time (16)


In some places there is a fairly great division in the church over Calvinism. Many are staunch Calvinists and many others are fierce anti-Calvinists.

I feel that this and similar issues should not be approached from the point of view of an overall theology. Although to be honest, I think it is suspect to take any theological system whole cloth. Rather, we should seek to come to understanding of scriptures that lead to certain positions.

Possibly the thornyest issue is the question of limited atonement. How do you reconcile John 3:16 and John 6:44?

John 3:16 tells us God loves the entire world, and gives life to all who believe in Him.

“For God loved the world in this way: He gave His One and Only Son, so that everyone who believes in Him will not perish but have eternal life.”

But in John 6:44 Jesus said,
“No one can come to Me unless the Father who sent Me draws him.”

Can you honestly say God loves people He is not calling to salvation? I think you can, but you cannot say this is simple.

Some years ago there was a fire on the hill that stretches above the houses on our street. They managed to get the fire out without losing any houses, but it was close. After the fire, the Fire Chief held a town meeting to answer people's questions about how they had addressed the fire. One of the homeowners was angry. He demanded to know why the fire fighters had not sprayed water on his house but they had his neighbor's.

The Fire Chief said, “We didn't see any point in hosing down houses that have cedar roofs or Juniper trees because we couldn't have saved them anyway if the fire hit them.” I am pretty sure that was simple reality rather than some biased intention on the part of the fire department. And we have to assume that God knows who would respond if they were called. There may also be other reasons why He does not call some that we don't and probably couldn't understand. We have to trust that to Him.

I am convinced that praying for people may remove some of the barriers to a person's being drawn to Christ. Of course, some will argue that God's choosing took place before the foundation of the world. There is some legitimacy to this. Ephesians 1:4 says, “He chose us in Him, before the foundation of the world.”

But I believe it is wrong to press God and eternity into the sequence of time. Before the

foundation of the world God had already heard my prayer for a person whose heart is hard. And because God loves that person, I am convinced my prayers for people who need Jesus are obedient to Him.









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For the past few days I have been dealing with some severe anxiety and depression. Does the Bible say anything about this? It does indeed. In fact the Bible deals more comprehensively with depression than any other source I know. In places like Elijah in the cave in 1 Kings 19 and quite a number of Psalms God shows us that the cause depression can be physical, dietary, cultural, situational, psychological, moral, or spiritual. It is often caused by several of these simultaneously.

And being tempted in all points like us,(Heb.4:15) Jesus also faced anxiety.

God has spoken powerfully to me in John 12:27,28 where Jesus said,

“Now is my heart troubled, and what shall I say? 'Father, save me from this hour'? But for this purpose I have come to this hour. Father, glorify your name!" Then a voice came from heaven: ‘I have glorified it, and I will glorify it again.’”

Let me share with you four crucial perspectives by which Jesus dealt with His own anxiety.


First Jesus saw the Perspective of Time.

He said, “Now is my heart troubled.” Your anxiety, and for that matter your crisis, is temporary.

Viktor Frankl rightly directed people to ask themselves how they would want to behave in a particular situation if they were looking at it from the end of their lives. Jesus clearly dealt with more horrific circumstances then you and I can imagine. He endured them for the joy set before Him.(Heb.12:2) While your reason for anxiety is not nearly as great as His, you will share in the fullness of His glory.


Jesus also saw from the Perspective of Purpose.

He asks, should I pray for God to deliver me from this trial? “But,” He concludes, “it was God's purpose for me to be disturbed in trial.” God has put you in this place as well.

Do you remember what Satan said to God when the Lord pointed out Job’s obedience? “But you've put a hedge about him. Job doesn't really love you. He just serves you because you've made it easy for him.”

You need to be in this place for God to prove that He can work even your anxiety together with everything else for good.

The chorus of Laura Story's hymn, Blessings, says,

“What if Your blessings come through raindrops?

What if Your healing comes through tears?

What if a thousand sleepless nights are what it takes to know You're near?

What if trials of this life are Your mercies in disguise?”

You are going through this trial for the high purpose of Almighty God on the earth and in eternity. Stand straight. Be strong. Call upon God for His grace to obey Him in the midst of it.


Jesus prayed from the Perspective of God's Glory.

Jesus knew that His purpose in eternity and upon this Earth was to glorify God the Father. That is our purpose as well. Many of you know that activity, especially good, wholesome, productive activity is a great help in dealing with depression. I know of no activity that so effectively counters anxiety and depression as that of praising God out loud. Our anxiety is worsened because we are so focused on ourselves. And until we break our self-preoccupation with praise of Almighty God, it will keep us bound.


Finally, Jesus experienced God's Presence.

God thundering from the heavens was a rare occurrence, even as Jesus walked upon this Earth. But the presence of God is not rare for a believer in Jesus Christ. And nothing usher's you into nearness with God like recognizing His presence and praising Him, praying and glorifying His Name. When you connect with the reality, purpose, and Glory of God, you will sense His presence as never before. Philippians 4:5 says, “Let your reasonableness be evident to all, the Lord is near.” The King James Bible says, “Let your moderation be evident.” In 1 Timothy 3:3 this word is translated, “gentle.” There the King James used the word, “patient.” The point is, you don't need to be anxious, the Lord is near you.







