spirit (9)


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 Amazon.com. 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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that is the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it does not see Him or know Him, but you know Him because He abides with you and will be in you....(John 14:17)
PRAYER: (Part 2)
Father, You said if we, as a people return to You - in spirit, in truth and through repentance, You will hear, heal and help us in our time of need. Lord, but we are still a people hard of hearing. We have more bibles in circulation in print and electronically around the world, more worship music, more "Christian" movies, more "churches", more....more....more. We send more people on missions trips around the world yet some of them only go for their own selfish reasons for their resumes. Some of them only go for a reason to do something on their summer vacation. Most of them have not truth in them, because the Truth was never in them.
This is the Spirit of Truth, the Holy Spirit, Who testifies within us that every jot, tittle, word, phrase and passage in the Bible is true. Yet the world cannot receive it because sin, intellectualism and humanism are obstacles to a simple understanding of what Your Spirit is saying to us in these last days. They cannot receive it because they doubt. Sometimes we, Your remnant have our doubts, oh Lord, but our doubts are not about Your existence, self-existence and sovereignty, but our doubts are the scar tissues of our fallen state which will not be done away with while we are still living on earth. Their doubts are because, to put it bluntly - they do not know You even while knowing OF You. 
They see You as their ticket to prosperity and nothing bad happening in their lives because some smiling preacher in $5000 suits on TV told them so in his books, and seminars etc....or their local minister talks only of Your fictional tolerance of sin and "loving everything and everybody" no matter what.  So when their concept of prosperity and the easy western life do not materialize, they walk away from you, just like the "disciples" did in John 6:66. These are the same people who will one day take the Mark of the Beast, whose number is 666....because they do "not see Him or know Him". Lord, You said in this Word above (John 14:17) that this "seeing or knowing" is literally about partaking of, experiencing, beholding and discerning YOU - the One True God of Heaven, Who is the Way, the Truth and the Life (Verse 6). This spiritual blindness exists today because even though the world and its false religions know of and about Your Word, they refuse and reject and were never truly reborn.
Father God, so we pray for them right now that they may "see" that they may "taste and see that the Lord is good" blessed is the man and woman and child who trusts in Him. We pray that they too will remove the self-embedded scales from the eyes of their own spiritual hearts and see that the Lord - He is God. The Lord - He is God. The Lord - He is God and there is no other. Give us the influence and boldness to share the joys of knowing this Truth that the world may know and seek to wait, rest and anticipate that glorious eternity with You, through Christ our Soon Coming King. Amen.
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What Should We Repent Of As a Nation?


The work of Wheatland Ministries involves research in learning how to best pray and be involved in intercessory prayer.

I am currently reading the book the Harbinger by Jonathan Cahn. In it he identifies 3 spirits affecting our nation, which are the spirits of Defiance, Pride, and Arrogance. I mention them, because we seen many saying we need to repent--and that is in scripture--but there is a question--do we know what we are repenting of?--especially as a nation.

Research is one way we can identify how to pray. What we pray for should be in agreement with scripture.  These three spirits listed above are related to pride, and there is much scripture about pride, and the problems of pride.  A heart full of pride does not seek the Lord. 

This week (week of July 4, 2014) there has been a call to prayer by the National Day of Prayer Task Force-I encourage you to consider what is shared in this blog, and to search for even other things we as a nation need to repent of.

Some may not understand why repentance is so-o-o-o important.There is a verse found in II Chronicles 7:14: If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.


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Our pastor is preaching through the Sermon on the Mount on Sunday mornings. A few weeks ago he preached on the first Beatitude, “Blessed are the poor in Spirit, for theirs is the Kingdom of heaven.” He pointed out that the word translated “poor” here means to be destitute. It can be used for a beggar who is absolutely dependent upon help from others. Poverty of Spirit is the heart of prayer.

We come to God because our help, our strength, our hope of salvation, our very lives depend upon Him.

Spiritual poverty is the starting place for prayer. “God be merciful to me a sinner.”

Faith springs from spiritual poverty. “I come to You, Father because I know I cannot solve this problem. I cannot even understand the problems I face.”

The extent of my spiritual poverty is shown by the fact that I do not even know how to pray as I ought. I even depend on God’s Spirit to help me pray.

"Thank You, Lord, that You died for my spiritual poverty. Thank You, Father, for meeting my poverty with Your everlasting wealth."





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Passion, Purpose, Power and Prayer

9651008479?profile=originalI’ve watched the influence of the church ebb and flow for the past 30 years, and I have to confess that in most cases, the message and energy behind a movement was much more impressive than the fruit it created. Maybe my expectations are high, but based on the time, money, energy, promotion and presentations strategy that’s flowed into the public arena in the name of modern Christian ministry, I believe that, if Christ-followers were giving our time and attention to the right things, we would see much more lasting fruit in the world.

