Gracious Armor

Ephesians 6: 10-18 KJV “10 Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might. 11 Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. 12 For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places. 13 Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. 14 Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness; 15 And your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace; 16 Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked. 17 And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God: 18 Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints”

The armor of God. Don’t run headlong into battle without it on. Read it, reread it, and get it on you. It is time to pray – it is time to join the battle. All the various grace which our Heavenly Father provides for us include armor – protection. How he cares for us makes my heart swell.

I present to you a small handful of verses, below, to sharpen your sword. Study them, memorize them, be strengthened by them and mediate on them. I have no commentary with these. (Except to say Acts 26:18 makes a great prayer if you change a couple words and insert the name of your unsaved love ones.)

I often use many different versions of the bible in my posts (and I am not looking for a fight regarding which version is best). Today all the verses are in the King James Version. This is because I was in a Bible Quiz club as a youth and we had to memorize full books of the Bible in King James Version.  I use it for my studying and reading because I am most familiar with it.  Now that every version is available at our finger tips online – I often look up verses to see the different versions. When posting I copy one, usually without much rhyme or reason, other than many people feel the King James Version is difficult to understand. So if you find these difficult to understand or memorize, I have put the reference at the beginning so you can more easily copy the reference and look it up in any version you wish.
Thank you for reading ~ please enjoy these.

Mark 3:14-15 KJV “And he ordained twelve, that they should be with him, and that he might send them forth to preach, And to have power to heal sicknesses, and to cast out devils”

Matthew 10:1 KJV “And when he had called unto him his twelve disciples, he gave them power against unclean spirits, to cast them out, and to heal all manner of sickness and all manner of disease.”

Luke 10:19-21 KJV “Behold, I give unto you power to tread on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy: and nothing shall by any means hurt you. Notwithstanding in this rejoice not, that the spirits are subject unto you; but rather rejoice, because your names are written in heaven. In that hour Jesus rejoiced in spirit, and said, I thank thee, O Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that thou hast hid these things from the wise and prudent, and hast revealed them unto babes: even so, Father; for so it seemed good in thy sight.”

Matthew 10:8 KJV “Heal the sick, cleanse the lepers, raise the dead, cast out devils: freely ye have received, freely give.”

Acts 26:18 KJV “To open their eyes, and to turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan unto God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins, and inheritance among them which are sanctified by faith that is in me.”

James 4:7 KJV “Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.”

Ephesians 4:27 KJV “Neither give place to the devil.”

Mark 16:17-20 KJV “17 And these signs shall follow them that believe; In my name shall they cast out devils; they shall speak with new tongues; 18 They shall take up serpents; and if they drink any deadly thing, it shall not hurt them; they shall lay hands on the sick, and they shall recover. 19 So then after the Lord had spoken unto them, he was received up into heaven, and sat on the right hand of God.”

Faith is diligently seeking Him

“But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.” Hebrews 11:6 NKJV

I returned to my relationship with God because I screwed things up. I needed God to fix what could be fixed – and sadly one thing could not be fixed.  Please understand that it isn’t self-condemnation or misplaced guilt when I say there is a direct correlation to my sinful life and the death of a family member (which I have only mentioned briefly in the past here).  It is a cold hard fact, but one that does not bring guilt or condemnation – it turned me to Christ for grace, faith and new life.  And I hear the whisper of my past say: “What’s next? When things are going well, will I walk away from God again?”

First of all, God forbid!
Second of all – I have not actually seen the things fixed yet that I came here to see fixed. Yes, a year later and my fleshly eyes do not have the prizes I came for. My loved one is still dead and I still grieve. I still struggle at work with the same issues – it is quiet (today) but every time I think it is finally going well, something happens. I still have a financial crisis and large dollar needs. Although my ex wants me back, he doesn’t want to give up his sins (which happen to be a huge turn-off and hard no for me anyway) and have the relationship with Christ that God has called him to have making it impossible right now for us to reconcile.  My adult child is still living at home and struggling.
AND, my prayer list of needs have increased as I have met other Christians who have prayer requests and I have been lead to intercede in prayer for things.

As God is growing me, all these things seem to naturally fade and I find myself hungry for God. The verse above – Faith is diligently seeking God.
Think about it – chew on it – eat this up! That is why faith is the only way to please him!

God’s love drew me. Grace sprinkled by faith carried me to God, faith sprinkled with grace propelled me to obedience (which really turns out to be the evidence of love). And then I learn that ‘more faith’ is the power to move – and I seek more faith, just to learn it is so simple and not that complicated – faith is diligently seeking God. Let it sink in.

“But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.” Matthew 6:33 KJV

Simple and grace-full. Seeking God is the faith that moves mountains!

However, I also grow impatient.  Not in waiting for my promises, no. I am impatient with the enemy’s tired tactics. Granted his methods have worked since forever, but Jesus and the apostles had authority over it and so do we.

I sought God and found a relationship with him! A real relationship. Two way relationship. He talks to me and I talk to him. THIS IS REAL, PEOPLE!!! If I am blessed materially or with the answers to my prayers matters not! I have met an actual God – The Actual God! and He loves me and he gave me authority!

Why aren’t we all fired up about this? Why do I feel like the only one getting excited? Open eyes to see, ears to hear and minds to understand, dear Lord!!! And let me ask you again – why aren’t we all so excited we are just seeping Jesus out of our pores? At work we are not to share our political and religious views in case we offend – but my testimony and witness keep seeping out of my mouth. I cannot help it.

Today is the day of salvation – now is the time!!! Let’s light this thing up, people!!!

I had a friend tell me it’s different and easy for me – as if! I have been to the edge of hell and back, and had a year of the trying of my faith.  But…

That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honour and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ: Whom having not seen, ye love; in whom, though now ye see him not, yet believing, ye rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory: Receiving the end of your faith, even the salvation of your souls.” 1Peter 1:7-9 KJV

PRAISE THE LORD!!! Who is real, and powerful and transformative!

