Archive for the 'Prayer' Category

The Signs of the Times; Are You Truly Saved?

If you’re pressed for time, or if you already understand the biblical signs of the times, I invite you to skip to the end of this post to the prayer so that you can commit or recommit your life to our Lord.  The best protection for peace, safety, and provision you have in this scary and uncertain time is by pressing into God and studying His Word.

Over the last couple of years we’ve had a lot of misinformation thrown our way, mostly in politics, but also in science and, unfortunatly, theology and religion.

In my opinion, this misinformation is the root of the unrest, unhappiness, and flat out hatefulness being manifested today. As Christians, however, we should not be surprised at misinformation or, frankly, at anything happening in the world today. Indeed, the Bible talks about some signs of the times as an indicator of the end of our current world, and I believe we’re seeing many of these Biblical signs today. 

Simply take a look at Matthew 24:4-14, with a few of my notes in parenthess:

Jesus answered: Watch out that no one deceives you. For many will come in my name, claiming, ‘I am the Messiah,’ and will deceive many. 

(We see deception and lies running rampant, and we’re being warned here to be on guard.  We’ve also heard some political-Christians and others refer to some political figures as a savior or even “The Savior,” conjuring notions of Jesus, which is frightening on its own. Frankly, until the last four or five years, I never quite understood various biblical passages describing people who see but don’t perceive, hear but don’t understand. These days, I see it happening all the time. What, exactly, are we to do when some public figure actually tells us not to believe what we see? Some commentaries say that messianic pretenders don’t have to say they’re Jesus — merely that they represent Jesus – in order to deceive and to “sanction lawlessness.” (Baker))

You will hear of wars, and rumors of wars, but see to it that you are not alarmed. Such things must happen, but the end is still to come. Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. 

(We’ve heard about wars and rumors of wars for many years, but in my opinion, the calling out of nations and kingdoms here seems to intend to encompass more than just what we normally think of when we think of “nations against nations.”  Even secular dictionaries have defined a “nation” as a specific ethnic group, or a large body of people, associated with a particular territory, that is sufficiently conscious of its unity to seek or to possess a government peculiarly its own. So, when looking for an intensifying of “nations against nations,” we look not only to traditional international conflict, but also within our own borders, such as what is happening with the controversy surrounding the 2020 election and the division of the people in the USA.)

There will be famines and earthquakes in various places. All these are the beginning of birth pains.

(We’ve had more extraordinarily severe natural disasters in the past several years, and this is exactly what Jesus meant – not that we’ll see things we’ve never seen before, but that there will be an intensifying of these things that will be noticeably worse. And, indeed, what we’ve seen has been noticeably worse, if not altogether unprecedented in severity, with destruction from fires, volcanos, floods, tornados, in addition to changes to global climate, drought (which tends to precede famine), pandemics, cyber-attacks, and yes, earthquakes.  All of these are the earth telling us that it is suffering and we suffer as well.)

Then you will be handed over to be persecuted and put to death, and you will be hated by all nations because of me. At that time many will turn away from the faith and will betray and hate each other.

(According to at least one media outlet, Christian persecution increased in 2021, with over 340 million Christians affected. This means that about 1 in every 7 Christians has experienced or is experiencing persecution. This increase is due, in part, to the need caused by various natural disasters to sort people for various benefits; for example, with the pandemic came an opportunity to overlook Christians when it came to food and aid distribution.  And note the subtlety of the persecution. It’s not what you might think, with Christians being jailed or tortured. It’s often simply people disregarding or ignoring Christians for various reasons simply because they are Christians. Some of this is self-inflicted. Right now, we have a fairly large division in the Church, with at least one side seemingly in an open war of hate and unloving actions against the other. And that’s within the church! Look, I’m not going to mince words. If you see someone post something on Facebook about loving God within minutes of posting another thing about “hating libs,” you know there’s something really wrong with the church.)           

 and many false prophets will appear and deceive many people. 

