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.

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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.

Just an Echo or Oracle?

EchoFor most young people yelling in a cave for the first time is fascinating. Hearing their own voice as it becomes distorted after each echo bounces off the wall will keep them engaged for long periods of time.

What is an echo? An echo originates from an original voice, and, as it goes forth, it begins to repeat itself over and over until it is distorted. It loses its clarity and has no effect, because you cannot really hear or understand what the original message was anymore.

Unfortunately, in the same manner many Christians have lost their effectiveness as being a voice to this generation, because they have become just another echo. We lose our impact when we stop being a pure oracle with a clear message. We go around speaking things that have no life in them anymore. We are repeating things over and over that had been words of life sometime in the past but now they’re just empty words. If we are going to be relevant in this generation we cannot live in the past anymore but must live in the now! Even in 2 Timothy 2:16–17, Paul exhorts us to not be entangled in vain and useless words. “But shun profane and idle babblings, for they will increase to more ungodliness. And their message will spread like cancer.”


We lose our impact when we stop being a pure oracle with a clear message.  (tweet)


With the role of the church becoming too professional in our day, we have focused on being good orators instead of being a voice for the Lord. An orator is somebody who is eloquent with words and has all the right things to say. Every time they speak, it soothes the ears. Most politicians and radio personalities are good orators.

By no means, is it wrong to be a good orator? I wish I were a better orator myself. But, when we choose to be good with our words over being one who speaks God’s Words, then we are off base and will quickly get in serious trouble. Our objective cannot be in tickling people’s ears but in speaking words of life. Paul even said in 1 Corinthians 2:4 that he did not come as a smooth talking orator but in God’s power. For he said, “And my speech and my preaching were not with persuasive words of human wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power.”

When we choose to become an oracle for the Lord, then we open up our life for the power of God to flow through us. Man leaning on his flesh is an orator, but when man yields himself to the Lord and acts in obedience to God’s will, he becomes an oracle for God.


When man leans on his flesh to speak he is an orator, but when man yields himself to the Lord, he becomes an oracle for God. (tweet)


Paul reminds the Corinthians that when he came to them, he came as a voice for God, which brings the manifestation of God’s power! In a sense, we need to be a piece of conduit pipe, so that God can pour his word through us. It says in Isaiah 55:11, that when God speaks, it’s not just empty words. It says, “It shall not return to Me void, but it shall accomplish what I please, and it shall prosper in the thing for which I sent it.” Just the same, if God speaks through us as his vessels, then things are going to happen, for our words will not be empty words either. God wants us to be his voice to the hurting and down cast in our generation.

Desperate Prayer for Revival

Earthquake Destruction1As we awaited the birth of our first baby girl, I can still hear my wife crying in desperation, “Get this baby out of me!” We were in the delivery room and in the last stages of delivery. Even though I had forgotten exactly the proper way of breathing and coaching, I was still attempting to try. With my wife holding my hand, I felt I was the model husband. Yet in seconds, all rationalization went out the window, as I felt her fingernails digging into my arm and the ear-piercing cry of her agonizing pain. I unfortunately, didn’t realize there comes a point in the birthing process when there is no turning back. Either there must be a delivery, or there will be an overwhelming feeling as if the woman is going to die. My wife told me later that at that point, she knew she couldn’t quit, but had to push through the agony and horrendous pain, or she felt she would die.

It is the same kind of desperate heartfelt pain that men and women have felt as they have agonized in prayer for revival. All through history, you will find there were individuals desperate for a move of God. It reminds me of the young Hudson Taylor in England, as he began to get a stronger and a more desperate burden for China. He cried out to God in agony saying, “I feel that I cannot go on living unless I do something for China.” The desperate, inward hunger and vision God had put on his heart was beginning to be birthed. Only later would history tell of the impact and influence this man had on China!


