When You Pray Use Your Weapons!

Sometimes when you pray you may not feel you are getting results. You repeat the same prayer over and over, wondering why you are not receiving an answer. Days may pass, even months or years, and still it seems as though nothing is happening. That’s when it’s important to understand that you are engaged in a war. You are “not fighting against flesh-and-blood enemies, but against evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against mighty powers in this dark world, and against evil spirits in the heavenly places” (Ephesians 6:12).

Thankfully, you are not defenseless. You must fight with every weapon at your disposal…and you have some great ones. In fact, God provided you with three that guarantee results.

  1. The Name of Jesus

When you pray in the Name of Jesus, you are identifying with the Son of God. It’s as if He is the One praying. Sounds too good to be true, doesn’t it? But Jesus told His disciples, “You can ask for anything in my name, and I will do it, so that the Son can bring glory to the Father. Yes, ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it!” (John 14:13-14). He was giving His followers—that includes you—His authority…and that’s a lot! “Jesus came and told his disciples, “I have been given all authority in heaven and on earth’” (Matthew 28:18). Jesus is the Son of the Almighty, omnipotent, omnipresent God, and He has given authority to you.

  1. The Word of God

The Bible is God’s final word. It contains His promises as well as insight into His character. You can stand and rely on it. As you pray, find promises from God’s Word. Speak them out. Pray them. Trust that they are truer than how you feel, or what people around you say. You can trust that God will be faithful to uphold His Word because He wrote in it: “Every word of God proves true” (Proverbs 30:5). Consequently, if you are His child, He will remain true to you, too.

  1. Holy Spirit

The Holy Spirit is your comforter, and He is also your helper. When you pray in the spirit, or in tongues, the Holy Spirit helps you pray as you are supposed to pray (Romans 8:26). He understands that there is a war raging around you, and He helps you fight that battle even though you can’t see it with your human eyes.

Second Corinthians 10:4 reminds you that you have “God’s mighty weapons” at your disposal. As you continue to pray for your breakthrough, rest knowing that God has given you powerful weapons to overcome every scheme of the enemy that tries to keep you down. Don’t give up. Remain faithful in your prayers, knowing that you are in a battle Jesus has already won!

TRUSTING GOD IN ALL CIRCUMSTANCES

If you’ve ever wondered if you could trust someone with a secret or with something very valuable, you probably remember the nervous feeling of hope mixed with uncertainty as you opened yourself up to that person. People can make mistakes and let you down, and placing your trust in another person takes a great deal of courage. Although others can betray that trust, God never will. When you learn to trust Him in all circumstances, you’ll find a peace that you won’t understand but will truly welcome.

In life, there are bound to be situations we can’t handle, and when we turn to friends or family, their flaws and imperfections can keep them from being a reliable source of help. Sometimes the insecurities and fears of others may cause them to be unsympathetic when we desperately need guidance or advice. When the world turns on us and those closest to us distance themselves, God does just the opposite. “Cast your cares on the Lord and he will sustain you; he will never let the righteous be shaken” (Psalm 55:22, NIV). We can trust He won’t disappear in our darkest times, because His promise never to leave us is true.

In the book of Daniel, we read about Daniel in the lions’ den; also Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego in the fiery furnace. When things turned ugly and scary, their faith in God’s promises never wavered, and He showed up just in time to deliver them. Even today, when we find ourselves in a tough spot either because of bad decisions we made or because we chose to obey God’s Word in a sinful world, we can still trust Him. Accepting by faith what Jesus did for us over two thousand years ago makes us righteous in God’s eyes and delivers us from judgment, no matter what the world says about us. “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God” (Ephesians 2:8).

Trusting God empowers us to do things we never imagined we could accomplish. When we focus on Him instead of whatever is going on around us at the moment, we open the door to the supernatural. During the storm at sea, when Jesus told Peter to walk on water to come to Him, Peter succeeded as long as he looked only on Jesus. Peter’s faith in Him was the deciding factor (Matthew 14:22-32).