(Where do I start? The years 2020/22 may as well be called the years of the false prophet. False prophesy about the pandemic, about the election, about a “new revival.” Let’s face it –prophets can get things wrong. But what this latest series of prophesies shows us is that these so-called “prophets” – even when wrong – do nothing to apologize, repent, or otherwise alter their original prophesy. In fact, in one notable case, a pastor who dared to repent and recant his prophesy over the election was actually attacked by his own flock for “giving in.” Eventually, he abandoned his ministry altogether due to the unprecedented hatred to do merely what the Bible says a prophet should do. And yet, there appears to be no end to the number of people lining up to announce that they are “prophets of God” with an important worldly message for all Christians. Look, I believe in modern day prophets. But if you hear from one, you really, really need to check and re-check that prophesy by assessing what they say – and how they react to being wrong – with the Bible.)

Because of the increase of wickedness, the love of most will grow cold, 

(We see the love of people for each other has grown incredibly cold in the many actions that we are witnessing on airplanes, in restaurants, in grocery stores, and in hospitals. You only need to look as far as your social media account (I suppose mine is mostly FB) through the constant posting of hateful memes ungodly discussions when someone merely disagrees with another. I suppose isolation and the increased anonymity of the Internet have some part to play in all this, but that just means we must work to make sure our own love does not grow cold.)

but the one who stands firm to the end will be saved. And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come.

(Now to our HOPE.  Those of us standing firm will be saved.  Standing firm means operating out of obedience to God and his main commandments as stated in Mark 12:30-31; “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength. The second is this: Love your neighbor as yourself.[b] There is no commandment greater than these.”  Those of us who are dedicated and have committed ourselves to God and who practice operating out of love will be and are saved!  Are we always perfect in operating out of love?  No, I wish we were, but we should be striving for perfect love to all of God’s people – regardless of personal preferences, political or religious affiliation, cultural heritage, etc.)

I’m not saying that the world will end tomorrow – but what if it did?  In fact, when people ask me worried questions about eschatology – i.e., “End Times” (including notions surrounding the book of Revelation, the tribulation, resurrection of the dead, etc.), I often tell them that they should be far more worried about their own personal end time. And that could happen at any moment. After all, people have been predicting the end of this world for a long, long time, and those people have all passed. So, are you absolutely certain, beyond a shadow of any doubt that you are in good standing with God?  Whether you are or not, I invite you to pray this prayer, out loud and activate your future with the Lord.  Then get out your Bible and try to read it for a few minutes every day and see what new insights and blessings the Lord shows you.

PRAYER:

God, I come to you today and I admit that I have fallen short of your plans and expectations for my life and I ask for your forgiveness. Lord, I admit that I know that you sent Jesus to come into the world in human form to die on the cross for my sins and to fix my relationship with you, and I know that Jesus doing so is the only way a person like me could ever be in a right relationship with a perfectly holy God. I know that Jesus died and was raised from the dead and is now seated next to you in Heaven. Thank you Father that you wipe every sin away and that you love me. Lord, your word says to love others, and so please show me how to love your people here on earth. I want to live my life for you and to be a blessing to others. I want to follow your commands. I pray all of these things in the name of Jesus, Amen.

If you’ve prayed this prayer, I invite you to messenger me or post it here so that I can specifically pray for you for all of the blessings promised to us and for wisdom, knowledge, peace and safety during this time we are in today! 

Feel free to pray this prayer often — even every day — as each day brings not only new challenges, but also new opportunities for overcoming those challenges and to bless others.

Your Spiritual Footprint

Some time ago, I was studying the Word and I was distressed over our climate and how we seem to be gradually destroying our environment. In particular, I was thinking about those articles that talk about reducing your carbon footprint to help out the environment. Now, I try to be a good citizen and neighbor and I’m constantly trying out more energy-efficient and earth-preserving things, like fancy light bulbs (and solar power for the house, which we have), recycling, growing food, pesticide-free gardening to help the bees, but it all seems overwhelming. I mean, after all, who am I but just one person? Do I really make a difference?

Then I heard the Lord say, “Okay, I get what you’re thinking about your carbon footprint, but what about your spiritual footprint? What are you sowing for others in our kingdom? What are you doing to spread my love and my word?”

