Power: How important is it, after the storm, Part 2

Photo By SHANNON STAPLETON/Reuters

After the storm, I pray that all will have hope and grab hold of the visible and colorful reminder that God keeps His promise.  Like many of you, I watched the news and read about the destruction and devastation caused by Super storm Sandy throughout the eastern coast, which impacted some twenty-three states.  Sandy has been classified as an unprecedented storm by those who have covered storms in the past and weather related news for many years.

As I watched and prayed, I was saddened because many will write it off as “Mother Nature” doing her thing…it’s just something that happens.   I am certainly thankful for man’s giftedness to provide a scientific explanation of how storms are formed, to track them, and give warning to prepare and evacuate, if necessary. However, I believe preparation should go beyond the physical.  When the warning to prepare is given, it’s the perfect time to prepare spiritually— where are you in your relationship with God? Pray. Repent. Ask for forgiveness. Do you even believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God? What if there’s a real heaven and hell, where do you want to spend eternity if you die in the storm? Are you ready to go, if you must? Ask God to save you, rescue your life to fulfill your life purpose if you know your heart is wicked and evil. This is the essence of spiritual preparation.

While systems are in place to track and trace a storm, no man can stop it! No one can change the course of its winds powerful enough to uproot huge trees, or stop the fifty-foot waves and floodwaters from breaking through dams and levees.  Storms, hurricanes, and tornadoes should help us put life and power in perspective.  Only God can speak to the winds and waves and they obey His voice. Psalm 107:29, “He calms the storm, so that its waves are still.” Mark 4:35-41, records this unprecedented power that Jesus demonstrated, which gripped the attention of the disciples.

Knowing this is reason enough to give greater consideration to how important is man’s power and authority in comparison to God as being all-powerful and all-knowing.  It’s something about being vulnerable or in a life or death situation that raises our awareness to what matters most.  Usually it is in times of disaster and tragedies that we personally and as a nation realize pain is not prejudice, and death does not discriminate.

Consequently, my prayer is always that people ponder and give deeper thought to the spiritual implications or supernatural aspect of storms that sends a message about power and authority. A storm reminds us of our human frailty, our vulnerability, and speaks to the power and authority that’s totally out of man’s control.   Storms should get our attention. They should make us to search within, change our actions and attitudes, look at life differently—its sacredness. After the storm, we should seize the opportunity to regroup and reevaluate our priorities.  Those greatly impacted by a storm should forever look at life differently; it should never be taken for granted, if you survived the storm or even if you lost loved ones in the storm.

Kurt Wilberding, a fashion and street photographer, snapped this Instagram photo in lower Manhattan, after Superstorm Sandy made its way through New York City.

The destruction and devastation our fellow Americans are experiencing as a result of Sandy should remind us all of what matters most—love for one another, promote justice for all, and to walk humbly with our God.

Once again, disaster reminds us that division is the greatest downfall of a nation that “supposedly” believes in democracy.  But,, even after the storm, there is hope.  The LORD God always keeps His promise amid the destruction, devastation and sorrow for the lives lost.  After the storm, I pray that all will make the decision to have hope and grab hold of the visible and colorful reminder that God keeps His promise. You are not alone.

Praying for peace after the storm,

The Path of Peace

My faith says if I pray hard enough and believe long enough things will change.

Is it too much to hope for? Am I considered naïve to even think things could possibly be different from what they are now? Is it not my privilege to think…to believe…to pray…to hope…to expect?

Here’s what I think; here is what I believe, and pray and hope and even imagine…

Through the heartfelt mercies of our God, God’s Sunrise will break in upon us, shining on those in the darkness, those sitting in the shadow of death, then showing us the way, one foot at a time, down the path of peace…

 

That’s it! The path of peace!

 

The path of peace will lead us to that blissful place of eternal rest. There’ll be no more sorrow, tears, heartache and pain.

 The path of peace will lead us to that majestic ambiance of glory unimaginable.  No natural eye can behold its brilliance and exquisite décor.

 No finite mind can comprehend its power.  No frail body made of dust can stand under its weight of glory.

