An Entirely New Season of Life

We have started the second half of 2016 and the good Lord know that the tides need to turn in the opposite direction.  It is such a new season that I am finding it hard to deal with or comprehend.  Totally new territory with the shocking stroke that my dear mother suffered at the tender age of 62.  Yes, the hub has had 2 same day surgeries and still suffering.
One of the kids needed to have tubes put in due to mild hearing loss
Oh and the baby had a 3 hour surgery herself – her 3rd surgery – all before turning 2 years of age.
Of them all, I find it hard to wrap my head around my mother lying helpless. Totally helpless. I lied awake at night thinking about her and her basic needs.  Things that I take for granted on a daily basis:

what if she needs to move
what is going on through her mind at the  moment: can’t talk, can’t see, can’t eat on my own, will someone come in the thickest of the night to turn me over.

I cried out to God to heal her and make a miracle out of her for his own glory. If He so desires. My reading this morning led me to the book of Mark where many who were sick were taken to Jesus and He healed them. Not all of them.

But if she does not walk, talk, smile, sit on her own ever again – He remains a good God.  And so in this new season, I am a bit loss, confused, and fearful. I look at my family and life through different lenses.  And most of all, I am in desperate need of my Lord and Savior.

Come Lord Jesus – COME.

 

“This thing is from ME”

“This thing is from ME” (1 Kings 12:24)
“Life’s disappointments are veiled love’s appointments.”    
My child, I have a message for you today; let me whisper it in your ear, that it may gild with glory any storm clouds which may arise, and smooth the rough places upon which you may have to tread. It is short, only five words, but let them sink into your inmost soul; use them as a pillow upon which to rest your weary head. This thing is from Me.
Have you ever thought of it, that all that concerns you concerns Me too?  Fort, “he that toucheth you, toucheth the apple of mine eye” (Zeck 2:8).  You are precious in My sight (Isa 43:4).  Therefore, it is my special delight to educate you.
I would have you learn when temptations assail you, and the “enemy comes in like a flood” that this thing is from Me, that your weakens needs My might, and your safety lies in letting Me fight for you.
Are you in difficult circumstances, surrounded by people who do not understand you, who never consult your taste, who put you in the background? This thing is from Me. I am the God of circumstances. Thou camest not to thy place by accident, it is the very place God meant for thee.
Have you not asked to be made humble? See then, I have placed you in the very school where this lesson is taught; your surroundings and companions are only working out My will.
Are you in money difficulties?  Is it hard to make both ends meet?  This thing is from Me, for I am your purse bearer and would have you draw from and depend upon Me. My supplies are limitless (Phil 4:19). I would have you prove my promises. Let it not be said of you, “In this thing ye did not believe the Lord your God” (Deut 1:32).
Are you passing through a night of sorrow? This thing is from Me. I am the Man of sorrows and acquainted with grief. I have let earthly comforters fail you, that by turning to Me you may obtain everlasting consolation (2 Thess. 2:16, 17). Have you longed to do some great work for Me and instead have been laid aside on a bed of pain and weakness? This thing is from Me. I could not get your attention in your busy days and I want to teach you some of my deepest lessons. “They also serve who only stand and wait.” Some of My greatest workers are those shut out from active service that they may learn to wield the weapon of all–prayer.
This day I place in your hand this pot of holy oil. Make use of it free, my child. Let every circumstance that arises, every word that pains you, every interruption that would make you impatient, every revelation of your weakness be anointed with it. The sting will go as you learn to see Me in all things.
Taken from “Streams in the Desert By L.B. Cowman”

5 Things I Wish I’d Known About PRAYER

Why pray and what’s the real purpose of it some might say in light of the fact that God is control and does as He pleases?   That was once my view of prayer and with that attitude my prayer life was non-existent. Prayer is vital to our relationship with God through His Son Jesus Christ.  Although it’s said more books have been written about prayer than any other still it remains an illusion to many.   In fact, God invites all of Children to come boldly to the throne and for a long time I thought it was for the ‘super-spiritual’ saints and it didn’t apply to me.  Along the way, I have learned the points discussed below and it’s been a process and still long way on this journey.

