Called to be a Voice in the Wilderness

mlk_speech200-e6f9328d7f9b491c0a5dbcfccba1993f18ec856f-s600-c85In the midst of a busy diner the manager who evidently is having a rough and stressful day, begins to down grade and insult a breastfeeding young mother. The belligerent manager assumes that she is disturbing other customers around her and proceeds to kick her out of the establishment. As the tension in the room rises and different customers begin to react, some try to ignore what’s going on and others just shake their heads while out of the blue a young man stands up for justice and defends the young mother.

Then out of nowhere, enters the news correspondent John Quinones and his camera crew to interview onlookers. To everyone’s surprise they had been apart of the filming of a popular TV show. The actors are revealed to the stunned customers and shown the hidden camera. “What Would You Do?” is an intriguing television show that holds the watchers attention and makes one wonder what they themselves would do in a situation such as is being portrayed in each episode. The different weekly subject of the show always gives place to how different onlookers will each respond. More often then not people turn there back on justice and standing up to defend the defenseless.


We will either be a voice crying in the wilderness or in the wilderness crying for a voice! (tweet)


We read in the Gospel of Matthew about a man who was called by God. He came preaching in the wilderness. It defines him by saying in Matt 3:3, “the voice of one crying in the wilderness: ‘Prepare the way of the Lord; make His paths straight”.           John was a messenger of hope to a people in a spiritually dry and desolate land. Though he might not have looked the part, being clothed in camel’s hair synched up with a leather belt and munching on wild honey covered locust. God had anointed John the Baptist to be a voice to that generation. He was sent to sound an alarm and to wake up the apathetical church.


We are ambassadors for Christ, so Stand Up, Speak Up and be His voice! (tweet)


Down through history God has raised up voices to bring hope and justice to our land. One such voice was a young preacher named Martin Luther King, Jr. Along with being a minister he was an activist, humanitarian, and lead in the Civil Rights movement. He became a voice for justice to his generation. His Christian beliefs motivated and fueled the advancement in using nonviolent actions. Though he was wrongly assassinated his message of hoped lived on and produced fruits of righteousness.

Another voice in the midst of a spiritual wilderness and horrific injustice was Dietrich Bonhoeffer. As a German pastor he opposed the evil conquest of the Nazi regime. He was known for being openly vocal and courageous concerning his opposition to Hitler’s persecution and programs of euthanasia and genocide against the Jewish people. He soon was arrested and imprisoned which ultimately lead to being accused for being associated with the plot to assassinate Hitler. On April 9, 1945 Bonhoeffer and others were executed by hanging shortly before the Nazi regime collapsed and came to an end.

The scriptures declare in Rev 12:11, that the believers shall overcome the onslaught of the evil one through Christ’s blood, which also gives them a confidence for the greater glory, not loving their lives even unto death. God is still calling you and I to be a voice in the wilderness of our day for justice and righteousness. Paul declares that we are ambassadors for Christ, so Stand Up, Speak Up and be His voice! (Cor 5:20)

 

The Paralyzing Grip of Fear!

Fear1Ten out of the twelve spies who went into the Promised Land saw the inhabitants and were gripped by fear. It was a tormenting fear that not only skewed their vision but spread to many others. The Biblical account that we read in Num. 13:26-30 continues to let us know that the other two, Joshua and Caleb, had an attitude of a warrior. These two did not succumb to spreading fear but kept their eyes on God’s promises and declared with boldness, “Let us go up at once and take possession, for we are well able to overcome it,”. Their tenacious heart revealed their victorious attitude for the battle that lay before them. Yet, the majority of the spies were affected by fear just like a big part of God’s people.

Let me share with you six facts about fear that every believer should know: First, fear is a tactic of the enemy that will grip and paralyze you. Fear is your imagination running wild. It asks the question, “What if?” and answers with the worst-case scenario, picturing a future without God’s Intervention.


Fear is a lack of understanding in who God is, as well as, a lack of trust in Him. (tweet)


     Second, fear will stop you from being effective for God. Have you ever seen someone who is afraid to try anything new? What about your child and broccoli? All the disciples were in the boat but only Peter ventured out and walked on the water (Matt. 14:29). Fear held the others back from having that same supernatural testimony. Too often we are hindered from moving forward in God because of this enemy.

