Saturday, May 23, 2020

31. Growing in Prayer - The Learning Tree – Fear of Coronavirus

11 For I know the plans and thoughts that I have for you,’ says the Lord, ‘plans for peace and well-being and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope. 12 Then you will call on Me and you will come and pray to Me, and I will hear [your voice] and I will listen to you.  ~Jeremiah 29:11-12

I see fear in our Nation, but God says in I John 4:18, “18 There is no fear in love [dread does not exist]. But perfect (complete, full-grown) love drives out fear, because fear involves [the expectation of divine] punishment, so the one who is afraid [of God’s judgment] is not perfected in love [has not grown into a sufficient understanding of God’s love].”  Do you live in God’s love?  (I John 4:7-8).
  
My husband and I are 89 and 87.  We are prime targets for Coronavirus!  But we live in God’s love and according to Jeremiah 29, He has plans for us, not to harm us but for peace.  He will provide our safety IF we live in His love.  It is sad to say some folks do not understand God’s love.  They do not have trust in their hearts, and they do not live trust with others.  Perhaps they have hardened their hearts as it says in Isaiah 58:11.  In this verse (“drought” means your heart has been harden by the things that have come upon you).  We are to live God’s agape love with each other regardless of what has happened in our life.

As a Nation, we have to open up this country for work and so important for worship.  If I must remind you the First Amendment of our Constitution, “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.”  The Bible says in Romans13:1-2 tells us to obey the government God has set up. If the Governors are so strict regarding the Coronavirus to prevent worshiping together, they are acting in power or fear or both.  Rather than obeying those who want to prevent us for worshiping together, we always obey the laws of God first.

We have a part; God has a part.  God’s part is Jeramiah 29 (promises to Israel in Babylon and it is our  promise today), our part is to obey the rules of our government….wear a mask; wash your hands often; do not touch your face, mouth, or eyes; and social distancing.  And any other rules to safe guard our person.  The horror to me is to cause someone else to have Coronavirus.

“Many times, we have no control over the circumstances and events in life but our refusal to speak doubt and fear will keep our hearts more inclined to what God can do rather than what we cannot.”[1]

When we face challenging times, we are not to speak defeating words but to be obedient to God in all things.  Our words can speak life or speak death. (Proverbs 18:21)

God created and owns all things (IChronicles 29:11-12).  He is in control!  He has a part to our living, protection, and to grow righteousness.  We have a part (Colossians3:23-24) to be faithful, reading God’s Word for directions to all challenges of life and obeying His precepts (a general rule intended to regulate behavior or thought).  Be always in prayer for God’s direction, pray for each other, pray for those who are arrogate and do not use common sense.




[1] Roy Hicks, Sr., G.Th., D.D., Faith’s Confession of God’s Word.

Tuesday, May 5, 2020

30. Growing in Prayer – The Learning Tree - Tribute to My Mother


28 “Her children rise up and call her blessed; Her husband also, and he praises her:  29 “Many daughters have done well, but you excel them all.”  Proverbs 31:10-31

It will be Mother’s Day this coming weekend, May 10, 2020.   The Bible tells us to honor our father and mother that it may go well with you (Ephesians 6:1-3).  Mothers are irreplaceable….good, bad or indifferent . . . . They are irreplaceable.   I know my Mother is to me.  She was my friend, soulmate, and confidant.  She was my Mother. 

She exemplified my Heavenly Father’s forgiveness.   She would fight a circle saw for me when I was right and when I was in the wrong, she let me know in uncertain terms.  We did not always get along through the years, but we loved each other through it all.  When the chips were down, she stood in defense of me and carried my banner.

Mother was a lady with great dignity often showing her stoic English bearing and her physical stature of the Dutch.  She often called herself the Dutch woman.  Meaning she was short and stout.  To me she was beautiful.

My first memory of Mother was when I was about two.  We were in church and I was standing in the pew beside her….her arm was around me, and she was singing to the roof tops.  Mother was a presence of warmth and security.  It seems she was light.

Most of all I remember her hands.  She had exceptionally large hands as soft as velvet.  When I was a little girl her hand covered my back as she rubbed Grandma Freeman’s miracle cure for congestion, sore throats, and what “ails you.” 

She worked constantly for the comfort of her family.  She literally loved and patted her
cooking on to the table for us.  Her hands cleaned, washed our clothes in black wash pots in the back yard, yet those big hands made the delicate embroidery, tucking, and smocking on the beautiful clothes I wore.  She always sang or hummed while she worked.  She worked outside the home and I remember waking in the dark of the night, she at her peddle sewing machine making my beautiful clothes.

Mother was very mischievous and such a tease!  She laughed freely and brought great joy to our family. 

