When Prayers Go Up, Blessings Come Down

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This is a call for continuous prayer throughout this school year. Our children go to school every day and the parents wonder, are they going to be safe. Being safe was not a daily consideration earlier in the decade or in times past, but now it seems people are intent on harming and killing children in schools. We all need to pray for school safety this year.

Dear Lord,

We are praying that you keep all school children and schools under your protection this year. Don’t let any hurt, harm, or danger affect them. We know you are our refuge, our shield, and our strength and our ever-present help in times of trouble. We come to you know in prayer, asking for your blessings.

Please protect our children, and allow them to remain children with gleeful eyes, always questioning and believing the best about people. We know you can turn anything around, and we pray that if it is within your will, let no instances of school shootings occur this year. We praise you for who you are. We thank you for a violence free school year. In Jesus’ Name, Amen. (L. Blair)

God, thank you for being a mighty warrior and a strong protector. You call us to stand firm, not in our own strength and might, but in Yours. Your power has no end and your authority demands even the demons to obey Your will. Help us, O God, to rely on your matchless power to stand firm. Grant us victory rooted in Jesus. (Paraphrased, City Life Church, Standing Firm In The Faith, August 15, 2022)

Non-Conforming Minds, Breaking Carnal Patterns 

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It is easy to conform to the patterns of this world. Doing so is little more than following those around us who seek popularity, career advancement, and conformity. Non-conforming lives requires thought, commitment, and yes, repentance.

~ Lisa Blair

There are two scriptures that I feel go hand-in-hand. The first is Romans 12:2, “do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.“ The second is Matthew 3:8 NLT, “Prove by the way you live that you have repented of your sins and return to God.“

When we choose not to conform to the pattern of the world and choose to be transformed by the renewing of our mind, we are committing to become more like Christ. We become more loving towards those around us, as well as loving ourselves differently. We think about our actions in a different way. During which time we recognize our earthly actions require change known also as repentance. Repentance causes us to critically (objectively) review our action or actions and choose different paths. That is what Matthew 38 is saying, we prove (demonstrate) the way we live through recognition of our actions past and present, to repent means changing direction and leaving those old habits and thought patterns behind, to again, become more like Christ.

Images: 1) Our Daily Bread; 2) YouVersion. Roger Cole. Bible.com

Heart Condition-Heavy Heart

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The weight of the world, at home and abroad, has created a heart condition that is weighing us down.

~Lisa Blair

This past weekend the level of violence, and mass shootings have devastated me.  I had a heavy heart and felt that I was sinking in the muck and mire of destruction. I think, many of us are experiencing a heavy heart in the United States. Mass shootings are becoming a norm, the pandemic has shifted our Nation, changing it’s economic, social and regional axes. Injustice, inequity, and inequality are raging to stay alive, embedded in the hearts of so many Americans. This is the exploit by the carnal world.

On the spiritual plane, the battle is raging, Satan is doing everything possible to thwart God’s promise of salvation. He manipulates man’s covetousness for power over all things, especially when it comes to race and economic wealth. And here we are, experiencing a heavy heart and a feeling of hopelessness.

Hopelessness is where Satan wants Christians to reside – in a state of hopelessness. He does not want us to have faith. He wants us to be overwhelmed by what we see and are experiencing. But as Christians we also have an arsenal of scriptures and Bible stories. For example, Hebrews 11:1 gives us assurance. What assurance? The assurance of hope. The NJKV version reads – “Now hope is the substance of things hoped-for, the evidence of things not seen.”

The New American Standard Version translates it using our contemporary lexicon to highlight and strengthen it’s meaning. “Now faith is the certainty of things hoped for, a proof of things not seen.”

Jesus died on the cross and rose on the third day. He sits at the right hand of God. The crucifixion gave us salvation. His promise of eternal life is alive, and we are alive because He died. Our faith is certainty. Our faith is strong. As we experience the hate, viciousness and injustice, our faith allows us to shift the lens to view the world through God’s eyes. The fact is, we are overcomers. It may not seem this way, but God makes a way out of no way. He uses worldly situations to challenge our faith. He also uses the situations to strengthen us to continue the race. Most importantly, He gripes our hands more tightly as we surrender to His Will and become more dependent upon Him to walk us through the fire.

The race is – standing our ground. Holding fast to our faith and finding ways to do God’s work in our daily lives. When we take the focus off of our feelings and emotions, we begin to focus our attention on God. I found a good article on-line (The 11 Ways to Implement Your Faith Into Your Daily Routine by Kathryn Elizabeth Wethen, Sept 1, 2016, Odysseyonline.com), that serves as a good reminder of how to strengthen our faith and hence not become a victim of Satan’s deception of heavy-heartedness.