Before I go too far into the deep end of the pool where it sounds like I’m just splashing around and complaining, let me preface these thoughts with my confession. I’m a committed member of a local body that is using it’s time and resources to build the kingdom and send the gospel around the world. We’re not a perfect church, and I’m not a perfect Christ-follower. Yet I have to return to the standards by which Jesus gave us to measure myself, and periodically ask “How am I doing? How is my church doing? Are we fulfilling the commands Jesus gave us to make disciples, expand his kingdom and transform the world?”

In business or ministry, it’s easy to be busy – and still accomplish little of lasting value, and the larger the church, the more momentum the congregation can create, and by mistaking momentum for God’s presence and anointing, churches can carry on for years (decades), never fulfilling the great commission in a way that is commensurate with their abilities, gifts, resources, and calling.

Ouch. As Christ–followers, we all know this is true. We just want it to be true of other churches . . .  “those guys over there” . . .  not us.

Looking Back

In the past 40 years, since the Jesus People movement of the 60’s, the corresponding Charismatic movement in the churches, and the explosion of creativity which followed, contemporary Christianity has become its own subculture. Social calendars in every major city are filled with Christian concerts, conferences, cruises, musicians, magicians, comedians, authors, and events in ways that would have never happened just 40 years ago. When I came to Christ, contemporary Christian music was only found in dimly light coffee houses, street corners, and barn pastures. How things have changed.

My lament is not meant to criticize, but revolves around this single idea. As the culture changed, and contemporary Christian ideas became part o the larger church culture, Christians thought, and popular magazines of the contemporary Christian movement proclaimed that the cultural acceptance and transformation would carry with it deeper Christian influence in the world. We thought that because Christian music was appearing on the airwaves along with other top 40 and rock and roll music, that Christianity would be more accepted, and have greater influence. As money flowed into the Christian subculture grew in the name of evangelism, missionary and outreach budgets shrunk, and yet Christian influence in our culture diminished. Something is wrong with this picture.

At the same time Christian concerts, music, conferences, art, t-shirts and book stores have proliferated, the church’s influence on the secular world has measurably decreased. Virtually every survey has revealed fewer people attending churches, fewer people believing and regularly reading the bible as a source of their faith. The country and the church has more divorces, more violence, more single parent homes, and more brokenness. By any objective measurement, the gospel is making less of an impact on the American continent today that is was 50 years ago.

Jesus said that our Father’s will was that we bear fruit, and that our fruit remains, and this is the reason for this retrospection. I’m not writing to condemn or criticize. I’m writing to say, with the exception of a few pockets, the church today has a huge disconnect between our effort, activity, and outcome. We are called to be salt and light in a decaying and dark world. Over the past 40 years, we’ve lost ground.

Spending our Resources for Eternity.

I’m not writing today to propose one size fits all, uninformed solutions. I’m not that arrogant. I’m writing to ask four simple questions.

  • Is there passion in your heart for what you’re doing, and for what your church is doing? Confirmation of God’s blessing and purpose is passion. If our hearts are cold, it’s time to do visit the Heart Surgeon, empty our hands of everything that consumes our time and energy, and give him permission to change things, and change me.

  • Are you living on purpose or just spending time?  Jesus and his followers in the church’s first centuries were clear about their mission. They didn’t allow the needs of the day, hour, or moment, extraneous entertainment and time hungry hobbies, and to pull them away from God’s Word, prayer, and doing the things which God entrusted into their care. They knew they were stewards who would give account, not owners who could do what every they wanted.

  • Is there power in your life, church, family, and ministry . . . real, life changing power? The early church and the Christian church throughout history, during times of revival embraced and flowed with supernatural, life-changing, relationship-healing power. Like a vineyard which no longer yields fruit abundantly, maybe it’s time to ask God to prune our lives, and surrender leaves and branches that consume energy without returning anything of eternal value.

  • How is your prayer life?  In Jesus’ life, passion, purpose, and power all flowed from his connection to his Father in prayer. When the disciples got up in the morning, and Jesus wasn’t around, the gospels tell us that they knew He was off praying. In fact, the only thing that the disciples specifically asked Jesus to teach them was how to pray. They knew his life flowed from his Father, and they wanted to live the same way.

