Wednesday, November 12, 2014

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Encouragement to Pray Boldly in Faith

          In an attempt to encourage each of us as Prayer Warriors, I have written this article.  From my own experience, I have often found that when I attempt to pray boldly and for the miraculous, I have had to fight against the lies of the devil, who tries to tell us that God no longer works miracles. Then too, his deceiving voice will try to bring doubt, unbelief, and shame into my mind with this accusation:  "Sure, go ahead and pray for the ridiculous, and when it is not manifested, people are going to say, 'See there; where is your God now?  You prayed for healing, and he didn't get better, but died.' "  

          Remember how the devil attempted to ridicule Christ as He hung on the cross: "If you're really who you say you are, save yourself and get down off that cross!"  Could Christ have done that?  Without a doubt!  But He chose to suffer for the greater 'miracle' and purpose for the glory of God that lay ahead, for all the world to have access to reconciliation to God the Father, through faith and obedience to Jesus Christ the Son of God, our Savior and Lord. 

            In the power of the Holy Spirit, let us rebuke the devil in the name of Jesus Christ.  As long as there is breath, let us pray boldly in faith, believing that nothing is impossible with God.  Also, let us remember that our prayers are prayed from the vantage point of our finite knowledge and what we think is for our present good.  God's answers to our prayers are granted from the vantage point of His infinite knowledge and what He knows is best for our eternal good

          When each Christian faces the storms of life, and even death, the process and experience can and should be far different than that of the none believer.  It is not my intent to suggest or infer that somehow the Christian can just fly above the fray of life, never to be touched by pain, grief, sorrow, or affliction.  To the contrary, we have all known, either through personal experience, or through observance of the lives of others, that life can sometimes open the door to what seems like a flood of trials and afflictions; no sooner do you get through one thing, only to have others enter one on top of another in rapid succession.  Sometimes it seems that these incidences occur in the lives of those who seem to be most committed to following The Lord.  We may never have the answers to “why?” until we see The Lord face to face.  

    The only way I know to make sense of it is to continually remind myself, regardless of what it 'feels' like or 'looks' like, God is in control, and there is a reason and purpose for everything that He allows to occur in our lives.  The hurt, tears, pain, disappointments, loss, and death are going to occur.  No, knowing Christ is not going to erase the sufferings, but knowing Christ will change how you and I learn from and respond to them.  God can use what seems to be devastating, as an instrument to create a depth of faith, compassion, and strength within you and me that may never have developed had we never known the touch of His refining fire in our lives.  

          Trusting in the Lord is not always an easy lesson to learn, but it’s a lesson that is possible to learn IF we can come to the understanding of the fullness of His truth, as He writes His word on the tablets of our hearts, enabling us to apply His word in the living out of our lives. He whispers in our ears, “My child, this is what I meant when I asked you to put your trust in me.  To count it all joy, even in the midst of trials and tribulations. To trust that I am always with you, even in the darkest of days, the deepest of pits, and the struggles to climb to the top of the highest mountains.”  Never shrink from praying for the miraculous, but always remember that God may answer our prayers differently than what we had asked for; His purposes may be working out a far greater miracle than we can envision from our finite view point.  He doesn't expect us to depend on the power of positive thinking, but rather upon His word to create within us the mind of Christ for godly thinking through the power of the Holy Spirit.  He knows our hearts and catches every tear that we shed.  Who else could give to you and me the "oil of joy for mourning, and the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness?"  That's not just a glib little phrase to be tossed into the air to have no effect.  Even when we are feeling our worst, if we are open to the power of His word, it becomes as a healing salve, the balm of Gilead, to be used for the healing of our souls.  

