Prayer zone for a better, empowering, inspiring, promoting, prospering, progressing and more successful life through Christ Jesus

Archive for June, 2011

Love My Enemy?.


Love My Enemy?It’s only by the power of the Holy Spirit that we can forgive.

Love knows no limit to its endurance, no end to its trust, no fading of its hope.

It stands when all else has fallen. How do we get that strong love? The Holy Spirit is the one who gives it to us.

We must look to Him when faced with the challenge of loving our enemies.

In Africa I visited a man who was imprisoned and sentenced to death.

I asked, “Have you ever heard of the cross of Jesus Christ, where He carried the sins of the world—also your sins?”

He nodded.

“Do you believe in Jesus Christ, that He will be your Savior too?”

“Yes, I love Him, but I have not always been faithful.

Politics has taken up my time and attention completely, but now I have brought all my sins to Jesus.

He has forgiven me. If I should live any longer, then I will serve Him with all my life.”·

“Have you forgiven the people who have brought you here, who will have your death on their conscience?”

“No, I hate them.”

“I can understand that. I will tell you of one of my experiences.

“During the war in Holland, I helped to save Jewish people.

One day a man came to me who told me his wife also helped the Jews and that now she had been arrested: ‘She is in the police station and probably she will be put to death.

There is a policeman who is willing to let her escape if we pay him 600 guilders, but I have no money.’

“In the meantime I collected all the money from my friends and all I had myself, and it was exactly 600 guilders.

I gave it to him.

“But he was a betrayer.

His wife had not been arrested.

The enemy told him to find out whether I helped Jewish people.

“So this man thought that at the same time he could make some money.

He went home with 600 guilders in his pocket.

But five minutes later the enemy came, and my whole family was arrested.

“Later, when I heard that this man had betrayed us, hatred came into my heart, just as it happened with you.

I had given him the last money I had.

But then I read in the Bible that hatred is really murder in God’s eyes.

“How glad I was that I knew what I could do against hatred.

The Bible says: ‘The blood of Jesus Christ [God’s] Son cleanses us from our sins. …

If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness’ (1 John 1:7-9).

I brought my hatred to Jesus.

He forgave me and cleansed me.

“After the war this betrayer was sentenced to death.

I wrote to him: ‘Your betrayal caused the death of my 84-year-old father, my brother, his son and my sister in prison.

I myself have suffered terribly through your fault, but I have forgiven you everything.

This is just a very little example of the forgiveness and love of Jesus.

He lives in my heart; that is why I can forgive you.

Jesus will also come into your heart and will make you a child of God.

Confess your sins to Him. On the cross of Calvary He has finished all for your sins and mine.’

“Later he wrote me: ‘I have prayed: “Jesus, when You can give such a love for the enemy in the heart of someone who follows You, then there is hope for me.”

I have indeed confessed my sins to Him. … I am a child of God.’

“So you see that Jesus used me to save the soul of this same man I had hated so much.

Do you know that if you do not forgive, you do not receive forgiveness? You cannot do that, neither can I, but Jesus can!”

That same day the African prisoner sent a message to his wife: “Forgive my murderers.

You are not able to do it, I am not able, but Jesus is able.

If we are not willing, then we ourselves do not receive forgiveness.”

We never touch the love of God so much as when we love our enemies.

But we don’t have to do it ourselves.

The Bible says, “The love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who was given to us” (Rom. 5:5, NKJV).

God does the job. Hallelujah!

Corrie ten Boom (1892-1983) spent 10 months in a concentration camp during World War II. For 40 years after her release, she shared God’s love through speaking and writing. This article was adapted from Marching Orders for the End Battle.

By Corrie ten Boom.

The Joy of Following Christ.


Sin and ill are the false notes struck by man across the harmony of God’s will, and to strike upon or even remember such notes is instant banishment from the music of His presence.

Where all is joy, there joy is all; and he who has not reached this joy does not know God—he is still a follower, and not a possessor, and he should refuse in his heart to remain satisfied with his condition, but climb on.

Why stay behind? Climb on, climb on!

Often I have been mystified and disturbed by the attitude of many religious and pious people who appear to believe that to follow Christ is a way of gloom, of sadness, of heaviness.

Often I have gathered from sermons that we are to give up all the bright and enticing things if we would follow Him, and the preacher goes no further!

Has the Lord, then, no enticements, no sweetnesses, no brightness to offer us, that we should be asked to forsake all pleasantness, all brightness, all attractions if we follow Him? This to me always seemed terrible, and my heart would sink.

Indeed, to my poor mind and heart it seemed nothing more hopeful than a going from bad to worse!

All the pictures I have seen of either the crucifixion or the way of the cross (and especially those of more recent times and painting) portray Christ’s blessed face all worn with gloom; and I know now that this is far from the truth.

For perfect love knows agony, but no gloom. He went through all His agony, lifted high above gloom, in a great ecstasy of love for us.

To speak of sacrifice in connection with following Jesus is, to my mind, the work of a very foolish person and one in danger of being blasphemous.

For how dare we say that it is a sacrifice when, by the putting away of foolish desires, we find God!

And to find God, through the following of Jesus Christ, is to gain so much (even in this world, and without waiting for the next) that those who gain it never cease to be amazed at the vastness of it.

We find this to be an absolute truth, that if we do not have Him we have, and are, nothing, in comparison with that which we are and that which we have when we have Him.

In my earlier stages I was greatly set back and disturbed by this gloom and sacrifice (which is no sacrifice) of myself so put forward by pulpit teaching.

It was a great hindrance to me and blinded me to the truth. I was only a normal, ordinary creature, and melancholy pastors thrust a great burden into my arms.