At the heart of what I’m asking is this question. Why don’t we have revival? Why doesn’t the church live like, look like and have the influence on the world like the first century church, and like the church in the US during the Reformation, and the first and second great awakening. The late revivalist Leonard Ravenhill wrote that today's Church didn’t have revival because we are content to live without it. While we can’t manufacture revival, every outpouring of God’s power that changed the course of the world was connected to a period when his people loved and obeyed passionately, lived purposefully, walked in the power of God’s spirit, and prayed fervently.

The world is becoming a darker place. Are we the generation that will start the next great awakening? 

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Does God have to Tell Me to Pray?

9651008070?profile=originalI listened to a conversation between pastors John Piper and Rick Warren recently. From their theological towers, one can barely see the other’s camp on the edge of the horizon. Piper, a died in the wool Calvinist, wanted to talk with “whosoever will can come” Warren about Warren’s book The Purpose Driven Life. While the two could have staked out their own territory like medieval lords protecting their castle, they lowered their theological drawbridges and met in the valley to honestly talk about faith and life in Christ.

At one point Warren said “When I find two scriptures that seem to be opposed to one another, I accept them both.” So when Piper asked his friend about Calvin’s predestined approach to salvation, Warren replied that he accepts the idea, that God draws men He foreknew and predestined to salvation. He also believes that whoever confesses Jesus as Lord becomes part of God’s family, and that the door is open to every man - opposing ideas, yet one faith. Warren was comfortable with a God who is bigger than his own understanding.

I have a similar problem with two other scriptures. I hear Christ-followers say “I felt the Lord prompt me to __ (fill in the blank here) ______,” and so they make sure to do, or not do ____ (whatever) _________. This personal interaction with God is like a faith merit badge, worn as proudly as any Eagle Scout’s sash.

At the same time, friends from the less charismatic crowd tend to focus on obedience. They study scripture and are so sure to follow the biblical principles that the idea of hearing God’s voice is almost unnecessary. Their lives are often stable, prosperous and fruitful . . . evidence of God’s presence.

A vital prayer life and prayer ministry has to move out of the “either / or approach” to an intimate relationship with God, and embrace both hearing and obeying God’s voice.

  • If we only do that which we feel prompted into, we become selfish, self-focused children. We demand God meet our requirements, rather than opening our hearts to follow his. 
  • If we only act on what we read in the Bible or learn in a Sunday school class, we become stale, and quite the opposite of the “hear before we obey” crowd. We miss the prompting of the Holy Spirit because He often doesn’t fit into our programs. God asks us to change, take risk, and move into new territory.
  • If we use our comfort zone as an excuse to nullify our brother’s approach, we miss the blessing of what God can, and wants to teach us. We risk becoming bigoted, closed hearted, and quenching the Spirit we so desperately need.

Even the quickest historical survey reveals that the men through whom God changed the world were men who lived by both creeds. No one had to tell Wesley, Spurgeon, Wilkerson or Moody that God’s heart was broken over poverty, orphans, and widows. They preached the word in season and out, ministered to the poor, and listened for God’s voice on a daily basis.

The man who won me to Christ had this plaque on his desk.

All Word and we dry up.
All Spirit and we blow up.
With the Word and Spirit, We grow up.

Jesus demonstrated both. Shouldn’t we?

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Who am I Praying for?

9651008260?profile=originalThe men’s ministry in our church recently held a daylong event, and I had the privilege of being part of the prayer team. As the guys gathered in the gym surrounded by camo-netting, motorcycles and 4x4 ATV’s,  I was welcomed into the church's prayer chapel by the presence of God’s Spirit. I expected to fight with my roaming mind to stay focused on the prayer-task at hand. I expected to consciously have to still my mind, and wait for my emotional wheels to coast to a halt before I would really enter into God’s presence.

Instead God’s Spirit met me at the door, and for the first hour, I was overwhelmed by a single idea. I sensed God ready to meet with me, not standing off in the distance waiting for me to fight my way into his presence. While I didn’t hear an audible voice, I overwhelmingly sensed God say:

 “You are here to ask me to do things for you, but you don’t have to ask. You don’t even have the right to ask for anything of your own accord. I want your prayers on the basis of my promises to you. I want to answer your prayers, and I offer you my grace, power and presence on the basis of my Unchanging Word.”

As I’m writing this, I’m having a hard time describing how this single idea transformed my prayer expectations. I often spend time in extended prayer. I have my prayer lists, and I pray for my kids, my church, my finances, family and country. I ask God to glorify himself, reveal himself, and cover those who spend their lives in service of the ministry. I have my shopping list that I lug into my prayer closet, but so often I feel like I have to walk up hill before I can talk to God. I have to clear away the brush in my mind to find a peaceful place in the middle of my mental forests before I pray. For those of you in an intercessory ministry, I trust you understand the struggle my inadequate words are trying to frame

Prayer is hard work, and if we don’t pray, there are events in the kingdom that will likely never happen, miracles left undone, souls left unchanged. I do, and God will; if I don’t, God won’t. It’s hard to dance with this humble task without becoming arrogant in the execution.

