The thing with Christianity is that it does not eliminate troubling times, it helps you process through them. Passing the test simply means that you do not give up your hope or your faith when in the midst of uncomfortable situations and circumstances in this life.
The old phrase, “hang in there” means just that, do not give up, do not give in, no matter what life looks in the face of the prevailing circumstances.
HOPE - FAITH VICTORY
A year and a half ago a friend of mine was faced with a life-threatening disease and passed away a few weeks ago. Watching him in his final days was a grand testimony of faith. His hope and faith was not about his life in the here-and-now, it was nestled in the Lord. His love for the Lord did not falter. His hope and faith focused on the promise of everlasting life.
It is my hope that we can all demonstrate such faith, not just during our trials but everyday.
When you enter a room, are you the light Christ expects others to see?
We are summoned to be the Lord’s ambassadors, to share the Word, educate non-believers, and love everyone as Christ loves us. This is not an easy task if you fall subject to gossip, anger, spite, and jealousy.
“The good works that we do in spirit and truth are not our own good works, for of ourselves we can do nothing that is worthy of God’s praise. The good work that we do is the new-life of Christ within us, that is working through us. It is the new, born-again life of Christ that we received when we were born from above, that carries out any good works that we do, so that others may see our good works and glorify our Father Who is in heaven.” (Let your light shine. Matt 5:16 @ daily verse.knowing-Jesus.com)
Good works are the attributes we display moment-by-moment, day-by-day. They are the essence of who we are in Christ. These traits harken back to the Fruit of the Spirit.
“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law. And those who are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit.” Galatians 5:22-25 NLT
Do you reflect love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control throughout the day with everyone you come into contact with? Do you segregate who you will apply the Fruit with? For example, do you apply the Fruit with only family and friends, do you extend it to co-workers and others? Do you exclude people walking past you on the street, or people who are different than you culturally, racially or ethnically? Is it okay to display the traits to some and stereotypical hatred to the poor, beggars, nonbelievers, the elderly?
When Christ was nailed to the Cross, He took on our sin nature. Our passions and desires were nailed and crucified with Him. As Christians, we are now living by, for, and of the Spirit who dwells in us. Logically speaking, we should follow the Spirit’s leading in every part of our lives.
I ask you, “does your light show through you, or are you veiled/cloaked/bound in your sinful nature”?
“The sinful nature wants to do evil, which is just the opposite of what the Spirit wants. And the Spirit gives us desires that are the opposite of what the sinful nature desires. These two forces are constantly fighting each other, so you are not free to carry out your good intentions.” Galatians 5:17 NLT
Are you willing to live the sort of life that will deny you the Kingdom of God? This brings me back to yesterday’s post, The Lost Year. The world is changing and God is calling us to step out of our comfort zone, analyze who we are, and identify our sins towards others that allow us to set others apart as less equal, less desirable, and less worthy? Do you judge who is worthy to be counted as a brother or sister? Does your sin nature govern your life?
These questions are food for thought. I believe we all struggle to overcome our sin nature. It is the constant battleground we live on until Christ returns. Are you willing to deny your sin nature and be the light, or when Christ does return will He plainly say,
“I never knew you. Away from me, you evil doers!” Matthew 7:23, NIV
If you plan to become a prayer warrior or want to strengthen how you pray, following is a prayer I am attaching from Prayers That Avail Much, by Germaine Copeland to assist you in establishing prayer time. They just published the 40th Anniversary Copy. This and He Whispers My Name by Cherie Hill are great books to add to your Christian Book library.
One Suggestion – do not allow this opportunity to slip away. God knew we would enter this time, and I am certain His hope is that you will take advantage of it and spend more time with Him strengthening your relationship with Him. Only God knows our beginning and ending and everything in between. Jeremiah 33:3 NLT declares, ask me and I will tell you remarkable secrets you do no know about things to come.
Sources: daily verse.knowing-Jesus.com; biblegateway.com; Prayers That Avail Much. Germaine Copeland; He Whispers My Name. Trusting God’s Love. Cherie Hill.
I mentioned a young boy who drowned in his pool and whose family, friends, and extended family are praying for a miracle in my previous post, Praying Through The Darkest Times. I am one of the extended family members. His grandmother and I serve as group leaders at a local Bible Study Fellowship group. It is an International Bible study organization, established on the fact that Jesus Christ is our Lord and Savior.