She cast over me an influence which has lasted all my life. The good effects of her early training I can never lose. If it had not been for her appreciation and her faith in me at a critical time in my life, I would have never met life’s trials with the trust and faith that I survive in my Lord Jesus.

I realize in my now ancient years, I had a beautiful, secure with no fear and tender childhood that lives in me today.  The greatest gift my Mother and Daddy gave me was their love for each other….they adored each other, and it permeated my brother and me.

After her 98th Birthday, she told me she was tired and was ready to go home.  A week before she breathed her last, she went to sleep…peaceably and quietly.  In the early morning hours of September 15, 2004 as I held her hand she slipped away.  I have never been as sure of anything in life as she slipped from my hand; Jesus took my Mother’s hand and led her into His Glory.  My Mother was truly a Proverbs 31 woman.

We honor our Mothers this Sunday, May 10, 2020.  They are God’s gift to us all.  Pray for your Mother.

Thursday, April 2, 2020

29. Growing In Prayer – The Learning Tree – My Friend’s Journal



 Be still and know (recognize, understand) that I am God.  I will be exalted among the nations! I will be exalted in the earth.”               ~~Psalm 46:10

This morning I was awaiting breakfast in our Assisted Living apartment and my friend sent me a page from her journal.  Actually she is more like a daughter to me, and she and her husband are Executor’s to our Will.  Anyway during her quite time she felt like God was saying pray specifically and in those prayers and the Caronovirus debacle I, God, will be glorified.  Since I have several visits from the Holy Spirit speaking to me verbally, I did not have trouble believing this communication from God.  I would like to share with you her journal page today.

My friend used the above scripture to start off her journal page.  Here are her thoughts and God’s message to her:



 April 1, 2020

“Be still and know that I AM God.” - Psalm 46:10
I AM right here with you, beside you, and in you. I AM pleased by your prayers and your heart for the nations. That’s My heart, too. I will be glorified in and through this pandemic. Keep praying along those lines, agreeing with Me and what I want to do through this tragedy. I AM working, much of which you will later learn about. Pray that many would respond to Me, that heart soils would be ready for the seeds of My Word. A mighty harvest is coming, and your prayers prepare the soil for the harvest. Encourage others in prayer, for this I placed within you. Remember Esther, and you have her heart for the nations. So, pray! And, pray, and pray! Your prayers will avail much! Ask of Me, and I will give the nations as an inheritance for Jesus. What was intended for evil, I long to use for good. It’s time to get creative in influencing Believers to pray for what I want to bring through this pandemic - salvation, healing, deliverance, and an awareness of My glory and My power! Nothing is impossible for Me! I AM Mighty God, the same yesterday, today, and forever, the God who walked with Abraham, with Isaac, and with Jacob, and the God who walks with you. Yes, I walk with you, and want you to grasp the awe of that reality! If I AM with you, what can be against you? And, what can separate us? Disease? No! I don’t want to be separated from My people because of fear of or fear from this Coronavirus disease. I long to draw many, many to Myself through this.

Pray that the church will have creativity in this hour to convey My peace and My Presence to those stricken with fear. My peace and My Presence through Believers can draw Unbelievers to Me. Be a conduit of My Presence and My peace. You do not walk in darkness, and you can shine My light in this dark valley and to those in darkness. The darker things become, the more detectable the light is! It’s time for The Church to rise-up and take the place I established for her - pray for this, too. Pray for My love to take deep root in The Church and be evident to the world. My love draws people to Me. My love expressed through The Church lifts Me up and draws the lost to Me. Do not lose heart, pray.


Her journal page touched my heart.  After many years of studying effective prayer, we claim God’s Word that He is always with us (Matthew 28:19-20).  His power in prayer is the Power of the Holy Spirit and what we do not know for which to pray, He will pray for us.  He speaks what God tells Him (John 12:49) and He will tell us what to pray.  It is important to pray for others.  When Job prayed for his friends, God returned to him all his possessions (Job 42:10).

When we pray God’s Word and His Will, believe that He will give what we ask, and don’t doubt like waves crashing against each other, and above all repent (turn around) from our wicked ways, we are in effective prayer (James 5:16).  We will not rest until Jesus’ all time prayer for the world comes to fruition (John 17:20-21).



Sunday, March 29, 2020

28. Growing Prayer – The Learning Tree – What is Fear?


 “Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.  And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”

I have been thinking.  When I would say that when I was young to my husband, Doyle, he would cringe with a groan!  But I really have been thinking.  We have been locked in and now confined almost week within our apartments in Assisted Living.  Now we don’t know how folks are doing but thank our Lord we are safe from the wicked Coronavirus that is going around.  I give credit to our Lord for protecting us and the good souls that follow the rules .

Our President has spent his waking hours trying to protect us using the counsel of brilliant experts to guide him.  He has gathered together the most brilliant minds around him to move in protection for this Nation.

