Prayer Challenge


I want to ask you to say this prayer out loud, if possible.

“I belong to God. I am a holy vessel, because I have the Holy Spirit of the Living God. The Lord of Heaven and earth has said over me; “I declare you holy!”. I commit to start believing what He says. I AM HOLY! Remind me daily, Spirit of the Living God, to treat myself as holy, open my eyes to every scheme of The Enemy to treat me as if I'm not. You God, are Holy. Your word is truth. This day Father, I chose to believe you! I ask this in the mighty name of your son Jesus Christ, who died on a cross for me so that I could be a coheir to the kingdom of God. Amen”



Sunday, November 24, 2013

Shape Me and Mold Me Lord: Part Two

Pots of Clay


The Lord led me to study "clay" about four years ago. This post is the second in a series of three articles about the instruction that I received, and continue to receive, from studying the scriptures relating to the "clay of God" and how He, the potter, relates to us.

Lamentations 4:2

How the precious sons of Zion, once worth their weight in gold, are now considered as pots of clay, the work of a potter's hands!

To understand Lamentations, I had to know more about the context of this book. Jerusalem, capitol of Judah had fallen to the Babylonians. The Temple was destroyed. Jeremiah had warned the Israelites, or Judeans, that disaster was going to overtake them if they continued to worship and follow the gods of their neighbors. Jeremiah had also warned them to submit to Babylon, instead of seeking
Egypt's help to overthrow the Babylonian rule. (Read Jeremiah, A Faithful Follower) In Chapter 4 of Lamentations,  the Israelites are trying to have hope that even with this disaster, brought on by sin, God is working for his people if they will rely on him.

The Potter's Hands 

 The precious sons of Zion stopped acknowledging God as the one true God, the Master Potter who created man with his hands. God wants to be in a loving relationship with his people. However, in the face of fullblown rebellion, he sent prophets to warn the nation to return to him. Instead, the nation continued importing goods and religion from their more sophisticated and powerful neighbors

Warned to Repent

Israel had been warned to repent and had ignored the warnings. Willfully determined to live outside the covenant, Israel continued to sin. The price of sin was heavy. To be forgiven, the entire population would need to confess. Then, sin offerings could be given. Unlike the Judeans, Christ paid our price for sin. We are under the new covenant that the prophets kept telling the tribe of Israel about.

His Precious Pots

I like the word precious in this verse. We have great value to God. He does not want to lose the work of his hands. He established a new covenant with his people because he values us, the work of his hands. We are precious enough, that God sent his son, Jesus to us. Jesus was the sin offering for all of God's precious, pots of clay.

Daniel 2:31-45

King Nebuchadnezzar had a disturbing dream about a statue. The king's astrologers, magicians and enchanters told him no one could interpret the dream "except the gods, and they do not live among men." (2:10)  God revealed the mystery to Daniel so he could interpret the dream for King Nebuchadnezzar.

Clay in Nebuchadnezzar's Dream

"...its feet partly of iron and partly of baked clay...a rock was cut out, but not by human hands. It struck the statue on its feet of iron and clay and smashed them."

Daniel's Interpretation From God

"Finally, there will be a fourth kingdom...Just as you saw that the feet and toes were partly iron and partly clay, so this kingdom will be partly strong and partly brittle. and just as you saw the iron mixed with baked clay, so the people will be a mixture and will not remain united, any more than iron mixes with clay. God of Heaven will set up a kingdom...it will crush all those kingdoms...but it will itself endure forever. This is the meaning ...of the rock cut out of a mountain, but not by human hands..."

God has a plan. He is going to set up a kingdom that will endure forever.




Sunday, November 17, 2013

Shape Me and Mold Me Lord: Part One

The Clay of God


 The Lord led me to study "clay" about four years ago. This post is the first in a series of three articles about the instruction that I received, and continue to receive, from studying the scriptures relating to the "clay of God" and how He, the potter, relates to us.

Isaiah 45:9

"Woe to him who quarrels with his Maker, to him who is but a potsherd among the potsherds on the ground. Does the clay say to the potter, 'What are you making?' does your work say, 'He has no hands?'