                  Third, fear can spread to other believers and limit their impact. In Num. 14:1 it reads, “So all the congregation lifted up their voices and cried”. Why did they cry? Because fear had spread to everyone who heard the spies say that they lacked the strength to go up against their enemy. Fear will sweep across others like a wildfire on a dry prairie.


Fear held the other disciples back from having the same supernatural testimony as Peter who walked on the water.   (tweet)


              Fourth, fear is a serious defect in a warrior. In Deuteronomy 20:8 the commanders were suppose to ask their troops, “What man is there who is fearful and fainthearted? Let him go and return to his house, lest the heart of his brethren faint like his heart.” Being fearful and faint-hearted will affect and impact many. The fainthearted Christian will melt in the face of a spiritual battle.

Fifth, fear brings bondage. Romans 8:14-15 declares, “For you did not receive the spirit of bondage again to fear…” Many Christians walk around in bondage because they live in fear. Fear is a lack of understanding in who God is, as well as, a lack of trust in Him.

                  Sixth, fear is a torment that can hold you back from fulfilling God’s purposes. Elisha’s servant was overcome by fear when he thought he was outnumbered by the encircling enemy (II Kings 6:15). The apostle John assures us, “There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves torment. But he who fears has not been made perfect in love,” (I Jn. 4:18). A Christian who is tormented by fear is a Christian who is not grounded in God’s love.

Knowing these six crucial points about fear will help you not be distracted from serving the Lord. A prayer warrior must be aware of the effects of fear in the realm of intercession. If fear grips us as we move into spiritual warfare then we will be limited in our prayers and impact to those around us.

 

My Father Always Let Me Find Him

hide n seek girlDuring the beautiful summer nights most kids enjoy playing hide and seek in their neighborhoods or at family gatherings. I am sure you were also raised playing this popular game throughout your childhood.
The thrill and adventure of either being the best person to hide or the one who is known as the one who can find everyone, seems to promote the game to every kid.

Some of my fondest memories were when my father would play “hide -n- seek” with my siblings and I in our jammies before bedtime. We would all get our turn to be the one who would count and then go and seek, trying to find everyone else. I didn’t realize until I was older, that my father would deliberately let me find him. Whether it was by making a little noise or by not being hid very well, he would help me.


From the very beginning of time our heavenly Father has enjoyed being with us and wants us close to Him.   (tweet)


If you really think about it, my father could have made it hard and probably impossible to find him, but he didn’t! He wanted me to find him so he could cuddle and love on me.

In the scriptures we see the same loving character of our heavenly Father. In Jer 29:13-14 we see where it says, “And you will seek Me and find Me, when you search for Me with all your heart.  I will be found by you, says the LORD…” (NKJ) The two words, seek and search describes one who is passionately and diligently inquiring after God.  If we are whole-heartedly striving after God, He promises us that He will let us find Him.

In the story of Adam and Eve in the midst of the Garden of Eden, we see that after they had been enticed into sin hid from God. It was their guilt and shame that pushed them to hide from the one that had made them and loved them. The Biblical story in Genesis 3:8-10 goes on to say, “the Lord God called to Adam and said to him, “Where are you?” This statement wasn’t because God didn’t know where they were, but was asking them if they knew that they were separating themselves. From the very beginning of time our heavenly Father has enjoyed being with us and wants us close to Him. God doesn’t like being separated from us. We even see Him allow to be called “Emanuel” meaning “God with us”.

Yet, so many people because of deception have fallen into the clutches of sin, driving them to hide in shame.  And even though God is well able to deliver us from ever falling into sin He gives us a free choice to walk away from Him. In Isa. 59:1 we read that when we sin it puts a wedge between us, and the lover of our soul. Yet, if you do, remember just as the Father in the story of the prodigal son looked for and ran to the wayward son when he returned, so your heavenly Father desires the same for you. It’s so important for us to understand how much God loves us and wants to hold us in His Fatherly arms of love.

I encourage you therefore, whether you are hiding or are on a journey of seeking after God. Be convinced and know that your heavenly Father wants to be with you. If you seek after him passionately and diligently, He will be found by you and if need be, He will also never quit seeking after you!

Having an Attitude of a Warrior

187139402Do you remember the heroic acts of the passengers on the United Airlines flight 93 on September 11, 2001? It was a normal day until the ordinary gave way to the catastrophic. The enemy had no other plans than to kill, steal and destroy their lives and many others. When these heroes realized what was going on they decided not to allow the enemy to inflict unjust destruction upon them. They rose up against the terrorists— they fought back. They counter-attacked the enemy sacrificing their own lives but literally saving hundreds in Washington, D.C. These heroes were not going to sit by and take whatever their enemy dished out.