“And that, knowing the time, that now it is high time to awake out of sleep: for now is our salvation nearer than when we believed.” Romans 13:11

“and who knoweth whether thou art come to the kingdom for such a time as this?” Esther 4:14b KJV

Thanks for reading – stick around because something tells me my story is about to get good! Be blessed!

Giving myself

“And walk in love, as Christ also has loved us and given Himself for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweet-smelling aroma.” Ephesians 5:2 NKJV

I am a ride or die kind of person. So let’s ride, ride hard! It’s my birthday and that means gifts!!! Last few post have been about what gifts God can give and what gifts God wants from us. (Of course they aren’t all-inclusive lists in the posts; I do try to keep these short.) 

I talked about the verse above and making the offering to God, as He offered his son, and gifts we can give to him.  I did not talk about the sacrifice part though.

Sacrifice – according to a quick internet search it’s an act of slaughtering or surrendering. Merriam-Webster says “the act of giving up something that you want to keep”
In the bible however, Old Testament sacrifices were blood spilled to cover the sins of people.  The New Testament, Jesus’s death is the blood sacrifice which is so powerful, it doesn’t just cover sins – it washes them away. Clearly, life is the sacrifice.

“Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.” John 15:13 NIV
Jesus foreshadowed his death when he said the above verse. However, didn’t every last apostle die for Christ?  I think you might get where I am going with this.
My brother signed up for the military and when he did he gave himself to them with everything up to and including his life.  Thankful my brother is still alive, and still enlisted.  He understand this sacrifice in a significant way.
I have to ask: Am I willing to die for Christ? I mean, he did die for me.

The good news is he wants us to die to sin, to our old ways, to the person we used to be and not your actual life. (however I pray that if it was asked of me, I would say “Thy will” and die with the same grace that has brought me here and sustained me)
“Likewise reckon ye also yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord.” Romans 6:11 KJV
Read Romans 6 – all of Romans 6! Good stuff!! So Good!! So sacrifice my sin, become a new creature in Christ as my sacrifice. And what shall be my offering?
“Do not offer any part of yourself to sin as an instrument of wickedness, but rather offer yourselves to God as those who have been brought from death to life; and offer every part of yourself to him as an instrument of righteousness.” Romans 6:13 NIV
Sweet and salty scriptures here. Life and death – how much am I giving? and how difficult it is!  It might be easier to die some bloody death than to figure out how to get my fleshly sinful nature to die and stay dead! Just an hour ago I stubbed my toe and curse words flew from my mouth! (I thought I had broken the habit of cursing.)  So many sins, so many are habits, so many just are.  I am a pretty bad person, I know, it’s hard to believe – I have done some pretty bad things.  How do I stop?!?!  And here comes that grace again! That grace all tangled up with faith that sustains as God helps to purify me, to “continue to work out [my] salvation with fear” (Philippians 2:12 NIV)

Therefore my gift today, it is me! As he makes me into who I am supposed to be in Him.

“Also I heard the voice of the Lord, saying: “Whom shall I send, And who will go for Us?” Then I said, “Here am I! Send me.” Isaiah 6:8

Not sure what God sees in me – but he thinks I’m a pretty good gift. And I can give ‘me’ to him over and over again every day and every minute of every day. 

Thank you for reading – may God bless you and keep you.

Gifts to God

Then Peter said, “Silver and gold I do not have, but what I do have I give you: In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, rise up and walk.” And he took him by the right hand and lifted him up, and immediately his feet and ankle bones received strength. So he, leaping up, stood and walked and entered the temple with them—walking, leaping, and praising God.” Acts 3:6-8

I tithe. This isn’t a post on tithing. (Tithing is giving 10% of your income to God. It’s an act of obedience and worship. It’s the minimum that God asks of us.)
I give offerings when I can. An offering is a gift given above and beyond a tithe.  For example my church is trying to buy a building – my tithe still goes to the church for God to use for his works in the church, and I have scraped together an offering (with prayer) for the building fund. 
A couple posts ago, I shared I am not in a place of overflow in my finances right now – it’s actually quite to opposite. God has and will provide for my needs.  And my intention is not to give a finance lesson, although I am qualified to do so as I do work in finance.  It’s a strange truth that sometimes wise financial choices do not mean you prosper.  Sometime a wise choice means taking a devastating financial hit and climbing back out.
So now, I find myself with Peter in the above verse: Silver and gold I do not have.

You know what I do have? Flip back a post!! I have gifts. Gifts God gave me! Gifts I can use!!! (Really? You won’t click on the ‘previous post’ button on the bottom?! Ok then read: Romans 12:6-8 and 1 Cor. 12:7-11)

You know what else I have?? JESUS!!! And the authority of his name and the power of his name!!!
“Whatever you ask in my name, this I will do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son.” John 14:13 ESV

You know what else I have??? The ability to, like Peter, obey.  Jesus instructed him (and all of us) to do as he did – to be Christ-like.
“If you love me, keep my commands” John 14:15 NIV
“You are my friends if you do what I command” John 15:14 NIV

AND, you know what else I have??? I have the ability to be with them—walking, leaping, and praising God!
“Enter into his gates with thanksgiving, and into his courts with praise: be thankful unto him, and bless his name.” Psalm 100:4

So, Yesterday I thought about what God gives me (and us) – now what can I give God?
God doesn’t need my tithe, he could make a way another way – but I obediently give it. Let’s put this command away and focus on the rest. Maybe instead of asking what and where – there might be a more poignant question: What does God want?

  1. Read any Psalm – He wants our praise and worship! This should be its own post! In praise and worship there is: the presence of God and fullness of Joy, the power to fight our battles and victory, and a bunch of other blessings and gifts to us. Wait, this was supposed to be about giving to God! And look, he is so loving and kind that the more we give the more he gives.
    I heard a friend once say that a relationship with God is us praying but it’s a one way conversation. How sad! Read your Bible friend, it’s how he talks back to you! Worship him – he’ll show his presence, give you a hug, fill you with joy, show you victory, etc.  I have a two way relationship with Christ, I know it is possible. I give to Him, He gives to me, and we share. Its more amiable then my relationship with my best friend!
  2. In John 14:15 and 15:14 – He wants our LOVE evidenced by us keeping his commands – also known as obedience. Can I give obedience in love?
    “And this is love: that we walk in obedience to his commands. As you have heard from the beginning, his command is that you walk in love.” 2 John 1:6 NIV
  3. He wants all of me –
    “Therefore be imitators of God as dear children. And walk in love, as Christ also has loved us and given Himself for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweet-smelling aroma.” Ephesians 5: 1-2 NKJV
    Just as Jesus died for us, we are to offer (offering) ourselves to God – this is love.

