Friday, January 31, 2014

The Prayerful Heart

Last summer my Warrior Sisters and I chose a word to focus on for a year. I chose Prayerful. When I chose this word, I anticipated that God would lead me to places of praying with others more often,  but that has not been the case.   As I have prayed about being more prayerful, God has drawn me into a more intimate relationship with Him. He has asked me to tell Him more about my heart. He has called out the deepest longings that are lodged inside of me, the ones I didn't even know about, and He has put His WORD into my longings. He has spoken His prayer over me and shown me that to be prayerful for myself and the inner most needs within my soul is the first step to being able to really pray in an effective way for others.
Another gift God has given me as I have focused on the word prayerful is the gift of being prayed over. I have found healing in the blessing of others laying their hands on me and praying God's anointed blessing upon me. This has been a very intimate and powerful experience for me. It has confirmed the beauty of having others that are walking on their journey of faith pray before the Throne of God on my behalf.
I often think about Jesus and how he walked on this earth. What did it look like for him and his disciples?  Jesus was very prayerful. He prayed for God's will to be done in His life. He taught His disciples to pray the same way. Jesus prayed for His own needs, sometimes all night long. And, He prayed for the ones He loved. I wonder sometimes, what did Jesus and His disciples pray about when they were sitting around the fire on a daily basis?  Were they  having the heart to heart talks that I have now in my prayers with Jesus? Were the disciples telling him all about their fears, longings, shames, joys, etc? I think they were. They were laughing and crying, and it was all very intimate.
If I pray for God's will to be done in my life, then I want to have a very intimate relationship with Jesus. I want to know all of Him and let Jesus know all of me, because I am giving over my life to His will. That means nothing is left in my control anymore; it's all up to Him now.
Prayerful moments create intimate moments with Jesus. When I feel alone, I have gone to Him. When I feel rejected, I pray and tell Him what I'm feeling. When I get angry, I talk to God. When I have that old feeling of being replaced, I run to God and cry out to Him. When I get afraid, I start to repeat His name.
Jesus, I will Say That Again to you, prayerful moments have brought me to you in a deeper, bolder way, I am thankful for my prayerful heart.

Thursday, January 23, 2014

The Constant Multitudes

My early morning reading was in Acts, and my prayer is for revival of the Spirit within me and all of us. I always want more of Jesus, and more of His Spirit and the Gifts He offers, more of His Spiritual blessings, for they are all offered to me. More transformation of the soul to look like Jesus! While I was reading in Acts this morning, I paused in chapter 5, verses 14-16:

And all the more believers in the Lord,
multitudes of men and women,
were constantly added to their number, 
to such an extent that they even carried the sick onto the streets and laid them on cots and pallets, so that when Peter came by his shadow might fall on any one of them.
Also the people from the cities in the vicinity of Jerusalem were coming together, bringing people who were sick or afflicted with unclean spirits, and they were all being healed.

Okay, does anyone else find this verse amazing? I do! MULTITUDES of men and women were CONSTANTLY added to their number. Not just a one day event, but CONSTANTLY. So, that would be like our churches today, constantly adding a multitude of men and women to their congregations. Can you even imagine?  It was such a big deal, people were laying around on the streets, they had to use pallets!
Peter, the guy that once denied Jesus three times, was now so full of the Spirit of God, that when he walked by all these people, they were ALL healed. God healed them through Peter, just like that! And, then more came, and they were healed, etc...
I pause, and I wonder, what happened? The Spirit of God is in His people now, but when I walk by a sick person they aren't healed. So, why not? How come multitudes of people are not constantly coming to my church, or any of the churches in my community?  What is going on here?
If we, as God's Bride, have God's Spirit, when will we heal the sick, raise the dead, give sight to the blind, and raise our hands in praise and jump for joy?
Jesus? I'm going to keep on asking this, and I know you will answer. I'm going to Say That Again, MULTITUDES were CONSTANTLY added!

Friday, January 17, 2014

The Life Verse

The first verse I remember learning in the Bible was Psalms 27:1. It has always been one of my favorite verses, and the verse I always turn to. I call it my life verse.

The Lord is my Light and my salvation,
 whom shall I fear?
The Lord is the defense of my life;
whom shall I dread?

