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 to 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 the 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”

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Healing Prayer

A long time friend has had a terrible time healing from a surgery on her finger.
Bill and I were enjoying a visit with her and her husband when the Holy Spirit told me to pray with her about the finger. As I sat waiting for a break in the conversation to ask about prayer, I heard Bill say, "Would you mind if we prayed with you about your finger before we go?"

Yep, the Holy Spirit had moved him too.
Anyway, the four of us stood up, joined hands, and Bill prayed for her healing. He told her finger that it was healed because by Jesus' stripes we were healed. Yes, we were healed because Jesus bore our sins in his own body. Then, he thanks Jesus for giving us what we asked.

1 Peter 2:4
Who his own self bore our sins in his own body on the tree, that we, being dead to sins, should live to righteousness: by whose stripes you were healed.

Bill and I also know Jesus gives us what we ask when we have faith and believe with all our heart that this is so. We know this because of the following verses of the Bible:

Matthew 17:20
If you have faith as a grain of mustard seed, you shall say to this mountain, Remove hence to yonder place; and it shall remove; and nothing shall be impossible to you. 

Matthew 21:21-22
Jesus answered and said to them, Truly I say to you, If you have faith, and doubt not, you shall not only do this which is done to the fig tree, but also if you shall say to this mountain, Be you removed, and be you cast into the sea; it shall be done. And all things, whatever you shall ask in prayer, believing, you shall receive.

Mark 11:22-24
And Jesus answering said to them, Have faith in God. For truly I say to you, That whoever shall say to this mountain, Be you removed, and be you cast into the sea; and shall not doubt in his heart, but shall believe that those things which he said shall come to pass; he shall have whatever he said. Therefore I say to you, What things soever you desire, when you pray, believe that you receive them, and you shall have them.

Jesus Said
Jesus told his disciples more than once that with faith, you can tell a mountain to be removed, and it shall be done. When you pray, you have to believe that you receive what you ask for and you shall have what you ask for.

Our friend's mountain was her infected finger that wouldn't heal properly for weeks. 
Bill spoke to that mountain, the infected finger, in the name of Jesus and fully believing that it was healed. I also prayed and told that infection to leave her finger.

Today, Bill received a phone call from our friend's husband.
He was thrilled to tell Bill that the doctor said the finger was MUCH better. Bill and I thanked Jesus for the healing that we knew would be given because we asked in faith and belief. 

Sunday, March 26, 2017

Psalm of the Week - 42:2 - March 26, 2017

This psalm is a poem and a prayer
David was in exile when he wrote this lament.He felt God was absent and wanted to be in his living God's presence. 

Matthew Henry had this to say about David's faith, our faith, religion, and how we should feel about God:
  • Faith begins with holy desires towards God and communion with him... 
  •  Holy love to God as the chief good and our felicity (great happiness) is the power of godliness, the very life and soul of religion, without which all external professions and performances are but a shell and carcass (dead, without meaning)...  
  • Holy love thirsting, love upon the wing, soaring upwards in holy desires towards the Lord and towards the remembrance of his name (v. 1, 2): "My soul...thirsts, for God, for nothing more than God, but still for more and more of him... 
  • He longs to come and appear before attend on him, as a servant appears before his master, to pay his respects to him and receive his commands,—to give an account to him, as one from whom our judgment proceeds. 
  • To appear before God is...the desire of the upright..."
My Relationship with God
For a long time, my relationship with God was limited to when I needed help. Don't get me wrong, I believed in God and Jesus. I just didn't fully understand how much deeper my relationship could grow to be if I began to focus on God first, my self second, and all other things after that. 

As a child, I had a relationship with Jesus
However, as a young adult I walked away from church and Christian life. After sixteen years of living life my way, my life was in a shambles and I had to change. In 1994, I rededicated my life to Christ through baptism. My spiritual relationship with Christ was sealed that Sunday morning. During my baptism, I felt a small core of happiness begin to grow deep inside me that expanded to include my whole self as my face and body emerged from the water. Along with the expanding core of joy, I experienced an internal sensation of something  "snapping into place" and creating a whole, new me - creating a joy filled woman. 

Love Upon the Wing
Today, I so look forward to opening my bible and meeting with God. Today, I want nothing more than to be a servant of God. He is my all, and my everything. Love upon the wing. What a wonderful expression for how each of us should feel about the Lord. 