Little by little, as I was able to learn directly from His own heart, I came to know Him as He is; and I could not reconcile the knowledge of Himself that He gave me, especially of His high willingness and serenity, with pulpit teachings of heavy gloom.

The church too frequently spoke to me of following Him in terms that conveyed a burden: “Pick up thy cross, pick up thy cross!” they cried; and He spoke to me in terms that conveyed a great joy: “Come to Me, come to Me, for I love thee!”

I thought I was very cowardly and sinned by this inability to like the gloomy burden, and one day I came upon this out of Jeremiah: “As for the prophet, and the priest, and the people, that shall say, The burden of the Lord, I will even punish that man and his house.

Because ye say this word, The burden of the Lord…I will utterly forget you, and I will forsake you…and cast you out of My presence” (Jer. 23:34,38-39, KJV).

Jesus did say, “‘Come, take up the cross, and follow Me’” (Mark 10:21), but whoever obeys this commandment will be shown by Jesus that the cross of following Him is no burden but a deliverance, a finding of life, the way of escape, a great joy and a garland of love.

The world thinks of joyousness as being laughter, cackling and much silly noise; and to such I do not speak.

But Christ’s joyousness is of a high, still, marvelous and ineffable completeness—beyond all words—and wholly satisfying to heart and soul and body and mind.

It is written, “He that loveth silver shall not be satisfied with silver” (Eccl. 5:10). Why? Because only those who know the gold of Christ are satisfied.

This is not to say that by following Him we shall escape from the happenings and inconveniences and sorrows and illnesses that are common to life; but that when these come we are raised out of our distress into His ineffable peace.

When your heart is sad, use this sadness to come to a better understanding of the deeper pain of Jesus, who was in the self-same exile we are.

The more the soul is truly awakened and touched, the more she feels herself to be in exile; and this is her cross.

But the remedy for her sadness is that she should courageously pass out of her woes of exile and go up to meet her Lover with smiles.

Now, He cannot resist this smiling courage and love of the soul, and very quickly He must send her His sweetness, and her sadness is gone.

The book from which this excerpt was taken, titled The Golden Fountain, was originally published in 1919 by John M. Watkins of London with the subtitle The Soul’s Love for God. The only allusion to the author was the descriptive phrase under the subtitle: “Being some Thoughts and Confessions of One of His Lovers.”

By Anonymous.

Stand Strong in Jesus.


womanpraisinggodWhether or not you were taught as a child to walk by faith, you can learn how to weather adversity and find courage and strength in the Lord.

When I was growing up, I learned the meaning of standing strong in God by watching my family.

They were living examples I could observe every day.

I saw how faithful my parents were to God and to each other, and I wanted to be like that, too.

My mom was a deeply committed woman of God. I am convinced that every demon and devil of hell knew her name—her first name.

My grandmother was so full of the power of the Holy Ghost that she could lay hands on the sick and, believe me, they would recover.

My daddy was a farmer, who started his day between 5 a.m. and 6 a.m.

But every morning, he would get up an hour or so before work to pray for everybody—12 kids and later, 50 grandkids.

When my older sisters would come home from school each day, before they changed their clothes and started dinner, they would go on their knees and pray. Like our mom, they would fast for days at a time, too.

Growing up in that kind of environment embedded in me a clear concept of what a life lived for God should look like.

Although I’ve missed the mark more than once, I’ve always wanted to walk with God, work with Him, worship Him and stand strong in Him. Now, I want you to enjoy those same things too.

STRENGTH IN WEAKNESS

Standing strong isn’t about having inner strength or being a tough person.

It doesn’t mean you’ve been hardened by life’s experiences or are a graduate of the school of hard knocks.

You don’t stand strong because your legs are sturdy or because you have German, African or Native American blood.

Nor is it because you happened to grow up in New York City or on a ranch in Montana. Finally, it’s not because your mean big brother used to beat you up.

You stand strong because you are strong in your spirit.

You are able to stand tall (with confidence) and stand long (with perseverance) when you’ve learned how to draw from a reservoir of spiritual strength that comes from God.

You stand strong in your spirit because you are filled with God’s Spirit. But you are only strong in God because you are, in and of yourself, weak.

Paul said, “When I am weak, then I am strong” (2 Cor. 12:10, NKJV). You have such limited power of your own that you need to keep asking for God’s Spirit to fill you up continually.

Standing strong means knowing who God is, and trusting Him to do what He says He will do. You can’t become strong in your spirit overnight, and it doesn’t happen automatically.

It’s a lifelong process of growth, and you have to cooperate with it.

When the disciples wanted to see an example of the kingdom of God, Jesus showed them a child. To become strong in spirit, you must become childlike in your faith.

Sometimes the only way to become strong in spirit is through trials. The adversities of life can transform you and make you stronger in the Spirit.

Perhaps you’ve already seen this in your own walk with the Lord. However, sometimes, you learn this lesson through watching the Lord work in someone else’s life.

Because of a medical error, author Bob Sorge has suffered with pain, both physical and emotional, for more than a decade.

Formerly a successful and gifted worship leader and pastor, today he is unable to talk above a whisper and can no longer pastor a church or lead worship.

But there is one thing he can do, and by doing it, he has become a closer companion of God and an inspiration to countless people. What can he do? He can stand strong.

In his book In His Face (Oasis House), he wrote: “Some victories are gained not through an aggressive posturing of faith, but by simply standing.

God didn’t deliver Joseph from his prison because Joseph had a dynamic stance of faith, but because he kept his gaze fixed upon God.

“Joseph didn’t understand what was happening to him. He could get powerful revelations for

other people (the butler and the baker), but when it came to his own life he could see nothing. But at the right time, God came and delivered him.”

