The Power of Prayer

James 5: 13-18:  How do I know that prayer is powerful?  Especially if the prayer is joined by the righteous and made in faith.  What?  That is rather confusing.  How do we know if the prayer is offered in faith, without doubt? We don’t know about others that are praying, we can only know about our own faith. I know that prayer is powerful because my son is alive and he has put himself into situations where he should have died.  For a while he was pulling  stunts such as walking on a partially frozen pond near our home. He fell into the pond.  He insists that he got out all by himself. I know that he was pulled out most likely by a couple.  I know a couple pulled him out, because they brought home his coat, his cell phone and his wallet.  Items he thought he lost.  This was God, through prayer, I had been worried about him.  So I prayed for his protection.  God answered. He has a plan for that son. God has a plan for all of us. It just takes prayer for it to shine through. Sometimes, like in the story of David Voshell, a once convict and later a chaplain for the Jeffco jail in Colorado, it takes years of prayer. I think it was about 25 years of prayer of one diligent man.  It is in his story.  All I know is that you have to pray, pray specifically, frequently, and with belief that God can and do what you are asking.  You also have to study the word so your prayers are inline with God’s will.  But mostly you have to BELIEVE GOD WILL RESPOND, AND UNDERSTAND THAT SOMETIMES HE SAYS NO.

13 Is anyone among you in trouble? Let them pray. Is anyone happy? Let them sing songs of praise. 14 Is anyone among you sick? Let them call the elders of the church to pray over them and anoint them with oil in the name of the Lord. 15 And the prayer offered in faith will make the sick person well; the Lord will raise them up. If they have sinned, they will be forgiven. 16 Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective.

17 Elijah was a human being, even as we are. He prayed earnestly that it would not rain, and it did not rain on the land for three and a half years.18 Again he prayed, and the heavens gave rain, and the earth produced its crops.

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Harmony, Leadership, and Strength.

Romans 12:4-5:  This explains why we need community. We are designed by God to help each other to work in harmony.  We say the body of Christ, then we go our separate ways. When we need to be in contact with each other raising each other up in prayer. We need to be there to lend a hand when one of the body needs help.  To do that we have to be vulnerable within the body of Christ. Unless you attend a small church, one where everyone knows everyone else; then a church should have small groups because this is where we can connect to other Christians. This is not an overnight process, we have to get to know each other and create bonds and relationships. Through these relationships we become close and are more likely to pray for each other with specific prayers.  We are there to help each other. But until your group is willing to let their hair down the bond is not Jesus strong.  As a leader, I find that if I am willing to be vulnerable, then the members of my small group are willing to trust me to share their stories with me. As we share our stories we become Jesus Strong.  

For just as each of us has one body with many members, and these members do not all have the same function, so in Christ we, though many, form one body, and each member belongs to all the others.

Despair or Gladness?

Psalms 116: 1-7:  How easy it is to be overcome with depression, feelings of insecurity, and fear. These are not the ways of the Lord. When we trust in God, we find ourselves overcoming obstacles. We find more strength. We find a renewed sense of peace. I so not know how many times I have found myself feeling despair as if there is no hope.  But then I see a sign of God, as you may guess my favorite signs of God is the little yellow birds, sparrows, cardinals, or blue jays. But the flowers of the field are also signs of God.  The sunshine, how is it that we miss them?  How do we allow ourselves to feel overwhelmed with feelings of despair? Is it because we are selfish? Or is it we lose our sight? Are we overwhelmed by the tasks at hand?  To me it seems like a million things. But as easy as it is to start to feel despair, it is just that easy to turn to the Lord. It is that easy to remember that God is always there. God is by our sides. Jeremiah 29:11 states that he wants to prosper us.  The Psalms teach us that he wants us to have peace. Jesus teaches us that he will never leave us or forsake us. Since God is truth, then it must be that we have given in to some sort of lie.

I love the Lord, for he heard my voice;
    he heard my cry for mercy.
Because he turned his ear to me,
    I will call on him as long as I live.

The cords of death entangled me,
    the anguish of the grave came over me;
    I was overcome by distress and sorrow.
Then I called on the name of the Lord:
    Lord, save me!”

The Lord is gracious and righteous;
    our God is full of compassion.
The Lord protects the unwary;
    when I was brought low, he saved me.

Return to your rest, my soul,
    for the Lord has been good to you.

Celebrate

James 4: 4-10:  Ever wonder why your old friends don’t want anything to do with you after you are saved and baptized? Unless of course, your old friends are Christians. Then this does not apply to you.  Because if your old friends are Christians, when you accept Christ, they are partying with you.  My church is interesting.  Our Pastor will baptize, or allow to be baptized every Day of the week.  He has told us that on numerous occasions and I have seen the evidence.  He will baptize on a Saturday night, Monday morning, Tuesday evening, I have seen it happen. I have been to churches that if you asked to be baptized, they say well we need enough people to make it worth getting the baptismal out. How sad.  That is saying your decision to accept the Lord is not important to me.  I have to wait until enough people have accepted.  I like my current pastor’s way better.  Every person’s salvation is worth celebrating. I mean when someone confesses that Jesus is the Messiah, that he is the savior of the world and accepts Jesus as their personal savior (the reason we are baptized Acts 2:38), the angels rejoice. Luke 15: 7 and 10.  Jesus repeats it twice; he says the angels rejoice over one person that is saved.  This is why I really appreciate my current pastoral team’s position.  React and Rejoice over each one.

