I'm Looking Forward To It!

"I do not count myself to have apprehended; but one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead, I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus."  ~  Philippians 3:13-14 (NKJV)

Though today has been largely shaped by the decisions you made yesterday, it doesn't work the same in reverse.  Today holds no power to change yesterday.  However, today is charged with the potential to shape your future.  

For many, today will be spent grieving over yesterday or wishing they could go back to some time in the past that was the "good ol' days."  Don't allow the burdens or the blessings of yesterday to be the expectation of your heart for today.  Decide that today will be the spark or the seed for your dreams of tomorrow!

As the old adage goes, "The gift of time is the present!"  Maximize the possibilities of today by intentionally sowing good seeds for your tomorrow.  Lift up your head, open your heart and expect God's best for every area of your life!

Speak good words.  Think good thoughts.  Make good decisions.  What you do today will bear the fruit tomorrow.

The best preparation for tomorrow is doing your best today.
— H. Jackson Brown, Jr.

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Don't Forget Your PIN!

"If you ask anything in My name, I will do it."  ~  Jesus Christ, John 14:14 (NKJV)

If this promise means what many believe that it means, we should see a great deal more in miracles, breakthroughs, and global transformation.  Afterall, anything is a grand measure! Here's the fine print:  "In My name."

"A confession without communion is a ritual.  There is no divine power found in ritual."

"In My name," is the stated condition for asking God for any of His promises.  "In My name," is the name of the account.  It's not the PIN!  You may have a bank account, in your name, with plenty of resources to provide for your every need.  But, if you don't have the PIN you cannot access your account.  Maybe you had it but you've forgotten it.  For the immeasurable promises, provided in John 14:14, here's the PIN:  Galatians 2:20...

"I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me."

When Jesus says, "In My name," He means:

  • "In My merit."  
  • "In My finished work."
  • "In My righteousness and favor with God."
  • "In My office of the Lord of your life."

We can't honestly believe that if we live "outside" of His name, His work, His office, His favor obtained with God, that we can ask Him for anything.  No, to pray with faith, in His name, is only possible through fellowship, communion, and obedience to God.  In the context of Scripture, the very next verse reveals a divine directive pointing straight to His cross and Lordship:  "If you love Me, keep My commandments."  (John 14:15)

Prayer:  Our highest calling, our greatest privilege.  Don't forget your PIN!

 

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Fresh Focus

"At night my soul longs to be with You, and the spirit in me wants to be with You at the dawn of every new day."  ~  Isaiah 26:9 (ERV)

It's a strange moment.  You're reading or writing, your gaze is downward, and your focus is on something very close.  When you look up to see something further away, your eyes refuse to focus.  You're aware and wonder if something has gone wrong with your eyes.  Eventually, as you wait, your eyes adjust, and you see clearly.

This change of focus is a way to describe the challenging part of prayer.  So much of our lives are focused on ourselves, our needs, our wants, our weakness, our responsibilities.  When we desire to lift up our eyes and see the Lord, it seems like our eyes refuse to focus.

As you pray, it's easy to remain focused on yourself.  This posture makes for shallow and often fruitless praying.  The joy of praying is the presence of God.  The objective of praying is engaging God. The fulfillment of praying is having communed with God and shared your hearts together.

It's better to pray little with the engagement of God's presence than to pray long only focused on yourself.  Wait upon Him until your eyes see Him, high and lifted up!  His presence is the fulfillment of your praying; your highest call and greatest privilege!

 

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5 Strategies For Powerful Prayer

"If My people, who are called by My Name, humble themselves, and pray and seek (crave, require as a necessity) My face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear [them] from heaven, and forgive their sin and heal their land." ~  2 Chronicles 7:14 (Amp)

"Every time I set out to pray, I become so distracted by things."

"As I begin to pray, I realize how tired I am and intend to close my eyes only for a minute."

"Prayer is confusing to me.  I don't know if I should thank God or ask Him for more!"

I've heard these experiences and much more as to why many don't engage in a life of prayer.

If our enemy, the Devil, is disarmed, defeated, and dethroned, why is there such resistance to prayer?  Why does prayer seem so difficult at times?

Here's why:  We live in a world that is perpetually pulling us away from God.  This grave-ital pull is the flesh, the world, and the distractions the enemy will supply.  The greatest opposition you and I have, to effectual and thriving prayer, is our flesh.  