This got me thinking hard about the term “spiritual footprint”? If our actions, in this world, create a physical “carbon footprint,” doesn’t it make sense that our actions, thoughts, behaviors in the world also create a “spiritual footprint?” More importantly, our spiritual footprint affects not only the supernatural aspect of things, it can also definitely affect how you continue to participate in the natural world. Think about it, spirituality is largely invisible and so is the supernatural world, and so, of course, what we do spiritually is going to have some effect there. But we also see the manifestations in our physical world of things we do in and for the spiritual world. In fact, there’s a huge overlap. For instance, prayer is activated in the physical world and the spiritual world at the same time when we pray out loud or silently, but then the answer to prayer, which might be immediate in the supernatural, becomes part of our natural world manifestation of the whole act. Thus, our spiritual footprint is affected in both realms.

We create our spiritual footprint by everything we do in the world, — whom we touch, whom we are kind to, how we act toward all of God’s people (saved and unsaved), how we share the pearls of wisdom given to us by God, whether we act selflessly instead of selfishly. In fact, every seemingly insignificant thing can affect your spiritual footprint. Moreover, each of those things can have enormously good or devastatingly bad consequences. By the way, watch out for the bad stuff – it’s like throwing a tiny cigarette butt out of a car window that can’t even be seen from the road, but that leads to an enormous forest fire. Every tiny, seemingly insignificant action forms at least a part of our spiritual footprint. Because these actions can be positive or negative, it’s up to us to constantly see what we’re doing in the natural world and thinking about ramifications in the spiritual world.

And sometimes it’s not the action itself, but the motivation behind it. I might give to the homeless, but if my motivation is one of glorifying myself, then I’ve messed up my spiritual footprint even though I’ve done something that the world might say or think is good.

Lately I’ve been taking an inventory to write down what I’ve done for others or when I’ve shown or talked about God to others, along with my motivations. Also, I’ve been writing down the instances when I can remember being unbecoming of a follower of Jesus. I try to do it daily, and then I ask, “Which list is bigger?” When I have things on the negative side – the list messing up my spiritual footprint – I ask the Lord to forgive me and to bless anyone on that list whom I have harmed. Then I tear it up. That’s how I remind myself of God’s forgiveness, which is a reminder of God forgetting our sins as an act of grace.

One day we’ll meet the Father and we’ll become instantly aware of the entirety of our spiritual footprints. Let’s work together to make sure they’re the kinds of footprints that reflect our belief in God and our following of Jesus Christ.

Pray and Praise Unceasingly

As you may know, I’m a huge proponent of walking in the full authority of our rights as heirs to the kingdom of our Lord. A major component of fortifying that authority is to be in constant contact with the author of that authority – God. You’ve probably heard I Thessalonians 5:16-18 many times. It says, “Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” The King James version says to “pray without ceasing.” I always wondered what that actually looks like – I mean, how do you drive or work if you’re praying without ceasing? For a long time, my mind had the “religious” definition of how one might pray without ceasing, and it didn’t look anything like life as we know it. In fact, to me, it looked a lot like living the life of a monk. Fortunately for me (and you), though, God gave me revelation.

Jesus taught us how to pray through the structure of the Lord’s Prayer. In my book, I go through the parts of that prayer and talk about how they manifest into all of my prayers. For example, the part that says, “lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil” is my way, every day, of asking God to lead and help me through the supernatural realm. Most people think that praying is all about asking for something – petition, if you will – but that’s only one part of the Lord’s Prayer. The very beginning of the prayer is all about praise – “Our Father, in heaven, hallowed by your name.” Now, if you look up “hallowed” in the thesaurus, you’ll see that it’s not just a word that means “pretty good.” The first reference is to “godlike,” and includes words like “almighty,” “omnipotent,” “all-powerful,” “boundless,” “changeless,” and “supreme.” These aren’t words used to praise, say, a football team or anything. When is the last time anyone said, “Go Broncos, you are everlasting and supreme, omniscient and sacred?” These are the words only used to praise your Father in heaven, the creator of the universe. Therefore, every day, I start my prayers talking to God about how much I love Him using the kind of words that can only describe Him. Just calling God “Father” is pretty big praise, when you think about it. There’s no one else here on earth who I call “Father.”

