Marsha Mundy's Posts (14)

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Praying like Jesus

I lead a small prayer group from our church. Each week we focus on different aspects of prayer. This week we searched scripture to discover what Jesus had to say about prayer. 

Since He was in complete agreement with God's will, Jesus knew exactly what to pray and He left us some examples of perfect prayers.

As born-again believers, we have God's Holy Spirit to guide us and we need to invite His Spirit to lead us in our prayers. 

We also need to be in right standing with God, so before we begin to pray, we need to ask God to forgive us for any sins we may have committed and also that we forgive anyone who may have wronged us. This will clear our minds from wrong thoughts and help us focus on God, who knows our every thought.

Jesus instructs His disciples to pray for our enemies and those who persecute us. We need to be very specific about who our enemies are and ask God to soften their hearts so they can discover who Jesus is and that He died for their sins. He offers eternal life to everyone who believes in Him.

Jesus said that whatever we asked for in His name, we should believe that we have received it. He will not deny any of our requests when they are asked unselfishly. 

Jesus set aside time each day to spend with His Father - He was intentional in His prayer life and we should be also. Whether we choose to spend time each morning or evening isn't important, what's important is setting aside time to spend alone with God. 


"But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you. And when you pray, do not keep on babbling like pagans, for they think they will be heard because of their many words. Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him." Matthew 6:6-8

Someone told me one time that God has given us 24 hours in each day and that we should all spend a portion of each day in devotion to God. 

Jesus also taught that we should not give up, but keep praying. The enemy will try to discourage us in our prayers for others. Many of us have been praying for salvation for loved ones for years and it is easy to get discouraged and quit praying, but Jesus told us not to give up. He also told His disciples to pray that they would not fall into temptation. 

If there is one thing that I've discovered during my years as a prayer warrior, it's that Satan wants to keep me from praying - he puts up roadblocks and obstacles during the day to keep my focus on myself and off my God. Not only do I need to pray that I won't fall into temptation, but I also need to pray for my praying brothers and sisters. Keeping prayer warriors in prayer daily is important because their prayers are vital for so many. 

We are also instructed by Christ to pray for the Lord of the harvest to send workers into the harvest field, because the harvest is plentiful and the workers are few. There are millions of people around the world who don't know about God's amazing love for them. Ask God to send workers into those lands to share the good news.

Jesus also prayed for us - "I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message, that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me. I have given them the glory that you gave me, that they may be one as we are one. I in them and you in me. May they be brought to complete unity to let the world know that you sent me and have loved them even as you loved me. 

"Father, I want those who you have given me to be with me where I am, and to see my glory, the glory you have given me because you loved me before the creation of the world.

"Righteous Father, though the world does not know you, I know you and they know that you have sent me. I have made you known to them, and will continue to make you known in order that the love you have for me may be in them and that I myself may be in them." John 17:20-26

All believers are expected to have a prayer life - it goes with the territory. Jesus never said "if you pray" but He did say, "when you pray." 

He has given us a beautiful example of a life of prayer - He has made a way for us to communicate with the God of the universe and He wants us to present our requests to our Father God. 

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Joyful, joyful we adore Thee

Joy is such a small little word, but it is an amazing word - the dictionary describes it this way: It is an emotion evoked by well-being, success or good fortune or by the prospect of possessing what one desires; a state of happiness or felicity. Other words to describe joy include delight, gaiety, bliss - the word joy is derived from the Latin word gaudia which is akin to the Greek word to rejoice.

As I ponder the word joy this third week of Advent, it seems that all those definitions fit with the plans that God had when He sent Jesus to earth. The life, death and resurrection of Christ has evoked in believers a sense of well-being; God himself must have experienced great joy when Christ agreed to come and live among mankind and willingly die for the sins of the world because reconciliation was what He had desired for mankind and we have great joy and can rejoice because of the great love that God has shown us in making a way for us to inherit eternal life. 

The birth of Christ is cause for rejoicing - it should give us a sense of complete joy.

The Bible is full of joy from the beginning to the end. In the Old Testament the Israelites would often shout for joy, sing with joy and hold joyful celebrations - the angels have been known to shout for joy and bring news of great joy, even the unborn can leap for joy and the trees of the field can sing for joy.

God can fill us with joy, clothe us with joy, anoint us with the oil of joy and crown us with everlasting joy. Joy can be found within a city and entire nations can be joyful.

However, just because we have been joyful doesn't mean that we will always stay joyful - the Bible also warns us that joy can come to an end, it can be replaced with panic, it can wither away. 

Is there any hope for us when we lose our joy? Yes, because the Bible also says that joy can be restored - we can bring joy to others and other Christians can be our joy. Joy can also overtake us when we least expect it!

Even trials can produce joy within us: "Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds,  because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything." James 1:2-4

My mom used to say that happiness was a state of mind, we could choose to be happy no matter what the circumstances in our lives and I believe that we can choose to be joyful no matter what! The Bible tells us to be joyful always - not just when things are going our way, but 24/7. We have a lot to be joyful about, sometimes we just need a reminder.

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He is Risen, He is Risen Indeed!


As we prepare to celebrate Easter and the resurrection of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, our hearts are turned toward a hill on calvary where He laid down His life for the sins of the world. 


Jesus came into the world as a man for one specific purpose. He came to bridge the gap between sinful man and a righteous, holy God. Without Him and His precious blood we would all be lost for eternity, but praise be to God, Jesus came, He walked among us and showed us the great love God has for each one of us. The New Testament is full of eye-witness accounts about His earthly ministry.


As Jesus prepared for His crucifixion, He spent His last hours in prayer in the Mount of Olives. 


"Father, the time has come. Glorify your Son, that your Son may glorify you. For you granted him authority over all people that he might give eternal life to all those you have given him. Now this is eternal life: that they may know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent. I have brought you glory on earth by completing the work you gave me to do. And now, Father, glorify me in your presence with the glory I had with you before the world began." John 17:1-5


It is hard to imagine the anguish that Jesus went through as He realized that His earthly ministry was over. We cannot fathom the amazing love for mankind which held Him to the cross. His physical body was inflicted with pain just as any human body would be, yet He endured. He could have called upon 10,000 angels to come to His rescue, but He didn't. Why? Why would He willingly die for us? It's all about love. A love which is beyond our comprehension, a love that is timeless. 


"Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the JOY set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinful men, so that you will not grown weary and lose heart." Hebrews 12:2-3


Jesus experienced joy for what He accomplished. His work on earth was complete as He hung on the cross and took on the sins of the world. He reconciled mankind to God the Father for all eternity. In spite of the pain, in spite of the scorn, in spite of what looked like complete failure; He knew that what He was doing was for the benefit of all mankind. All those who believe in Him and seek God will reap eternal rewards. His love for us is that great!


9651003875?profile=originalBut the story doesn't end with Jesus death. The power of Almighty God was displayed further when He brought Jesus back from the grave. His tomb is empty! Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ not only saved mankind through His blood, but he also defeated the enemy by overcoming death. All those who accept Jesus as their Savior are over comers. We will all spend eternity in the presence of God because of His immense love for us.


All I can say is "Thank You, Father! Thank you, Jesus! And thank you, Holy Spirit!"

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Spiritual Warfare

You Have The Power


There is a spiritual battle taking place in the heavenly realms today that defies description. If we had the spiritual eyes to see the battle, we would be overcome with terror. Since the resurrection of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, the enemy has been trying to take back control of the earth and he means to steal from, kill and destroy all the followers of Christ. 


When Jesus appointed 72 of His followers to go before Him and prepare hearts to receive Him, He knew they would meet opposition. They were amazed that demons submitted to them when they used the name of Jesus against them. He told His followers, "I saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven. I have given you authority to trample on snakes and scorpions and to overcome all the power of the enemy; nothing will harm you." Luke 10:18-19


As Christians, we are burdened when we hear about injustice and hatred in the world around us. Because of the magnitude of the turmoil in the world, it seems we are powerless to do anything. But there is good news for those who are willing to put on the full armor of God and fight the battle.