The Communist Government in China that out and out lied about the danger of this Coronavirus to the Nations.  They sure do not take the scripture seriously about the importance of the individual persona (Matthew 10:29-31).  Shame on them….(Romans12:19).

I guess that is why I have set mind on thinking.  Now, I am not judging and I use the words of my Daddy’s sister just older than him, Aunt Vera, “Now I am not judging, but sizing them up”.  In those words I am speaking truth and reality.  In my “sizing up. . .reality”, I wonder about the folks in flight with fear.  They sure don’t realize the truth of God’s Word, “Do Not be anxious about anything . . . the peace of God (the love of Christ which passeth knowledge) will guard your hearts and minds”.  I am speaking mostly of the leading City in Caronavirus, New York City.  They filled with fear scattered to Florida and other states to escape the virus and they infected innocent folks.  Shame on them for their selfishness.  I say here is God’s Word, Matthew 10:29-31.

Just think if those New Yorkers had stayed put, Florida might not see this rapid increase and the Florida Governor would not be so miffed.  How dare the New Yorkers that are “irked” because they are “unwelcome in some states”. . . . I would surmise that is selfish, selfish, selfish.  Stay  put in your homes (apartments) and live this Scripture, Philippians 4:6-7 bow your knees in prayer and petition with thanksgiving and the  peace of God will guard your hearts and minds.  We need to remember Franklin D. Roosevelt words in his first inauguration in 1933, “my firm belief that the only thing we have to fear is...fear itself”.

We believe in the infallible Word of God (2 Timothy 3:16-17).  We believe in the Power of Pray releases God’s promises (Mark 11:24).  If all souls, especially those who live in fear would rest in our Lord, bend their knees in prayer and believe He is with us and protect us from all the evil that brought this virus to us and even free us from being swamped with this Coronavirus.





Wednesday, January 29, 2020

27. Growing Prayer – The Learning Tree – Time for Change



3 To everything there is a season, A time for every purpose under heaven:  A time to be born, And a time to die; A time to plant, And a time to pluck what is planted; 3 A time to kill, And a time to heal; A time to break down,
And a time to build up; 4 A time to weep, And a time to laugh; A time to mourn, And a time to dance; 5 A time to cast away stones, And a time to gather stones; A time to embrace, And a time to refrain from embracing; 6 A time to gain, And a time to lose; A time to keep, And a time to throw away; 7 A time to tear, And a time to sew; A time to keep silence, And a time to speak; 8 A time to love, And a time to hate; A time of war, And a time of peace.  Ecclesiastic 3:1-8
***
We retired from Compass – finances God’s way, January 1, 2020, because it was a time to change.  We are eighty-seven and Doyle will soon be eighty-nine.  In the aging process my body is not so good and Doyle’s memory is fading.  We jokingly say Doyle is my body and I am his brain.  We manage quite well that way.  My mother used to say “if you don’t laugh, you would cry”.  So we are “laughing” into Assisted Living.

There is that time of “New Blood” and New Ideas”.  However, God never changes!! 😊  When one has learned the effective prayer, and the close relationship with our God and Father, we have learned His Ways into His promises.  Prayer is the doorway into God’s promises and that will never change.

The scripture that called us to prayer was Ephesians 6:18,18 praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, being watchful to this end with all perseverance and supplication for all the saints—“.

God’s Word is the foundation of life:  16 All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, 17 that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work.-“. 2 Timothy 3:16-17

Keep praying when life changes.  God will be with you!  He is always faithful.  Let us be faithful in the communication with God!

Tuesday, November 26, 2019

26. Growing Prayer – The Learning Tree – (2) Why Do We Pray?


16 Rejoice always and delight in your faith; 17 be unceasing and persistent in prayer; 18 in every situation [no matter what the circumstances] be thankful and continually give thanks to God; for this is the will of God for you in Christ Jesus.  --1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 
***

This is our second Blog on "Why Do We Pray".  Why do we pray?  A question of great magnitude!  Prayer is having a conversation with God, an intimate sanctified (set-apart) time.  It is the very breath of our soul the core of our being.  Prayer is the key (Matt. 16:19) that unlocks the incredible promises of God. There are times we pray like we speak to a friend.  Other times we pray intensely, passionately and it is the prayer of an intercessor. We pray in the name of Jesus who connects us to His promises.  John 16:24, “Until now you have asked nothing in My name. Ask, and you will receive, that your joy may be full”.   In and through prayer the promises of God are manifested (revealed) in and through us.  We are privileged to begin each day with prayer giving our hearts to God.  When temptation threatens, and it will, we have the power source and communion with God the Father through the blood and name of Jesus Christ.  He knows our voice.

I cannot remember when I did not pray…not aloud…not in public….but in child-like simplicity.

