Praying With Intent
Philippians 4:6 “Don’t worry about anything, but in everything, through prayer and petition with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. ~ CSB
Today we are going to talk about the power of prayer. There is a difference between the ‘action of asking’ and prayer. Usually, (not always), when we ask, “Hey, how are you doing today?” We are expecting a quick response like, “I’m great, how are you?” this is usually followed by a conversation on an entirely different subject.
But when we ask, “How are you doing?” and we get the response that leads into a detailed description of how they are really doing, we rarely listen. “Oh, it’s funny you asked. My back is acting up, my legs hurt, I don’t know why I get these headaches and I haven’t been sleeping well.” We usually respond, “I am so sorry to hear that. Listen…” then we go into another conversation changing the subject.
The ‘action of asking’ is what we are doing. A term of endearment if you will. There is no concern, not because we don’t care, but usually we are already thinking of what we want to talk about other than, ‘how they are doing’.
On the other hand, I remember a time when I asked my mom for some money. At the time I was a single parent and I needed help. I presented a detailed need for why I was asking for money. Because it was going to my child my mother trusted me to do what I said I was going to do, and she gave me the money. In other words she answered my request because the request was genuine and directed.
This is the way we need to be when we pray. This is the difference between the ‘action of asking’ and prayer. Prayer is being mindful of what you are asking the Almighty and concentrating on every word sent to Him as a request.
Prayer is ‘knowing’ that what you are asking God, will be done by Him. It says it in verse 6, “…prayer and petition…” must be intertwined with ‘…thanksgiving…” Just as I knew my mother was going to come through for me because she had done so in the past, ‘know’ what God will do for you because of what He has done for you in the past.
Simply put, prayer is a request in the name of Jesus; (meaning it is a request that God can get behind); followed by the knowledge that it will be done by the Father because it benefits the kingdom. And after the request has been granted, we must give God the glory always. This is a long way from being an ‘action of asking’. It is a request for the blessing that is already yours.
And after we have practiced and formed the ‘good’ habit of prayer, God will give us His peace. Verse 7 continues, “And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.” Our prayers, properly prayed, will lead to our peace given to us as a gift, in addition to what we asked for by a Father who loves us so much. How about that?
What a blessing. Give God the praise as you walk in His Son’s precious name.
Take Refuge In The Lord
Psalm 118:7-8 “The Lord is my helper, therefore, I will look in triumph on those who hate me. 8 It is better to take refuge in the Lord than to trust in humanity.” ~CSB
Have you ever awakened in the morning and felt great, just to have that joy taken from you during your morning travel to work? Or just got off a great call with a loved one just to run into someone that turned your emotions deep in the negative? Well, I’m here to tell you that you can take control of that.
God’s intent is not for you to suffer but to learn from all that happens to you. With Him everything will turn out for the good of the kingdom when you follow Him and not fall victim to the influences of the world. Let me show you.
First, everything must be looked at from a spiritual perspective. The person who insults you, tactfully degrades you, or who’s actions turn your day to a bitter feeling of stress and worry, you must know that it is not the person’s fault.
The Bible says in Ephesians 6:12, “For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers of this darkness, against evil, spiritual forces in the heavens.” ~CSB
Some of us, our minds are easily influenced by the circumstances of situations around us. Minds easily stressed when prodded by the actions of others in this world. These actions can be done right in front of us or miles away in a distance country. Even in that distance, we find out on social media it’s influence is strong enough to tear into our soul and strike us with enough fear to cause us to act out negatively with one another.
The devil’s playground in full effect. All used to discredit the cause of Christ. The devil’s influence is there to keep the Christian from having hope; to keep the Christian from depending on the Father for guidance and protection; to breakdown, kill and destroy the Christian’s foundation so that he will no longer exist and become a lost child of the darkness.
Do not fear my brothers and sisters. Hold your head up and lean on the text above when it says in verse 7, “…I will look in triumph on those who hate me.” Remember, it is not their fault for being influenced. The enemy will easily take hold of a mind powered by fleshly desire. But a mind guided by the Spirit of the Lord will protect you from that influence. Remember what Jesus said in John 15:18, “If the world hates you, understand that it hated me before it hated you.” ~CSB
It is better to know that God’s power is bigger than anything the world attempts to throw at you to make you fear it. God’s protection will always keep you safe from the weapons formed against you by the powers of the darkness. Trust in the Lord because His Word is true. Man, being influenced, is not. Therefore, cannot harm you if you do not let it.
It is so fitting to end this devotion with Proverbs 3:5-6, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not rely on your own understanding; in all your ways know him, and He will make your paths straight.” ~CSB
May the Lord continue to guide and keep you protected and healed on your journey in Jesus’ name.
A Father's Day Message
Proverbs 1:8 “Listen my son, to your father’s instruction, and don’t reject your mother’s teaching…”
Being a good father takes time and practice. But how do you practice without instruction? You can’t. Some of us take life’s lessons as instruction. But did you know that God blessed all of us with His instruction?
For example, there are steps to follow toward each blessing God has for you. Since we are approaching Father’s Day, let’s look at the steps toward being a good father. In order to be a good father, you have to first be a good husband. In order to become a good husband, you have to become a good man. And you cannot become a good man until you have learned to be a good son.
I don’t know about you but becoming a man was hard for me because I missed the first step in becoming a good son. This is the stage where we learn to listen even if we don’t want to. We ‘do’, even when we don’t want to and we learn, even when we have a problem with the teacher.
This step is missed because we as boys think our parents, don’t know what’s going on with kids today. We label our parents old fashion and not ‘hip’ to what kids are about today. But little do we know…(that’s enough said right there), “…very little we know…” at that age. This is why it is so important to learn to be a good son first, before we level up.