Paul told the church in Corinth, "For though we live in the world, we do not wage war as the world does. The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds. We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ." 2 Corinthians 10:3-5


Jesus is expecting His "Church" to be engaged in this spiritual battle for lost souls in the world. God's Holy Spirit resides in believers and all the power that accompanies the Spirit is ours to use in this battle. The same Spirit that had the power to raise Christ Jesus from the grave is within all believers. But we often fail to plug into this power and use it for God's glory. 


God commissioned Jeremiah the prophet with these words, "You must go to everyone I send you to and say whatever I command you. Do not be afraid of them, for I am with you and will rescue you. Now I have put my words in your mouth. See, today I appoint you over nations and kingdoms to uproot and tear down, to destroy and overthrow, to build and to plant." Jeremiah 1:7-10


That commission can apply to each believer today. God has set you apart for kingdom work and is expecting you to take a stand against the enemy. When God calls us to a task, He makes sure that we are equipped for that task. He equipped David in his battle with Goliath, He equipped Daniel when he was taken into exile, He equipped Joseph when he became a slave and He equipped Moses as he led the Israelites from captivity. He will equip you too!


The Bible tells us that the prayers of the righteous are powerful and effective. You are the righteous, your prayers are powerful and effective against the enemy. But you have to pray.


Paul used the imagery of a fully-armed soldier as he described those who are prepared to battle the enemy. We must wear the belt of truth–which enables us to recognize the lies of Satan. We must wear the breastplate of righteousness–which protects our hearts from the enemy's accusations. We must wear the right shoes–which will motivate us to share the good news with others. Always carry the shield of faith–our faith will help us ward off Satan's attacks against us. The helmet of salvation–protects our minds from doubts about God's love for us. 


All of these things are defensive, but we only have one offensive weapon at our disposal. God has given us the sword of the Spirit–it is the Word of God and nothing is more powerful. Jesus used the Word of God against Satan when He was tempted in the wilderness. It stopped the enemy dead in his tracks.


"Finally, be strong in the Lord and in His mighty power. Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil's schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Therefore, put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the saints." Ephesians 6:10-18


When you feel overcome by the evil in the world, there is something you can do about it. You have authority given by Jesus himself to call upon the Living God and ask Him to stop the enemy. You have all the armor you need to stand up against the enemy. And by the power given to you through the Holy Spirit and God's word, the enemy has to flee. 


Join in the spiritual battle by praying for God to intervene in the lives of people around the world. Your prayers are heard and they are powerful and effective!

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Spend 5 Minutes in Thanksgiving

A number of years ago, the leadership of our church held a retreat in January. Each year we do this to get our focus on what we are doing as a body of believers. It gives us a chance to examine our motives and be reminded of what we are about as disciples of Christ. In January 2005, our retreat focused on getting to know God through prayer. At the beginning of the retreat, the leader, Reverend Aaron Brown, asked each of us to spend five minutes in a prayer of thanksgiving to God. We were told to speak our prayers out loud and to focus on all that we are thankful for. 


It was amazing to hear the things that we take for granted voiced and the prayers of thanksgiving filled the room. I’m sure that we have no idea how much that meant to God. To hear his people thanking him for jobs, cars, the blood of Jesus, for our homes, families, our education, for the beauty in the world. It had to be a pleasing aroma to him.


Five minutes, that was all that we spent in thanksgiving, and yet it was so powerful. There are many days that I praise God for long periods of time. It is easy to get started on the attributes of God and continue praising him, but I guess I just don’t usually thank him for specifics and intentionally spend five minutes doing it. The concept is really Biblical. In Psalm 100 we are told to enter his gates with thanksgiving and his courts with praise. Our hearts are instructed to be thankful to God in all circumstances. 1 Thessalonians 5:18. We read in Philippians that we are to lift our prayers and petitions to God with thanksgiving.


Thanksgiving is a natural way to communicate with God, but five minutes? That seems like such a long time to spend speaking nothing but thanks. 


As I write these words, we are on the eve of the National Day of Prayer, it is followed by 10 days of preparation for the Global Day of Prayer. The Global Day of Prayer falls on the day of Pentecost, one of the most revered days in the church calendar. I have made a commitment to God to spend one hour in prayer each day for the next 11 days. That means getting up earlier or staying up later to make this happen. 


Not only will I spend an hour in prayer each day, but I am making the commitment to spend five minutes of those hours in thanksgiving. I want God to know how much I appreciate all that he has done for me. I want him to know that I don’t take his gifts for granted. I want him to know that he has a child who has gratitude in her heart for the blessings in my life. 


I don’t make this commitment to boast or brag, I am not expecting anyone to think any better of me for doing this, but I do say it to make myself accountable for carrying out what I said I would do. If I think that even one person may ask me how the prayer vigil went, then it will make me stick with it. 


One thing that I am hoping will come out of this, is maybe I will form a habit in those 11 days and will continue thanking God every time I come to him in prayer. 


I remember when I first began a devotional time. I would sit down with my little devotional book and my Bible and spend five minutes with God. That included the time it took for me to find the scripture and the prayer at the end.


If I could make the first five minutes of my time with God purely a time of thanksgiving, that would be truly awesome. One thing I noticed when we had that prayer time, the focus was completely on God and not me. When we thank him for all he has given us, we are acknowledging him as our provider. I’m sure that he smiles at us when we thank him for his provision.


If you have trouble thinking of things to thank God for, use this simple exercise. Go to these scriptures: Psalm 13:5-6; Psalm 100; Colossians 3:17 and James 1:17 and pray them back to God. 


Colossians 3:17 - Father, I am so thankful that whatever I do, whether in word or deed, I do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus and I thank you God through him.


It’s also easy to just look around you and begin to thank him for all of it. Be specific. Father, I thank you for my bookshelves and all the books that I have to fill it. Thank you for the clothing on my back, etc.


I used to wonder how someone could pray for an hour. It seemed that we couldn’t possibly have that much to talk to God about. He was busy after all and probably didn’t want to hear us babble on and on about all our problems. But the more I spend time in his presence, the more I’m convinced that he loves to hear our voices. He enjoys the fact that we come to him on our own to spend time with him.


It’s good to sometimes just sit in his presence and not say anything. It is those times that he can speak to us. I have noticed that when my mind is uncluttered, that is when he speaks. Usually when I am doing mindless tasks like washing the dishes, making the bed, folding laundry. Keep your ears attuned to him, it’s easy when you spend time with him on a regular basis. His voice becomes more familiar and it is a beautiful voice.


I’m going to time myself and write out a five minute prayer of thanksgiving. You may quit reading now and write your own prayer. After all, he wants to hear from you!


Father, I just want to thank you for the beauty in this day, the sun is shining and the trees are breaking out in leaf. I thank you for the birds and their songs. I thank you that I have new hearing aids and can hear those songs. I thank you that I have a home and a job and reliable transportation. I thank you for my husband and my childern and grandchildren. I thank you that I have Godly parents and that my sisters are all born again believers. I thank you for the food in my refrigerator and cupboards. I thank you that we can go to the store and find food on the shelves. I thank you that our country has dedicated a day of prayer to you. I thank you that the people in Africa have pushed for a global day of prayer. I thank you that your spirit lives in me and directs my prayers. I thank you that I have a computer and that you have given me wisdom and knowledge to use it. I thank you that you have given me strength to finish this devotional book. Amen.

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Connect the Dots

Connect The Dots

I was very blessed to have an enjoyable drive to work. Most of it was back country road, no interstate highway or four lane road. Not much traffic unless I was running late and encountered school buses. As I was driving to work one morning, I looked to my left and saw two deer grazing in an open field. They heard the car and watched as I drove by. A half mile further, I looked up in time to see a flock of geese flying in formation overhead. The sun was just coming up and the sky was a brilliant shade of red and orange.

I had to just keep thanking God and praising him for the wonders he had placed in my pathway. As I was thanking him, it occurred to me that he orchestrated this beauty just for me. I never saw another car as I drove down the country road and that increased my awe in my creator.

Why would he plan such an event for me? He must really love me and want to bless me. That really got me to wondering how I fit into the scheme of things in the world.

I am a praying person, maybe more than some, but probably not as much as others. I am led by God’s Holy Spirit and when the Spirit asks me to pray for someone, I do.

Each morning I have my devotional time before starting my day. I need that time to get prepared for the day. It seems to help me be ready for any and every situation I may face.

