Friday, April 20, 2018

Matthew 26: 37-39, 42,44

Matthew 26: 37-39, 42,44

He began to be sorrowful and deeply distressed. Then He said to them, "My soul is exceedingly sorrowful, even to death ... He went a little farther and fell on His face, and prayed, saying,"O My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from Me; nevertheless, not as I will, but as You will."

Again, a second time, He went away and prayed, saying,"O My Father, if this cup cannot pass away from Me unless I drink it, Your will be done."

So He went away again, and prayed the third time, saying the same words. NKJV

O Lord Jesus, 
Thank You for teaching me how to pray! Forgive me for my casual, careless prayers. My happy-go-lucky heart would rather be singing praises and dancing than falling on my face in deep sorrowful prayer. I've failed to follow Your example. My prayers have been hasty, shallow and sloppy. I wonder why they go unanswered.

Please lay Your heart over my heart and teach me to pray. O that my soul would be exceedingly anguished even to the point of death for the things that trouble You. Rather than praying as I drive down the road asking You to bless this person and that person, give me this and give them that, I want to go to the garden alone, far away from the hustle and bustle, where I can experience prayer with You.

In Your presence, I'll fall on my face. Crying out to You in deep distress, You'll tell me exactly what's on Your heart. As I sit still, quietly listening to Your voice, my prayer life will change. I'll be overcome with grief for the things that grieve You. The intense pain will be unbearable. It'll be tempting to walk away from the severe problems and pressures you reveal to me, but Lord, with all my heart I want to follow You, even to death. I want to pray like You, Jesus, not my will but Yours be done.  Amen.
 

Have you ever had this heart of God? Have you ever prayed like Jesus? Would you be willing to allow God to take You to a different kind of praying? Turn around and follow Jesus. He'll teach you how to pray powerful prayers that will make a kingdom difference.

Thursday, April 19, 2018

Psalm 62:5-6

Psalm 62:5-6
Find rest, O my soul, in God alone;
       my hope comes from him.

 He alone is my rock and my salvation;
       he is my fortress, I will not be shaken.

O my Strength! You, my God, are my Fortress, my Mighty Rock, My Refuge. Peacefully resting in the presence of Your upright, unmovable shelter, I will not be afraid or discouraged.  Your divine providence will save me and Your powerful grace will support me.  You'll readily supply all my needs, and strengthen me for the impending battle. Surrounded by the thick walls of Your mighty bulwark, people can't harm me and problems can't destroy me. 

You alone are my Rock and my Refuge. People are as unpredictable as the wind. When I put my hope in their power and promises, I'm bound to be disappointed, discouraged and discontent. People, no matter how influential, don't have an ounce of strength to shield me from deadly peril.

You, on the other hand, are steady, solid, and secure. You never change Your mind or change the rules. With my heart cheerfully set on Your promises, I can expect to receive unlimited power, unparalleled peace, and unrivaled protection. Daily pondering Your Word and communicating with You through prayer, my faith will increase to an unwavering steadfastness. My sheer joy in Your strength will swell into a holy triumph and I will sing of Your love for You alone are my hope, my Fortress, my loving God. Amen.

If you are pressed beneath problems, crushed under crisis, or pursued by people, run into the safety of Almighty God's unfailing bulwark. A bulwark is a wall-like structure built to keep out attackers.

He's expecting You. Open Your Bible and read His Word. Begin with this Psalm. Pray with expectancy. Resting on God's holy, unchanging words, you'll find unlimited power, unparalleled peace, and unrivaled protection.

A Mighty Fortress is Our God! A Bulwark never failing!

Wednesday, April 18, 2018

Psalm 91:9-16

Psalm 91:9-16
  If you make the Most High your dwelling-
       even the LORD, who is my refuge-
  then no harm will befall you,
       no disaster will come near your tent.
 For he will command his angels concerning you
       to guard you in all your ways;
 they will lift you up in their hands.

