Are you living your Life in the Rearview Mirror

images-61The holidays were right around the corner and the memories were beginning to be made without me, as my family was already in Chicago waiting for my arrival. I was rushing around trying to get the office closed and get home so I could pack and head out of town to be on time for the family annual gathering.

Even though it was mind boggling because of everything that needed done, yet some how I had locked the office door and was now in my car driving away. Then out of nowhere came a thought like an enemy arrow that pierced my already tired mind, “I hadn’t turned off the lights in my office”. I began looking in my rearview mirror trying to see if I could tell if they were on or not. Needless to say, I


You cannot go forward as long as you’re looking behind you!


wasn’t looking forward any longer. It’s amazing how a person might think he could go forward safely and be looking in the rearview mirror. Well, it doesn’t work! Ahead of me was a line of cars waiting for a train to finish crossing the road. When I finally looked ahead, I immediately tried to swerve but ended up crashing into the stopped cars.

I learned a valuable lesson that day that has helped me throughout my life. You cannot go forward as long as you’re looking behind you! Paul says, in Phil 3:12-13, “I press on, that I may lay hold of that for which Christ Jesus has also laid hold of me. Brethren, I do not count myself to have apprehended; but one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead”. Paul exhorts the believers in Philippi to not look behind. They were like so many people in our day that are so fixed on the past that they are hindered from going forward in their lives.

Whether it was a bad decision when they were young, maybe an abortion, a bad marriage and act of violence or possible many different things. One thing for sure is that not dealing with the past will keep our eyes looking behind us and hinder us from going forward with our lives. In verse 14, Paul continues by saying, “I


Only when we have rightly dealt with the past can we face tomorrow with confidence and triumph.


press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.” He is saying that he keeps his eyes on the things ahead and where God’s blessings abide. Paul pushed forward to achieve the very reason God had apprehended him. Unfortunately, many of us can’t go forward because our past failures are holding us down. But that is a plot of the enemy in your life: To make you dwell on your failures and not move on. He wants to keep you in bondage to your past so you are useless for what God has for you in the present.

How we deal with our disappointments will determine whether they destroy us or make us stronger. It’s natural to examine ourselves and deal with areas of our lives. (2 Cor 13:5) But, it is totally wrong to be held in bondage to our past. We must bring our failures (1 John 1:9-10) and successes before the Lord and ask Him to forgive where it’s needed and be Lord over even the things we have achieved success in. (2 Cor 10:5-6)

Only when we have rightly dealt with the past can we face tomorrow with confidence and triumph. We must be about His business. But, you can’t go forward by looking in the rearview mirror.

 

Thoughts to Ponder:

1.)    Do you have times when you are bombarded by things in your past? Or maybe you have a friend that seems to be in bondage to some events in their past? Explain?

2.)    Paul was accustom to the Greek athletic races and therefore used them to bring out what point in Phil 3:12-14 that applied to a believers life? Explain how 2 Cor 10:5-6 can help those who seem to always allow the past failures or successes to hinder what God may have for their present lives.

3.)    What things would you say to anyone that was living their life in bondage to  their past? What does 1 John 1:9-10 exhort those that are followers of Jesus?

 

Advertisements

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!

This Place Works Great!

praying-for-rainDriving to church one Sunday I was so encouraged when a car passed me with the driver in serious prayer. It was obvious to me by her actions and demeanor that she was interceding for the upcoming service. She was transforming her car into a prayer room on the way to her church.

The scripture describes prayer as taking place in many different settings. We see in Matthew 6:6, “… when you pray, go into your room, and when you have shut your door, pray to your Father who is in the secret place; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you openly.” In Luke 6:12, Jesus went out to the mountain to pray. He also prayed at the Garden of Gethsemane (Lk. 22:39) and Peter prayed on the housetop in Acts 10:9.

Susanna Wesley the mother of Charles and John Wesley prayed during the day in her rocking chair. She had nineteen active children and as you can imagine finding time and place for prayer was almost impossible. But, knowing the need and the power of prayer she would sit in her chair placing her apron over her face making it a place of prayer. Her children were instructed never to disturb their mother when she was praying under her apron.


            “The intensity of the storm paled in comparison to those who were bombarding Heaven with cries for revival”   (Tweet) 


There are so many different places of opportunity to nurture your prayer life. Families can pray together at the kitchen table after breakfast or evening dinner. Those in the marketplace can have prayer meetings in their office cubicle or conference room before work. On your commute to work every day turn your car into a holy time of prayer.

