Tuesday, October 17, 2023

Persistent Prayer

The importance of persistent prayer was provided shortly after the disciples asked Jesus to increase their faith ( Luke 17:5-18:8).

Notice that the judge who the widow kept begging for justice told himself, "I do not fear God nor do I respect man."

This judge was so removed from God that his own self talk bragged about his disbelief in God and his lack of concern for others. 

Yet, he was finally willing to meet justice for a persistent widow so she would leave him alone.

We are then reminded that God gives justice. He hears those that cry to Him and He will give them justice.

So, as we face injustice, what do we do? We persist in seeking justice!  We persist in prayer. We do not lose heart. We, too, should ask the LORD to increase our faith.

Shalom y'all!

Friday, October 13, 2023

The highest point of praise (Psalm 145)

Psalm 145 is considered to be the highest point of praise! 

It is believed that King David wrote it at the end of His life. After much blood shed and poor life choices that lead to adultery and murder. After running and hiding in caves. After gathering mighty men, fighting alongside mighty men, and watching mighty men fall. Through the highs of love and depths of death. Through the sorrow of a pursuing king, rebellious sons and mighty escapades. Through it all, we are told that King David kept his heart toward God. He was known as the man after God's own heart. He was not perfect. But the one thing he did right was praise God.

This morning as I studied this Psalm, I noticed that praise must be personal, direct, specific, and from a heart of knowing! 

Praise is an act of submission and blessing. 

Praise blesses all involved when it is sincere. It lifts up. It upholds. It bonds. It gives life and strength. 

We are told in Scripture that God inhabits the praises of His people (Psalm 22:3).

It is more important now more than ever for us to develop the habit of praise to the LORD. 

Would you consider reading this Psalm and writing out the character traits of God and all the ways you can praise Him?  

What might you add to David's long list? Make it personal, direct, and specific. Speak it from what you know. If you do not know then ask God to reveal it to you until it becomes a habit, practice using King David's Psalm and consider praying it every day. 

I can only imagine how this will bless you and His Holy name. Because one of things I have noticed is that praise blesses all involved. It never happens alone. It must be done in relationship with another! 

Shalom y'all!

Tuesday, October 10, 2023

GOD'S comfort for those in exile (Isaiah 40)

Do you ever just feel overwhelmed by the news? I don't even watch it and right now I am feeling overwhelmed by it. My heart grieves about what I am hearing. I hate evil. I hate its nonsense and lack of respect for the dignity of life.

I catch myself in these moments and realize I need to get my mind focused on God. This morning I asked Him to show me what I should study for my morning time with Him. He led me to Isaiah 40.

I love listing out what I can know about God and His character. It helps me to stay focused on hope.

This morning the list was long on what I can know about God based on Psalm 40. It reminded me that when we wait on the LORD we, too, can renew our strength and mount up on wings like eagles.

For God is our COMFORT, PEACE, forgiveness, glorious, breath, TRUTH, might, SHEPHERD, reward, gatherer, leader, JUSTICE, counselor, measurer, IMMEASURABLE, INCOMPARABLE, GREAT & MIGHTY, namer, CREATOR, POWERFUL, UNSEARCHABLE, enabler, and renewer.

I made the highlights with bold based on what I really needed to remember as I pray.

Which one(s) ministers to you?

I am praying for the peace of Jerusalem. I know you are, too.

It is so important to be in the Word. To be with Jesus. To be transformed!  

Shalom y'all.

Saturday, October 7, 2023

What is spiritual leprosy?

What is spiritual leprosy? 

Well, let's first consider what happens with physical leprosy. Upon enough exposure it can be caught. Apparently, a one time exposure does not catch but continued exposure puts you at higher risk. It will then penatrate and begin to cause nerve damage and affect the appearance of your skin. If not treated it will cause you to lose the ability to feel, see, and breath. 

Now, what is spiritual leprosy. It is when we allow ourselves to be exposed to and desensitized to behaviors and circumstances that cause us to lose our spiritual discernment (sense), spiritual sight, and spiritual breath (ability to speak life). 

I was reading Numbers 12 about Miriam and Aaron complaining against Moses. Their complaint was most likely born of jealousy because they said, "Has the LORD not also spoken to us."

Or maybe their spiritual leprosy started out of comparison. Or as one Hebrew tradition tells a story that Moses' wife, who was a Cushite, complained to Miriam about Moses. So Miriam continued the rant. 

So possible orgins for spiritual leprosy are complaining, comparing, and jealousy. Exposure to these deaden us to our spiritual senses and our ability to be God's instrument to speak life.

I have always been frustrated by the fact that Miriam was struck and not Aaron, but I realize now that the story reveals the why. 

Because Miriam's name was listed first in saying that they spoke against Moses we discover that she is where the root began in this spiritual leprosy. God likes to deal with the root. 

We also notice that Aaron repents immediately. He knows that he sinned and asked for forgiveness. I imagine Miriam did as well, but because we are not told she did, we can assume it was not as quickly as it should have been. 

Miriam is a prophet like Moses. What she speaks carries alot of weight. God reminded them that He speaks to His prophets through dreams and visions.  But He then pointed out that He speaks to Moses mouth to mouth. This means that when Moses speaks God is speaking through him. There is a special anointing that God gave Moses that He did not give Miriam. She knew it, but in this moment she forgot it, and allowed spiritual leprosy to deaden her to her sinful action. This is why she was disciplined.

It has nothing to do with Miriam being a woman and Aaron being a man. It had to do with the root that was born in her heart and pouring out of her mouth. It had the potential destroy the unity and community in the camp. It could spread.