Verse of the Week - Matthew 16:16 - March 26, 2017

Who is the Son of Man?
In chapter 16 of Matthew, Jesus asked his disciples,"Who do people say the Son of Man is?" The disciples told Christ that some people thought he was John the Baptist, others thought he was Elijah, and still others were guessing that he was Jeremiah, or one of the other prophets. 
Who do you say I am?Then Jesus asked his disciples another question," Who do you say I am?" Simon Peter answered him," You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God." Jesus was pleased because he had not told the disciples who he was. Then Jesus said an interesting thing. He said that Simon Peter knew this information because his (Jesus') Father in heaven had revealed Jesus' identity to Simon Peter. 
Peter had a personal revelation.God can and will give the followers of Christ personal revelations. Simon Peter knew who Jesus was. Simon Peter knew that Jesus was the Messiah. He could only know this as a personal revelation from God. 

Do you know Jesus Christ, the Son of the living God? 
I would like to tell you about him.

1. Jesus is God and became human. "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God...The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us." 
John 1:1, 14

2. Jesus died for us on the cross. "For Christ died for sins once for all, the righteous for the unrighteous, to bring you to God.' 
1 Peter 3:13

3. Jesus was resurrected from the dead. "He was delivered over to death for our sins and was raised to life for our justification:
Romans 4:25

If you want Jesus to affect your life, you have to receive Him by believing in Him. "To all who received him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God"
John 1:12

ABC's of Receiving Jesus

Admit - Admit you need Jesus and repent of your sin. Repenting is not just feeling sorry, but it means we turn our whole life toward Jesus. We want to live differently.
Believe - Believe in Jesus. You have to trust and believe that He is God, He died for us on the cross, and his death is why we will have eternal life in Heaven. You believe there is one God.
Confess - Confess, or say that 'Jesus is Lord.' For it is by your mouth that you confess and are saved. Romans 10:9-10 You are giving Jesus control of your life. You have just become a passenger in life and Jesus is the driver. 

Jesus, you are Lord. I believe you are the Son of God and that you died on the cross and were raised from the dead. I know I have not been living right and that I need forgiveness. I am turning from my sins and receive you as my Savior and Lord. Thank you for saving me. 

You have just enter God's family by a spiritual birth. Follow up on your commitment by:
  • reading God's Word, the Bible daily
  • pray  
  • find a church home.  
  • Communicate your faith to others.
  • Share what has happened to you.

Friday, March 24, 2017

Cupcake Morning

I slept restlessly last night. In my dreams, I decorated 4 dozen bridal shower cupcakes over and over again. The Mr and Mrs candy melt toppers were piped over and over.  Even in my dream, I wanted my loopy cursive writing to look elegant. At last, I awoke at 4:05 AM and left my bed to start on the task of baking the cupcakes that had taken over my dreams as I slept.

The hubby walked through the kitchen at 5:00 AM and greeted me with a hug. Then, he complimented me on the naked cupcakes that sat on the kitchen table. I hope the sound of the mixer isn't what caused him to wake up several hours early. 

To settle myself down, I will read a few of my favorite bible verses about worry. 

Luke 12:24-26
24 Consider the ravens: for they neither sow nor reap; which neither have storehouse nor barn; and God feeds them: how much more are you better than the fowls? 25 And which of you with taking thought can add to his stature one cubit? 26 If you then be not able to do that thing which is least, why take you thought for the rest?

Thursday, March 23, 2017

Attitude is Everything in Christ

This morning as I watched "Chopped," the attitude of each chopped competitor caught my attention. 
The losing chef of the appetizer round said, "I failed, but I did learn a few things."
In contrast, the chopped chef of the entree round said,"Being on "Chopped" has been the greatest experience of my life. I have learned so much."
What a difference in attitude!
Both contestants had identical experiences; they competed on a cooking show and each was chopped after competing in a round of cooking the basket ingredients. The first chef gave a lukewarm acknowledgement of having learned something after saying, " I failed." The second chef only saw an amazing experience and an opportunity to learn.
A reminder of my lukewarm attitude
The difference with which each participant accepted not winning struck me as being a significant reminder of  my old self and my new self in my relationship with Jesus Christ. What a perfect illustration for having a lukewarm attitude for Jesus versus having a completely positive attitude for living life with Jesus to its fullest.

Revelation 3:15-16 
I know your works, that you are neither cold nor hot: I would you were cold or hot. So then because you are lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spew you out of my mouth.

I grew up knowing about Jesus. 
As a small child, I loved Jesus with all my heart. As I grew into puberty, my relationship with Jesus became an emotional and religious one. After leaving home, I relied on people, alcohol, and drugs to fulfill my needs. Living this way in the world, cooled my love for Jesus because I didn't have an indwelling Holy Spirit. What I had was a head full of bible knowledge and an empty place where the Holy Spirit should be. 

Matthew 24:12
And because iniquity shall abound, the love of many shall wax cold. 
Revelation 2:4
Nevertheless I have somewhat against you, because you have left your first love. 