Far from being a last resort or a compensation for repeated failures, standing strong is the result of a life lived in and for God.

Standing strong keeps Bob—and you and me—right in the middle of the palm of God’s hand, no matter what our circumstances are.

STRENGTH TO ENDURE

We grow stronger when we put our roots down in Jesus. He is our perfect example in all things.

Throughout the years of His ministry, Jesus stood firm. When He arose from the grave, He went on to stand for all eternity in fullest authority and share His authority with those who would believe in Him.

It’s obvious that someone who stands strong in God has a different kind of spirit inside. That kind of person does not go along with the crowd.

That kind of person does not yield to fear. That kind of person does not compromise his or her faith, even when everybody else decides to do so.

Joshua and Caleb were two members of the select group of 12 who got to sneak into the Promised Land to spy it out for Moses and the people of Israel. The Bible declares that these two men had a “different spirit” from the rest of the leaders (Num. 14:24).

When the spies returned with their report, 10 of them said: “This is impossible. All of the armies of Israel’s tribes will not be strong enough to prevail against those fearsome giants that we saw.

The land of milk and honey is occupied already—by giants. Just forget about it. We’re stuck here in the wilderness now ” (see Num. 13:31-33).

But Joshua and Caleb stood firm, even though the other 10 spies—and all the people of Israel—disagreed with their wisdom and refused to believe they could take the land (see Num. 13:30).

This refusal on the part of the people created a crisis of the highest magnitude. God threatened to cancel His promise and start over with new people (see Num. 14:11-12).

But Moses persuaded the Lord to stay His hand. Now they would have to endure a 40-year wilderness trek and the slow attrition of all of the unwilling masses.

Joshua and Caleb, to their everlasting credit, didn’t add insult to injury and rebel against Moses’ leadership, even if they may have privately disagreed with it.

They just stuck to their original evaluation—”Yes, we can conquer that land.

It’s ours. God has given it to us.” They were willing to stand firm for 40 long, dusty years in the wilderness without wavering, despite negative opinions and many seeming setbacks.

In the long run, after persevering, they won.

Even Moses didn’t get to possess the land. But Joshua and Caleb never gave up the idea that God wanted them to conquer the Promised Land.

STRENGTH BEYOND OURSELVES

The lives of Joshua and Caleb exemplify four key elements that are necessary in order to know how to stand in the strength of the Lord and take any promised land: Sight.

You must have the vision for what God wants to accomplish.

The Word says, “Where there is no vision, the people perish” (Prov. 29:18, KJV).

When God plunked Ezekiel down above a whole valley of dry bones, and He said, “Ezekiel, prophesy!” Ezekiel had a little trouble believing that so much deadness could actually come back to life.

But after he spoke to those dead bones and decreed that they should live again, they did (see Ezekiel 37).

Ezekiel had to speak life to his vision.

The whole thing was unreal before he did that. It’s the same with you and me. Sometimes we need to speak life to our dreams.

Don’t be afraid to shout a proclamation and declare a decree over the vision you have.

God gave you that vision, and it needs to stand up and live. Your part is to pray and believe—consistently, persistently.

Right. You must have a grasp of why the vision is clearly yours to claim.

Because your vision is God’s idea and not yours, you don’t want your prayers to reflect your limited viewpoint or opinions or desires.

Your vision must be nourished and kept alive with God’s own Word. Every time you ask Him to fulfill your vision, you must base your request on His Word, the Bible.

You need to be in the Word every day. Read it, sing it, memorize it and pray it back to Him. His Word declares His intentions and shows you how your vision fits in with them.

His Word prepares your heart for prayer and furnishes you with the vocabulary you need when you pray.

It is an irrefutable fact—God cannot lie (see Num. 23:19). When you stand in prayer, you can be rock-solid sure of God’s integrity.

Stand in agreement with Him about your God-given vision, and continue to immerse yourself in His Word.

He will convict you and correct you, and His Word will keep you on the path of faith so you can persist in your prayer until the end.

Might. It is extremely important that you comprehend the supernatural power that is at your disposal.

I would be remiss if I failed to mention the importance of fasting. If you combine fasting with your prayers, you will see greater results.

In fact, there is no better way to underline your prayers and put them in boldface print.

In Matthew 6:16, Jesus said, “When you fast” not if you fast (emphasis added). He assumes that you will do it, and He gives you suggestions for doing it well.

He wants you to fast in some way, usually in a variety of ways, consistently. Don’t wait for Him to give you a big sign in the sky to tell you to do it.

Just do it. You will find that fasting helps you stay right at His feet.

When you are seeking God about something, you need to pursue Him relentlessly, full of faith, until you feel a release in your spirit.

I can remember when I was a small child, being with my mom and older sisters at all-night prayer meetings. I would fall asleep in the pew as they tarried in prayer.

As I grew older, I began to appreciate that tarrying meant persevering until you broke through to an answer.

It meant faithfully staying before God, waiting until He assures you that you have prayed enough.

Your adversary, the devil, will try to make you want to settle for less than the full answer to your prayers.

He will try to wear you down, but if you hang on to the Word and God’s promises, you will outlast him.

Fight. You must be willing to take on giants, and able to maintain that willingness over the long haul, persevering in prayer until the chosen day finally arrives.

At first, Joshua and Caleb were the only ones who were willing to tackle the impossible situation.

They were ready to fight those giants, the sooner the better.

As it turned out, because they represented the minority opinion, they had to wait to do their fighting.

But amazingly, they kept the faith so well that they were still primed to fight, and as strong in body and spirit as they had been when they were fresh from their spying mission 40 years before (see Josh. 14:7-12).

There will always be opposition to your mission.

