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

Posts tagged ‘Christ Jesus’

Intercession Opens the Door to Discernment.


praying woman
(iStockphoto.com)

“Who will bring any charge against those whom God has chosen? It is God who justifies. Who then is the one who condemns? No one. Christ Jesus who died—more than that, who was raised to life—is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us” (Rom. 8:33-34, NIV).

Intercession is a big deal to God. Jesus Himself intercedes on our behalf, and this encompasses so much of what He does for us.

Intercession starts with prayer. When we pray for others, God peels away our personal perceptions. Underneath those layers lies the truth. God alone knows the road a person has traveled, and God alone knows what journey He has planned for her future. As you pray for others, God will create a tender heart in you, one that extends outward toward those you might otherwise judge.

In his book Praying Circles Around Your Children, pastor and author Mark Batterson writes, “Empathy fuels intercession.” This is true. You can’t be empathetic and judgmental at the same time. There’s a choice to be made. You must choose to feel empathy toward a person’s plight or choose to judge her.

Intercession also means we advocate for others. God calls us to move beyond empathy and into action as we champion the victims of oppression. As intercessors, we shine light into the darkness, extending the love of Jesus toward a world desperate for authentic action from the body of Christ.

Pastor Mark also says, “Your prayers are prophecies. You can write the future of your family with your prayers.” We are members of both natural and spiritual families. Let’s release prophecies over our families and the family of God with our prayers.

Take time to intercede on behalf of someone today as the Spirit leads you. If you are aware of an injustice, prayerfully take action. Be a woman whose words and deeds are driven by intercession.

Adapted from Girls with Swords: How to Carry Your Cross Like a Hero, Chapter 10 (WaterBrook Multnomah, 2013).

Lisa Bevere is a best-selling author of Fight Like a Girl, Kissed the Girls and Made them Cry, Out of Control and Loving It! and Be Angry and Don’t Blow It! In addition to speaking at national and international conferences, she is a frequent guest on Christian television and radio shows. She and her husband, best-selling author John Bevere, make their home in Colorado.

New Year’s Resolutions for You and Your Church.



It’s that time of year again.

We’re going to lose weight, exercise more, get out of debt, stick to a budget, stop smoking, save for the future and spend more time with family.

We make resolutions because we want to bring change to bear on our circumstances.  We want to improve ourselves and our quality of life. And the top resolutions, for most people, tend to revolve around the same three poles: money, health and family.

But what would a set of New Year’s resolutions look like for you and your church, your role as a leader, or simply as someone who wants to live a life of strategic Kingdom investment?

Though many more could be added, here are 15 to consider:

1.         Pray more.

So he said to me, “This is the word of the LORD … ‘Not by might nor by power, but by my Spirit,’ says the LORD Almighty (Zechariah 4:6, NIV).

2.         Invest in my spiritual gift(s).

Do not neglect your gift, which was given you through a prophetic message when the body of elders laid their hands on you. Be diligent in these matters; give yourself wholly to them, so that everyone may see your progress (I Timothy 4:14-15, NIV).

3.         Get more intentional about evangelism.

I have become all things to all men so that by all possible means I might save some (I Corinthians 9:22, NIV).

4.         Care for myself spiritually.

Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already been made perfect, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me (Philippians 3:12, NIV).

5.         Make the tough decisions I know are best.

And now, compelled by the Spirit, I am going to Jerusalem, not knowing what will happen to me there. I only know that in every city the Holy Spirit warns me that prison and hardships are facing me. However, I consider my life worth nothing to me, if only I may finish the race and complete the task the Lord Jesus has given me — the task of testifying to the gospel of God’s grace (Acts 20:22-24, NIV).

6.         Confront debilitating patterns of sin.

Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us (Hebrews 12:1, NIV).

7.         Do the hard work needed to build community.

If your brother sins against you, go and show him his fault, just between the two of you. If he listens to you, you have won your brother over (Matthew 18:15, NIV).

8.         Keep in touch with contemporary culture.

From the tribe of Issachar, there were 200 leaders. … All these men understood the signs of the times and knew the best course for Israel to take (I Chronicles 12:32, NLT).

9.         Quit comparing myself to other Christians, other leaders and other churches.

Turning his head, Peter noticed the disciple Jesus loved following right behind. When Peter noticed him, he asked Jesus, “Master, what’s going to happen to him?”

