Posts Tagged ‘New King James Version’

More than the civil wars that have ravaged the continent of Africa, the Muslim terrorist attacks against Western culture, the genocides that continue to plague human history, we are engaged in a very real and ongoing spiritual battle. The devil has waged war against God and anything related to God.  That would certainly include His creation. This means you!  No one is off limits.  The devil comes to kill, steal and destroy everything God has for you.  Kill, steal and destroy your life, dreams, joy and peace of mind—all of the blessings of God. You can’t win this war with natural weapons.  Bombs, AK 47’s and hand grenades won’t help you here.  To win this war you have to tap into supernatural weapons.  Access those  weapons that God has granted us coupled with His limitless power.   Thus far I have mentioned praise/worship and discernment as mighty tools available in our arsenal against the powers of darkness.  Next up for discussion:   the power of prayer.

What is prayer?  In simple terms, it’s just communicating with God.  For most of us the majority of the time we communicate through spoken words.  But keep in mind, we can interact with God through our thoughts.  I loved the answer the great evangelist Billy Graham gave when someone asked if God hears our silent prayers .  He wisely said:

“Yes, God hears our prayers on all occasions, whether we’re praying out loud or praying silently in our hearts and minds. After all, He knows all about us and knows what is going on inside us—both good and bad. The Bible says that God “judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart” (Hebrews 4:12). The Bible also says, “The Lord detests the thoughts of the wicked, but those of the pure are pleasing to him” (Proverbs 15:26). (http://www.billygraham.org/articlepage.asp?articleid=3828)

God really does have it all covered.  Sometimes life becomes so heavy that we don’t know how or what to pray.  But we have an all-knowing God who sees and knows the words of our hearts and the words of our thoughts.  Though most of us most frequently pray aloud and some would argue that verbal prayer is better, know that God “hears you” in your silence.

P= Praise, Persistence,

In prayer take time to praise God.  Everyone likes a compliment.  God is no different.  Tell God how awesome He is.  Thank Him for His goodness, His love and His mercy.  Bombard Him with sweet, adoring words from your mouth—what the popular bible verse says is the “fruit of your lips” (Proverbs 12:14) . The more you do it, the more you will begin to feel and connect  to His presence and power.  And we know praise and worship moves God to fight our battles and give us victory over the Enemy.

It is common practice that people set aside time alone to pray in a quiet place.  It may be early morning before confronting the day, late at night before going to sleep  or any other set time.  However, the bible instructs us to “…pray without ceasing(Thessalonians 5:7).  In addition to that quiet time, know that you can and should talk to God all the time.   Need help with a challenging situation? “Lord help me to resolve this.”  Did the Lord show you favor at work? Thank him right then and there.  Something heavy on your heart? You don’t have to wait until you get home to tell God.  Even in the midst of a crowd you can share your concerns. The more we talk to God, the more we grow in relationship with Him and vice versa. Get in the habit of talking to Him all the time and before you know it, it will become second nature.

Persistent prayer also comes in handy when we are enlisting God’s help or looking for God’s guidance.  A wonderful example I’ve heard of this was a preacher describing how his little girl would latch on to his leg and not let go until he moved to get the cookie she politely asked for.  In her simple act, the Lord revealed to him that the same tenacity and persistence that this little girl showed in getting what she desired, is the same way we have to latch on to God and pray until He moves on our behalf one way or another.  God may not always answer by giving   exactly what you want, but persistent prayer encourages Him to move in the way that He knows is best for you.  So after you pray, and after you’ve prayed, pray, pray again.

R=requests

“Be anxious for nothing, but in EVERYTHING by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, make your requests known to God (Philippians 4:6, NKJV). No matter how big or seemingly insignificant, God wants to be included in every aspect of our lives.  Just take a look at yourself and everything around you. The make-up and complexity of something as simple as an eyelash is astounding, much less our entire human bodies and  all the things of nature.   The phrase “spare me the details” doesn’t apply to God. God is a God of intricacy and intimacy.  He wants to hear about, be involved in and orchestrate every detail of our lives.

