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Wednesday, October 29, 2008

The Holy Spirit is Not a Dove Nor Does He Look Like One

By Joan Kearns

I've heard many people for many years talk about the Holy Spirit as a dove. We can see the symbol of the dove everywhere to signify peace and love. Peace and love are fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22). The dove is a lovely symbol, but that is all it is: a symbol of the Holy Spirit, not the Spirit.

During the baptism of Jesus, Luke recorded in his book, chapter 3 verse 22, ...and the Holy Spirit descended upon Him in bodily form like a dove, and a voice came out of heaven, "You are My beloved Son, in You I am well-pleased." So, what I see is that the Holy Spirit descended in bodily form... as a dove might float down and settle on a branch. I can't see a God sending down a bird when He was so adamant about us not worshiping idols or graven images.

In Matthew's account he writes in chapter 3, verse 16 - And Jesus, when he was baptized, went up straightway out of the water: "and, lo, the heavens were opened unto him, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove, and lighting upon Him." Again, we see that the Spirit descended like a dove.

Now Look at Isaiah 42:8 - "I am the LORD: that is My name: and My glory will I not give to another, neither My praise to graven images." And in Leviticus, chapter 26, verse1 - "Ye shall make you no idols nor graven image, neither rear you up a standing image, neither shall ye set up any image of stone in your land, to bow down unto it: for I am the LORD your God." In other words, don't build idols to worship.

Now let's reason, if God commanded that man not create images to worship, would He actually have sent down a dove out of Heaven to light upon Jesus at His baptism? Wouldn't it make more sense that the Holy Spirit in Heavenly Bodily Form floated down upon Jesus.... as a dove might float down and settle on a branch? Maybe there should have been a comma in Luke 3:22 after the words, "in bodily form".

God commanded that we Not worship anything or anyone, but Him. Doesn't it also make sense that we not pray to anyone but Him through Jesus? God is the only One Who is omnipresent, omniscient, and all powerful. Wouldn't He be the only One to answer our prayers?

And Jesus said, "Pray this way..."

Joan Kearns is a successful, full-time entrepreneur and internet marketer since 1995. To learn how to dominate any market online without having to buy leads or dial hundreds of phone numbers cold calling, Click Here for your free report: http://www.MillionDollarMovie.net or call 972-254-2222.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Are You Worried?

By Gillian Mc Donald

With everything that's going on around the world, the future looks bleak.The enemy is having a field day using the situation to drive fear into the hearts of people to discourage them so that their faith may fail. But when you look at the situation from God's perspective, its totally different. God is not subject to the failures of man. He is not waiting like us for something to happen. He wants to make something.

The enemy is seeking to destroy lives by controlling those in leadership and he is succeeding. For too long man has been listening to the ideas and wisdom of the politicians. The wisdom of the world will come to nothing, it is failing as we can see.because God has been left out of the equation, therefore the foundations are crumbling because there were not built on the principles of God.

Which of you by worrying is going to change anything. Worry is like a swing, it keeps you going but it doesn't get you anywhere. Of course we have to make plans but God doesn't want us to be filled with worry and anxiety about tomorrow.

This worrying comes because you are uncertain of what to expect and feel helpless to prevent the situation All this worrying is causing health problems, such as headaches, fatigue, stress, and changes in blood pressure to name a few.

It is disrupting productivity, you can't get much done because worrying interferes with your thinking and it affects the way you treat people. Because of all the worrying you become withdrawn, you become a grouch.

It also reduces your ability to trust in God, filled with worry and distracted by the pressures all around, there is little time to pray or concentrate on the word of God. You don't remember to confess his promises.

Matthew 25-34 says:

25 "That is why I tell you not to worry about everyday life-whether you have enough food and drink, or enough clothes to wear . Isn't life more than food, and your body more than clothing
26.Look at the birds. They don't plant or harvest or store foods in barns, for your heavenly Father feeds them . And aren't you far more valuable to him than they are. 27. Can all your worries add a single moment to your life?28 "And why worry about your clothing? Look at the lilies of the field and how they grow. They don't work or make their clothing.29 yet Solomon in all his glory was not dressed as beautifully as they are.30 And if God cares so wonderfully for wildflowers that are here today and thrown into the fir tomorrow, he will certainly care for you. Why do you have so little faith.31 So don't worry about these things, saying, What will we eat? What will we drink? What will we wear ? 32.These things dominate the thoughts of unbelievers, but your heavenly Father already knows all your needs.33 Seek the Kingdom of God above all else and live righteously, and he will give you everything you need.34 So don't worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will bring its own worries. Today's trouble is enough for today.

So what do you do with your worry?

Give them to God
According to 1 Peter 5:7 we should give all our cares and worries to God, for he cares about us.
By carrying all these care you are showing that you have not fully trusted God with your life.
You need to cast them over on the Lord and not take them back, when you do that you will no longer be tying God's hands with your worrying. His power can begin to operate because you have acted in faith. Go will not take your cares away from you , you have to give them to him, then you replace the worry with the word.

Pray about it.
Philippians 4:6 tells us not to worry about anything; instead we should pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all that he has done. As long as you worry and are anxious concerning what you are praying about, you nullify the effect of your prayer; you haven't cast it upon him you still have it. Confess you are a believer and not a doubter, reuse to worry and pray using your faith and believe.

Fix your thoughts on God's power
Philippians 4:8-9 lets us know that we should fix our thoughts on God's power and not life's problems We should turn our thoughts from the negative, unbelieving to the positive, constructive thoughts of faith, hope and love. Satan will consistently bring doubt and discouragement but you cannot buy into his lies.

Trust in God's promises
Exodus 14:13 tells us that we should not be afraid despite what is facing us. We only have to trust in God's promise. This is the attitude we should have today with all the troubles surrounding us. We should purpose in our hearts to deal with the worry and anxiety we are facing and not let the enemy use it to destroy us. Don't take it out on other people like the children of Israel would take it out on Moses.

In Exodus 15:24-25 when the water was bitter they took it out him, but the word tells us not to worry about what we will eat or drink.

They were consumed by fear and therefore it was difficult to trust God

Psalms 55:22 says to give your burdens to the Lord, and he will take care of you. He will not permit the godly to slip.

Gillian Mc Donald

A christian teacher who loves to read the word, pray and write articles about christian living, natural health and self improvement.

http://ucanhope2.blogspot.com

Spiritual Resistance - Boulders in a Farmer's Field Analogy

By Carolyn Osterberg

I have an analogy that I like to use to describe resistance in my spiritual life. As a child I spent my summers with my grandparents who were farmers in northern Minnesota. I was always surprised that one job that occurred yearly was the picking of boulders from the fields; it never seemed to end. Over the years, the piles of stones grew larger and larger, but at a slower rate.

What I didn't understand at that time was that with the changing of the seasons and the accompanying freezing and thawing, expanding and contracting, of the water in the soil, the dirt loosened and the stones would eventually work their way to the surface. While tending the fields, my grandfather had two choices when he encountered boulders; he could leave the stones in place and continue to plow, plant, and weed and reap around them. This was the chosen course if time was limited or if the boulder was too large or too firmly embedded to move without extra assistance. However, expediency comes with a price; leaving the obstacles in place made the field pattern very chaotic, caused inefficiencies and complicated the harvest. My grandfather's second option when he discovered a boulder was to stop what he was doing and remove the boulder from the field. Initially, it was more time consuming than letting it remain in place, but subsequently, addressing the obstacle upon discovery allowed for easier plowing, planting, weeding and reaping, yielding a greater harvest.

I have found this to mirror my own spiritual life where the stones are various obstacles of resistance. At times I prefer to ignore what seem like overwhelming boulders. This usually results in chaotic avoidance patterns and is an enormous drain on my energy. Sometimes I just am not ready to let go of the boulder and face the hole that the removal would leave. Occasionally, I need the help of my spiritual companions to hold the tension with me as I unearth the source of my restlessness. At other times I am able to face and address the obstacles once I recognize the objects as resistance. Just naming and owning them has been a great help to tackling the stones. I am discovering that as my spiritual journey plays out, I uncover hidden obstacles less often and that I have developed more tools for easier removal.

I have also found that over the seasons of my life the types of spiritual resistance that I encounter have changed as well. I used to wrestle with God on doubt, trust and a fear of being loved. These normally showed up in the form of restlessness in prayer and an inability to sit with interior silence; when I am avoiding something I have a difficult time just sitting and being open and receptive to God's presence. It was in this anxious and restless state that I was most likely to pick up a spiritual book and read about another person's prayer experience, which always seemed more interesting than my own. Through my reading, I would end up getting a vicarious spiritual high and it would allow me to gloss over my own uncomfortable areas. These were precisely the times that I needed to put the books down and sit alone with God and face my own resistance.

Surprisingly, at this point in time, I struggle less with doubt and trust. My current resistance triggers deal with integrating my intuitive understanding of "the big picture" and my cultural background and training. This wrestling and avoidance appears in the form of a non--stop monologue with God during centering prayer and a desire to cut my prayer times short using a laundry list of mundane errands for excuses. Over all however, the boulders seem smaller and are less intimidating. I have grown into the confidence that even if I cannot dislodge them immediately, they will be removed when I am ready, and that it is OK to bring them along with me and sit with them in God's presence.

For more information, please visit Companions for the Silent Journey at http://www.silentjourney.org and see one of our blogs at http://carolynssilentjourney.blogspot.com

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Light the World!