I have been praying around the world with the help of a world prayer map. It directs my prayers to different countries on specific days. This is a tool that I use to pray for those who have never heard the gospel message. It amazes me that someone on the other side of the world may be blessed because I prayed for them.

Back to my story, I’m not sure what I was praying as I drove down the road that morning. I know that I was marveling at God’s work in the heavenlies. The sunrise was breathtaking. God spoke to my heart that morning and assured me that I was part of something much bigger than my own little corner of the earth.

In Psalm 139:7 - 8, David says, “Where can I go from your Spirit? Where can I flee from your presence? If I go up to the heavens, you are there; if I make my bed in the depths, you are there.”

As Christians, we are never separated from God and his love. His word tells us so. (See Romans 8:35-39.) That being said, we know that we are to pray. We are instructed to pray for other Christians, for our enemies, for those who persecute us. We are told to pray without ceasing and we are told by Jesus to pray: “Our Father, in heaven, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come, your will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Give us today our daily bread. Forgive us our debts, as we also forgive our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one.” Matthew 6:9-13.

Did you hear what Jesus asked us to pray for? He said “your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.” Wow, we are asking God to do his will on earth as it is in heaven. That is pretty awesome. I can’t really imagine what God does in heaven, but it is something fantastic. We know that Jesus is preparing a place for us in heaven. We know that the true temple of God is in heaven. We know that there is a throne in heaven.

When we ask for God’s will to be done, we are impacting our planet in a mighty way. When I pray for the gospel message to be preached in other countries, when I ask for God’s purpose and plan to be fulfilled in the leaders of other nations, when I ask that Christians would have the mind of Christ, my prayers are being heard in heaven and affecting the heavenlies.

Remember when God created the heavens and the earth? What did he do to create things? He spoke them into existence. Although I am not God, when I speak the things that his Holy Spirit instructs me to speak, I too am causing things to happen in the spirit realm.

What an awesome responsibility and how powerful are our words. I don’t really know the impact I have on other countries when I pray. I usually ask according to Jesus words in Matthew 9:36-38, “When he saw the crowds, he had compassion on them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd. Then he said to his disciples, (that is you and I) “The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field.” We are asking according to God’s will when we ask him to send workers into the harvest field.

How does my life affect what happens in the universe? I can’t really say, but I do know that God hears my prayers. When someone is sent into the harvest field to become a missionary and preach the good news of salvation, I am there with them in Spirit. The impact they have on others may be a result of my prayers and the prayers of other saints around the world.

When someone hears and accepts the gift of salvation, the angels in heaven rejoice. “I tell you that in the same way there will be more rejoicing in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who do not need to repent.” Luke 15:7 Now that is far reaching. A little prayer from me and others like me can open the doors of heaven, send workers into the harvest field, the message of salvation through Christ can be preached and people can have eternal life.

Eternal life, now that is universal. It is so far reaching that we may never know just how far that one little prayer went.

Multiply our prayers by thousands or hundreds of thousands and you may be able to understand how you can affect what happens in the universe.

Now I have never really read anything in the Bible to prove what will happen when we live for eternity, but I have heard it said that what we are experiencing here on earth is like pre-school compared to what we will experience in eternity. And yet, we cannot experience eternal life unless we give our hearts to Jesus here on earth.

Our prayers for the lost people of the world are so important. If they are lost they don’t know to look for Jesus. We have to share the message with them. Not everyone who hears the message will accept it, not everyone who hears the message will understand it, but Jesus died for everyone on earth. That means that everyone on earth should at least have the opportunity to hear what he did for them. God wants to give everyone the chance to accept his gift of eternal life.

Do your prayers make a difference in the universe? Yes they do. Even if you don’t see visible proof, you have to pray and keep on praying. God knows your heart and he knows that you are sincere in wanting to reach the lost.


We know that no matter where we are, you are there, your Holy Spirit is with us, as Christians, wherever we are. We thank you for the way you reveal yourself to us and we want you to reveal yourself to those who don’t know you.

We know that you are the Lord of the harvest and that you can send workers into the harvest field to share the message of salvation through Jesus Christ.

We know that you have a purpose and a plan for leaders of nations around the world, you are the one who has put them positions of leadership. We pray that your plans for the leaders of the world would be fulfilled and that they would become the men and women you created them to be.

We want to advance the gospel around the world and we pray that those who hear the gospel would accept your gift of eternal life. We know that heaven is poised and waiting to rejoice as people accept your gift and we rejoice with the angels.

Thank you for hearing our prayers offered in Jesus name. Amen

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Fiber Optic Christians


As I looked at our Christmas tree one year, God spoke to my heart and showed me an image of Christ as the source of all light and disciples of Christ as the fibers shining the light of Christ into the world. What a simple way to explain a complex and detailed work.

In Genesis we read God’s first spoken words, “Let there be light.” And there was light. In John we read, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. In him was life, and that life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness, but the darkness has not understood it.” John 1:1-5. If we read a little farther we see that John the baptist came to witness to the light. The true light that gives light to every man was coming into the world.

It arrived in the form of a baby, born of a virgin, a baby whose name was Jesus. Which brings us back to the Christmas tree. Everyone gets so upset because people try to outdo one another with Christmas lights and I must admit that some people really do go overboard. However, as I looked at the lights this year, I was once again reminded of the reason we celebrate Christmas. Jesus, the light of the world, came into the world on a holy night. It seems fitting that we announce to the world with bright lights that Jesus has been born.

The funny thing is that many of the people who decorate their homes with lights may not even know the reason for the celebration. They are celebrating a season of giving, or a time of happiness and gift giving not really knowing what has prompted the celebration.

As Christians, it is up to us to show the light of Christ to this dark world. But how can we show it unless we know something about the characteristics of this light? What does the light of Jesus look like?

We know that this light came from God, he is the one who spoke it into existence. In order to have a relationship with God, we have to come into his light. We have to embrace the light that shines from him. But caution is urged in running toward the light because scripture tells us in 2 Corinthians 11:14 that Satan himself masquerades as an angel of light. How then can we know if we are in the light of Christ? What red flags are we looking for and what exactly are we to be aware of?

One of the first things that I thought about when I realized that Satan masquerades as an angel of light was “televangelists.” You know those guys on the Christian networks who make their living from the goodwill offerings that people send to their ministries. They offer prosperity and blessings if you support them, they receive glory for the healings they perform. There are many who try to persuade us that they have an inside track to God.

Paul told the believers in Corinth, “For if someone comes to you and preaches a Jesus other then the one you received, or a different gospel from the one you accepted...” your minds may somehow be led astray.(2 Corinthians 11:4) A very wise woman once told me, “If someone tries to tell you that they know more about Christ than what the Bible teaches. Or if they have another book for you to read or a new revelation other than what the Bible says, run away from them as fast as you can.” They are masquerading as angels of light and only want to lead you astray."

So how do we know what Jesus’ light looks like? We read about him in the Bible and see the things he did. It seems that everywhere Jesus went he spread love, he healed, he shared the love of God and people were encouraged and blessed. Basically, he produced good fruit.

What kind of fruit are you producing? Are people blessed when you walk into a room, do they want to spend time with you? Are you speaking encouraging words over those around you or are you negative and full of despair? To be a reflection of the light of Jesus, we have to reflect the qualities he had.

What happens when we reflect these qualities? Is anything changed? Sometimes we don’t see the changes that we make in others lives when we shine on them. But sometimes God lets us witness the growth and see the transforming power of his love.

My husband is an example. When we got married, he was a marginal believer. His family life did not have a foundation of a belief in Christ Jesus, his parents never attended church. I was raised in a family of believers, we prayed before we ate, we attended church every week, my parents, grandparents and great-grandparents were devout Christians who passed on their faith. As the years passed and the light of Christ was shone on him year after year, the day came when he made a commitment to Christ and began to have a personal relationship with him. I have seen the transformation with my own eyes.

The key to transformation is to just keep shining. No matter what your circumstances, no matter what life gives you, no matter how you feel or where you are - Jesus is still your source of power and his light never stops shining.


You are so awesome and so amazing, we give you praise and we thank you for the example we have in Christ Jesus. We want to stay close to him and we want his love to shine through us everyday, everywhere. Protect us from the evil one who would like to deceive us and lead us astray. May we only show your light and your love. In Jesus name. Amen.