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  1. I need to pray SPECIFIC prayers with specific targets
    My prayer life really consisted of bless everyone and generalities that it’s hard to know when a prayer is answered. I have learned to pray specifically for my husband, children, work, family, friends with their specific requests and will not miss giving the glory to God appropriately.  In essence, I don’t just thank Him for answered prayers – I thank Him for hearing me and knowing in His own perfect timing He will come through.  Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours. Mark 11:24 is still true when we pray according to His will.
  2. God’s answers are either: Yes, No, or Not Now
    I have had the privilege of looking back and saying “thank you Lord for not answering this or that prayer” because it would have been a disaster when in my limited mind I thought I was right. For me, it was mostly in the arena of business and personal relationships and I would just bawl out thanking Him for saying ‘no’ by not answering positively.  Similarly, as parents we can see it clearly when I tell a certain child no and they can’t comprehend the reason in spite of trying to reason it out.
  3. TAKE God at His Word
    This should have been #1 because for most of my Christian life, I’ve been plagued with doubts and thankfully now I know who is mainly responsible for ensuring I live in doubts and fears.  It is said that the Bible contains over 8,000 promises from God.  Yes you read that right and surely I can find a few of them to truly believe that it is FOR me too.  One of my favorites verses “It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery” Gal 5:1 and “Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free” John 8:32.  As you can see the recurring theme is freedom.  It has eluded me for way too long.  I have learned to let the Word wash over me and take my doubts and fears to Him because after all He already knows.  But He invites us to come to Him with our requests. Because of Christ and our faith in him, we can now come boldly and confidently into God’s presence Heb 4:16
  4. Keep a RECORD of my prayers
    I have learned to journal off and on and unfortunately not on a consistent basis. But that has changed after reading “Draw the Circle: The 40 Day Prayer Challenge” and “Prayer Dare: Take the Challenge That Will Transform Your Relationship With God” The author of the latter recorded over 40,000 answers to prayers that he recorded in over 30-year-long prayer journals. That’s staggering and I wanted to start my own record keeping of my prayers. I have seen evidence and recorded answers after starting the 40 Day Prayer Challenge.  The beauty of it is going back and seeing His faithfulness.
  5. Pray AUDACIOUS prayers
    Audacious prayers – yes.  We serve a big God who delights in pleasing His children.  Right now I am praying some bold and audacious prayers about a career change that is destined to be a disaster without divine intervention.  It would take a miracle of God to bring it to fruition and there will not be a doubt about who gets all the credit.

What about you?  Which one are you consistently applying to your prayer life and is there one that you are challenged to put in practice?  Let’s hear it!

GUEST POST: Whose Child Am I?

I find it quite interesting that as of late prayer has taken such a spotlight in Christian media.  The blockbuster movie “War Room” is a testimonial demonstration of the power of prayer for those who are willing to commit themselves to the God of prayer.

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IT is upon this platform that I have chosen to share a few observations concerting this sacred discipline give to all followers of Jesus Christ.  In this in this vein of thought that I believe Jesus gave a pattern of prayer to his disciples in Luke 11:2-4.

I cannot help but stop at the opening verse “OUR FATHER”.  We often hear the phrase “Christianity” is a relation and not a religion.  The “Our Father” speaking to belong to the family of God and of being in a right relationship with the Father through the Son, Christ Jesus (Romans 8:9-14). It is only because of our return to the federal headship of the Lord Jesus Christ we say “Our Father”.

IT is because of the finish work of Jesus Christ on the cross of Calvary that I can approach the Father in holy confidence and say “Our Father” Eph 3:12.   Here’s the entire prayer commonly referred to as “The Lord’s Prayer”.

“When you pray, say:

Our Father in heaven,
Hallowed be Your name.
Your kingdom come.
Your will be done
On earth as it is in heaven.
Give us day by day our daily bread.
And forgive us our sins,
For we also forgive everyone who is indebted to us.
And do not lead us into temptation,
But deliver us from the evil one.” Luke 11:2-4

WHEN was the last time you referred to God as “Our Father” and how to you relate to the Almighty being “Our Father”?

 

Ernest Johnson

 

Rev.Ernest Johnson

Prayer: Do We Need It?

Innately we all know it’s a vital part of our relationship with God.  Yet, for most of us it’s a hit or miss.  We often wonder and ask ourselves whether God hears us or even concerns about us.  This post is not a theological treatise on prayer but asking the real questions we wrestle with, think of, but will not voice lest we are called heretics.

But Jesus, knowing what they were thinking, replied…Matthew 9:4 ISV  

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He knows our thoughts and why not come clean and tell Him. He can take it.  I have read countless books on prayers but my prayer life is not near where it should be.  Because of that, I am challenging myself to grow in prayer – aren’t we commanded to pray without ceasing.  We will discuss what that looks like and it’s practiced on a hourly and daily basis.

Prayer does not come naturally to us.  Even the disciples who walked alongside Jesus asked Him to teach them how to pray.  Can we learn this art? You bet.  Not too along ago, a nice couple at our church invited my family to lunch and as we get to know one another – I heard countless prayers that were answered so specifically it caused the hair on the back of my neck to stand.  Later that evening I said to my husband “I want that kind of prayer life’ because mine is pitiful. I resort to pray but I haven’t prayed TARGETED and SPECIFIC prayers.   One prayer the family shared with us was asking God specifically for $500 that an elderly needed and to give it by any means necessary and days later it was answered.

In full disclosure, I was downright jealous.  The Bible is full of promises and I’ve heard over 8,000 of them.  Surely, I can find some of them to claim over my life because there are some areas of my life that I need some victory in.  Does God mean what He said when He gave us those prayer promises? Well YES.

Lord I am willing to learn and to apply the truth of your word and not just go through an intellectual exercise?

 This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us.  And if we know that he hears us—whatever we ask—we know that we have what we asked of him. 1 John 5:14-15 NIV 

It’s our right as children of God to be strong in prayer and the study of the Word.  And if there was a time it was more crucial – it is NOW.