Tag: prayer

But What Are You Praying?

Sunday Sermon 10.3.20

The premise is you are praying.

” Is prayer your steering wheel or is it your spare tire?”

Corrie ten Boom

In these days I suppose that there is a good amount of prayer leaving people’s lips and I include you in that group. Our focus today, is to consider Corrie ten Boom’s question, is prayer your steering wheel or is it your spare tire?

Does your prayer steer where you go, the direction you turn, the course you’re on?

Or, do you turn to prayer when you have had a deflating experience, been punctured or are slowly leaking your life’s joy?

As we consider these thoughts, let’s go to a biblical example of steering wheel prayer – Job. The man who had it all, lost it all but wound up with double in the end.

His story is in the 42 chapters of the Bible book that bears his name.

In quick summary, this man lived in the near East, was extremely wealthy, had a large and happy family, was respected in the community and was considered blameless, upright and God-fearing. (he wasn’t an Israelite either.) Job 1

In a heavenly council meeting, God and Satan were discussing Job’s spiritual character, and Satan was given permission by God to mess with Job, ie: take away his flocks, herds, family, home, possessions and health. Job 1-2

What follows is 35 chapters of Job and his “friends” in dialogue back and forth; they accusing him of sinning against God, and he defending his innocence.

At their first sight of Job, they could hardly recognize him, for the disease that had raveged his body. The four of them sat in silence together, no one knowing what to say, or daring to say anything. This went on for 7 days! Talk about awkward silence??!!

Then the speeches begin. Each takes turn throwing out accusations, assertions, theories, defenses, and logic.

Then, in chapter 38 God shows up and “speaks out of the storm.”

For the next 5 chapters (38-42) God speaks to Job, and asks him questions like:

  • where were you when I laid the earth’s foundations? 38:4
  • have you given orders to the morning or shown the dawn its place? 38:12
  • where does darkness reside? 38:19
  • do you know the laws of heaven? 38:33
  • do you send lightening bolts on their way? 38:35
  • do you know when the mountain goats give birth? 39:1
  • does the hawk take flight by your wisdom? 39:26
  • will the one who contends with the Almighty correct him? 40:2
  • do you have an arm like God’s? 40:9
  • can you pull leviathan with a fishook? 41:1

Job’s humble answer was, ” I know that you can do all things; no purpose of yours can the thwarted. My ears had heard of you but now my eyes have seen you, therefore I despise myself and repent in dust and ashes.” Job 42:2-6

THEN, the Lord spoke again to Job and told him he was angry with his 3 friends because they had not spoken the truth like he, Job had. 42:7

The friends were then told to make an offering and go to Job and have him pray for them. 42:8

We are told that the Lord accepted Job’s prayer and after that prayer, the Lord restored Job’s fortunes and gave him twice as much as he had before. Double the sheep, camels, pairs of oxen, and donkeys. He had another 10 children and this time his daughters received an inheritance among their brothers.

That was sorta a brief summary.

Was Job’s prayer his steering wheel or his spare tire?

He didn’t pray until the Lord gave him direction to pray for his friends. The Lord actually was steering Job’s prayer.

Although he had plenty of deflating, puncturing and slow leaks happen in his life, his prayer was never something he relied on as a fix it for those flattening experiences.

His prayer was definitely a steering wheel, inspired by God to bring restoration and double portion blessing.

Job’s prayer steered the direction of his life and that of his family and friends. Job’s prayer brought liberty and forgiveness to his friends and abundant blessing to his family.

Job’s prayer, steered by God, brought everything that Job needed.

Among the lessons to learn from Job, here are my big 5:

  1. God controls everything
  2. Bad things happen to good people
  3. Friends get it both right and wrong
  4. When God speaks He exposes our smallness
  5. Praying God led prayers brings restoration and double portion

In closing, lets return to the premise. I believe that you are praying.

But what are you praying? Are you praying God led prayers? Are your prayers steered by God? Inspired by God? Motivated by God? Are your prayers steering your life, walk, direction?