 Oh! The Path of Peace.

It is a path that anyone can take to find their way to the Father.  He has been waiting since before the foundation of the world to welcome you into the family.

 

Do you want to know how to get on this path of peace?  Because I sense, you’re tired and weary from the burdens you bear. Your life is spinning out of control. Your mind is tormented by nightmares. The daily challenges you face are daunting; they leave you drained of strength to survive.  You’re restless although you take sleeping pills. Your system has become immune to Prozac. You feel hopeless; you’re exhausted because your days are spent worrying about anything…everything. You don’t have the power to sustain yourself.  You are tired of suffering from sickness and diseases. The substance abuse and sexual promiscuity are no longer gratifying.  You feel used and cheap. Your “pint-sized” self-esteem has evaporated into thin air. There is no satisfaction in anything you do. You are emotionally and mentally stressed by the pressures and cares of a life you’ve concluded is unfair and hopeless.  

 

The voice in your head is screaming louder and louder, “Kill yourself! It’s your only way out!”

 

NO! WAIT! Do not listen! It’s lie!  Suicide is NOT the way out! STOP!  Your solution is here!

 

TODAY, RIGHT NOW You CAN start the journey on the path of peace by accepting Jesus Christ into your heart as Savior and Lord.

 

Jesus was punished for our sins so that we may have peace (Isaiah 53:5).

Christ gives peace and rest to all who come to him in faith (Matthew 11:28-30).

Peace comes through justification by faith in Jesus (Romans 5:1).

Jesus gives peace (John 14:27).

 

I’m praying for you….Now

 Heavenly Father,

 Thank You for sending this word for that special individual who has no hope. It is because of Your unfailing love that You’re reaching out to them now. I pray that Your calming Presence embrace them now. Let Your peace overshadow and Your love uphold them.  Open their eyes to see beyond present chaos and calamities of life, and let them envision the beauty and tranquil place of glorious hope.  Father, it’s Your desire that we all have peace that exceeds our understanding.  And thank You, that You made provision by sending Your Son Jesus Christ as the Light to breakthrough like the majestic sunrise. Let the warmth of the Light shine and dispel the darkness that lurks in the soul of that beloved whose weary, battered and bruised. Mend their broken heart. Restore. Renew their mind. Change their life and make them new in Christ.

To start your journey on the path of peace, pray this prayer:

Heavenly Father,

 I believe in my heart that Jesus Christ is Your Son; that He died on the cross and You raised Him from the dead. I confess that I am a sinner in need of salvation. Lord Jesus, come into my heart. I repent; I turn away from a life of sin and turn to You. Forgive me of my sins and make me whole. I receive You as my Savior and Lord.  Thank You, Father, for rescuing me from a destructive lifestyle and eternal damnation. Thank you for eternal life. I receive Your peace with thanksgiving. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.

 

If you prayed this prayer in sincerity, you are saved! You are now on the path of peace. Make sure you pray daily, and read the Bible. Get connected with a local church where the Bible is taught, and you can fellowship with other believers. This practice will help you grow and become knowledgeable about the teachings of Christ, and the Word of God.

May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit (Romans 15:13).

 

Visit Prayer Principles & Podcasts for more teaching resources, prayer coaching tips and sample prayers. 

 

 

 

 

Press in—Finding Your Secret Place in God

Spending quality time in the presence of the Lord God is absolutely necessary to secure your personal relationship with Him for eternity.  Living a holy and powerful lifestyle as a Christian requires spending private time in prayer, praise and worship, study of the Bible, meditation (thinking) on Him , and even just sitting in silence listening. Being in the presence of the Lord on a regular and consistent basis makes a difference in your attitude, altitude, and certainly your perspective on life. In essence, finding your secret place in the presence of God will determine whether you live here on earth in victory or defeat!

Do you realize there are many unstable, insecure and uncertain Christians? They are insecure about who they are and where they belong. They are uncertain about what they believe. They are insecure due to ignorance about their spiritual inheritance, and the abundant life that’s promised by being in relationship with Jesus Christ.  Consequently, they live beneath their privileges in the natural and cannot tap into the supernatural realm of dominion, power and glory. To live beneath your privilege as a Christian equates to not having a solid foundation in the Word of God—not understanding your life is hidden in Christ. In other words, not finding your place of security and significance, which comes from being in the presence of God, makes you open prey for the enemy because you have no supernatural protection.