By Kurt Yordy

As I write this article, gas prices are rapidly approaching $4.00 per gallon in the United States, the stock market is pretending to be a roller coaster, and foreclosures are soaring around the country. The word recession is flying around like a mouse in a cheese factory.

In light of this economic climate, Christians need to stop and ask themselves, "How can I be a light during these times?" Looking into the scripture, we find some clear direction regarding our financial responsibilities.

Admittedly, for some of us, it will take a little time to implement this mindset. That is no reason to give up hope or be discouraged. The process God uses to refine Christians is a lifelong process. So if you find yourself under circumstances which limit your ability to act right now, keep your head up, take it one day at a time, and start to slowly make changes.

As I prayed for guidance in writing this article, God brought to mind three different scriptures which we can all use to make a difference in our lives. Below is the list of scriptures, and then we will look at each one more in depth.

1. Matthew 5:13-16- We are salt and light.
2. Matthew 25:14-30 The Parable of the Talents
3. Matthew 25:31-46 The Sheep and The Goats

Salt and Light

Matthew 5:13-16 (NASB)
13 "You are the salt of the earth; but if the salt has become tasteless, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled under foot by men.

14 "You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden;

15 nor does anyone light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on the lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house.

16 "Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven.

It is all too common for Christians to apply these verses in regard to living a morally righteous life, which is a perfectly accurate application. However, it is not complete.

As Christians, we can not be the light on the hill while covering up the financial section of our light. What does it do to the image of Christ when Christians do not pay their bills on time, get foreclosed on, file bankruptcy, etc.? Are we being the financial light?

If the answer is no, and all too often it is, what steps can we take to change this?

1. Live on a budget- this is the most basic step you can take, and also one of the hardest. If you create an accurate budget and stick to it, at the very least you are not digging in any deeper than you already are. A good budget accounts for every dollar coming in and going out. If you find that you can not meet your budget, then you are forced to either increase your income or decrease your expenses. Both will take discipline and hard decisions for your family. Should you eat out less, or work an extra 20 hours a week? These questions need answered, because until these issues are addressed, you can not truly light the world.

2. Start digging out of your hole- This is where you get to use your creativity, and set some goals. No matter if you are $5,000 or $500,000 dollars in debt; you need to set a goal of when you want to be rid of that massive load weighing you down. For example, if you have $5,200 in debt, then you need to earn an extra $100 per week in take home to eliminate this debt in just one year. Actually, it will be a little shorter because you start seeing interest savings freeing up extra cash as you begin to pay it down, but you get the idea. Now all you need to do is figure out how you can make that extra money. Is it through selling stuff? Is it through working extra at your job? Is it from getting a part-time job? The choice is yours, have fun with it and get creative. Imagine in one, two, or even three years you get to be free of loan payments.

3. Make your money work for you- We will expound on the biblical principles behind this when we look at the parable of the talents, but until then we will look at the practical side. Just looking at simple math, if you now save an additional $5,200 after you eliminated the $5,200 in debt, now you can put it to work for you. Keep in mind it will take less time to save it this time than it was to pay it off because you will not longer be making interest payments. So now invested at a modest rate of 5% per year, at the end of the year you will have approximately an extra $250 in your pocket that you did not have to work for. Converting that into hours, assuming you make $20 an hour, that equates to 12.5 hours that you did not have to work in order to earn that money. We could go even deeper into math here and show that it is even more hours than that, but for now we will leave it at this.

4. Serve the Lord- With this extra money, and the extra time it can create you can now give back both more time and money to furthering the kingdom of God. You will have money to meet the needs of those in your community as well as those around the globe. You will have time to serve in your church, or serve your neighbors and let the light of Christ shine through to them.

Please remember, our goal here is not to create wealth as an end unto itself, but to remove financial obstacles which practical interfere with your service to the Lord. The love of money is the root of evil.

Applying these steps, you will allow you to begin to shine. Instead of the church being looked at as a financial pariah, we will once again be the source of truth and light to the world. Allow people the privilege of coming to you for answers because they see the light you are shining.

The Parable of the Talents

Matthew 25:14-30 NASB
14 "or it is just like a man about to go on a journey, who called his own slaves and entrusted his possessions to them.
15 "To one he gave five talents, to another, two, and to another, one, each according to his own ability; and he went on his journey.
16 "Immediately the one who had received the five talents went and traded with them, and gained five more talents.
17 "In the same manner the one who had received the two talents gained two more.
18 "But he who received the one talent went away, and dug a hole in the ground and hid his master's money.
19 "Now after a long time the master of those slaves came and settled accounts with them.
20 "The one who had received the five talents came up and brought five more talents, saying, 'Master, you entrusted five talents to me. See, I have gained five more talents.'
21 "His master said to him, 'Well done, good and faithful slave you were faithful with a few things, I will put you in charge of many things; enter into the joy of your master.'
22 "Also the one who had received the two talents came up and said, 'Master, you entrusted two talents to me. See, I have gained two more talents.'
23 "His master said to him, 'Well done, good and faithful slave. You were faithful with a few things, I will put you in charge of many things; enter into the joy of your master.'
24 "And the one also who had received the one talent came up and said, 'Master, I knew you to be a hard man, reaping where you did not sow and gathering where you scattered no seed.
25 'And I was afraid, and went away and hid your talent in the ground. See, you have what is yours.'
26 "But his master answered and said to him, 'You wicked, lazy slave, you knew that I reap where I did not sow and gather where I scattered no seed.
27 'Then you ought to have put my money in the bank, and on my arrival I would have received my money back with interest.
28 'Therefore take away the talent from him, and give it to the one who has the ten talents.'
29 "For to everyone who has, more shall be given, and he will have an abundance; but from the one who does not have, even what he does have shall be taken away.
30 "Throw out the worthless slave into the outer darkness; in that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.

Wow! This is a fantastic picture Christ has painted for us of the Kingdom of God. Boiled down, this story is saying God has given you talents (money) and expects you to make something more of it. No excuses. Allow me to translate the three characters into today's world, starting with the last first:

1. The one talent servant- This is your typical worker of today earning 20-40k a year. Understandably, these folks find it very difficult to make ends meet. There tends to be more days than paycheck in a given month. Due to this reality, scraping together a tithe is usually very difficult.

Under this scenario, the servant says, "Thanks God for providing me with my job, here is my tithe. I know I need to give it. I wish it was more, but this is the salary you provided for me." But wait, isn't that what the servant did? He said, "This is all I can give you because you gave me so little." Obviously, when looking at the kingdom of God, this is should not be how we operate.

2. The two talent servant- This is your midlevel earner in today's society, ranging from 60k-100k/year. They live comfortably. They have a little extra to invest, and when it comes to tithing they have extra to tithe.

3. The 5 talent servant- This servant was given the most responsibility, and delivered the most in return. These are your wealthy of today. Obviously, it takes money to make money, and these folks have it in abundance. They are able to generate major amounts of cash, and fund many ministries with it.

All too often in today's Christian society, it is very easy to fall into the trap of being servant number 1. We earn our paychecks, thank God for our jobs, and give our tithe. Often happily, sometimes not so happily. We are like funnels, just letting the money pass through us.

From what this parable is teaching, this is not the model to follow. This parable illustrates the need to take the raw materials God gave us and turn it into something better. We need to do more than be a funnel; we need to be a resource for the kingdom of God to draw upon.

Without a doubt, this is difficult to do on only 20-40k dollars a year. But if you followed the lessons from The Salt and The Light, then you are on your way. Even just $1,000 in the bank earning 3% interest a year gives you an extra $30 to tithe on, and if you are a strict 10% tithe giver, that means that you now have an extra $3/year to further God's kingdom. This might not seem like much, but trust me every little bit counts. This would sponsor a child in Africa for three days.

So our goal now needs to be, not only to be a light, but to also be resourceful. Not only be able to pay all your bills, but also be able to give back above and beyond. Use what God has given you through your vocation, and turn it into something magnificent.

A note of caution, beware of the temptation of pride. Remember to temper this with the parable of the widow's mite. Giving is a matter of humility. Even creating wealth above and beyond your vocation needs to be humbling. Not everyone has the ability or the clarity to do this, and the ability and clarity you have come from God.

All we are doing is combining money (which God gave us), opportunity (which God gave us) and ingenuity (which God gave us) to have a greater impact on the kingdom. It is not about how great you are, but about how great God is. We are merely willing servants, but the key is to be willing.

The Sheep and the Goats
Matthew 25:31-46 NASB
31 "But when the Son of Man comes in His glory, and all the angels with Him, then He will sit on His glorious throne.

32 "All the nations will be gathered before Him; and He will separate them from one another, as the shepherd separates the sheep from the goats;

33 and He will put the sheep on His right, and the goats on the left.

34 "Then the King will say to those on His right, 'Come, you who are blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world.

35 'For I was hungry, and you gave Me something to eat; I was thirsty, and you gave Me something to drink; I was a stranger, and you invited Me in;

36 naked, and you clothed Me; I was sick, and you visited Me; I was in prison, and you came to Me.'

37 "Then the righteous will answer Him, 'Lord, when did we see You hungry, and feed You, or thirsty, and give You something to drink?

38 'And when did we see You a stranger, and invite You in, or naked, and clothe You?

39 'When did we see You sick, or in prison, and come to You?'

40 "The King will answer and say to them, 'Truly I say to you, to the extent that you did it to one of these brothers of Mine, even the least of them, you did it to Me.'

