promises (6)


Most of us have grown cynical about New Year's resolutions. But if we are pressed we would admit that they could be good things. Have you ever kept one? If you have, you surely think that was a good thing. But why are they so difficult to keep? I believe the fundamental problem is our approach to resolutions. We make them, and try to keep them in the flesh.

Goals are great things for Christian Believers. But they need to spring from our relationship with Christ. I am intrigued by the title, Habits of The Heart, although I have not read the book. I recently looked it up on I actually found two items, Habits of The Heart, individualism and commitment in American life, and Habits of The Heart, 365 daily exercises for living like Jesus. The latter has to be better.

But as most of us can attest, even godly goals can be approached in the flesh. It is better to begin with promises. Ask God to direct you to promises He wants you to focus on as you begin the year. You will have to spend serious time reading your Bible to do this right. Then, memorise the Scripture or Scriptures God is directing you to.

Finally, the most important factor in keeping a New Year's commitment is prayer. Don't just say, “I will do this,” or “I will do this if it kills me.” Pray, “Lord, I need You to produce this in my life.” The reminder on your mirror might read, “Father, glorify Your name as You do this in me.”

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Rejoicing in Hope


My youngest son was invited to a "sleepover party" this week. One of his closest friends was turning 10 and wanted my little guy to celebrate with him. You might not think a sleepover is such a big deal at your age, but for a nine-year-old who has often been left behind while two older brothers go on sleepovers, this was like being given the world! Oh, the fun they would have! They would stay up until TEN O'CLOCK, he boasted to me! They would eat popcorn! Watch movies! Candy for dinner! And on and on he went.

The invitation arrived a week or so ahead of time. It was beautiful: a full-color, printed invitation complete with pictures, time and date. It promptly earned a coveted place on our fridge, where my son could visually savor its promised delights until the momentous day should arrive. We discussed it daily: what to bring, what to wear, how exciting that HE had been invited, along with one or two of his best friends! This was just THE BEST!  

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As for you, the anointing which you received from Him abides in you, and you have no need for anyone to teach you; but as His anointing teaches you about all things, and is true and is not a lie, and just as it has taught you, you abide in Him....(1 John 2:27)
Most gracious, kind merciful Heavenly Father, Who gives all things to all all people, we thank You for the special"chrisma" (gift of anointing) You have given Your anointed and those upon whom You have placed a special calling to reach, teach, preach and outreach to a lost and dying world. These are those who are truly called by Your Name, those who have been reborn and brought into the Kingdom of Your Son. 
Because You have given us Your Spirit, we cannot be deceived by the god of this world and even if distracted, we shall soon learn the errors of our ways. There are some things which bible colleges, Sunday School teachers and preachers cannot teach and that is how to listen to You, how to respond to You and how to obey the promptings and directions which Your Holy Spirit, Who is our true friend in the Faith imparts and inputes into us. He infuses more oil and blessing daily from our first calling on our lives and the Truth can only be found in Him.
So most compassionate, gracious and long-suffering God, we lift up on this special day of recognition of Your anointing on the lives of your true followers, those who take this Word across the globe. We lift up Your missionaries who abide and rest more on You for their moment by moment nourishment, guidance, protection and direction than the rest of us. Lord, not only are Your true missionaries, i.e., those whom You have actually sent out to dangerous and seemingly unproductive lands, not only are they solely dependent on You, but sometimes they lose courage in the face of evil persecution as seen with Your servants the Burnhams when Martin was killed by islamic guerrillas in the Philippines in 2002. Lord as the flesh told Gracia, his dear wife to see revenge, Your Grace and Your Love encouraged her to show love, mercy and compassion. Because of that, she "learned to fly again" and won many more souls to Christ, a testimony for us not to give up and even in the pain and suffering in her own family, to see the bigger picture of the Love You have, which put Christ on the Cross.

Father, we also pray for those of us who are missionaries in our own "Jerusalem"- namely outside our own front doors. May we never tire of the hard work that it is to reach on and teach and care for the lost when their hearts are so hard and they literally hate You, while professing to love and know You at Christmas and Easter time. Father, we pray for those of us that we persevere, never give in, never give up and in fact live up to the standards and the call with which You have have called. We do this because Your Call is True, Your Word is True, Your Love is True and Your Promises are Yes and Amen....and we believe it, because of Jesus Christ, our soon coming Lord and Savior, in His Name, amen.
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Most Believers cling firmly to the promise of God in Romans 8:28. I am no exception. But it is important to note that this promise is linked with the promise in verse 26 of God's help in our prayers. Am I saying the promise only applies if you are praying about your difficult circumstances? No, I am not saying that. But I do believe God will use difficult circumstances to teach you to pray. Growing your prayer life is part of the good God is working in your life.


