strength

Prayers (A Few Thoughts and Discernments)

1st Thessalonians:5:17: Pray without ceasing.

We are instructed to pray. There should be a point in time where our prayer life begins, and continues without end. Our prayers are our communication with God. Prayer should not become a one-way conversation. We are quick to speak and make our needs known, yet, slow to receive, slow to hear, and quick to dismiss that small, still voice.

Prayer is a wonderful tool (for lack of a better word in this instance). It is an entrance into the presence of God. There are times it is a solemn, introspective experience, when mourning, confessing, or pleading for His helping hand. Other times it is informal, such as giving thanks, giving praise.

Prayer is not just an individual experience. There are times we enter prayer as a group, in agreement. This is sometimes referred to as corporate prayer. Many have gathered together and recited the Lord’s prayer, prayed in agreement at the opening of a church service, or even at the close of a church service.

A question came to mind during prayer and it is a question I must share and ask: What if all your prayers were answered instantly? My immediate reaction was surprise, wonder, awe, and excitement. I know God is able to do all I can ask and more.

Ephesians:3:20: Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us

I also know there are times we ask amiss. There are times when our faith waivers, times when we are weak, times when His will must be done, because our requests are contrary to His way. I know He hears the prayers of the righteous. The thought that really came to mind was: “What if all your prayers were answered instantly, all you need to do is ask”?

As this question became clearer, the big picture came into focus. This is where I began to see some shortcomings of my own prayer life. Should all my prayers that evening have been answered, me and my family would have been blessed abundantly, our debts would be gone, our health would have been assured, our church would be blessed and grow in number and would have reached the lost of our community, just to name a few. These are great things and I still pray these things will come to pass.

The problem was not in what I was asking. The problem is, my prayer life would have shown the deficiencies of my prayer life. My neighbors would not have prospered as I did, and we are commanded to love our neighbors as we love ourselves. My enemies, or those who are against me would not have received any type of blessing, there would have been no reconciliation between us. The other area churches would not have received as our church would have. Those that I work with would not have been any better off. There would still be nations at war, our state and national leaders would still be untouched, and our brothers and sisters in other nations would still be suffering persecution without relief or any sign of comfort.

As complete as our prayer life may seem at any time, there will always be more that we can do. Our reach must exceed the boundaries of our home, our state, and our nation. We must not be guilty any longer of praying in manner that resembles “bless me and my four and no more”. Through the gift of prayer and the blood of Christ we are able to go boldly before the throne of Almighty God and make our petitions known to Him. We have the ability to ask not only for ourselves, but many others in need, faces you may never see or meet. We must pray for our enemies and our neighbors.

Let me end with this thought: If your prayers were answered instantly, what would your deficiency be? What would everyone else see? Who would be left out? Who would still be in need? I hope to encourage you as I have been encouraged, during a simple prayer where I not only spoke but listened as well. May God bless and keep you, and as always, to Jesus be the glory!

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Failing

Prior to salvation through Jesus Christ, we fail. We fail Him, we fail to see, we fail to hear, we fail to understand, we fail to seek His word. Instead, we seek the advice of friends, we look for a better relationship from the world, our time is spent on self. God is neglected.

Romans:3:23: For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;

Failing God is not just for those who have not yet accepted Jesus as Savior. Failure is only permanent for those who die in their sin, those who do not confess and turn from their sin, those who do not accept a relationship with Christ. Those who proclaim Jesus, confess Jesus is Lord, have faithful church attendance, do good for others, they fail too. The difference is, there is grace for the believer. For the unbeliever there is forgiveness. Thank God that we all have a way, through Jesus and His work to be cleansed.

1st John:1:8: If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.
1st John:1:9: If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
1st John:1:10: If we say that we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us.

While this could be a broad generalization suited for many, I am directing this article at myself. Often, Christians are called hypocrites, holier than thou, and two-faced. Let me confess to all who take the time to read this, I fail. Everyday it seems I find a new way to fail. There are times I fall flat on my face, inconvenient times when I have to “practice what I preach”. Still, I fail.