As a good soldier of Christ, we must have the attitude or heart of a warrior   (tweet)


As Christians, we need to continue to build upon the foundation laid by Jesus on the cross. We must put on and use the armor God has provided for us. We must not allow the enemy to get our eyes off the souls who are facing sure destruction without our intervention. As a good soldier of Christ, we must have the attitude or heart of a warrior. The apostle Paul said, “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith,” (II Tim. 4:7). In summing up his life, he affirms that we must fight spiritual battles. It’s a “good fight” because it is the will of God that we combat the forces of His enemy. In Him, we are more than conquers (Rom. 8:37)! Over two hundred years ago Edmond Burke said, “All it takes for evil to triumph in the world is for good men to do nothing.” You can apply that saying to your entire spiritual life as you pursue God’s plan.


We must remember our fight is not with flesh and blood and that our weapons are mighty in God    (tweet)


The Christian is as bold as a lion and must stand for righteousness. God Himself is described as a warrior in Isaiah 42:13. Psalms 144:1 states, “Blessed be the Lord my Rock, who trains my hands for war, and my fingers for battle.” God is not only a warrior Himself, but He trains us to have that same attitude and heart so that we can execute righteousness in the land. The prophet Joel declared, “Prepare for war! Wake up the mighty men, let all the men of war draw near, Let them come up,” (Joel 3:9). How many times are we confronted by the enemy and we do nothing but quake in our boots? It’s time for us to wake up the warring spirit within us and get ready for the battle at hand. David, though young and inexperienced in battle, stepped up to fight Goliath. Many might ask why he would take a stand against a mocking giant. Well as he himself said, “Is there not a cause,” (I Sam. 17:29)?

David had a warrior’s heart. He refused to allow an overgrown, ungodly Philistine to mock his God or defy His armies. His previous fight with the bear and the lion prepared him for this epic battle. God prepares and equips us to become spiritual warriors for His kingdom as we walk with Him along the journey. Having a heart and attitude of a warrior is a part of our spiritual D.N.A.

We must remember our fight is not with flesh and blood and that our weapons are mighty in God as Paul says in 2 Cor. 10:3, 4. Therefore, our attitude must consist because of spiritual content such as prayer, scripture understanding and obedience to God’s statues.

Ready or Not We are in a Battle!

sb10062366k-001Like it or not, as a believer, you are in a battle! Every person born into this world is immersed into spiritual warfare. Having been plunged into the conflict of the ages, we are not exempt nor can we be neutral. Either the forces of evil will trample us or we will be victorious through our spiritual warfare—winning souls, changing society, influencing history and helping establish God’s Kingdom. I’m not talking about being a demon chaser, blaming demonic forces for every uncomfortable situation or flaw in someone’s character. But, I am talking about a battle that has been waged long before you and I were born, a battle that is waged against the purposes of God and His Kingdom. It’s a battle that has been waged by the enemy of your soul.

In Revelation 12:9-12 we see the allegory of the dragon waging war against the woman and her offspring. Verse 17 says, “Then the dragon became angry at the woman, and he declared war against the rest of her children—all who keep God’s commandments and confess that they belong to Jesus.” That’s every believer on the earth! We are in a spiritual fight whether we understand it or not! Whether we like it or not it’s a battle!


There’s no time to relax on our blessed assurance allowing the enemy to steal the victory that Christ has already won for us on the cross  (tweet)


There’s no time to relax on our blessed assurance allowing the enemy to steal the victory that Christ has already won for us on the cross (tweet)All through scriptures we are instructed in spiritual warfare and not be afraid. Moses gives principles concerning warfare to the children of Israel in Deut. 20. He starts off in verse 1 by saying “When you go out to battle against your enemies”. It’s important to realize that it doesn’t say “if you go out to battle” but “when you go”.

In 1Tim 6:12 Paul exhorts young Timothy to “Fight the good fight of faith”. Again in 2 Tim 2:3-5 we read, “You therefore must endure hardship as a good soldier of Jesus Christ. No one engaged in warfare entangles himself with the affairs of this life, that he may please him who enlisted him…”. We have been called and enlisted by Jesus Himself. Therefore, it’s no time to relax on our blessed assurance and allow the devil to steal the victory that Christ has already won for us on the cross.