For those praying God led prayers comes restoration, double portion blessing, health, and provision.

Will you let Jesus take the wheel? Will you allow him to direct your prayers? Will you let him steer?

If so, you will enter into a new realm of freedom, empowerment, discernment, joy and satisfaction.

What are you praying for?

Go with God.

Swiped

There’s a lot of swiping going on these days.

Swipe right. Swipe up. Swipe your card here. Swipe at (someone). Swipe out the two. Swiped it from ____. One last swipe of the mop. The cat took a swipe at me. Gently swiped the brush. Etc.

I am so stirred up about us being ripped off! We have been stolen from. So much has been swiped from us.

Yes, it involves the constant swiping of our phones, thumbs and fingers. In those actions, our time and focuses have been and are being robbed at alarming rates and frequency. But there’s so much more than that.

I made a list today of ways in which our lives have been robbed this year. Things that have been swiped from us. See what you can add to this list…

  • open (unmasked) faces
  • smiles
  • free speech
  • social gatherings
  • human interaction
  • business
  • employment
  • education
  • shopping
  • entertainment venues
  • constitutional freedoms
  • personal choice
  • outdoor gatherings
  • religious gatherings
  • celebrations
  • dreams
  • hopes
  • visions
  • health needs
  • family gatherings
  • safe society
  • law enforcement
  • happiness
  • enjoyment
  • growing economy
  • political unity
  • societal harmony
  • patriotism
  • respect
  • honor
  • peace
  • free movement
  • trust
  • American values
  • American freedoms

Geesh! Please add yours. Go ahead, say them out loud.

We have been robbed! We have been ripped off. All these things have been swiped from us!

I am spitting mad! This is enough! No more!

Call me a simple person, but this kind of list does not come from the One who created us, has our best interest at heart, and has plans to prosper us and give us peace. The things on this list are 180 degrees opposite to the loving, caring, satisfying, good, kind, gentle, hopeful, fulfilling, satisfying and rewarding One who is omniscient, omnipotent, and omnipresent.

We have got to wake up America! We are under attact! We are in a spiritual warfare! I can no longer sit silent and not address the elephant in the room.

If you have never before engaged in “spiritual warfare”, now is the time! That simply means, we do not address the issues we see with our natural understanding or in our natural ways. WE PRAY! We seek God’s way of dealing with the issue. We commit it to Him, ask for His insight, strength and strategy. Then, we follow his direction.

The things we see happening in our nation, left unaddressed spiritually, will not end well for us or the nation that we love.

Yet, through a nation in prayer, the tide can change, and miracles will happen.

Our Great God, Creator of the Universe WOULD NEVER rip you off, steal from you, rob you or swipe one thing from you, or your future generations. That is NOT who HE is, how He loves, or what His plan is for you.

Please realize that. You are loved. By Him.

I’m so tired of being swiped from! Aren’t you?

Cheers to you.

Using your religious liberty

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 of the right of the people to peacefully assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.”

The Constitution of the United States, Amendment I

We have no state religion mandated, nor should we have, and that was the desire and intentions of our founding fathers. They saw the damage it had done in the nations they left, which were cause and reason for their Atlantic crossings. At the core of most hearts who came, was the desire for religious liberty. Which included the liberty to be non-religious.

THAT is the foundation upon which our nation was built, regardless of how the history books have been rewritten to exclude the Puritans and Pilgrims.

Fact is fact. Erasing it from the page doesn’t change the fact, it changes people’s remembrance of the fact, or more accurately lack of remembrance of the true facts. And that’s what is being sought.

Did you know when the US Capitol Visitor Center was built in 2008, all references to God were removed from pictures, signs, and all else. The national motto, “In God We Trust” was removed and replaced with “E Pluribus Unum” – out of many one. Speeches were scrubbed, chairs and walls changed, and bibles removed. The Visitor Center was literally stripped clean of any references to any deity.