I love the example the biblical character Nehemiah represents for presenting our requests before God.  He went to God for anything and everything.   When he needed pardon from the king of Persia to go to Jerusalem to rebuild the destroyed walls of the city, what did he do? He asked that God let him “ prosper this day, I pray, and grant him mercy…” (Nehemiah 1:11, NKJV) in the sight of the king.  Not only was Nehemiah given pardon without hesitation, but the king went a step further and  gave him extra assistance in going.  Through our prayers we can call down the favor of God.

Got haters or opposition causing trouble in your life?  Check Nehemiah again.  When his enemies tried  different tactics to prevent him from rebuilding the wall, Nehemiah didn’t curse, didn’t physically retaliate, didn’t  lose his cool.  Just like a child who tells their parents about the bully at school, Nehemiah simply went to Father God in prayer.   His simple request was this: “…O God strengthen my hands….” (Nehemiah 6:9, NKJV)  and “My God, remember Tobiah and Sanballat, according to these their works…”(Nehemiah 6:14, NKJV).  And voila!  Checkmate!  The very next verse,  the  words of Nehemiah’s victory:  “The wall was finished on the twenty-fifth day of Elul, in fifty-two days”(Nehemiah 6:15).   You see the devil just can’t win when a child of God cries out and He decides to step in. So the next time Satan comes and tries to step to you, brandish your weapon! Kaboom! Hit him  with your prayers!

 

A=Answers

The beauty of prayer?  It’s an exchange not one one-sided.  It’s a dialogue not a monologue.  It’s collaborative not selfish.  When we speak, God speaks back.  When we speak God delights in our act of worship through prayer.  When He speaks He speaks life into our being.  Yes..it is important to praise and present your petitions before God.  But also take time to hear what God is saying to you.  Open your spirit and tune your senses to see how God is leading.  He may speak through a person, His Word, your thoughts, a feeling, a song…anything.  Trust that the enemy will always try to hinder you from praying because he knows how powerful of a weapon it is.   Without it you are extremely open and vulnerable to attack.  Just like soldiers must stay connected to their generals for guidance, so we must stay connected to God Almighty for all that we need.  It is through prayer that God will dispatch his Holy angels to fight on our behalf.  It is through prayer that God moves the obstacles in our lives. It is through prayer that God heals, delivers, blesses, empowers, guides, defends and protects us.  So pray and simply trust God. Pray and believe God to answer (in different ways—another topic) in His perfect way, according to His perfect will and in His perfect timing.  I guarantee He will never steer you wrong.

Y=Yes

Prayer is indirectly a sign of worship.    When you pray to God you are saying God I acknowledge you, God you are real and God I am dependent on you.  You wouldn’t pray to something or someone you didn’t believe in. In essence you are saying yes, You are God.  The lie?  A good prayer has to be fancy, eloquent and have a barrage of big words.  The truth—the beauty of prayer is that you simply do it.   That you intentionally reach out to God.  God doesn’t look at the details of the eloquence of words.  He looks at the genuineness of your heart. The amazing thing is as you grow with God and spend time in His holy Word, you will learn to allow his Spirit to guide your prayers and naturally begin to pray according to the promises of the scriptures.  When we pray in obedience to God and declare our yes to Him, this opens the door for God to partner with us in overcoming the forces of darkness.  So if the devil  insists on riding your tail, have no fear! TKO him with your prayers!

This post does not begin to scratch the surface that is the vastness of prayer.  Minister Maurice Belfonte, youth minister at Shekinah Youth Church/Greater Allen AME said it best in this facebook post:   “Prayer redirects, reconnects,  reorders,  recovers,  reinvigorates, refocuses,  reveals, reduces, restores, reactivates,  reminds, replaces,  reforms, recommits.  Just a few things that Prayer has done for me.  I could go on and on. The moral of the story is:  #PRAY.”