Desperate need requires desperate Prayers!      (Tweet)


Before the Azusa Street Revival broke out, it is interesting to know that William Seymour travailed in prayer for some time. Michael Brown, in his book, writes about Seymour’s prayer life before the revival ever came. “Daddy” Seymour became desperate for more of God, yet for two and a half years, he prayed for five hours a day. “I got to Los Angeles,” he relates, “and there the hunger was not less, but more. I prayed, God, what can I do?” The Spirit said, “Pray more. There are better things to be had in spiritual life, but they must be sought out with faith and prayer.” Then he said, “But Lord, I am praying five hours a day now, I increased my hours of prayer to seven, and prayed on for a year and a half more. I prayed to God to give me what Parham preached, the real Holy Ghost and fire… like the apostles had.” Briefly before the revival, a local pastor had also written to Evan Roberts in Wales, asking him for the key to the Welsh revival. They soon received a reply, encouraging them to pray and surrender all to the Lord, believing God’s promises as they held daily meetings. We can see the response to this advice from the account of Frank Bartleman, another minister in the Azusa outpouring. “We prayed for a spirit of revival until the burden became well-nigh unbearable. I cried out like a woman in birth pangs. The Spirit was interceding through us.”

Through history God has used the desperate prayers of his saints to usher in great revivals. Desperate need requires desperate prayers! It is only when we also get to this place of desperation that we will see revival in our time.

God can You hear me down here?

ceii phone user1Do you remember an older commercial about a man with a cell phone in various locations asking, “Can you hear me now?” Most cell phone users know that good reception depends upon where you or the people that you are talking to are located. Some Christians have that same mentality when it comes to praying. They think you have to be in the right spot. Can you picture believers walking around saying, “God can you hear me now?” As funny as that might seem many believers feel that way. But actually He knows what we’re going to say before we say it! Isaiah declares, “It shall come to pass that before they call, I will answer; and while they are still speaking, I will hear,” (Isa. 65:24). God hears the prayers of His children no matter where they’re located.


“ God is everywhere and is listening to my prayers”   –  Tweet


When I was in Junior High, my dream of being like Jacques Cousteau, the famous oceanographer came a little closer to reality. After a summer of doing small jobs and saving my money, I was finally able to sign up for my long awaited scuba lessons. It was during a session that I learned a lifelong lesson of God’s omnipresence. It was my first open water experience with the instructor. We arrived at the reservoir and got ready to dive to the bottom. The last words I remember him saying was once we get to the bottom of the reservoir to follow him closely. This seemed easy enough until we reached the bottom. We were at about thirty-five feet down and the water was murky with only about six inches of visibility. I couldn’t see my instructor or really anything. I was gulping air from my tank at record speed. I just sat at the bottom not able to see anything, feeling all alone and not sure what to do. I began to pray. Now mind you, I was in a completely different world. Though it seems strange unless you have experienced this scenario it was odd praying under water. The questions came to my mind, “Can God hear me down here?” No sooner had the words left my mouth through my regulator than a hand came through the murky water and grabbed me. It was my instructor! Now, to a Junior High boy at the bottom of a reservoir sucking air from a small tank as if every breath was my last, that was a huge miracle! I realized that God is everywhere and is listening to my prayers. King David declared something similar in Psalms 139:7, 9-10, “Where can I go from Your spirit? Or where can I flee from Your presence… If I take the wings of the morning, and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea, even there Your hand shall lead me, and Your right hand shall hold me.”

In II Kings 20:1-6 we read where God answers Hezekiah’s prayer. I see a Heavenly Father’s passion for one of His children and answers his request. It reminds me of how I love to answer my children’s requests. In the midst of bad news  and agony, Hezekiah went to the right source and God immediately answered his prayer. God heard his heart cry and extended his life. Many times when we receive bad news we get bitter and upset but we don’t go to the right source with our concern. Hezekiah received a gift from the Lord because he asked. In  Jeremiah 33:3 it says, “Call to Me, and I will answer you…”. God loves His children and will hear and answer us when we call to Him in pray.

  

I Can’t Pray Because My Knees Hurt

AR0162-002In the midst of the beautiful Rocky Mountains the old deserted logging roads made great walking trails above our ranch. Growing up I remember how my mother loved to take her walks in the brisk mountain air. There were times that my siblings and I would be having fun and run up the trail to catch my mother only to find her deep in prayer. After several times of interrupting her we soon realized that this was her private time of praying. She loved to walk and talk with the Lord.

The Bible reveals many different postures of prayer; some people prayed sitting, some standing, some kneeling as well as lying prostrate before the Lord. Paul encouraged Timothy to pray with hands lifted up (1 Tim. 2:8). Others stand or sit in circles holding hands. Still some people think if you’re not kneeling then you’re not really praying. I don’t believe there is any one posture that we must use to pray, on the contrary, there are many ways. Whatever position seems to help you keep focused in your prayer life is the right way. My mother’s posture of prayer was her walks.