But everything God has said will come to pass. Your destiny is wrapped up in His plan.

Your life has eternal significance, and your prayers will bring your God-given destiny to fruition.

Do not grow weary.

Stand strong against any temptation to give up the fight.

Stand before God, day in and day out.

Ask Him to give you a different spirit, as He did for Joshua and Caleb.

He will do it!

By Judy Jacobs.

Let the Pain Go.


girlinthought-prayEvery woman has endured one kind of heartbreak or another. We’ve all had the unfortunate experience of betrayal, and we’ve grieved over the difficulty of getting past it.

As Christian women, how do we process the hurts we go through? And where is our God in the midst of them?

In the book of 2 Samuel, King David’s daughter Tamar suffered an unspeakable violation at the hands of her brother Amnon, who afterward, rejected her and cast her away.

The Scripture says: “Tamar put ashes on her head and tore the ornamented robe she was wearing.

She put her hand on her head and went away, weeping aloud as she went” (2 Sam. 13:19, NIV).

Imagine how this tragic scene might have played out.

Tamar’s weeping came from the depths of her soul and ran through the canyons of her entire being.

Clutching her torn garments to her breast as if to reserve the last shreds of her dignity, she made her way across the courtyard.

The ashes with which she had covered herself were a silent witness to the stain of violation no tears could wash away. Nothing could. If she took a thousand baths, she would still feel unclean (see 2 Sam. 13:19).

Tamar was empty, spent, a prisoner of her own despair. She could still feel her half-brother Amnon’s eyes glaring at her with intense hatred. Still hear his words ringing in her ears, “‘Get this woman out of here and bolt the door behind her'” (2 Sam. 13:17). “This woman! This woman!” She had been deceived and raped, but being reduced to just another woman in her half-brother’s eyes was more than she could bear.

The sounds of her suffering carried on the wind, drawing the attention of her brother Absalom. He came bounding from his house to see what had so devastated her.

Absalom said to her: “‘Has that Amnon, your brother, been with you? Be quiet now, my sister; he is your brother. Don’t take this thing to heart.’

And Tamar lived in her brother Absalom’s house, a desolate woman” (2 Sam. 13:20).

She felt so ashamed as she shared her plight with him. Would he blame her for this? Would he say that she had done something to entice Amnon? The thought of his name caused her to shiver in repulsion.

She thought Amnon liked her. She had caught his gaze many times when he did not avert his eyes quickly enough to conceal his longing.

It was inconceivable that he had such evil intentions toward her.

Though they did not share the same mother, the blood of their father, David, joined them together in a familial bond that could not be ignored.

Now it was too late.

Amnon’s “love” had changed to hatred.

As a matter of fact, he hated Tamar more now than he had ever loved her.

Now he cast her aside carelessly, as if he had never known her at all.

Now where could she turn? Who would come to her defense? No one had been present to hear her cries, to witness this travesty.

Absalom could only clumsily comfort her by suggesting that she should not take this matter to heart.

Though Absalom did not accuse her, his attempts to calm her did not repair her shredded soul.

How could she not take it to heart? The inner core of her being had been brutally invaded. Her very soul had been ravaged and left for dead.

Yes, a part of Tamar had died that day.

It did not come back to life when, after several years, Absalom avenged her by killing Amnon.

His death could not console her devastated heart.

And as she wandered the halls of Absalom’s house, day in and day out she resigned herself to believing that only the night and her dreams would give her relief from the desolation that had taken up residence within her.

HURTING PEOPLE, HURT OTHERS

Men are mandated by God to treat the women in their lives with respect and honor. They are called to protect and cover us.

However, the heart of fallen man does not always heed the call of the Spirit.

When flesh rules, men and women alike fall prey to selfishness, impulsiveness, impatience, lust, covetousness, manipulation, strife and every evil work.

The cycle of violation that follows sinks the soul into deeper and deeper depravity, wreaking more and more destruction on others not aware of the pain of the offender.

Whether it is an abusive mother that builds fury in the heart of a young man, a father with a perverted sense of affection toward his young daughter, or some other past relationship or painful incident, no one knows the motivation of one who violates and damages another person’s heart, body or spirit.

There is no such thing as a small or insignificant violation or offense.

One cannot compare violations to rationalize which will cause less or greater damage.

The bottom line is the pain is a large reality to the person who has been victimized.

To try to explain away the pain or attempt to put it in any type of context is to demean the one who is already struggling to make sense of the occurrence.

Though the pain is the same, the circumstances can be different. One can be raped emotionally as well as physically.

A person’s heart can be violated by the misinterpreted motives or deceptive actions of another.

The wound can sometimes be deeper than if a physical act had been involved.

Ruptured trust can give birth to fears that can grow and overwhelm its victim.

In their mind, a thousand “whys” remain unanswered.

There may never be a visible rhyme or reason behind actions of abuse, rape, betrayal, emotional battery or adultery.

Emotional devastation can go deeper than physical abuse, simply because it can be more difficult to locate the source of suffering in order to deal with it.

Neither party walks away unscathed by these painful encounters.

Regardless of what the eyes see, both people pay; both lose pieces of themselves.

Those who inflict pain on others are usually weaker than those they violate and have no knowledge of how to extract themselves from the prison of anger and pain they find themselves bound in.

The antagonist who never suffers the consequences of their actions comes to believe that there are none.

Which in the end only serves to increase their pain because their abusive behavior is a cry for help.

However this knowledge is usually lost on the victim who is trying to recover from her assault.

Both the perpetrator and the victim become people with the potential to hurt others over and over again until the root of their anger is addressed and done away with.

Such is the cycle of unresolved pain. Yet the power of God’s healing is always available.