Jesus said, “If I want him to live until I come again, what’s that to you? You — follow me.” That is how the rumor got out among the brothers that this disciple wouldn’t die. But that is not what Jesus said. He simply said, “If I want him to live until I come again, what’s that to you?” (John 21:20-23, Msg)

10.        Read more.

Timothy, please come as soon as you can. … When you come, be sure to … bring my books … (II Timothy 4:9,13 NLT)

11.        Prioritize my family.

A leader must be well-thought-of, committed to his wife, … attentive to his own children and having their respect. For if someone is unable to handle his own affairs, how can he take care of God’s church? (I Timothy 3:2-5, Msg)

12.        Refuse to use ministry to satisfy my personal ambition.

Should you then seek great things for yourself? Seek them not (Jeremiah 45:5, NIV).

13.        Love people, not just crowds.

If I speak with human eloquence and angelic ecstasy but don’t love, I’m nothing but the creaking of a rusty gate. If I speak God’s Word with power, revealing all his mysteries and making everything plain as day, and if I have faith that says to a mountain, “Jump,” and it jumps, but I don’t love, I’m nothing. If I give everything I own to the poor and even go to the stake to be burned as a martyr, but I don’t love, I’ve gotten nowhere. So, no matter what I say, what I believe, and what I do, I’m bankrupt without love (I Corinthians 13:1-3, Msg).

14.        Be more open to change.

See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? (Isaiah 43:19, NIV)

15.        Stay focused on the vision.

They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. Everyone was filled with awe, and many wonders and miraculous signs were done by the apostles. All the believers were together and had everything in common.  Selling their possessions and goods, they gave to anyone as he had need. Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved (Acts 2:42-47, NIV).

James Emery White

{ Day 358 }.


And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus, in order that in the coming ages he might show the incomparable riches of his grace, expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus. —Ephesians 2:6-7

Kindness. We will often be praying for people whose lives have been wrecked by sin. Many haven’t been taught social skills, and they have unlovely characteristics about them. Many have embraced wrong teachings and even are oppressed by demons. We must be braced to gracefully absorb some of their immaturity and deal kindly with their deception. We must overcome evil with good and be kind to those who are unkind to us. This honors the Lord and gives them the best chance to get His help.

{ PRAYER STARTER }

Make me a kind person, Spirit. Let me express the kindness of our loving heavenly Father. Help me to overcome the evil around and in me with the response of spiritual kindness.

We must overcome evil with good and
be kind to those who are unkind to us.

By MIKE BICKLE.

No greater cure….


By Pastor Bobby Schuller

“The Lord gives his people strength. The Lord blesses them with peace.”
-Psalm 29:11

There is something in my life that I treasure more than any other thing. I treasure this one thing – that God loved me before I was born. Before I was born, God was looking forward to me being born. He was excited about the fact that I was born and that I live in this world.

That’s how God feels about you, too. When your mother was pregnant with you, God was thinking, “I can’t wait until this baby is born. And I can’t wait to have a personal relationship with this new life.” A proud, loving, and good Father, the Lord sees in you what nobody else can see, believes in you when nobody else believes, and loves you to an extent that cannot end.

The apostle Paul tells us that our suffering turns into perseverance, and our perseverance turns to character, and our character turns to hope. That happens because the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus, is injected into our hearts by the power of the Holy Spirit. There is no greater cure to all of the ills, all the turmoil in the world around us, than the human heart being brought to a peaceful shalom place because of the love of God.

Prayer: Dear Lord, thank you for loving me from the very moment I was conceived. Through your love, I feel a peace that passes all understanding. Amen.

Devotion: How does God’s love for you bring you peace?

8 Reasons the Apostle Paul Would Want Churches to be Multiethnic.


What does your church look like culturally?

What does your church look like culturally? (Lightstock)

The apostle Paul did not go into a Greco-Roman city and plant a church for the Jews and then a church for Gentiles (non-Jews), because that would have been out of step with the gospel he loved, lived and proclaimed (Gal. 2:11-21).

Paul relentlessly believed the power of the gospel could create a new kind of humanity that was an altogether new ethnic group called the church. The church would be a community where racism, classism and sexism would be defeated by gospel love (Gal. 3:24-28).