Being in Guatemala, in a flimsy tent under a cloudburst, along with hundreds of serious prayer warriors impacted my life to my core. The intensity of the storm paled in comparison to those who were bombarding Heaven with cries for revival. Few were even aware of the storm outside. These hungry hearted believers were not going to allow anything to hinder their prayers. I was reminded of how often, back in the blessed U.S.A., we allow our prayer focus to get off track. Yet here in a remote area of the Guatemalan mountain, these people didn’t even flinch at the raging wind, pounding rain or the flapping tent. It was a glorious time of intense intercession that is seared in my memory.

Our places of prayer should be a place that helps keep our focus on heaven and not those around us. If we are praying so that others can see us and our pride can be stroked, then we have missed the mark and purpose of prayer. Matthew 6:1-6, lets us know if we are looking for man’s approval and praise then we will receive the rewards of man. Wouldn’t we rather have our rewards come from God who sees in secret and rewards us openly? Therefore, wherever you find your place to be, make it a holy place with Him.

The overall view in scripture is that there is no one place to pray that is superior. The only criteria is that we pray in a place and manner that allows us to focus on the Lord. God wants us to spend quality time with Him, wherever that might be on a roof, in a tent or elsewhere. He longs for our undivided attention. Remember prayer is communication with our heavenly Father, whether we are alone or with others, it is talking and conversing with Him.

“Christ-Must” list or Christ Centered Communion?

christmas List  Remember the excitement when you were a child making your Christmas list. It was a time that your imagination would sky rocket and every new toy and gadget became a possibility for your list. In your mind there was never an issue about money or if it was even practical for you or not. We became consumed by the monster of greed and desire! The list could go on as long as our paper or our fingers could write. Those childhood memories will never be forgotten as they found their place snuggled in each of our hearts.

In the same manner many Christians treat their prayer life as if they are making that Christmas list once again. They come to God in prayer with a list of wants of fairytale proportions.  As a Christian it is nonproductive and spiritually unhealthy to have a “Santa Clause mentality” which degrades our walk of faith to nothing more than a lifestyle that teeters in the fairytale realm.

If we are not careful we will think and act like Ralphie, the young kid in the 1983 classic movie “Christmas Story”. He wanted a Red Rider BB gun for Christmas so desperately bad that he was consumed with making sure that Santa Claus knew what he wanted. The only thing that seemed to matter was for him to wait in line to be able to sit on Santa’s lap and tell him his Christmas list. How many Christian’s have a prayer life that resembles this same frantic feeling that they must hand Jesus their LIST? Does that sound familiar? Have you allowed your prayer time to be turned into nothing more than a Christ-must list or is it as it should be a place of Christ centered communion? Our prayer life must continue to develop from a passion to know Christ more.

I do understand that there are many facets of prayer and definitely realize that there is a time that we go to our heavenly Father with our needs and supplications. But if our prayer time is only defined by our list and what we need, then we are missing the joy and most important element of prayer.

We have been given the privilege and most awesome opportunity to minister unto Him. It’s when we come into His presence in worship and adoration that will lead us into the greatest and deepest point of our prayer life, the place of pure undefiled communion.  Transitioning from that attitude of “it’s all about us” to an eternal attitude of “living for the King” only happens when we can die to ourselves and live for His purposes in the earth.

Prayer is much greater than just a list of wants. It is a time that we respond to God’s invitation to come into His presence. He has always wanted us to abide with Him. We can see that all the way back to the Garden of Eden where God walked and talked with Adam and Eve. There was a sweet peaceful communion in the presence of the creator of the universe.

It was God’s idea and desire to walk and share His heart with His creation. From the very beginning of time, God created us to be in His presence and to know His heart. Let me ask you, “Have you ever taken the time to ask the Lord what’s on His list?  Or have you been so enthroned in our self-indulgence that we never even stop to hear or listen.

I encourage you as well as everyone to put down our “Christ-Must” list and reach higher in prayer to know His heart.

Passion For Revival

Through church history we have seen the people of God lose their passion and hunger for more of Him, resulting in spiritual dryness and mediocrity. Then through God’s faithfulness and mercy, He raises up a remnant to turn from their evil ways and seek Him resulting in Heavens outpouring.