Not only is the believer a target for the fiery darts of the demonic, but is faced with obstacles and conflict that manifest in the natural. If we’re not careful through the commotion we can loose sight of who we are actually in a battle with. Evidently, the church members at Ephesus were in that situation themselves. So the apostle Paul takes the time to include in his letter to them the explanation of who we are actually fighting against. He also writes to the Corinthians bringing understanding to believers about this spiritual fight. We read in 2 Cor. 10:3-4, “Though we walk in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh. For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God…”

Once we recognize who we are in a battle against then it becomes clear that earthly and temporal weapons are useless. The believer must be spiritually minded if he is going to be effective in spiritual warfare.

There are four important areas of spiritual warfare that all believers need to understand and walk in. For the sake of memory I will refer to these as the four “A’s” of spiritual warfare—attitude, authority, armor and artillery. We will cover these four different points over the following weeks.

People aren’t Satisfied with the Ordinary Anymore!

The church isn’t satisfied with ordinary church anymore! All across denominational lines, you can see people just wanting more! There’s a hunger and thirst in our society that can only be filled by God! People aren’t settling for business as usual! The Bible says in Matthew 5:6 that there is a blessing in being thirsty and hungry. It says, “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be filled.” It’s time to cash in on this blessing and get filled!

It is a natural God-given function when we desire water. It is a sign that you’re still alive when you’re having hunger and thirst pains. Only when we are dead do we surpass the need for water and food. It’s the same spiritually.


There’s a hunger and thirst in our society that can only be filled by God!   (Tweet) 


When we stop having the desire and craving for water, then we have slipped into the “danger zone” and are on the way to death. Sometimes our body is so out of whack that it doesn’t get the message that we need water, therefore bringing it into a very dangerous condition.

I remember being a young first- time parent, and our little baby girl was running a high temperature and not wanting to eat or drink. Being new to this whole parenting thing, we were getting scared. So we called our doctor, and his advice was to make sure she gets plenty of liquids so that she doesn’t dehydrate and to keep a watch on her. Dehydration can be life threatening. It can happen when your body runs out of bodily fluids. Thank the Lord everything turned out fine with our young baby, and she is now a healthy young woman.

In the same manner I’m sure you have been acquainted with young Christians who have become spiritually sick. Often the reason they are spiritually sick is because they have become offended—by the pastor or another Christian. Or perhaps they’re spiritually malnourished. Whatever the case may be, they become spiritually sick, having no desire to drink or eat the Word of God becoming spiritual dehydrated.

Another way we put ourselves in the “danger zone” is by refusing to drink and have more of God. In the past I have ministered in various nursing homes, when occasionally, I would come across a person that had lost all desire to live. They just shut down and will not eat or drink, resulting in their death.

Many Christians also come to a similar place spiritually, shutting down and refusing to feed and drink on the Word of God. It’s often because they don’t go to church or they’re pulled away by the wrong influences, resulting in a faith that is shipwrecked. There’s an old saying that goes somewhat like this: “You can lead a horse to water but you can’t make it drink.” How true that is! I remember riding my horse many different times and when crossing over a creek I tried to make him drink before we went on. Yet, if the horse didn’t want to drink, it didn’t drink.

If young converts won’t “taste and see that the Lord is good” as the Psalmist says in Psalms 34:8 they will never get that desire to drink! If they never get that desire, then it won’t be long before they wither and dry up.

The whole earth is yearning for more. They’re thirsty…they’re hungry for the real things of God. Lets drink and partake of Him.

Knowing God’s Heart

Let’s revisit one of the most encouraging stories in the scriptures I believe—Matthew15: 22-28, the Canaanite woman, who would not settle for anything but a miracle for her daughter. This courageous mother was willing to press in to Jesus no matter what the consequences. Mark 7:25 states that she “Heard about Him.” She must have heard of the wonders and miracles that followed Jesus. It was this deep understanding and undeniable confidence that drove her to humble herself and not take offense. This mother would not give up for she knew Jesus was the answer for her afflicted daughter. I believe she was persistent and unrelenting because she got a glimpse of His heart and knew He was merciful and loving. The end result of this sometimes-misinterpreted story declares His heart is truly to heal and set the captives free.

History has documented mothers, which have done extraordinary things for their children. But, how many mothers today have caught a glimpse of His heart to the point that they are just as willing and persistent for their children’s healing? Our families would be eternally changed if we all caught a revelation of who He is and what is in His heart.