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Blanket Prayers


The Bible tells us to pray without ceasing, but isn’t that impossible to do? Surely God didn’t mean for us to be in prayer constantly. That is just asking too much of us, isn’t it?

Why should we pray? Deuteronomy 4:7 tells us, “What other nation is so great as to have their gods near them the way the Lord our God is near us whenever we pray to him?” We have a God who wants to be near us and wants a relationship with us. Prayer is the way we keep in touch with our God. It should be a conversation.

Many times I just imagine Jesus sitting in the passenger seat of my car while I drive down the road. I just speak to him like I would a friend. If there is a problem I am dealing with at work or at home, if I am having a problem with a relationship or a financial hardship, I just tell him. He wants to know about these things. He really cares about our daily lives. My prayers wouldn’t even sound like prayers to some people. But God knows my heart and he knows that I want to share my concerns with him.

In 1 Samuel 12:23 we read about Samuel the prophet speaking to the people of Israel. “As for me, far be it from me that I should sin against the Lord by failing to pray for you.” What we see in this instance is that God expects us to pray for others. His spirit puts people and their needs in our hearts. If we fail to pray for them, it is a sin.

Years ago I was impressed to pray for friends and relatives in a different way. I don’t live in the town where I grew up. All of my family members live at least 100 miles from me. Most of us have been shopping or driving down the road and seen someone who reminds us of someone we know. When I see someone who resembles a family or former co-worker, old neighbor or friend, I see it as an opportunity to pray for that person. I figure that God has put that person in my pathway for a reason and maybe their look-alike needs a blessing at that particular time. This is a form of praying without ceasing.

Jesus taught his disciples to pray and not give up. He told them a parable about a widow who kept approaching a judge about her adversary. Day after day she would come before him with her request. Finally, out of frustration and just plain getting tired of listening to her, he granted her request.

Now, I’m not sure that this parable means we should wear God out with constantly asking for the same thing over and over, but I do think that we have every right, as children of the king, to ask for God to deliver us from our adversary, the devil.

So when we are having spiritual problems and we know that the evil one is attacking us, we have the right to ask God to take care of the problem for us. In Luke 18:7-8 we read, “And will not God bring about justice for his chosen ones, who cry out to him day and night? Will he keep putting them off? I tell you, he will see that they get justice and quickly.” These chosen ones cried out day and night - they prayed without ceasing.

How many times have you been standing in a checkout line at a department or grocery store and the people in front of you have an item that won’t scan? How many times have you been shopping all day and it’s late, you’re tired and so is the little kid in the cart in front of you. He’s crying and you just want to join him. What do we, as Christians, do when we find ourselves in this situation? I used to mumble and complain about the line or the cashier being so slow.

But the spirit put it in my heart one day to pray instead of getting upset. Now I see delays as an opportunity to pray what I call “blanket prayers.” As I wait in line now I ask the Lord to bless everyone who is in the store at that moment. I also ask him to draw everyone close to himself. Not just the people there right now, but also everyone who has entered the store during the course of the entire day. I ask him to put Christians in their pathways, I ask him to give each person the opportunity to hear the message of salvation. The longer I wait, the more I pray. I pray for cashiers, for babies, for parents and teenagers. And as I start to pray for all these people, I begin to see them through God’s eyes of love. That is praying without ceasing.

Paul wrote to the church in Rome, “In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groans that words cannot express.” Romans 8:26. Ever feel that you should pray, but you aren’t sure just what to ask God? Some situations are so overwhelming or devastating that we just don’t know what to say. But we don’t need to worry because the Spirit of God knows how to approach the throne, God’s spirit knows the right words to say.

Jonah was swallowed by a big fish. He knew he had messed up. He didn’t do what God had asked him to do and now he was fish food. He wasn’t dead, but he might as well be. What did he do? Jonah 2:1 says, “from inside the fish Jonah prayed to the Lord his God.” His prayer came from his heart and from God’s Spirit. He didn’t know what to say, but the Spirit prayed for him. He had a repentant heart, that was the necessary ingredient for prayer.

In Luke 18 we read about two men praying in the temple. “The Pharisee stood up and prayed about himself: “God, I thank you that I am not like other men-robbers, evildoers, adulterers-or even like this tax collector. I fast twice a week and give a tenth of all I get.” The tax collector stood at a distance. He would not even look up to heaven, but beat his breast and said, ‘God, have mercy on me, a sinner.’” God knows our hearts, we can’t fool him with wordy prayers.

Praying for the needs of others especially for the needs of other believers is an acceptable prayer. Are your prayers self-centered? Are you more concerned with getting your needs met than those of others? That isn’t what prayer is all about. It is one thing to tell God your problems, he wants us to talk with him about our concerns, but it is like spending time with someone who can only talk about themselves. The conversation is too one-sided. God wants us to be concerned for others, that shows that we have a heart like him.

When you watch the news and you hear about a flood or a tornado, an earthquake or typhoon, do you immediately pray for the people in the midst of that situation? Do you ask God to minister to their needs? Do you ask him if he can use you in some way to help? That is God’s heart for people.

The prayers of righteous people are pleasing to God. “For the eyes of the Lord are on the righteous and his ears are attentive to their prayer, but the face of the Lord is against those who do evil.” 1 Peter 3:12. He loves each person on the face of the earth and he wants us to have a heart like his. When we show a desire to pray for the needs of others, he knows that we are exhibiting his love. We are his hands and feet on this earth, we are his voice of comfort and we represent Jesus to everyone we meet. Look for opportunities to pray in behalf of people. That is praying without ceasing.

Holy God,

You are so mighty and powerful, you are so gracious and loving. We want to be like you. We want our prayers to be mighty and powerful. We come to you on behalf of lost souls, we come to your throne every chance we get to lift others up and ask for blessings in their behalf. We know that you hear our prayers when we don’t have the right words to say. We trust in your Spirit to direct us in our prayers to you. We want to have a continual conversation with you and we realize that it is possible only because Jesus Christ is our mediator. Give us opportunities and teach us new ways to keep our relationship with you fresh and new. We ask these things in the name of Jesus, our savior and friend. Amen.

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Intercessory Prayer

Intercessory Prayer

Interceding is defined by Webster as prayer, petition or entreaty in favor of another to intervene between parties with a view to reconciling differences, to mediate.

We can know in our minds what interceding is all about, but knowing in our hearts is the most important part of being an intercessor. Have you ever been so sick or grief stricken that you couldn’t pray? Have you ever been in so much mental or physical pain that you didn’t have the strength to pray? Have you ever been so confused or dismayed that you didn’t know what to ask the Lord for? I hope that you had someone to intervene in your behalf when you were unable to pray.

But intercession isn’t about you needing prayer, it is about others in need of prayer. Others who are grief stricken, physically ill, mentally confused, spiritually lost or hurt. Someone who is unable to pray for themselves. Someone who is hurting. They need someone who will petition the throne of heaven for them. They need someone who will mediate when they are not able. They need an intercessor.

Before we can pray for others though, we need to put ourselves in their place. We need to know how it feels to be sick, to grieve, to experience pain, heartbreak, utter confusion, complete loss. We need to have compassion for others in need. The best way to know those needs is to have experienced those needs ourselves.

The more we experience life and its ups, downs, ins and outs; the more we suffer, the greater capacity we have to pray for those in need. Because we can actually feel their pain. As we remember our own suffering, the despair we felt, the way that pain removes the ability to be able to think calmly and clearly. These experiences have brought us to a higher plane.

We are able to relate. That is exactly what Jesus did when he came to earth to bear our sins. He was able to relate to every temptation that we would ever have. He knew what pain was and can speak to the father in our behalf when we are in pain. He knew what it felt like to be betrayed. He knew what it was like to have people ridicule him. He experienced rejection, he experienced loneliness, he even experienced complete separation from God.

This week as I have been focusing on intercessory prayer, the Lord has spoken to me in a beautiful way. He gave me an illustration of what intercessory prayer is all about.