It was done to supposedly keep with Thomas Jefferson’s “separation clause” – you know, the one that he (supposedly) wrote separating church and state. (Even that is historian’s seeking to erase the facts, because that is not what Jefferson wrote at all in his letter to Danbury Baptist Assoc., in 1802.)

The Visitor Center designers were seeking to erase our foundations and build new memories into future generations. Memories that are devoid of God and His providence in America’s founding.

Have the facts changed though? No.

What has changed is us. Those of us who know the facts.

My favorite Reagan quote is –

Freedom is a fragile thing and never is never more than one generation away from extinction. It is not ours by inheritance; it must be fought for and defended constantly by each generation, for it comes only once to a people. Those who have known freedom and then lost it have never known it again.”

President Ronald Reagan January 5, 1967

We have taken our liberties and freedoms for granted.

Having lost some of them in the recent months, we now see that more clearly than ever.

But the facts have not changed. We have liberties and freedoms and we must not allow them to be whittled away, or erased from memory. And yet, remember this quote?

The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.”

Edmund Burke, 1770

In this new decade, even amidst a devolving pandemic, I urge you to not be that good man who does nothing.

Be a defender of our rights, a preserver of our freedoms from extinction. We have many to defend.

Why not start now?

Start with prayer. Prayer for yourself, prayer for your family, prayer for your neighbors and friends. Prayer for this pandemic to lift, for businesses to reopen, the sick to be healed, workers to be strengthened. Pray for spiritual awakening in our nation, for freedom and justice to prevail, for truth to be upheld. Pray for God to forgive and bless America.

Tomorrow, Thursday, May 7, 2020 is the National Day of Prayer, but it doesn’t have to be, nor should it be a single day.

It is not a constitutional violation to have a day of prayer, quite the contrary. It is the exercise of your religious liberty.

Let’s exercise those religious liberties, lest we loose them.

Cheers to you.

Results of prayer

surrounded and unafraid

It would be easy to say “Prayer changed (es) nothing”, or “I see no change”. We had a National Day of Prayer, so what? Big deal! No change.

Let’s be real. Your state has probably amped up it’s restrictions and guidelines. You most likely have family members and loved ones affected in some way. The places you frequent may be closed and your vacation plans are pending major change. Shoot, my son’s wedding, in Hawaii in May is in jeopardy! AND, this what we found at the store today!

there were scores of shelves like this

But prayer is not an Amazon order. Place your order and have it delivered in one or two days.

The results of prayer are sometimes obvious and other times not. Sometimes immediate other times delayed. Additionally, the results of prayer are not always outcome driven, results orientated. They often have much more have to do with the process, development, personal growth and increase.

That process is most often linked to growing in faith and reliance upon Someone bigger than me, more powerful, trustworthy and really in charge. Because, even though I am driven to be in charge, I really am not. I do not control it all. I must therefore learn to yield my perceived “in charge” to the One who really is.

I believe we will see results, obvious ones, outcome driven ones as a result of the National Day of Prayer. I will share more about that in a moment.

In the “inbetween” time, what do we do?

“Ask and keep on asking. Seek and keep on seeking. Knock and keep on knocking.”

Matthew the disciple, chapter 7 verse 7

Again, prayer isn’t a one time shot – like the famed “hail Mary pass”. It’s a process of trusting in Someone bigger than myself and learning to lean on that strength and understanding. It is having faith in something I don’t see. (Like results). It’s trusting His process in and through me.

With all that being said, I do want to share a personal experience or result that came to me yesterday, on our prayer day.

I was impressed to go the beach and stand on the shoreline and pray. So, guess where I went? On the way, I was reminded of Job’s encounter with God in chapter 38, when God basically blasts Job for his know it all attitude and pelts Job with question after question about creation, nature, weather, and affairs of the man. It is in verse 10 & 11 where God says,

“… I fixed limits for the sea, I said this far you may come and no farther; here is where your proud waves halt.”