Mary who was sitting at Jesus’ feet (Luke 10:38-42) listening to His words wasn’t there asking for her lists of wants, but was intent on knowing what was in His heart. So often, we spend our precious prayer time focused on what is burning in our hearts. Then we get busy doing things for Him and never just listen to His words. I believe God has so much He wants to share with us and He wants us to partner with Him in His purposes. In John 13:23 I love where it says, “there was leaning on Jesus’ bosom one of His disciples, whom Jesus loved.” I can imagine John with his head on Jesus’ chest wanting to understand the secrets of His heart. To me this is such a good picture of the kind of deep spiritual intimacy that we should have with Jesus. I believe as we commune with Him in prayer that He invites us through His great love to lay our head on His chest, and hear His heartbeat and learn of His will. That is the greatest honor and privilege that we will ever attain to—knowing what is on the heart of our Creator and King.

Paul himself reveals this same desire as he writes to the Philippians saying, “That I may know Him and the power of His resurrection, and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death,” (Phil. 3:10). He didn’t want the shallow acquaintance and unhealthy religion that he was raised with. He desired a understanding of what was on God’s heart. In other words, Paul wanted to know everything about Him, whether in His suffering, His death and definitely in His powerful resurrection.

Do we have that same hunger to know Him? Or, are we so caught up in our life goals and religious duty that we aren’t really concerned about His heart. The scriptures clearly reveal God’s desire to be among us. Communing with His children has always been at the center of His heart. The Holy Spirit woos us to seek after Him and pursue knowing Him as He knows us. Only then will we be as the young gentile mother and never be discouraged or offended at Him.

The Devil Might have a Buzz but he can’t Sting

Growing up it seemed that adventure would find us even if we weren’t looking for it. I remember on several occasions we would come across a hornet or wasps nest that demanded our challenge. One of us would draw the task of proving our courage and see if we could knock it down without getting stung. As we ran away and looked over our shoulder we could see a mass of angry wasps that would swarm looking to sting whatever stirred them.

It was the mercy of God that kept my brother and I from getting seriously hurt through our teen years. I believe if we had not been so clueless of the possible outcomes we would have never done some of our adventures.

Yet on the other hand there are so many people in the adult season of their life that have heard of the possible repercussion or consequences from the enemy of our soul, to the point of living in fear and becoming muzzled from doing great things for God. Many have been intimidated and disillusioned thinking the devil is mightier than he really is. Hollywood has glorified the demonic realm and has made the defeated foe of heaven to be something it’s not.

Scripture says that the spirit of God that is in us is greater then the spirit that is in the world. (1 John 4:4) We have been given victory and authority over the devil through Christ. (Lk 10:19) It’s only when the believer is ignorant of the devil’s devices and the work that Jesus has accomplished on the cross that they are acceptable to being deceived and defeated.


The devil might make a lot of buzz but he can’t sting you anymore. God pulled his stinger out at the cross disarming and triumphing over him.   (tweet)  


There’s a story that I heard of a family on a drive through town one summer day. The day was so beautiful that the windows were down so to catch the refreshing breeze. Coming to a stop at the city light a buzzing bee flew in and around the young girl in the back seat. Being allergic to bee stings she became paranoid crying out for her father to protect her. The father quickly caught the bee against the window with the cup of his hand. With calming words he assured his daughter that she was going to be fine.

Moments later he let the bee go as it once again buzzed around in the car. The daughter screamed, daddy why? But before her words could get all the way out he opened the palm of his hand and said, “he can’t sting you anymore for I took the sting for you. There in the middle of his palm was the stinger from the bee.

I think that is exactly why Jesus said we must come to Him as a child. We need that childlike faith and confidence in the Lord and what He has done. The devil might make a lot of buzz but he can’t sting you anymore. God pulled his stinger out at the cross disarming and triumphing over him.

That is why the scriptures exhort us to not be ignorant of the devil’s devices as well as knowing what Christ has done for us. (Eph 3:15-18) When we receive Jesus as the scripture says (Jn 7:38) we become His ambassador commissioned with God’s authority in the earth. (1 Cor. 5:20) There’s no need getting pulled into all the distorted hype of fearing the devil. All he can do now is make a loud buzz for he is defeat!