          When we feel defeated and completely downtrodden, don't listen to the voice that tries to tell you to stay in a pit of self pity. Choose to feed upon His Word that you may quench all the lies of Satan, the world, and your flesh. Don't let hurt or despair take the place in your heart that is meant to be occupied by the joy of The Lord.  Have we not known and experienced His joy which floods the soul, starving and removing the root of grief, loss and disappointment?  It’s more than a feeling of happiness that depends upon circumstances and conditions. His joy is far more than a ‘feeling.’  Have we not known the hand of The Lord to lift the spirit of sorrow from the soul, and carry that burden when He knew we could not bare it?  A young mother heard the doctor's words, "This baby can not live," and at that moment He filled the void in her heart with His peace that passes all understanding.  A young mother, having suddenly lost her husband in a car accident, was granted the strength of the Lord, even in the midst of her grief and loss.  Her daily life was a testimony and witness to others that the joy of The Lord, even in a time of sorrow, was her strength.  Is it not a testimony to the faithfulness of God as He enables family members to minister in faith, with an unbelievable perseverance and hope, regardless of the terminal diagnosis pronounced to their loved one, as he courageously fights a loosing three year battle against cancer?  The battle may be lost, but the war is won through faith in Christ, who has overcome even death.  I have seen that same strength of the joy of The Lord at work as He enabled our Dad, dying of terminal cancer, and yet determined to get dressed and celebrate his last Christmas with his entire family.  That would be his last day up before he went home to be with The Lord a few days later.  I’m sure each of us have had the opportunity to wonder in amazement, as we have seen the Lord at work in the midst of what may have seemed the most impossible of circumstances.

          When the Lord works an immediate healing or deliverance in one’s life, it is counted as a miracle indeed; but I assert and believe that it is just as miraculous when He carries each of us through the process of dealing with the struggles and trials of everyday life; one may be quick while the other is a process.  Both are meant to work towards fulfilling a purpose in our life to change us more into His image and be instruments to glorify God.

          What can we choose to learn through the trials and tribulations of life?  We can either choose to sink into self pity, bitterness, and a life full of anger, or be encouraged, revived, and renewed to face whatever comes that day and each day to come, in the strength that comes from the knowledge that we serve a Living God. It is He who works within us to give us the will and ability to live out each day that He may be glorified.  

          Yes, there is sadness and grief in everyone’s life.  However, even in the death of loved ones, if they know The Lord as Savior, though we may grieve for our 'temporary' loss of their presence, soon that grief can be swallowed up by joy through the knowledge that we know without a doubt, that they have entered into the best part of life, and all the hosts of Heaven are rejoicing and celebrating their arrival at their real and eternal home with The Lord.  In faith, we can have that very vision in our heart and in our mind.  Though mourning may last a moment in time, rejoicing in the Lord will overcome the grief and sorrow, and replace it with an eternal rejoicing that only God can give.

          As long as there is breath, let us persevere in faith, praying without ceasing, for nothing is impossible in the Lord.  However, if we don’t ‘see’ our prayers answered in the here and now as we had hoped for, let not Satan or doubt and unbelief creep in to deceive us and whisper his lies to our hearts.  This life on earth is not all there is.  Trust in the Lord that He is in control.  He is the giver of the gift of life, both this present journey and our eternal journey.  Let us live out this present life on earth living with a purpose to worship, serve, and glorify Him in all our ways in the power of the indwelling Holy Spirit.  Let us live in the celebration of the gift of life knowing that “today is the day that the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it!”  Remember, this is not our home, or our final destination.  Our life on earth is not supposed to be about us, but rather about Him.  Let us remember the declaration of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego as they faced being thrown into the fiery furnace:  They faced their demise with the faith that, whether they lived or died, they were determined to do all in obedience unto to the Lord their God, and not unto any other gods.  Let us remember to pray, believing and trusting in the will of God to work all things out for our good, whether it be manifested to the eyes of man on earth, or manifested before the hosts of Heaven. That’s why we pray “Thy will be done on earth as it is in Heaven.”   

          This same future of eternal life is promised to all who believe in and obey The Lord Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord.  We may be tossed around in life as the scriptures say, but we know The God who is the author and finisher of the complete story of our lives, and He is always with us every step of the way. There will be sorrow in this life, but we live not as though this life is all there is. We live not with our eyes upon this world, but upon the world to come.  Let not your heart be troubled. This is the day that The Lord has made. Live it to draw nearer to Him and love Him more dearly. Don't let the troubles of this world rob you of His joy that He delights to pour into your heart to overflowing.  While we live, may we intercede for one another that we may live each day with the purpose of glorifying God.  Let us pray for one another, not just for physical healing, but even more importantly, for spiritual healing that we may grow and mature in the spirit.  The body of Christ that is physically well, but spiritually sick, weak and immature is all the more vulnerable to the deception and destruction from the fiery darts of the enemy.  Let us purposely renew our minds daily by the washing of the water of the word, to hide His word in our hearts that we might not sin against God.   Praise Him, praise Him and abide in the light and warmth of His love!  He is the Balm of Gilead that soothes our very soul!


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