41 "Then He will also say to those on His left, 'Depart from Me, accursed ones, into the eternal fire which has been prepared for the devil and his angels;

42 for I was hungry, and you gave Me nothing to eat; I was thirsty, and you gave Me nothing to drink;

43 I was a stranger, and you did not invite Me in; naked, and you did not clothe Me; sick, and in prison, and you did not visit Me.'

44 "Then they themselves also will answer, 'Lord, when did we see You hungry, or thirsty, or a stranger, or naked, or sick, or in prison, and did not take care of You?'

45 "Then He will answer them, 'Truly I say to you, to the extent that you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to Me.'

46 "These will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life."

So far we have seen the need to not let the circumstances of the world take us under and reduce our ability to be a light for Christ. We have also seen that we should take God's resources, and using the abilities he has given us, turn them into something greater so we have even more to give back. Finally, in this passage, Christ tells us how important the issue of how we make an impact is to Him.

This is not a story about getting extra stars on your crown, or getting a pat on the back or not. This is judgment. Christ is telling us, if we take care of the needy around us, we are one of his. If we do not, we are not. Wow, that is powerful.

Just to clarify, this is not talking about works based salvation, or working your way into Heaven. Good fruit does not create a good tree, but indicates what type of tree is there. Likewise, bad fruit cannot create a bad tree, but will tell you what type of tree you have.

Simply put, if Christ is on the throne of your soul, you will use your resources (financial, time, or otherwise) to impact those in need around you. You will meet needs. This is what everything else is about. This is why we practice financial discipline. This is why we strive to move up the wealth ladder. It is to give back. It is to be the hand of God to those in need.

Conclusion

Dear friends, in this current economic climate, it is even more important we are a light for Christ. It will be even more difficult to generate extra income, but the need for it will grow. The number of needy will increase dramatically during economic downturns.

Is your neighbor out of work? Have they lost their house? Can they pay rent? Can they buy their children clothing for the coming school year? Is their car about to be repossessed? Etc.

The opportunities will abound. The question is, will you be ready? Financially, mentally, and spiritually, will you be ready to answer the call of Christ. That's right, not the call of the needy, but the call of Christ. Remember, when we serve them, we are serving Christ, and conversely, when we neglect them we neglect Christ.

Christ needs a ride to work. Christ needs food in the refrigerator. Christ needs a shoulder to cry on. Christ needs help paying the rent. Christ need school supplies for his children. Christ would love to buy his kids something for Christmas, but can not.

Do you get the picture? Are you ready? Will you answer? Look around, Christ is everywhere. It is time to take action.

Kurt Yordy
http://www.increasingfaithblog.com
http://www.feedyourfamilyfeedtheworld.com

Bible Regime - How To Study The Bible

"...reject profane and old wives' fables, and exercise yourself toward godliness." (1 Tim 4:7, NKJV)

I am a worship leader and musician, not a Bible teacher, at least, not 'officially'. But I've had a number of people comment favorably about my grasp of Scripture. I've been asked if I was a seminary student at some time. Flattering!

For those of you who want a firmer grasp on God's word, I decided to share two of my basic attitudes that have helped me tremendously in this area.

The first is found in 1 Tim 4:7, "...exercise yourself toward godliness." The NIV has it as "...train yourself to be godly." This tells me two things: first, that godliness is NOT natural for us. If it was we wouldn't need to train ourselves for it, right? Second, that godliness can be uncomfortable. We need training to get past the stage of discomfort and godliness becomes a trained reflex, an ingrained reaction.

Applying it to the Bible, it means that if we want to know the Bible, we need to put in sustained consistent effort on a particular aspect of it. Talk with runners and sportsmen, people who are intimately acquainted with the nature of exercise, and they will tell you that you will not get the full benefits of a particular exercise by doing it just once and leaving it alone for a year. They will recommend doing the same exercises daily, or at least 3-4 times a week, for 4-6 weeks. So if we take this idea and apply to studying the Bible, we should have 4-6 weeks of reading the same book, chapters or verses over and over again in order to get intimately familiar with it.

One thing you will discover though, is that once you start getting into the swing of seriously studying one part of the Bible, you take less time to understand other parts. After I spent a lot of time training myself in the book of Psalms, (I tried to memorize about 30 Psalms, spent more than a year on them) I found that I could recall other parts of the Bible (like the Gospels) more easily when I needed them. This did not make sense to me when I first started, but now I realized that, after all, it's all by the same writer, the Holy Spirit, right?

The second idea that has been useful to me is that of the Scripture being food. In Hebrews 5:12 the truths of God's word are both milk (for infants) and solid food (for the mature). Here's something to ponder: Do you honestly think a baby contentedly feeding at his mother's breast understands or is aware in any way about the immunoglobins, antibodies and the colostrum in his mother's milk? And is he shortchanged in any way by his lack of understanding or awareness?

I knew that in Matthew 13:19 it says that if we do not understand the word of the Kingdom sown into us, the wicked one snatches the word away. But here's my question: how then can we get ourselves to the point when we do understand God's word?

"Think about what I am saying. The Lord will help you to understand all these things." (2 Tim 2:7, International Standard Version)

And the word for 'think' in that passage is noieo, which literally means "to exercise the mind towards" (Strongs #3539). Yes, the idea of exercise again! That suggests to me that the understanding will not always come easily, but that we need to spend time on the Word, thinking about it.

Our job is to think, to meditate, and to exercise our minds towards God's word. The Lord's role is to give the understanding. If we do not fulfill our role in this matter, we are making it difficult for the Lord to fulfill his.

The key point of what I am sharing is this. Very often we hear testimonies of people sharing about encountering God in a very real way in his word. They tell us about how the eyes of their understanding were opened on that special occasion and share the powerful insights they receive from the Bible. And we go back home, open up our Bibles, and, like every other day, nothing much happens, at least, nothing that we can see, feel or even articulate in words. And we think that means nothing is happening within us as we feed on God's word.

Because we want something tangible quickly, it is tempting in this day and age to let other people do the thinking and studying of God's word for us and then turn up for their Bible study classes. That way we at least have some information that we can share or articulate with other people, and we believe that we have benefited from the time spent exposing ourselves to the Bible.

Also take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. (Ephesians 6:17, International Standard Version)

Having spent a significant amount of time training in kenjutsu (Japanese fencing) believe me when I say that you can truly acquire skill in using a sword not by simply watching others swing theirs around, but taking one up yourself and seriously spending time on it.

It takes time to get really familiar with a tool to the point when you can use it not only for its obvious applications, but for others which are not so obvious. There will be seasons of frustration when you think you aren't making any progress at all. But you have to persevere through these seasons in order to reap the benefits of regular consistent training.

So it is with God's word. Talk with those who spent years in full-time study of God's word. You will discover that most of the time it was ho-hum and nothing exciting. And yet through that time God was sharpening their understanding of his word. But it takes faith and patience to persevere to that point they have such a grasp of the scriptures.

Do your best to present yourself to God as an approved worker who has nothing to be ashamed of, handling the word of truth with precision. (2 Tim 2:15, ISV)

During difficult seasons, I faced the upheavals and trials oftentimes using the very same passages that have brought me through previous tough times. When everything is changing and not all the changes are good, facing difficulties with a familiar sword in hand (what I personally call the crisis Psalms) is a source of comfort. The more familiar we are with the Scriptures, the better we can adapt to the increasing challenges we face as we mature in Christ.

Well, here are my thoughts on becoming skilled in our handling of God's word. I am sure there are other viewpoints and ideas that are useful also, but I thought sharing my own ideas on this might be useful to some of you.

May God's word come alive to you even more than it has before!

By: Junjie

Junjie is a worship leader, musician and trainer with more than 14 years of experience in a wide range of church settings. To find out more about his training and to sign up for his free e-course on worship ministry, go to www.invisibleworshipmusician.com

Childlike Before Jesus

By Bernadette Purto

"I am happy because I met Pastor Sonny, I am happy because I attended the KIDS Church, I am happy because Pastor Sonny prayed that I'll be back to church again" ... these are top three on the happy list of my son when I asked him one night why he is happy. When it was my daughter's turn to speak, uttered in different manner, I heard the same answers from her. Tears fell from my eyes as I knew well then that the Lord is very much delighted.

Two weeks earlier that night, my two younger kids, a boy age 8 and a girl age 5 finally had an opportunity to attend our KIDS Church, a long awaited answer to months of daily prayers. Memory of that day linger to their hearts as much as it refreshes me to remember their leaps and jumps through the escalator to get to the 3rd level of the building were the service is to be held. Their excitement couldn't be contained and their joy was overwhelming. It's amazing how God birthed into their hearts that great desire to be in the church, meet the pastor for the 1st time and participate in service.

God's power over every situation is awesome! My children have long received from their father an absolute restriction to attend Christian Service. For months, the kids have been pounding for approval that always met denial. Yet, God remained at works in their hearts, nurturing continuously the word implanted in them. Their minds may be young to conceive every letters of the holy scriptures but beyond doubt, they are spirit filled inside. They may have never been to any service nor experience praise and worship with believers but their glimpse of the fellowship is enough to fuel their longing to be part of God's family.

"Truly, I tell you, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven" (Matthew 18:3).

Children listen, obey and trust immediately. They know little but they listen. They are carefree but they obey. They are incapable but they trust. How many of us hear and know much about the word but turn a deaf ear to the Lord? How many of us are called for a mission but denied each and every opportunity? How many of us are equipped and empowered but doubt God's promises?

"Therefore, whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven" (Matthew 18:4).

Great Christians listen carefully to God's word. Great Christians obey Jesus like a little child. Great Christians trust completely the Lord's command.