I believe God is using Malachi in a mighty way. I will post some of the family’s daily experiences of how God’s miracles are often procedural, a process over time. Not all miracles are immediate, but they are all miraculous. His ways are not our ways and He uses various experiences to mature our Christian walk, some are very difficult to digest, others easier to understand at face value, they are obvious. Join us in praying for full recovery. Malachi has already defied the odds. The posts are from Facebook, Miracle for Malachi.
This post was written by Brenda Johnson on FaceBook
I don’t know your family, but your faith is absolutely inspiring. I’m sure every second has been trying, but your trust in Gods plan shows what beautiful people you are. I’m not a well versed Christian, but I believe God is doing something bigger than we can see on the surface. He sees your pain and sees your faithfulness in the most difficult time. 2 Corinthians 5:7 For we live by faith, not by sight. Continued prayers that God has something planned for Malachi that the doctors have never seen and didn’t learn about in med school. I’ve heard Pastor Steven Furtick say a setback is a setup for a miracle.
This post was written. By Trisha Bernal, Malachi’s mother.
It is with heavy and grieving hearts that we write this. When God hears our prayers sometimes he answers them in ways that we would never imagine, or wish for, and yet it is somehow intertwined in the overall story of life and even in the beauty of redemption. As I texted a friend this morning, I mentioned that I was grateful that Malachi- my little messenger of God, has thus far been used to bring thousands of people to their knees in prayer. I have been encouraged and blessed by so many people, many of whom, I have never met before.
We were hoping for an immediate miracle of healing by our human definition. Unfortunately the quick fix is not always the victory that God calls us to. Instead, sometimes the victory is in proclaiming God’s grace and goodness in the struggle no matter how long it lasts. Sometimes the victory is in finding joy and unity in standing for one who will never stand on their own again. Sometimes the ultimate victory looks so very different than we had hoped and we have no idea how we’ll get past the pain to see the blessing.
According to doctors, our little Malachi will never be able to walk or talk or even eat on his own again, and this is the best case scenario. But… he is alive and his story is still being told. He may not use his mouth to speak but he is truly a messenger of God. His life is not lifeless. He will lead the way in wheelchair races driven on of course by his big brother. He will have the coolest hats ever. He will still bring joy to his family and those around him. His life and injury will not be in vain. Pray for us. We need it. Pray that we better understand God’s perfect plan in all this. Pray that the church is unified and built up by my son.
As I was crying over his bedside a minute ago, in agony I prayed “God how could You have given Your only Son to die on the cross?” My pain in this moment is intense. He CHOSE that pain so that we could experience blessing in the form of ultimate salvation. May Malachi’s life continue to proclaim this truth as we unite as a family, as a community and as a church. God has called my boy to big things.
Earlier post from Trisha B, mother
Tip for a child friendly way to tell kids: Trisha and Goose told their kids that Malachi’s brain isn’t waking up. Since his brain controls his body, he won’t be able to move or talk, but he’s still very much alive. We’ll all be able to still hug him and cuddle him and care for him – and have wheel chair races! Malachi is alive and still with us. Praise God!
I pray that each one of you processes this with a kingdom mindset knowing that God’s perspective is not our perspective. God is good. There is no plan B with God. He is not surprised by this and he is still in control. He WILL work all things together for our good, and His glory, for those who love the Lord and are called according to His purposes.
Please remember that we are STILL praying for healing for Malachi and peace, comfort and strength for family and friends. There is a tough road ahead but it is not without hope. Our God is mighty! We WILL see his glory. Although we don’t yet know what that looks like, we approach His throne of mercy and grace, with thanksgiving and make our requests known to Him.
Photos and Content from Facebook, Miracle for Malachi.
Faith overcomes doubt, fear, hurt, desperation, and darkness.
~ Lisa Blair
When we pray we are expressing faith in action. COVID has brought a new level of fear, depression, anger, and bewilderment. Our first response is often, “what do I do now”? The answer is – pray. Prayer is essential in times like these, it is also important to ask others to pray on your behalf. When we ask others, we are asking for intercessory prayer which is much more powerful.