The other morning I woke up early, I couldn’t get back to sleep and the things in my life that are out of my control kept coming to mind. I laid in bed thinking and praying for myself. “Oh God, what am I going to do about our finances? Dear Lord, what can I do for my son, David and the mess he’s gotten himself in? Dear Jesus, restore my health.” I went on and on for hours until finally, I guess God had had enough of me whining. He said just as clearly as I am speaking right now, “Marsha, let’s make an exchange. You cast all your cares upon me, because I care for you. And in return, I ask that you pray for your aunt, Lillian who just had back surgery. Pray for George, a fellow at church who is grieving the death of his wife of 34 years. Lift up Geraldine, who has not yet received Christ as her personal savior. Pray in behalf of Wanda, who just had a toe amputated.”

It was like a light bulb went on in my head... now I get it. Forget about myself and the problems that I have, just quit trying to figure them out. Give my burdens to the Lord and forget about them - let him take care of them. Instead I should focus my energy on those that the Lord puts on my heart, those with needs that I can meet. A note, a call, a dinner invitation, a prayer for someone who is too sick to pray for themselves. A prayer in behalf of someone the Lord cares for and someone I care for also.

The rest of the day every time one of my worries would pop into my head, I would pray for one of those that the Lord asked me to pray for. I spent the entire day interceding for those dear folks that God had put in my heart.

When I think about Jesus and what he is doing right now, I always remember the passage in Hebrews. “Now there have been many of those priests, since death prevented them from continuing in office, but because Jesus lives forever, he has a permanent priesthood. Therefore he is able to save completely those who come to God through him, because he always lives to intercede for them.” Hebrews 7:23-25.

That is what he does for us day in and day out. He is seated at the right hand of God, he is watching us and listening to us lift needs to him. He then turns to the Father and makes our requests known. He sees us when we are confused, when we are experiencing pain, when we fail, when we grieve. He knows what we need before we ask for it. When we lift the needs of others, when we set aside our own desires and think about what others need, he hears those prayers and will turn to God with those requests.

He has experienced our pain and knows that we need his compassion. He is compassionate and promises never to leave us.

Intercession is a beautiful way to pray. It gets our minds off ourselves and puts the focus on others and that is exactly what the gospel is all about. Loving our neighbors as ourselves. Jesus prayed for the needs of others so many times. He longed to bring people before the Father and he wants us to do the same.

Who do you know right now who needs someone to say a prayer for them? Who do you know that is lonely, hurting, in pain, confused, sad? How could you intercede for them?

A prayer of intercession might sound something like this.

Heavenly Father, I know that you are a big God. I know that you are able to meet the needs of everyone in the world all at the same time. I worship you and give you praise because you are worthy of praise. Today I want to lift the needs of those who, for one reason or another can’t pray for themselves right now.

Father, I ask that you touch Lillian’s body and help her to recover from back surgery. Mend her body and help her to be pain free.

Lord, I ask that you comfort George. If you can use me to minister to him, please give me wisdom to know how and opportunities to do so. Send people to help fill the void that he feels in his loss. Give those who minister to him the ability to listen and share in his loss.

I want to pray for Geraldine and the emptiness that she is experiencing in her life. She wants to have custody of her children again, but even more importantly, she is seeking to find you. I pray that you put Christians in her pathway to help lead her to you. I offer myself as a teacher to help her find you. I ask that you protect her from the evil one who does not want her to know your salvation. We will give you the praise when her name is written in the Lamb’s book.

Father, Wanda is a loving Christian lady, she trusts in you completely, but right now she is experiencing physical pain and the doctors don’t seem to know what is causing it. I lift her up to you Lord. Give her doctors wisdom, give Wanda peace, help her financially as she has to take time off work. Just meet every need she has and bless her in a special way.

These prayers I offer in the name of Jesus the Christ, the anointed one. Thank you for hearing my prayers and answering them in your time, in your way. Amen

Intercessory prayer is one way that we can build up and encourage the body of Christ. We are told in Ephesians 6:14-18 "Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. In addition to all that, take up the shield of faith with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the spirit, which is the word of God, and pray in the spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests with this in mind. Be alert and always keep on praying for all the saints."

Intercession is not something that only a few people in each congregation should do, but rather it is an obligation of believers. We are expected to pray for one another. Jesus is our example. He is continually at the Father’s right hand interceding for us. We should be doing the same.

In James the church is instructed to ask for prayer. “Is anyone among you in trouble? He should pray. Is anyone happy? He should sing praises. Is there anyone who is sick? He should send for the church elders, who will pray for him and rub olive oil on him in the name of the Lord. This prayer made in faith will heal the sick person; the Lord will restore him to health, and the sins he has committed will be forgiven. So then, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, so that you will be healed. The prayer of a good person has a powerful effect.” James 5:13-16.

When your troubles are overwhelming, ask someone to pray with you and for you. But also remember to cast your cares on the Lord. Then focus on someone else’s need. Ask the Holy Spirit to remind you to pray for someone else. Stand in the gap for a brother or sister who just can’t pray for themselves.

God will take care of your needs by having someone else pray for you. That’s what this Christian fellowship is all about. We are one in the spirit and the Holy Spirit can give your need to someone else. Maybe someone who has been through what you are going through and remembers the pain, the torment. Someone who will have compassion for you.

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Oaks of Righteousness

Being Oaks of Righteousness

When Jesus began his earthly ministry he read this scripture. “The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is on me, because the Lord has anointed me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim freedom for the captives and release from darkness for the prisoners, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor and the day of vengeance of our God, to comfort all who mourn, and provide for those who grieve in Zion - to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of gladness instead of mourning and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair. They will be called oaks of righteousness, a planting for the Lord for the display of his splendor.” Isaiah 61: 1-3

God is looking for people who want to become oaks for him. Oak trees are one of the most important trees in the world and are symbols of strength. They are used for lumber and fuel. There may be as many as 75 species of oaks in the United States. The fruit from the oak tree, is the acorn and these acorns serve as food for deer, squirrels and racoon.

Why would God want people to be like oak trees? What sort of symbolism is there for us to want to model our lives after?

When we think of how an oak tree begins, it is amazing. The oak starts as an acorn. An acorn looks nothing like the tree it will become. Our faith is like that acorn. When we first accept Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior we are like that acorn. Everything that we need to become mighty oaks of righteousness is within us. Within an acorn is all that it needs to become a tree. When we are born, God has created us for a purpose. He has a plan for each person in the world. The potential to become what he envisoned us to be is there. Just like the ability to become an oak tree is within each acorn.

There is a conscious effort needed to plant that acorn. If it doesn’t get planted, it will never become a tree. There are many acorns that are never planted, many that are scattered across the earth and never get the opportunity to become the trees that they could be because they either never heard the word of God or they refused to believe it. It is up to each one of us whether we will accept Christ into our hearts. Believing in Christ is the first step toward becoming an Oak tree.

Once we accept the gift God has given us, the gift of eternal life, the gift of forgivness, the potential within us takes on a new life. The seed, the acorn has been planted. Planting for Christians comes in the form of joining a body of believers. Once Jesus has come into your heart, you need to nurture that faith and increase it.

An acorn that is planted soon becomes a little twig. This little twig needs some protection and care to grow straight and tall. It will need some pruning also to form it into the great oak it has the potential to become.

New believers need support and guidance to become the display of God’s splendor that he intended. God will provide the pruning necessary to produce more branches. We have to yield ourselves to God daily and learn to trust him as he teaches us and guides us.

This is where being in a good Bible based church and surrounding yourself with true disciples of Christ makes a big difference. Believers will not grow if they are not nourished and fed the word of God on a regular basis.

As the tree grows, and this process takes years, there will be many storms of life that will threaten it. There may even be lightening strikes, but if that tree is rooted firmly in the ground, secure in God’s presence, no matter what assails it, the tree will stand firm. That is the place all believers want to reach. A place of complete peace and trust.

This is a process. I can imagine that some of the trials I have been going through lately would have totally destroyed me 20 years ago. But today I know that God will help me through any storm that may come my way. When a loved one dies, when there are financial problems, when we go through sickness or pain, these are the times that we grow. These are also the times when we learn to rely on God.

As an Oak tree grows, it sends out branches in three different directions. The lower limbs of mature trees bend toward the ground. These branches can be likened to mature believers who reach out to those people who don’t know the Lord yet. These are people who are living lives for this world. They haven’t heard the good news and accepted Christ Jesus as their Lord and master yet.