We are all called to greatness because we serve a Great and Mighty God. And I am happy because I am part of God's family. I have a Father in heaven and I am his child on earth. I was bought for a great price and redeemed from darkness that I may fulfill his purpose for my life: "to love him, to be a part of his family, to become like him, to serve him, and to tell others about him" (The Purpose Driven Life, Rick Warren).



Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/?expert=Bernadette_Purto

Faith Versus Understanding

By Jim D Andrews

I have a problem with taking things on faith. I believe that if the truth were told, everyone feels the same way that I do. We are willing to take something on faith when we have no other choice; I think it is as simple as that. As we look for solutions and come up empty the guru with the most convincing story starts to sound pretty good and off we go.

We are led to believe that having faith is a virtue, a responsibility that we have in order to connect with the sacred. The truth is that everything can be explained by the laws of nature. Really? Everything can be explained by the laws of nature? I know this is a rather bold statement but it is based on the fact that our understanding of the laws of nature has been unfolding for centuries and will continue to unfold at an accelerated rate going forward.

(Side note: the term Natural Law is often used incorrectly to describe the Laws of Nature. Natural Law as it was originally intended to be used refers to theories of morality that should apply to all mankind not to how the natural world works.)

The term Law of Nature does not only apply to what is seen by the way. Think; radio waves, magnetism, the Uncertainty Principle, String Theory, and the Theory of Relativity. Also notice that many of these discoveries are fairly recent, in the last half century or so.

When will we discover the true laws governing consciousness and it's interrelationship with matter? I think it is only a matter of time. Science has already discovered that an observer (consciousness) does in fact alter matter according to the method of observation. Theories are building now around what is called non-locality; the ability of one particle to affect the behavior of its twin millions of miles away.

This stuff is not common knowledge because of its low commercial value, there are an awful lot of people with faith based products on the shelf that still need to be sold. Plus, it is far more difficult to explain a process than to just say "have faith." (This makes it your fault by the way if it doesn't work.)

While we will be dealing more with the process of living here on the ground I want to ask this:

Should all of this make us Atheists?

Absolutely not. We live in a tremendously complex and elegantly designed universe. Take this quote from Albert Einstein:

"The religion of the future will be a cosmic religion. It should transcend personal God and avoid dogma and theology. Covering both the natural and the spiritual, it should be based on a religious sense arising from the experience of all things natural and spiritual as a meaningful unity."

There is a purpose to all of this and a natural progression is in process towards that purpose. Don't be afraid to give up faith in place of understanding. The answers will be wonderful and complex so that your desire for a sense of the sacred and wonder will most certainly be fulfilled.

Here are some additional reasons for supplanting faith with understanding whenever you come across the opportunity to do so.

  • Knowledge reduces fear; it is the unknown that tends to make us afraid.When you have a better understanding of what is going to happen in the future you can prepare. When you understand what is happening to you right now even though it may be uncomfortable you can cope far more easily.
  • Imagine you are on a lengthy trip across country without a map, you only have the directions given to you by people along the way. If you are truly trying to get somewhere having a map is usually the best way to go. Knowing in advance where you will be going helps you sustain your progress, not knowing is conducive to giving up. Sometimes we just want to go on an adventure, then by all means throw away the map and have fun!
  • The more information you can give the subconscious the better it will be able to integrate your new experience. Remember that the subconscious does not discern between what is real and what is not, it is mainly interested in putting together patterns that work and are operational and will take care of you (in its opinion). The more information it has the faster and more completely it can accept new patterns as reliable.
  • This is one of the most important points I can make about understanding a process: It's Repeatable! Once you know how something is done you can put it use again and again for your own benefit.
  • Once you understand something you can teach it. The process becomes transferrable without being dependant on the personality of the teacher as in the guru scenario.

Jim Andrews is the author of the MindTech Principles, a book describing the 12 principles and 6 stages of personal transformation. Based in science and personal experience this book provides a new foundation for our understanding of the change process and how to create our own growth and success. A New Law of Attraction is proposed based on the 12 principles and it will surprise the reader in its unique perspective on how we really create what we want. Visit http://www.MindTechPrinciples.com for more information.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Do You Start Your Day With God?

By Jean Dewitt

"Listen to my voice in the morning, Lord. Each morning I bring my requests to you and wait expectantly." Psalm 5:3 NLT

How do you start your morning? Do you start with quiet time-just you and God? Do you speak to him each morning and bring your requests to him? Do you nourish your spirit through prayer? Or do you just crawl out of bed, get ready for the day and fly out the door?

The first part of your day is foundational to the rest of it. If you start out spiritually, you'll then be ready to face the world and your schedule. But if you start out in a "ready, set, go" mode, then you haven't primed your pump for flowing with God throughout your day. Instead, you've primed your pump with yourself. It's a subtle thing-but not spending any quiet time with God sends a message to your soul that you're the one in control...the captain of your ship, so to speak. So you might want to remember that the waters of life can get pretty rough on any given day. Is your strength and wisdom sufficient?

If you get up fifteen minutes earlier and devote those minutes to prayer, reading the Bible, and seeking God, you'll find your day will go much better. You'll even have an assurance in your soul that "all is well"-no matter what the day brings. Remember, spiritual disciplines are very important, and if you don't develop this one-I dare say, you won't be able to develop others. This is foundational.

If you are not used to morning time with God, just know this-God does not expect you to jump through hoops. If you only start with fifteen minutes a day, that's good. Read the Bible for five minutes, listen to a couple of worship songs, and pray for five minutes. If you don't know how to pray-learn. There are lots of great books that can teach you how to pray.

Perhaps you think it doesn't make a difference if you spend time with God. Prove it to yourself. For one week give God time first thing in the morning (do it while drinking your coffee, God won't mind). The next week, start your day the old way-your way. Take note of the differences in yourself and how you react to things during each day.

First things need to be first. The bottom line is this, God longs to be with you, and he doesn't want your end-of-the-day energy. He deserves your best, which is your first. It's really about him loving you, and you loving him. Express yourself to God. Bring your requests to him each morning. By doing this, you are building a sure foundation every day of your life.

"Satisfy us in the morning with your unfailing love, so we may sing for joy to the end of our lives." Psalm 90:14a NLT

On my website, http://gloryjean.com you'll find inspiration and information to help you find "your place" in this life. I believe in the power of words. They have the power to frame your world and fashion your thoughts! Poems, essays, articles, and ebooks can cause you to think, dream, explore, expand, envision, and create. They can also connect you more closely to the Divine. Frequently they even act as a catalyst to bring you an "aha" moment, which then propels you into action. The poems within my ebooks can be used in greeting cards, etc. I hope you find something on my site that will draw you closer to your dreams!

The Spiritual Benifits of Fasting

By Mike Mullen

A long time ago, I offered to take a friend of mine out to lunch and he turned down my offer. I asked him if he had other plans or maybe he wasn't feeling well but he just kept saying no. I was a little upset about it because I thought he was blowing me off.
A few days later he called me back and apologized. He said, "Mike, I wasn't trying to blow you off the other day, I was fasting."
I replied, "FASTING??? What the heck are you fasting for? And why didn't you tell me then?"

He began to explain that he did it once a week in order to strengthen his spirit...
I thought he was nuts.

Back then I had just gotten to know the Lord and didn't really have any guidance. As the years have passed I have learned a lot about this.

What many people don't know is that there is a spiritual order to your existence. The proper order of your spiritual house is Spirit, Soul, Body. The improper order is Body, Soul, Spirit.
The improper order is what most of us walk around the planet in. We are out of line so to speak.

When we are not in the divine order, we can not communicate with God our creator. We have been like this since the time of Adam and Eve's fall in the Garden of Eden.

The reason we can not communicate with Him is because our spirit has been put last and made weak. God does not talk to your body. He talks to your Spirit and your Soul tell the Body what to do.

So the fastest way to fix this is by fasting. Every time you fast, you humble the body and strengthen the spirit. Essentially, you are letting your body know that it does not have control of the mind.

You can do this once a week, once a month. You can do it anytime you feel that you are backsliding.
Just keep that spiritual order in mind.
Spirit, Soul, Body - - Fast and be blessed!

Michael E. Mullen http://www.rapture.zoxic.com

Prayer - Time to Re Plug In

By Ray Dudley

The truth is are prayers are killing us. Actually, it's the quality of our prayers that are killing us. Did you know (and there are many that don't) that it's possible to pray all night for someone or something? Have you ever heard of David Brainerd? How is it that were not ashamed of our anemic approach to the throne? Where are those that believe in approaching the throne of God with authority? Can we really be so void of our position in Christ that we almost have to back up to the throne hoping for an audience with the King? "The violent take it by force" I believe is the correct quote (and it's not taken out of context).

Forgive me for the lengthy quote about to follow from E.M. Bounds, but, I feel it's necessary for us to see what CAN be done if we actually wanted to do it. Here, from "Power through Prayer": "BISHOP WILSON says: "In H. Martyn's journal the spirit of prayer, the time he devoted to the duty, and his fervor in it are the first things which strike me." Payson wore the hard-wood boards into grooves where his knees pressed so often and so long. His biographer says: "His continuing instant in prayer, be his circumstances what they might, is the most noticeable fact in his history, and points out the duty of all who would rival his eminency. To his ardent and persevering prayers must no doubt be ascribed in a great measure his distinguished and almost uninterrupted success." The Marquis DeRenty, to whom Christ was most precious, ordered his servant to call him from his devotions at the end of half an hour.