 "Because he loves me," says the LORD, "I will rescue him;
       I will protect him, for he acknowledges my name.
 He will call upon me, and I will answer him;
       I will be with him in trouble,
       I will deliver him and honor him.
 With long life will I satisfy him
       and show him my salvation."

Lord, Most High,
Thank You for making my heart Your home. You are my safe haven. I come in, shut the door, and rest in the shadow of Your almighty presence. From the heights of heaven, You order a battalion of angels to watch over me wherever I go. If I climb the highest, most majestic mountain, You are there. If I sink deep within the sea of sadness, You are there. In the darkness of distress and discouragement, You are there. In the light of love and laughter, even then, You are there. Thank You for the angels that surround the shelter of my heart, Your home. 
  
Because I love You, I trust You to: 
Rescue me from sin and suffering 
Make me strong and mighty 
Answer me when I call You 
Be with me in times of trouble 
Deliver me from evil and temptation 
Honor me with the prosperity of Your presence 
Satisfy me with a full life 
Give me everlasting life and happiness

I know that problems will pursue me and danger will distract me, but with You living in my heart, I'll not just survive, I'll thrive. With the angels watching over me, I'll bravely trample trouble beneath my feet and loudly proclaim "You, O God, are my fortress, my loving God. You are my strength and my refuge."

Please dear Lord, make my heart Your home today and send those beautiful, powerful angels to protect me as I come and go in the name of Jesus. Amen. 

Imagine! If you are a child of God and have invited Him to live in your heart, He has sent His beautiful, powerful angels to protect you! Claim and believe His precious promises. Live in the fullness of His blessing. No matter your circumstances, He's there, watching over You, protecting you within the walls of His Mighty Fortress. Praise Him!

I'm reminded of the childhood lullaby, Angels Watching Over Me:
 
All night, all day, angels watching over me, my Lord.
All night, all day, angels watching over me.
Sun is a-setting in the West; angels watching over me, my Lord.
Sleep my child, take your rest; angels watching over me.
All night, all day, angels watching over me, my Lord.
All night, all day, angels watching over me.
 Copyright and Author unknown

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

2 Chronicles 20: 15, 17, 21-22

Recently, my heart has been troubled and my spirit disturbed by all the bad things happening in the world: multitudes being sucked in and deceived by the feel-good teaching in the seeker-sensitive, culturally-relevant Church; wars and rumors of wars, nations pitted against nation as proud leaders jockey for more power; horrifying famines and deadly diseases afflicting millions of innocent people; shocking earthquakes and devastating storms; unemployment and financial disaster wrecking lives and livelihoods; increased immorality, violence, and hatred. You don't have to look far to be appalled by the headline news.

In my despair, I poured out my soul like the Psalmist. "Why are you downcast, O my soul? Why so disturbed within me?" (Psalm 42:5) I then opened my Bible to 2 Chronicles 20 and God gave me these words: 

2 Chronicles 20: 15, 17, 21-22
This is what the LORD says to you:

"Do not be afraid or discouraged because of the vast army. For the battle is not yours, but God's."

"You will not have to fight this battle. Take up your positions; stand firm and see the deliverance the LORD will give you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged. Go out to face them tomorrow, and the LORD will be with you."

Jehoshaphat appointed men to sing to the LORD and to praise him for the splendor of his holiness as they went out at the head of the army, saying:
       "Give thanks to the LORD,
       for his love endures forever."

As they began to sing and praise, the LORD set ambushes against the enemy.

This prompted me to take up my position, stand firm and wait for the deliverance of the Lord. Immediately, I began to sing and praise the Lord like the Israelites. As I did the Lord, indeed, set the ambush against the enemy. The power of praise set my heart, mind and soul free, and armed me with strength.  

I will praise You, Lord, with all my heart;
      I will tell of all the marvelous things You have done.
I will be filled with joy because of You.
      I will sing praises to Your name, O Most High.