The apostle Paul was so committed to the glory of God through the local church that eventually He was imprisoned and killed for planting Jewish and Gentile (multiethnic) churches throughout the Greco-Roman world.

“And he said to me, ‘Go, for I will send you far away to the Gentiles.’ Up to this word they listened to him. Then they raised their voices and said, ‘Away with such a fellow from the earth! For he should not be allowed to live’” (Acts 22:21-22, ESV).

The following are eight reasons why Paul would want local churches to be multiethnic whenever possible:

Soteriological (Doctrine of Salvation)

  • “For he himself is our peace, who has made us both one and has broken down in his flesh the dividing wall of hostility by abolishing the law of commandments expressed in ordinances, that he might create in himself one new man in place of the two, so making peace, and might reconcile us both to God in one body through the cross, thereby killing the hostility” (Eph. 2:14-16).
  • According to Ephesians 2, in Christ, Jewish and Gentile (African, Asian, Arab, Greek, etc.) congregations in Ephesus were “one new man” (v. 15), reconciled to God and each other. This new humanity was birthed through the cross (v. 16). In addition, they were members of God’s household (v. 19), God’s temple (v. 21) and God’s dwelling place (v. 22).

Christological and Missiological

  • “For this reason I, Paul, a prisoner for Christ Jesus on behalf of you Gentiles—assuming that you have heard of the stewardship of God’s grace that was given to me for you, how the mystery was made known to me by revelation, as I have written briefly. When you read this, you can perceive my insight into the mystery of Christ, which was not made known to the sons of men in other generations as it has now been revealed to his holy apostles and prophets by the Spirit. This mystery is that the Gentiles are fellow heirs, members of the same body, and partakers of the promise in Christ Jesus through the gospel” (Eph. 3:1-6).
  • The apostle Paul was on mission to reach Jews and Gentiles and incorporate them into one local body because the gospel demanded it.

Gospel

  • “Of this gospel I was made a minister according to the gift of God’s grace, which was given me by the working of his power. To me, though I am the very least of all the saints, this grace was given, to preach to the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ,  and to bring to light for everyone what is the plan of the mystery hidden for ages in God who created all things” (Eph. 3:7-9).
  • Apparently, the apostle Paul believed the gospel of God’s grace not only caused people to love Jesus, but to also love each other in such away they formed “one new man,” in spite of the first-century Greco-Roman culture that said they should hate each other.

Theological and Eccesiological (Doctrine of the Church)

  • “So that through the church the manifold wisdom of God might now be made known to the rulers and authorities in the heavenly places. This was according to the eternal purpose that he has realized in Christ Jesus our Lord, in whom we have boldness and access with confidence through our faith in him” (Eph. 3:10-12).
  • As the ethnically multicolored congregations in Ephesus read Paul’s letter, they learned the church is composed of a variety of colored people (manifold). And this unifying display alerted the rulers and authorities that is the angelic and demonic world that Jesus had indeed won.
  • Peter T. O’Brien, in his commentary on the letter to the Ephesians, says, “In our present context, however, this variegated wisdom has particular reference to God’s richly diverse ways of working which led to a multiracial, multicultural community being united as fellow-members in the body of Christ.”

Sacrificial

  • “So I ask you not to lose heart over what I am suffering for you, which is your glory” (Eph. 3:13).
  • The apostle Paul suffered greatly to see God’s new society, comprised of multiethnic, socio-economically diverse people formed on Planet Earth.
  • “From now on let no one cause me trouble, for I bear on my body the marks of Jesus.” (Gal. 6:17).
  • I personally have suffered greatly, planting and leading a multiethnic church. It’s hard work. But it’s gospel.

Eschatological (Ultimate Destiny of the Church)

“And they sang a new song, saying,

“’Worthy are you to take the scroll
and to open its seals,
for you were slain, and by your blood you ransomed people for God
from every tribe and language and people and nation,
and you have made them a kingdom and priests to our God,
and they shall reign on the earth.’

“Then I looked, and I heard around the throne and the living creatures and the elders the voice of many angels, numbering myriads of myriads and thousands of thousands, saying with a loud voice,

“’Worthy is the Lamb who was slain,
to receive power and wealth and wisdom and might
and honor and glory and blessing’” (Rev. 5:9-12).