RECOVERY IS NEAR

In order to embrace the One who comes with healing arms to comfort us, we must first extricate ourselves from the offense.

We will never forget the experience, but we must choose to understand (this does not mean justify) and forgive the one who has wronged us.

If we allow ourselves to become prisoners of unforgiveness and bitterness, we are sentenced to live a life of seclusion, self-loathing and hopelessness.

How do you begin to forgive someone who has hurt you? Do you begin sifting through your pain to find the one grain of rationale that could excuse the other person’s behavior?.

Sometimes there is none. What does one do then?

We have all heard that hurt people hurt other people, and this is a fact that is resoundingly true.

It must also be noted that if someone truly loves you, they would never seek to hurt you on purpose.

Yet, loved ones do offend, they do jolt us emotionally, shock us, dismay us and sometimes even violate us through shattering the things that are nearest and dearest to our hearts.

Your body, your mind and even your self-esteem can be dealt a blow from which you feel you will never recover, but recovery is just a choice away.

The gift of free will that God gave to us is more powerful than we know.

Many of us have not exercised the greatest reaches of its capacity to bounce back, overcome and even forgive.

Forgive even when you are right and the other person is wrong.

The truth is that forgiveness has nothing to do with who is right or wrong.

Forgiveness is a free agent.

It is not attached to reason or agreement or even understanding.

It is however attached to wholeness and to your healing and liberation.

Unforgiveness is a prison.

It slams the door on new beginnings and entrenches you in your present pain.

It chains the heart and stops it from beating.

It suffocates joy and paralyzes your ability to move on. Unforgiveness is the cancer of the soul.

It slowly eats away the marrow of your existence and impairs your judgment, your personality and your ability to love again.

The desire to want to hurt the person who hurt you can be overwhelming.

We want them to feel the torture we think they deserve.

“How can he act as though nothing ever happened?” We ask.

“It’s not fair! Where is God in all this? Is there no justice!”

Yes, there is justice.

But justice comes only after we have released our offender into the hands of the One who is solely in the position to judge.

RELEASE THE OFFENDER

Only God knows both sides of the story.

The fears, the past wounds, the generational conditioning, the weaknesses, the insufficiencies of character and integrity.

He knows the things that we failed to notice—the things that should have warned us to guard our hearts.

Only God knows the hidden motives and unspoken regrets of the one who hurt you—their sickness, their brokenness.

The assumptions we make usually do more damage than the truth:

“He doesn’t even notice how much he hurt me!”

“How could he be so cold?”

“How could they just ignore my cries for help and walk away?”

“Doesn’t anyone see my pain?”

Our imaginations can be unmerciful.

Trust me, it’s never what you think.

Your guesses will always be more cruel than the reality of what really transpired, adding unnecessary injury to insult.

You must let it go.

You need to forgive, not for the sake of the one who hurt or violated you—for your own.

It’s time to redirect your focus and move on.

And you won’t be able to do that if you continue to nurse and rehearse your anger, the many wrongs done against you, all the reasons why.

If you can’t forgive for your own sake, forgive for God’s sake.

He needs your hands open in order to bless you. Cooperate.

The one who wronged you does not deserve so much of your time, energy or attention.

Your fixation is standing in the gap between that person and God, shielding him from conviction.

Move out of the way.

Free him to receive the proper correction from God.

Free yourself to receive your healing.

Forgive because you need to be forgiven.

How can you expect what you are unable to give yourself! Forgive my dear sister, because you are not alone.

We have all been prisoners of our unspoken pain and suffering. So come and join us on the other side.

Choose to forgive because it is what God requires of you, and it is what is best.

He will help you to forgive from your heart and not just from your head.

Ask Him for strength to release your offender, for to release him (or her) is to release yourself.

Trust God to free you from your anger and your pain and from all the questions that continually assault your mind.

Let Him speak words of comfort to you and assure you that He has taken heed to the things that have transpired.

Although you may never forget what has happened, He will enable you to forgive even as He has forgiven you.

By Michelle McKinney Hammond.

Seven Secrets to Keeping Your Joy.


happy womanDiscover the most common obstacles to joy-filled living and learn what it takes to overcome them.

It’s not as tough as you think.

ARE YOU ENJOYING your life? If not, God wants you to. Jesus said in John 10:10 that Satan comes to steal, kill and destroy, but He came that we “may have and enjoy life, and have it in abundance (to the full, till it overflows)” (AMP).

I believe this means God wants us to enjoy every part of our lives—not just little bits and pieces here and there.

Many people today live their lives in a constant state of stress and turmoil.

But as Christians, we don’t have to live that way.

Why? Because God’s Spirit lives in us, and a fruit of His Spirit is joy.

Now this joy is not just a “happy feeling” based on our circumstances or on the things we possess—it is an unshakable stability in our inner man (spirit).

Joy can range anywhere from a calm delight to extreme hilarity, and it is the joy of the Lord that is our strength (see Neh. 8:10)

Many years ago, I spent most of my time uptight and upset about something.

The reason for this was because my happiness was based entirely on circumstances.

If things were going my way, I was happy.

If we had money in the bank, I was happy.

If it was Friday night, a holiday, or if we were on vacation, I had joy.

But since these things accounted for only a small part of my life, the majority of the time I was sad and discontented.

As my relationship with God grew, I got tired of being happy only if and when things were going my way.

I was weary and worn out from the constant mood swings, and I just wanted to be happy.

God’s Word said that I could live my life with joy, and I finally decided that I was going to do whatever it took to have it.

As I really started to seek God about this issue, He began to reveal to me several important principles that are critical to receiving and keeping our joy.