If we sow in prayer then we will reap in the fruit of answered prayer.   (Tweet)


After my friend gave his life to the Lord in high school, he became aware that one of the basic principles of growing in Christ was learning to pray. With the best of intentions, he got up before school and tried to pray, but would fall back asleep consistently. One day he had a genius idea. He would stand on the open toilet and pray, knowing that would give him the incentive to keep awake and pray. Well, we might not have to go to that extreme, but whatever gets us to the place of prayer and keeps our eyes on the Lord, that’s the posture we need to take.

Prayer is like evaporated water that comes from the ocean. As we continue to pray it builds up in the clouds then the clouds move with the wind of God’s will and pour down their abundance of rain. Some say the bowls of intercession that we read about in Revelation 5:8 become full and overflow upon the earth. In other words, prayer produces fruit!. If we sow in prayer then we will reap in the fruit of answered prayer. But we must find a posture of prayer that enables us to fill the bowls in heaven with our intercession.

In response to the disciples question “teach us to pray”, Jesus says, “When you pray, say:” (Luke 11:2).  Jesus’ statement is not telling them a time or position of prayer, but rather indicates that prayer is an ordinary and normal function of a believer’s life. Jesus could have told them His favorite posture of prayer but He specifically didn’t, knowing it would cause His followers to make a religious ritual out of one set posture. Rather, He just conveys that we need to pray. Jesus’ only mention of a posture of prayer was moments earlier when He was referring to the way the Pharisees were standing on the street corner to be seen by man. Indicating that our heart must be right not our posture.

My sister loves to pray as she runs the trail along the rim of the Snake River canyon. But the point is not where or how we should pray, kneeling, sitting or lying down, but that our posture is conducive for us to pray.

The Nature of Prayer

sunrise2I’d like to briefly highlight six different characteristics of prayer that we find in scripture. These are definitely not the only ones in scripture, but will be a great benefit. Each one is vital to the over-all power and strength that comes through a life committed to prayer.

First, there is adoration, which is to love deeply, to worship, idolize something. We see that in Matthew 14:33 where it says, “Then those who were in the boat came and worshiped Him, saying, “Truly You are the Son of God.” Adoration brings our heart into focus and positions us to receive from the Lord.

Second, a more common aspect of prayer is confession, which is the disclosure of our wrong doing or our sins. In Nehemiah 1:6 it says, “Please let Your ear be attentive and Your eyes open, that You may hear the prayer of Your servant which I pray before You now…and confess the sins of the children of Israel which we have sinned against You…”  Also, in 1 John 1:9 we read, “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us…” Someone once said, “Confession is good for the soul,” but it’s equally valuable for the spirit. It is crucial to make time in our prayer life where we are able to confess and be cleansed.

Third, there is petition and supplication, which is a solemn request, an entreaty, to ask for something humbly. We read in Philippians 4:6, “Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God.” Just as a parent loves to hear their children’s requests even so our Heavenly Father listens to us as we come and ask of Him.


I believe those that selflessly intercede for others in times of need will themselves reap great breakthrough    (Tweet)


Fourth, is intercession, which is entreating God on another’s behalf. Some refer to this as standing in the gap for someone else. In Acts 12:5 we read, “Peter was therefore kept in prison, but constant prayer was offered to God for him by the church.” This group of believers was specifically praying for Peter’s protection and deliverance, which was the key for his supernatural breakthrough. I believe those that selflessly intercede for others in times of need will themselves reap great breakthrough.

Fifth, is communion, a time of intimate interaction and sharing ones heart. It is much greater than just filling the time with talking. He desires for us to come into His presence and sit at His feet communicating our inner most thoughts with Him, with or without words.  We see Mary communing with Jesus in Lk 10:39 as she sat at His feet.

The Sixth and last characteristic of prayer that I will touch on is thanksgiving, which is the act of giving thanks to God. We need to have an attitude of thankfulness for what God has done or is doing or even what He is going to do. Giving thanks to the Lord is a big part of prayer. In Colossians 4:2 it says, “Continue earnestly in prayer, being vigilant in it with thanksgiving.” We are also to “enter His gates with thanksgiving,” (Ps.100:4, nas).

All six of these facets compose a beautiful and powerful communication with our Savior and Lord. There are so many different aspects of a life of prayer. I encourage you not to be limited by man’s traditions or manmade formulas. Having your prayers filled with these different characteristics will bring a freshness and fulfillment in your time of prayer.