To access the presence of God, before Jesus removed the veil, the priest would make the journey from the Outer Court to the Inner Court and finally into the Most Inner Court. As New Testament Believers we must make a similar journey.  The most challenging part of the work of prayer is the process of coming out of the flesh, into the soul, and finally into the spirit.  It's often a difficult process because your flesh wants comfort, convenience, and a quick payoff for its efforts.  Your spirit, your inner-man, knows the way and the work.  Your spirit is willing, but your flesh is weak.

Here are five strategies to help you meet with God, spirit to Spirit:

  1. Leave your feelings behind.  Prayer is a journey of faith.  Your flesh will never cooperate.  If you're waiting to feel spiritual or feel like praying, that feeling isn't coming.  The only thing to do with the outer man is to bring him to the cross.  On the cross, the tearing of the flesh of Jesus Christ was the tearing away of the flesh keeping you from the presence of God. (Galatians 2:20; 2 Corinthians 5:7)
  2. Give thanks to God for His presence, power, provision, and anything else that comes to mind.  While praising God, you're turning your gaze toward heaven and away from all that would distract and discourage.  (Psalm 100:4; Hebrews 12:1-2)
  3. Intentionally set aside all distractions.  It's better to have authentic fellowship with God for even a few minutes than to have an hour of effort spent but never getting out of the flesh or soul realm.  
  4. Acknowledge and repent of all sin.  Include any unforgiveness as you resolve to forgive anyone who has offended you.  By faith, receive His forgiveness and cleansing.  Put all shame, fear, condemnation under the blood of Jesus.  There's nothing you can do, for the forgiveness of your sins, that Jesus Christ has not already done for you.  Open your heart of faith and receive His grace. (Psalm 24:3-4; 1 John 1:9)
  5. Pray with the help of the Holy Spirit.  He'll stir your faith with promises to address your problems.  He'll remind you of the Father's faithfulness throughout the seasons of your life. He'll guide you with the heart of the Father and the mind of Christ. (Romans 8:14; 1 Corinthians 2:16; 1 John 2:20)

God has opened the Door for you to come into His presence without a sense of shame, guilt or fear.  He invites you to fellowship and partnership.  Prayer is our highest calling and richest privilege!  

 

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Why Your Life Is No Gamble!

"The steps of a [good] man are directed and established by the Lord when He delights in his way [and He busies Himself with his every step]."  ~  Psalm 37:23 (Amp)

What do Poker, Yahtzee, and Backgammon all have in common?  These are games in which the impetus, and any hope of winning, are dependant on the roll-of-the-dice.  As a kid, I would get upset when I would be so close to winning only to roll a bad number and lose the game!  I've grown to understand that games supported by dice are, at best, a gamble.  You may learn how to navigate or do your best with the numbers you get, but in the end, the outcome of the match is a reflection of who had the better numbers on the dice!  Your life is not intended to be a gamble.

The roll-of-the-dice means a number of things:

  1. Each competitor is on equal ground.
  2. Breakthrough or breakdown could happen in one roll!
  3. There are no promises, only chance.  At best you're at 50/50.
  4. You're always in a posture of hope but cannot put your faith in chance.

In contrast, walking by faith in God and His Word means several truths:

  1. God and your enemy, the Devil, are not on equal grounds in competing for your life!  God has surrounded your life with "favor like a shield!" (Psalm 5:12)
  2. Breakthrough after breakthrough is promised in God's Word! Breakdowns can be completely avoided. The path of the righteous is ordered by God's grace, power, wisdom and faithful presence!  (1 John 5:4; Psalm 37:23)
  3. God's Word has over 32,000 promises for those who believe.  Every one of His promises is "yes, and amen, in Christ Jesus!" (2 Corinthians 1:20)
  4. You can build your life on the integrity and power of God's Word!  His Word is the Rock that cannot be shaken!  (Matthew 7:24)

In the present condition of our world, with its compromises, contaminants, and challenges, don't let your life and future be a gamble!  God has promised many wonderful benefits to His people. Spiritual, physical, emotional, financial, relational, and in every other area; God has paid for and provided all that you need for life in this world and the world which is to come! Build your faith by reading His Word and exalting His name.  

Leave the roll-of-the-dice to the games you play not to the life you live!

Take a moment and make this declaration of faith:  

Father, I thank You for all that You've done for me through Your Son, Jesus Christ!  By faith, I receive every promise that You've given me.  Fulfill Your plans and purposes for my life.  I put my future, my family, my finances into Your faithful and capable hands.  I declare that I am both a hearer and a doer of Your Word!  My life is on You, Father!  You are my Rock!  In Jesus' name, I pray.  Amen!

 

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