Prayer Changes Things

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Devotion:  Matthew 6:6

My friend Patty Proffit made me a plaque that I placed above my desk top.  It declares Prayer Changes Things.

There are times you are skeptical because sometimes, you pray and things happen; but sometimes you pray and they don’t. Sometimes you don’t pray and the thing you forgot to pray for happens anyway.

Years ago, I led a group called Moms In Touch International.  I had a grandmother who came four or five times and declared this prayer thing isn’t working.  She never came back.  It was so sad to hear she had given up on prayer.

Every major season of spiritual awakening has been characterized by intense, persistent, corporate prayer. Our enemy likes nothing more than to keep us prayer-less.  Many times we do prayer-less studying, prayer-less ministry which results in prayer-less religion.

The Bible tells us the devil laughs at our toil, mocks our wisdom but trembles when we pray.  Prayer brings power to the weakest of the weak.  It brings fire.  It brings rain.  Prayer brings life.  It brings God into a godless situation.  There is no power like that of prevailing prayer.

God says; “We have not because we ask not or we ask with wrong motives.”  Recently, I read from Luke 11 about the man who went to bang on his neighbor’s door, insisting that he get up and give him three loaves of bread for his visitors.

This man was asking a ridiculously excessive request at a most inopportune time but because of his shameless persistence, the neighbor rose up and gave him his request.

The Lord says, “Won’t your heavenly Father who never sleeps and loves you like precious children; won’t He give you whatever you need to do His will?

In Luke 11:9-10 Jesus uses three verbs, ask, seek and knock. They are all in a Greek verb form that implies continuous action. Keep on asking.  Keep on seeking.  Keep on knocking. That’s how prayer for the empowerment of God’s Holy Spirit works.

Prayer in Motion:

Lord, I believe You hear me when I pray.  You are a God who hears, a God who sees and a God who moves.  Your timing is perfect.  I trust You to accomplish what concerns me and those for whom I am praying.  Thank You for this wonderful way You made possible for Your children to communicate with You.  In Jesus Name I pray.  Amen.

Master Weaver

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Devotion:  Psalm 139:14

My husband and I drove to Gastonia to meet a couple of “The Weave Retreat” Committee members.  This retreat will be held at Bonclarken Retreat Center in Flat Rock, NC.  After finishing our dinner; we went out on Cracker Barrel’s porch to go over the presentation.  I had brought with me the “people weave” visual aid.

I sat the woven project down in front of us; being careful to keep it out of the pathway upon which Cracker Barrel patrons walk. Three women and a little girl stopped to look at this curious piece, inciting great conversation with total strangers.  They were themselves: curious.  I laughed out loud when one woman asked if I bought it at Cracker Barrel.

I explained to these women the meaning of each pattern change in the weave. The bottom part is very colorful and consistent, representing the in and outs of life.  As I pulled the threads in and out of the warp, (the vertically secured threads) I began to think of the family and friends God has lovingly woven into my life.  I thanked God for the gift of these dear people.

As you go to all the places you go; the Master Weaver decides whom He will bring, each one designed for your sake, as well as theirs.   I wove into the project a ribbon with small but bright flowers, representing those who are the fragrance of Christ to the saved and the unsaved.  I pray that you are the fragrance of Christ to your people.

After a little more of the ins and outs of life; I wove dark grey threads, representing the discouraged, depressed people in our lives.  From time to time, it may be that we ourselves become depressed and discouraged.  God has not left us comfortless. He has left us with His Word and given us friends to build us up in our most holy faith.

Next, I wove sand paper to represent the sand paper people God allows in our lives.  Although not pleasant or comfortable; these people bring the truth to help refine and conform us into the image of Christ.  Will we allow God to use them to bring honor and glory to Him?

I then wove a yellow strip of paper with large green leaves displayed horizontally.  These represent those people who speak life and encouragement into your life.  We all need those people who affirm us and speak wonderful words of life to us from God’s Word.  When we hear these words of life; we can choose to pass them along to others.

The next row is a strip of paper with  a picture of waves and the ocean underneath.  The waves represent people who are tossed to and fro by every wind of doctrine.  After said period of time determined by God and you; you must shake the dust off your feet and release them to God.  Pray but release them.

Next, I wove some very bright fushia threads to represent the happy, make you laugh kind of people.  The Lord said, “A merry heart does good like medicine.”   You desperately need these kind of people woven into your life. Laughter combats the gloomy gloms.

After a little more time with just doing life; at the very top of the weave, I began weaving in white threads representing the friends and family that will spend eternity with you.  As I wove these white threads in and out; it became apparent that the colorful vertical threads, representing Christ our foundation, would show through.

Michael W. Smith wrote a song called, “Friends are friends forever, if the Lord’s the Lord of them.”  Jesus will always shine through our family and friendships until He takes us to heaven. Please invite all of your friends and family to have a loving relationship with Jesus, the One who wove you together.