  1. Pray throughout your day.
  2. Read your Bible.
  3. Read a devotional.
  4. Wear your faith on your sleeve.
  5. Listen to positive and encouraging music.
  6. Continue to be involved in your church.
  7. Make friends with people who share your values.
  8. Give yourself 15 minutes of alone time to separate yourself from everything around you.
  9. Not down your thoughts in a journal and refer back to when life is overridden by heavy-heartedness.
  10. Find a small group like BSF, Bible Study International.
  11. Choose Joy! A great way to implement your faith is to rejoice.

To paraphrase Kathryn Wathen, rejoice that you are alive. Rejoice that you have friends and family, and if you are alone rejoice in the fact that you are a child of God.

I awake each morning thanking God for another day’s journey, I recite Psalm 118:24, This is the day the LORD has made; I will rejoice and be glad in it. I may recite this scripture throughout the day as I experience my weighted heart lighten. As I recite the scripture, Jesus takes the things that are weighting me down and places them squarely on himself.  In Matthew 11 verses 28-30 Jesus instructs us to – “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”

Related Posts on this site:

Silence the Chaotic Internal Noise

Pray Through The Dark Times

Stay Faithful-Stay Focused. By Brenda Walsh Ministries

We Have Divine Power to Demolish Strongholds

Living Through the Muck and Mire of Life

Change Your Filter, Hear His Voice

Post from My Other Site – Youngchristianwarriors.com

Be Strong, Do Not Waver

Entering an Application Season Requires Commitment

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<p value="<amp-fit-text layout="fixed-height" min-font-size="6" max-font-size="72" height="80"><br><strong>Our Application Season requires our commitment to relinquish our plans and strategies for God’s plan for our lives.</strong> This does not mean we are to sit back and wait for God to do everything, it means that before we do anything we must think about how we will accomplish what we plan to do and ask God for guidance. This includes reacting to situations and circumstances that may be driven by our own actions, as well as those out of our control. The immediate response for many is to snap back, which is waged through our fleshly desires to get back, or harm through words and deeds; cheating to succeed, telling white lies, skipping steps.
Our Application Season requires our commitment to relinquish our plans and strategies for God’s plan for our lives. This does not mean we are to sit back and wait for God to do everything, it means that before we do anything we must think about how we will accomplish what we plan to do and ask God for guidance. This includes reacting to situations and circumstances that may be driven by our own actions, as well as those out of our control. The immediate response for many is to snap back, which is waged through our fleshly desires to get back, or harm through words and deeds; cheating to succeed, telling white lies, skipping steps.

Applying Jesus’ attitude and character to how we approach life is a process. As we more frequently depend on His attitude and character, you will find that the process speeds up, you learn to immediately go into prayer and over time you will respond to life situations according to God’s will and way in a more involuntary manner, in short it becomes who you are, and rather than acting impetuously you act according to the Word of God, you act in a Christlike manner, exuding His demeanor, and if you fail, you immediately repent and attempt to do better the next time.

Scriptures About Commitment (ESV, openbible.info)

Psalm 37:5 – “Commit your way to the Lord; trust in him, and he will act.”

Proverbs 16:3 – “Commit your work to the Lord, and your plans will be established.”

Galatians 6:9 –  “And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up.”

John 8:12 – “Again Jesus spoke to them, saying, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.””

Ephesians 4:29 –  “Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear.”

Romans 12:1-2 – “I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.”

Main Point

Commitment is never easy. It requires that you do not take short cuts as you change/renew/convert your attitude and character. It is intentional. It is important to build a strong scriptural foundation. If you do not begin with the fundamentals, how do you know what Christ’s attitude, values, and character are? Just as children look to their parents, we must look to the Word of God for direction, wisdom, knowledge, and insight. But do not wait until you finished building a spiritual foundation. Begin today, remember, each day is a new day. Ask God for direction, and you will become more confident in praying and responding to His instructions. You will learn to feel comfortable in knowing that God intimately knows you and knows that you are growing in the Word. He will speak to you through ways you can understand. There have been times that while I was in prayer, God simply shared a Bible reference, such as – Psalm 63, often a scripture that I had not read, and had no idea what He was telling me until I read it. Once you have read the scripture, it all came together. God is amazing! He is the author and finisher, the alpha and omega, the Way maker, our counselor, and finisher of our faith. If you recall the first Application Season entry, I mentioned Isaiah who wrote, “Listen and hear my voice; pay attention and hear what I say. “ 

“Trust GOD from the bottom of your heart; don’t try to figure out everything on your own. Listen for GOD ’s voice in everything you do, everywhere you go; he’s the one who will keep you on track. Don’t assume that you know it all. Run to GOD! Run from evil! 

Dear friend, guard wisdom and understanding with your life; don’t for a minute lose sight of them. They’ll keep your soul alive and well, they’ll keep you fit. No need to panic over alarms or surprises, or predictions that doomsday’s just around the corner, Because GOD will be right there with you; he’ll keep you safe and sound.”