The servant at the time saw his face through an aperture. It was marked with such holiness that he hated to arouse him. His lips were moving, but he was perfectly silent. He waited until three half hours had passed; then he called to him, when he arose from his knees, saying that the half hour was so short when he was communing with Christ. Brainerd said: "I love to be alone in my cottage, where I can spend much time in prayer." William Bramwell is famous in Methodist annals for personal holiness and for his wonderful success in preaching and for the marvelous answers to his prayers. For hours at a time he would pray. He almost lived on his knees. He went over his circuits like a flame of fire. The fire was kindled by the time he spent in prayer. He often spent as much as four hours in a single season of prayer in retirement. Bishop Andrewes spent the greatest part of five hours every day in prayer and devotion. Sir Henry Havelock always spent the first two hours of each day alone with God.

If the encampment was struck at 6 A.M., he would rise at four. Earl Cairns rose daily at six o'clock to secure an hour and a half for the study of the Bible and for prayer, before conducting family worship at a quarter to eight. Dr. Judson's success in prayer is attributable to the fact that he gave much time to prayer. He says on this point: "Arrange thy affairs, if possible, so that thou canst leisurely devote two or three hours every day not merely to devotional exercises but to the very act of secret prayer and communion with God. Endeavor seven times a day to withdraw from business and company and lift up thy soul to God in private retirement. Begin the day by rising after midnight and devoting some time amid the silence and darkness of the night to this sacred work. Let the hour of opening dawn find thee at the same work. Let the hours of nine, twelve, three, six, and nine at night witness the same. Be resolute in his cause. Make all practicable sacrifices to maintain it. Consider that thy time is short, and that business and company must not be allowed to rob thee of thy God."

It's a subject full of controversy. How to pray, when to pray, what to pray, where to pray and to who to pray. All things which come up in the normal course of discussion about such an important subject. Sadly, one could reasonably say that more time and effort is given in the discussion of prayer than is put forth into the endeavor itself. Over the years I've encountered too many "gimmicks" in Christianity geared toward prayer. Things such as prayer clocks, prayer stones, prayer oil, prayer cloths and so on just gives me headaches. So much money and time lost for something so simple and yet so profound. The weight of the doing keeps many of us from rendering the time it requires. E.M. Bounds again wrote: " Praying is no light and trifling exercise. While children should be taught early to pray, praying is no child's task. Prayer draws upon the whole nature of man. Prayer engages all the powers of man's moral and spiritual nature. It is this which explains somewhat the praying of our Lord described as in Hebrews 5:7: "Who in the days of his flesh, when he had offered up prayers and supplications, with strong crying and tears, unto him that was able to save him from death, and was heard in that he feared." What a mouthful! Childlike and yet no child's task.

We're given the privilege and honor to come before God Almighty and intercede for others, but, so many of us stumble over such a task. It's an awesome commandment to fulfill and yet so few of us actually understand it or even do it. And when we do we spend so much time on frivolous items such as material goods that the greater tasks of prayer for lost souls goes undone. Given the requirement to pray, it would do us well to spend as much time in the task as possible. One of the downsides to too little prayer is that we end up not fully understanding our relationship with God. Reading through epistles such as Romans and Ephesians should be extremely helpful helpful to us in our comprehension of who we are in Christ. Especially the Book of Ephesians. And I'm not talking here in any way about personal gain such as is in the "prosperity gospel" being preached in so many corners. Even a cursory look at the early forefathers and Christian before us would and should give us pause as to how and why we pray today. Men like George Mueller and David Brainerd should convict us and convict us deeply about how shallow we are in this 21st century. Our prayers reflect it.

Our government reflects it. So do our schools and neighbor hoods. Do you know of anyone that weeps and travails for their neighbors? Or for their city? Forgive me for what I'm about to say, but most pastors spend more time and effort on fund raising than they do engaged in prayer for the souls around them that are dropping off into eternal flames never to return. I repeat, never to return. No second chances. No "Oops I made a mistake". No "do overs". So go on. Prayer for a new car, new home, better job, nicer furniture. But while you do I'll be praying that God burns a desire so deep in our hearts that they have to tear us from our prayer closets. By the way, there seems to be plenty of room in the prayer closet so don't worry about it getting over crowded. Such is the task set before us. Weighty, but in it, joy. Somber and yet a task to be relished. I'll write more about prayer in upcoming articles. Until then, strive for a powerful, prayerful life.

Ray is a successful entrepreneur, speaker, actor, writer and minister.

http://howtopraysuccessfully.blogspot.com

Friday, October 24, 2008

Communicating with God: The Great Feeling of Communicating with God

By: Michael Lee

You don’t need to be a Christian or a church regular to be communicating with God. We need Him more than ever because life carries with it a lot of challenges. And these challenges can sometimes be too much for us to handle alone.

In order to make it through in one piece, you will need the help of others. And more often than not, you will need the help of the One who has given you life. But there’s no need to be overwhelmed.

Communicating with God is an opportunity for you to understand more of yourself and what life has in store for you. It is a journey of discovery in itself. God works in mysterious ways. You may not always understand what His plans are, but know that He only has your best interests in mind.

I know this to be true. At one point in my life, I felt lost and abandoned. Everyday, I followed the same routine over and over again. I was unhappy with my work and miserable with everything else. Something was missing but I couldn’t quite put my finger on it. I desperately wished for something to happen. As cheesy as this sounds, I wanted something to fill the emptiness in my soul.

Then one day, I happened to pass by the local church in our community. I wasn’t a church regular and hardly attended mass at all. But at that moment, I felt like stopping by. A church choir was practicing inside.

I closed my eyes and listened to the religious hymns. The pure harmony of the voices and the music amazed me. At that moment, I felt like I was communicating with God. A sense of happiness welled up inside me and I felt better than I had ever been for the past few months.

After that experience, I became livelier and was able to appreciate more of what life offered me. My work habits improved greatly and I was able to see the beauty in all the things that surrounded me. Needless to say, I felt right about my life. I realized that this was my way of communicating with God. By finding inspiration in my environment, I was able to discover more things about myself and about other people as well.

Communicating with God is different for everybody. My experience will probably be not the same as yours. However, one thing is for certain. As long as you open your heart and reach out to Him, you will find life to be a fulfilling and exciting journey.

Read my personal story in communicating with God, and the amazing events that occurred as a result of my faith and belief in Him. Experience the miracle at http://www.squidoo.com/communicatingwithgod

The Answer to Rejection

By Niti Charlton

There are numerous occasions when we feel excluded and let down by others. We often look to others to feel accepted and valued. And when this need is not met, we feel rejected and hurt.

Often in our daily lives, we come upon stray incidents like the one below.

Lekha arrived late to work and her boss was angry that she was regularly late. In an attempt to correct this behavior, he started chastening her.

Boss: Lekha, this is not the first time I see you coming late to office. I would like to warn you not to repeat this.

Lekha: My 2 month old son is still not accustomed to sleeping usual hours. To add, the busy traffic often disrupts my schedule. I wanted to discuss my situation with you earlier, but I thought you would understand. I would really appreciate if you could make my timing flexible until things get normal at home.

Boss: OK, I understand.

But later in the day, she overheard her boss saying that she always has a good reason for turning in late.

Lekha felt miserable the whole day because she felt nobody understood her predicament. She was a new mom and with all the hectic activity at home, she did not even have time to rest her back. She lamented that she was not valued and her special needs were not being respected.

Have we not often felt the same way? When we really felt under pressure to perform beyond our limits? When somebody has expectations we could not possibly meet and it sets us thinking why we feel so empty inside? So rejected and hurt about not being valued and respected?

GOD put this need and desire in us to feel valued and respected. He made a void in us which He alone can fill. In the noise and the bustle, the void is still there and it makes us crave all sorts of things. Unless the love tank inside us is filled with the pure love of Jesus, chances are we will fall prey to the empty distractions of the world.

Dr. Gary Chapman in his book "The Five Love Languages" refers to the concept of love tank which is symbolic of the inner void that each of us has within us. The author mentions that all people need to feel loved because this void needs to be constantly filled with love, attention, recognition, respect and so on. When these needs are not fulfilled, a person feels out of place. Thus we are most happy when the love tank is full. Then the little misdoings go unnoticed, we can easily take a comment here and there and it hardly seems to affect us! Surely, there is a deep connection to how we feel inside and what we have to deal with outside.

In my own life, I have often pondered in my mind why I feel differently each day. It is only now that I realize that my response and reaction to people is affected by how I am feeling inside. If there is a storm within, I am going to feel miserable and the misery is going to spill out in my words. So how do I tackle the situation?

The answer is really simple:

1 Chronicles 16:10:

Glory ye in his holy name: let the heart of them rejoice that seek the LORD.

And again in the next verse (1 Chronicles 16:11):

Seek the LORD and his strength, seek his face continually.

What happens when we seek the Lord? We transfer the quality of the One we seek into our lives.

Psalm {17:15}:

As for me, I will behold thy face in righteousness: I shall be satisfied, when I awake, with thy likeness.

Psalm {4:7}:

Thou hast put gladness in my heart.

Psalm {16:8-9}:

I have set the LORD always before me: because [he is] at my right hand, I shall not be moved. Therefore my heart is glad, and my glory rejoiceth: my flesh also shall rest in hope.

What is the heart of GOD?

1 John 4:8:

God is love.

1 Chronicles {16:27}:

Glory and honour are in his presence; strength and gladness are in his place.