Following are seven of these life-changing essentials:

1. Be led by the Spirit. One of the most dynamic ways to keep our joy is to allow the Holy Spirit to lead us in the way we should go.

Proverbs 16:9 says, “A man’s mind plans his way, but the Lord directs his steps and makes them sure.”

Probably one of the hardest things in the world for people is to walk away from doing something they have done for a long time.

In many ways, I can’t stand to do the same thing for too long.

For example, I have several pairs of pajamas because I just don’t like to look at the same ones all the time.

But in certain areas I’m not like that—I would probably be happy with the same hairstyle until Jesus comes!

If we do the same thing the same way too long, it just becomes old and stale, and it means nothing.

But one of the things I have learned about the Holy Spirit is that if we follow Him, He keeps everything fresh.

Life does not get stale when we follow the Lord.

The Holy Spirit will lead us to change things on purpose just to make us pay attention to Him.

God may lead you simply to take a different route home from work.

He may want to show you a new tree or something beautiful on your way home.

Don’t just keep doing things the same way if you are no longer joyful when you do them.

You will lose your joy if you are not willing to get out of the boat.

2. Simplify your life. Don’t try to do too much.

Satan works hard to complicate your life so he can steal your joy.

If you want to live a less complicated life, you may have to simplify it by not doing so much.

I used to whine and grumble about my schedule saying, “How can anybody do all this? I never have any time to rest. I never take a vacation.”

God finally told me one day, “You’re making the schedule.

If you don’t want to do it all, then just don’t do some of it.”

If you’re too busy, I suggest that you take an hour or so and write down everything you are doing or want to do.

Then look at which events are not bearing any fruit and mark them off your list.

Before I uncomplicated my life, I never had time to enjoy my home.

I never enjoyed my kids. I loved them, but I never really took time to enjoy them.

I encourage you to spend time with your family and friends.

Enjoy your relationship with God.

Many people are too busy to even take a walk.

Take a little bit of time to look at some of the things God has created.

Learning how to simplify your life is possibly one of the most important principles to understand because Satan wants to steal your time.

He steals your joy by making you too busy to enjoy all God has given you. Take time to laugh. Take time to enjoy your life!

3. Pray with boldness. Jesus said, “Ask and keep on asking and you will receive, so that your joy (gladness, delight) may be full and complete” (John 16:24).

I believe there are people who are not receiving from God what He wants them to have because they won’t ask boldly of Him.

Hebrews 4:16 tells us to come “boldly” before God’s throne that we might receive grace and help in our time of need.

Many Christians feel as if they need to “clean themselves up” before they can come to God in prayer.

But our righteousness is in Christ alone, and no amount of good works will make us right with God. If we are in Christ, God sees us as righteous right now!

A few years ago, I stepped out in faith and prayed, “God, I’m asking You to let me help every single person on the face of the earth.”

My mind said, Now that is stupid. But I kept praying that prayer anyway, and our television ministry has expanded greatly since that time.

The Bible says we do not have because we do not ask (see James 4:2). I would rather ask for a lot and get part of it than ask for a little and get all of it!

Be bold and confident in God when you pray; don’t be double-minded when you ask for His blessings.

Don’t think, I wonder if I have been righteous enough for God to grant my request. Just ask for what you need, boldly and in faith, without wavering, hesitating or doubting, knowing that your righteousness is in Christ.

4. Be quick to forgive. Joy is restored to your life when you learn how to forgive and forget, and these two virtues go together.

God tells us He forgives our sins, puts them as far as the east is from the west, and He remembers them no more (see Ps. 103:12; Is. 43:25).

Frequently, we try to forgive people, but forgiveness can’t do its redemptive work because we want to remember what they did to us. We continue to think and talk about them.

Remembering a past offense reopens the wound and feeds anger—then anger in turn feeds unforgiveness.

Why do we need to forgive other people? Because our faith won’t work if we don’t. Unforgiveness is like dirt and mud on our spirit.

It blocks our fellowship with God, and that prevents our spiritual growth.

Actually, we end up torturing ourselves when we hold grudges and don’t forgive others.

While we are miserable and upset, the person who hurt us is out enjoying his or her life, not even thinking about it.

I often say that holding unforgiveness is like taking poison and hoping your enemy will die!

Have you lost your joy because of unforgiveness? If so, I suggest that you start forgiving people right away.

Make a list of people you need to forgive. Ask the Lord to give you the power to forgive these people, then let it go.

5. Obey God. I can tell you from experience that walking in obedience to God is one of the best ways to have a joyful, outrageously blessed life.

Psalm 37:4 says: “Delight yourself in the Lord and He will give you the desires of your heart” (NIV).

Every day we need to submit our will and our plans to God. We need to learn to wait on Him and listen to what He is telling us to do—then simply obey Him.

God knows what is best for our lives, and He will lead us into His perfect plan if we give Him permission to do so.

When we are new believers, we have our own plans and walk in our own ways.

However, as we surrender to God to really follow Him, there will be things He will ask us to do that we may not want to do—at first. But if we really love Him, we will let Him have His way in our lives (see John 14:15).

Are you in a position right now in which God is asking you to do something you don’t want to do? I strongly urge you to submit to Him. Your joy depends on it!

I believe that as we obey God more, it will bring such outrageous blessings that our love for Him will grow deeper and deeper.

As our love grows, we will want to do what God wants us to do, and our obedience will give us great joy.

6. Be yourself. Being satisfied and happy with yourself is a very important key to enjoying your life. It was so liberating to me when I discovered that I did not have to be like anyone else.

I used to try to be easygoing like my husband, Dave. I even tried to be soft-spoken and sweet like my pastor’s wife.

But all of that was only making me frustrated because God didn’t anoint me to be them—He anointed me to be me!