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PTAP: Pray for Yemen during Ramadan

Ramadan Prayer
As Muslims pray and fast during Ramadan, we pray for them.
June 29, 2016
"From one man he made all the nations, that they should inhabit the whole earth; and he marked out their appointed times in history and the boundaries of their lands. God did this so that they would seek him and perhaps reach out for him and find him, though he is not far from any one of us."  - Acts 17:26-27
"All the ends of the earth will remember and turn to the Lord, and all the families of the nations will bow down before him for dominion belongs to the Lord and he rules over the nations."  - Psalm 22:27-28
Christians focused on Yemen are asking for prayer based on Acts 17:26-27 and Psalm 22:27-28.
There are at least four major factions fighting in Yemen with outside forces also involved. However, the situation changes daily. Pray for stability across the country. In the absence of electricity, water and medical supplies - in addition to escalating food and transport costs - there is a critical need for humanitarian aid to be able to enter the country.
Pray for the groups of believers meeting in the two main cities and for the scattered believers in other areas, that they would be established in Christ. Pray local believers would become family to one another, forgiving and including one another. Pray God would help them focus on being trustworthy, that they would desire to give honor rather than seek it, and that they would count others as more important than themselves. Pray for Christians inside Yemen to set an example by modeling a lifestyle of holiness.  If foreign workers are able to return, pray they would live out and model to local believers how to love one another in spirit and in truth.
Source: Christians who lived in Yemen
Bless Yemen with peace, for they have known so much fighting and war.
Bless them with rains that will nourish their crops and bring an increase of food, providing for the poor.
Bless the Church with deep fellowship together, great worship of the Father and with strength to live in these hard times.
Father, bless them with You as their shepherd, knowing that in You they will lack nothing; bless them with green pastures and quiet waters. (Prayer based on Psalm 23:1-2, 2 Chronicles 7:14 the Holy Bible)
Source: WIN International Network
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PTAP: The Lord is my Inheritance

There is a whole category of people who are called to Christ and have a passion for the nations & for the weak & marginal and have sought to go with a variety of service groups and who are repeatedly told no, don't go, be quiet, just settle down young man.

The reality is that if I were to go to my field of focus, I would probably die in short order because I would of my zeal or I would be disregarded as a lunatic because I would lose all my sleep because the medicines that help me relax & sleep sometimes would be unavailable.

Instead I pray.

I dare say that often my prayer lacks impact that I am aware of. I tend to pick certain countries & prayer goals and remember them as reminded, so I make lists.

Is this unfocussed? No, usually the only times I have observed the impact are when I stop praying and problems happen.

In retrospect, I have however seen the Lord start movements in various peoples that I prayed for and the timing was impossibly too neat to correlate due to chance. God uses our prayers for movements. Over and over, I find that God works far more in my absence than in my presence. He is a big God, and he wants us to pray big, foundation-laying prayers.

If the leaves of the tree in the Revelation of Jesus given to John are for the healing of the nations, then we must plead for that salve to be applied for the salvation of the souls of societies.

Praying requires a whole different category of action, it elevates us to the heavenlies, for we read the divine counsel in the Word and render judgements according to Psalm 2:8: the Son will have the inheritance that is His! HE shall possess the earth. HE is waiting for us to ask. He knows exactly what He plans to do and He is always on the right side of history.

Politicians will fail us.
Disasters are unpredictable.
The devil is dangerous.
The nations are too large for us to reach them in our own power.

But every time we kneel in prayer and cry out for help, God hears and acts. Every time we stand on His promises, the Lord proves His faithfulness. Every time we sit in His presence and ask for the nations, the Lord God sends forth His angel armies to intervene. Every time we fall flat on our faces and humble ourselves before the King of the Universe, the Lord God Almighty rejoices over us with singing and stands in the gaps that we cannot fill.

We cannot fill the gaps for we are sinners,
I am the worst
But He is perfect
We fail. He is faultless.
The Lord will succeed in every intervention He begins.

Our actions, our giving, our prayers, our sacrifices all must flow from our lives guided by the Word of God for them to be effective.
This is why years in prayer are often needed to accomplish what may take a season of actual service.
Then, when the doors close behind us after our work is finished, then the Lord Spirit goes to work most earnestly, with greater freedom than we could ever have.
This is the story of China.
This is the story of Iran.
This is the story of all who are bathed in prayer,
This is the story of all who are bathed in the Spirit.

This is why statistics lie about the future.
Statistics are based on what man sees.
Faith is about what God has promised.
Hope is the certainty that God will keep His promises to the end.
Love is behaving according to this confidence that God is love.

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At the beginning of a new year it is worthwhile to consider God's perspective of time. While we indeed pray to the God who cares about you every day and every moment, we also pray to God who holds all of history in his hands.

In Isaiah 46:10,11 God says, "I am God, and there is no other; I am God, and there is none like me, declaring the end from the beginning and from ancient times things not yet done, saying, ‘My counsel shall stand, and I will accomplish my purpose. . .  I have spoken, and I will bring it to pass; I have purposed, and I will do it.’"

God sits above time. And He hears and answers prayer from that perspective. Look with me at Romans 8:26-30.

"Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness. For we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words. And he who searches hearts knows what is the mind of the Spirit because the Spirit intercedes for the saints according to the will of God. And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose. For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. And those whom he predestined he also called, and those whom he called he also justified, and those whom he justified he also glorified."

This is a powerful passage to meditate on at this or any time of year. I am convinced that you will get more out of this by memorizing these verses and praying over them than by anything I can write here.

But let me point out some important truths about prayer in this passage. When does God hear and answer your prayers? God who is omniscient heard your prayer before the beginning of time. In His great love God invited you to pray before the foundation of the universe. God planted you as a prayer warrior in this moment of history. And He does whatever needs to be done down through the tapestry of history to answer your prayer.

God created beings that could love Him by giving us choice. But angels and men have chosen evil over God. And now we live in a broken world. Yet God has promised to weave His goodness into a tapestry of good in the lives of His own people. A poem on John 8:32 from my book I AM has the lines

"Then you will come to know and understand

All that you longed for, but you couldn’t be."

God is working everything together in your life for good.

And God is weaving the glorious tapestry of your eternal destiny. The final verse that I printed from Romans 8 tells us that God has justified those whom He has called. And everyone whom He has justified, He has already glorified. God also hears your prayer from the end of time. And He sees His completed glory in your life and in all of history.  


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Down-to-earth Living

“Be practical as well as generous in your ideals. Keep your eyes on the stars, but remember to keep your feet on the ground.” (President Theodore Roosevelt)


Private quiet time with God in rarefied spiritual heights is enjoyable. In fact, His company may be so sweet we consider constructing a shrine to revisit now and then; we may even feel we’d like to permanently move to our mountainside retreat. To escape the world’s polluted atmosphere and breathe pure oxygen, to be reenergized by invigorating heavenly elevation—what could possibly be any better? Reveling in friendship with God, we may wish we could just stay on Transfiguration Mount.