Recently, I realized a new way I have failed. I have failed to reach those close to me, my friends. I have not taken opportunities to present the gospel, instead, I have made the assumption they know my life, what I believe, and considered it enough. There are friends I have not spoken to in a very long time, friends I have lost touch with, people I may not have another chance to present the gospel to. Failure to take every chance to present the gospel can have eternal consequences, especially for those who do not have a relationship with Jesus and never knowing if we have a tomorrow.

As much as this article is for me, it is just as much for my friends, family, and anyone else who cares to read this. We all fail, in different ways. We all fail to different degrees. One thing that does not fail is the salvation offered by God through Jesus Christ. Today, I will try harder, and even harder the following days. Even on the days I do not feel as though I have failed, I will bow before the Lord in prayer, confess my sin, ask forgiveness and the strength to do better with every day I am given. Time is short, with no guarantee. I am sorry for the times I have failed, so now I will do better to rectify the situation.

I have set up an email account for this blog. If I can be of help to you, if you need prayer, if you have questions, please feel free to contact me: prophetic.steps@yahoo.com or you can comment or send a message to the facebook page at: https://www.facebook.com/propheticsteps

We have all failed, we have all fallen short of God’s glory. We must cast those things aside and carry on that His strength be seen, that He be given the glory, for when we are weak, then He is strong.

More Than Enough

We can never praise God enough. He is worthy of all praise for everything, for the past, the present, and the future. In sickness, in health, in good times, in bad times, in every season, He is truly worthy of all praise. Be sure to take note, I did not say it was easy nor did I say it was the first thought I have. He is deserving in every situation, we often fall short of recognizing that.

Too often, in our times of trouble, we fail to realize our shortcomings. We can’t always see what our trials and tribulations are leading us toward. In short, we can’t see the victory for the battle, we can’t see the forest for the trees.

There is cause for praise regardless of the season. We do not serve a God of “just enough”, we serve God Almighty, God of more than enough! God gives in abundance. Jesus said it like this:

John:10:10: The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly.

Have you really considered the meaning? It means to “present in great quantity, more than adequate, well supplied”. It does not mean “just enough, only the right amount, enough to get by”. You see, we serve our Lord Jesus Christ, who gives more than enough. Should you need further testimony, consider these verses:

Psalms:23:5: Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over. (The cup is not only filled, it runs over)

Ephesians:3:20: Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us, (exceeding, abundant above all that we ask OR think, this speaks volumes!)

When Jesus went to the cross, He did not give just enough blood to cover sin, He gave His life for His friends and gave His blood to cover all sin for all eternity to those who would believe on Him. He gave all for all, I consider that an abundance. We should not stop with things present, consider those things yet to come:

Romans:8:18: For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.

There are times when things appear impossible, when no one else can help, and all things seem lost. Why do we seem to be placed in these times? So that we can know God is in control and only He is deserving of the praise. All things are possible with Christ, and He is True and Faithful. He is our Provider, our Friend who is closer than a brother, the One who has prepared a place for us, so that where He is, we can be with Him. This life is only the beginning, there are better things to come for those who know Jesus as their Savior.

Sing His praises, give your testimonies, and let Him be glorified. It isn’t always easy, and it isn’t usually our first thought, but we must praise Him for He is the God of more than enough!

Fallen?

There comes a time when even the most devout heart comes under attack by the weapons of fear, insecurity, and even doubt. The moments, however fleeting or enduring, must not overcome your hearts. None are good enough of their own merit, no, not one. The flesh and carnal mind are weak. They reason and prod to surrender, always looking at the temporal.

Coming to the knowledge of our sin we reach out to the Savior, who by His work, reaches down to the lowest depths of despair and raises up those who call upon Him. Once we have accepted His sacrifice and grace we rejoice in His cleansing power. At once we know the joy of salvation, but how long before the enemy attacks? How long before Satan sends his demonic forces to steal the joy which has been given to you?

