Prayer for Fellow Believers

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Devotion:  Philippians 1:9-11

What a powerful prayer to pray for your fellow believers!  How does this prayer compare to what you are praying for your brothers and sisters in Christ?  As I examined my heart; my answer is:  “It doesn’t!”  I pray for the needs of those who ask but I wonder what would happen if I began to pray this scripture over those who ask for prayer.

Let’s examine this prayer.

Paul says, “And this I pray.”  He is talking to his Heavenly Father. “…that your love may abound still more and more” Abound means to be prevalent or in great quantity.  Paul is asking the Lord to pour un-limited love, through the Philippian believers.

Abounding love is evident to the saved and the unsaved. Abounding love displays grace, respect, kindness, and mercy with abandon.  It’s the same kind of love that is poured out upon us by Christ Himself.  It is a love that exhibits the fruit of the Spirit; when it’s convenient and when it’s not.

…”In real knowledge and all discernment.”  What is real knowledge?  It’s based upon the truth of God’s Word.  Since Jesus is the Word; we ask Him to speak to our hearts, as we read It and receive It.  Through God’s Word, He can change our perception of people and circumstances.

If God’s love abounds toward us; shouldn’t we pray for “real knowledge and all discernment” for our fellow believers? Let us ask Him to cause their love to abound more and more.  Why should we pray this prayer for them? Verse 10:

“That they may approve the things that are excellent, and be sincere and without offense till the day of Christ.”

These are amazing qualities with which to petition the Lord, on behalf of your family and friends.

Three little verses; ordained by God, for Christians to pray over their family members, friends, missionaries, and pastors. Who do you need to pray this prayer over?  Pray it over them right now.

Prayer in Motion:

“And this I pray, that _____________ love may abound still more and more in knowledge and discernment, that ____________ may approve the things that are excellent, that _____________ may be sincere and without offense till the day of Christ, being filled with the fruits of righteousness which are by Jesus Christ, to the glory and praise of God”

 

 

Appointed Afflictions

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Devotion: 1 Thessalonians 2:3-4

Conviction flooded my soul as I read this verse.  Paul is telling the Thessalonians:

           “Don’t be shaken by your afflictions.  We are                                             appointed to do this.”   

I’ll bet you haven’t heard that from the pulpit in a while; maybe never.  Paul had just told them they would suffer affliction.  That’s not a popular nor appealing message.   It does not promote the health and wealth prosperity gospel.  People do not want to hear suffering forecasted.  Prophets are called negative, unloving, and narrow minded.

God’s Word forecasts tribulations for all believers. Jesus said; “In this world you will have tribulation; but don’t be afraid, for I have overcome the world.”  He also said, “Neither death, nor life, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate you from the love of Christ.”  “No weapon formed against you shall prosper.”

God Himself bears you up. He holds you in the palm of His righteous right hand.  Do not allow your suffering to be in vain. You are appointed to do this suffering. “If God is for you, who can be against you?”

Whether you are suffering physically, emotionally or spiritually; can you say to yourself, “I am appointed to do this.”  I will not be shaken by my afflictions. There was a time the disciples could not drive out a demon in a young man.

Mark 9 tells us: 28 When He came into the house, His disciples began questioning Him privately, “Why could we not drive it out?” 29 And He said to them, “This kind cannot come out by anything but prayer.”

The Greek word for prayer in this verse is proseuche, which means the kind of prayer that is earnest, worship filled prayer. 

It is hard to hear that our afflictions are appointed to us by God. In other words, He allows them to come into our lives.  They are God ordained. Why?  For the perfecting of our faith.  Ask God to help you glorify Him and learn to rejoice in your suffering, for the glory that is to be revealed.

Prayer in Motion:

Oh God, I thank You for my appointed afflictions.  I know that You are using them to train me in righteousness.  Help me to continually glorify You through it all.  May I trust You to accomplish what concerns me.  I love You Lord.  In Jesus Name. Amen

Genuine Faith

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Devotion:  2 Timothy 1:3-5

What does real faith look like?  Many profess Christ.  Many are called, but few are chosen.  It’s not God’s will that any should perish with out Him.

Genuine is an adjective describing something or someone who is the real deal.  It  means authentic.

  1. free from hypocrisy or pretense :  sincere

    How do we know whether or not a person is a true Christian? God says we will know them by their fruit.  Do they display godly character?

Adversity puts genuine faith on the witness stand.  When under the scrutiny of the people’s court; (the people in your life)  will you tell the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth, so help you God?  Will you live out the Truth of God’s Word, when the pressure is on?  What actions will you display?  What pours out of your mouth?  Most of the time, what comes out of your mouth is what’s in your heart.