Yet that day, God reminded me that I am in a covenant with him, and He wants me to pray. God wants and waits for me to enter into his presence. I don’t have to come up with the perfect formula of words before God hears me. He has promised to hear me . . . hear us, and we get to stand before him on the basis of his unchanging commitment to us, our Father, Redeemer, Savior and Friend.

Years ago, a musician named Scott Wesley Brown told this story. Sitting in a prayer meeting, he waited his turn while trying to find the perfect words to impress God and the people around him. He didn’t feel the pride in his heart until a young girl spoke up and said slowly:

“Dear God, A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z.   
Father, I don’t know what to say, so here are all the letters I know.
You put them together in the right order. Amen”

Irritated at first, Brown was humbled by the time the girl finished. He wanted to get it right, to impress and declare. The girl just wanted to pray.

When I go into prayer, do I remember that prayer is a conversation? I hear it all the time, but too often I act as if it’s all up to me. Why aren’t more people coming to the prayer meetings? Didn’t Jesus call all of us to pray? Why are there so few people in the prayer room this morning? It’s so easy to be quietly proud in my prayer closet. That morning in the prayer chapel, God illuminated my pride from his perspective.

I pray because he asks me to come. I can expect an audience because he promised to answer. I am welcomed because of what Jesus sacrificed for me. I can love, because I was first loved. If there’s anything I have to get right in my prayers, it’s humility, and the conviction that God will keep his promises when I ask. Now I can ask in faith.



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Standing Up In Truth for Injustice

9651006698?profile=originalThen Nahash the Ammonite came up and encamped against Jabesh Gilead; and all the men of Jabesh said to Nahash, “Make a covenant with us, and we will serve you.” And Nahash the Ammonite answered them, “On this condition I will make a covenant with you, that I may put out all your right eyes, and bring reproach on all Israel.” Then the elders of Jabesh said to him, “Hold off for seven days, that we may send messengers to all the territory of Israel. And then, if there is no one to save us, we will come out to you.” So the messengers came to Gibeah of Saul and told the news in the hearing of the people. And all the people lifted up their voices and wept. Now there was Saul, coming behind the herd from the field; and Saul said, “What troubles the people, that they weep?” And they told him the words of the men of Jabesh. Then the Spirit of God came upon Saul when he heard this news, and his anger was greatly aroused.  So he took a yoke of oxen and cut them in pieces, and sent them throughout all the territory of Israel by the hands of messengers, saying, “Whoever does not go out with Saul and Samuel to battle, so it shall be done to his oxen.” And the fear of the Lord fell on the people, and they came out with one consent.” 1 Samuel 11: 1-7

The above text from 1 Samuel takes place during a time when the tribes of Gad and Reuben have been tormented by this King of the Ammonites named Nahash. If you recall, these two tribes were the ones who settled on the other side of the Jordan and chose to take the good pasture land there instead of staking a claim on the Promised Land. But, not neglecting their duties as full members of the tribe of Israel they left of their families and flock on the other side of the Jordan to fight with the rest of Israel to defeat the inhabitants of the land God had set before them, even though they knew the fighting gave their families no personal gain and it would put them in harms way.

So now fast forward to the time of 1 Samuel 11. The historian Josephus states that this King Nahash “had been grievouly oppressing the Gadites and Reubenites. He would gouge out the right eye of each of them and would not grant [them] a deliverer. No one was left across the Jordan whose right eye...had not been gouged out...[except] seven thousand men who had escaped from the Ammonites and had entered Jabesh-gilead.” Do you not think the rest of Israel knew what was going on? Was there any account in the above text to indicate they were doing anything about this injustice? Not even their newly appointed King was doing anything – he was in his field plowing with his oxen. It was not until the people cried out and the Spirit of God led Saul to generate dread in their hearts, that the nation of Israel began to rise up against this injustice and fight.