Proverbs 3:5-12, 21-26 MSG

Bibleversestogo.com

Listen to God. Commit to this Application Season establishing the new you. Guard your thinking, use common sense and learn to become Christlike in nature, demonstrating God’s love in everything you do.

As we go through this APPLICATION SEASON together, ask God to personally relate each scripture that speaks to you and ask Him to explain how it applies to your life today. Interestingly, you will find that a scripture can speak to you in different ways during different seasons of your life. The Bible is an ever-evolving book unfolding new treasures as we become more like Christ. The Word meets us at the point  of our need is at the time. When praying, ask God what your next steps are in changing your attitude and character to align to His Word and Will, and believe me, He will provide the next steps. In many cases you will be asked to mobilize what you have learned within a short time of discussing it. Sometimes you will succeed and others times you will fall short, but each strengthens your walk and your character, each step places you closer to becoming like Christ.

References — openbible.info; biblegateway.com

Image — bibleversestogo.com; thepreachersword.com

Comfortable With Carte Blanche Prayer?

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On the face of 1 John 5:14, it seems as if God is giving us carte blanche to ask whatever we want and we will be given it…

~ Lisa Blair

1 John 5:14

On the face of 1 John 5:14, it seems as if God is giving us carte blanche to ask whatever we want and we will be given it, much like asking a genie to meet our every desire. At least that is how so many apply this scripture in their prayers. 

But then, what is God really saying? 

“This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to His Will, He hears us.” (1 John 5:14)

This scripture is an instructional guide about praying.
God is telling us:

  • Have confidence in approaching Him. 
  • Do not be hesitant to fellowship with Him.
  • We should ask in confidence for God to meet our needs.

God tells us He hears us when we fellowship with Him in prayer. Our prayers do not fall on deaf ears. Our prayers are not ignored or treated lightly. Our prayers are conversations with the Master, our Father in Heaven. 

Then, how should we ask Him to help us? We must always ask within the context of His Will and not our own. He knows what our needs are and why we have those needs. He knows the plans He has for us and is willing to grant our requests if they are built upon on faith. Prayer is the foundation for all communication and action.

I find that before praying for something, I ask – is it my will, something I want because I want it, or is it something that will strengthen my walk? It is not wrong to want things that create an inviting lifestyle if it is not corruptible or wanton. But within this sphere of thought, it should also be something that spiritually strengthens us. We should not gravitate towards hidden agendas to manifest our will.

Selfish praying has hidden consequences. As we grow more mature in the Word and our relationship with Christ, we should examine what the consequences of asking are, as well as acting independent of God, to achieve our desires and the cost of those actions. Throughout the Bible, God’s people prayed to Him. He answered their prayers and instead of waiting for Him to produce the promise, they acted on their own to manifest the promise in the time and way they wanted it to fit in their own agenda. We see this throughout the Book of Genesis. Adam, Eve, Abraham, Sarah, Isaac, Rebekah, Esau, and Jacob all attempted to expedite God’s Will for their lives and humankind.

Think about this, they stood in God’s presence, held conversations with Him, knew His Glory, and still acted impetuously, what does that say about human nature? It is human nature to conspire, to thing first, to ignore others, to forge ahead in search of meeting our own needs.

<p value="<amp-fit-text layout="fixed-height" min-font-size="6" max-font-size="72" height="80">If you remember the original television series, Lost in Space, you should hear, “<em>Warning, warning, danger, danger.</em>” Acting on our own is entering dangerous terrain. It weakens our relationship with the Lord, it causes us to slide down the slippery slope of sin. Free will- that will we choose to implement is a deception if we consider it a trump card to prayer.If you remember the original television series, Lost in Space, you should hear, “Warning, warning, danger, danger.” Acting on our own is entering dangerous terrain. It weakens our relationship with the Lord, it causes us to slide down the slippery slope of sin. Free will- that will we choose to implement is a deception if we consider it a trump card to prayer.

“God is no respecter of persons and al believers have been given the same opportunity to walk in newness of life and allow Christ to be formed in us. The more we live for His praise and glory, align our thoughts to the mind of Christ, and keep our fleshly self-nailed to the Cross, them more we find that we pray according to the will of our heavenly Father, and the greater will be our confidence that He will hear and answer our prayers, “for this is the confidence which we have before Him, that, if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us.” (What Does 1 John 5:14 Mean?  Dailyverse.knowing-jesus.com. 02/11/21)

There are no carte blanche prayers. Our prayers have consequences when we act on them to bring them to pass. We must pray fervently and honestly. We must always seek to discern whose will is the focal point of our prayer. If it is ‘us’, then rethink your prayer, examine the intent more deeply and seek God’s direction for your life.