It's funny because I didn’t realize, until I was married with children, that a part of my marriage issues was that I skipped the steps in being a good son, man, and husband before becoming a father. I didn’t take the Word of God as it said, “Listen to your father’s instruction…” and learn.
I realized that I, “…rejected my mother’s teaching…” so I didn’t learn how to be a good husband. Missing those steps just added to the mixture of failure in becoming a good father. The steps in manhood are important and should not be skipped. So, what do we do about it now?
We learn what we missed and lead our children so that they understand the importance of the steps in becoming a good man and a good woman. Go to the Word of God and follow the Father’s instructions right where we are in life. We cannot fix ourselves, but we can allow God to heal and provide us with wisdom.
Read scriptures of instructions like Ephesians 6:4 “Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord.” ~CSB Let us as men imitate the Father in heaven as he says to us in 2 Corinthians 6:18 “And I will be a father to you, and you shall be sons and daughters to me, says the Lord Almighty.” ~CSB
The Word of God for the people of God is our instruction for all things. If we missed steps in our lives, lean on the Lord for guidance to receive the wisdom we missed. This way we can learn to use the tools God created in us to do the work He prepared for us on our journey toward the kingdom; and in all that He has for us. These blessings are promised to us by God, but we must learn how to receive, maintain, and pass the blessings on to others by leaning on Him for instruction.
May God continue to bless you with His healing power, wisdom and protection as you journey in Jesus’ name.
Every Little Step
Matthew 6:34 “Therefore don’t worry about tomorrow, because tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.” ~CSB
In my lifetime, I noticed success was either harder to achieve or not achievable because I always looked pass my steps to the goal and focused on the end of the journey. My focus on the end, or the big picture, caused me to miss certain steps I needed to take while on the journey.
For example, when I would run long distance, I remember coming up on a long road. Now I would run three to five miles daily, but when I came to a long road where I could see in the distance the next turn or hill, I would get frustrated.
I would see all the road between me and that point, and many things would go through my mind. “Man, do I really want to run that far? I could be doing other things right now.” While these thoughts were going through my mind, I would stumble because I would trip on a rock I didn’t see, I would step in a pothole, I would almost twist my ankle as a result of stepping off the side of the road.
All this happened because I was focused on the end, instead of the steps. Jesus has given us the blueprint for success in Matthew. “…don’t worry about tomorrow…” When I was looking at the end of the road, that view was my version of ‘tomorrow’. “Each day has enough trouble of its own.” Each day was each ‘step’. And that step had that rock I tripped on while focusing on the end of the road.
If I had focused on my steps, in other words, focused on my ‘day’, I would have noticed that rock, I would have noticed that pothole on my journey to my goal. When the scripture reads, each day has enough trouble of its own not only refers to the negative of life’s journey, but it also stands for lessons and blessings God has prepared for you on your journey in Jesus’ name. Don't miss the blessings by looking too far ahead.
God trains His servants, His children, in the way of the Word but we miss a lot of our homework, our lessons and our blessings because we are so focused on the vision God gave us in our hearts instead of the steps it takes to get to that point.
We must take each step in every day to receive what God is giving us, blessing us with and allowing us to notice what He may be pulling us out of or away from. This is especially important because when we know what God is doing for us, we begin to know where He is leading us. Down a path He prepared for us long ago.
May God continue to bless and keep you safe, healed and guided as we journey in His Son Jesus’ name.
The Way We Live Among Others
1 Thessalonians 1:5 “…because our gospel did not come to you in word only, but also in power, in the Holy Spirit, and with full assurance. You know how we lived among you for your benefit…” ~CSB
Now this text is powerful and should be taken in by your spirit automatically. For example, I had tickets to a Prince concert years ago when He came to Nashville. It was the concert where he had gotten the rights back to sing and play all the songs he had written. When I tell you, that concert was awesome from beginning to the end when he sang his famous ‘Purple Rain’.
I remember standing where I was seated when Prince came out. Everyone, (not only the ones that were around me), were on their feet. The singer did not ask for anyone to stand on their feet at any time during the three-hour concert, but no one sat during the entire show. Everyone took in what was being presented to them. And we all took home the energy from that concert.
This text should do the same for us in our daily lives. It should do this because in verse 4 of this same text, Paul says that “For we know…that He has chosen you.” This gospel of Christ did not just come to us who have been chosen by “…word only…” This means don’t get caught up with just reading the Word like you would any other book. When I spoke of the concert above, it shows you we take in what the flesh agrees with and loves.
It is time to allow the spirit to show you what to take in because of what ‘it’ loves. And if you let it, you will be pulled by the ‘spiritual’ desire to know that the word is more than just words. It is power, as explained in verse five. This power will ease pain in us physically, mentally and grow strength in our spirits that will allow us to endure any and all things of this world.
This power is guaranteed, and this is confirmed in verse five when the text reads, “…with full assurance.” If you have just read this, you should have felt something. You should have experienced a feeling of confidence in the Lord’s work in you. It is a guarantee of God’s promises. And if you need further proof, continue as Paul directs you when he speaks of himself.
He says, “You know how we lived among you for your benefit…” His actions, his convictions about Jesus even in times where he suffered at the hands of non-believers who attempted to shut him up about the truth. He lived a life of a chosen disciple of God, and it showed in his actions.
If you are looking for confirmation, walk this way in your life. Stay strong in your belief about God’s Word, God’s power, and that shows that you believe God will do what He says He will do. When others see this in you, they will not only believe, but they will realize that they were also chosen by the Father.
What a great work God will accomplish in us when we walk this way, the way we ‘live among others’. I pray God’s peace, protection, and guidance for you as you walk in the name of Jesus Christ.
Authors Billy & Yolanda
This is the place where we share our heart through God's Word in faith that will inspire and empower you to live in peace.