Prayer in Motion:

Oh God, I submit my weave into the Master Weaver’s  hands.  I trust that You will accomplish what concerns me and the people You have allowed into my life.   I know You will weave those whom You desire to use, to transform me from glory to glory.  In Jesus Name.  Amen

 

Harassment

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Devotion:  Acts 12:1

Harassment!  It’s nothing new.  Ask Fox’ News contributor’s Bill O’Riley.  He’s been accused of sexual harassment and fired from his own show.  He apparently was on the giving end of harassment.

Synonyms for harass found in Webster’s include: break, burn out, bust, do in, do up, drain, fag, fatigue, frazzle, exhaust, kill, knock out, outwear, tire, tucker (out), wash out, wear, wear out, weary.

Harassment or bullying; call it what you will, has been around since Bible times.  It comes from the lowest of the low and in Acts chapter twelve; even from the office of the king.  Herod sought to harass some from the church.  He must have been bored doing his ordinary kingly duties.

After killing James the brother of John, Herod saw that it pleased the Jews so he went after Peter.  Often, harassment originates from a person who seems to enjoy seeing others broken.  It helps the harasser to feel empowered and in control.  As we see in Acts twelve; it can lead to persecution and even death.

Why do you think Herod placed Peter under four squads of soldiers?  Herod had heard of all the miracles these disciples were performing.  He wanted to make absolutely sure, this Peter would not escape.

It’s interesting that Herod was planning to wait until after Passover to place Peter on trial.  Herod did not know Jesus as his Savior.  He did not understand the power of prayer.   Verse five tells us, “Peter was therefore kept in prison, but constant prayer was offered to God for him by the church.”

As a result of the prayers of the people; an angel was sent to Peter. His chains fell off.  He walked past two guard posts and an iron gate to the city opened of its own accord.  Peter was delivered from the hand of Herod and the cruel Jews.

God is greater than any harassment.  He can take what Satan meant for evil and turn it out for our good and His glory.

Prayer in Motion:

Lord, may I pray for those who are harassed or persecuted in any way shape or form.  Bring the harassers to repentance and restore to them the years the locusts have eaten.  Bring those who will not repent to justice.  In Jesus Name.  Amen

 

 

 

Darkness to Light

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Devotion:  Acts 26:18

My husband and I were the last to leave a birthday celebration for our long time friend Tom Dodds.  Tom’s wife Michele asked us to watch a documentary about a tribe in Papua, New Guinea called the Mouk people.

I sat and wept as this film unfolded.  At the onset of trying to go to the mission field, the couple was told they were too old. Over and over they received rejection.  No one would support them. They did not allow these rejections to discourage them.

Finally they found an organization called New Tribes who willingly helped them receive the training needed to go to Papua, New Guinea.  Their own church raised the financial support to send them out.  In 2002, Mark Zook and his wife boarded a plane to fly to a very dark place.

It was amazing to see how quickly this couple assimilated the language.  Through drawings and drama, the message of the gospel from Genesis to Revelation was poured forth through Mark Zook.  He masterfully began to tell the story of Adam and Eve and how sin required a sacrifice.

He began teaching daily with a couple of hundred people present and before long the word about Mark spread to other tribes.  They wanted him to come to their villages to share the Good News.

Through drama, some of the people helped to give out the message of the cross.  As the enactment progressed; people began to weep.  Hope rained down.  Mercy gave way. When Mark began to tell of the earthquake after Christ died; God Himself caused their own ground to shake.  Our Lord wanted this dear tribe to know He is the One True God.

They stood up one by one to testify of their decision to invite Christ into their hearts. All of a sudden; spontaneously, they began to dance before the Lord and shout.  The words the Mouk people shouted were “Ee-Taow, Ee-Taow” which means: “It’s true, It’s true.” Over and over they shouted these words.  The Light of Christ dawned upon this once dark tribe.  They went from believing in Spirits and witchcraft to the True and Living God.

They GOT it; every single person, men, women and children understood the simple message of the gospel!

“How beautiful are the feet of them who spread the gospel of Christ.”  God’s will was done on earth as it is done in heaven for these precious people.

Prayer in Motion:

Oh God, thank You for saving this tribe of people.  One day they will all be in heaven because of Mark Zook’s obedience to go to the Mouk people.  “How beautiful are the feet of them who spread the gospel.”  Lord, would you raise up more Mark Zooks.  In Jesus Name.  Amen

 

 

When Personalities Clash

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Devotion:  Acts 15:36-41

Words are said.  Feelings are hurt. Friendships or family relationships are forever changed.  We’ve all said harsh words and we’ve had them said to us.  Personalities are going to clash.