But being a hermit does not fit into our job description. We need frequent mountain climbing, to pray in solitude and keep our relationship with God on course. We also need to come down to earth to care for people. God is Love and He wants us to be loving. Preparation for ministry happens on peaks, but practical application occurs on everyday plains and depressed ravines.


We need to pray alone, and we also need to relate meaningfully. We need to ascend to commune with our Lord, then descend to serve others. It’s wonderful to enjoy tranquil interludes, so we can be strong in noisy chaos. But we should be careful not to become so heavenly minded we’re of no earthly good. When our head is in the clouds, God help us not to forget the crowds.


Though Jesus reveled in glory, when He sensed humanity’s plight He stooped to help. The King of kings descended the majestic mountain, assuming a servant’s role to compassionately care for a world in desperate need—now it’s our turn.


“Then Moses turned and went down the mountain.”  (Exodus 32:15 NLT)


Johnny R. Almond

Author, Gentle Whispers from Eternity

[This devotion based on Day 54 of Gentle Whispers]


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Waiting for the Right Time to Pray?

"Prayer is the master strategy that God gives for the defeat and rout of Satan." - Wesley L. Duewel

It's no secret that prayer is the most powerful weapon that God has given to us as Christians.  It's the one thing that Satan is powerless against!  God has provided us with a way to change the world; all while He changes us while we pray.  Yet, in our day and age, many Christians are fooled into thinking, "I'll pray when I feel like praying.  I'll get around to it when I feel like it." 

But when does anyone ever "feel" like praying? 

Most often, the desire or feeling to pray never comes upon us. 
Reasons and excuses are many.  "Suddenly, I felt like being entertained."  That's a very familiar and popular one in our day!  "Someone called and needs help with a project."  "I want to pray, but I suddenly feel tired.  I'll catch a nap, and then pray later."  "I suddenly felt like reading, so I did.  I never got around to praying."  "Suddenly, my to-do list just exponentially expanded!"  And the list could go on.

Every Christian experiences feelings that work to draw us away from prayer (and ultimately, God).  Have you ever wondered why the desire or urge to pray seems so illusive?

"The one concern of the devil is to keep Christians from praying. He fears nothing from prayerless studies, prayerless work, and prayerless religion. He laughs at our toil, mocks at our wisdom, but trembles when we pray." - Samuel Chadwick

"There is no doubt whatever that the devil opposes our approach to God in prayer, and does all he can to prevent the prayer of faith. His chief way of hindering us is to try to fill our minds with the thought of our needs, so that they shall not be occupied with thoughts of God, our loving Father, to Whom we pray. He wants us to think more of the gift than of the Giver." - Anonymous Author (The Kneeling Christian, Chapter 7)

"When the devil sees a man or woman who really believes in prayer, who knows how to pray, and who really does pray, and, above all, when he sees a whole church on its face before God in prayer, he trembles as much as he ever did, for he knows that his day in that church or community is at an end." - R.A. Torrey

Here are some additional quotes on the subject.

A Scriptural Record

Paul, in Ephesians 6, also addresses the matter; and how we are to press past the things that attempt to make us spiritually impotent and prayerless.

10 Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. 11 Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. 12 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. 13 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. 14 Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, 15 and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. 16 In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. 17 Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.

18 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 Lord’s people. 19 Pray also for me, that whenever I speak, words may be given me so that I will fearlessly make known the mystery of the gospel, 20 for which I am an ambassador in chains. Pray that I may declare it fearlessly, as I should. - Ephesians 6:10-20 (emphasis added)

Proverbs 3:5-8 says,

Trust in the Lord with all your heart

    and lean not on your own understanding;
in all your ways submit to him,
    and he will make your paths straight.

Do not be wise in your own eyes;
    fear the Lord and shun evil.
This will bring health to your body
    and nourishment to your bones.

If we focus on ourselves, our feelings, or our desires to first prompt us to pray, we've missed the mark.

Reviewing some of what we just read:  Trust in the Lord.  Be strong in Him and His mighty power.  Lean not on your own understanding.  In all your ways submit to Him.  Do not be wise in your own eyes.  Put on the full armor of God.  And the list could continue.

When to Pray

The right time to pray is right now.  After you finish praying, continue praying.  After that time, when you feel like quitting, pray some more.  And so on... but do so in God's strength, with His mind, and Word.

1 Thessalonians 5 says, "Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.

Do not quench the Spirit..."


Yielding to God

We can all make attempts to try harder to pray; to pray longer; pray more frequently, etc.  But we'll fail.  Every time.  The secret to praying, praying well, praying effectively, praying continually, and growing relationally with God in prayer is to seek Him first and always while we pray!

Some simple ways to invite God to grow you in prayer include:

Ask God to fill you with His Holy Spirit as you begin to pray, while you pray, and whenever you remember to pray (if you catch yourself having stopped praying for a time).   

Ask the Holy Spirit to help you listen for God's voice or promptings as you pray.  That's another critical way to continue praying!

Ask the Holy Spirit to direct you to people, matters, or point you back to God as you pray.

Worship God in prayer.  Select a Psalm that tells of some of God's attributes.  Read it and pray it back to God as a form of worshiping Him.  He'll grow your awe, wonder, and desire for Him!

Find a book about God's attributes.  Pause to worship God while you read and after you stop reading!

Ask God to speak to you as you read His Word.  Ask the Holy Spirit to bring His Word fresh meaning into your life and prayer life!

Thank God for specific conversations you share with Him or others.

All of these ideas, and more, can be used day and night to continue praying without ceasing!  They can be repeated while you pray- especially if you feel like you're running out of ideas or matters to be in prayer about.  But it's significant to invite God to direct your prayers by His Word and Spirit.  