Psalm {5:7}:

But as for me, I will come into thy house in the multitude of thy mercy: and in thy fear will I worship toward thy holy temple.

Psalm {21:13}:

Be thou exalted, LORD, in thine own strength: so will we sing and praise thy power.

When we seek the face of GOD, He fills us with His love, glory, strength, honour, power and mercy (to name a few)!! When He so fills us -- that our love tanks are FULL, a rash comment or disapproval from others would really have no room to settle inside! Forgiveness happens easily when one is so love soaked that there is no room for hatred. We could feel no bitterness for another, we would only feel love for one another! There would be no judgement, no anger, no dissatisfaction as we noted earlier that satisfaction is from the Lord.

Psalm {17:15}:

As for me, I will behold thy face in righteousness: I shall be satisfied, when I awake, with thy likeness.

The trouble starts when we do not spend time in His presence - to be filled to the point of over flowing so that we are immune to the world and the not-so-good news that pervades the air. Pray that He may fill you with His great love each day as you continually soak in His presence. Take the time and do not compromise because it is going to determine how you do the whole day and when the days add up, they might well decide your destiny! Amen.

The longer the time of soaking and marinating, the better. The peace becomes deeper and there is a stillness inside that you will never know except at the feet of the Lord. Soak till you feel full, till you know you are fully equipped to face the world.

Let the presence of GOD so pervade your life that the fullness of life and the virtue of Christ flow into other's lives too! This is the secret to being beyond offence - to be so strong that the little things don't matter. When you feel lovelorn, you know what is missing - GOD and His love for you. Lean on Him to regain your strength. Be radiant in His love and then encounter the world with all its expectant people!!

In the previous context, if Lekha had found time to search her heart for whether she was empty or full, she would have realized the great void that was inside her because she had been expending herself and not having any quiet time in GOD's presence to charge herself up with the love of Christ. She had forgotten that she had free access to the great measure of GOD's love by simply spending quiet time with Him -- the Savior of our souls, awesome Redeemer and Healer!! She was so caught up in her worldly chores that she missed out on sharpening her axe!

GOD has His way of getting our attention. It could be through a painful boss or a nagging husband. At the end, it brings glory to His Name, for all shall know Him and they will prosper in every way!

Amen. Glory to Jesus for ever and ever. Hallelujah!

Niti Charlton - EzineArticles Expert Author

Thursday, October 23, 2008

The Spirit Health Line - Beginning With Daily Prayer

By Kevin L. Freeman

Welcome to The Spirit Health Line: a series that will explore Christian life principles that promote the life, health, and growth of the Christian spirit. This first post in The Spirit Health Line covers the essential discipline of daily prayer as a great starting point for a Christian based program that stimulates the health of the Christian spirit. Remember that the health of the Christian spirit can only be increased by connecting with the Master of spiritual health, the author of life and faith, the doctor of all sickness, God Himself.

Daily prayer is one of the most important disciplines in the Christian life for stimulating the health of the Christian spirit. Prayer sparks learning, growth, and the understanding of Christian life and principles. Prayer is an amazing, personal line of spiritual communication from Christians to God without any middle man, interference, or distortion.

It's just little old me and the Lord of the entire universe when I engage in prayer, and I can use prayer to open my heart and spirit to God. I can ask for aid in my Christian life and health in my spirit, as well as aid and health in the lives and spirits of my family and friends. I can use prayer to bring blessings on my friends and family, and I can use prayer to bring curses on my enemies. As the strength and health of my spirit becomes ever greater in my own life through this Christian discipline, I can even use the Christian principles of prayer to bless my enemies through the grace that God has given me, helping me to gain greater humility, compassion, and a deeper understanding of the forgiveness that the life of Christ has brought to all Christians.

Make no mistake that God hears you when you pray, and although God answers every prayer, His answers wait until the appropriate time to be given. Sometimes, His answer can be a flat out, resounding no. God truly knows what I need to bring health to my spirit and my life, even better than I often think I know it myself, which is why Christian prayer becomes a life changing spiritual exercise of Christian faith with its continual use. Notice, I use the word Christian frequently when outlining these principles; this is for good reason! According to Christ's own teaching in the bible, "I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me." (John 14:6, NIV)

There are countless examples of the effectiveness and power of prayer throughout the bible. In the book of Daniel, chapter 10, Daniel prays and fasts for 21 days before the angel Gabriel can reach him with an answer. This account is a great example of the patience and steadfast determination that God sometimes requires of us before He answers our prayers. I often wonder if I would have the strength to do what Daniel did in order to humble himself before God and wait patiently for His answer.

Another great bible passage, 1 Kings chapter 17, verses17-21, gives us an example of the power of God through prayer as Elijah uses prayer to ask God to bring a kind woman's dead son back to life. God grants his fervent prayer, and Elijah brings a healthy boy down to his shocked mother, who suddenly proclaims that Elijah truly is a servant of the one true God.

The bible also gives us Hebrews chapter 5, verse 7, which says that "During the days of Jesus' life on earth, he offered up prayers and petitions with loud cries and tears to the one who could save him from death, and he was heard because of his reverent submission." Jesus spent many hours in intense prayer with the Father throughout his life. He taught us to engage in prayer continually in our hearts, both for the sake of our Christian spirits and also in order to remain open to the power and understanding of God. Notice with this passage, however, that although his reverent submission was heard by God, the burden was not lifted from him, and he was not saved from death. Jesus desperately wanted to call down his legions of angels to protect him, but instead he submitted himself to the will of God, and God's will was for him to become a living sacrifice for all the world.

A helpful bible passage regarding the steadfastness of Christian prayer is Ephesians chapter 6, verse 18, which tells us to "Pray in the Spirit at all times and on every occasion. Stay alert and be persistent in your prayers for all believers everywhere."

If you have decided to begin the daily Christian discipline of prayer in your own life, I would encourage you to start a prayer journal, both to track your progress and to look back and see how God has answered your prayers. Keep a prayer list in the front of the book, being sure to include some time for simply waiting quietly to receive the inspiration of the Lord. As the strength and health of your spirit grows, you will find that your prayers will grow with them. Over time, the Christian discipline of prayer will become an essential habit, coming before every action and plan.

Perhaps the greatest Christian example of prayer that has been given to us is the Lord's prayer, given to us by Jesus as an example of healthy Christian prayer. I will leave you with this prayer and the hope that we will all gain the health of the spirit that will come through its use.

God bless us in our Christian journey,

Kevin

You should pray like this:

Our Father in heaven,
help us to honor
your name.
Come and set up
your kingdom,
so that everyone on earth
will obey you,
as you are obeyed
in heaven.
Give us our food for today.
Forgive us for doing wrong,
as we forgive others.
Keep us from being tempted
and protect us from evil.
(Matthew 6:9-13 (Contemporary English Version))


Tuesday, October 21, 2008

8 Ways to Boost Your Faith in God

By Babes Tan-Magkalas

You may ask - how do I grow in my faith, how do I start? How do I keep the doubts and unbelief out of my life? I asked myself the same questions before. There were times when I seemed to have gotten off track in my walk with the Lord. I got distracted. I started to focus more and more on my problems instead of God's faithfulness to help me go through the challenges in my life. What did I do to get back on track?

Here's what I did (and still do):

1. Spend time with God. This is why right at the beginning of this e-book, I already started discussing about the importance of a Quiet Time with God. This is very crucial in your faith journey. Read the Bible, ponder His words in your heart. Get to know your Creator, who He is, His promises. Because when you get to know Him, you will trust Him and trust as I said previously is the essence of faith.

2. Remember what He has done for you as often as possible. I consciously make an effort of recalling what God has done for me in the past. This brings me back to focusing on God's ability to come through for me and reinforces my faith.

3. Listen to Christian Music. I love music and I enjoy singing, especially contemporary Christian music. Such music just move my heart and soul. I can identify with the lyrics of the songs, they seem to speak to me and convey a message I need to hear at that very moment in time.

4. Join a Ministry. You grow by serving others and using your God-given gifts. I joined our Church's music ministry and committed to it. By committed I mean attending scheduled practice sessions consistently and being there on time to sing during the Mass.

5. Be part of a small group of fellow believers. We grow better together. There is nothing like having that special "bond" with a few people who are in the Lord when you need someone to talk to, when you are discouraged, when you need a shoulder to cry on, when you need advice and other times when you simply need a friend. Oftentimes the Lord will communicate with you through them. They will also hold you accountable in a loving way.

6. Attend Mass regularly. I don't mean every day (although that would be good) but even just on Sundays. Some people don't go to church anymore or just hear Mass when it's Christmas or Easter Sunday or when they act as a sponsor for a child during the sacrament of Baptism/Confirmation or when they want something from God badly. How can your faith grow if you don't even feed yourself with the Word of God even once a week? If you don't get excited going to your parish church, then find one which inspires you and motivate you to grow in faith.

7. Acknowledge God often or say short prayers. During the course of your day, talk to God. Even a simple 'Thank you Lord for the nice weather' or 'God, how beautiful those flowers are. And I know you made them. You're awesome!' You know what I mean. When you make Him part of your daily life, things go more smoothly.

8. Choose carefully what you read, watch and listen to. In this day and age, there is just so much out there which can confuse someone growing in faith. Don't watch too much news, documentaries or books which go against your faith, movies with lots of nudities, etc. Don't listen to radio announcers who swear on air or music containing references to violence, swearing, depressing thoughts, sex, etc.