Job 38:10-11

And in that moment, I knew, those words were God’s words to us. In this time. This season. His promise was, that just as the ocean has been appointed limits and boundaries set, so too this virus had set limits and boundaries. AND, as we unite in prayer, those boundaries could be affected and even reduced. Therefore, I was to pray at the beach, on the boundary where sea meets land, “This far and no farther o’ virus. You are under the control of the creator and His limits.”

This far and no farther.
This far and no farther.

So what happened? Did the virus miraculously dry up and die? Did it physically leave the bodies it had entered? Did those we lost because of it return to their families? Did the panic and fear disappear?

I dunno. I didn’t see those results. But what I did see (hear and read actually) was increased measures being taken to CONTAIN the virus. Calls for a 15 day containment plan/period. Calls to 65 and older community, to restaurants, movie theatres, libraries. All with the purpose of tightening the lasso on the virus. Enforcing it’s boundaries. Limiting exposure.

“This far and no farther.” Containment. No further infections.

This is again where that whole results thing comes in. I cannot control the results. But I trust and keep on asking the One who does control them. Stop this virus, reel it in, arrest it. I don’t stop or quit. The results are His, but in the process my own life benefits and I grow personally.

So, just maybe there are some pretty miraculous things growing in you, in our nation, in the world as a result of prayer. Let’s keep on asking and trusting Him for the results.

Cheers to you.

It’s time to pray

Several days ago, when the news about this virus was breaching our environments, and data was becoming increasingly alarming, I just couldn’t sit quiet any longer and decided to take action.

I called The White House, emailed them too, called Vice President Pence’s office, emailed him, emailed other offices in the White House with jurisdiction and told them “to call for a national day of prayer”. Then, I prayed in earnest, waiting, expecting to hear an announcement. Now I am positive I was not the only one making this request for a national day of prayer, but I am happy to say I was one voice.

AND IT HAPPENED! Last night, President Trump called for this Sunday to be A National Day of Prayer.

I’m not here to argue the President’s spiritual fervor because I believe with the office of the presidency comes authority delegated by a higher power – no matter who the president is. Given that, his declaration, to call for Americans of all faiths and all faith levels to rally in this National Emergency is fantastic and vital for our nation’s healing. (in every way)

YOUR prayer is vital, needed, important. All of our prayers united, are powerful! Where two or three agree in prayer there is power, healing, change, and answers.

Prayer changes things. It changes us, but it also changes things. We can come boldly to God and lift up whatever request is on our heart and He will hear us. (Heb. 4:16; Eph. 6:18; 1 John 5:14)

If we are anxious, sick or in trouble when we pray He hears us. (Phil. 4:6; Jas. 5:13)

If we humble ourselves, pray, seek His face, and turn from our evil ways, He has promised to HEAL OUR LAND! (2 Chron. 7:14) Boy, do we need that right now. Healing in so many areas. America needs healing.

I am convinced, as Americans join together in prayer that the tide will supernaturally shift and this super virus will be halted and America (and the globe) will be spared further devastation.

Please join us. No matter your faith or your level of faith. You can:

  • call out for healing in our land
  • ask for wisdom and divine strategies for the leaders in charge
  • plead for the spread of the virus to be arrested
  • pray for the nation to be strong and united
  • ask for healing of those who are ill and protections for those who are not
  • call for a healing of the economy and businesses
  • ask for minimal effects to businesses, and schools
  • pray for the healthcare providers for strength, protection & wisdom
  • plead for Americans to be united
  • ask for personal forgiveness and healing
  • trust God to do a miracle

Prayer gives us a better sense of self and brings us closer the Higher Power. Prayer reduces ego and promotes humility. Prayer improves your attitude, reduces stress and gives us hope.

In prayer we have the amazing privilege of talking to the One who loves us, listens to us and yet holds the globe between his fingers. The One in who’s omnipotence we trust. In prayer, we come boldly asking yet trusting in His mercy and forgiveness.

This is the call. This is the day. This is what our nation needs, what we need.

IT’S TIME TO PRAY.

If you’re in, and are gonna pray, please leave me a message. I’d love to know and pray with you.

Cheers to you.