But really, even though I begin my day with prayer that resembles the entire Lord’s prayer, and even though I might find the need to, say, ask for forgiveness during parts of the day, it’s petition and praise that allows me to pray without ceasing. Someone once wrote that when you pray without ceasing, your prayers will come out with every breath. Makes sense. We certainly breathe without ceasing, don’t we? So what would it be like if, with every breath, out came some small prayer or statement praising God? There would certainly be a bunch of small statements, like, “Thank you, Father,” or “Help me, God.” Just those two things can get you through most everything that comes your way in any given day.

To pray and praise without ceasing simply means to be in constant contact with our Lord – to keep Him in the forefront of our minds through every seemingly miniscule and insignificant part of our days. This can be as easy as just talking to God all the time, like you might talk to someone following along with you as you go through your day. Asking for help and thanking Him when he invariably gives it. When I ask God for help, I realize that there’s no question or request too small for Him. I’ll even ask Him what to wear each morning, and then I’ll just sit and listen. He always tells me, and then I’m quick to thank Him. I love it when I have a work problem that I can’t figure out or have misplaced my car keys. I just ask the Lord to help me out, and He always does. I love driving down the road and asking the Lord to help the family that just had an accident, and then driving on in faith that His hand is already on it. When I see one of His children, homeless, asking for money, I ask God what to do and He tells me (by the way, He keeps telling me to give to those folks). Literally everything that crosses my path is an opportunity to talk things over with God. And being in constant communication with God keeps the spiritual phone line open and keeps me pressed into Him so that I’m better able to see Him at work in my life and the world, and to be in the best alignment for blessings.

Now, I’m not saying that my prayers or petitions are always focused on my own needs. Most of my day is asking to what God wants from me, or for help on how to deal with His other children – what I should do to further His kingdom and to do His will. But by focusing on others, I’ve realized that often their needs have become my needs.  Believe me, there is so much going on out there in the world that when you pray and praise, even if you do it without ceasing, you’ll have plenty of time to focus on God, yourself, and others!

Can you pray and praise without ceasing without ever saying anything out loud? Yes, I believe you can, but don’t be afraid to look silly talking to Him out loud. There’s power in speaking into the supernatural realm out loud, both through talking to God and through rebuking Satan. And besides, I’ve seen plenty of people looking pretty crazy singing and talking out loud in public, and nobody gives them much thought at all. Just think about the last time you saw someone singing at the top of their lungs next to you in their car. These days, if you’re praying or praising God out loud, people will probably just think you’re on your Blue Tooth!

So, don’t be afraid to speak out loud. At meetings, I won’t scream it out, but I’ll definitely whisper, “Thank you, Father,” out loud every time I notice the things for which He deserves praise. In your car, invite Him to ride with you; in fact, let Him be the spiritual driver! I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been in the car listening to my praise music and looked up to see a police officer running a speed trap. I must confess that I have a bit of a heavy foot on the gas pedal, but when I let God drive, He always slows me down.

So, start now! If you don’t know what to say, just start by saying, “Help me God” or  “Thank you, Father” with every breath. Keep God in the forefront of your mind. And realize that everything you come across in your day is an opportunity to talk to your Lord, the creator of the universe!

Pray Without Ceasing

Last month, my husband, Tim, went to the Kansas Prayer Breakfast, a refreshing infusion of God into the natural world where everyone, including federal and state politicians bow and pray together in unity. According to Tim, there were a couple of highlights. First, after the typical introductions and applause for various natural world dignitaries, Pastor Richard Rounds asked the crowd to give a hand for Jesus Christ, and it erupted with cheers! Second, the speaker was Dr. Del Tackett, teacher and creator of the Truth Project DVD series.  If any of you have seen that series, you know that when Del is in the room, the Holy Spirit is right there with him. In the Bible, Paul says to pray unceasingly. When you do, your prayers start sounding a lot more like a conversation with Jesus as your friend, and a lot less like the liturgical utterances we are often told to memorize. Unceasing prayers come as easily as breath itself: “Help me, Lord.” “Thank you, God.” “Father, save my friend.” “Jesus, I love you.”   Remember that it is acceptable and encouraged for us to talk to God every moment of the day about anything!  He loves to hear our hearts desires, our petitions, and our praises.  Don’t be a stranger!


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