Sunday, October 23, 2011

Called to Disciplined Prayer

Called to Disciplined Prayer 

One day Peter and John were going up to the temple at the time of prayer at three in the afternoon. Acts 3:1

Disciplined prayer arises from two things:
First, a good general knowledge of God's Word;
Second, a strong desire to please Him.
In other words, I am talking here about praying as an act of sheer obedience whether we feel like it or not.
And it is the mature Christian who follows this way.

You may decide to spend more time in prayer, but then you find that everything seems to militate against it.
So you think, These things that are stopping me praying are providential. So don't be surprised if, when you commit yourself to prayer, everything seems to be hindering you.
There must be discipline.

One of the forgotten verses in the Book of Acts is the opening verse of chapter 3. The chapter goes on to describe how Peter and John healed the crippled man, but what is interesting is that it happened when they were on their way to the temple to pray. We see that even when the Spirit was present in great power, these early disciples were not afraid to go by a schedule. At this high peak in the history of the church it would seem that the first Christians still observed set times of prayer.

The principle is that if you live by the disciplined impulse, you will get the spontaneous impulse as well .....
 Here were Peter and John on their way to the temple, when the lame beggar held out his hand to them, expecting to receive some money. But Peter just turned to him and said, "Silver and gold have I none; but such as I have give I thee: In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth rise up and walk" (v. 6, KJV). And the man was healed.

You never outgrow the need to pray. It is my job, not only as a Christian minister but also as a child of God, never to excuse myself again for what I haven't done regarding time spent in prayer.
Source:  (R T Kendall) Part Message - Excerpted from Worshipping God (Hodder & Stoughton, 2004).

Friday, October 14, 2011

Your Words Have Power!

Your Words Have Power

If you have ever handled sulfuric acid, you know how dangerous it is. It would eat away at your skin if it spilled on you.
Proverbs 18:21 says, "Death and life are in the power of the tongue..."

If death is in the power of the tongue, will touching it hurt you like touching acid?
No, obviously that's not how it works. The death and the life the tongue can produce are not about the tongue itself but about the words it helps to create. The words can produce life and death. They can be like an infusion of vigor or like a slow poison.

Words are containers. They carry in them the power to teach and instruct, lift up and encourage, create humor and laughing, to bring peace and joy, and hope where hope was lost. They are also containers that can mock, belittle, embarrass, tear down, deceive, and destroy.

As we just read, "Death AND life are in the power of the tongue..." This is telling us that these containers we let come from our mouths have power—power to bring and support life or power to destroy. We probably don't realize how careless we can be with this power source that absolutely lifts up or tears down.

I wouldn't handle electrical wires without turning off the power source. Even though electricity is meant to be a blessing, it has to be channeled properly or it could kill. The same is true with our words.
As a young Christian, the Lord instructed me to listen to the words I'd hear people speak. This wasn't to be judgmental but to learn and pay attention to the good or bad words accomplished.

I did what the Lord said, except that I started with myself. I couldn't believe the words I'd let come out my mouth. They were often negative and too often words of death such as, "I'm going to lose my mind if this happens to me one more time...." or "It seems like everyone is getting the flu. I'll probably get it next." or "With the way the economy is going, I'll probably be lucky if I have a job by next year and if I do, they'll probably ask for a cut in pay." I could tell you a hundred phrases filled with negative, death-filled words that were a part of my regular speaking.

I began to listen to those around me, "Ha ha! The way I eat I'll probably be dead by the time I'm forty!" "Well, with the way my luck is going, if there is a drive-by shooter, he'll probably hit me! Ha ha!"

I was amazed at what I was hearing from myself as well as from those around me.
As I studied God's Word more, I began to understand that Words are a powerful part of God's creation and a creative force in itself. From the beginning of Genesis with everything He created He began by speaking "let there be...."

Everything God spoke, came into existence. He created everything we see from things that did not appear.

This is exactly what Hebrews 11:3 is telling us. "By faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that the things which are seen were not made of things which are visible."

As I journeyed through the Word I noticed that God never spoke an idle word—and neither did Jesus.

My point today is that words are containers of power. They do affect us whether we realize it or not
whether we want to believe it or not. We all have experienced times when someone's words brought hurt to you possibly unbeknownst to the person who said them. They just blabbed them and they hurt you.

How could that happen? It could happen because words contain power.

Does that mean every word I speak is a power source? The answer is yes. It's just that it's not always measurable at the moment. Someone's kind words can make you feel good and even cry. Someone's destructive words can make you feel horrible and cry. We don't grasp the power of our words and all the ways they affect our life but they do. All words always have some effect.