You are a shelter for the oppressed,
      a refuge in times of trouble.
Those who know Your name trust in You,
      for You, O Lord, do not abandon those who search for You.

Lord, have mercy on me.
      See how my enemies torment me.
      Snatch me back from the jaws of death.
 Save me so I can praise You publicly,
      so I can rejoice that You have rescued me.
(Psalm 9)

 I love You, Lord;
      You are my strength.

You are my rock, my fortress, and my savior;
      In You I find protection.
   You are my shield, the power that saves me,
      and my place of safety.
 I called on You, Lord, who is worthy of praise,
      and You saved me from my enemies.

 You reached down from heaven and rescued me,
      from those who hated me and were too strong for me.
 They attacked me at a moment when I was in distress,
      but You supported me.

 You led me to a place of safety;
      You rescued me because You delight in me.
 You, Lord, rewarded me for doing right;
      and restored me because of my innocence.

 You light a lamp for me.
      You, my God, light up my darkness.
In Your strength I can crush an army;
      with my God I can scale any wall.
 Your ways are perfect.
      Everything You promise proves true.
      You are a shield for all who look to You for protection.


You arm me with strength,
      and make my way perfect.
 You make me as surefooted as a deer,
      enabling me to stand on mountain heights.
 You train my hands for battle;
      and strengthen my arm to draw a bronze bow.
 You have given me Your shield of victory.
      Your right hand supports me;
      Your help has made me great.

You gave me victory over my accusers.
    
The Lord lives! Praise to my Rock!
      May the God of my salvation be exalted!
(Psalm 18)

Scour the Psalms and write down all the ways God is strong, mighty, and powerful. If you dwell in the shelter of the Most High, then His strength, might and power are in you. Rest on His promises. This battle is His, not yours.

Whatever is troubling your spirit today, remember what the Lord says to you in His Word. Take up your position, stand firm, do not be afraid; do not be discouraged. Go out and face tomorrow, the Lord will be with you. His Word says so. Do you believe Him?

Open your mouth and begin to loudly sing and praise Him. The enemy that's attacking your heart, mind, soul, and strength will be destroyed by the dynamite of praise! 

Monday, April 16, 2018

1 Corinthians 15:57

1 Corinthians 15:57
Thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.

Triumphant Lord,
You're the Commander-in-Chief of the Army of Blessed Angels. I celebrate the sweet victory You've given me through Jesus Christ. As a result of His glorious conquest, I can stand firm on Your powerful promises expecting You to defeat the enemy again and again.

My mind is the battlefield where speculation, knowledge, and thoughts take place. It's constantly clashing with the opposition of a corrupt culture. A ferocious, frightening, and confusing hailstorm of doubt, disgrace and distress bombard me. Condemnation ruthlessly assaults me. Guilt viciously attacks me. Dying to my past is agonizing. The enemy is rapidly advancing and I need to take hold of the indispensable weapons You've given me to wage war with this world. Igniting the dynamite of Your Word with the matchsticks of prayer and praise, I'll successfully demolish the adversary.

You're my Commanding Officer. Respecting Your authority is a matter of life and death. It's imperative that I obey Your orders and submit my thoughts completely to Your control. With You in charge, I don't have be fainthearted or afraid. Terror and panic won't besiege me. I just need to comply with Your commands and rely on Your almighty armament.

Thank You for Your faithful promise to go with me, fight for me and give me the exultant victory through Jesus, Your Son. Hallelujah! The battle's won! Amen. 

Thank God for the spiritual victory! It's a command. You no longer have to live in fear of condemnation, guilt or death. Ignite His Word with prayer and praise, and the battle's already won.

 Deuteronomy 20:4
For the LORD your God is the one who goes with you to fight for you against your enemies to give you victory.

I John 5:3-5
This is love for God: to obey his commands. And his commands are not burdensome, for everyone born of God overcomes the world. This is the victory that has overcome the world, even our faith. Who is it that overcomes the world? Only he who believes that Jesus is the Son of God.