Rebuked

I am prone to questioning everything around me. "Inquiring minds want to know" was my motto throughout my late teens and twenties. However, God told Isaiah exactly what our relationship is supposed to be. Complaints can be taken to God, but we have to trust him to take care of us. Personally, I do not care to experience anguish and tribulation because of my own behavior towards God. I have been rebuked through the scripture for speaking words of anger at God. I haven't forgotten the feeling of profound shock I felt as I read God's printed answer for my angry outburst. That internal sense of shock was quickly followed by a sinking feeling of dismay at how wrong I had been. Quarreling with my Maker, in anger, isn't something I care to repeat.

One Broken Splinter

Occasionally, I remind myself that I am just one grain of sand on the beach of humanity. God stated it a little more succinctly. A potsherd among the potsherds on the ground. One broken splinter among the other broken splinters. Our relationship with God comes out of brokenness. Adam and Eve broke the one command that God had given them and broke the perfect relationship that they enjoyed with God. Humans are questioners; Satan used that to plant doubt in the hearts of Adam and Eve. This verse reminds me of how broken my life was, and can be, when I only trust myself to run it.

Isaiah 64:8

Yet, O Lord, you are our Father. We are the clay, you are the potter; we are all the work of your hand.

A Scripture Prayer from Isaiah 64:8


Father, I am your creation. Take me into your hands. Shape me and mold me as you will. I am your vessel. You shaped me with your hands, for your purpose. May my life always reflect that I am your creation, and bring you glory.
Amen

Jeremiah  18:1-6


The Lord actually told Jeremiah to go to the potter's house to receive a message. Obediently, Jeremiah went to the potter's house. Then Jeremiah watched the potter working at the wheel, shaping a pot. When the pot was marred, or disfigured, the potter formed it into a different pot.

At that moment, God spoke of Israel to Jeremiah "...can I not do with you as the potter does?" declares the LORD. "Like clay in the hand of the potter, so are you in my hand, O house of Israel.

Reshaped

God will reshape us according to his will. If we are disfigured, damaged, scarred, or less than perfect, we can trust Him to reshape us. Everyone the Lord has called to himself has been less than perfect. I want the Lord to shape me into the vessel of his choice. I know it will be good. Submission to God's purpose is not a weakness, it is a strength. Depend on God to take up the broken potsherd of your life and trust him to shape it into a new shape.

Thursday, November 14, 2013

The Expository Files -The Prayer of Jabez

The Expository Files

The Prayer of Jabez



1 Chronicles 4:9-10


"Now Jabez was more honorable than his brothers, and his mother called his name Jabez, saying, 'Because I bore him in pain.' And Jabez called on the God of Israel saying, 'Oh, that You would bless me indeed, and enlarge my territory, that Your hand would be with me, and that You would keep me from evil, that I may not cause pain.' So God granted him what he requested" (1 Chronicles 4:9-10). Who was Jabez? There is no mention of him anywhere else in the scriptures. From the context, it does appear that he was of the tribe of Judah, and some think that he was a son of Koz (cf. v. 8). There are other theories as to who and what he was, but our purpose here is simply to see what lessons we can learn fromthis passage of scripture.

First, consider the attitude of Jabez. He was honorable. Why he was more honorable than his brothers we are not told, but it may have to do with the nature of his prayer. There are two characteristics that are needed for one to be honorable in prayer. One of them is being earnest, which means intense, zealous, sincere, and determined. We are told that "the effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much" (James 5:16). The second of these characteristics is humility. "Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you in due time, casting all your care upon Him, for He cares for you" (1 Peter5:6-7). The earnest, fervent prayer that is prayed in true humility ishonorable before God.

Another aspect of the attitude of Jabez is that he directed his prayer to God. Because we are to worship the Lord our God and serve Him alone, Jesus taught us to address our prayers, saying, "Our Father in heaven, Hallowed be Your name" (Matthew 4:10, 6:9). To direct such a prayer to God demonstrates that one is trusting in and thus dependent on Him for everything that is needed. "Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God" (Philippians 4:6).