Many people think they must become what another person is.

That kind of thinking will steal our joy.

We don’t have to compare anything about our lives to another person’s life. All we’re required to do is be who God created us to be.

God has made every one of us unique. He personally made you and gave you gifts, talents and abilities. Just think about it: Nobody else in the world is exactly like you. That means what is best for someone else may not be best for you.

So, when you are tempted to say to God, “I wish I looked like someone else,” or “I wish I could do this or that like them,” don’t say it.

Be satisfied with who God made you to be. Remember that He made you exactly who He wants you to be.

If you try to be like somebody else, you will miss the beautiful life God has planned specially for you.

7. Let God invade every area of your life. A major change that God helped me make years ago was to stop dividing my life into what I thought was spiritual and non-spiritual.

Somehow I had fallen into a religious trap of feeling like the only time I was pleasing God was when I was doing something spiritual such as praying, reading the Bible or ministering at church.

But the Bible says that whatever we do, we are to do it as unto the Lord (see Col. 3:23).

This means that God wants to be included when we are shopping for groceries, pumping gas and combing our hair just as much as when we are praying or reading the Word.

The truth is none of us can live in a church service, a Bible study or on our knees in prayer. There are many practical aspects to our lives, and God expects us to take care of them too.

In fact, I believe He anoints us to live ordinary, everyday lives in victory and with joy.

When we decide to let God out of our “Sunday morning box” and into every area of our lives, we’ll begin to experience His joy and peace more than ever before.

Remember, enjoying the abundant life Jesus died to give you is based on a decision you make—not on your circumstances (see John 10:10).

Joy is God’s gift to us, but some of us have never even opened the package! God is just waiting for you to do so.

He is the glory and the lifter of our heads (see Ps. 3:3). Satan wants to pull us down, but Jesus came to lift us up!

Start celebrating your life. Don’t just endure your days—enjoy your days. Smile. It will give your face and your spirit a lift.

Find some good, clean entertainment or get with some Christian friends and cut loose and laugh.

“A happy heart is good medicine and a cheerful mind works healing” (Prov. 17:22, The Amplified Bible).

Every morning when you wake up, before you even get out of bed, I encourage you to declare out loud, “I am going to enjoy this day!”

Decide to be happy right where you are and to enjoy the life you have right now—on the way to where you are going.

Make a firm decision to enjoy your journey. When you do, you will begin to experience the abundant, joy-filled life that Jesus died to give you.

By Joyce Meyer.

{ Day 181 }.


Teach me your way, O Lord, and I will walk in your truth; give me an undivided heart, that I may fear your name.Psalm 86:11

David went beyond a determination to sincerely obey; he became a student of God‘s emotions.

He wanted to know what wonders, pleasures, and fearsome things filled God’s heart.

He had many responsibilities and challenges as warrior and king, but he spent his best energies trying to understand what emotions burned in the personality of God.

He had a remarkable hunger to understand the emotions and heart of God, and as a result he had a unique grasp of the emotions, intentions, and passions of God’s heart.

This is the one key, the single motivation that empowered David.

And if we are to follow in his footsteps toward an understanding of God’s heart, we must have the same motivation.

We must yearn to know how God feels, how the passions of His heart move.

As we discover the same truths about God’s heart, we will find ourselves living the way David lived and fulfilling the call of God on our generation.

{ PRAYER STARTER }

Father, motivate me to desire to understand Your emotions, intentions, and passions.

I want to know what You feel, what makes Your heart respond to me in love.

By the anointing and the grace of God, we must become scholars of God’s heart.

By MIKE BICKLE.

10 Lessons from Alaska about God’s Character… and Ours.


My husband and I just returned from an awe-inspiring trip to Alaska, compliments of some very loving people.

May I share with you in picture and in words some of the lessons from Alaska God showed me–about his character and ours?

Most lessons I “re-learned” rather than learned. God is faithful to remind us of his character, often in unexpected ways.

I hope these reflections will encourage you today and remind you, too, of God’s “bigness.”

1. The footprints of God’s faithfulness are everywhere

From beginning to end of any journey to any destination, you can track his creation, his character, and his creativity.

I found this particularly true in Alaska.

“The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands. Day after day they pour forth speech; night after night they display knowledge. There is no speech or language where their voice is not heard” (Psalm 19:1-2, NIV).

2. Words can’t describe the majesty of God

Beautiful? Awesome? Magnificent? Wonderful? How about Breathtaking?

“O LORD, our Lord, how majestic is your name in all the earth! You have set your glory above the heavens” (Psalm 8:1, NIV).

3. “The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective” (James 5:16, NIV)

God still cares about the details of our lives. And yes, God is still Jehovah Rapha, the God who heals.

The night before we left, I tripped over the garden edging while watering.

Pain shot through my right foot in the exact place where I had fallen eight years before while on a mission trip in Peru.

An x-ray had shown a possible hairline fracture back then, but no follow-up was recommended.

My husband prayed for me there in a small Peruvian ER, and I had no more problems with that foot the rest of the mission trip.

Back to the present.

The pain from the fall left, and I didn’t think too much more about it until we had finished packing our bags and gone to bed.

About 1:00 a.m., I awoke from incessant tossing and turning. And then I realized why. My foot was throbbing.

When I finally got up and tried to walk on it, I had to hobble to the living room. I applied ice to my foot, then settled down on the couch.

The ice helped briefly, but an hour later I tried to get up again, still unable to sleep. This time I couldn’t stand at all.

The pain was excruciating.

My initial thought? “It’s broken!” I prayed on and off for several hours, asking for God’s healing. I fought conflicting visions of having to cancel the trip entirely, or being wheeled around to every port on the cruise and throughout the ship. Forget hiking even on a short walk or trying to do our river float trip.