Have you given in to despair? Have you lost strength? Have you been overwhelmed and feel helpless? Everyone has found themselves in what has seemed a ferocious battle. Friends, be of good cheer. God is sovereign. He has overcome the world! He is in control. You may feel as though you have fallen, but I can assure you by the Word of God, you have hope:

Jude:1:24: Now unto him that is able to keep you from falling, and to present you faultless before the presence of his glory with exceeding joy,

Once you put your faith into Jesus, the battles that seem lost are but the weakness of the carnal mind and flesh. The Holy Spirit says that He is able to keep you from falling! If you have truly put your faith in Christ, not only is He able to keep you from falling, He will present you faultless. His sacrifice is sufficient, He is your atonement, He is your righteousness!! Not only will He present you faultless before the presence of His glory, He will do it with exceeding joy. He will take joy in presenting you faultless. For all the times we feel as though we have failed, for all our weakness, for all we could not do, He did for us!

Quit thinking about how weak you are. No longer should you consider how difficult the trials and tribulations are or how impossible it all seems. He has already won the victory. He has won your victory. Praise Jesus, for He is truly worthy!

Take up your cross

We have a duty to live each day purposefully. So many people take every day for granted and have taken no thought of doing anything more than surviving the day and hoping to do the same tomorrow. We are not supposed to live this way. Our days are numbered, we have no promise of tomorrow. Are we serving ourselves with the time we have? Are we wasting the precious gift of life?

Luke:9:23: And he said to them all, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me.

The first thing we must be doing is following Jesus! He set forth the perfect example. We must be pursuing perfection with our lives. This is not a choice, this becomes our new walk, our transformation. Being a new creature in Christ, it becomes our desire!

In this pursuit of our Savior we find that we must deny ourselves. We cannot be selfish within any part of our lives. Our time, our possessions, our very being must be secondary to the command, direction, call, and example of Jesus. Denying ourselves is very difficult and wages war against our very nature. Yet, when we deny ourselves, He becomes dominant in our being, He is made witness for others to see, He is glorified.

Then we must take up our cross. We do not take up our cross once then lay it aside, we are to take it up daily. This statement shows that it will not be easy, but it does show the extent of how closely we are to pursue our Master. The cross is not pleasant to look upon. It appears heavy, shameful, and more burdensome than we can bare. Do not let the appearance fool you. Do not be afraid. We have all sinned. We have all fallen short of God’s glory, yet God loved us. For this purpose we were given a Savior. We too have a responsibility to Christ, no matter how difficult it seems, we must follow Him, and we must live to purposefully glorify Jesus. He loved you enough to take up His cross which is far greater than the cross He has planned for you. Your cross is yours but not alone, and given only that you too could follow Him. He is our strength, He is our sufficiency. He carried His cross, He will also help carry yours. Let Him show you His strength, grasp onto your cross, lift it, take the first step and openly declare that you can do all things through Christ, who strengthens you! Let Jesus be glorified, for He is truly worthy!

Author and Finisher

It is a certainty that we will have trials and tribulations in this life. The unfortunate consequence is they are not easy to endure and often vary in length and difficulty. The upside is that, by our faith in Jesus Christ, through these times of trouble we are able to obtain reward far greater than gold, an everlasting reward. There is a saying: “No one said it would be easy, only that it would be worth it”, which is a perfect analogy.

Are you easily persuaded the fight is not worth it? Do you stand strong even when it seems to be only you standing? Do you grow stronger with each battle? Do you look back upon past trials which became victories for strength, confidence, and better understanding? Why must we encounter these times and situations that seem impossible, insurmountable, and so unfair?

We endure such things so that God is glorified. One of the greatest things we can do is sing the praises of God. Only by Him are we able to overcome. He wants to show that His grace is more than sufficient, His power is greater, His love is stronger than any adversity or adversary we may face.

Hebrews:12:2: Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.

Jesus is the author of our faith. In Him is our beginning. Jesus knows what you need before you ask, He has set your path before you. He knows your struggles. Not only is He the author of your faith, He is the finisher! He has not started something that He will not finish. What seems to be a great struggle to us has already been declared a victory by Him. Our paths in this world will not be tread by us alone, for He is the Friend that is closer than a brother. He will not leave nor forsake us. He does not know defeat. His death at Calvary appeared to be a defeat, but worked a victory that will never be quenched, an everlasting victory. We too must take up our burdens, endure our trials, and look forward with joy, for we too, as children of the living God, have been assured the same victory. When the trials come, and they will, smile knowing they are temporary, yet the reward is eternal and He is with you every step of the way. To Jesus be the glory, for He is truly worthy!