The branches half way up the oak reach out laterally. These branches connect with other trees around them. These branches could represent the fellowship of believers. We need to help and encourage others in the faith. As mature oaks, we have much to share with newer believers and our life experiences can make a difference in the lives of others.

The top branches reach toward heaven and as mature oaks, we are in the world but not of the world. We need to continuously seek God and realize that our true home is in heaven. We are only ambassadors here on this earth. Picture believers with their hands raised in praise to God.

As true believers we have a long way to go to become mighty Oak trees. But remember that it is a process. It won’t happen overnight and God will not give up on us. It is up to us to want to grow, we do have a choice. I’m not sure just how long Oak trees can live. I know that they are some of the most stately trees in the world. I also know that when they are cut down they make some of the most long lasting furniture. Oak trees are still useful even when they are dead. I guess that is what we can hope for.

Heavenly Father,

We are so grateful that you are patient with us and that you grow us up into the mature Christians that you created us to be. Thank you for letting us grow at a pace that is suitable for each one of us. Help us to remember that all those around us are also works in progress. That not everyone is growing at the same rate or in the same manner. That you are the one who is in control and that we are to encourage one another and reach out to the lost. May all the things that we say and do bring glory to your name. Because of Christ Jesus. Amen

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Looking into the Word

Looking into the Word

God has given us his Word, the Bible, to guide us through this earthly life. Jesus is the Word of God. The Bible tells us in John 1:1-3 “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made.”

In Genesis we see that God spoke everything into existence. It was his Word that made all things. How amazing that is. God did not make things with his hands, he did not have to craft the world, but he spoke and it became. I often get a mental image of God just imagining something and then speaking and it becomes reality. How powerful is his Word? More powerful than we can even imagine.

I heard a saying once that I have never forgotten. The Word of God is like a lion, we don’t have to defend it, we just have to let it out of its cage. Everytime we speak God’s word over a situation, we claim the promises that are within that word and it becomes reality. That is an amazing concept.

God gave us his Word in the Bible. I have heard it said that Jesus shows up in every chapter of the Bible somewhere, if we look for him there we can find him. The Bible is not just words written on paper and put in book form, it is the inspired Word of God. The men who penned the Bible were not just writing historical events, they were inspired by the Holy Spirit to write specific accounts. Most of us who have taken different Bible classes can agree that the same word that we didn’t understand last year, now makes sense to us. We can read a passage every day and find something fresh and new each time we read it.

Since God’s word is alive, it seems to speak to us differently each time we read it. And God’s Holy Spirit helps us recall his word when we really need it. Sometimes we can be in a situation and not know what to do, then the Spirit of God can speak to our hearts and share a scripture that helps us through the trial. In Daniel we read about three young men who refused to bow down to a foreign god. They were put into the firey furnace, but before they were thrown in, they said this, “If we are thrown into the blazing furnace, the God we serve is able to save us from it and he will rescue us from your hand, O king. But even if he does not, we want you to know, O king, that we will not serve your gods or worship the image of gold you have set up.” Daniel 3:17-18. They refer to Psalm 27:1-2 “The Lord is my light and my salvation, whom shall I fear? The Lord is the stronghold of my life, of whom shall I be afraid? When evil men advance against me to devour my flesh, when my enemies and my foes attack me, they will stumble and fall.” The spirit of God reminded them of a promise. And as a result, Jesus showed up in the furnace with them. When they came out, they didn’t even smell like smoke.

When we ask God’s Holy Spirit to teach us from the Word some wonderful things happen. Our eyes see things in a new light. Our ears hear the voice of God leading us where he wants us to go. Our hearts are encouraged and amazed by the way God has worked his plan over the ages. Our spirits convict us of sin in our lives and direct us to repent and seek forgiveness.

The more we read God’s word, the more we want to read it. He has placed in us a desire to know him better, but we can never get to the end of his word. It is eternal. The Word, Jesus, was with God from the beginning and will be with God long after everything else is gone. When we look into the Bible we can get a glimpse of God from the beginning. His heart is there for us to see, his love is there for us to know, his wisdom, his creativity, his mercy, his grace, his power and might are all displayed there. But most importantly his glory is there, shining above all else.

I have been spending time with the Lord nearly every morning now for more than 15 years. I think I have a good relationship with God, but no matter how much I read and know the word, I still long to read more and know him better. We can never get to the end of God.

The Word ofGod not only reads like a good novel, with many beautiful stories and historical accounts, but it also has depth to it. When reading the Bible over and over we begin to see how all the accounts interact with one another. The story of Ruth is a beautiful illustration of Jesus as our kinsman redeemer, the bridegroom of the church. The story of Joshua is a wonderful example of Jesus leading us into the Kingdom of God, destroying the enemies who would seek to imprison us.

We see ourselves in the shortcomings of some of the notable saints. We realize that God has always chosen the least likely candidates to be leaders. The Bible gives us such hope for ourselves. As we read the accounts over and over we have new insights because our faith is growing and maturing with each passing year.

The Word of God gives us instruction in our daily lives also. Just as Solomon said in Ecclesiates 1:9b, “there is nothing new under the sun.” The promises of God are as good today as the day they were given. The wisdom that God gives is available today just as it was during the rule of King Solomon. Psalm 119:105 tells us, “Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light for my path.” Try God on this. Ask him a question, he has every answer.

From financial responsibilities, family structure and work ethics, God’s word will help us. His word can help us through difficult physical pain and grief that comes with the loss of a loved one. All we have to do is open his word and look. Seek guidance from God when you have a problem, instead of running to friends for advice, ask the maker of heaven and earth.

We are instructed in Colossians 3:16, “Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom, and as you sing psalms, hymns and spiritual songs with gratitude in your hearts to God.” How can the word of Christ dwell in us if we don’t read it and know it? In order for something to become a part of your life and dwell in you, it has to be something that you live with daily. You can’t just read your Bible for 10 minutes during a worship service and expect to have enough of the word in you to sustain you all week. It must be a daily routine, somehow, someway you have to allot God’s word time every day to have it become part of you.

Years ago, when I was a "baby" Christian, I didn’t understand this concept of daily devotions. I would go to church on Sunday, ask forgiveness, pray a little and maybe read a few chapters in my Bible. Then the rest of the week I lived my life the way I wanted to and I just couldn’t understand why God was allowing some things to happen in my life. I was not being faithful to him and he was letting me live my life the way I chose to.

Now I realize that I need to speak to him about everything I do. Every decision I make should be a result of asking him what to do. Right down to making phone calls, picking out my clothes for the day and I’m really trying to consult him with my eating habits now. He really wants to take an active part in my life, but I have to actively seek him and ask for his advice.

With his word dwelling in me it is easier to know the right thing to do. I still don’t do everything right, but I’m a work in progress and I truly do want to be an obedient child.

If you haven’t read the Bible through from cover to cover, I urge you to do so. Ask the Holy Spirit to teach you, get into a Bible study group. If you are not a reader borrow the CD version or cassette tape version from your local library or church library. There are so many ways to get fed on the Word and so many versions that are understandable. It will amaze you and you will never be the same.

Heavenly Father,

Thank you for your Word. Thank you for your Holy Spirit. Thank you for Jesus Christ. We want to know you better and there is no other way to know you more than through your Word. Bless you God for inspiring those who wrote the Bible. How wonderful that you would give us your Word in a form that we would understand. Thank you for all those who have translated your Word and put your Word on different forms of media for us. How amazing that you would be able to reach so many people in so many different ways and that you would use one spirit to do so. We praise your Holy name and we thank you in Jesus name. Amen

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Mustard Seed Faith

Mustard Seed Faith

When the disciples failed to heal a boy who was demon possessed, they asked Jesus why they couldn’t drive the demon out. Jesus replied, “Because you have so little faith.” He said, “I tell you the truth, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain. Move from here to there and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you.” (Matthew 17:19-21)

Again in Matthew 21:21-22 Jesus told his disciples, “I tell you the truth, if you have faith and do not doubt, not only can you do what was done to the fig tree, but also you can say to this mountain, ‘Go, throw yourself into the sea,’ and it will be done. If you believe, you will receive whatever you ask for in prayer.”