God's work in your life depends on His teaching you to pray. The Spirit's intercession for us informs our understanding.  I suppose the Spirit prays things for me without my understanding. I want God to help me keep my job, but the Holy Spirit is praying for me to learn to trust God to care for my family. He may even be praying for God to move me to a place where I will have a greater witness. However, the primary way the Spirit prays in me includes growing my understanding. He shows me Scripture verses or simply whispers into my heart. In John 15:15 Jesus said He no longer calls us servants because a servant does not know what his master is doing. He works in me, teaching me to pray for things that I would never have longed for without His intervention in my life including my thinking and praying.


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An Arabic Christian woman once shared some challenges and concerns she was facing.  An American couple, listening to her, said, "We'll pray for you."

The woman replied, "No, you won't!  Americans are quick to promise others that they'll pray for them, but then they walk away and never follow through!"

The couple, stunned by the women's response, then asked, "How do you know?"

"Because I never see a change in my life or circumstances.  There would be a significant difference if they actually prayed!"


This lady had faith in God to change things by the power of prayer.  This should challenge us to consider, or reconsider how we make promises; how we view prayer, its effectiveness, and the importance to faithfully pray.

Jesus spoke specifically about how we use words and promises (oaths):

“Again, you have heard that it was said to the people long ago, ‘Do not break your oath, but fulfill to the Lord the vows you have made.’  But I tell you, do not swear an oath at all: either by heaven, for it is God’s throne;  or by the earth, for it is his footstool; or by Jerusalem, for it is the city of the Great King.  And do not swear by your head, for you cannot make even one hair white or black.  All you need to say is simply ‘Yes’ or ‘No’; anything beyond this comes from the evil one. - Matthew 5:33-37

James agrees:  Above all, my brothers and sisters, do not swear—not by heaven or by earth or by anything else. All you need to say is a simple “Yes” or “No.” Otherwise you will be condemned. - James 5:12

As Christians, we mean well when we promise others that we'll pray for them.  But so often, as we busy ourselves with tasks, goals, service, objectives, missions, and more, we can quickly lose sight of promises made to others.  Distractions happen to everyone.  Our promises can be put on a back burner, but sometimes they're left there and are lost.  We can do much better!

We damage our Christian testimony, reduce God's name and glory,  and can even damage another person's faith or trust in God when we fail to follow through when we promise to pray!

Is there a way to avoid turning our promise into something that is neither beneficial to the person promised prayer or we, ourselves, who promised to pray?

Absolutely!  Invest prayer into that person, circumstance, or matter right that instant!  What better time to pray than on site in that moment!? 

If you find yourself in a grocery checkout line, or another site where there's a lot of hustle and bustle all around, ask the person requesting prayer (or the person you offered to pray for) if you could step aside with them to somewhere nearby that's a bit out of the way so you can pray together.  It's highly unlikely that they'll decline your offer to pray right there and then (unless you're out in the open in a country that's closed or makes it difficult for Christians practicing their faith in public.  Even then, there are ways to discreetly pray with one another).

What if I don't know what to pray for in that moment?

Jesus said, "Very truly I tell you, whoever believes in me will do the works I have been doing, and they will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father.  And I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son. You may ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it."

“If you love me, keep my commands.  And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another advocate to help you and be with you forever—  the Spirit of truth. The world cannot accept him, because it neither sees him nor knows him. But you know him, for he lives with you and will be in you.  I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you." - John 14:12-18

God is faithful.  As God is perfectly faithful, so is Jesus and the Holy Spirit.

Silently ask the Lord to give you biblical insight; His insight, in how to pray for that person in the moment.  It's likely the person/people requesting prayer shared a matter concerning them- so you likely already have a matter to pray about.  You can begin praying by praising God for one or more of His attributes.  Then as He quiets your heart (if it's stirred or worked up), you can pray for the matter they requested.  As you're praying, if the Lord downloads to your mind something else to pray for in that time (joy, peace, patience, self-control, other fruits of the Spirit, increased knowledge, faith, trust, understanding, relationship, etc. with God), pray it silently or aloud as the Spirit prompts you to do so.  Note: praying aloud, in a Christ-centered, non-condemning fashion, can be an avenue in which God brings significant hope, peace, or joy to a troubled heart!  As the other person/people hear you pray, God may do a work in their hearts they (or you) hadn't anticipated- bringing increased glory to His name and Himself!  Let the Holy Spirit guide you.  Don't try to pray only from your own thoughts or imaginings.