So take that first step of faith. I remember the time when I took the first step to trusting God. I was working in one of the coastal villages in the Philippines many years ago and I remember going to the beach after work and noticing the beautiful sunset over a very calm sea. That spectacular view so touched my heart that I stopped for a while and said to myself, "Surely God alone can create such an amazing scene. If He can do that, certainly HE can easily take good care of me."

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Babes Tan-Magkalas has 2 major passions in life: St. Joseph and prayer. She wrote a free ebook entitled "Prayer Tips (for Prayers That Get Results)" where she gives out valuable information on how to make prayers more powerful and effective. Grab your copy HERE.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Jesus Explains Blasphemy Against the Holy Ghost and the Idling of Time

By Connie Limon

A person possessed with a devil, blind, and dumb was brought to Jesus. When Jesus healed the person he began to see and could hear. All the people who saw this were amazed and said, Is this the son of David? However, when the Pharisees heard of it, they said, this man called Jesus, does not cast out devils, except it be by Be-el'ze-bub, the prince of devils. In other words, Jesus is not casting out devils by anything good, he is doing it by an evil method.

Jesus knew the thoughts of the Pharisees. He said every kingdom divided against it is brought to desolation and every city or house divided against itself will not stand, and if Satan cast out Satan, he is divided against himself, so how will his kingdom stand? Jesus went onto say and I by Be-el'ze-bub cast out devils, how does your children cast them out. They will be your judges, but if I cast out devils by the Spirit of God, then the kingdom of God will come to you.

Now....if one enters into a strong man's house and spoil his goods, he must first bind up the strong man, and then he will be able to spoil his goods. Anyone who is not with Jesus is against him, and those who do not gather with him scatters abroad.

Men and women will be forgiven of all manner of sin and blasphemy, except the blasphemy against the Holy Ghost. Blasphemy against the Holy Ghost will not be forgiven. If a word is spoken against the Son of man, it will be forgiven, but anyone who speaks against the Holy Ghost will not be forgiven in this world or in the world to come.

Jesus said true blasphemy against the Holy Ghost is an accusation that a good work was done using an evil spirit rather than the Spirit of God or the Holy Ghost.

Good men and women out of the good treasure of their hearts bring forth good things, and an evil man out of the evil treasure from the heart brings forth evil things. Every idle word that men and women speak will be remembered in the Day of Judgment because by a person's words they are either justified or condemned.

Some of the scribes and the Pharisees wanted to see a sign from Jesus. He said only an evil and adulterous generation wants a sign and there will be no sign given; only the sign of the prophet Jonas, which was when Jonas was in the whale's belly for three days and three nights just as the Son of man will be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth.

I believe this to mean for us today that we cannot expect to receive any real proof that Jesus actually existed. We just have to "believe" that what is written is actually what occurred.

It was as if some of the scribes and the Pharisees could not believe Jesus was really the Son of man without some kind of sign shown them. Today, we still have people who will not believe the stories of Jesus and keep his commandments without searching for proof and wanting to receive signs that he truly existed and still exist today.

I truly think we just need to say yes, Jesus was and is the Son of man and leave it at that. We need to spend our time seeking to know how to live righteously so that when the Day of Judgment arrives we do not have idle words and idle works to give account of.

It is possible that continually digging for proof of this and that about the real existence of Jesus, writing and talking about the same is part of this idleness Jesus was talking about to the scribes and Pharisees. It is a proof or sign that will never actually be found.

People have and will continue to find this and that which seems to relate to the fact that Jesus did exist and he walked the earth at one time, but in reality, I do believe Jesus is telling us here, there is no sign for sure. Don't be idle about this, because you will be held accountable. It is better to just spend your time learning his laws and doing them. Forget about determining whether or not Jesus existed or did not exist, because nobody is going to find a final answer on that. Time is better spent teaching, preaching and writing the gospel for men and women's repentance rather than digging and researching to find the signs that Jesus actually was - there will never be such an exact sign - only wasted time looking for it!

While Jesus continued to talk to the people, his mother and his brethren stood wanting to speak to him. Someone told Jesus that his mother and his brethren wanted to speak to him and Jesus said, but who is my mother and who is my brethren? His mother, sisters and brothers are whoever does the will of the Father which is in heaven.

When people do the will of the Father in heaven, regardless of whether or not they are related by fleshly blood, they are all brothers and sisters, mothers and fathers to one another. The family of God is similar to families related to each other in the flesh. However, according to this passage, if my mother does not do the will of the Father and I keep his laws, she is actually not my mother in the Family of God, only my mother in the flesh.

This article is FREE to publish with the resource box.

© 2007 Connie Limon. All Rights Reserved

Written by: Connie Limon Visit: http://smalldogs2.com/StressManagementArticles Visit Camelot Articles at http://www.camelotarticles.com for a variety of reprint articles

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Sowing Seeds

By Craig McDole

As we prepare for our upcoming Block Party, I came across this section of scripture. It came from our PowerUP devotional book for today. This section talks about us giving cheerfully. Many only equate giving with money, but it also includes our time, among other things.

Today's passage is from 2 Corinthians 9:6-10..."But this I say , He which soweth sparingly shall reap also sparingly; and he which soweth bountifully shall reap also bountifully. 7 Every man according as he purposeth in his heart, so let him give ; not grudgingly, or of necessity: for God loveth a cheerful giver. 8 And God is able to make all grace abound toward you; that ye, always having all sufficiency in all things , may abound to every good work: 9 (As it is written, He hath dispersed abroad; he hath given to the poor: his righteousness remaineth for ever. 10 Now he that ministereth seed to the sower both minister bread for your food, and multiply your seed sown, and increase the fruits of your righteousness;)"

The word today is a calling to give with all you have...to hold nothing back...I think of the song "Live Like You Were Dying"...give like it's your last chance...because it may be the last chance for someone to hear. We should look at our outreach like a field...haven't you noticed that God uses the "harvest" as a way to look at reaching the lost. If we only sow seeds in a small section of our field or garden, would we expect to harvest plentifully from the entire section of property? Duh- no! So, why would we only reach out to a few and expect great returns for God's kingdom?

May we each purpose in our hearts to give, not because we have to...not because others are watching...but because we want to. God loves a cheerful giver. Be glad to give your time. Our Block Party is a great outreach to our neighborhood and city. We see it grow each and every year. This year's promises to be bigger than ever, especially due to economic conditions. It takes the concentrated efforts of a large group. It's not easy, but the rewards are great!

I am amazed to be part of a group of committed folks who are willing to pitch in wherever needed. We will meet tonight to bag up groceries to give away to those in need. We look to bag somewhere between 300-400 bags this evening. That means that many will have to take time out of their Friday night to come help...and they will, cheerfully!

In verse 8, God promises to allow His grace to abound, that we will be able to continue on. He will give us the strength, if we are willing to put forth some effort! Jesus went out and reached out to folks...gave to the poor and ministered to people's needs. We are called to do much the same: ministering bread for food, multiply the seed we sow (the Gospel), and the fruits of our righteousness will be increased.

Think on these things today...sow the seeds of kindness and charity bountifully...give of yourself willingly, time and money...sow more seed (reach out)...and God will increase the fruit of your righteousness...

Please let me know if there is a special prayer I can word on your behalf today.

scriptures quoted are taken from the King James Version of the Holy Bible

Have Mercy Upon Us

By Craig McDole

Psalm 123..."Unto thee lift I up mine eyes, O thou that dwellest in the heavens. (2) Behold, as the eyes of servants look unto the hand of their masters, and as the eyes of a maiden unto the hand of her mistress; so our eyes wait upon the Lord our God, until that he have mercy upon us. (3) Have mercy upon us, O Lord, have mercy upon us: for we are exceedingly filled with contempt. (4) Our soul is exceedingly filled with the scorning of those that are at ease, and with the contempt of the proud."

This is a cry of a humble, broken man who has been broken by the world and his own sinful nature. Are you acknowledging to God how sinful and willfully disobedient you are? Do we look to God as if we have wronged Him and are waiting for His mercy on us? If we lift our eyes to heaven and confess our sin and cry out for mercy, He is willing and able to give it. As we shared yesterday, your heart tells you how vain, corrupt, and sinful you are. When we sin as Christians, there is guilt that we will feel. If you have no feeling of guilt, either you have become callous by sin or you never have truly believed.

Are you broken by the hurt this world dishes out? I like how the Amplified Bible states the final verse (4)..."Our life is exceedingly filled with the scorning and scoffing of those who are at ease and with the contempt of the proud (irresponsible tyrants who disregard God's law)." If you are not feeling the scorn and scoffing from this world, maybe that's a sign you are walking too closely with them. When we walk in the paths of the wicked, they have no reason to bother us.

If you are being worn down by your sin and the scorning of this world, lift your eyes and cry out to the Lord for His mercy and strength...if you feel no guilt in sin, pray for the Lord to break your will...if you've never put your faith in Jesus, don't wait another minute...

Let me know if there is a special prayer I can word on your behalf today.

Scriptures quoted are taken from the King James Version of the Holy Bible.


The Lords Prayer

Voting For What God Hates

by Bette Dowdell

Well, everybody knows that God is love. But few know that the Bible says God hates seven things. God hates things that destroy love or make love impossible by building barriers between us and others and God.

Here's how Proverbs 6 puts it:

"There are six things the Lord hates--no, seven things he despises:"

• The First Three Things God Hates

"Haughty eyes," otherwise known as elitism. The condescension of elitists angers God because he values all people, while elitists value only themselves. Or at least their prerogatives.