A Prodigal Daughter Returns
Although I returned to reading my bible and attending church at age 30, my relationship with Jesus didn't extend into all areas of my life. I continued to rely on alcohol and living an ungodly life on Monday to Saturday.  In short, I had not completely submitted to God, or forgiven myself for making bad choices during my twenties. 
Filled with the Holy Spirit
At age 35, after two years of sobriety, I did change my life, leave alcohol behind,and asked Jesus to come into my life as my Lord and my Savior. At my baptism, I heard an internal snap and was filled with immense happiness. I no longer had an empty place where the Holy Spirit should be. 

Romans 6:6
Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that from now on we should not serve sin.
Romans 12:9
Let love be without dissimulation. Abhor that which is evil; hold to that which is good

An Answer to Prayer
During my late husband's illness, I learned to quickly turn to the Lord in prayer. Prayer sustained me through his 12 year battle with illness. The Lord gave me a strength that was well beyond my own abilities as I dealt with children, a sick husband, college classes, and working full-time. Acquaintances would remark that they didn't know how I managed to make it through these tough issues. My answer was always the same, "It is Jesus and not me." During the last six months of his illness, we dealt with a rebellious teenager. Copious amounts of prayer and the Holy Spirit saw me through this difficult time. My love for Jesus had grown tremendously, but I still didn't realize just how much God and Jesus love me. However, I was living a life that reflected my love of Jesus. 

Philippians 1:9
And this I pray, that your love may abound yet more and more in knowledge and in all judgment

Do you know how much God loves you?
At that time, I loved the Lord, but I still didn't understand how much He loved me, or how much deeper that relationship could be if I would completely submit myself to His Lordship and forgive myself for the past that I could not change. 

Philemon 1:6
That the communication of your faith may become effectual by the acknowledging of every good thing which is in you in Christ Jesus.

After my husband's death, I went through a period of readjustment, bereavement, and living in the world. However, my Heavenly Father wasn't going to let go of me.  He put several bold, Christian women into my life to disciple me so that I could learn about the true depths of his love. 
A Revelation of Love
Two years later, after untold hours of bible study, prayer, and fellowship with these women, I finally had a revelation about how much Jesus loves me, I belong to Jesus Christ and not to myself. He took my sin upon himself and the minute I asked him to come into my life, I was forgiven. Finally, I learned to live a joyous life with Jesus to its fullest extent. Today, Jesus is the greatest experience of my life and He is all and in all areas of my life. 

Colossians 3:10-11
And have put on the new man, which is renewed in knowledge after the image of him that created him: Where there is neither Greek nor Jew, circumcision nor uncircumcision, Barbarian, Scythian, bond nor free: but Christ is all, and in all.

Sunday, March 19, 2017

Psalm of the Week - 40:8 - March 19, 2017

I Choose To Take Delight in Doing God's Will
Today, I will make up my mind to take delight in doing God's will. I will not grumble, growl, or grit my teeth together when I am given a task by God, or my Savior Jesus Christ. Instead, I will take joy in being a servant of God who has God's law engraved upon upon my heart. 

Verse of the Week - John 4:34 - March 19, 2017

Today, My Focus is on Spiritual Food
Jesus' priority was to eat of the spiritual food that was the will of God, his Father. He knew he had to finish God's work. Jesus was committed to God's plan. Jesus set the example for all of his followers, then and now. 

Today, my focus is on eating of the spiritual food that is God's priority through Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit. God has a plan for me and I am doing my best to finish the work that He sets before me. My focus is to be a servant of God and to finish the work that Jesus gave all of his followers before he was crucified on the cross as a sin sacrifice for all generations of man. 

Hebrews 12:2
Fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.

Friday, March 17, 2017

Satan Causes Trials, NOT God

Satan, the prince of this world, gives you trials.
How you live life gives you trials. God is for you, not against you!

Hebrews 10: 14 - 18 
For by one sacrifice he has made perfect forever those who are being made holy.
The Holy Spirit also testifies to us about this. First he says:
“This is the covenant I will make with them after that time, says the Lord. I will put my laws in their hearts,and I will write them on their minds.”
Then he adds: “Their sins and lawless acts I will remember no more.”
And where these have been forgiven, sacrifice for sin is no longer necessary.

Jesus' sacrifice made us perfect and holy. 
Today, followers of Jesus are under a new covenant because of the sacrifice of Jesus on the cross. The Holy Spirit resides inside all who have submitted to God and asked Jesus Christ to come into their lives. The Holy Spirit puts the new covenant laws in our hearts and writes them on our minds. 

There is no need to give trials to those who already have the Holy Spirit! Our sins are forgiven and sacrifice for sin is no longer needed. 