What if I disagree with how they've asked me to pray?

This seldom happens, but again, ask God for wisdom in how to pray in that moment.  It's okay to take a few moments to pray silently before you begin speaking in prayer.  In that time, God may quiet your heart, give you His insight in how He'd have you pray as well as honor the person/people requesting prayer, etc.  Again, begin praying aloud by praising God for who He is.  Center the focus on God.  He matters most.  The matter, as well as the people you're praying for/with, are His.  Pray biblically.

Changing Our Culture by Praying On Site

Would you be encouraged if someone offered to pray for you, then followed through in prayer that moment while you were at the park, running errands, in the break room at work, at the store, in a parking lot, in your home, or somewhere else where prayer is seldom if ever practiced?  I imagine you would be encouraged!

While we don't pray publicly to be seen by others, imagine what God might begin doing in the hearts of other Christians, or even non-Christians, if personal prayer became more prominent in public places. 

1.  He would bring increasing encouragement to those sharing and receiving prayer in those moments.  An increase in faith in Jesus is good for all!

2.  Christians who are afraid to speak or act out their faith in public may begin stepping out in faith to listen to others, pray, and share their faith in Jesus Christ. 

3.  God, who can and does immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine (Ephesians 3:20) would be more openly sought after, praised, and glorified in public- as well as in private.  Our society and world would benefit greatly from this!

Why should we hold back and not pray?  Let's get out of our own way (setting aside fear and vain imaginings) and seek Him to do immeasurably more- for His glory!  He will do so as we follow through and pray!

The time of being fearful of what others might think or say has passed!  Let's press through the fear, by the Lord's strength- and not our own; pursue the Lord, and His best, for those around us.

How will you follow through in prayer today or this week? 

Lord, we love you and we desire for you to be known and loved by all we come in contact with.  Yet, we confess, that we often talk or imagine a good game but fail to follow through.  In our flesh and good intentions we fall woefully short.  We turn our eyes to you, Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith (Heb. 12:2) to increase in us those things that will bring You the greatest glory.  Have your way, fully, in us, then through us.

Lord, give us opportunities to seek you and practice praying with others around us; then help us follow through, learn, grow, and glorify You as we do so in your strength!

Quicken our hearts to be in constant communication with you; listening as well as speaking.  Reveal to us anything in our hearts that is hindering you from accomplishing your works, and the even greater works that Jesus spoke about in John 14.  As we pray for you to bring Revival, begin in me; in us first.  Do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine (Eph. 3:20).

We continue exalting you in prayer, praise, and thanksgiving.  In Jesus' name...

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"God's Faithfulness" is never altered nor decided by our "merited perfection" or by our "poor performance"; because the inerrancy of HIS ways, the immutability of HIS character, and the infallibility of HIS word and will - have been eternally settled, and not contingent upon "human" ability, consistency or integrity.

But, we will not see HIM as HE really is - if we don't deliberately ask or pursue those promises from God's word, by confessing and claiming them "in faith"; recognizing that through Christ's finished work at Calvary, HE has made all the promises "yes and amen"! So, "Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful." (Hebrews 10:23 NKJV)

The Lord is "faithful" when we are "faithless", and even while we deeply question whether HE will fulfill or satisfy HIS promises in our lives or not! But, especially when we misspeak or arrogantly assume things based upon fear or presumption, and not faith in "God's faithfulness alone"!

'For men indeed swear by the greater, and an oath for confirmation is for them an end of all dispute. Thus God, determining to show more abundantly to the heirs of promise the immutability of His counsel, confirmed it by an oath, that by two immutable things, in which it is impossible for God to lie, we might have strong consolation, who have fled for refuge to lay hold of the hope set before us." (Hebrews 6:16-18 NKJV)

Somehow, we seem to believe that "everyone else qualifies, but us"! And often, that is because we make the fulfillment of HIS word about "us", and not HIS unalterable and unchanging oath through the New Covenant; coupled with our complete acceptance and acknowledgment of it!

"And we have such trust through Christ toward God. Not that we are sufficient of ourselves to think of anything as being from ourselves, but our sufficiency is from God, who also made us sufficient as ministers of the new covenant, not of the letter but of the Spirit; for the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life." (II Corinthians 3:4-6 NKJV)

A major problem amongst God's people is the prevalence of a religious mindset without a true heart commitment, so we labor to "get God to bless us" without understanding the importance of entering into HIS rest for ourselves!