The world is full of situations that can look hopeless when we try and solve the problem through our own efforts, but we need not despair. When it looks like there’s no way out and we keep hitting that proverbial brick wall, there is Someone else Who can handle the issue much better than we can, if we just let Him. “I am the Lord, the God of all mankind. Is anything too hard for me?” (Jeremiah 32:27, NIV). It doesn’t matter how big a mistake we made or what it looks like to us. We can always rely on what He says!

God can turn anything around in our lives, but He’s waiting for us to trust Him. Believing what He says is all we need to do, but any little elements of doubt nagging at the edge of our minds holds us back. “Trust in the Lord with all your heart; and lean not unto your own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct your paths” (Proverbs 3:5, 6). It’s good to know our limited intellectual understanding isn’t a requirement of faith.

Take A Look!

The end of 2017 is a great time to look back and celebrate God’s faithfulness. Even if you find the year has not been the easiest, there is something for which to be thankful.

“Whatever is good and perfect is a gift coming down to us from God our Father, who created all the lights in the heavens. He never changes or casts a shifting shadow.”James 1:17

Here are 10 questions to ask yourself as you celebrate God’s faithfulness in 2017.

  1. When was a time that God protected you physically this year?Did you experience a near miss in your car or an accident that could have had a more damaging outcome?
  2. When did God protect you spiritually this year?Did He correct a false belief about Himself?
  3. When did God protect you emotionally this year?Did He help you forgive a wrong or to see through a lie?
  4. Who did God use to speak a word of encouragement to you this year?Did a friend, a boss or a mentor encourage you?
  5. What revelation did you receive this year? Did you hear a message that gave you a deeper revelation about the Lord? Did the Holy Spirit reveal a life-changing or illuminating word to you?
  6. Did you meet a new friend who encourages you in your faith?Did you begin attending a new church, small group, prayer group or Bible study?
  7. Have you experienced favor from a boss, friend, church leader or neighbor that could have only come from the Lord?
  8. Did you experience a new understanding of love this year?Did you fall in love, get married, have a baby, adopt a pet or rekindle an existing relationship?
  9. Did you receive forgiveness from the Lord or someone else?
  10. Did you experience God’s love during your praise, worship and/or prayer times?

BONUS: Did God use you to share His love this year? Did you lead someone to Jesus, help someone in need, or reach out in some other meaningful way this year?

Spend time during this season reflecting on what God has done for you in 2017, how He has ministered His love to you, and how He has allowed you to minister His love to others. If you regularly journal (or want to begin), use these questions as a starting point. You may even want to answer just one each day as you reflect on the faithfulness and goodness of God.

Enjoy Life More in 2018

Are you ready to enjoy your life more? Are you tired of living the same old way? If you’re a Christian, you ought to be enjoying life more than ever. After all, Jesus didn’t redeem you so that you could be sad, depressed, sick, and broke. He came so you could have “life, and … have it more abundantly” (John 10:10).

As the New Year quickly approaches, I wanted to share some tips for enjoying life more at any age, whether you’re 18 or 120.

Enjoy Life More by Continuing to Grow

As a Christian, you shouldn’t simply maintain the faith you’ve developed in the past. You must keep growing in your relationship with God. You can’t afford to get so busy with the mundane affairs of day-to-day living that you get complacent. That only leaves you vulnerable to discouragement, fear and complacency. Instead, dive deeper into your Bible study. You can do this by joining (or starting) a Bible study with like-minded believers, or listening to messages or reading texts by trusted ministers and writers of the Word (Romans 10:17). Look for ways you can strengthen your faith every day.

Enjoy Life More by Listening to the Holy Spirit

The Lord will speak to you through your Bible study, but He’ll also speak directly to your spirit as you pray and listen. Spend time in prayer every day—not just speaking, but also listening. Obey whatever the Lord leads you to do. If you will listen, the Holy Spirit will direct you throughout your day (Psalm 37:23).