Now that I know what gifts I have and how to used them, and now that I know what God wants from me, I can then ask, in obedience, where can I serve the Lord, in my gifts, my worship, and with all of me.
I can start to see my worth and value in Christ Jesus when I ask the right question.  ‘What can I give’ makes me feel small and insignificant. When Peter said he had no money, he spoke with authority knowing he had already given his all, and from the blessed overflow of the power of Christ – he could give more to God to further the kingdom by being an obedient servant used by God for healing to flow through.

GLORY TO GOD!!! I increase in God! I have value and purpose! Here I am Lord, use me! Glory!!

Thank you for reading as I study. Be blessed, both financially and spiritually, and take those blessings and use them to be a blessing! In Jesus name – with all the glory and honor to him! -Amen

By Grace, Through Faith – Growing good gifts

“For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God” Ephesians 2:8 NKJ

Throughout the Bible we see that God first loved us (1 John 4:19 for example).  Love is the first gift from God. His Son sacrificed on the cross kind of love and blood spilled kind of love – the kind of love that dies for someone else – the kind of love we, limited in understanding and limited in experience, struggle to comprehend but sort of get where one dies for another – that’s the kind of love this is. But what was God going to do with all this love (spilled blood) when he was separated from us – if not for GRACE!!! My favorite thing! Grace is the second gift given to any man/woman/child.  God’s love and grace comes to us while we were still sinners and before we acknowledge or know Him.

I google the definition of Grace and it is so beautiful: “(n) simple elegance – courteous goodwill – and a divinely given free and unmerited favor of God, as manifested in the salvation of sinners and the bestowal of blessings”

So simple – here is your free pass to get in!

But in Ephesians it says “by grace” and “through faith” – with this gift of grace setting the stage and belief is an actor and faith compels that actor on to the stage.  A small amount of faith is also given with grace. The recipe is clear: Fill the largest mixing bowl to overflowing with God’s love, add a few handfuls of grace sprinkled with faith, then gently stir replacing to overflowing anything that might have spilled out and watch what our Father God through Christ Jesus can do this powerful combination! The combination is the gift of a changed life when it is accepted.  And then… as you continue to read and pray and grow in your relationship with the Father, Son and Holy Spirit then more blessings and gifts flow!!! Thank you Jesus!!!

22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.” Galatians 5:22-23 NIV

Growth causes the gift of LOVE, JOY, PEACE, ETC.  These gifts come with the action of growth. God is so good – let his blessings flow!!! I have so many needs, but my need to change and grow are greater than my problems. I recognize that many of my earthly problems can be overcome, simply, with more love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.

I am learning to love my enemy and my friends better. (Matt. 5:44)
Learning joy (Nehemiah 8:10) and peace (Philippians 4:7) in the midst of my struggles and needs.
I am learning forbearance & long suffering – as God waited for me and cried out to me and suffered a broken heart until I came back to him. Forbearance is patience with suffering and endurance.
Kindness, goodness, and gentleness are easy to understand and definitely take time and practice – but I don’t know other people’s struggle and being kind, good and gentle could save their life.

I am learning faithfulness – in the King James Version it is just “faith”. So then, in the NIV, when they say faithfulness they mean full of faith. I thank God every day for that measure of faith that was sprinkled on my grace so I could believe the truth and come back to this. And thank God it is a gift that can grow (as these others).  I seek God and grow my faith through obedience (Romans 1:5) so I can fulfill my calling in Christ Jesus. It only takes a small little mustard seed amount of faith (Matt. 17:20) to move mountains! I am ready, God! Let’s do this!

And finally self-control. God also gives us this gift to grow and nurture. Practice. Try and try again. A righteous man falls and gets back up, keeps practicing. (Proverbs 24:16)

I have Asperger’s Syndrome along with ADHD, Fetal Alcohol Syndrome, another I won’t share right now, and Impulse Control Disorder.  So, long story short – When God made me, he forgot to give me the mechanism to control my impulses (aka the foundation of self-control). “Forgot” is the wrong word. God did not make an error. Psalms 139 assures me I was created perfect for his plans for me. God picked the time, the place, the DNA, and every single cell in my body.

Why didn’t He give me the self-control mechanism? I am sure someday it will be all for his Glory! I am content with that answer. In the meantime, learning self-control is a huge battle.  I have worked with counselors on different techniques over the years – but still I found myself doing the whole ‘sex, drugs, and rock-n-roll’ thing. I ran headstrong without forethought into things I swore I wouldn’t do. Into bondage of chains and into depths of sins that make Christians gasp.  I was raised in church – I knew right from wrong and had no way to actually control myself.  I am back serving God and have much stronger self-control skills, and to God be the Glory this verse says self-control is both a gift from God and a fruit to be grown!!! At this point I have a small foundation, acquired through time, but a gift from God none the less. And through our Lord, I can grow it. Nothing is impossible!

And then, I find an old way (a sin) that I slip easily back into (and with me, it’s usually on an impulse). I then wallow and morn my sin and nature – condemning myself so well that the enemy doesn’t have to help – he just watches and cheer me on. I can justify myself through this diagnoses of Impulse Control Disorder – I can give up even trying to change. I am, after all, made this way. And through rationalization and self condemnation I can stop. Stop the flow of God’s grace and stop my own growth and stop the power of God. However….

“There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.” Romans 8:1 KJV
(Read all of Romans 8 – Read all of Romans 8 – Read all of Romans 8)

PRAISE THE LORD!!  I fall, acknowledge my fall, ask for forgiveness, ask to learn from it to prevent it in the future, and move forward in Christ. I will not be chained to it or defeated or held back, but I move forward in new life through grace and faith in Christ Jesus! He forgives us every single time!