Trials are not from God. Trials are from the ruler of this present world.

Ephesians 6:12 
For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.

The bible is very clear that the ruler of this world is Satan. This is the enemy who will try to wiggle into your life and cause trials to assault you. This is the enemy who will whisper to you in the dark and try to sway your thinking away from God. 

Satan's battle plan is to stop the co-heirs of the kingdom of God from claiming their inheritance. It is that simple.  

Sunday, March 12, 2017

Psalm of the Week - 91:1-2 - March 12, 2017

He that dwelleth, in the secret place of the most High.
  • The blessings here promised are not for all believers, but for those who live in close fellowship with God.
  •  Every child of God looks towards the inner sanctuary and the mercy-seat, yet all do not dwell in the most holy place; they run to it at times, and enjoy occasional approaches, but they do not habitually reside in the mysterious presence.
Shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty. 
  • The Almighty Lord will shield all those who dwell with him, they shall remain under his care as guests under the protection of their host. 
  • Those who commune, or bond with God are safe with him, no evil can reach them, for the outstretched wings of his power and love cover them from all harm. 
  • This protection is constant - they abide under it, and it is all-sufficient, for it is the shadow of the Almighty, whose omnipotence will surely screen them from all attack. 
  • The Almighty himself is where his shadow is, and hence those who dwell in his secret place are shielded by himself. 
  • Communion with God is safety. The more closely we cling to our Almighty Father the more confident we may be.
I will say of the Lord, He is my refuge and my fortress.
  • It is the duty of all true believers to speak out and testify with calm courage to their own well-grounded reliance upon their God. But what we say we must prove by our actions, we must fly to the Lord for shelter, and not to another human being, or anything else that will take his place. 
adapted from The Treasury of David 

Verse of the Week - 1 John 5:4 - 12 March 2017

Faith is the cause of victory, the means, the instrument, the spiritual armour by which we overcome. 
  1. In and by faith we cling to Christ and find we are in opposition to the world. 
  2. Faith sanctifies the heart,or makes it holy and purifies it from those sensual lusts by which the world wins the approval of and possesses souls. 
  3. Faithful Christians have the indwelling Spirit of grace, which is greater than he who dwells in the world of which Satan has control of. 
  4. The real Christian overcomes the world by faith; he sees, in and by the life and conduct of the Lord Jesus on earth, that this world is to be renounced and overcome. 
  5. We must all, after Christ's example, overcome the world, or it will overcome us to our ruin.
adapted from Matthew Henry's Concise Bible Commentary

Sunday, March 5, 2017

Verse of the Week - Phillipians 1:27

Whatever happens, conduct yourselves in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ. Then, whether I come and see you or only hear about you in my absence, I will know that you stand firm in the one Spirit, striving together as one for the faith of the gospel
Those who profess the gospel of Christ, should live as becomes those who believe gospel truths, submit to gospel laws, and depend upon gospel promises.                   Matthew Henry
I believe that Matthew Henry was saying that Christians who love Jesus must walk the same path as Jesus.
Yes, I can say I am a Christian. However, do my actions show that I am a follower of Jesus Christ?
Paul told the church at Phillipi that he would know they were standing firm in the Spirit, just from what he heard about them during his absence. Additionally, he was reminding them that they were to live by the gospel and its promises every day, not just part of the time.
  • Are you a part-time Christian or a full-time Christian? 
  • Can you honestly say that you are living in unity and love with your fellow church members every day, or do you only show this on Sunday and holidays? 
Jesus wants you and I to follow his actions and attitudes daily. He called us to be full-time Christians, not part-time Christians.

Psalm of the Week - 133:1 - March 5, 2017

How Good and Pleasant When God's People Live in Unity
  • It is good for our honor and comfort.
  • It brings constant delight to those who live in unity. 
  • The pleasantness of unity is compared to the holy anointing oil. 
Unity is the fruit of the Spirit, the proof of our union with Christ, and adorns his gospel. 
  • Unity is profitable as well as pleasing; it brings blessings numerous as the drops of dew. 
  • Unity cools the scorching heat of men's passions, as the dew cools the air and refresh the earth. 
  • Unity moistens the heart, and makes it fit to receive the good seed of the word, and to make it fruitful.
See the proof of the excellency of united brotherly love: 
  • Where brothers and sisters live together in unity, the Lord commands the blessing. God commands the blessing; man can only ask for a blessing. 
  • Believers that live in love and peace, shall have the God of love and peace with them now and in heaven, in the world of endless love and peace.
  •  May all who love the Lord have patience  and forgive one another; as God, for Christ's sake, has forgiven them.   
adapted from Matthew Henry's Bible Commentary