So after you pray and after your pray, pray..pray again…and  yet still I rise

With peace and blessings may you continue to rise always,

Stillirise323

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So this next blog represents a period of spiritual and emotional confusion for me.   I really felt uneasy about writing it for many reasons.  One of which is because it shows  me at a very vulnerable place.  Perhaps why the Lord would have me write it is because not only will it help someone else but help to bring complete healing to me in that tiny part where I probably still need it.  Here we go…

So I thought he was “the one.”  You know,  the one God had chosen just for me. Tall, handsome, seemingly honest, gentle, attentive.  He seemed to be a man of good character, hardworking and our purposes could have meshed.  Most importantly–He loved the Lord.  Whereas this was something I really didn’t care about before, as I had recommitted myself to Christ it was an absolute must.  No one is perfect—there were some  minor concerns.  But not anything major that seemed apparent to me. When we like somebody we find a way to explain away anything, won’t we? You know how it is.  Now I am not a person that shares my business with too many people ordinarily.  I wouldn’t even say I have a best friend. I have a few close friends, friends,  many associates–but not a best friend.  Well earthly friend anyway. Depending on the stage of my life I have been in, there are different people I have confided in about different things.  Uncharacteristically, I spoke to  quite a few people about this particular person and our dating situation.  That was probably mistake #1.   Too many opinions and too many voices instead of listening to God’s still small voice.  At one point I didn’t know what to think. Depending on who I spoke with there were basically 3 types of reactions:   there were those who discerned immediately that something was not right based on wisdom or  what they felt in their spirit; there were those who didn’t say much but had a watch and see attitude and  finally  there was the 1 or 2  who thought this person was the one for me.   Long story short, he was not what he presented himself to be.  He was dishonest, deceptive and not someone I would want in my life.  What the bible calls an angel of darkness disguised as an angel of light.  Now  my intention is not to bash or criticize anyone in writing this.  I am not without sin, so I have no business casting any stone. I can only pray for this individual and keep it moving.  But the lessons I learned from this one situation are lifelong and priceless.

You see, because I wanted this relationship to work badly and was trying to force my own plan instead of really taking time to discern what was God’s will, it was a prime opportunity for the devil to come in and cause complete chaos and confusion. Needless to say I didn’t heed the warnings of those who opposed the relationship.  I thought they were being negative. I wanted to hear and see what I wanted to hear and see.    As a matter of fact, once I saw that certain people weren’t on board I confided in them less and talked to those who agreed with me more.  Perhaps if I had listened to them from the beginning as the Lord maybe was warning me through them, I may have avoided some of the headache and heartache I endured.  Secondly, I was relatively young in my walk with Christ so  I naively thought because the friends who agreed with me  had a prophetic gift, that they must be right (this whole thing with prophecy is another topic). That they most certainly must know what they are talking about.  This person had a dream or a vision or this thing was said prophetically in prayer–for me it could only mean they were confirming what is true.    But I Peter 5:8 says “be sober, be vigilant;  because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking who he may devour”(NKJV).   Now do I think these friends are evil  or maliciously meant to steer me in the wrong direction?  Do I blame them for what happened? Absolutely not.  Now don’t get me wrong–for a while I wrestled with why some of the things that were said to me were said if it seemed God was saying this is not the person.  But, I truly believe that their intentions were pure and they were well meaning in what they shared with me.  Maybe they just wanted to see me happy, are still maturing in their prophetic gifts, who knows.  But I don’t knock them.  These are still very good friends of mine, they are powerful women of God and I have learned from them in many ways.    But you see the enemy can work through anyone–friends, family, husband, employer, me, you–anyone, even unintentionally.  The devil does study us to know our areas of weakness and can play on our desires.  Although I was not actively looking for  someone, maybe in my subconsciously hoping for that life mate to come along, the devil created a situation where there was deception and poor judgement on many levels.  It was my responsibility to seek God first for His instruction, guidance and wisdom on the situation.  No one else.