You adulterous people, don’t you know that friendship with the world means enmity against God? Therefore, anyone who chooses to be a friend of the world becomes an enemy of God. Or do you think Scripture says without reason that he jealously longs for the spirit he has caused to dwell in us? But he gives us more grace. That is why Scripture says:

“God opposes the proud
but shows favor to the humble.”

Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Come near to God and he will come near to you. Wash your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded. Grieve, mourn and wail. Change your laughter to mourning and your joy to gloom. 10 Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up.

 

WISDOM for any SITUATION

Psalm 139:1-6: How many times, have I thought, you know the hearts of men, Lord; why can’t you let me have a clue.   I mean seriously, if we knew the hearts of the people that we had to do business, we would know which ones need to hear about the Lord and which ones already know.  We would never get scammed. We would never get ripped off.  No one would spit in our hamburger if they knew we would know. We would know when someone is lying through their teeth to us. We would know if the boss was going to give us a raise. We would know if the person in the desk beside us was doing their fair share. Take comfort in knowing that God knows.  This is why we pray for protection.  Recently I have learned it really is not enough to pray for protection. We have to be specific.  We have to ask God to protect our mind, our soul, our physical health. We have to ask God to protect our general health and our heart. There is power in prayer.  But we forget that we have to be specific.  I have heard people say I pray for a hedge of angels around my children.  To do what? Well protect them of course.  This is a good start.  But the enemy is crafty and he likes to attack us where we are vulnerable. I know that God knows what is in my mind, but there is debate as to whether the evil one can perceive what is in my mind.  I know that he contrives attacks for us individually.  He or one of the angels that fell with him, we call them demons, created attacks on man.  The better your armor the craftier the attacks. He attacks what is near and dear to us. He attacks us through our weaknesses. This means he has to have some way of knowing where we are vulnerable. Take your prayer to another level. Pray specifically.  Tell God exactly what you want, or think you need.  James 1:5:  If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you.  My heart sunk when I read this, but then I realized we can ask for wisdom on anything.  How to handle any situation. Does not mean I will always use the wisdom God gives me, sometimes I follow my own earthly desires.  But with practice I find that I follow the wisdom that God gives me for any situation.

 

1You have searched me, Lord,
and you know me.
You know when I sit and when I rise;
you perceive my thoughts from afar.
You discern my going out and my lying down;
you are familiar with all my ways.
Before a word is on my tongue
you, Lord, know it completely.
You hem me in behind and before,
and you lay your hand upon me.
Such knowledge is too wonderful for me,
too lofty for me to attain.

Daily Prompt: Maybe

via Daily Prompt: Maybe

Maybe people could learn to be nice to one another.

Maybe we could all get along

Maybe people wouldn’t see me as poor

Maybe people would see me for who I am.

Maybe pain would go away

Maybe people would stop hurting each other.

But the God gave us free choice so we would not be mindless robots. And When Satan chose his own path away from God, evil entered the world.  When Adam and Eve chose to eat the apple.  When each of us choses to sin, evil is lurking.  There is Salvation, there is hope; God sent His Son to save us. He sent the angels to bring us hope and comfort. He sent the Holy Spirit to guide us.

Maybe some day there will be peace in the world. But until that day, I go on, I believe with others like me. We pray, we try, we do, we work to make this place called earth a better place. In this world it seems as if we are failing.  But I know in the end, God wins. We win.

Maybe if each of us could try just a bit to be nicer to someone else. Maybe if we could think less of ourselves and more of others. Maybe we will see something beautiful at least in our corner of the world. See I can’t change the whole world, I can just be a brighter light in my tiny corner. Maybe you can too.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Luke 12:6-7: a sparrow