Enjoy Life More by Reaching Out

As you learn more about the Lord and His Word, your desire to share God’s goodness with others should grow, too. Begin looking for ways you can be a blessing to others. Volunteer your time at your Church, a hospital, nursing home, food bank, animal shelter or children’s outreach. The Corporation for National & Community Service reported in January 2016 that those who volunteer have lower mortality rates, greater functional ability and lower rates of depression later in life. If you’ll pray every day, God will begin to lead you to do things that will bless others.

Enjoy Life More by Speaking Life

Pay attention to your words. Begin speaking words of faith about your life, your body, your family, your marriage, your job and your finances. Instead of speaking negative words that tear yourself and others down, speak the Word over everyone and everything.

When a difficult situation arises, don’t rehash the dreary details, pray about it, find scriptures to stand on for it and proclaim, “My God shall supply all my needs according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:19).

Enjoy Life More by Forgiving

As a believer, love is your greatest commandment. If you’re not walking in love, you’re in a dangerous place. If you’ve done anything unloving toward someone, do whatever the Lord shows you to do to make it right. If they’ve done something unloving toward you, forgive them. It doesn’t matter what they did. If you forgive them, you’ll be free of it. If you don’t, unforgiveness will keep you in bondage.

God wants you to enjoy your life in Christ, and He’s provided some practical ways for you to begin doing just that—starting with these five tips. Putting them into practice will help make 2018 your best year ever!

Waiting for Your Healing?

Years ago, when I first started studying about healing and being healed, a friend of mine who had been struggling with sickness made this comment: “I know God heals,” she said, “I just can’t figure out how to get Him to do it!”

If you ever find yourself in that situation, follow the example of the woman in Mark 5. She knew what it was like to have trouble getting healed. Mark 5:25-26 tells us she had been sick and broke for twelve years.

If anyone had a reason to say, “I can’t figure out how to get God to heal me,” this woman did. But she didn’t take that attitude.  Instead, she took a series of steps that connected her with God’s power, and she ended up hearing Jesus say, “Daughter, your faith has made you whole” (verse 34).

I have witnessed the truth of these steps throughout my life and ministry. The following steps will help so you don’t have to wait any longer for your healing.

  1. Receive Your Healing by Hearing the Word

Mark 5:27 tells us this woman’s first step: She “heard of Jesus.”

She heard that Jesus came to bring peace (Acts 10:36-38), which in Hebrew means “to be whole, with nothing missing, and nothing broken.” She heard He came to heal all who are suffering from sickness and oppression, which are works of the devil. She heard He had been sent by God to do us good—and that includes your healing.

  1. Receive Your Healing by Speaking Faith

Next, she spoke words of faith: “She kept saying, If I can just touch His robe, I will be healed” (Mark 5:28, NLT).

This woman spoke the Word in faith. Your faith won’t work without God’s Word. You must keep it in front of your eyes, in your ears and in your heart constantly, otherwise you won’t speak with faith. Instead, you’ll talk like the world.

With every cold or flu that comes to town, the world proclaims, “I’m going to get it. I get it every time.” By contrast, faith says, “Jesus took all my sickness and disease on the cross. I walk in total health. Thank you Jesus!”

  1. Receive Your Healing by Acting on It

Once the woman, with the issue of blood, heard the Word and said it, she went into action! She pressed through the crowd and touched Jesus’ clothes (verse 27). She behaved as if what she believed and said were true. She acted on her faith.

After you have heard the Word, begin to do what you couldn’t do before.  If you couldn’t bend over, then bend over. If you couldn’t lift your arms, lift them. If you used to get the flu, stand on the Word and declare your healing. Speak the answer, not the problem! It’s amazing what happens when you take action!

  1. Receive Your Healing by Receiving It and Shouting It!

The woman in Mark 5 reached out in faith and received from Jesus the healing she needed. Faith and determination made her touch different from everyone else’s, and she received her healing (verse 30-34).

It’s one thing to reach out to the Lord hoping to get healed. It’s something else to take, by faith, the healing He has already provided!

Don’t wait another minute. Say, “I take my healing now!”