Secondly, we cannot rely on others to be responsible for us.   In Matthew 26 just prior to Jesus being betrayed by Judas and turned over to the Jews for crucifixion, Jesus went to Gethsemane to pray and took 3 of his close disciples, in other words his close friends with him.  Being distressed he asked them to  “…Stay here and watch with me” (Matthew 26:38, NKJV).  But the bible further goes on to say when he was done praying, “then He came to the disciples and found them sleeping, and said to Peter, “What! Could you not watch with Me one hour? (Matthew 26:40).

When the Lord showed me this scripture, it gave me such clarity.  It spoke 2 things to me.  One was that Jesus had to stay awake for himself.  If Jesus’s disciples who walked with the great Messiah daily and did great things by his power,  couldn’t stay awake for him,  did I really expect my friends to be completely vigilant for me or have all the answers? I am not saying God doesn’t send people to accompany us and help us along the way.  I have some wonderful people in my life–friends, family, spiritual mentors, etc.  But ultimately we have to be intentional and proactive about watching for ourselves and ask God to grant us the grace to decipher the plot and schemes of the enemy in all forms.  Secondly, it just highlighted the fact that Jesus is truly the only person we can completely depend on.  Notice in the scenario above that Jesus was the only person that stayed awake.  It is as true for us today as it was back in Gethsemane.   No one will be as watchful for you or defend you like Jesus:  no friend, no family, no pastor, no mentor.  He will be more vigilant for you than you are for yourself.  He will stay  awake even when you fall asleep.  He will never fail or steer you wrong.

This situation also really emphasized  that in everything, I mean everything I must seek God’s guidance.  Even down to who I should take counsel from and when.   Sure I had heard this before.  Hearing it is one thing, but living it really made it so much more clear.  Not because people are close to you means you are meant to share everything with them.  There are some things that are not meant to be shared with anyone.  Things that should stay between you and God. He wants you to share every detail of your life with Him anyway. He wants to be your best friend.  Now, before I talk to anyone about anything, I try to make it a habit to talk to God first.  He is my best friend.  He is the best counselor and His wisdom is unparalleled.  Next, there are some things that are meant to be shared only at a particular time.  When God instructs you in His perfect timing.   Lastly, God will instruct you on  who to share with.  Interestingly,  one of the friends who initially thought this person was right for me, eventually said that she felt the Lord saying to not discuss this situation any further with anyone, even her herself, unless He leads me!  Apparently the Holy Spirit began to show her something too.  She never asked me about him again except to say maybe he wasn’t the right person and to be sure about what I was feeling.  God is amazing that way. I still didn’t even listen completely to that initially, but eventually I got it.  Eventually we all saw that this person was not true.  The Lord may not have you share something with certain people if they are not equipped, mature or  in the right place spiritually, emotionally, morally, etc. to counsel someone on that particular issue and vice versa.  There may be things that should not be shared with you because you are not quite there yet to advise others on that situation.  We all have areas, myself included where we are lacking and need to grow.  But it is through our trials and difficulties, even self-inflicted, we grow.

I could write probably 10 posts alone in regards to all that I learned through this experience.  If led I will share more another time.  I don’t know who the one is for me and thank God I have reached a place where I really am not concerned.  Although it seems this person is not the one and despite how hurtful it may have been,  through this experience I have strengthened my prayer life, matured spiritually and gained valuable insight and knowledge that I never had before.  My spiritual eyes were opened and I began to recognize when God was speaking and when He was not speaking. I learned to ignore the idle talk and not jump based on emotion.  The bible says “ALL things work together for the good of those who love him…”  This was truly the case for me.

In life you may fall sometimes to ultimately rise higher.  The key is that you must  be determined to get back up again.  I know I am….and yet still I rise….

With peace and blessings may you continue to rise always,

stillirise323