In Luke when the apostles asked Jesus to increase their faith, he replied, “If you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mulberry tree, ‘Be uprooted and planted in the sea,’ and it will obey you.” (Luke 17:6)

Faith, how do we get it? It grows with exercise, it follows God despite the circumstances, it involves endurance until the end, it is the way God works through people.

Faith comes from seeds that are planted deep within our spirits. Each time we encounter a person who has faith, it is possible for them to plant a seed inside us and that seed grows with each encounter of other people of faith. It increases more and more. When we surround ourselves with people who want to share their faith, people who have experienced God moving in their lives, it comes out in words, in actions, in their demeanor. That touches a place within us that longs to have the same type of faith and that encounter strengthens our faith.

This faith that grows and increases will continue to grow if we tend it, water it, intentionally putting ourselves in situations with others of deep faith and soak up what they have until one day, without our even knowing it, we have become ‘a mustard plant’ with others learning from our experiences, hearing our stories of faith and wanting to be near us so that they may grow in their faith.

I think Jesus had hoped that his disciples had been with him long enough to have increased their faith. But, the disciples had not yet received the Holy Spirit and that kept them from possessing faith to the degree that Christ had it.

How does obedience to God increase our faith? When we know God, we know the things that he expects from us. The only way we can really get to know God is through his word. It is an instruction manual for us as we live our lives here on earth. Each time we do something that he asks us to do, our faith in increased.

A few years ago I was praying for a girl in my church who had been in a terrible accident. Her mother needed a care giver because the lady who had been helping her had quit. I was just asking the Lord to send someone to her and he spoke very clearly to me, not in an audible voice but in my spirit, he said “you call her”. I came up with every excuse possible why I couldn’t do it, but the spirit would not let me alone until I called her. It would require only a few hours each day to get Rachel up, dressed, fed and ready for the school bus. Easy enough, but then her mother told me that Rachel had to have a shot each morning and I knew that was one thing I could never do. Sorry God, I guess you’ll have to find someone else - wrong! When I told God that I couldn’t give her shots his response to me was, “I will give her the shots, just let me use your hands.” I had to do it and every day for nearly two years I took care of Rachel.

God used me in a mighty way to minister to not only Rachel but her mother as well. Because of my obedience my faith grew so much over that time.

God taught me through TV ministers that I would watch before I had to get Rachel up each day, he taught me through the devotional time I had with Rachel each morning, he taught me through Rachel’s ability to see angels all around us and her childlike faith that shared these things so easily. He taught me that sometimes life is very difficult, but he is with us through every trial, every heartbreak, every ache and pain. Yes, my faith increased through my obedience to him.

If you hear the voice of God speaking to you to do something, no matter how big or small the task, respond in obedience. Your faith will increase. Remember Abraham, when God asked him to take Isaac up the mountain and sacrifice him. Don’t you think that when the angel stopped Abraham from killing his son, and God provided the sacrifice, that Abraham’s faith increased one hundred fold that day?

We serve a big God, a God who is mighty and powerful, a God who wants to bless us and wants us to be a blessing to others. Jesus said, “If you believe, you will receive whatever you ask for in prayer.” God will hear the prayers of those who are obedient, those who want to increase their faith. Ask and it will be given unto you.

As your faith increases, start sowing mustard seeds everywhere you go. Those seeds will begin to grow and those you have witnessed to will have their faith increased and begin to sow seeds themselves. It is an amazing way that our faith spreads to others.

Holy God,

We are like the father in the Bible who wanted Jesus to heal his son, he cried out, “I do believe, help thou my unbelief.” We want to believe, we want our faith increased. Speak to us right now and tell us what you would have us do. We will obey and trust you to use us not only in the big events of our lives, but also in the small, mustard seed deeds that are done out of obedience to you. Enable us with the power of your Holy Spirit and because of the blood of Jesus. Amen

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Possessing Godly Qualities

For this very reason do your best to add goodness to your faith; to your goodness add knowledge; to your knowledge add self-control; to your self-control add perseverance; to your perserverance add godliness; to your godliness add brotherly kindness; and to your brotherly kindness add love. These are the qualities you need, and if you have them in abundance, they will make you active and effective in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. 2 Peter 1:5-8

It’s funny, the Bible tells us that God is Love - that is the end to which we are striving to become. That is the epitome of our existence.

There are steps that we climb to achieve this ultimate love. But before we climb the steps, we have to possess faith. It is our very foundation.

No one can give us faith, it is something that the Bible says comes from hearing and the hearing comes from the Word of God. The more we immerse ourselves in God’s Word, the more we hear God’s Word preached, the more opportunities we have for our faith to grow.

As our faith begins to grow, our goodness should increase. We know that our good deeds do not earn us a place in the Kingdom of God, but because we are grateful for what Christ did for us, we want to please God, our Heavenly Father. We want to be obedient children and be a blessing to God and to all those around us. This is a quality of the Father that we want to exhibit. The Holy Spirit helps us, by pointing out our sins and helping us crucify our flesh of these sins, one at a time. It is usually a process, making us more like Jesus, day by day.

To goodness we are to add knowledge. How do we do that? What can we possibly do to make ourselves smarter?

It is amazing how the Holy Spirit works in this area. God is all-knowing, He created everything in the universe and knows all about everything. If we have faith in Him and know that He loves us and cares about us, if we are truly wanting to be just like Jesus, God knows this and if we have a question, He will give us the answer. This is one of those super-natural, mysterious ways of God.

How many times have we lost something, keys, books, phone numbers, papers? Have you ever prayed for God to reveal something to you and found it almost immediately?

The knowledge of the universe is at our disposal through the Holy Spirit. Many times I have been stumped about trivial things, like what I should wear. At other times, I am stumped by mechanical things, how can I fix this computer? God has the answers to all these questions. All we have to do is ask.

To knowledge we are to add self-control. This is a very difficult godlike quality for us to possess. It means that we have to crucify the fleshly desires that want to rule us.

Our minds are where most control issues originate. We want something, not necessarily because it is a physical want, but because we ‘think’ we need it. When we begin to possess self-control, we ignore the part of the flesh or brain that says we desire something unless we check with God first. It is more of God-control than self-control.

It is really giving up self and relying on God. As we grow in our relationship with God, we realize what actions would be pleasing to God and what actions would not glorify Him. Since we want to glorify our Heavenly Father with our very lives. we will choose to do the ‘Christ-like’ things.

Perseverance is the next godly quality that we are to increase in. This is a quality that can only be increased by repeatedly doing the right thing in the right manner that is pleasing to God and in a ‘Christ-like’ way.

To persevere means ‘to continue steadfastly in a thing and give unremitting care to it.’ according to Vines. That is to say that we have a focus, it is to possess godly characteristics. With that goal in mind, we continue each day towards that end.

There will be days when we may falter, we may even forget the ultimate goal at times, but if we can just persevere, day by day, we will continue the climb to ‘love’.

After persevering, we make the climb to godliness. Godliness is a godward attitude. It reminds us of who we are in Christ. We are new creations, we are God’s children. He loves us with the same deep, abiding love that He has for Christ, because when God looks at us, He sees Jesus.

We need to understand this oneness with Christ and live as though we believe it. We are indeed ‘children of the king’. We are royalty-we are priests. God expects us to act accordingly.

We cannot go around doing the things that we did before we realized our heritage. The more that we know about our maker, the more righteous we become, not because of anything we do or because of anything we deserve, but because we were chosen and because Jesus died for us. That is what gives us the clothes of righteousness.

Brotherly kindness is a direct result of this godliness. If we do not have brotherly kindness, we are not truly exhibiting godliness, it is a fake form of godliness.

God loves everyone equally-he is not a respecter of persons. He doesn’t love Billy Graham any more than he loves Jeffrey Dahmer. In His eyes, we are each a child of his. Why would he expect us to behave any differently than he does?

We can’t be more kind to a brother who has a nice home and fancy car than to our brother who is homeless and in need of a bath. This brotherly kindness we exhibit is to be exactly the same way that God would be kind, without favoritism. A brother, is a brother, is a brother.