“Press into His presence” is not some cute, religious church jargon. It speaks of progressive course of action that Christians should take, as well as an aggressive attitude that is absolutely essential in order to experience spiritual growth in your relationship with God.  Spiritual growth means developing Christ-like character, godly conduct and contentment, as well as faith and trust in God regardless of external circumstances and conditions. Usually going through a process of any kind is unwelcome by most people merely because of the time factor involved. Spiritual maturity is not instantaneous as some would have you to believe based on the world’s belief system.  Spiritual growth is achieved through trials and tribulations. James 1:3-4 substantiates the need for patience as believers walking by faith and not sight. Sadly, many Christians have been deceived into believing that instantaneous success and spiritual growth can be achieved without seeking God—being in His presence in private worship and fellowship.  But this is not the case for those who hunger and thirst for the glory of God’s presence and power in their life above all else.  Of course, as with anything in life, it is a personal decision. It is an individual’s choice to press into His presence and find your secret place in God.

To press into Father’s presence requires self-discipline and determination. It is a ‘press’ because of the antagonism between the Spirit and human sinful nature (Galatians 5:17). This resistance comes disguised as distractions, interruptions and pressures of life, but mostly due to the dominant and controlling area of your life—the sin nature (flesh). Pressing into God’s presence requires not only time, but also effort and mind exertion for elevation above the many distractions and interruptions in the course of a day.  Ultimately, your thought process and your thinking initiates the “press.”  In addition, you must resolve to train your spirit by pressing into the presence of the Lord and spending time with Him until it becomes part of our lifestyle like everything else we do in the course of a day or week. Once your spirit is trained and disciplined, your secret place is established, and it becomes part of our routine; although there is nothing routine about the benefits. Finding and dwelling in your secret place in God will change your life eternally!

For many Christians, a simple lack of interest is the reason for not spending time with God and finding their secret place in Him. Many are satisfied with being mediocre Christians, and indifferent in their spiritual walk. They are the ones that say, “It don’t take all that.” In essence, they are blind to their instability, uncertainty, ignorance and insecurities. Basically, they have another “god” before the only true and living God. Satisfaction with being a lukewarm Christian qualifies them as a scapegoat and gives them an excuse wherein they justify their own pleasure-seeking desires. They substitute sensual pleasures for eternal treasures. Mediocrity and indifference among Christians promote self-gratification and self-indulgence in things that will prove detrimental in the end—a small three-letter word called “sin” (Romans 6:23).

I compare the psalmist’s declaration to that of a parent-child relationship experience. Oftentimes, because of experience, parents will try to advise their children in order to protect them; however, the child is consumed with doing what they want regardless of impending danger. Of course, after ignoring parents’ advice and warnings they suffer the unpleasant consequences of their actions. Then and only then do they realize the error of their ways. And thus the familiar confession, “I should have listened to you!” Instead of an after-the fact confession, a lot of unpleasant experiences could be avoided if Christians would heed the voice of God, obey His Word, listen to the voice of experience and grasp the promises of God, such as the one in Psalm 91:1-2. The writer says, “He who dwells in the secret place of the Most High shall remain stable and fixed under the shadow of the Almighty [Whose power no foe can withstand].

Naturally, physical protection immediately comes to mind when reading the above passage. However, while meditating on this scripture, found that it speaks intrinsically of mental and emotional protection. In essence, the mind is covered and protected if you take refuge and stay in the presence of God—a place hidden and secure—a place that protects my mind and soul (spirit). Stability is a state of mind. If your mind is unstable your actions and behavior will reflect the instability of mind. And, instability is accompanied by insecurity. The main reason Christians are unstable and insecure is because they have not found their security (secret place) in God. They do not know that their new, real life is hidden with Christ in God. A combination of ignorance, distractions and disinterest have stunted their spiritual growth, and their desire is to always please their flesh/sin nature (Colossians 3:3; Romans 8:1-14). If Christians fail to get into their secret place by spending time in God’s presence, not only do they suffer the consequences personally, but society as a whole suffer. Our communities, families and homes also suffer.  When Christians spend less time with God and more time with things that satisfy their natural desires, and fit into their personal agendas, our witness is weakened and we are powerless in handling Kingdom business for the King.