The eternal church will be multiethnic. There will be no white church, black church, Latino church or Asian church. There will only be Jesus’ multiethnic church. If this is the future, let’s pray for it today.

Derwin L. Gray is the founding and lead pastor of Transformation Church, a multiethnic, multigenerational, mission-shaped community that loves God completely (Upward), themselves correctly (Inward) and their neighbors compassionately (Outward) in Indian Land, S.C., just south of Charlotte, N.C. Transformation Church was recently recognized as one of the fastest-growing churches in America for 2010 by Outreach Magazine.

For the original article, visit pastors.com.

Written by Derwin Gray

How to Break Free From the Enemy’s Stranglehold.


stranglehold

We’re called to fight the good fight of faith (1 Tim. 6:12). But our adversary the devil roams around like a roaring lion intent on devouring your faith (1 Pet. 5:8).

One way the devil does this is by trying to choke you, or put you in a stranglehold. In the wrestling world—and remember, we’re wresting against principalities, powers, rulers of the darkness of this world and spiritual wickedness in high places, according to Ephesians 6:12—a stranglehold is an illegal hold that chokes the opponent. Merriam-Webster calls it a “force or influence that chokes or suppresses freedom of movement or expression.” If the wrestler doesn’t break free from the stranglehold, the lack of blood or air can cause him to black out.

Translating this to our spiritual realities, the enemy wants to choke the Word of God out of your mouth so you can’t wield your sword of the Spirit or pray. The enemy wants to choke your revelation of who you are in Christ and your authority over him. The enemy wants to counter the work of the blood of Jesus and the Holy Spirit in your life so you’ll sideline yourself. We need to learn how to prevent the enemy from getting us into a stranglehold in the first place—but if we’ve fallen into the devil’s trap, we can break free with one simple prayer.

Worry: The Devil’s Stranglehold
What is this stranglehold I’m talking about? Worry. Did you know that one definition of worry is “to harass by tearing, biting or snapping especially at the throat” and “to shake or pull at with the teeth” or to “to assail with rough or aggressive attack or treatment”?

This is one of the enemy’s so-called roaring lion tactics. He magnifies our circumstances to get us to worry. Once we begin to worry, he moves in position to engage us in a stranglehold that makes us feel powerless to do anything about that which we’re worrying. It’s a clever strategy that plays on internal cares that we haven’t cast on the Lord—or that we continue taking back from His able hands.

Jesus understood the danger of worry. In His Sermon on the Mount, Jesus went off on a bunny trail about worry in Matthew 6:25-34 that goes like this:

“Therefore I say to you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink; nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the air, for they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? Which of you by worrying can add one cubit to his stature?

“So why do you worry about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin; and yet I say to you that even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. Now if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is, and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will He not much more clothe you, O you of little faith?

“Therefore do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For after all these things the Gentiles seek. For your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about its own things. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.”

Breaking Free From Satan’s Stranglehold
Jesus warns us repeatedly not to worry, but He also tells us what to do instead. He inspires our faith for provision by telling us to look at nature and assuring us of our value to Him. Then He instructs us to get our mind off what we need—and that could be anything, from provision to healing to protection to relationship-mending and beyond—and seek the kingdom of God and His righteousness.

In His infinite wisdom, Jesus knows that if you focus on what the enemy shows you—the lack, the symptoms, the trial, the trouble—you’ll worry and fall into Satan’s stranglehold. But if you focus on the kingdom and His righteousness, you’ll build your faith to overcome any circumstance. If you seek first the kingdom and His righteousness, Satan can’t get you into a stranglehold.

If you’ve already fallen into the enemy’s trap, you can do what Peter suggested before he warns us to be vigilant, “because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour” (1 Pet. 5:8): You can cast all your worry on Him, because He cares for you (v. 7). And when you feel that anxiety and worry rising up in your soul, you can take Paul’s advice:

“Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus” (Phil. 4:6-7).

When you do these things, the enemy can’t keep his grip on you. Amen.

Source: CHARISMA NEWS.

JENNIFER LECLAIRE

Jennifer LeClaire is news editor at Charisma. She is also the author of several books, including The Spiritual Warrior’s Guide to Defeating Jezebel. You can email Jennifer at jennifer.leclaire@charismamedia.com or visit her website here. You can also join Jennifer on Facebook or follow her on Twitter.