Aaron's exposure obviously in this moment was not as deep as Miriams.

This should cause all of us to pause and ask, What am I allowing in my life that is causing spiritual leprosy?  Am I complaining? Am I complaining against God's leader? Am I acting out of comparison or jealousy? How am I breaking the unity in my community? How am I not speaking life but death with my words? 

What really caught me was God allowed for a time of cleansing to take place. See removal from the camp would enable her to deal with her deep roots that needed to be brought before the LORD in repentance. It would allow her time to reflect on her words and their impact. It would allow her to seek to draw near to God again and allow her physical leprosy to be completely gone so that others would know she was clean. And we know clearly that God was just as concerned for her spiritual cleansing! It was both! 

Sadly, her actions and punishment effected the entire camp. They were then required to sit for 7 days, too. Seven more days not in the promised land. Seven more days added to their journey. But, it was also seven days for them to reflect on their own spiritual leprosy. Would they learn from Miriam's discipline? 

After her Seven days were over there was restoration. She was brought back to the camp and they continued on the journey.  There is hope in this. She was restored to her community. But, there were consequences. From this point in Scripture we do not hear about Miriam's role as a prophet again. We are only told when she died.

Spiritual leprosy has its consequences. It infects the person and has the potential to spread. It can and will cut you off from your community. Miriam's story should be a serious reminder for us all. Do not take lightly when you recognize the spirit of complaining, comparison, or jealousy in you. Repent immediately and ask God to deal with it. And put a guard on your heart when you see it or hear it in another. Pray and ask God to help you find a way to be the one that stops the disease and brings healing by speaking life and not death into the situation. 

It is amazing how we can learn so much from God's Word. It is important to be in the Word, so we can meet Jesus, and be transformed y'all. 

Shalom y’all!

Wednesday, October 4, 2023

How to pray when life is hard

Sometimes life can hit us with many blows. As I sent this prayer to one of my beloved this morning I realized I should post so others can take hold and pray it, too.

My beloved friend, when Greg and I were in the worst season of our lives, I realized I had forgotten how to praise God. So, I began a journey of studying the prayers in the Bible. I called it Redeemed to Praise. As I studied the prayers, I realized that lifting came when praise was lifted up, so I decided to fast for 40 days of asking God for anything. Instead, I simply praised Him for what I know about Him. This became my soul talk and prayer walk. 

Watch and pray...

Father, You are the Great I AM. You are the Great Physician. You are my present Help in my time of need. You are my hope, my shield, and my deliverer. You give sustenance and endurance. In You am resilient. 

You are my immeasurably more and way maker for You make all things possible because You are my provider.

This is what I know!

In these I give thanks. In these I give You praise!

I am so glad I am Your child and that when I seek You, I will find You. Thank you for the truth that when I knock You answer. 

I am Yours, and You are mine. You are the Prince of Peace, and because of Jesus, I have the Prince of Peace in me. 

Your Holy Spirit resides in me. I love that He alone guides me in all truth. He is my helper who comes alongside me, assists me, and helps me. Thank you! You know my needs, my wants, my desires, my hopes, and my dreams. You see my pain, my suffering, and my agony. 

You understand what is happening in my life, and You promise that if I seek to fulfill Your purposes You will use it for good. You also promise that if I commit something to You, You will grant me success. 

I recognize this as true. Your success, not man's is the safest place to be. Truly, I would rather stand one day in Your courts than a thousand elsewhere. 

In this I give You my praise and thanksgiving. Here, I am LORD, I am Yours. I trust You because Your peace surpasses all understanding and in you it is mine to take hold. 

Thank You for all of these truths. I rest in them.

 In Jesus' name, amen

This season became my daily habit. I would much rather praise God than ask God because when I praise Him for what I know about Him I am choosing to believe Him and trust Him. 

This season radically changed me and I believe it did others because the LORD inhabits the praises of His people.

Sunday, October 1, 2023

How do I keep my hand on the throne of the LORD?

Do you ever feel like you are in a battle and just don't know how to win? Some battles are so obvious because the enemy is quite clear, but other battles are mysterious and we just can't see where it is coming from or why. 

This morning I caught something I have never seen before and it captured me.

I heard this phrase in a message by Rob Reimer. He said, "a hand on the throne of the LORD" showed Moses authority came from the LORD when His hands were held up so Joshua could defeat the Amalekites.

Once I heard the phrase, "a hand on the throne of the LORD" it was like a download of moments in my mind when I had taken the time to stand firm in prayer seeking the LORD and discovered victory after I had kept my hand on the throne of the LORD. I know the beauty of Jehovah Nissi... GOD as my Banner. 

I immediately had to go digest the passage and see what I discovered.

What did I learn about God?
1. Prayer brings about conversations that lead to the ...
2. Plan and process.
3. People (who to show and who to take along).
4. Provision (tools, nourishment, history, and covering).
5. Presence and power! 

How do I keep my hand on the throne of the LORD for victory?

1. Don't be afraid to question people testing God.
2. Seek the LORD
3. Listen to and obey what God reveals
4. Call out leaders and give the God's plan.
5. Hold onto God's authority and lift it up.
6. When I get weary I need to stand firm, position myself for a better stance, and seek help from others.
7. Praise the LORD for His presence, and provision.
8. Take the LORD at His Word.

Beloved, this is yours, too, if you just seek Him and believe in Him. Just try it out in your circumstances. Place your hand on the throne and ask God to show you that He is your banner! 

Shalom y’all!