As darkness and gross darkness cover the earth, there will be no substitute for pursuing the things of God. Your security, stability and protection come only from spending time in the presence of God Almighty. The need to press into His presence and find your secret place in Him will literally be a matter of life and death. Being covered, protected, and secure in God during the transitions of life will provide the mental and emotional stability needed to be more than a conqueror in the challenges ahead. It is my sincere prayer that everyone reading this article will evaluate and examine where you have placed your trust. Ask yourself: “Do I have a secret place in God?”
 

If you haven’t found your secret place, I encourage you to get into God’s presence and dwell (abide, stay, remain) because spending quality time in the presence of the Lord God is absolutely necessary to secure your personal relationship with Him.

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This article was originally published in Blessed Room Magazine. Rev. 9/3/12.

© 2003, 2012.


On suffering, still…

I pulled this from Our Daily Bread, and thought about the timeliness of it since I just posted on the subject of suffering Saturday …

 Heman’s Honesty

Psalm 88

 My soul is full of troubles. —Ps. 88:3

 David Roper writes:

             I marvel at Heman, the poet who wrote Psalm 88.  His lot in life was unrelieved distress.  “My soul is full of troubles,” he lamented (v.3).  He was fed up with suffering!

            Heman looked back and remembered poor health and misfortune.  He looked around and saw adversity and abandonment.  He looked up and found no solace.  “I am distraught,” he complained (v.15).  He was “adrift (vv.7, 15), and “cast off” (v.14).  He could see no light at the end of the tunnel; no resolution of his sorrow.

            Heman’s honesty warms my soul.  Christians who never struggle confuse me.  There’s balance, of course: No one wants to be around those who babble on all day about their troubles, but it does my heart good to know that someone else has struggled.

            Yet, there’s more to Heman than mere candor.  He also had a stubborn, intractable faith.  Despite his many problems, he clung to God and cried out to Him “day and night” vv.1, 9, 13).  He didn’t stop praying.  He didn’t give up.  And even though he didn’t sense it at the time, Heman acknowledged God’s lovingkindness, faithfulness, and righteousness (vv.11-12).

            I like folks like Heman.  They strengthen my grip on God and remind me never stop prayer.

 THOUGHT:  Prayer is the soil in which hope grows best.

 

Spiritual Garage Sale

Garage sale

Garage sale (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Since I had the day off (July 4th) National Holiday, I decided to do some much-needed cleaning…throwing away unnecessary stuff that I’d stockpiled for too long. I know. Usually this type of cleaning is done earlier in the year, and it’s called “spring cleaning.”  Oh, well. I’m late; had a lot going on in life.

If you’ve done any serious cleaning, you know you’re going to find something that you talk yourself into keeping.  And, if you’re a writer…OMG!  I have so much paper!  Anyway, in a box of papers I found this, which I don’t recall reading before.    Just felt inspired to share it… You may have read it somewhere before…

 

A SPIRITUAL GARAGE SALE

By Karen D. Gill

 

I said Lord, my finances are dwindling and I wish I could have a garage sale.  It would bring in some extra needed cash.  But, I just moved and all of my old stuff, extra stuff, and unwanted stuff are gone.

“You can still have a garage sale” He said, “How Lord?” I asked. “You still have some stuff around that needs to go away.”  His soothing voice was very clear.  So I perked up my little ears and asked Him to tell me.  This is what I received.

Go into the attic—your mind.  Shuffle around in all of those little compartments and pick out all of the useless thoughts, vain imaginations, doubts, and fears and take them out.

Go through the living area—your life. Pick up all those things you do that are not pleasing to me.  Those things that waste your time and take you from seeking my face. Take those out too.