Be, and become, active in God's master strategy to rout Satan today and throughout the days to come!

Text may be also found at: www.prayonsite.org/blog/waiting-right-time-pray

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Present-tense God

“Every situation—nay, every moment—is of infinite worth; for it is the representative of a whole eternity.” (Goethe)


God will always be who He has always been. God is far more than a long ago, far away historical force that used to work in human lives. He is the God of the living, not the dead. When we are troubled, He is our present help. He does not showcase miracles in dusty museums—He is our Contemporary. Every day, we celebrate His presence.


God Almighty traveled with Abraham, father of the faithful, in his moving experiences; and He is beside us in ours. So whatever happens on the journey, we are ready for it. Every heartbeat, we live by faith.


The God who is Enough, El Shaddai, teaches us to smile when circumstances meanly frown at us. He is our Fountainhead of invulnerable joy. Every breath, we rejoice.  


The God who alone is holy works in our lives to change us from the inside out. Tension between who we are and the Christlike person we yearn to be proves heaven has already begun in our heart. Every second, we single-mindedly struggle on.


The God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob is our God. In our lives, He still works miracles of hope, joy, and perseverance—counteracting despair, melancholy, and discouragement. Earthly grace notes are the prelude to heaven’s Future Perfect Tense Symphony. In hope, we enjoy the stirring melody of eternity. In faith, we dance to the tune here and now.


“God continued, ‘I am the Lord. I appeared to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob as God Almighty, though I did not reveal my name, the Lord, to them.’” (Exodus 6:2, 3 NLT)



Johnny R. Almond

Christian preacher and writer

Author, Gentle Whispers from Eternity

[This devotion based on Day 41 of Gentle Whispers from Eternity]


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What do you have to do that wastes your time and strains your patience? Can you pray in that time? For 40+ years I have enjoyed shopping with my wife. I like being with her. However, we made a compromise early on. I would walk along behind her with a book. I used the time well, and she could ask, if she wanted my advice. "Do the pink look better than the blue?" Of course I occasionally got lost from her. When I discovered that had happened, I would go to the cash registers and wait. Several times over the years we had a church member say someone had told them, "I think I saw your pastor in such-and-such store this week. He was reading a book!"

It may be a little late to keep people from thinking me nuts, but I have discovered that I can pray for people in the store. Today we went to Wal-Mart. I left my book in the car and entered the store on a mission. I couldn't help wondering what God was preparing to do as I prayed for nearly a hundred people up and down the aisles.

Where could you be praying? I once heard a pastor tell about using time stuck in traffic to pray for people who were in the hospital. I have read about a wife praying for her husband as she ironed his shirts. You could memorize a list of missionaries, countries or people groups, lost friends or family members to pray for in the dentist's office or wherever. You can even get excited about what great thing God is preparing to do because He gave you a special time to pray.


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You Can't Hurry Relationship

"Many want the Spirit's power but not the Spirit's purity. The Holy Spirit does not rent out His attributes. His power is never separated from His glorious Self." - James A. Stewart, Heaven's Throne Gift

Henry and Mel Blackaby further challenge many Christians' self-focused view of the Holy Spirit.

"Why is it that countless believers seem to stand powerless before a world desperately needing what we claim to have? Why does the church have so little impact? Why are so many Christians so frustrated?

There are probably several reasons, but a major one is that Christians are seeking gifts of the Holy Spirit and not the Holy Spirit Himself. They want power but not a relationship with the One whose presence gives power. They want to do great things for God, but haven't understood that greatness in the kingdom of God comes out of a relationship with Christ and the filling of the Holy Spirit. They are so enamored with self that they have no idea what is on the heart of God.

If we seek the gifts of the Spirit and not the Holy Spirit Himself, we'll always focus on self. We must learn to understand that there are no gifts apart from an intimate relationship with the Spirit.

How fully do you appreciate what this relationship means?

For the Christian, faith is not asking for what we don't have, but making use of what God says we already possess. It's simply trusting God's Word to be true. Nowhere else is this more profoundly true than in what is given us in God's Spirit." - Henry & Mel Blackaby, (What's so Spiritual about Your Gifts? pgs. 14-15)

Is Relationship the Root?

Our society tells us to utilize time for speed, efficiency, effectiveness, investing long hours of hard work, an attitude of "never let it rest until your good is better and your better is best," being the best-of-the-best, and more. 

Yet, did Jesus model this form of living?  What did He do?  How did He handle the gift of time He was given?

But Jesus often withdrew to lonely places and prayed. - Luke 5:16

Jesus withdrew from the crowds; those who sought after Him, His power, His miracles, His wisdom, truth, and understanding.  Jesus often sought times alone before the Father.  As He worshiped, thanked, praised, adored, petitioned, and listened to the Father, the Father provided Jesus with all He needed through their relationship.  Jesus knew the importance of His relationship with the Father- not only for Himself, but also for the impact His model would have on others who sought after Him and followed Him.

Might Your Quiet Time Benefit from a Revision?

Many Christians establish a "quiet time" (time set apart with God) during a part of their day or night.  For many, it's a set-aside time to study a portion of the Bible, read a short devotional, offer a few minutes of prayer, or something similar.  Will doing these things draw one closer to the heart of God?  Maybe so, maybe not.  One question I'd ask is, "Have you invited the Holy Spirit into the time/conversation?"

A.W. Tozer once shared how he made it a habit to pray to the Holy Spirit to help him every time he read something.  He did this whether he was reading Scripture, Shakespeare, a magazine, or newspaper article.  Tozer explained how the Holy Spirit would share deeper insights, God's perspective on the passage or article, specific ways to pray about what he'd read, and teachings he likely never would've gleaned if he'd simply read without asking the Holy Spirit's partnership in doing so.  This was especially the case when it came to reading the Bible!

Inviting the Holy Spirit's help and deepening presence draws us closer to the heart of God, but so does setting aside time to ask, meditate, ponder, and listen for God's impressions of our lives, decisions (past and upcoming), and more while being still before Him.