Now, Romans 6:1-2 says not to continue in sin that grace may abound, however intentionally trying not to and working through a sin struggle is not willfully continuing in sin. And in no way am I condoning or trying to practice living a sinful life and trying God’s grace – thinking I am ok in Christ while living a way that does not glorify him.  This in my end of the bargain.  Not by my works, but by my willingness to be obedient in order to grow into a better person, the person who God has a blessed plan for – yes, by his grace and mercy for his glory.

So the struggle is: Growing these gifts. Growing as a person. Growing as a Christian.
And it’s all a work of God and done through the gift of grace.

Thank you lord for your gifts – shine through me and use me. Bless my readers and me with gentle growth as you draw us closer to you! In Jesus name I pray – AMEN.

Grace and Other Gifts

Did I mention it is my birthday week?! Happy Birthday to me!! Can I tell you what I want for my birthday?
Well, like it or not, I am – and the good news is that I want gifts that God gives freely to all his children.

We have different gifts, according to the grace given to each of us. If your gift is prophesying, then prophesy in accordance with your faith; if it is serving, then serve; if it is teaching, then teach; if it is to encourage, then give encouragement; if it is giving, then give generously; if it is to lead, do it diligently; if it is to show mercy, do it cheerfully.” Romans 12:6-8 NIV

Again, the gift of grace leads to us receiving other good gifts: prophesying, serving, teaching, encouraging, giving, leading, and extending mercy. This verse shows me what the gifts are and how to complete them: in faith, by action, to cause others to gain knowledge and skill, to lift up, be generous, diligent, and cheerful. There are times in life I have had to serve, teach, encourage, give, lead, and be merciful and during those moments, if done in God’s will, we are gifted the grace to do so for his glory.  This verse isn’t about our every day life which may ebb and flow in and out of these as tasks. It is about the gift of _______.

I once met a children’s teacher who was a gifted teacher – it seemed so natural and her heart was so engaged. I met a lady in my church, growing up, who was overflowing with love and compassion – a gifted encourager.  It helps me to understand the application of this passage. It’s not referring to those times we must step into different tasks (although when in those tasks we should ask for the grace to have the gift while going through it).
The question here, for me, is to ask myself is which gift is mine? Am I a gifted ________?  I should not think about it in terms of what would I like for a gift, or which do I want? Yes, it’s my birthday, soon, shouldn’t I ask for what I want?
Sadly, I do not know myself and God’s full plan for my life and calling as well as God knows.  I would not make the best choice. Like when my son was little and wanted to get ice cream for dinner but hadn’t eaten well all day and really could use some good nutrients – he didn’t understand my choice for him, but it was good and for his benefit (even if it tasted like grass instead of like sugar). Then other days when he had eaten well, I would say let’s get ice-cream! If I am a child and God is my parent, where am I and in which scenario?  See? I am unable to select my gift.

Heavenly Father, today or this week, give to me and grow in me the gifts you have for me to fulfill your will for my life, please. I accept it and want to be a faithful steward of your blessings. Amen
AND now I am assuredly receiving at least one gift for my birthday!

But the manifestation of the Spirit is given to every man to profit withal. For to one is given by the Spirit the word of wisdom; to another the word of knowledge by the same Spirit; To another faith by the same Spirit; to another the gifts of healing by the same Spirit; 10 To another the working of miracles; to another prophecy; to another discerning of spirits; to another divers kinds of tongues; to another the interpretation of tongues: 11 But all these worketh that one and the selfsame Spirit, dividing to every man severally as he will.” 1 Cor. 12: 7-11 KJV

I see here I get a second gift right in the first verse and maybe more?!?!  We all get the gift of the Holy Spirit manifested in our lives! God is such a good God!! 
I just gave my son one board game for his birthday. Just one gift. And God has multiple for me?!?! Obviously his riches are greater than mine! Hehehe

So, when Jesus left the earth he told his disciples he was going to send another to be with them – and he sent the Holy Spirit. This is a gift to the 12 and to us also, as we see here. Every Christian gets the Holy Spirit!! (Insert meme with talk show hostess giving away free gifts)

With the Holy Spirit, comes these spiritual gifts. It says we get one and maybe several as it is divided among the church. Again, with God choosing who gets what, how many and when.  It clearly states these are for encouraging other Christians and doing the work of God. So if I am not called or ready, I will not receive or will have to wait. And some I will not receive as it is not meant for me.

I have met many pastors and evangelists who have been blessed with many of these as God uses these gifts to do His work. And I have seen other teachers in the church have just one of these gifts. The number of these gifts in your life does not show your favor with God, it doesn’t show that you are more advanced or better in any way. God has a bigger picture of what is going on and He puts the willing and obedient followers where he needs them. Remember Psalms 139? He already made us for this, these gifts just equip us.

Let me review the gifts: word of wisdom, word of knowledge, faith, healing, the working of miracles, prophecy, discerning of spirits, divers kinds of tongues, and the interpretation of tongues.
We see that Jesus had most of these gifts! After the Holy Spirit arrives in the book of Acts, we see that all the church leaders had most of these gifts.  I’ll be honest, I WANT THEM ALL!!

Having learning disabilities (I dislike that description – I am neuro-atypical) wisdom would be wonderful in many situation as I tend to act faster than wisdom would warrant.
Knowledge would be great – I was in a prayer meeting the other day and I wished I had more knowledge about the situation to know how to pray. Like when the prayer team member came over to me and had the knowledge that God had said to pray for me and how to pray. 
In another prayer meeting a lady asked for healing – I want so badly for her to be healed. I see no one else looking at her and saying “you are healed by your faith, faith shown by you asking” – I don’t see healing and miracles and I don’t understand why. I pray to God “use me” and feel God sitting me back down and says not now, keep growing your faith. The gift of healing and miracles is greatly needed. Seeing the power of God will encourage the people’s faith!
LORD, NOW IS THE TIME, TODAY IS THE DAY!!! I pray for revival and the manifestation of the Holy Spirit Power!   