There's been some circumstances in my life the last few months that have made it clearer to me why I have loved this verse. For me, having God inside of me as my Light is a reality. He lights my life, He lights my path, He lights my words, He lights anything that hints darkness. When I begin to feel afraid, He brings in light and shows me the way. 
As I have focused more the last few months on the Gospel and abiding in Christ, He has drawn out my insecurities, and lovingly filled them with His light. This has been an amazing experience for me. 
As I've looked at the insecurities and fears that continually pop up in my life, some in lesser degrees, Jesus continues to come to my defense in every area. He has been a soothing balm on my wounds, and a blazing light to the darkest fears. When I am faced with feelings of rejection, sadness, loneliness, or I just want to "be done", I have been able to pray in such a way that God lights my soul and defends my heart. It is good, because salvation comes to my being, and the dread is gone. 
Jesus, Light of my life, Say that Again, over and over!

Sunday, January 12, 2014

The Evidence of Love

The last couple of days I've been reading in the book of John a lot. The disciple John is the one who always made it clear that he was the one Jesus loved, he was the favorite. At the Last Supper, it was John that lounged beside Jesus with his head resting on His shoulder. At the cross, it was John, who stood at His feet with His mother Mary and watched Him die. John knew who He was alright, and I don't think he wasted any time doubting it.
In John's book he has a poetic way of recording the life of Jesus, and I have enjoyed mulling it over in my mind, and resting on certain passages for long periods of time. This morning I stopped on this passage in chapter 17, versus 22-23:

I'm praying not only for them
But also for those who will believe in me
Because of them and their witness about me.
The goal is for all of them to become one heart
and mind-
Just as you, Father, are in me and I in you,
So they might be one heart and mind with us.
Then the world might believe that you, in fact, 
sent me.
The same glory you gave me, I gave them, 
So they'll be as unified and together as we are-
I in them and you in me.
Then they'll be mature in this oneness,
And give the godless world evidence
That you've sent me and loved them
In the same way you've loved me.

Jesus prayed this, and it really struck me how He prayed that we would have evidence that God loves us as much as He loves Jesus Himself!  The goal for those that believe in Him is to become one heart and one mind, with Him. I am to know Him so well that my heart beats as one with Him, my very thoughts are in unison with Him, then His glory will shine within and throughout me. With this unity throughout the Body of Christ, there will be maturity, which in turn is the evidence they need that God loves them, because we love them.
I am still praying for His love to be my love and for that love to love others. I know it is the only way for me to genuinely love people. I am still praying for His mind, heart, and soul to be mine. He is still changing me everyday, and it is good. My mind, heart and soul hear Him speak, and He gently says, "I love you, I will not ever leave you, forsake you, or reject you."  Jesus, Say That Again!

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

The Target

The last several months I've spent a lot of time reading the Gospels. Not only have I read them, but I've watched various sermons on the Gospels, and read a couple other books that talk about the Gospels. I have found it all to be a fascinating experience. 
Jesus was an unusual person while He walked this earth. I like that He always told the truth, and He wasn't concerned about what others thought of Him. This morning I read the story of Jesus feeding the crowd of 5000. It starts out with Jesus looking over the large crowd and then asking Philip where they could buy bread for so many people. Obviously, they can't buy bread for all those people, but Jesus still asks the question! Philip is quick to let him know that it is far too expensive to buy that much bread. In the mean time, Andrew comes along and lets Jesus know that there is someone in the crowd with food, so Jesus tells him to go get the food. They do, Jesus blesses it, and serves ALL the people.  
Fast forward to the next day. All these people had lingered through the night and now they want to find Jesus again. They want to eat, they are hungry! Jesus is nowhere to be found, so they go searching. When they find him, Jesus doesn't give them the breakfast they are craving. He tells them that He is the bread of life and that to be satisfied they must eat His flesh and drink His blood. What?
Most of them didn't like that, so they turned to leave. As they walked off, Jesus looked at His disciples and asked them if they planned to walk off too. They said no. Jesus watched all the people walk away, and He let them go. He didn't run after them. He didn't start preaching to try to entice them back. He just let them go. And, it happened a lot, he didn't seem to want to focus on the big huge crowd, really. His focus was more on the smaller few, the ones with whom He could build intimate relationship with and would take out His Word to others after He was gone.
If I am to walk as Jesus walked, to live in truth, then what's the target? Big crowds, or small intimate relationships? If I am speaking the truth, the hard stuff, how many people are going to walk away? Who will want to stay?
Jesus, speak truth through me. Be my words, my thoughts, and use me today to build relationships for your Kingdom. Say That Again, speak truth!