEM.

God desires to hear all of your prayers. (Psalm 65:2) He desires that you find yourself in perfect peace. (Isaiah 26:3) God desires that you are well. God is our Jehovah Raphi, “the Lord that healeth thee.” (Exodus 15:26). And God delights when we give Him praise for answered prayer and all He has done for us. (Zephaniah 3:17) God instructs us to continue earnestly in prayer being vigilant in it with thanksgiving. (Colossians 4:2) As James instructs, let’s put prayer into practice.

Heavenly Lord, thank You that You’ve given us Your Word to instruct us. I thank You Lord for all of the answered prayers You’ve given me. I thank You for those who have stood shoulder to shoulder with me in times of need and healing. Forgive me when I stray and believe the lies of the enemy and set my prayers aside thinking they are not important. You desire to our All in All. You desire to answer our prayers. It’s a matter of asking and receiving. Thank You Lord! May we always be sensitive to the need for prayer and remain vigilant in it. In Jesus Name. AMEN.

Don’t believe me, believe God!

John 8:36 NKJV – Our true declaration of independence

Therefore if the Son makes you free, you shall be free indeed.

Freedom is a word that people all across the globe hold on to as being fundamentally important. Especially if freedom is not something that they have at the present moment and only something that they’ve heard about. In our country, the United States of America, the word Freedom defines who we are. Our country fought hard to possess and then protect our freedom and the rights that came with it. Our Declaration of Independence is the foundation of our freedom. I believe in every single word and will fight to protect it.

“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”

Alexander Hamilton in 1775 said, “The sacred rights of mankind are not to be rummaged for, among old parchments, or musty records. They are written, as with a sun beam in the whole volume of human nature, by the hand of the divinity itself; and can never be erased or obscured by mortal power.”

Freedom is our right and our country has proven that we will die protecting it. Yet sometimes within this freedom we hold so dearly, is bondage. The freedom that Jesus talks about in this Scriptural verse is the freedom accomplished on the basis of His death and resurrection on our behalf. Without new birth in Jesus, without a regeneration by the work of the Holy Spirit, we have little if any true freedom. Jesus was not speaking of political freedom, nor merely a freedom by which we are no longer placed in physical bondage as in the days of our forefathers. Yet, I have to say, that our forefathers knew and believed that our country was founded on the principles of God and freedom in our country could only stand with a connection to our Holy God. The freedom Jesus speaks about is true freedom found in serving God. The bondage outside of this freedom is sin.

Sin deprives us of the ultimate fulfillment of true freedom in Christ. It clouds over our minds, degrades our feelings, and enslaves us to its will. The only remedy, the only victory comes in the grace of God and a rebirthing. “Jesus answered and said to him, “Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.” (John 3:3 NKJV)

Our freedom in Jesus Christ is manifested in the renewing of our minds. In serving Jesus, I find that I no longer look back at the way that I once lived and the ways of the world I once held close to my heart. I live and breathe in the knowledge that Jesus has set me free. Free to openly worship Him, anywhere and anytime. When I call upon His name, I know that He hears me and wants to have conversation with me. I don’t have to use a mediator to come before God so that I can petition Him to answer my prayers. I don’t have to seek permission or make an appointment. Freedom in Jesus Christ means I can seek Him, pray to Him, acknowledge Him, worship Him, and experience Him without any source of authorization or clearance. Accessing God is not “Top Secret” needing special privileges.

Jesus did not suffer and die on the cross for us to continue under captivity to the enemy. When Jesus died for you and me and rose from the grave to defeat sin and death and we accept Him in that belief, His grace and mercy is poured out and we are delivered from the bondage and slavery of sin and enter in to His Freedom.

Dear Lord, we are free indeed in You. Thank You Lord for that freedom. Thank You for defeating sin and death and paving the way for us to enjoy freedom in You. We are no longer tied up and held captive. We are free indeed. Help me to express that freedom in my worship to You, in my prayers to You and in my belief that You hear my prayers and answer them. Forgive me Lord when I take this freedom You have given me for granted. May all that I say and do give glory to Your Name. In Jesus Name. AMEN.

Don’t believe me, believe God!