The Hurry-Up Offense

It's important to consider one's motive in a quiet time if a hurry-up attitude is present.  Relationships based on momentary meetings are shallow at best.

Some better-known Christians in the past, known for power in their preaching, serving, leading others, and more, share something in common; they spent hours alone with God.  Abraham, Moses, David, Jesus, Tozer, Moody, Spurgeon, Brother Lawrence, Ravenhill, Torrey, and many others discovered the power and joy of dwelling in the presence of God.  As their personal relationships grew with God, they found themselves in no hurry to run away from God and back into the world's counterfeit joys.  Many later wrote that they'd remain in God's presence until they felt He released them to go serve Him and others.  Here we see a vastly different attitude than the common "tip of the hat" acknowledgement to God we frequently see in our Christian culture or in a 5-minute quiet time devotional pattern.

Many would emerge from their set-aside times with God to enter powerfully into appointments, meetings, speaking engagements, devotional times with their family members, ministry opportunities, public prayer meetings, and more; and they did so empowered by the Holy Spirit.

But you aren't Torrey, Tozer, Spurgeon, or Ravenhill.  You don't consider yourself a "professional Christian" taught or trained in seminary or special discipleship courses.  Neither did they.  The depths of relationship they discovered with the Father, Jesus Christ, and the Holy Spirit weren't given to them because of who they were or because of a particular ministry they trained or served with.  They sought God, His time, His presence, refuge in Him, and quickly discovered the benefits of tasting and seeing that He is good (Psalm 34:8).  Out of the time and depth they spent in God's presence flowed forth intimacy and a deeper relationship with God; prayer, speaking, writing, service, power, joy, godly passion for God, others, and more; unlike that of most others alive in their lifetimes. 

Those same depths, and even greater depths, are just as available to you and me as they were to those considered "greats" throughout Christian history.  But it's never about making a name for ourselves.  It's about allowing His Name to become great in and through us.

God desires a deep relationship with you and me.  But He allows us to determine the time and depth we invest in His presence.  Our day-to-day lives often reveal the depth and time, or lack thereof, we spend with Him.

So, what's the hurry?  Could we personally benefit by asking God, and His Spirit, to help us re-prioritize our schedules, time we dwell with Him, and others?  Might it be a good time to seek God to help us hit the reset button of our lives, then show us how to prioritize Him more fully into and throughout our days?  What's preventing you and me from seeking Him ahead of His gifts?

Lord, teach us to pray, and shepherd us forward into your presence as we do.  In Jesus' name, Amen.

"But the biggest misfortune for a Christian does not lie in the calamity that befalls him in this world. It is the betrayal of God for the sake of secular things on earth." - Yuan Fusheng, house church leader in Beijing, China.

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Whose Time Is It Anyway?

In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. Now the earth was formless and empty, darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters.

And God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light. God saw that the light was good, and he separated the light from the darkness. God called the light “day,” and the darkness he called “night.” And there was evening, and there was morning—the first day.

14 And God said, “Let there be lights in the vault of the sky to separate the day from the night, and let them serve as signs to mark sacred times, and days and years, 15 and let them be lights in the vault of the sky to give light on the earth.” And it was so. 16 God made two great lights—the greater light to govern the day and the lesser light to govern the night. He also made the stars. 17 God set them in the vault of the sky to give light on the earth, 18 to govern the day and the night, and to separate light from darkness. And God saw that it was good. 19 And there was evening, and there was morning—the fourth day. - Genesis 1:1-5, 14-19

God created time to help bring order to our lives.  Day and night was established to mark sacred times, and days and years (v. 14).  Do you ever marvel at God's desire for order and structure instead of chaos?  Time brings order to our lives and exists to help us align our hearts, minds, tasks, and all things before God.

Time was Created for Man
God exists both within and outside of time- all at the same time.  This can be difficult to ponder.  For God to create time, He had to already be existing outside of time.  Once he created time, He was both within and outside of time- as God does not abandon His creation or works. 

As created beings made in the image of God (Genesis 1:26-27), God ordained that we live, work, and worship within a structure called, "time."  When God created time, He saw it was good (Gen. 1:19).  His whole work of creation was completed in 7 days.  Have you ever considered that days did not exist prior to creation?  Even the existence of days point us toward God and many of His perfect attributes!  What a perfectly wise God we serve and worship!

The Fall of Man

Those familiar with the creation account in the beginning of Genesis are aware that by chapter 3, Adam and Eve fell into sin.  Sin brought a curse that affected all of creation, including man and time (Gen. 3:17-19).  Since then, all of creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time. (Romans 8:22) 

Taking a Good Thing too Far
Often in our fallen, sinful, world, time can seem to become a burdensome yoke or restrictive slave master.  This was not God's original design.  While time exists to help bring order to our lives, we can easily take orderliness too far- to a point where it can dominate our thoughts, actions, and attention.  When this happens, our relationship with God is the first to suffer.

Sin has warped how we see and utilize time in our daily lives.   It has caused activities, others-focused priorities, and self to usurp God's #1 place in our moment-to-moment lives.

Sadly, in our culture, doing things (whether to please God or self) often take priority over the abiding, deepening, relationship that God desires to have with us on a moment-by-moment basis.  When this happens, time can easily become an idol.  Activities on to-do lists are exalted before time with God, and our flesh becomes the driver of our lives instead of the Holy Spirit and the Word of God.  When this happens, and happens with increasing frequency, our awe and wonder of God, His power, perfections, and other attributes, are dimmed- often to a point where God may seem distant or even irrelevant.  Time, and the act of filling our time to accomplish things, replaces a deepening relationship with the Holy, Perfect, Sovereign, Mighty God of all.