Intercessory prayer can bombard the airways in a way an individual has difficulty doing. Why is intercessory prayer better or stronger, because there are many people praying on your behalf for the same thing. Prayers go up to God through the airways. As we know, Satan owns the airways and works diligently to slow down our prayers and once they break through, to stop their delivery to the concerned party. Perhaps you recall in Daniel 10:13, Daniel prayed to God for His people, Gabriel was sent by God but he was hindered for 21 days by one of Satan’s demon princes. Michael the archangel intervened opening the airways so Gabriel could activate God’s blessing. Intercessory prayer is driven by fervent prayer, meaning non-stop prayer. It is during this time that we pray on behalf of another as a group, for a person, a place (neighborhood, city, state, nation or the world), or situation. James 5:14 says, “Is anyone among you sick? Let him call for the elders of the church, and let them pray over him”. We are all the church and I would say, we become the spiritual elders as we mature in the word. Throughout the Bible intercessory prayer has covered those in authority (1 Timothy 2:2); ministers (Philippians 1:19); Jerusalem (Psalm 122:16); friends (Job 42:8); fellow countrymen (Romans 10:1); the sick (James 5:14); enemies (Jeremiah 29:7); and all men (Timothy 2:1). To quote Gotquestions.org. What is intercessory prayer? “God call all Christians to be intercessors. It is God’s desire that every believer be active in intercessory prayer. What a wonderful and exalted privilege we have in being able to come boldly before the throne of Almighty God with our prayers and requests.”
EXAMPLES OF ACTIVATING PRAYER
I have two examples of how a cry out for prayer has helped two families in the last three weeks and overcame what could have been the darkest moments of one’s life.
The first is a case of a person whose grandson died unexpectedly, what do I mean by unexpectedly? He was young, in good health and God saw fit to take him home in his mid -30’s. His grandparents were devastated by the news and his grandmother went into a deep depression. As she was falling deeper and deeper into depression, she contacted her prayer group and asked for prayer to strengthen her and return her to the light. She continued to spiral, but during that time the group made intercession through intercessory prayer, praying and sending up cries for her recovery. We prayed for approximately one week and our sister in Christ contacted us sharing that our prayers were answered and she came out of the depression almost as quickly as she entered it. She also shared that our prayers not only provided the strength to continue on, but also to help her overcome her grief.
The second case is that of a member of our group whose grandson, age 3, fell in a swimming pool and was not breathing when he was found. He was rushed to the hospital were the doctors said there was little hope that he would survive, he was unconscious and they placed him on a ventilator. His grandmother asked us to pray for her grandson and we did for days, never ceasing. Today she reported that he is still in a coma, but is taking breaths on his own and the breathing tube has been changed to allow him to take more breaths. Recently he had an MRI to determine the extent of damage to his brain. We are waiting for their report and pray that God will continue to answer our prayers. God is restoring his lungs and we pay he will restore his brain to full capacity. Our God is an awesome God.
FAITH IN ACTION
Faith in action means that we do not let the things of this earth destroy us. We may be experiencing situations that seem hopeless, but they are only helpless for non-believers. Those who are believer’s and have received Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior, have access to the Lord.
This does not mean that our prayers are always answered as we see fit, only the Lord knows what we need to mature as Christians. What it does mean is that through faith, not doubt, we are praying for an outcome that resolves the circumstance or situation we are praying to relieve.
WHEN WE PRAY
When we pray, we pray in faith that God will answer our prayers. We expect nothing less. There is no doubt or fear. We are standing fast on God’s word, Ephesians 5:13 NIV “…and after you have done everything, stand“. This means that after you have prayed for what may seem impossible, pray and stand, do not let the evil one pollute your mind with doubt. Reject it on its face and say, “I stand on the word of God and the prayers we sent up will be answered, depart from me Satan in the name of Jesus.” And, continue to stand until you see or hear of the answer you have been praying for. Sometimes, the answer may not be the one expected, but our Lord will never forsake us or leave us, you can stand on that.
Prayers of the Righteous, Youtube
We can pray individually, with others, in groups, via text chat, email, on Zoom, Google Meet, submitting your prayers to prayer groups. There are no limits on How people pray. Technology has increased our outreach for prayer. It has created new avenues to invite others to act in intercessory prayer.
A FEWONLINE PRAYER GROUPS
Prayer Wall. College Park Church. Yourchurch.com
The Upper Room Prayer Ministry. prayer-center.upperroom.org
We will age and fade away but as we do so, we are being spiritually renewed day-by-day.
~ Lisa Blair
Our faith becomes stronger with the renewing of our minds. We mature as Christians, God’s children, and grow in the Word. We receive salvation, are forgiven of our sins (overcome our sin nature), are healed from backsliding, and choose obedience to and dependence on God over my own free-will.