I see how each gift can edify the church, more lives saved, more glory to God! I want all the gifts. Unless, more stand up and say, here I am use me, Lord.

I pray that all Christians alive today be blessed with the spiritual gift of discerning of spirits. I pray for you my reader, my church pastor as well as the body, I pray over all Christ’s followers.  In this year, these times, we need to know the spirits (if they are of God or against him). I ask in the name of Jesus!

Oh the gifts of the Lord are good. He has a plan and gives accordingly. All I need to do is accept the gifts and use them.  Here I am, use me!  Let’s keep our hearts open for whichever gifts manifest in our lives – let’s go forth sharing the good news with power (these people need a Mighty God – I need a Powerful God as well). Let’s move mountains with grace! Break chains with mercy! And move forward the Kingdom of God with faith! Amen!
Lord, for my birthday pour out your gifts and Spirit on me and my readers. You know how to give good gifts. Thank you!!!!

With God nothing is impossible

“As God’s co-workers we urge you not to receive God’s grace in vain. For he says, “In the time of my favor I heard you, and in the day of salvation I helped you.” I tell you, now is the time of God’s favor, now is the day of salvation.” 2 Corinthians 6:1-2 NIV

I have a lot of BIG things I am praying for and about. (yes, this sounds like yesterday’s post.) I am not ashamed to have needs and not ashamed to pray boldly for them. Let me share how my last week played out and the testing of my faith in what really amounts to a little thing.  Not a big thing like a soul to be saved, not a government to be protected, just a simple small need and definitely a first world problem. 

My adult (23 years old) son just graduated last spring from college, has a good job (not in his field and not making much), it is steady work, and he is just starting off into independent adulthood. I am proud of him even though he is struggling – it a familiar struggle and a stage of life most adults have been through once or even a few times.
He took his car to the shop for a repair (one of those dealer parts kind of thing) and was quoted just under $500. Big money for him. I said I would help. However, God permitted obstacles and a change of direction – something the enemy meant for evil and God had a plan to use it for good.
The dealership opened up the car and immediately called us. The problem was not so simple – it was huge. The new quote was over a thousand just to get the car fixed enough to diagnose the rest which they predicted to be almost another thousand. The old car (with body damage, with 200k miles, with a value of $500 and with nothing left to offer this world) should not be fixed.

Immediately, I praise the lord on the inside.  I had already took a half day off from work the next day – we were at a dealership (and since I don’t know about cars, buying one from a dealer might be wise) the timing and location seemed to wrap me in the comfort of God’s grace. In faith I walked out to the front sales floor and said we want to buy the least expensive car on your lot. My faith was fixed. This is it! Since my son needs a car to get to work – it’s a need – then GOD WILL PROVIDE! AMEN!!! Step aside and stay out of my way.

Meanwhile, my son starts to panic – it all happened so fast. He was still processing that his car (his first car ever) just died.
I throw him in for a test drive. He is shocked and confused but gets in the car with the sales lady and drives. I pop open my banking app and say: “Dear Jesus, how are you going to do this? Obviously not with my money.” 

I did not wait for an answer from God. Might have been my first mistake in this. Instead I called my brother. He encouraged me and reassured me that God will make a way. It will probably be by financing, but it will build the kid’s credit and (quickly calculating based on estimated numbers) the monthly payment may be less than a week’s pay for him. I am reassured and ready. If God pulled it off that night it would have been a huge miracle; to God be all the glory!!!

My son comes back from the test drive, quiet. So I talk with the sales person. I saw a huge STOP sign when numbers grew too high before closing costs when they should have been going down – so we leave.  My son is starting to get a negative attitude (I do not notice) and I am in “fix the situation” mode.  When he and I finally talk alone, he is not ok – not with the car he drove, not with his car being broken, not with us talking numbers and financing and all these things he doesn’t understand and talking about all these car things he has never even thought about or knew about. He was overwhelmed. I quickly say, breathe deep, this is how life goes sometimes. We are doing this and I stop at the dealer next door. I walk in and say: show me the least expensive are on the lot. My second mistake – I should have given my son time to catch up.

Instead his attitude continued to decline and I was letting it all happen to fast. We leave place number two with a paper; on it car info on a reliable car that meets his needs and a firm number for cost (in a good range for financing). I have peace.

The drive home was a nightmare, as I began to realize my son was crumbling under fear and stress and anger with a giant attitude problem. I tried talking with him, but he was shut down. I began to stress about him.
I get home call a few praying friends to ask for prayers. But at this point my stress about my son seems to be projected onto the situation – it is obvious I am not myself now either. I too caught the spirit of fear. And I still haven’t taken the time to really talk and listen to God. One of my praying friends is on the line trying to calm me down and it isn’t working. Then all of a sudden I calmed. I had grace, peace and powerful faith again. It was strange, but so grateful for it. God literally released me from that and I was me again. (Turned out another friend was praying for me at that moment!)

Remember this from yesterday’s post:
Philippians 4:19 KJV “my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus.”
I can have confidence the answer is: “Yes, child, I will meet this need.”
Praise the Lord!
“And sometimes I need to wait on the answer as you see above in Daniel, sometimes a battle delays the answer.”
Yea, keep this in mind as I tell you what happened next. I TOLD God that I believed he would provide a car and I slept. I did not talk with him – I told him. I did not listen. I slept. How many mistakes am I up to now?

In the morning I messaged all my friends to encourage their faith and said: “I will message later today with pictures of this glorious blessing from God” (no, pictures were sent to them later that day). Then I went to work. I had taken half a day off – so as soon as I punched off the clock, I grabbed my son and went to the bank with the paper (with the details of the good little car I found on the second car lot). Long boring financial conversation and then the bank and I agree that my son should try first to finance in his name without a co-signer. My son has a frustrated (and unhappy look on his face but agrees (and probably only because he thought it was what he had to do). 

Is anyone else getting mad at me? Don’t worry, I get a clue eventually – keep reading.

He was denied – great credit score, just too much college loan and not enough income (and no assets). We discussed trying at a dealership in case they had any of those programs that maybe my son qualifies for – big maybe. If denied, she said to come back and I can co-sign.  So off we go.