Will you stand and see the salvation of the Lord?  After having done all, will you remain standing in the strength of your Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ?  Jesus calls the persecuted, blessed.  It doesn’t feel like blessing. However; Paul counted it an honor and a privilege to suffer for the cause of Christ.

Genuine faith endures all kinds of tests. James 1:3 tell us we can know that the testing of our faith produces endurance. As you are walking through any test; remember God is working to produce genuine faith in you, His child,

Prayer in Motion:

Lord, thank You for allowing these tests, that produce genuine faith.  I pray my life will testify to Your grace and mercy.  Lord, I want the people in my life to see that faith in Jesus; is the real deal.  I love You Lord.  In Jesus Name.  Amen

Strength Achieved or Strength Received

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Devotion:  “My soul is weary with sorrow; strengthen me according to your word”. Psalm 119:28

The words in Clayton King’s book Stronger; jumped off the page at me.  “You don’t achieve strength.  You receive strength.”  “The most profound difficulties of our lives are used by God to make us stronger.”

Bankruptcy is a very hard thing for people to go through. However; there are times when our very souls can become bankrupt; emotionally, physically, spiritually and psychologically. Our culture doesn’t make it any easier; with the ever present definition of what it means to be strong.  Keep your composure. Act like you’ve got it together; even when every area of your life, seems to be coming apart.

The world believes strength is something to be achieved.  God declares strength to be something that is received, by the power and the blood of Jesus Christ.  In this world; strength is established through dominance, wealth and weapons, as well as status and success.

Jesus says, blessed are those who weep, those who are brokenhearted, those who are gentle, and those who are hurting. The world says the attractive, the mighty and the victorious are the blessed ones.

Whether we admit it or not; we are in desperate need of God and of each other.  We are all small, needy and dependent.   Our minds constantly rewind and rehearse, the mean things people say and do toward us.  I believe:

                     It’s a waste of space in your head.

Why?…  Because it steals your peace and joy. Do not give the devil an opportunity.  He will try to steal what Christ died to protect.  Christ died to give you the one thing the world cannot give you.  Peace that surpasses all understanding.

It is possible to think on “whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are lovely.”

    “Learn to care about only what God says about you.”

Do you ever ask yourself the following question?  “How could “this hurt, this disappointment, this failure; be transforming me into the image of Christ?  He took our sins and our sorrows and made them His very own.

When we are rejected by those we love; we learn to emulate our Savior.  The same thing happened to Jesus and yet He glorified His Father on earth, as He is glorified in heaven.

      Receive the strength Jesus stands ready to give.

Prayer in Motion:

Dear Lord, thank You ever so much for strengthening me when I am in sorrow. My strength has always come from You Lord.  I cannot achieve it, I receive it from You.  You give me the strength people can’t take away, unless I allow them to.  Thank You Lord.  In Jesus Name.  Amen

Exemption or Companion?

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Devotion: Psalm 91:14-15

Outward observation of those around you could easily convince you to believe there are people who live in their own perfect world.  They never seem to have any trials or a hardships. None whatsoever.

God said in John 16: 32-33

32 “A time is coming and in fact has come when you will be scattered, each to your own home. You will leave me all alone. Yet I am not alone, for my Father is with me.

33 “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”

Clayton King asks the question in his book Stronger; “Would you rather have an exemption from hard times or a companion in hard times?  If we are living and breathing we are not immune from hard times.  So where does our help come from.  “Our help comes from the Lord, maker of heaven and earth.” from Psalm 121

God is our protecter and defender; however, Clayton says, “What gives hope to the one in trouble is not just the protection of God.  It’s the presence of God.  His presence is your protection.”

According to 2 Corinthians 12:9 “God’s grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.  Therefore I will boast more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.”

When a problem drags on and on; you ask yourself, “Will there ever be any resolution?”   We like happy endings to our crisis. The only thing we have to cling to during our fear filled nights; is the presence of our Abba Father.  God is present during the dark night of the soul.

Clayton says, “Fear must be present for faith to exist at all.  Fear is the thing that calls faith out of us. The obstacle that’s too big for us, the situation we can’t fix, the sickness we can’t cure; these bring fear to the surface.”

As a child; I was afraid of everything; the dark, the monsters in the closet, and even to go to the basement after dark. Literal darkness can bring fear; however, it’s the fear of the unknown that looms large, when we are afraid of what lies ahead.  My mom taught me the scripture; “What time I am afraid, i will trust in Thee.”  Psalm 56:3

Faith is not the absence of fear.  It means moving forward in the face of fear. When the bills keep coming and the dark clouds gather, peace is possible when you have the presence of God.