Go into the basement—your heart, your soul, your foundation that deep place that holds your very being.  It is dark, so turn on the light of my Spirit so you can see. “Oh Lord, I don’t like the basement,” I cry. “It smells funny down there, it’s damp and musty, and it scares me!”

His voice is strong and firm, “It is not pleasant, and there are hurts, scars and open wounds that are festering.  The mold of unforgiveness grows there.  The hate, anger, and bitterness need to go.  Out with them.  But return, for we are not done here. That unforgiveness must be removed.”  I cried out, “Lord, it’s all over, little spots, in crevices; it really hasn’t been that long since I cleaned it and it just keeps coming back. How can I just make it stop?”

His voice calmed me as He spoke, “Take this bottle of “I Forgive You”, and as you clean then spray it on.  It is something that you will have to do daily and keep under control.”

Well, what a collection I now have in my garage. “What now, Lord, what am I going to with it now?” I am appalled by what I am looking at! It is all unwanted garbage.

“My child, give it all to me, I want all of it” He again spoke with a soft voice.  “I will cover it all with my blood, the blood shed at Calvary, it is already bought and paid for, just hand it all to me.”

As I picked up each thing and handed it to Him, it melted under His precious blood.

“One more thing my child,” He said as He reached out to me. “Those hurts, scars and bruises, pour this healing oil on them. And just bask in my presence. And you will find I have replaced all you have given me.  I have given you Love, happiness, kindness, joy, patience, goodness, peace, gentleness, and self-control. You have done well, and I am pleased.”

Yes, a garage sale was a good idea. I think I will do it again soon!

Make the Light Prevail

Darkness

Darkness (Photo credit: Roberto F.)

Sometimes the darkness that surrounds us brings dread and doubtful thoughts of never seeing the light of day. And unfortunately, many give in to the hopelessness that pierces their soul.  Then they are held hostage, caught in the mental crossfire between optimism and pessimism.

Felix Adler says it like this:

An optimist is a person who sees only the lights in the picture, whereas a pessimist sees only the shadows.  An idealist, however, is one who sees the light and the shadows, but in addition sees something else: the possibilities of changing the picture, of making the lights prevail over the shadows.

But may I encourage you? As a Christian believer of Jesus Christ, know this: Not only should you be an idealist seeing the possibilities of changing the picture, of making the lights prevail over the shadows, you have been given the authority to command the change through the powerful energy the Light radiates through your life (John 1:9; 8:12).

Don’t be naive

It’s perplexing to keep hearing the bizarre and senseless behavior of people in the news.  But then, I’m reminded of what the Bible (God’s Word) says. The letter Apostle Paul wrote to Timothy is relevant to our society and culture today, now that we’re closer to the end times, whether you believe it or not.  Here’s what he wrote (2 Timothy 3:1-5):

“Don’t be naive. There are difficult times ahead. As the end approaches, people are going to be self-absorbed, money-hungry, self-promoting, stuck-up, profane, contemptuous of parents, crude, coarse, dog-eat-dog, unbending, slanderers, impulsively wild, savage, cynical, treacherous, ruthless, bloated windbags, addicted to lust, and allergic to God. They’ll make a show of religion, but behind the scenes they’re animals. Stay clear of these people.”

When I call to mind what Apostle Paul said, it helps me see things from a spiritual perspective.  As burdensome as it is to hear and see the fulfillment of Scripture, I have to stay grounded in my belief that God’s Word is the ultimate truth, and that the hope for all mankind is a “true” relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ.  I must be consistent in my call to do what I’ve been empowered to do, namely because God predestined me to be born for such a time as this. I understand that I can’t save the world, but with the attitude of Esther, I am committed to doing my part and trusting God to hear my prayer…”Your kingdom come. Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven” (Luke 11:2).

In case you are also perplexed by the bizarre and senseless behavior of people, just remember we’re living in the difficult times Apostle Paul warned Timothy about. Hopefully, you will stand firmly on the solid foundation of God’s Word, and enjoy the abundant life that Christ promised to all that would accept Him as Lord—don’t be naive.