At the advice of friends first I decide to check in with my repair guy (who occasionally buys and sells cars). He has a truck for sale – I could buy it with my savings and drain our funds, but it would be paid for. So, my son takes a test drive AND HATED IT more than he hated the good little car we found at the second lot.

Well, I am not completely daft. I know I need my son to get on board, especially if he will be taking on a car payment. So I agree we keep looking. We then go around town trying to see what our options are (although my brother, son and I have already been on all the websites).  The day speeds by and it’s now too late to start and complete the car buying process. I say to my son: we are driving to the next town to see what they have – you need more choices.

Its presidents week/month sales time and tax return season (although we don’t have our return yet which would have made this process easier – God loves impossible situations). However, no used car is staying on any lot. Everyone was saying you should have come last week. My son wasn’t picky. The truck wasn’t the wisest choice and the good little car? Well, it was horribly ugly and handled like a loud, cheaply made… well, I was also sad it was the best option.  And my son was struggling to even be ok with what was happening, his face had a scowl I feared would never go away.

In the next town we find a funky Kia Soul in the price range the bank was telling us to look in. I let my son test drive it with the sales person while I stayed back, like I did each time – he needs to do this and it has to be his decision. I kept messaging my praying friends letting them know where we were in the process so they could keep praying. We all knew the billion pieces to the puzzle of buying a car and how much can go wrong. We were keeping it all covered in prayer.  AND praying for my son.

After the test drive, we sit at the sales man’s desk and talk. I can see my son liked it and it isn’t much more than the ugly but good car (similar safety rating, gas mileage, size, ability in adverse weather, etc.) . My son says to the guy: so what do I do next.

He replies: you have to decide what you want.

My son says: I want it.

By this point the guy is rooting for my son, they had made a connection. The salesman became more fatherly and less of a salesman. So he is thrilled my son’s bad attitude has slipped away and he made a choice! He jumps up in pride and shakes my son’s hand! I don’t think he expected to be as invested in our process as he became. God has a funny way of helping us.

I am sorry this is so long and hardly deep enough for you to understand the battle that was happening. This might have been the second biggest victory in this adventure.  

I explain the financing situation just as the bank told me to – it’s a long shot. We get the financing going and my son puts some money down on the car. And we are sent home.  I get home in time to go to the church group I attend and I ask the ladies to keep it in prayer.  Meanwhile, my son who doesn’t fully believe in God anymore is home praying as well. (This is the biggest victory?!)

Morning comes – he was denied financing. “But I prayed for this car – God hates me! This is why I don’t believe – He doesn’t care.”

The wind is also knocked out of my sail – but God I believe you meet our needs and reward those who seek you.  OK, time to listen to God, finally. I think maybe we need more options. Different car? Different place? Maybe a cheaper and older jalopy from a junk yard?! We both have the day off – let’s do this – but wait, “God, where do I go?”

I lollygagged around the house waiting for direction.  Telling my son what options we have left including me co-signing. AND if we thought his attitude was bad before? He was so mad at himself for having hope and believing in God; and enraged at God.

This was going to be a difficult day – I get all my praying women on board with more prayers – LETS DO THIS! There is NOTHING going to stand in the way of my God showing his love to my child – I put the enemy on notice:
satan cannot have my child or his blessing!
It is written: my God shall supply all my needs! (Phil 4:19)
It is written: Today is the day of salvation! (2 Cor. 6:2)
It is written! It is written! It is written!

I took a breath and yelled to my son – “Let’s Go!”
“I don’t know. We are going north.”
I start driving north. I have no idea where to go or what to do.
“Look there is our bank!” I pull in. My son is whining that he doesn’t want the Kia Soul any more. I say, “just come on”.

Now, my financial back story and why I didn’t do this first off and straight away. While my son was in college and I paid 12k a year out of my paychecks because I didn’t have savings like that – I kind of destroyed my credit making ends meet. But I was working with my bank then and I still am and we have had a plan and it’s going as we hoped. January 1st after he graduated I was going to (and did) borrow some and withdraw some money – pay a bunch of debt off and consolidate the rest and have one low monthly payment to fix the issues. Since this was just over 30 days ago, none of us want to run my credit. It’s Schrödinger’s box and we are scared the cat is dead. And my son understood the risk to my financial plan.  What he didn’t understand was the power of God! When we ran mine – we learned my credit score improved by more than 50 points in the last 36 days! Then we ran the application with me co-signing and we were approved. My son almost burst into tears. He asked again: so I am approved?! Yes! Call the car salesman and tell him we need a purchase agreement!

Would it be that easy? It was 11 am. OF COURSE NOT! EVERY SINGLE THING WAS AN OBSTICLE! This was wrong and needed to be fixed, that was too, and so was that. I drove from my home town to the next town and back again, 3 times. We didn’t eat, drink or breathe for most of the day as we prayed while things slowly worked out. 4:32 pm he signed the loan paperwork and 4:40 pm we walked out of the bank with the check. 6:30 pm he was in the new car and driving off the lot waving goodbye to the old dead car in his rear view mirror (and by another strange miracle they took the dead beast in trade).

His payments are $20 less than we expected and less than a week’s pay per month.  The rate is low and the total loan price is actually still a good price to buy that car at. The number of blessing that happened in these two days are too many to count.

But let’s remind me of my lessons:

  1. Take time to listen to God – really listen. Did you notice the answer to what to do was given to me early on – we just didn’t listen and ran ourselves around for no reason? I google “Bible verses on listening to God” and Psalms 143:8 is the first one: “Let the morning bring me word of your unfailing love, for I have put my trust in you. Show me the way I should go, for to you I lift up my soul”.
    Yes, he bought a Kia Soul! Giggles.
  2. And when I did listen – I knew to go north and didn’t know if I was going to the bank or to more car dealerships. Sometime we just need to start moving when God says move and he will direct as we go.
    “And each went straight forward; wherever the spirit was about to go, they would go, without turning as they went.” Ezekiel 1:12
  3. SLOW DOWN!!! My poor son. Yes, he is responsible for his bad attitude, but to be fair – I never discussed anything with him and took off like lightening – Talk and listen to your children I have since and apologized.
    “take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak” James 1:19
  4. What did I actually even do? I drove around in circles and stress my son out. The truth of this whole story is: my son figured it out. He picked out the car – he did the soul searching. He was considerate of my financial needs. He did it! And I am so proud of him.