Our difficult circumstances bring waves of fear and sometimes panic. You are not exempt dear friend; God is with you.” He will never leave you, nor forsake you.”  The presence of your constant companion will bring peace in the place of panic and a ray of light to your darkest night.

Prayer in Motion:

God, even though You may not deliver me out of this trial; You will be with me.  Thank You for Your comfort and peace. Your presence goes with me, stays with me twenty four seven.   I love You Lord.  My heart belongs to You. I’m holding onto Your promise that You will work all things together for my good and Your glory.  In Jesus Name, I offer up this prayer.  Amen.

                                         

Some Persuaded, Some Disbelieved

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Devotion:  Acts 28:24

As he shared the gospel of Jesus; Paul could have won the “most persuasive person” award.  This former Christian hater and killer, even won his prison guard to Jesus Christ.  He definitely had the gift of evangelism.

So that we will not be discouraged in our own evangelistic efforts; we learn when Paul shared the gospel, some were persuaded to the things which were spoken and some disbelieved.

For the most part, people are skeptical; of everything and everybody.  The element of trust is missing.  I’ve heard folks say, “I trust no one.”  “I only believe a few people.”  Then they began to list a hand full of people they truly believe. Many of those making that statement are Christians.

You’ve heard non-believers say, “The church is full of hypocrites.”  Yes, it is.  Broken people.  Hurting people.  Sinful people, saved by grace.  The saved by grace part is key.  Grace that is greater than all our sin, freely bestowed on all who believe.  We are a motley crew, and on any given day, dysfunctional at worst and functional by the grace of God on the good days.

We are supposed to operate in unity, by the power of the Holy Spirit.  When we decide to put our selfishness aside; and prefer others over ourselves, people will hear what the Holy Spirit speaks to us and through us. They will be persuaded to believe.

Paul was a master teacher and preacher of the gospel.  He boldly proclaimed the truth of Jesus Christ. He knew the stakes were high.  He was imprisoned, mocked, and beaten repeatedly. Many opposed his message.  Some were persuaded to believe and other disbelieved.  However; that never stopped him.  He never thought; “oh no, this one didn’t believe.  I must have failed.”

Paul kept on sharing Christ with any and all who would listen. May we go and share without apology the gospel message, written on our hearts.

Prayer in Motion:

Oh God, give me someone today, with which to share the gospel.  May I seize every opportunity to encourage, equip or strengthen the body of Christ.  Speak Lord.  Direct my paths and order my steps.  I love You Lord.  In Jesus Name.  Amen

The Lord Strengthened Me

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Devotion:  2 Timothy 4:17-18

“But the Lord stood with me and strengthened me.”  What is trying to defeat you right now?  What circumstance would overtake you, consume you; if you only would allow it to do so?

Paul declared in verse 16 that “at his first defense no one stood with him, but all forsook him.”  It can be overwhelming to stand alone in this world.  If the Lord stands with you dear one, you are not alone; not now, not ever.  He promised to never leave you, nor forsake you.

There are times that no one understands like Jesus.  He wants you to cast your cares upon Him, for He cares for you.  He wants you to solely depend upon Him.  He allowed things to be this way so that you would learn to trust, that He will accomplish what concerns you.  Nothing is too hard for Him.

Only believe.  All things are possible to the one who believes. Remember this old hymn.  “My hope is built on nothing less than Jesus blood and righteousness.  I dare not trust the sweetest frame but holy lean on Jesus Name.  On Christ the solid Rock I stand.  All other ground is sinking sand.”

God longs to give you “beauty for ashes, strength for fear, gladness for mourning and peace for despair.”  The Lord is waiting to hear your voice crying out to Him.  He is your Redeemer, precious Lamb of God.  “Turn your eyes upon Jesus and look full in His wonderful face.  The things of earth will grow strangely dim in the light of His glory and grace.”

Paul speaks the words spoken to Him by the Spirit of the Living God.  Will you choose to make these words your own?  “But the Lord stood with me and strengthened me.”  He wants others to see you living out your looking up.  He will stand with you and strengthen you, any time you are weak.

Prayer in Motion: 

Oh God, I need Your strength.  I know you stand with me and will strengthen me, for the things You’ve called me to do.  I long for Your message to be preached fully through me.  In my life Lord, be glorified.  I can only be strong in You Lord and work in the strength of Your might.  I entreat You by Your mercies.  In Jesus Name.  Amen