New Book Just Released

New Book Just Released 

Only when this same action is done will we see the outpouring of God’s spirit in our society! I believe that is exactly what we’re beginning to see come to pass! Men and women, boys and girls, church and churches are seeking the Lord with all their hearts. They’re crying out for an outpouring of God in our land!

In recent years, we have seen revivals ignite in places such as Toronto, Smithton, Pensacola, Lakeland, and Kansas City. The cry for revival in the earth seems to be getting louder! In some of the most unlikely places of the world, God is beginning to open the windows of heaven upon those that want more of him. Peter confirming God’s outpouring on the day of Pentecost, declared the prophetic word of the prophet Joel in Acts 2:17 which says, “In the last days, I will pour out My Spirit on all flesh”. We too can wait and anticipate in confidence that God will continue to fulfill His promises to His people in this hour.


Revival starts in the very heart of God. It is his will before it ever becomes our will!  (Tweet) 


 Many pulpits are agreeing that one of the greatest revivals that the church has ever seen is beginning to trickle through our sin-soaked generation. Every day, we can see the desperate need of our society as it continues to spit in the face of our creator. Michael Brown says, “Revival comes when things are wrong. It comes to set them right. It renews and corrects and fixes and repairs. It comes to make us whole.

Though we haven’t seen the total outpouring yet! We’re hearing the sounds of abundance of rain; there’s thundering, there’s lightning, and there is the smell of spiritual rain in the air. I am drawn to 1 King 18:41–45, a familiar passage that I believe is very applicable to the day that we live in.

Even though Elijah knew there was the sound of abundance of rain coming, he still had to endure with expectancy until he saw the manifestation.   It says the sky became black, the winds began to blow, and then there was a great drenching and saturating rain. Yet it started as a little cloud the size of a man’s hand. Is this what is happening in our midst? Are we hearing the sound of abundance of rain and seeing a cloud the size of a man’s hand? I believe it is! We need to endure as Elijah with expectancy as we intercede for a move of God.

For even in this season of limited spiritual rain, these individual outpourings have wet the appetite of the church to desire more of God. As the rains steadily increase, we must get ready! For when the rain comes in its fullness, it will uproot, tear down, and rearrange things. It will do exactly like we have seen in the natural world all across our nation in recent years. The rains and floods have affected every part of the country. I remember seeing the news and reading the articles about the Little Salmon River in Idaho, where most of my family still lives. The uncommon rains of that year totally saturated the soil in the beautiful mountains. The rivers were full to capacity. The roaring creeks continued to flood the river bottoms until things began to change. Mountain bluffs that we had played on as children came crashing down. The river began to carve a new path through the valley floor. Houses that seemed so permanent were knocked off their foundations and plunged down the river. Peoples’ lives were drastically changed forever. It will be the same in the spiritual realm.

Revival starts in the very heart of God. It is his will before it ever becomes our will! Too often, it seems like we think we must convince God to send forth his Spirit upon us. Yet, that’s not it at all! We don’t have to talk God into it. He wants to pour his spirit out upon us more than we even desire it ourselves. Let us agree with God’s heart and cry out for revival in the earth!

Passion For Revival For Those That Are Hungry for More of God!

             This book will be dangerous for those that are satisfied with a spiritual lifestyle of mediocrity.  It reveals to the reader the need for an undeniable revival and outpouring of God’s heart in and through the church worldwide.

Understanding God’s passion and principles for reviving His children is our only hope of bringing a radical change in our society.  Passion for Revival, will cause an intense hunger for more of God and is for those that desire a change in their families, neighborhood, country and the world.

For all those that are sick and tired of being sick and tired, this book is a must read.  You will never be the same!

                                                       Click to Purchase    

Normal People Can Do Great Things Too!

Many Years ago, in the year 1787 at Hampton Sidney College in Virginia, there were three students who prayed out in the woods once a week, in the morning. As you can imagine when the other students found out, they began to make fun and persecute them. The president of the college, John Smith, was so impressed with their commitment that he invited the three young prayer warriors to hold their weekly prayer meeting at his house.

The result of those three young students taking a stand in prayer was two hundred students coming to Christ that first year. By 1795 Yale University was experiencing revival as well. By 1802 one third of the student body converted to Christ. Many say this was a direct response to the seeds that were sown in prayer years earlier.