"Therefore, since a promise remains of entering His rest, let us fear lest any of you seem to have come short of it. For indeed the gospel was preached to us as well as to them; but the word which they heard did not profit them, not being mixed with faith in those who heard it . For we who have believed do enter that rest, as He has said: “So I swore in My wrath, ‘They shall not enter My rest,’ ” although the works were finished from the foundation of the world." (Hebrews 4:1-3 NKJV)

If we don't decide to enter into HIS rest, by renouncing the lingering pride and "unbelief" that is vying for the affection of our hearts - we will forfeit our inheritance in Christ; which HE established from the foundation of the earth, and end up becoming suspicious and not properly discerning the Mind of the Spirit.

As an example of this, I've noticed throughout the years that when believers experience the reality of "being abased" and "being abound" without our minds properly renewed to the Word of God, we think God is nitpicking about the things we "like" to do, and is correcting us for our heart's desires; when HIS leadership in our lives is not petty-investigative work about insignificant things.

"For God is not unjust to forget your work and labor of love which you have shown toward His name, in that you have ministered to the saints, and do minister. And we desire that each one of you show the same diligence to the full assurance of hope until the end, that you do not become sluggish, but imitate those who through faith and patience inherit the promises." (Hebrews 6:10-12 NKJV)

As the Lord matures HIS people, HE begins to foster balance in our lives, so that where we have misplaced priorities and fleshly (carnal) thinking; HE can pinpoint it in the fire of the circumstances and difficulties that often brings us to a greater degree of clarity in our openness to hear and grow more reliant upon HIM!

Jesus is our "Perfect Example" of what it means to be balanced without ever succumbing to self-dependence apart from the Father's explicit directions and instructions to HIM. And, because Jesus was also "moved with compassion" by being completely yielded to the Father's heart, HE NEVER:

#1 - Allowed self-centered investments to move HIM to "manipulatively sow to reap", people's allegiance or support;

#2 - Became unconscious or misdirected in HIS assignment, by being distracted by human applause or fanfare; and

#3 - Developed an arrogant attitude of entitlement about "being served".

"Do you have faith? Have it to yourself before God. Happy is he who does not condemn himself in what he approves. But he who doubts is condemned if he eats, because he does not eat from faith; for whatever is not from faith is sin." (Romans 14:22, 23 NKJV)

We've all got a long way to go in learning to walk faithfully before The Lord, but you should know that your heartfelt gratitude and humility - while you live free from condemnation and fear - by walking in the spirit; is God's gift to us all!

God answering our prayers for "stuff", should never replace the importance of the singular devotion through intentional submission and ongoing surrender that we must have to our family, faith in Christ, and freedom to live without fear of God ever NOT being faithful!

“Therefore know that the Lord your God, He is God, the faithful God who keeps covenant and mercy for a thousand generations with those who love Him and keep His commandments." (Deuteronomy 7:9 NKJV)

The Body of Christ is God's vehicle in this New Testament Reality; used to express the fullness of His presence and power in the earth. But, without "dying to self" as a priority, we will hinder the work of the Holy Spirit through us!

“I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me. “I do not set aside the grace of God; for if righteousness comes through the law, then Christ died in vain.” (Galatians 2:20, 21 NKJV)

To the degree we're fully surrendered and available to the Inexhaustible Headship of Jesus Christ, will mirror the extent or magnitude in which HIS Glory will be revealed!

So, HIS faithfulness is never gauged by the vacillating faith, inconsistent giving or wavering devotion of HIS people to HIS Cause. But, it does represent the degree in which our usefulness to HIM will be made known.

Saints, "comfort and convenience" is not synonymous with "faith and grace", so the pressure God permits in our lives - must become "revelation"; as we learn to unpack the truths delivered in bundles of faith-building exercises, which should keep us growing more dependent upon HIM - during every one of life's toughest turns and darkest trials!

GOD IS FAITHFUL - even when we don't deserve it; so, don't make it about "you", at all!

Let God get the glory for being - who HE IS!

"Oh, the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are His judgments and His ways past finding out! “For who has known the mind of the Lord ? Or who has become His counselor?” “Or who has first given to Him And it shall be repaid to him?” For of Him and through Him and to Him are all things, to whom be glory forever. Amen." (Romans 11:33-36 NKJV)



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