I am So Thirsty My Tongue is Cracking

Have you ever seen where water puddles dry up and the ground begins to buckle? I remember growing up my brother and I would come across these dried-up water holes with delight in our eyes. We would pick up the buckled mud like plates and throw them at each other. They would fly like Frisbees and then crumble into nothing as they hit their destination. What a blast it was! We could play like that for hours on end. Yet, at that moment, the effects of not having any water to drink hadn’t sunk in. When we got thirsty, we just quit what we were doing and headed for the house to get a cool thirst-quenching drink of water. Just like most of us, we don’t realize how blessed we are to have water until we’re without it.

Some time ago, my family was going with me to the Los Angeles area from Dallas. As we began to enter the Mojave Desert, we were astonished at the destitution of this desert and how severe the real desert can be. We noticed they had emergency phones on the roadside every couple of miles and big signs warning of the distance before the next gas station. They evidently knew to be stranded in this desert could be life threatening. It was a complete wasteland with no sense of life of any kind. The heat was so sweltering that you could actually see the heat waves on the horizon. Even though we were in an air-conditioned car, just the sight of this dry and destitute ground made us thirsty.

I know a big portion of the body of Christ is at this place in the spiritual realm. The Church has come through times of dryness and spiritual drought, just like the children of Israel did on their journey. Psalms 107:4–5 says, “They wandered in the wilderness in a desolate way. Hungry and thirsty, their soul fainted in them.”


We were made to drink of the living water that flows from the throne of God. (tweet)


Many believers have withered spiritually in the desert season, and others have come kicking all the way. One thing for sure is that it has brought a remnant of God’s people thirsting for more of him. David’s words say it well in Psalms 42:1–2. “As the deer pants for the water brooks, So pants my soul for You, O God. My soul thirsts for God, for the living God. When shall I come and appear before God?” I don’t know if you have ever seen a deer panting for water or not, but most of us can relate to a dog on a hot day or after chasing a car. Their tongue hangs almost to the ground as they slowly come dragging in for a drink of water. When they reach the water , It looks and sounds as if they can’t get enough to drink, panting in between every drink. Even, laying down right in the midst of the watering hole, just trying to satisfy that seemingly unquenchable thirst. They can’t live without water and neither can we!   Jesus said, “If anyone thirsts, let him come to Me and drink.” (John 7:37) He is the only source that will satisfy us. We were made to drink of the living water that flows from the throne of God. As we commune with Christ, in talking, walking and reading His word then our thirst is quenched and we will never thirst again.

Asking for what’s on God’s Heart

IMG_2431In Ezekiel 36 we read a fascinating statement from the Lord to the children of Israel. God lays out His will and promises of mercy and love for His people. “Thus says the Lord GOD: ‘I will also let the house of Israel inquire of Me to do this for them: I will increase their men like a flock,’” (v. 13). This scripture reveals that God wants us to ask for His will to be done. He invites us to inquire of Him for revelation and fulfillment of His promises!


As we seek Him, He reveals His heart and His promises to us so that we, in turn, can ask Him for them. (Tweet)


It is His desire that we would know His will. Too often, we miss God’s great promises because we never knew they were for us. On the other hand, we might know of the scriptures but haven’t ever been taught that we must inquire of God for them. As we seek Him, He reveals His heart and His promises to us so that we, in turn, can ask Him for them. It’s like Mary sitting at Jesus’ feet listening. Knowing His heart empowers us to have confidence to ask for His will. Yet, we miss out by not communing with Him.

In Ezekiel 36:13 God reveals that His people should seek him and His promises with faith and expectancy. We also read in James 1:6-7 that the man who wants to receive from the Lord must pray with expectancy. The person who asks with unbelief will end up empty handed. It says, “But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for he who doubts is like a wave of the sea driven and tossed by the wind. For let not that man suppose that he will receive anything from the Lord.” Prayer that is not seasoned with faith is nothing more than worthless religious jargon. It is impossible to catch the attention and favor of the Lord without a believing heart. God reveals His heart and will to those who incline their ears and seek Him. In return, we are invited to be a part of the manifestation of His promises.

We see this same principle working in the book of Daniel 9:2-3. Daniel received revelation through the Word that the seventy years of the Jews’ captivity had ended. However, their release was not yet manifested. Therefore, Daniel began to set his face toward the Lord in prayer and fasting. This empowered him to be confident in intercession since he now knew God’s heart.