Second, consider the character of Jabez's petition. He requested a personal blessing. To ask God's blessing is to ask Him to bestow divine favor. There is nothing wrong with requesting God to bless us specifically. The Psalmist did. He prayed, "Save Your people, and bless Your inheritance; shepherd them also, and bear them up forever" (Psalm 28:9). Jabez also asked God to enlarge his borders. This seems to relate to material prosperity. Thus, it is certainly scriptural for us to pray that God will bless us materially (note Matthew 6:11). However, the Bible offers no "quid pro quo" promise that if we do certain specified things for God then He will materially prosper us a certain specified amount, as some who hold the "Abundant Life--Health and Wealth" gospel teach. Rather, the Lord has simply said that if we serve Him faithfully, He will provide for us (Matthew 6:33).

Then Jabez beseeched that God's hand would be with Him, no doubt to provide protection and guidance. Should we not pray with the Psalmist, "Lead me in Your truth and teach me, for You are the God of my salvation; on You I wait all the day" (Psalm 25:5)? Finally, Jabez expressed a petition that God would keep Him from evil. Jesus also indicated that His disciples should pray for God's preservation and deliverance, as He taught them to say, "And do not lead us into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one" (Matthew 6:13). Of course, God's protection, guidance, preservation, and deliverance are all provided for us through the scriptures (2 Timothy 3:16-17).

The reason why Jabez thus prayed was so that He might not cause pain. One commentator expressed it this way: "Let me not experience the grief which my name implies, and which my sins would well produce." Another phrased it, "Grant that the grief implied in my name may not come upon me!" And likewise, it should be our prayer, "I cling to Your testimonies; O LORD, do not put me to shame!" (Psalm 119:31). Finally, consider the response of God, who granted Him what he requested. The Lord has promised us, "Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocksit will be opened" (Matthew 7:7-8). God has said that He will hear and respond to the prayers of His people. Oh, He may not always give us what we ask for, when we ask for it, in exactly the way that we asked. But He is the source of every good and perfect gift (James 1:17). Therefore, we can trust Him to answer our prayers by providing what He knows best that we need in harmony with His will, just as He did with the prayer of Jabez.

By Wayne S. Walker
From Expository Files 8.11; November 2001

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Human Trafficking

A21 Campaign

At the Women of Faith conference (Sept. 2013), I heard Christine Caine speak about human trafficking and her organization, the A21 Campaign. The statistics and video grabbed my heart and impressed upon me the immediacy of this problem. Prayer has been my avenue to support the A21 Campaign.

 Freedom 43:19

Yesterday, At First Baptist Church of Owensville, I heard another speaker identify human trafficking as an immediate problem. The Missouri Baptist Children's Home has an affiliate program called Freedom 43:19 and I watched a short video about human trafficking.  Both speakers agreed upon one point. If there was no demand, there would be no problem. How sad that the demand has given rise to a billion dollar, world-wide industry.

 Human Trafficking is an Industry

More money is made by human trafficking than the combined income of Nike, Google, and Starbucks. Human trafficking is a world-wide industry. That boggles my mind. The most horrific fact is that the average victim is twelve to fourteen years old. Drugs, physical abuse, and sexual abuse are all a part of living in this type of servitude.

Human Trafficking is in Missouri

This issue isn't in some other country. It is a problem right here in Central Missouri. St. Louis, MO has a human trafficking issue. People just aren't aware of it. I spoke to my twenty-three year old daughter about this issue and she was shocked. Shocked about the fact that this is going on all around us. Remember the headlines this year? Three women were held in captivity by one man. In Lebanon, MO a young woman was caged  and held in bondage for sexual reasons. Occasionally, we hear about this issue on the news. However, yesterday's news quickly fades from our minds as we confront our own problems. I am guilty of this. Prayer is a solution all of us can take part in.

 Please Pray

Pray for the victims, pray for the abusers, pray for the workers who are trying to help these victims. Pray, Pray, Pray.

Resources for more information:


  1. www.thea21campaign.org
  2. www.mbchcfm.org
 

Sunday, November 3, 2013

SHIELD - An Acrostic Poem Inspired By Psalm 3



Shield me from those who want to harm me in any way
Help me make it through today
Inspire me to do your will
Expecting a miracle from you
Lend me your ear, O Lord and
Deliver me from evil

Sallee Bonham
10/13/13