Monday, April 09, 2018

John 21: 1- 7, 12

John 21: 1- 7, 12
Afterward Jesus appeared again to his disciples, by the Sea of Tiberias. It happened this way: Simon Peter, Thomas (called Didymus), Nathanael from Cana in Galilee, the sons of Zebedee, and two other disciples were together. "I'm going out to fish," Simon Peter told them, and they said, "We'll go with you." So they went out and got into the boat, but that night they caught nothing.

Early in the morning, Jesus stood on the shore, but the disciples did not realize that it was Jesus.

He called out to them,"Friends, haven't you any fish?"
       "No," they answered.

He said, "Throw your net on the right side of the boat and you will find some."When they did, they were unable to haul the net in because of the large number of fish.
Then the disciple whom Jesus loved said to Peter, "It is the Lord!"

None of the disciples dared ask him, "Who are you?" They knew it was the Lord. 

Jesus, 
I BELIEVE You are the Lord, the great I AM, who is always with me. On bright days, Your presence warms my heart. On deep, dark days filled with discouragement and disappointment You are just as present. On days of despair when all hope is gone and the net of my heart is empty, and my vision is distorted by tear soaked eyes, I can't recognize You standing right in front of me. I can't hear Your voice. Are You there?

Please open my eyes to see while others just stand still staring. Open my mind to perceive while others parade around pondering. Many will watch, but I want to see, hear, and believe. Give me crystal clear vision to recognize You through the haze of hopelessness. When You affectionately call me I want to know Your voice. Unclog my ears so that I'll hear You say, "Friend, haven't you any hope?" Then I need faith to follow Your simple command to toss the empty net of my heart into the sea of blessings. You will fill it beyond my wildest imagination and exceed my immediate need! I'll jubilantly shout, "It is the Lord!" and others will notice You because of my faith.

Please dear Lord, take my desperate dilemma and turn it into innumerous blessings for Your glorious name. Give me eyes to see, ears to hear, and faith to BELIEVE. Amen.

What is your hopeless situation? Do you see the Lord standing in front of you? He's there if you look beyond the tears. He's calling, "Friend, haven't you any hope?" Tell him today that you want to know Him more dearly so that you can clearly see Him, hear Him, and believe Him when your heart is empty.

Friday, April 06, 2018

Luke 24: 13-16, 28-32

Luke 24: 13-16, 28-32
That same day two of them were walking to the village Emmaus, about seven miles out of Jerusalem. They were deep in conversation, going over all these things that had happened. In the middle of their talk and questions, Jesus came up and walked along with them. But they were not able to recognize who he was.

They came to the edge of the village where they were headed. He acted as if he were going on but they pressed him: "Stay and have supper with us. It's nearly evening; the day is done." So he went in with them. And here is what happened: He sat down at the table with them. Taking the bread, he blessed and broke and gave it to them. At that moment, open-eyed, wide-eyed, they recognized him. And then he disappeared.

Back and forth they talked. "Didn't we feel on fire as he conversed with us on the road, as he opened up the Scriptures for us?"MSG

Jesus-
I BELIEVE You walk with me and talk with me every day; yet how often do I fail to recognize You in my circumstances? Feeling heartbroken and abandoned, I turn to friends to discuss my situation. I must look ridiculous wallowing in self-pity while You are right beside me. Open the eyes of my heart Lord, to clearly see You in the middle of my hopelessness.

When I am down in the dumps and crying the blues over my losses, please come along side of me and talk to me like a friend when I prayer. Set my heart on fire. Nothing will thrill me more than Your voice when I read my Bible. With my heart consumed by You, I will live in absolute expectancy, trusting You to do what You say You will do. I want more than the blessing of my daily bread! I want ALL of YOU, JESUS! Please take the Holy Spirit wildfire that's burning within me and use it to ignite faith, hope, and love in others for the glory of Your name. Amen.

How do you see Jesus in the middle of your hopeless situation?