I began to pray that Jesus would teach me to pray just as His disciple asked (Luke 11:1).  As the years have passed, I grew in a close intimate relationship with the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.  Through the Holy Spirit I have been taught much (I John 2:27).  First and foremost, we pray for the undefeatable benevolence and unconquerable goodwill that always seeks the highest good for mankind and ourselves.

“Biblical prayer is always accompanied by radical obedience.  God’s response to prayer with obedience always releases the nature of heaven into our impaired circumstances”.[1]

Why do we pray?  We learn to pray God’s Will.  We pray for Spiritual Development and growth in intimacy with God the Father.  As we grow in our Spiritual Development, our faith grows in answered prayer (1 Chronicles 4:10).  When we pray in faith (Mark 11:22) moved to action, believing (II Chronicles 20:5-12; Romans10:9), without doubt (James 1:6), seeking repentance and forgiveness (Matt 3:2; Matt 6:14) forgiving those who have hurt us, laying down all strongholds (2Corinthians 10:5), lifting the Name of the Father, Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit in honor and glory, praising and worshiping (Psalm 34:1), we are in effective prayer.




[1] When Heaven Invades Earth, Chapter 5, Praying Heaven Down, p. 58, Bill Johnson, Author

Thursday, November 21, 2019

25. Growing Prayer – The Learning Tree - Why Do We Pray?

I Cannot Remember When I Did Not Pray

Father God we seek Your face.  We have questions and we long for You to teach us in a way that we will grow closer and closer to you.  We cling to Your promises and our hope is in You.  Blessed is Your Holy Name.  In Jesus’ magnificent name I pray.  Amen and Amen.
***

We have often heard the question, “Why do we pray”? 

In Luke 11:1, Jesus had been praying and one of the disciples asks, “Teach us to pray”.  The result of that request Jesus gave us the Lord’s Prayer.  It became the Lord’s Prayer by choice of those who read the scriptures.  Actually it is a pattern for how we pray.  We believe the real Lord’s Prayer is John 17.  One of the important thoughts to understand regarding the Lord’s Prayer (Luke 11:1), it was written in the imperative tense.  Why the imperative? 

The word imperative used as an adjective means of 1vital importance; crucial: immediate action was imperative, and 2Giving an authoritative command; peremptory.  Used as a noun it means 1an essential or urgent  thing, and 2a factor or influence making something necessary.  The word imperative originated from late Middle English (as a grammatical term): from late Latin imperativus (literally 'specially ordered', translating Greek prostatikÄ“ enklisis 'imperative mood'), from imperare 'to command', from in- 'toward' + parare 'make ready'.[1]

We would acknowledge that prayer is very important to our God and Father.  It is imperative, of vital importance, crucial, an authoritative and peremptory command.  It is not that we order God around.  We must first understand our roll in prayer.  Nothing is going to happen on this earth unless we ask first (Matthew 16:19).  Through God’s Son, birth, life, death and resurrection, we become redeemed people to lift our voices in prayer and change here on earth.  The summons in the Lord’s Prayer is that we walk into prayer with authority given to us.  When we realize the awesome trust God puts in us, we will begin to pray the way God wants us to pray.

What then is effective prayer?  It is prayer prayed in God’s Will.

The word effective in the Greek means a decided, decisive, or desired effect, ready for service or action.  The Synonyms for effective are: capable, able, powerful, and efficient.  Strong’s #1754, effectively, energeo (en-erg-eh-oh); One of the four big energy words; energeo, energes, energeia, and energema.  The words all stem from en, “in”, and ergon, “work” and have to do with the active operation or working of power and its effectual results.  (en-erg-eh-oh) be effectual, be might in, effectual fervent, effectually work, show forth (one’s) self, to do, work, work effectually in.  “….The effective fervent prayer of a righteous man…”[2]

True effective prayer is work.  If you expect to go before the Throne of Grace in a laid back state….think again.  Jesus in the garden exemplified the pouring out of His soul before God the Father.  “He agonized until His sweat mingled with His blood dripped to the ground and many have tried to deny this as even being possible.  However, there is a medical term, Hematidrosis, or bloody sweat, which is well documented.  Under great emotional stress of the kind that Jesus suffered, tiny capillaries in the sweat glands can break, thus mixing blood with sweat which can lead to weakness and shock.  Isn’t it interesting that Luke, the physician, is the only one who documented this fact in the Gospels”[3]?

We ask you are you willing to pour your heart and soul out in prayer….are you willing to “work” at prayer….are you guilty of “cookie cutter prayers”?[4]

Next week the continuance of “Why Do We Pray”.




[1] Oxford Dictionaries
[2] Greek Lexicon
[3] Dr. C. Truman Davis
[4] “Cookie Cutter” prayers are rote prayers; repetitious and shallow prayers; mechanical, unthinking or devoid of heart.