God reveals His heart and will to those who incline their ears and seek Him. In return, we are invited to be a part of the manifestation of His promises (tweet) 



God promises that He will put His desires in our hearts when we live in communion with Him. (Ps. 37:4) His heart will become ours, transforming us to think as He thinks. God wants us to know His will and pray in agreement with Him. Too often, we want God to jump on our bandwagons of self-will instead of us connecting with His will and His heart’s desire. When we follow our own heart it leads us away from Him into idolatry. We become servants of our selfish wants and desires.

When we have discovered what’s on His heart and what His will is, then we can come into His presence with boldness and confidence. In I John 5:14-15 we read that if we ask anything in His will, that He will hear us. It goes on to say if He hears us then we can have the confidence to expect answers to those petitions. The key to answered prayers in our lives is to pray according to His will and purposes.

I am So Tired that I can’t Keep Watch!

I recall a story of Alexander the Great that I had heard sometime back, whether true or folklore. It went something like this. He was walking through his military encampment and came across a sleeping soldier who was supposed to be on guard. With total disgust and rebuke Alexander awoke him and demanded to know his name. The trembling soldier muttered that his name was also Alexander. In a tone of dismay, Alexander the Great replied, “Either change your name or live up to your name.”

How many believers or children of the most high have fallen asleep because they are naive of who they are in Christ. If they understood that they had the name of Christ and were His ambassador. They wouldn’t be falling asleep and slacking in their responsibilities.

The Bible and history itself confirm that God uses those called by His name to stand watch in prayer for His purposes. The Spirit will prompt us in intercession, yet we will probably never know the entirety of the impact our prayers have, until we are in Heaven.

In the garden the night before our Savior, Jesus Christ, went to the cross to carry all of humanity’s sin, He stood in the gap for us. He denied His own flesh and pursued the will of the Father for the entire world. The scripture reveals His passion for us in Luke 22:44-46, “And being in agony, He prayed more earnestly. Then His sweat became like great drops of blood falling down to the ground. When He rose up from prayer, and had come to His disciples, He found them sleeping from sorrow. Then He said to them, ‘Why do you sleep? Rise and pray, lest you enter into temptation.’”


              As Christians we either need to change who we’re representing or start living up to His name!     (tweet)


In the most crucial time of church history, we find Jesus standing in prayer and intense intercession. It was so intense that He sweat great drops of blood (Luke 22:44-46). Jesus was so focused on what lay before Him, and the purposes of God, that He agonized in prayer for the Church and its redemption. Yet, the disciples, in the most important time, were sleeping and unwilling to stand in watch with Him.

Moses was also an intercessor that spiritually stood guard and watched for the people of God. In Exodus 32:1-12, we see the children of Israel straying from God and worshipping a golden calf. They had been delivered from bondage through a mighty show of God’s power but quickly slid
back into Egyptian idolatry when left to themselves. God’s anger was stirred toward the people so that He wanted to get rid of them. But Moses quickly stepped into the place of intercession and pleaded that God would spare them (Ex. 32:13).

Because Moses stood in the gap all were spared except for the instigators and the rebellious. Moses later came down from the presence of the almighty God and radiated His glory in such a dimension that the children of Israel couldn’t look upon him (Ex. 34:29-30). There is a reward for intercessors that watch and stand in the gap for God’s people. I believe in reply to Moses asking, that God showed Him enough of His goodness and glory that it changed him forever (Ex. 33:18).

There is a reward that the intercessor receives from God that can only be obtained through a relationship of intimacy in intercession. Therefore, either we need to change who we’re representing or start living up to His name!

Purposed to be Pure not Polluted!

514409387One of the biggest rewards when I was a youth Pastor years ago was when young people would come to the altar at summer camp making commitments to serve the Lord whole-heartedly. Many of those young people that kept steadfast to their decisions went on to do great things for God.

It reminds me of a story of a young man in the Old Testament. We read in the first chapter of Daniel where Jerusalem was conquered and the inhabitants taken into captivity. Daniel was probably around sixteen years old at this time. His whole surroundings and culture that he lived in drastically changed over night.

As was the strategy of many conquering kings, Nebuchadnezzar commanded that some of the finest Jewish young men be picked and forced into a 3 year transformational brainwashing. The plan was that over a period of time they would slowly be converted in the ways of the Chaldeans. The King commanded that they would eat of his dietary preference. Of course there was definite contradictions to the way these Jewish boys had been told to live their lives. Daniel knew if he followed the king’s plan it would be in direct disobedience to God’s law. So Daniel made a choice! We read in Deut. 1:8 that he, “purposed in his heart that he would not defile himself…”. More than likely the king’s food was forbidden food, as well as being dedicated to foreign gods (Lev. 11, 17:10-15, 1 Cor. 8: 1-13) and therefore would be defiling and polluting for these Jewish young men before God’s law.