This woman’s example still stands true today. Don’t sit around saying, “I’m so tired of waiting for my healing. Maybe one day God will do it.” No, put these principles to work and soon you’ll have your own healing testimony to share!

Praying For the Lost

Some time ago a friend of mine asked me, “If we have free will, what good does it do to pray for people who consciously refuse to receive Jesus as Lord? Can they be saved against their will?”

One of the primary keys to understanding how to pray effectively for the lost can be found 2 Corinthians 4:3-4.  Here the Apostle Paul says, “And even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing, in whose case the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelieving so that they might not see the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God.”

Most unbelievers who have purposely refused to receive Jesus as Lord think they have made that decision of their own free will.  But according to the Bible, that’s not so.  Unbelievers are being blinded by Satan.  He is blocking their perception of the truth.  Thus, their decision hasn’t been freely made at all.

That’s an important point for us to grasp.  Because even though there is no prayer you can pray that will change the will of another human being, through the prayer of intersession you can interfere with the satanic forces that are influencing that person.

You can also change circumstances with your prayers and help create situations that would bring your friend or family member in contact with the Lord.  You are well within your spiritual rights when you do that.  In fact, Jesus Himself instructed us in Luke 10:2 And He was saying to them, “The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few; therefore beseech the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into His harvest.”

Ask the Lord to send His messengers, Word believing, Spirit filled people across the paths of your lost friends and family.  I have prayed that prayer with friends who had prayed for their friends or family members, to no avail.  In almost no time I would receive reports of their loved ones coming to Christ.

Don’t sit by and let the devil take your friends and family without a fight!  Pray.  Pray.  Pray. For in every circumstance and in every life, “the effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man can accomplish much.” (James 5:16)

Walking In The Will of God: Part 3 – How To Walk In God’s Will

Before doing anything, make sure your will agrees with God’s.  How? – By spending time in His presence and by reading and meditating on His Word.  God can also reveal things to you through your spirit. You can get the ball rolling by demonstrating your willingness to fulfill His plan for your life.  He promises that if you will hear Him and obey His commandments, His blessings will overtake you (Deuteronomy 28:2).

Ask yourself this question: “Am I in the will of God right now?”  Judge yourself.  Are you following the lead of your self-will, or God’s will?  God has a plan for you.  However, if you begin to make excuses and fail to do your part, you will miss out on the blessings He longs to give you.

Now don’t think that life will become a bed of roses once you begin walking in God’s will.  There will be a few thorns here and there.  You may think, “Will this really work?” or “Things were easier before.”  That may be true. However, the benefits of being in His perfect will far outweigh any rewards you’ve ever received by doing things your way.  No matter what happens, don’t give in.  Just stay focused.

Renewing your mind is also important.  The best way to do this is by spending time in God’s Word.  Romans 12:2 says, “And be not conformed to this world: but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect will of God.”  The more time you spend in His presence, the more He will reveal to you, and the better you will recognize His voice.

Remember to use God’s Word in your prayers (1 John 5:14-15), and expect Him to respond.  Prayer is having a conversation with God.  He talks and you talk.  But it is equally important to listen.  So often, God is ready to reveal answers to us right away. But as soon as we’re finished talking, we whisk off to carry out our plans.  Then we wonder, “Is He really listening?”  The better question is, “Are you?”

When God reveals His plan to you – and He will – write it down.  Writing the vision down assures you there is a plan for your life (Habakkuk 2:2).  Keeping it before your eyes serves as a constant reminder you should be doing something daily toward accomplishing the task.  Post it several places – your refrigerator, mirror, car, doorway, and computer.  Be sure to write the vision down clearly.  God will send laborers to help you accomplish the goal, and they must have a clear understanding of how they may assist you in getting the job done.

If you already know God’s will for your life and are walking in it, praise God!  If you know His will and are not actively working toward fulfilling your calling, I encourage you to begin.  And finally, if you don’t know God’s will for your life, ask, and you shall receive, so that your joy may be full (John 16:24).