"A lying tongue," needs no interpretation. Think about it. If you lie to somebody, or about somebody, you don't love them, regardless of the sweet nothings you say to the contrary. Lying kills relationships. In fact, lying eventually kills the entire society.

"Hands that kill the innocent," the primary example of which is abortion. God hates it.

Since both Christians and Jews must define themselves, according to the Bible, by following God's directions and being all he calls them to be, they have to hate what God hates--in the present example, elitism, lying and abortion.

Well, look at that! Written thousands of years ago, and it's about the election. So let me ask you: Are you going to vote for anything God hates?

• Two More Things God Hates

You know, some people claim the Bible isn't relevant anymore, but by golly, it gets more relevant by the day. Let's take a look at the next two things God detests.

They are "a heart that plots evil" and "feet that race to do wrong."

"The heart that plots evil" part, is a good description of somebody who cooks the books at FannieMae to create a huge payday for himself while putting others in financial jeopardy.

And to illustrate "feet that race to do wrong," we have his Congressional and media cronies rushing to cover up the facts of this theft. They don't insist he accept responsibility, as the Bible requires, but blame others (combining their race with "lying tongues"). Then they race on to force others to foot the bill while he skates free.

This much bad stuff swirling around means you have a sewer. And it needs to be cleaned up.

Are you really going to vote for increasing the sewage level?

Or read the papers and magazines that promote it? Or watch the television `news'?

The arrogance stuns the senses. These people do as they please, dismissing any idea of accountability to God. Eventually, they'll get a surprise party that I won't want to go to.

• The Last Two Things God Hates

The final two things God hates are "a false witness who pours out lies" and "a person who sows discord among brothers."

"A false witness who pours out lies" includes people who lie after taking an oath to speak the truth, as in court. It also includes people speaking as experts. A political example would be candidates declaring that several studies prove a point when, in fact, they have no such studies. Or a scientist misrepresenting research results. Or a reporter making up stories. Etc.

"A person who sows discord among brothers" means creating discord in a family-destructive behavior at the very core of our lives. It's also the destruction of trust in any group where people who identify with and rely on each other. Whether the discord comes from inside or outside the group, it's wrong. And it's an old political trick.

• To Sum Up

God says we're to be excellent citizens. That includes voting intelligently. First, to know the issues; we don't have to be experts, but we need at least a basic understanding. Second, to listen to what the candidates say, not how they say it or how they look while saying it. Third, we simply cannot vote for what God hates-no matter what others do-because that's a vote for destruction.

Bette Dowdell is an author and speaker, after years in high tech. Read her blog, check out her books, How to be a Christian Without Being Annoying and On We March: A memoir of growing up in The Salvation Army, and more articles like this one, and listen to her speak at http:www.ConfidentFaith.com. And while you're there, be sure to sign up for a free, e-mail subscription to her original, take-the-hill quotes.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Bountiful Living - Life As Prayer

By C. Lynn Anderson

Living life as prayer is not about praying, although it can be. Living a prayerful life is so much more--it is living life to the fullest, embracing life as a spiritual journey. A prayerful life is steeped in the mysticism and the awe of the sacred. Each and every moment is revered in its sacredness. Each and every moment is honored for the lessons that are provided. If we expand prayer into prayerfulness, we see that life is related to the connections of the soul. For the soul functions in expansiveness, in the union of human to divine, and in the mysticism of daily experiences. And prayer is the language of the soul. It may be silent or it may burst forth in a song or in a dream. It may be danced with joy or drawn in tears. But prayer is always expressive; it is about the soul living the life divine.

Living a prayerful life is living a life of open communion with the Universal Life Force, be it of God or Goddess, Allah or Brahman, the Way or a Higher Power, the Essence or the All, the Divine or the Beloved, the Great Spirit or Krishna. This is the communion of the heart to its very essence. Prayerful living is ultimately being for the Absolute and allowing him the openness of our own divine nature.

What is the essence of living life as prayer? We begin this journey with the experience of awe, wonder, and beauty--the underlying guiding principles of the cosmos, and therefore, of the Beloved. In such fascination, we recognize the beauty of life, pure life, in all its shapes and colors. There is a magical connection to All That Is, an enchantment with what stands before us. Such wonder is the beauty of nature; the awe of our physical bodies; the joy of the interconnection of the living and the dying; the fascination of what we see, feel, taste, touch, and hear. This is embracing life to its fullest.

In such awe and beauty, we discover our passion for living, our passion for being a human essence on this magical playground of the Earth and sea. This is the eros of fully experiencing and expressing the divine nature of ourselves; the scintillating sensuality that is the basis of our human/divine self. This is the joy, ecstasy, and pleasure that we are meant to experience, for as the universe is passionate, so are the Creator and created. Yet passion involves all the emotions--the suffering and the grief, the longing and the emptiness, the desire and the despair, the fear and the love.

Prayerful living is also experienced in the mystery and the mysticism of our being. This is the experience of oneness, of the totality of the communion with a Higher Presence. This is of the sacred--where human and divine meet in wonder and in transcendence. It is the ability to accept the unknown, to follow our intuition, to commune with the Source, to resonate with the innate spiritual truths through letting go and letting be. This may happen through prayer, meditation, contemplation, yoga, in silence and solitude, with others--through any experience that leads to the Beloved.

In our prayerfulness, we honor the deep abiding wisdom that guides and heals. For in our reverence, wisdom lies. In our gratefulness, our gratitude, our humility, we go beyond the limited ego into the higher self of divine wisdom, divine love, divine being. We praise, give thanks, and bless all that we have received, all that we are receiving, and all that we will receive. We are graced in love and acceptance through such heartfelt thanksgiving.

In our divine living, we recognize that faith underlies all prayerfulness. Faith in a divine power, faith in the mysticism of our sacred being, faith in ourselves, and faith in all that surrounds us. Faith transcends every level of human pride, ego, and fear. It is living life as prayer and understanding that all is well even in the midst of turmoil. Prayerfulness does not exist without faith.

We need to continue to awaken to the blessings before us. As we become more awakened, the more everything in our life becomes a prayer. We begin to pray without interruption, pray without ceasing, pray every moment. As we go upon our day, our every moment, every action, and every thought is prayerful. To pray without ceasing is to live life to its fullest.

C. Lynn Anderson, D.Min., ACSW, is a psychotherapist, adjunct professor at Ferris State University and Grand Valley State University, and author of the book, "Where All Our Journeys End: Searching for the Beloved in Everyday Life." Dr. Anderson can be contacted at: http://sarahscircle.com

The Shield Of Faith

Simply put, faith is believing, taking God at His word without reasoning or questioning. When I get ready to sit down in my chair at the office I don't wonder if the chair is going to support me. I sit down **anticipating** that it **will** support me. This is the attitude we must have towards God and the many wonderful promises He has given us.

Here are 9 important facts you need to know about faith:

(1) Faith is a force that will make your prayers a reality (Hebrews 11:1).

(2) Faith is released through words by praying scripture into your life (Romans 10:10). This passage talks about receiving salvation but the same principle of believing and confessing with the mouth can be applied to whatever we need from God.

(3) Faith works by love (Galatians 5:6).

(4) Faith will move mountains (Mark 11:23).

(5) Faith will overcome all of the world's problems (I John 5:4).

(6) Faith pleases God (Hebrews 11:6).

(7) Faith is what Jesus will look for when He returns (Luke 18:8).

(8) Faith is developed by hearing the Word of God (Romans 10:17).

(9) Faith will quench the attacks of the devil (Ephesians 6:16).

Your faith will soar as you fellowship with the Author and Finisher of your faith: Jesus. Earlier, I wrote that I never wonder if my office chair will hold me up. I always expect that it will. That's because of two things:

(1) It's a reliable brand with a wonderful reputation

(2) It has supported me in the past without fail

Jesus has a great reputation, doesn't He? We've only to read the Gospels to know that. While we were at our worse He died for us so that we might become the very best.

Our past experiences reveal God's faithfulness. If He has come through for us in the past, we know that He will once again answer our prayers.

Standing on God's promises is simple:

(1) Find scriptures that address the need.

(2) Pray those verses. As we speak scripture, our faith becomes stronger. The stronger our faith, the more power is released when we pray.

(3) Continue to pray the Word, thanking God for honoring His Word.

(4) Hold fast to the promises of God without wavering.

I said standing on God's promises is simple and it is. We are the ones who make things hard by looking at circumstances, reasoning and listening to our emotions instead of centering on what God has said in His Word. However, God's Word is never complicated. He has made salvation, our greatest gift, available by just believing and saying out loud that we believe God raised Jesus from the dead. It stands to reason that every other thing we need from God can be received just as easily.

I want to emphasize that faith works by love (see Galatians 5:6). We are commanded to love. If there is any bitterness, unforgiveness, hatred or strife in our lives we need to get rid of it. This might involve going to an individual and ask them to forgive us. Or, it might mean just letting go of those negative feelings. And, we can let go. It might be difficult but with God's help it can be accomplished.

When we have to engage in spiritual battle, the Lord wants us to win. We can lift up the shield of faith today to defeat all the lies of the enemy. We can drive him back by speaking the promises of God and expecting them to come to pass.

By: Karin Peavy

Karin Peavy uses her pen to help change lives. She is the author of Hot Chocolate For the Spirit, a new Bible devotional that is chock full of scripture keys that will help you live your best now. Karin also publishes a weekly ezine that reveals the many ways God is moving in your life, sometimes behind the scenes, and perhaps in ways you never imagined. Visit www.karinpeavy.com to discover more Bible study resources.