Daylight finally dawned with no sleep and no improvement, my foot still throbbing.

I knew it was time to get to the ER for an x-ray. My husband couldn’t hear my “help” cries, so I managed to drag myself back to the bedroom, where he was just getting up.

Just like in Peru, he prayed the desire of our hearts, asking fervently for God’s intervention, then leaving the outcome to God. We iced my foot again.

A few minutes later, I tried to stand up briefly to get something just beyond my reach.

No pain. Carefully, slowly, I began to take a few steps.

Nothing. No pain. No soreness. And no explanation – except God chose to heal it and answer our simple cry.

And while I “re-learned” this lesson about the God-Who-Heals while still in Texas, not Alaska, I had no soreness or foot problems the rest of the trip. We probably walked an average of 3-5 miles a day. Praise the Lord!

4. Occasional sabbaticals from technology (especially computers and phones) are beneficial

A 12-day break refreshed our spirits and sharpened our focus on simple things, especially on the attributes of God and his creation.

Breaks from social media can lessen our subtle desires for affirmation and accomplishment, because no matter how hard we try to avoid that, those temptations do creep in.

(We did manage to see one of the Dallas Mavericks’ basketball championship games while away, however. Go, Mavs!)

“He leads me beside quiet waters, he restores my soul” (Psalm 23:2-3, NIV).

5. God’s creativity allows us to use our talents anywhere–even in the woods of Alaska.

While floating down the Talkeetna River in Denali State Park, we discovered a man who proved that.

A gentle and jovial soul, he walked out of the woods and took his place on the end of a huge log, just as we floated by.

We paused long enough to listen to his entertaining and original banjo tunes.

Then he exited the same way. Our guide told us this musician appeared one day and started crooning his tunes to the river floaters only a couple of times of day–just because he wanted to help people enjoy their ride.

No one pays him, though the rafting company (of its own accord) does leave a tip jar for him inside their store.

God uses people everywhere. Whether we’re on a mission trip, or just “on mission” for God wherever we go, we can testify to the goodness and greatness of God.

Without exception on our entire trip, no one argued with us as we declared out loud reverently, “God sure makes beautiful stuff, doesn’t He?”

By the way, whether you’re a teen or a senior, or somewhere in between, opportunities are available for you to work and serve in places like Denali State Park.

In fact, someone told us they were eager to employ “mature” summer workers (hmmm…).

Whether you volunteer in soup kitchens, teach overseas, or work in summer resort areas, God will use your creative talents to honor him.

6. God has always provided for all of his creation

He is Elohim (Creator) and he is Jehovah-Jireh (Our Provider).

The woods and mountain trails of Alaska, like so many places, are filled with needed provision for both man and animal.

Through nature and river rafting guides we learned of trees and plants like the spruce, fireweed, skunk cabbage, and so many other wild sources that yielded fruit, food, and medicine.

“Then God said, ‘I give you every seed-bearing plant on the face of the whole earth and every tree that has fruit with seed in it. They will be yours for food.

And to all the beasts of the earth and all the birds of the air and all the creatures that move on the ground–everything that has the breath of life in it–I give every green plant for food'” (Genesis 1:29-30, NIV).

7. Trees grow upside-down and sideways in Alaska. But the ones that grow by rivers of water are the ones that will prosper

Same with believers (watch out for beavers, though!).

Staying close to the Source – Jesus – will help us yield fruit in season.

“But his delight is in the law of the LORD, and on his law he meditates day and night. He is like a tree planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in season, and whose leaf does not wither. Whatever he does prospers” (Psalm 1:2-3, NIV).

8. You just can’t get enough of God’s beauty

Yes, I also learned that I’m a photo-holic.

725 pictures later, those photos showed only a minuscule fraction of what God has prepared for His children.

“No eye has seen, no ear has heard, no mind has conceived what God has prepared for those who love him” (1 Corinthians 2:9, NIV).

9. God is the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End

Even our best attempts to preserve beautiful places like Alaska will eventually end.

But though this earth is passing away, while we’re here, we can thoroughly enjoy and give thanks for what God has given us.

“In keeping with his promise we are looking forward to a new heaven and a new earth, the home of righteousness” (2 Peter 3:13, NIV).

“Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and there was no longer any sea” (Revelation 21:1, NIV).

10. He is the Light of the World. Be diligent in the Light while you can

I had hoped to capture an Alaska sunrise and sunset, but it was a little difficult. In the interior of Alaska in Denali Park, sunset was around 12:10 a.m.

Sunrise broke through about 3:15 a.m. Summer nights are short in Alaska, but winters reverse the hours.

Kids leave for school in the dark and come home in the dark.

This picture is the closest I could get – a premature sunset as seen through a hotel window – sometime about 11:25 P.M., I think.

We will not always have the opportunity to be lights in the world and to share the light of Jesus with others. “Night” comes for all of us: as we age, as we come nearer to the time for our own deaths, or when Christ will return someday.

Alaska’s strange daylight and dark patterns remind me to stay faithful and keep sharing as long as God gives me breath.

“As long as it is day, we must do the work of him who sent me. Night is coming, when no one can work. While I am in the world, I am the light of the world” (John 9:4-5, NIV).

Prayer for Today

Lord, how we praise you for the beauty of your creation.

Teach us daily about your character, and fill us with a passion that gives light to others and bears witness of you all our days.

You are awesome and beyond comparison!

What about you?.

Where have you seen God at work?.

In what places have you seen the majesty of God’s creation?.

What leassons is He teaching you about His character?

By Rebecca Barlow Jordan.

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