If you think about it, those three students were nothing but normal students with a tenacious burden for God to move on their campus. They weren’t well known preachers or highly talented individuals. They were normal! History doesn’t tell us that they had anything but a desire and boldness to prayer. And maybe we can’t even say they had boldness because they were praying in the woods, possibly to hide from everyone. But these normal students prayed to a God that holds the whole earth in His hands and history records the rest of the story.

We will probably never know the full impact of our prayers until we get to Heaven. But one thing is certain there is power in prayer. In James 5:16-18 we read, “Pray for one another, that you may be healed. The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much. Elijah was a man with a nature like ours, and he prayed earnestly that it would not rain; and it did not rain on the land for three years and six months. And he prayed again, and the heaven gave rain, and the earth produced its fruit.” I translate this verse like this, “The persistent powerful prayer of a believer brings radical results.”

God has granted us an unbelievable privilege in prayer. The problem is that many times we don’t understand the opportunity we have. We fall prey to the thoughts and false understanding that we have to be great to do great things for God! In I Kings 18:41-45 it tells how Elijah, instructed by the Lord, tells King Ahab that it wouldn’t rain for years except at his word. We then read in James 5:17 that Elijah prayed and it didn’t rain for three and a half years.

Then the same normal man prayed again and a cloudburst broke the drought. The Bible says that Elijah was a man just like us with the same opportunities and hindrances to his prayers. (James 5:17) In other words, he wasn’t anything special nor was he God’s favorite. He was just a normal person like you and me. Galatians 2:6 tells us that God is not a respecter of persons. He treats us all fairly and equally, therefore if Elijah had that kind of result so can we.

God uses Normal people that know Him and trust Him to do extraordinary and great things in the earth. Don’t allow the lie of the enemy keep you from doing great things for God. The enemy is always trying to tell us that we are nothing special and can’t be used by God. Being normal doesn’t keep you from doing great things! Being normal positions you to be used by a great God when we trust and rely on Him.

We Must Have a Change!

Ifootball8t would seem every direction we look there is unrest and turmoil in our cities and abroad in the earth. The majority of the news is filled with tragedy and upheaval.  Whether it’s racial tension in our cities, misuse of power in the government or terrorist activity in different parts of the earth, it seems to be one thing after the other. We must have a change!

When things are not going the way we think they should, in our lives, in our communities or even throughout the world, what should one do?  I believe it’s time to pursue a change that can only happen through God. Let me share a portion of scripture that is addressing this same scenario.

In 2 Chr 7:13-16 we read “When I shut up heaven and there is no rain, or command the locusts to devour the land, or send pestilence among My people…”. Here God gives His people the answer of what to do when there is turmoil and catastrophe in their land and all about them. This passage goes on to say, “if My people who are called by My name will humble themselves, and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways…” I love how God doesn’t beat around the bush but says, “if My people” which is talking about Christians or those that believe in God.  Then it goes on to say that if they bend their knee or come into subjection to the authority of God and pray, along with seeking His face and turning from wickedness then God says He will respond.  By hearing their prayers, forgiving their sins and healing their land God will move in their behalf.  In verse 15 He then declares with promise that He would stamp His name there, indicating His approval, as well as, He would be attentive to their prayers in that place forever.

God is talking to the children of Israel in a time of serious trouble.  Letting them know that He has a promise to those that will get serious and begin to move towards Him.  The believer must humble themselves before God, which is an act of surrender and acknowledgment of His Lordship. Then with a heart of desperation we must turn away from the things that have our attention and time and turn towards God and His purposes.

There is more to seeking God than just talking to Him, even though that is part of it.  Seeking is being aggressive in finding Him, doing whatever it takes to do His will. Too often we handle our prayer time as if we were giving our wish list to Santa Claus. God wants us to cry out to Him with a heart that desires His purposes, being willing to flee from the wickedness that entangles us and keeps us from Him.

If the believer does these things then things will be turned around and changed for the better. God gives us the promise that He will change our circumstances when we make a change in ourselves.

When we turn our hearts towards Him through the place of prayer, God will take notice.  He will respond to us in power when we seek Him with all of our heart. There will be a change when we finally surrender our ways to His ways. He has promised that if we turn towards Him and obey Him, He will move in our behalf.