God has much work to do with me – pray for me! But God isn’t quite finished with any of us yet! I will pray for you – whoever you are who has stumble upon this blog. Be blessed and encourage. Thank you for reading.

The impossible prayers

“As God’s co-workers we urge you not to receive God’s grace in vain. For he says, “In the time of my favor I heard you, and in the day of salvation I helped you.” I tell you, now is the time of God’s favor, now is the day of salvation.” 2 Corinthians 6:1-2 NIV

I have a lot of BIG things I am praying for and about. I was at the end of my rope when I cried out for Jesus’s help and I warned Him that I needed a mighty God.  I didn’t need some nice platitude to recite while I felt my world was burning around me. (Good thing He had already wrote in His book that He is a MIGHTY GOD!!)
Many of my prayers require God to work on and change the hearts of many people – and this makes for a long process.  We have free will to choose if we want to follow God or fight against him. And when God works deep in the hearts, those of us praying (like me for my situations and people) will not see the little results and victories won along the way. As I discussed endurance (a couple days ago) – I told you I have been praying for a year now. I’m in it for the long game.
I will not receive God’s grace in vain as described in the verse I quoted above – the grace of verses like this is that of encouragement and remind me that I am on track, and that my prayers are heard today – yes even today – God is working on it!!  (Thank you Jesus!)

“Then he said, “Don’t be afraid, Daniel. Since the first day you began to pray for understanding and to humble yourself before your God, your request has been heard in heaven. I have come in answer to your prayer.”  Daniel 10:12 NLT
If you do not know the story of Daniel, he started praying and fasting and it took 21 days for the angel of the lord to arrive with the answer; 21 days of prayer and fasting! The angel got caught up in a spiritual war. Angels can be delayed due to spiritual battles? Yep. Good stuff for me to remember while waiting to see the answers for my prayers.

“The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective.” James 5:16 NIV
I am sure I am not righteous in the holy sense – but I am covered by grace, prayed for forgiveness, and a new creature in Christ. I am learning to do right. No one is pure, holy and righteous.  Other translations of the Bible say innocent person, good person, just man, and those who have God’s approval. So, look at that! I fit in those categories.

The key is to really know what the Bible says is God’s promise and/or God’s will. For example, if I need a blessing and I have need, then I can read Philippians 4:19 KJV “my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus.” Then a simple “Amen!” prayer following is a great way to pray the verse and speak faith believing God’s word to be true. Or I can pray:
“God, your word says you will supply this need, because you are able to. I believe this verse and ask you to please meet this need. I pray in the name of Jesus, Amen!”
Because I prayed the word of God and His exact will as it is laid out in the bible I can have confidence the answer is: “Yes, child, I will meet this need.”
Praise the Lord!
And sometimes I need to wait on the answer as you see above in Daniel, sometimes a battle delays the answer.

Honestly, it’s hard to wait on the Lord and continue to bring my requests and intercessions to Him.  A Sunday or two ago, in church, I broke down to God in frustration. Thank God He is close to the brokenhearted.
I showed up to church with great expectations and a friend in tow who is running away from God faster than I can read my Bible (which is pretty fast), and my friend hadn’t been to church in a while.  The songs were the good ones, the ones that comforted me when I came back to Christ a year ago.  The Holy Spirit was definitely in the service.  The sermon wasn’t condemning yet had some hard convicting truths. As the service played out I prayed for my friend: “God do something!” I didn’t know what or how – be God or something awesome like that. “Lord, don’t let us leave without a confirmation that you are working in their life! Please!” And the service ends. We pick up our things – and I feel sad, I hold back my tears, fake a smile, and with one last prayer I breakdown to God (in almost 3year old temper tantrum style in my head) and silently cry out: “I know I can’t see You working on the inside, but where is that blinding light that knocked Saul off his feet on the way to Damascus?! Where is the Angel of the Lord smiting him in his side? Where is the whale to swallow him? (I know, my church is no where near an ocean.)” I walk to the end of the row, and as I reach the aisle an alter worker runs over to me and hugs me and says: “God says you need a hug today. Are you ok?” At that moment I lost control of those held back tears.

That is a faithful servant of God! Praise the Lord for her! God confirmed he is working and did it before we left – just like I asked. Not with fireworks or anything extravagant – just a hug to remind me he loves me, he hears me, and he is answering (working it out). And he is providing more grace to keep getting through.
I also took that moment with the altar worker to share my prayer request for that friend’s restoration. There is another now praying as well.

Interceding on behalf of another is a difficult prayer to pray through to the end – free will and the spiritual battle over their soul are real and delays the process. Only delays – nothing is impossible. God is mighty and he is victorious.  

Hebrews 11:6 NKJV “But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.”

Amen? – Yes, amen.
Thank you for reading. May God provide verses and hugs to comfort you while you wait on God to bring the complete answers to your prayers to fulfillment.

Work produced by faith – III

Part 3

Thessalonians 1: 3-10 – “We remember before our God and Father your work produced by faith, your labor prompted by love, and your endurance inspired by hope in our Lord Jesus Christ. For we know, brothers and sisters loved by God, that he has chosen you, because our gospel came to you not simply with words but also with power, with the Holy Spirit and deep conviction. You know how we lived among you for your sake. You became imitators of us and of the Lord, for you welcomed the message in the midst of severe suffering with the joy given by the Holy Spirit. And so you became a model to all the believers in Macedonia and Achaia. The Lord’s message rang out from you not only in Macedonia and Achaia—your faith in God has become known everywhere. Therefore we do not need to say anything about it, for they themselves report what kind of reception you gave us. They tell how you turned to God from idols to serve the living and true God, 10 and to wait for his Son from heaven, whom he raised from the dead—Jesus, who rescues us from the coming wrath.”