It is such a  tiny bird.  They swoop in front of my car as I drive down the country roads. Darting past the windshield.  I do not want to hit any of those little birds. Because I know that God sees them.  But if I turn the radio off, and listen to the voice of God, I will hear him remind me that he is in control. Each of us has things in our lives where we feel totally out of control. Things happening that we do not like the way they are going.  Over the years I have learned that some of my worry was pointless.  For example, my husband likes to complain about his work.  He complains to me because it gets the crap off his chest.  Well I took it seriously and I am a fixer.  Well I used to be a fixer.  I was always trying to help my husband find the job where he would be happier. See many of his jobs, he was perfectly content. But I did not see it, so I was always trying to fix it.  It was not until I worked in the civilian world, non-government world that I realized civilians hate their jobs too. Oh and civilians are intentionally mean. (it was an adjustment) Very few people have employment that is fun all the time. Although I think government workers corner the market on complaints. We shouldn’t, for the most part work is easy and we are paid decent.  Okay, soldiers are paid crappy. But there are other perks, except for the war zone thing, it is not a bad gig, mostly. There is a big huge difference in how we treat each other. And when my husband came home saying these things about this co-worker and that co-worker; well I thought OH MY how can people be so cruel?  and instantly you need a better job. so many cruel remarks.  Your boss called you stupid? that is awful. After boot camp, my boss did not call me stupid. (at least I never heard it) My boss knew the names of my sons, okay our sons went to the same school and were about the same age and played together. But she knew everyone else’s kids names as well. But let’s get to the point. I said I used to be a fixer, well through my husband’s job and my one civilian job, I learned to let go.  I found out that if I prayed about the things that he was complaining, they got better. See I am still a fixer, I just give the fixing to God, the one who cares. I mean a sparrow is important to him, so we must be important to him.  If he knows the revolving number of hairs on my head; then I must be extremely important to Him and so are YOU!!!

Are not five sparrows sold for two pennies? Yet not one of them is forgotten by God. Indeed, the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Don’t be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows

WE NEED TO ASK

Jeremiah 33: 23-26:  Rejected?   Do you feel as if you are just not good enough?  That is the beauty of Salvation; you do not have to be good enough.  Verse 16:  Speaks of the coming of Jesus and how he is the Line of David.  How He is the Savior.  In verses 23-26, the prophet repeats what God is telling him in an interesting way.  God is telling us, I have heard that the people think I have turned my back on them.  Isn’t that way today, as we look at our nation, doesn’t it feel as if God has turned His back on us? But just as it was, it will be. God does not change. He still cares about YOU as well as this Nation. Since Jesus was the Ultimate Sacrifice, our requirement for forgiveness is to ask. Yes, you will still sin. (Mess-up)  But God still forgives.  He forgave Israel multiple times, so we could know about his abundant mercy.  How many times did he destroy Israel only to build it back up and make it prosperous?  I lost count. He can do the same for you.  He can do the same for this nation. WE NEED TO ASK. When God’s people pray miraculous things happen. Right now I am praying for a good candidate to spring up.

23 The word of the Lord came to Jeremiah: 24 “Have you not noticed that these people are saying, ‘The Lord has rejected the two kingdoms he chose’? So they despise my people and no longer regard them as a nation. 25 This is what the Lord says: ‘If I have not made my covenant with day and night and established the laws of heaven and earth, 26 then I will reject the descendants of Jacob and David my servant and will not choose one of his sons to rule over the descendants of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. For I will restore their fortunes and have compassion on them.’”

Discipline, Plagues, and Evil

Proverbs 15:10-11, James 1:13, Habakkuk 1:13-15, Exodus 7:14-11:10 (Not Shown): Discipline, Plagues, and Evil

We need to be able to distinguish between Discipline and Evil. Think of it this way.  We are good parents, and when we discipline our children, we deny things such as video games or cell phones, or not allowing them to attend a function that they really wanted to attend. Evil does things that are illegal, malicious, or hurtful to others. Evil tries to control us through fear. I bring up the plagues of Egypt because that is sometimes an example of God using evil to procure the release of the Israelites from Egypt. I do not have the perfect answer for the people who use this as an example.  My only response is this, Yes, God did this; He sent the plagues.  I guess that is the key, he sent the plagues. It was not done by human hands.  There is much evil in the world. It has brought disease, it has brought droughts, and it has brought many disasters. Maybe that is the key, think about it, all the things that happened to God’s people, the plagues these were all allowed by God as a warning. Have you not read the prophets, such as Micah, Habakkuk, or Jeremiah just to name a few? The warned about things that would happen if God’s people did not return to Him. Then they happened.  Maybe some of these things that are because of sin are not discriminating as to whom they hit. They hit the good and the wicked alike. Maybe there were warnings about these things and like those of old; we did not listen. The plagues of Egypt, if you remember were all because the pharaoh did not allow God’s people to leave.

James:

13 When tempted, no one should say, “God is tempting me.” For God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does he tempt anyone; 14 but each person is tempted when they are dragged away by their own evil desire and enticed. 15 Then, after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, gives birth to death.

Habakkuk:

13 Your eyes are too pure to look on evil; you cannot tolerate wrongdoing. Why then do you tolerate the treacherous?  Why are you silent while the wicked swallow up those more righteous than themselves? 14 You have made people like the fish in the sea, like the sea creatures that have no ruler. 15 The wicked foe pulls all of them up with hooks, he catches them in his net, he gathers them up in his dragnet; and so he rejoices and is glad.

Proverbs:

10 Stern discipline awaits anyone who leaves the path; the one who hates correction will die.

11 Death and Destruction lie open before the Lord— how much more do human hearts

 

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