When Attention to Time Overpowers the Holy Spirit
Have you ever been in a time of corporate prayer or worship (where two or more are gathered in prayer) that ended seemingly before the Holy Spirit had finished the work He was doing in that time?  Maybe somebody began repeatedly interjecting the word, "Amen" into the prayer meeting in hopes it would end so they could leave for their next activity.  Maybe the meeting was forced to end because the prayer leader had somewhere else they felt they or others needed to be at that time.  Or maybe the Holy Spirit was halted early in doing a ministering work because there was another church service to follow (and it was expected to begin on time).  Maybe a service was on the verge of becoming too long compared to how some attendees were conditioned to stay.  The Holy Spirit was chased away due to somebody's set time schedule.  Sadly, these kind of things happen more than we'd care to admit. 

The Holy Spirit does not often perfectly fit into our schedules, our set-aside times with Him, or the clock on the wall.  What if He desires to minister to or through you beyond, or outside, of your scheduled quiet time?  Will you let Him, or will you permit your other priorities to quench Him?

Some Pertinent Reminders:
God is sovereign (He can freely choose to do whatever He pleases whenever it pleases Him to do so). 

God is our King.  He engages us as He pleases.  Who are we to dictate to Him when He should meet with us?

God is not restricted by time.

His ways are above our ways!

He sees the past, present, and future all at the same time

He knows how He will resolve the meeting, service, or appointment that He'll make you late for- if you stay with Him until He's finished meeting with you.  He also knows how He'll glorify Himself to or through you if you'll let Him complete what He desires to do in that moment.  Will you trust Him to do so and permit Him to complete the deeper work in you He desires to do? 

He knows how He will adjust your circumstances (in ways only He can) so that you'll completely receive what He desires you to hear or experience when you're deeply in prayer, meditation, relationship, or worship with Him.  Will you stay with Him long enough to permit Him to do so?

God is a Perfect Gentleman.  Because He is, so is Jesus, and the Holy Spirit.  He will not force us to be in communion, meditation, or worship beyond whatever else or whom we prioritize before Him.  He allows us to choose others before Him- but at our own loss.

The Spirit always ministers in the present moment.  He can not be delayed, DVR'ed, or Tivoed (recorded, and then watched/listened to at a different time)! 

The Holy Spirit can be quenched
(doused, chased away, grieved).  Through disobedience, prioritization of others or other things before God, the Spirit can be quenched or grieved. 

We can miss much, if not all, of what the Spirit may desire to teach or do.  This can happen by boxing God into specified appointed times in our schedules.  If we're inflexible with aligning our schedules with God's, we miss out on God's best for us in that moment and afterward.

Liberty Within Prayer
During corporate prayer and worship (where two or more are together doing so), it could be made known to all in advance that all in attendance have liberty to come and go as they please.  This permits the Holy Spirit to continue His work within that time until He's finished with those He's ministering to or through- should they choose to wait for Him.

He extends liberty to us in each moment- to choose whether we'll invite or ask Him to fill, use us, or show us anything we're missing in that moment.  As a Perfect Gentleman, He always leaves the decision up to us.  That's liberty (for better or worse)!

When the Lord has completed showing, teaching, or doing what He desires, He'll release you to your next assignment, activity, etc.  He is trustworthy!

Keeping the First Thing the First Thing
Psalm 24:1 says, "The earth is the Lord’s, and everything in it, the world, and all who live in it."

We belong to God.  We are created to be in constant relationship with Him.  He desires our attention, affection, worship, joy, meditation, lives, hearts, minds; all of us, always to be centered upon and within Him.  Time belongs to God.  The clock gives structure to our days and nights, but He should always rule over time- the time He's given us to live, serve, love, and worship.

Aligning ourselves with God will help us see Him more completely, and catch the greater depths of relationship He desires to have with us.  This is sometimes referred to as redeeming the time.

Let's redeem the time well and yield to the Holy Spirit in His timing!

Lord, you are my all-in-all.  Everything I have and am is Yours.  The time you've given me this day belongs solely to You.  Thank you for giving me this day and night ahead.  I desire to utilize the time you've given me in fellowship with You- even while I work, serve, and do all things as unto You.  Have Your way in me and through me.  Help me to realize things I hold on too tightly to, and grasp You more fully in my heart, mind, life, and soul.  Be glorified and magnified in this day.  Teach me Your ways and show me greater depths of Your heart for me and others.  You are the One I seek.  I worship You.  In Jesus' name, Amen.

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Making Every Day a Holiday (Holy Day)

As we near the annual holidays of Thanksgiving, the celebration and remembrance of the birth of our Savior, Jesus Christ, and the celebration of New Year's, we enter a season where many of our routines are interrupted with different activities and interactions.  Family, celebrations, and travel, bring many people a respite from the routines established in daily/weekly life.

For many, holidays seem to accelerate our busyness- darting from home-to-home or place-to-place; sharing time with friends and family members not regularly seen.  For some, a return to the routine after the holidays may even seem like a relief!

But routine or no routine; how many of us as Christians make every day a holiday with God?

Every Day a Holy Day
The word, holiday, stems from the term, "holy day."  The word, holy, simply means "set apart" or "unique."  Therefore, a holy day is set apart from all other days.

While it's true that no two days are exactly alike (there may be similarities in routine, etc.); do we ever consider setting apart each and every day as a holy day (holiday) for/with God?

Redeeming the Time

Jesus said, "A student is not above his teacher, nor a servant above his master.  It is enough for the student to be like his teacher, and the servant like his master." - Matthew 10:24-25

Jesus kept in constant contact with the Father in prayer and thanksgiving (spoken and silent).  In doing so, he was able to do and be who the world needed to meet, see, and come to know!  He was holy; that is, set apart from the world- yet while in the world.

As followers of Jesus Christ, we're called to do and be the same- just like our Teacher; our Master!

We know that we have come to know him if we keep his commands. Whoever says, “I know him,” but does not do what he commands is a liar, and the truth is not in that person. But if anyone obeys his word, love for God is truly made complete in them. This is how we know we are in him: Whoever claims to live in him must live as Jesus did. - 1 John 2:3-6

Read Mark 1:35 and Luke 5:15-16.  Jesus was busy, yet set aside time to pray privately.  He also constantly kept in communication with his Father in silent prayer as he served, ministered, taught, and more.