Daniel made a conscious and determined decision to follow God’s statutes and ways. Now remember he was a young man in his teens when he aimed to please God not man. Yet, even with possible deadly consequences Daniel chose to make a stand. I believe he had come to an altar of commitment sometime in his young life. Whether this was a result of godly influences or lessons learned from ungodly rulers in his past, he was intent on keeping his commitment.


It’s only when we have purposed in our hearts to whole-heartedly follow God’s word that He can prosper and bring fruitfulness through us.       (Tweet)


In the days we are now living in, it seems as if our great nation has also been taken captive and we are being carried away to a land of compromised beliefs. God’s Word tells us in Rom. 12:2, “do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind…”. Also in 1Thes 5:22, “Abstain from every form of evil. (NKJ). Daily we are faced with decisions of whether we will live in obedience to God’s Word or be caught in the ever growing compromise of this age. It’s only when we have purposed in our hearts to whole-heartedly follow God’s word that He can prosper and bring fruitfulness to our actions. Then all those around us will see and glorify the Lord God.

Because God had touched Daniel earlier and now had divinely positioned him, he was able to purpose in his heart to not be polluted by the onslaught of a changing society around him. It wasn’t until Daniel purposed in his heart that God breathed upon that seed of faith and prospered him. The result was not only a witness in good health, but ten times more wisdom, skill and gifting than any other in the kings program.

When God’s people purpose in their heart to not be polluted with the compromising society around them then God’s blessings come and people will take notice and ultimately glorify God.

Who Left the Gate Open?

The unprecedented news quickly exploded through every news outlet of the 5 to 4 Supreme Court decision favoring same sex marriage. The highest court has single handily redefined marriage, opposing the words of Jesus (Matt. 19:1-9). In spite of this country’s Godly heritage, it now seems that America has opened the gate to turn away from being one nation under God.
Different opinions spread on social media such as, “Love Wins” making it look as if this was a debate of love or hate for the gay community. This decision is not about love and hate, but about keeping the statues of God so that we can live a protected and blessed life (Ps. 33:12).
The Bible teaches us that Jesus died on the cross because He loved mankind and wanted to redeem us. (Jn. 3:16-17) It goes on to say that He didn’t come to condemn but to save us. In other words Jesus didn’t go to the cross because He hated certain individuals, but on the contrary it was because of His love towards them! Yet, many people interpret His purpose and message as hate and condemnation. Let me try and explain this with a story.
When my children were young we lived in an older part of Chicago where the streets are narrow and very busy. I had given my sweet little toddler a kiss and slipped out the back door to start mowing the yard not realizing that the door hadn’t latched behind me. Once I was finished in the back I moved to the front yard leaving the gate open making it easier to get the mower back to the garage. Unbeknownst to me this made for a perfect storm.
Moments later I looked up in complete horror to see my daughter getting ready to step out into the busy street. She had innocently gone through the uninhibited doors and gates unaware of any danger. My fatherly instinct provoked me to yell with urgency “Stop”. Causing my naïve toddler to uncontrollably cry thinking I was upset at her. She misinterpreted my love and desire to keep her safe for a dissatisfaction and anger towards her personally. My yelling was out of desperation to keep her from proceeding into a dangerous road where she would most assuredly get hurt. I had been so preoccupied with the work at hand that I left the gate wide open giving opportunity for her to possibly get seriously hurt.


Real love won on the cross over two thousand years ago (tweet)   


In like manner, this debate is not about God or God’s people hating certain ones, but about maintaining the boundaries He has set. Making sure that there isn’t any gate left opened in our society. Real love won on the cross over two thousand years ago. In 1 Jn 4:7-8 it says that God is love and those that follow Him need to reflect Him through love even while we stand for truth. Jesus went to the cross to free mankind from dangerous actions and lifestyles that would bring bondage. God is not a “Cosmic Kill Joy” wanting you to miss out but a loving Heavenly Father who wants to protect us and give us abundant life. He has set healthy borders that will produce a life of blessing if we follow them and will insure that we don’t begin down a slippery slope leading to destruction. God loves the person but came to deliver them from the works and deception of the evil one. (1 Jn. 3:8)