9651007253?profile=originalAs I sat and read this story this morning, my thoughts were quickly brought to places of injustice and the more typical response we as a Christian people have in those instances. It is sad but true, but we live in a nation defined by a lot of complaining and very little action to rectify the problems we see before us. We simply turn our backs on injustices when we hear about them, or if we do put out any effort we then speak words of disgust about them, but then go back to our own lives not wanting the bad news we have heard interrupt what we have planned for our own happy futures. But listen to what the following scripture verses have to say about that type of attitude:

For you yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord so comes as a thief in the night.  For when they say, “Peace and safety!” then sudden destruction comes upon them, as labor pains upon a pregnant woman. And they shall not escape.  But you, brethren, are not in darkness, so that this Day should overtake you as a thief.  You are all sons of light and sons of the day. We are not of the night nor of darkness.  Therefore let us not sleep, as others do, but let us watch and be sober.  For those who sleep, sleep at night, and those who get drunk are drunk at night.  But let us who are of the day be sober, putting on the breastplate of faith and love, and as a helmet the hope of salvation.  For God did not appoint us to wrath, but to obtain salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ,  who died for us, that whether we wake or sleep, we should live together with Him. Therefore comfort each other and edify one another, just as you also are doing. And we urge you, brethren, to recognize those who labor among you, and are over you in the Lord and admonish you, and to esteem them very highly in love for their work’s sake. Be at peace among yourselves. Now we exhort you, brethren, warn those who are unruly, comfort the fainthearted, uphold the weak, be patient with all.  See that no one renders evil for evil to anyone, but always pursue what is good both for yourselves and for all. Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. Do not quench the Spirit.  Do not despise prophecies.  Test all things; hold fast what is good.  Abstain from every form of evil.” 1 Thessalonians 5: 2-22

I don't know about you, but in light of all I have shared above, added to these verses here, I find it very hard to justify a lifestyle which turns its back on the injustices heard about in the world and pursues personal gain. And not only the injustices we by chance hear about, but those we are to be sobering searching out as is our calling as we watch and wait on the return of our Lord Jesus Christ.

As the scripture verses from 1 Thessalonians states with the weapons of faith, love and salvation we are to comfort and edify one another in Christ as well as warn those who are laboring among us who are moving out of the will of God in their work for the kingdom (that is what admonish means). We are to stand up and speak out to those who are doing things against the law of the Lord. We are to bring comfort to those who have been pushed down by the injustices this world, as well as stand next to those who need someone to lean on if the weight of this world is crushing them in mind, body and/or spirit. We are to persevere with the best and the worst of this world, hoping and praying for salvation for all mankind. We are to show the world how good prevails by returning good for evil no matter what.

And as we seek to do these things, the way we stay on track is by rejoicing in the love of the Lord, by praying and keeping in communion with Jesus every moment of every day making sure all we do and say are directed by Him and are supplied by His overabundance of grace, mercy, and love for the world we live in. It is when we live in communion with the One true Judge that we are able to help in spreading the works of righteousness and justice through our land.

9651007273?profile=originalFinally, the warning we all must not ignore. Where the Spirit of the Lord grieves your heart you must lean into that injustice and pursue the way God is moving your heart to act out against it. Whether you are called to pray against it, comfort those who are hurt by it, speak out for those who are unable to speak for themselves in the midst of it, or be a strong pillar among a group that needs your spiritual strength to lean on, you cannot turn your back if you are to call yourself a Christian and a true follower to Christ.

The time is coming soon when Christ will return and we do not have the luxury of pursuing our own interests and seeking out happy havens in this world of evil. We must willingly put ourselves before the Lord daily and say, “Here I am Lord. Send me.” when the Lord shows us through His word and through the circumstances in our lives how we are each individually called to work as His kingdom and reign approach the coming day.

I leave you with theses words of encouragement today from 2 Chronicles 32:7-8:

Be strong and courageous; do not be afraid nor dismayed ...[for]with [man] is an arm of flesh; but with us is the Lord our God, to help us and to fight our battles.”

Feel free to visit my personal blog at www.sheddinglightonthepath.blogspot.com

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Hide and Seek!


It's a little before dawn and I walk the 200yds from my comfortable cozy cabin, in the brisk clear air to The Prayer Chapel at Harvest Prayer Retreat Center in Indiana.

The moonlight casts a silver glow over the ice-covered lake. Entering the Chapel I experience the presence of God in the beauty of His creation as I quietly speak out the names of Jesus inscribed in a variety of scripts upon one of the walls.

I sit down at the writing desk and read a description of worship by Richard Foster which started like this: "Worship is living in the reality of God's creation with a heart open to receive all it's glory. Wow for the next nine hours that is what I did and incredibly it seems as if it were but one. As you watch today's PM3 may God give you a desire to come out of hiding in the busyness of life and TAKE A DAY, & BE IN HIS CREATION.

Chkk-Chirrrrrrrrrrrr in the joy we share in Jesus and give away a PRAY NOW blessing today!



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