So, what could it look like to make each day a holy day?

All people- As you get up in the morning, praise God for who he is.  Share time with him.  Ask him to establish your steps (your plans, schedule, and more), and listen for his answer(s).  Throughout the day, continue asking him to revise your plans if he desires.  Obediently follow him if/as he does.  Ask him to help you realize opportunities to share your faith with others, then let him empower you (your words and actions) to do so.  Without realizing it, you've woven prayer and a closer ongoing connection with the Lord into and throughout your day.  The day has become more of a holy day!

Teachers- Begin as suggested above (All people).  Throughout the day, ask the Lord to provide you with his wisdom in instructing, correcting, teaching, and loving the children and/or students you teach and serve.  While correcting tests and homework, ask the Lord to bring you deeper insight into each child's life and thinking- so that you may more effectively pray for each one as the Spirit leads.  In doing so, the day has become more of a holy day for you- and for those you're in prayer for!

Businessmen- Begin as suggested above (All people).  Throughout the day, ask the Lord to speak to you truths about how he sees your dealings, service, networking, presentations, preparation, interactions with others, the spreadsheets you may review and revise, and more.  Invite Jesus to review and advise you in each decision, contact, presentation, and more throughout the day/night. Follow him as he guides you.  As you do, each day becomes more of a holy day- yielded and led by the Lord instead of man's earthly thoughts or wisdom.

Students- Begin as suggested above (All people).  Throughout the day, ask the Lord to instruct you in your relationships with other students or teachers.  Ask the Lord to sit with you and instruct you (help you learn what you're studying) as you read, prepare your reports or projects, and more.  Ask the Lord how he'd have you pray for others around you in class, between classes, or after school.  Obediently follow him and do what he instructs.  He's all-knowing and will always tell you the truth- with your best in mind as he sees and knows you personally.  As you seek and follow the Lord throughout each day, each day becomes holy and set apart for his glory- working in and through you.

Retirees- Begin as suggested above (All people).  The world would tell you that your best days have passed and that you should simply coast and surrender the latter days of your life until you pass away.  Nonsense!!!  Each day is a holy day where Jesus desires to minister to and through you!  Call or visit a friend or acquaintance (maybe someone you haven't spoken with in awhile).  Tell them what Jesus has been doing in your life recently.  Ask them if they've seen Jesus working in their lives.  Encourage them to read or listen to the Word of God (maybe suggest a Scripture passage to read/listen to).  Offer to pray for or with them in person, over the phone, via email, or another means.  Let the Holy Spirit instruct you as you pray.  The day becomes holy and set apart as you redeem the time in the Lord's strength and wisdom.  You'll also likely bring encouragement to that other person/people as you do (encouragement that might last far beyond that very day!).

There are very few limits in how we redeem the time and seek the Lord to help make each day holy.  Likely, the greatest limit we place on God is ourselves; how we choose to handle our time, plans, and activities- in our own way, strength, or knowledge. 

Let's redeem the time.  You can begin this very minute.  There's no need to procrastinate until tomorrow morning!

Finish this day by making it holy.  Then begin and practice making tomorrow a holy day... and the day after that... and the day after that...

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God has given us gifts called time and prayer that coincide within our lives. Prayer is intended to be an ongoing conversation, personally and/or corporately, with God- at all times and in all places. Yet often, prayer is treated like it functions on a light switch; being turned on, then off, then on again as we have needs. Then off again when things seem under control and we can manage things going forward.

Solomon talks about the matter of time in Ecclesiastes 3:1-8, 14:

There is a time for everything,
and a season for every activity under the heavens:

2 a time to be born and a time to die,
a time to plant and a time to uproot,
3 a time to kill and a time to heal,
a time to tear down and a time to build,
4 a time to weep and a time to laugh,
a time to mourn and a time to dance,
5 a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them,
a time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing,
6 a time to search and a time to give up,
a time to keep and a time to throw away,
7 a time to tear and a time to mend,
a time to be silent and a time to speak,
8 a time to love and a time to hate,
a time for war and a time for peace.

14 I know that everything God does will endure forever; nothing can be added to it and nothing taken from it. God does it so that people will fear him.

What about time to pray? In verse 7, Solomon mentions there's time to be silent and a time to speak. So, does that mean we can shut off prayer? No it doesn't. Prayer (communicating with God) is intended to be an ongoing two-way conversation within our personal relationship with Him. That means we share with God what's on our hearts, AND we stop so we can listen to His reply. Listening to God will help us consider which season of time we're in- and/or how He'd have us respond within that given season! Listening to God also can inspire worship- something He's worthy of receiving at all times and in all places as well!

Paul, in encouraging all kinds of prayer, states the matter this way:

Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus. Do not quench the Spirit. - 1 Thessalonians 5:16-19

Rejoice, pray, and give thanks- always, continually, and in all circumstances. All, means everything, or without exception. Continually, means without ceasing or stopping. Many Christians believe prayer is the most powerful and active gift God has given us. If that's true, why are we as Christians so quick to stop praying once we begin?

Prioritizing Prayer

“Our devotions are not measured by the clock, but time is of the essence. The ability to wait, and stay, and press belongs essentially to our intercourse with God.”  ― E.M. Bounds, Power Through Prayer

Often, like young children called to the dinner table while playing games with friends, we set our hearts on other things that can have an immediacy or importance in the moment, but are secondary to what matters most. Children don't see the bigger picture that parents do. Children quickly sit down and eat with hopes they'll return to their friends and continue the game, but often find their parents want to keep them at the table longer than they desire. There's friction, squabbling, and sometimes some tension as the children wrestle to get their way. But for their greater good, the parents keep them at the table until the meal, and conversation, is finished.

Often, when God calls us into a time of focused prayer (maintaining our ongoing prayer mindset of speaking and listening with Him, but pressing further into Him still), it may seem to come at an inconvenient time to us. We may be focused on our schedule, a task, some form of entertainment, or something else entirely. The matter we're involved in wrestles to take precedent over what/whom God is calling us to be in prayer for in the moment.