Jesus instructed us to love your neighbor as yourself. Our neighbor is our brother. If we are indeed children of God, if we are priests, if we are royalty, why would we not see that in our brothers? Christ died for them also-they have as much right to forgiveness and eternal life as we do. We didn’t earn a place in heaven and they won’t either. They just haven’t heard the word enough yet to develop that faith which is the foundation. Whose place is it to share the word? Jesus said, "therefore go and make disciples of all nations.”

To brotherly kindness we are to add love. Love, the gospel in one word is Love. The Bible tells us that ‘God is love.’ ‘God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten son, that whosoever would believe in him would not perish but have everlasting life.’

This true perfect, holy love is not conditional, it is not a love based upon our actions. God loved each one of us, before the foundation of the world. He knew that we would be sinners and would need a savior. He loved us anyway. He knew that some people would reject his offer of eternal life, but he loves us anyway. His love is so unmovable, so perfect, so unbelievable! That is how we are supposed to love-can we do it?

Mother Teresa was able to love that way. She didn’t look at the outside of people, it was almost like she looked into their very hearts and saw what God sees in each one of us. A person of worth and value, a person created in God’s image, just waiting for a relationship with the Almighty God.

How can we love like that? We can’t, not on our own. But with the power of the Holy Spirit and with the purposeful dying to self, with perseverance we can ask God to love the unloveable people in our pathways. He wants to love everyone and it is God’s will that all men will come into a knowledge of Him.

How can we show the love of God to someone today? Jesus said if we did anything to the least of these, we did it for him. Food, clothing, shelter, meeting the basic needs is a good way to begin to show love to our fellow ‘earth travelers.’

Heavenly Father,

We want to be more like Jesus, but we know that it can only happen with the help of the Holy Spirit. Teach us today to grow into ‘little Christs’. We submit our wills to your will. We choose to be your children and live like children of the king. In the name of Jesus we pray. Amen

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Communication With God

Communication With God

What is communication? It is a two way interaction. Prayer is the way we communicate with our creator God. It is through prayer that we find out who He is and it is through prayer that He discovers how much we want him to be part of our lives.

John Wesley said it best, “God does nothing but in answer to prayer.” That is an awesome thought, our prayers enable God to act. He is waiting for us to ask for help, to ask for forgiveness, to ask for wisdom, to ask for knowledge, to ask for our needs to be met. Matthew 7:7 says, “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you.”

I have first hand knowledge of asking and receiving. When I earnestly started seeking God in 1993, I would sit with my Bible opened to the concordance and just start looking up every reference to God. I wanted to know more and more about Him. I found out that He is the creator, He made man in His own image. I believe He made us in His image so that He could converse with us. Have a relationship with us. He wanted someone to share His knowledge with. Someone to marvel at all He is and all He has done. God is the same yesterday, today and forever. He still wants this relationship with each one of us. He created each of us with our own set of fingerprints, we are each one unique and different and He can relate to each one of us in a different manner.

God cannot communicate with us in our sinful state. He is so righteous and holy that He cannot look upon sin. He had to make a way to ‘atone’ for our wickedness so He made a way for us to come to Him.

Atonement is the Old Testament way that God taught the priests to come into his presence once a year. In Leviticus 16 we see God, through Moses, instructing the priest what to do to be cleansed of all their sins. Blood from a bull was to be sprinkled on the altar as a sacrifce to God. This blood was not a perfect sacrifice, it had to be done annually. This was always performed the tenth day of the seventh month. But this atonement was not lasting.

God took the form of a human being, clothed himself in humanity and willingly died for the sins of the world, just to have a relationship with us!

His blood was perfect sinless blood and the only way to provide a lasting atonement for all people.

That is amazing grace. We are so blessed to be called His children, and it is only through the blood of Jesus Christ that this happens.

What is more amazing is that Jesus would go back to the Father God and speak in our behalf.

Hebrews 7:24-25 tells us that “because Jesus lives forever, he has a permanent priesthood. Therefore he is able to save completely those who come to God through him, because he always lives to intercede for them.” And in Hebrews 7:27 we see that “unlike the other high priests, he does not need to offer sacrifices day after day... He sacrificed for their sins once for all when he offered himself.”

Every time we pray, Jesus interprets our prayers to God in a way that is acceptable to Him. He takes our feeble attempts of communicating, and puts our words into words that God can honor. Not because of who we are, but because of our belief in Christ as our mediator.

Therefore, we don’t have to worry if our prayers are eloquent or if we forget to say something that we are thinking. Even if we forget to pray for someone we promised to pray for, when we do remember them in prayer, we can know that God is timeless. Our idea of time means nothing to him.

Pray using your own language, using your own way of speaking because Jesus knows what you are saying and can tell his Father what we really need. He just wants us to ask.

Jesus sent the Holy Spirit to help us live our lives as Christians. This spirit is the very Spirit of God and it comes to live in those who believe that Jesus is the Christ, the messiah, the one God sent to be our atonement. The Holy Spirit is living inside each and every believer.

There are times when we just don’t know what to say or how to pray. That’s when the Holy Spirit comes to help us. He is just waiting to be asked. He is such a gentleman, he will not impose himself on us, but waits patiently for us to call on him.

He not only speaks to God for us, but he also speaks for God to us. He puts the desire to pray for specific needs in our hearts.

He is our transmitter sending us requests from God and receiving our prayers to be filtered through Jesus, our interpreter.

Jesus told his disciples about this promised Spirit in John 16:13, “But when he, the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all truth. He will not speak on his own; he will speak only what he hears, and he will tell you what is yet to come.”

God is always on call - 24 hours a day, seven days a week. He doesn’t have an answering machine, or voice mailbox, he won’t put you on hold to answer another call, and you never ever get a busy signal.

I cannot remember a time when I asked God a specific question and he failed to give me an answer. I ask Him all sorts of questions and He gives me answers. Not in an audible voice, but within my spirit.

I remember one year in August in southwest Ohio, a cicada came flying into the car right in my face as I was driving down the road. They are very ugly bugs and very large. They don’t bite or hurt people, but their size is frightening.

I remember feeling fear and trying to overcome the fear by calling out to God. I asked Him why in the world He made cicadas. The answer came almost before I finished asking. In my spirit I heard Him say, “It’s food for the birds, Marsha.”

That’s right, he used my name, He knows each one of us by name and He is always eager to have a conversation with us. In Psalm 49:16 the Lord tells us that he has engraved us on the palms of his hands; our walls are ever before him. And in 1 Peter 5:7 he says, “Cast all your anxiety on him, because he cares for you.”

The only way to truly get to know God is by spending time with him. The only way to spend time with him is by diligently seeking him and by deliberatly setting aside time in his Word, the Bible. He reveals himself to us through his word.

God wants to know about you and the things that trouble you. He wants you to ask him about decisions in your life. He wants to be able to guide and direct you. He really does want to be a daily part of your life. After all, He is the one who created you, He has a lot at stake in your life.

If we look to Jesus’s example we see that every morning he got up early and went to a solitary place to pray. He was directed every step of the way by God, His Holy Father. He asked Him for help in all that he did. Why should we be any different?

When Jesus lived on this earth as a man, he experienced everything that we experience. I would imagine that he really didn’t “feel” like getting up early, but he knew that was the only time that he could have time alone with his Father.

When could you spend time alone with your creator? What time of day is your best? Begin now if you don’t already have a quiet time. It will become the most important part of your day.

How do you start spending time with God? What is the first step? Get a Bible, make sure you get a translation that you can understand. Plan a time of day that works best for you when you won’t be interrupted by the phone, the door, the demands of children.

For me, the first thing every morning is best. I just get up a little earlier than I used to and plan to spend at least 1/2 hour with God. I started with five minutes back in 1993. I used a little devotional book to get a focus for the morning. But there is no set formula. If you start seeking God, he will help you with the details.

Continue meeting with God everyday. I have heard that if you do anything for 21 days, it becomes a habit. Get to know your creator, He is waiting to speak with you. It doesn’t have to be a profound or Biblical conversation, He just wants to get to know you and wants you to get to know Him. Go ahead...pray.

Heavenly Father,

We do want to know you more. We invite your precious Holy Spirit to teach us more about you. Today could you show us just one new thing about your character? We truly want a relationship with you because we love you and know that you love us. Thank you Father, in Jesus’ name. Amen

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