And we left off on verse 4-“For we know, brothers and sisters loved by God, that he has chosen you,” Abba Father, thank you for choosing me and adopting me to be a “child of God” and to partake of the inheritance with Christ Jesus!

because our gospel came to you not simply with words but also with power, with the Holy Spirit and deep conviction.” Lord, you knew how bad I was and in the midst of it you came to me with your words (The Bible) and with power (life changing power) and the Holy Spirit (which is also described in the Bible as a still small voice) and DEEP conviction – oh how you knew the depths of me and shone a light that I could acknowledge the error of my ways and repent, ask forgiveness, accept Jesus into my life to change me. I am forever grateful; I did not deserve it and you loved me enough to provide this way to bless me.

[Ok, I have to explain what the gospel is to you, the reader, in case you do not know and I’ll make it quick because, literally, I could talk for days about it.
In the beginning God created everything including mankind, and made humans specifically in his image and loved them so much he spent a lot of time with them. After the fall of man in the Garden of Eden, man was separated from God by sin. God missed his humans and wanted to be close to them again, so he gave some rules (laws) to the Old Testament Hebrews and said do these things and sacrifice an animal, so that its blood can COVER your sins. BUT God loved all of mankind and this only worked for the Jews. So he foretold a savior the come atone for all sins – then God came, in the form of Christ Jesus and made a way, explained God’s love, brought conviction of sin, deliverance from satanic bondage and evil, miracles and healing. Jesus sacrificed himself, by letting them crucify him on the cross, his blood spilled as the blood sacrifice and made a way for humans to be forgiven of their sins. We just need to believe Jesus was the ultimate sacrifice and his blood spilled so we could be forgiven – and asks for forgiveness of course. Then pray (communicate with him) and read his word (the Bible) to know what he says. And develop a relationship with him. In short this is the gospel and the essence of God’s grace!]

“You became imitators of us and of the Lord,” Heavenly father, provide me with Godly examples and supports in your church, please.

“for you welcomed the message in the midst of severe suffering with the joy given by the Holy Spirit.” When I was yet in the ways of being evil and sinful – while my poor choices and life problems caused me grief and severe suffering – while I struggled to smile – GOD’s love swooped in and made me smile and I welcomed the message. It hasn’t been easy to believe and have faith. Some of the things have stretched me out of my comfort zone (like loving my enemies) and if not for grace I would not have been able to be obedient. Thank you Lord for recognizing me.

“your faith in God has become known everywhere. Therefore we do not need to say anything about it,” Someday Lord, let me be known for my faith!

“They tell how you turned to God from idols to serve the living and true God, and to wait for his Son from heaven, whom he raised from the dead—Jesus, who rescues us from the coming wrath.” And Lord please let my transformation from sinner to saved by grace, my story and testimony of your goodness be told, that more of the people who you have chosen might be transformed and saved from their sins and strife.

Salvation is the important work produced by faith! Mine!! Yours!!! And our loved ones!!!!

Thank you for reading. I pray:

“The God of peace will soon crush Satan under your feet. The grace of our Lord Jesus be with you.” Romans 16:20 (NIV)

Work produced by faith – II

Part 2

Thessalonians 1: 3-10 – “We remember before our God and Father your work produced by faith, your labor prompted by love, and your endurance inspired by hope in our Lord Jesus Christ. For we know, brothers and sisters loved by God, that he has chosen you, because our gospel came to you not simply with words but also with power, with the Holy Spirit and deep conviction. You know how we lived among you for your sake. You became imitators of us and of the Lord, for you welcomed the message in the midst of severe suffering with the joy given by the Holy Spirit. And so you became a model to all the believers in Macedonia and Achaia. The Lord’s message rang out from you not only in Macedonia and Achaia—your faith in God has become known everywhere. Therefore we do not need to say anything about it, for they themselves report what kind of reception you gave us. They tell how you turned to God from idols to serve the living and true God, 10 and to wait for his Son from heaven, whom he raised from the dead—Jesus, who rescues us from the coming wrath.”

Let us pick up where we left off yesterday, at the end of verse 3:
and your endurance inspired by hope in our Lord Jesus Christ.” My hope is in you, like the definition of faith (being the substance of things hoped for). So Lord you are the substance of my faith. Substance – I just used a search engine to get the definition: “the real physical matter of which a thing consists and which has a tangible, solid presence.” I believe and you are real physical matter, tangible, solid, presence – GLORY!!! AMEN!!! Let me reread all that a couple more times, because I cannot even give words to how good and deep this can flow.

** ** **

I just reread a few times and I stumble over the word “endurance” which I wish I could skip. It has been a year since the death of my loved one – and me beginning to turn to you, Jesus. A year of me crying out. A year of me being more and more bold, bringing more and more requests and intercessions – a year of waiting for the fruition of this “endurance”. Heavenly father, as I learn to speak with you, learn you as “my daddy”, Abba Father, and learn how to share intercessory prayer with Jesus is has only been 8 months of enduring and crying out to you on behalf of my loved ones daily. 8 months isn’t as long as a year. But it was only last month the pastor preached on intercession, the day before that I began looking it up on my own – so maybe it’s only been a month? And as I look at it that way, I suppose I am strong enough to have endurance as you provide me the grace to endure.

Hebrews 12:1-2 “Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.”

The dictionary online defines endurance as: the power of enduring an unpleasant or difficult process or situation without giving way.

When I was in middle school and high school I ran long distance races. I suppose what I was running from is another post for another time. My point is that as a distance runner, you sprint out a very short distance then steady your pace. You focus on your job: one foot in front of the other at a certain stride, in a certain rhythmic time (that works best for your body as you have practiced over and over again) and with a certain breathing pattern. The finish line is promised. You know how it ends if you stay focused and look ahead. That is how I endured those races.

Thank you for reading, I appreciate it. I pray you and I have endurance, produced by faith, to finish the things we have started in Christ Jesus.

“Look straight ahead, and fix your eyes on what lies before you.” Proverbs 4:25