We immediately face some choices.

1. Will I immediately press into God in prayer about this, or will I make Him wait?

2. Will I neglect or pass on praying altogether in favor of what I'm doing currently?

3. If I press further into God about this, will I remain with and in Him until He declares it settled, or will I just give God a few seconds or minutes, then hurry back to what I am doing?

Prayer often changes us more than what/whom we pray for! How we answer these questions will determine how much we'll permit God to change us as we pray. It will also affect how we see God answer that burden He invited us to be in prayer for. Make no mistake, He will accomplish His will fully- whether we obediently pray in that moment or not! How much we're allowed to see and experience of that answer may directly relate to the decision we make and time we invest.

Is it any surprise that our adversary would do all he could to keep us from using the most powerful weapon God's given us in spiritual warfare? A bumper sticker was recently seen that read, "If Satan can't make you immoral, he'll make you busy."

Busyness is an adversary to prayer- and keeps many Christians from utilizing their most important and powerful weapon! Busyness also hinders many from growing in deeper relationship with God through prayer and the reading of Scripture. How busy are you? How much time with God are you losing each day because other priorities take precedent over communication and communion with Him?

Poor Modeling of Prayer

Whether we care to admit it or not; how we pray, or choose not to pray with or around others impacts how they think about prayer.

In 1 Thessalonians 5:19, Paul states, "Do not quench the Spirit." Quench means to sadden, disappoint, or grieve the Holy Spirit. The idea of quenching the Spirit should make us uncomfortable. Yet is it possible to do so when we pray?

Often, like children at the dinner table, eager to return to playing with friends, we can back away and dart off from the dinner table (times of prayer) without a second thought. The Holy Spirit might caution or encourage us to stay longer in worship or prayer, but He won't force us against our will. When we dart off before He's finished, we cut off our individual or corporate prayer times abruptly; quenching Him and placing something other than God in higher importance in that moment. We also miss out on greater worship, truth, or power He may intend to share if we'd stick around with Him until He's finished in that time.

As others around us see prayer, worship, and/or the Spirit quenched, it may give the impression to them that it's okay to do such a thing. If they see it happen repeatedly, soon it can turn into an expectation, something's that anticipated, a common practice, and even possibly a tradition.

What if the Holy Spirit has something deeper to share or do if we'd stay with Him a few minutes more? What if He's starting a work in someone's heart in the midst of the prayer group that suddenly risks screeching to a halt because someone sees time on the clock butting against the traditional ending time of the prayer/worship meeting? Can we truly afford to stop praying deeply until He's given the okay to do so?

In corporate prayer settings, tradition often seems to trump the Holy Spirit. We all lose when this happens.

"Take the mind that God has given you, and use it as an instrument of worship; for that's what it was created for." - Ravi Zacharias

The Remedy- Liberty

Breaking the binds of traditionalism or the tyranny of the urgent (busyness) may simply be accomplished by extending liberty to all in attendance (speaking mostly within the context of a corporate prayer gathering). Prior to the group pressing in to pray, a leader may announce the intent to follow the Holy Spirit until He's completed all He desires to do during that time of prayer. Those desiring to leave prior to that time have full liberty to leave whenever they desire (as quietly as possible).

This extends both an openness and willingness to follow the Spirit, as well as freedom to allow those who need to leave earlier the ability to do so. If the Spirit leads 2-3 within the group to pray deeply for 2-3 hours (or longer), nobody leaving earlier need feel guilty- especially if the Holy Spirit has released them at that earlier time.

Our times of personal and corporate prayer will see much greater fruits of the Spirit when we permit the Spirit to begin, and complete, all He desires to do each time we meet together in prayer!

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit. Let us not become conceited, provoking and envying each other. - Galatians 5:22-26

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How Long Does a Breakthrough Take?

Your breakthrough is probably a lot closer than you think. Whether you need a miracle in your health, finances, relationships, or peace of mind, it’s possible that the answer is just a few steps away.


But I can understand if you are skeptical. You may have been waiting a long time already.


Abraham and Sarah had waited many years for a son, and you can understand why they would laugh upon hearing God’s prediction that their breakthrough was finally less than a year away (Genesis 17:15-17, Genesis 18:9-15). Yet their baby boy came just as the Lord promised, and they named him Isaac, which meant “Laughter” (Genesis 21:1-7).


If you laughed when I said your breakthrough was probably close at hand, you may want to call your eventual breakthrough Laughter, as Abraham and Sarah did. Of course, God always has the last laugh (Psalm 2:4), but I think Laughter is a wonderful name to call the breakthroughs He gives us.


Often it seems that our breakthrough is far away or simply impossible. The four lepers who sat glumly at the city gate certainly didn’t feel like they were on the brink of any breakthrough. The city was surrounded by an enemy army, and its inhabitants were gripped with famine, starvation, and hopelessness. But within a single day, the lives of these men were profoundly transformed (2 Kings 7:3-11).


Jesus’ disciples had fished all night and caught absolutely nothing, and their prospects looked anything but bright. Yet everything changed when they obeyed His surprising advice: “Throw out your net on the right-hand side of the boat!” (John 21:6)


Doesn’t this seem like a pointless instruction? If there were no fish on the left side of their small boat, why would it make any difference if they tried the right-hand side?


But the disciples were closer to a breakthrough than they could have imagined. They took Jesus’ advice, and that made all the difference. Within moments, they had caught 153 large fish.


How long will it take for YOUR breakthrough? Isaac was born within a year of God’s prediction to Abraham and Sarah. The lepers received their windfall of treasure within 24 hours of their step of faith. And the disciples received a miracle catch of fish within mere moments of obeying Jesus’ instruction. A breakthrough doesn’t have to take very long at all.


So here are two questions for you to ask: What do you need from the Lord? And what is He asking you to do?


After you have followed His instructions, your long-awaited answer can come with remarkable speed. Laugh if you want, but it’s true.


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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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