Give Thanks in Suffering.


How to Find the Hidden Gift in Your Pain

Giving thanks when you’re suffering seems like an idea so far-fetched nobody could take it seriously, yet that is exactly what God asks us to do.

The apostle Paul, who knew more than his share of sorrow, counseled his young apprentice Timothy to do just that:

Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus. (1 Timothy 5:16-18, NIV)

Paul understood the spiritual benefit of giving thanks when you’re hurting.  It takes your focus off yourself and puts it on God.  But how, in the middle of our pain, can we possibly give thanks?

Let the Holy Spirit Speak for You

Paul was well aware of what he could and couldn’t do.  He knew his missionary work was far beyond his natural strength, so he relied heavily on the power of the Holy Spirit within him.

It’s the same with us.  Only when we stop struggling and surrender to God can we allow the Holy Spirit to work in and through us.  When we become a conduit for the Spirit’s power, God helps us do impossible things, like give thanks even when we’re hurting.

Humanly speaking, you may not see anything you can be grateful for right now.  Your circumstances are miserable, and you’re desperately praying they will change.  God hears you.  In a very real sense, though, you are focusing on the bigness of your circumstances and not on the bigness of God.  God is all-powerful.  He may allow your situation to continue, but know this: God is in control, not your circumstances.

I tell you this not by theory but by my own painful past.  When I was unemployed for 18 months, it didn’t seem God was in control.  When important relationships fell apart, I couldn’t understand. When my father died in 1995, I felt lost.

I had cancer in 1976.  I was 25 years old and could not give thanks.  In 2011 when I had cancer again, I was able to give thanks to God, not for the cancer, of course, but for his steady, loving hand through it all.  The difference was that I was able to look back and see that no matter what happened to me in the past, God was with me and he brought me through it.

As you give yourself to God, he will help you through this hard time you are in now.  One of God’s goals for you is to make you totally dependent on him.  The more you depend on him and sense his support, the more you will want to give thanks.

One Thing Satan Hates

If there’s one thing Satan hates, it’s when believers trust God.  Satan encourages us to trust our emotions instead.  He wants us to put our faith infearworrydepression, and doubt.

Jesus Christ encountered this many times in his owndisciples.  He told them not to be afraid but to believe.  Negative emotions are so strong that they skew our judgment.  We forget it is God who is reliable, not our feelings.

That’s why, when you’re hurting, it’s wise to read the Bible.  You may not feel like it.  It may be the last thing you want to do, and it’s the last thing Satan wants you to do, but again, there’s an important reason to.  It brings your focus away from your emotions and back onto God.

There is power in God’s Word to fend off Satan’s attacks and power to remind you of God’s love for you.  When Satan tempted Jesus in the wilderness, Jesus drove him off by quoting Scripture.  Our emotions can lie to us.  The Bible never does.

When you’re going through trouble, Satan wants you to blame God.  In the middle of Job’sworst trials, even his wife said to him, “Curse God and die.” (Job 2:9, NIV)  Later, Job showed extraordinary faith when he promised, “Though he slay me, yet will I hope in him;” (Job 13:15a, NIV)

Your hope is in God in this life and the next.  Never forget that.

Doing What We Don’t Want to Do

Giving thanks when you’re hurting is another one of those tasks we don’t want to do, like dieting or going to the dentist, but it’s immensely more important because it brings you intoGod’s will for you.  Obeying God is not always easy, but it is always worthwhile.

We seldom grow more intimate with God during good times.  Pain has a way of drawing us close to him, making God so real we feel we can reach out and touch him.

You don’t have to give thanks for the thing afflicting you, but you can be grateful for God’s faithful presence.  When you approach it that way, you’ll find that thanking God when you’re hurting does make perfect sense.

More on How to Give Thanks When You’re Hurting

By 

Jack Zavada, a career writer and contributor for About.com, is host to a Christian website for singles. Never married, Jack feels that the hard-won lessons he has learned may help other Christian singles make sense of their lives. His articles and ebooks offer great hope and encouragement. To contact him or for more information, visit Jack’s Bio Page.

Tag Cloud

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 1,693 other followers