 I learned long ago to make words work for me. Just as a framer frames a house before he can build the rest of it, I purpose to frame my world with words that encourage others and myself in God's will and plan.

If your tongue has power, you have power. You can frame your world with acceptable words that please God and create life and blessing for others, or you can spill words like sewage that bring hurt. God's will is always to bring life!

Psalms 19:14 says, "Let the WORDS OF MY MOUTH, and the meditation of my heart, be acceptable in your sight, O LORD, my strength, and my Redeemer."

Source: Used with permission: Pastor Tim Burt - Fresh Manna
"Prayers to pray using Scripture' can be found in September 2009 archive (located on lower right hand side of this page). More articles about using affirmations can also be found in 'Prayer Reflections' May 2007 Archive (link to this can be found at top of page on right side.)

Are You Ready?

Are You Ready?

"Stay dressed for action and keep your lamps burning, and be like men who are waiting for their master to come home from the wedding feast, so that they may open the door to him at once when he comes and knocks." Luke 12:35-36, ESV

Jesus so often challenges us and gives us responsibilities. To those who don't yet know Him as their Lord and Master He says 'repent, for the kingdom of heaven is near' (Matthew 4:17), but for those who belong to Him, love Him and know Him there are further responsibilities as they live in His Kingdom.

I like the simplicity of this instruction 'Stay dressed for action and keep your lamps burning'. Do you wonder what our lamps could be?

How about our passion for Jesus and the things of the Holy Spirit?

Jesus talks about the light in us. First of all, once we have the light of Jesus burning in our hearts, we must let others know.

'No one after lighting a lamp puts it in a cellar or under a basket, but on a stand, so that those who enter may see the light' (Luke 11:33).
Then we have the responsibility to make sure the light doesn't go out or grow dim. Jesus says we must be 'careful' about that.
'Your eye is the lamp of your body. When your eye is healthy, your whole body is full of light, but when it is bad, your body is full of darkness. Therefore be careful lest the light in you be darkness. If then your whole body is full of light, having no part dark, it will be wholly bright, as when a lamp with its rays gives you light' (Luke 11:34-36).

How can we keep our lamp burning?
We can fix our eyes on the glory of Jesus and focus on praise and worship to Him. Not only can we pray those prayers of intercession, however short or long, and whatever time of day or night, but we can to continually give thanks and tell Him we love Him (rather than grumbling and complaining).
 We can also saturate ourselves in the Word of God each day.

Our eye can look upon its light and take in as much as possible. And yet even that isn't enough. We must also put into practice what we read in the Bible. 'But he said, "Blessed rather are those who hear the word of God and keep it!' (Luke 11:28). Yes Jesus is coming back and we must be ready to meet Him at His return, or meet Him before then as we step into eternity. 'This night your soul is required of you' (Luke 12:19 – 21).

In Jesus' illustration the good servant is alert for the return of his master and aims to please him. The master comes back from the wedding banquet is so delighted with this servant that he gives him a huge reward. He actually waits upon him and serves him. What could be more surprising than that?

But the bad servant will be punished, for 'Everyone to whom much was given, of him much will be required, and from him to whom they entrusted much, they will demand the more' (Luke 12:48).

Prayer: Dear Lord Jesus, thank You for the light You bring to me. Please help me to keep it burning. I want to be ready when you return so I can open the door for You and welcome You back. Amen.

Source: Devotional from Ellel Ministries International - Seeds of The Kingdom 2011 - Today's Writer : Liz Griffin
What the Spirit Says to the Churches

Whoever has ears, let them hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To those who are victorious, I will give the right to eat from the tree of life, which is in the paradise of God. Revelation 2:7 NIV

THOUGHT: Jesus uses the Holy Spirit to speak to his people, his churches, in the second and third chapter of the book of Revelation.
But don't you believe that if we seek God and are striving to worship God empowered by the Spirit, then the Spirit will also speak to us in fresh and powerful ways through God's word?
When we open the Bible, more happens than mere reading!

The Spirit who inspired that word also convicts us and calls out to us and corrects us and seeks to conform us to the will of God and the character of Jesus. So let's open our Bibles with expectation that the Spirit will use these old words in fresh and new ways and give us new insights for our old battles.

 PRAYER:  O God, help me hear your Word in the ways you want me to hear it. Shape and make me more like Jesus, your Living Word and Ultimate Word, as the Spirit works on my heart. In Jesus' name I pray. Amen.

Source: Used with permission from "Heartlight" October 15, 2011 The SpiritFire daily devotional email is written by Phil Ware and is a year long devotional walk focused on the blessing of the Holy Spirit in our lives. Visit  for other devotionals.