Even within our family tribes;  the in laws come from different backgrounds, different places, different up bringing.  Our families of origin are different.  We can’t be the same.  God made each one of us different.  We think differently.  We react differently to life’s conflicts.

So how do Christians act and react when a disagreement comes?  The Bible declares that a house divided against itself cannot stand.  Disagreements will come at some point when there are varying opinions.

Becoming a Christian does not make you a robot. God has given us a brain to be able to think for ourselves.  As far as possible; we are to be at peace with all men.

Believers in Christ must also tell the truth in love when a disagreement occurs.  It’s wonderful when we can come to a resolution; however, there are times when the argument is so strong; people must part ways.

Churches split over disagreements.  It gives non-Christians in the community plenty of ammunition against the body of Christ. You hear statements made like, “See, I told you they were just a bunch of hypocrites.”

God can take what Satan meant for evil and turn it out for our good and His glory.  If two people of Christian faith disagree; there is still common ground.  Jesus is the mediator of all mediators.  He is our common ground even when we have to agree to disagree.

Such was the case with Paul and Barnabas.  They disagreed about taking John Mark with them, to check on their newly established churches.  One believed they should take him and the other believed this young man should stay put.

Paul felt John Mark had abandoned the work in Pamphylia.  The Bible doesn’t go into great detail about the argument itself; however, we know this dynamic duo team broke up. Everything happens for a reason.  God may leave you in a certain place long enough to accomplish His purpose and then take you to another body of believers.  Most importantly, we all need to carry out His will and kingdom purposes.

Prayer in Motion:

Lord, may I always obey the Spirit of the Lord.   May I listen with the ear of a disciple.  Help me to stay or go for the greater good of Your church.  I always want to honor You and be about Your business.  In Jesus Name.  Amen

 

 

 

 

Bound With Chains

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Devotion:  Acts 12:1-7

Peter was imprisoned for preaching the gospel.  The Jews were thrilled that Herod had killed James. This gave Herod great incentive to seek out Peter and imprison him.

It’s hard to believe it took four squads of soldiers to keep Peter bound in prison.  Something tells me; Herod knew of the miracles that had been performed by the disciples of Christ.  He wasn’t taking any chances that Peter might escape.

Peter was put in prison during the Days of Unleavened Bread and was to be kept there until Passover was completed.                   Verse 5 declares; “Constant prayer was offered to God for him by the church.”

Four squads of soldiers could not stop God then and four squads of soldiers cannot stop God now.  If God says you are going to be released from whatever chains have you bound; no earthly power can keep you bound.  You are destined for release from any earthly chains to which you may find yourself bound.

God released Peter from his imprisonment, due to the fervent, effectual prayers that availed much on his behalf.  At the right time, when Herod was about to bring Peter out, God sent an angel to awaken Peter. After Peter was told to arise quickly; Peter’s chains fell off his hands.

The Bible promises the fervent, effectual prayers of  righteous man avail much.  Jesus came into this world to seek and to save the lost, those who are bound by addictions, bad habits and the patterns of this world.  There is nothing God wants more than for you to released from what tries to keep you bound.

Prayer in Motion:

Lord, may I stay in constant prayer for those you have given me. Thank You that prayer brings freedom and release from the things that bind us in this world.  Thank you Lord for providing freedom from the chains that would keep us bound.  In Jesus Name I pray.  Amen

 

Joy of the Lord

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Devotion: Nehemiah 8:1-10

What is the one thing that brings you the most joy, the most happiness, the most peace?  Is it a new pair of shoes?  A new car? A new appliance?  A new job?  Everyone of those “things” can easily be taken away or wear out from earthly use.

We are always one step away from great loss or trouble in this world.  The things listed above won’t bring lasting joy, hope and peace.  We all know people who are at this moment going through extremely difficult circumstances. God declares they are one step away from joy, hope and peace; even in the midst of those circumstances.

How is that possible?  God says in His word, “My peace I give you, not as the world gives; so give I you. In the previous chapters; Nehemiah had examined the loss of the Jews.  God had spoken to Him about rebuilding the walls of Jerusalem.  The key verse in this passage states; “The joy of the Lord is my strength.”

The task before Nehemiah was great. The people of Judah made fun of his plans to take on the daunting task of rebuilding the temple.  God sized tasks are always daunting from our human perspective.  Just remember; “Faithful is He who has called you; He will bring it to pass.”

What is the one thing to which God is calling you?  Do not fear, for the Lord your God is with you.  He will accomplish what concerns you and His kingdom.  He will supply the people.  He will supply the finances.  He will supply every thing that is needful.  Always allow the joy of the Lord to be your strength.

Prayer in Motion:

Oh God, pour out Your oil of joy for the Spirit of heaviness.  You are Jehovah- Jireh. You will provide.  I believe You are faithful to accomplish what concerns each detail of the “task” You have called me to do.  In Jesus Name I pray.  Amen