Thursday, April 26, 2012
A song is running through my mind this morning and has prompted me to tell you of a miracle that happened in the life of my little grandson when he was born. The name of the song is “I Dare To Believe”. It is by Ray Boltz, copyrighted in 1998 by Shepherd Boy Music. Here is the chorus:
I dare to believe that miracles happen
That mountains still move
and demons must flee
For the God that we serve
He is much more than able
So don't be afraid, stand up and say,
“I dare to believe”
Here is the testimony of the healing miracle that God did in my grandson shortly after his birth:
The day that we had long awaited was finally here. It was the birth of my third grandson, Samuel Josiah. He was named after two Old Testament figures, the prophet Samuel and a godly king, Josiah, and I just knew God had a special plan for his life. My daughter-in-law had experienced difficulty carrying each of her babies to full term pregnancies so we were excited in knowing that one more baby had arrived at the proper time. But our jubilation over his birth was suddenly shattered when the doctor informed us that little Josiah’s lungs were not fully developed and his body was not getting the oxygen it needed to sustain his life. He would have to be transported immediately to the infant intensive care unit at Children’s Mercy Hospital in Kansas City. It was then that we began our battle in prayer for his survival. An alert went out to everyone I knew that would agree with me in prayer for his recovery. I prayed and believed God for his healing but then I would hear the doctor’s report and when someone would ask me how he was doing I would relay to him or her what the doctors had said. One day as I was reading the Word and praying for Josiah the Holy Spirit spoke to my heart and said “you need to align the confession of your mouth with what you are believing in your heart”. He took me to Romans 10:8-10 which says:
But what does it say? “The word is near you, in your mouth and in your heart” (that is, the word of faith which we preach): that if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.
It was at that point that God gave me the understanding that the same biblical principle that secured my salvation in receiving Jesus as my Savior, by believing in my heart and confessing that with my mouth, would apply to this situation with Josiah. That if I believed that God would heal him then my confession about the situation needed to be speaking the promise of God instead of the negative doctor’s report. So I began to proclaim that Josiah was healed by the stripes of Jesus and that he would not die, but live to declare the works of God. When people would ask me how he was doing I would focus more on the Word of God and what were believing for than the medical report. Then one morning my son called at 3:00 a.m. to say that Josiah had another complication; he was now jaundiced and required a bili light over him to rid his body of the jaundice. The doctor had given them another bad report and said he didn’t know when Josiah would be released from the hospital.
So as I got in my car to make the two-hour drive to the hospital I began praying in the Spirit in that heavenly language that I had received when I was baptized in the Holy Ghost. As I prayed a holy anger rose up within me towards the enemy in thinking that he was trying to steal my grandson’s life. I began to take authority over his plan to steal, kill and destroy Josiah’s life. Then I praised the Lord for the healing work that He was doing in Josiah’s body. I spent that two hours spiritually fighting for Josiah and when I got to the hospital I found that the situation had totally changed. The jaundice was completely gone; he was no longer on oxygen; he was fully dressed and sleeping contentedly in a regular crib! PRAISE THE LORD! Josiah was released from the hospital the following day. On August 28th Josiah will be eleven years old. He is healthy and active and has never experienced another lung problem! I praise God for His faithfulness in hearing and answering my prayers!
This morning maybe you are standing at a mountain that you know you can't climb. Maybe you feel cornered by the enemy in a situation that seems to be impossible. God knows exactly where you are and what you are going through. He has the key that will overcome the enemy; that will enable you to scale that mountain! He is always working. The Word tells us that He never sleeps; He never slumbers and His eyes roam to and fro throughout the whole earth looking for those who's hearts are loyal to Him so that He can show Himself strong on their behalf. He is our deliverer! He will bring you through the difficult times.
This song has great significance in my life because it was at a time when I was fighting a battle for a family member that it became popular and I learned that I, too, had to “dare to believe” God over what I was seeing and hearing in the natural. Jesus asked His disciples “Why are you fearful, O you of little faith?” when they encountered a storm on the sea and He was asleep in the boat and they cried out to Him to save them. That Greek phrase for “little faith” in that scripture means “under-developed faith”. Our faith, until it is tested and strengthened, is “under-developed”. It is through believing God's word over the situation that we are in that develops our faith so we can believe God instead of the negative reports that we receive in the natural.
Father, this morning I thank You for how You have taught me through the difficult times to believe You and what You have promised in Your word! I pray this morning for my Spark Friends who may be experiencing a faith challenge that You would give them the Rhema word, as You speak it to them, that will encourage them to stand in faith believing You over the difficulty they are experiencing. Thank You, Father, for caring for them, for encouraging them and for delivering them from the situations they are in. To You be the honor, glory and praise. In Jesus' name. Amen.
Wednesday, April 25, 2012
John 14:16-18 “And I will pray the Father, and He will give you another Helper,” “The Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees Him nor knows Him; but you know Him, for He dwells with you and will be in you. “I will not leave you orphans; I will come to you.”
These are the words that Jesus said to His disciples when He was preparing to go to the Cross. He had lived with them, among them, in their midst; had been right there with them and He wanted them to know that He would still be there, but in a different form. He was now going to live within them.
The Spirit of Jesus, or the Holy Spirit, indwells believers today. He is the third person of the Godhead, the Trinity, that is at work in the hearts and lives of people today. Jesus called Him the Helper.
I love the way the Amplified Bible describes the Holy Spirit: And I will ask the Father and He will give you another Comforter (Counselor, Helper, Intercessor, Advocate, Strengthener, and Standby), that He may remain with you forever—The Spirit of Truth...
Here we see the Holy Spirit in many different roles:
Comforter – He is the one who comes to our aid in the time of sorrow, to comfort us. He was very near to me when I lost my husband.
Counselor - He gives Godly counsel when we need direction and guidance.
Helper – He comes alongside us when we need help. I can particularly attest to His help when I am working on my college courses. He has given me supernatural abilities to complete them in record time and with excellent scores! Thank You, Holy Spirit!
Intercessor – He prays through us when we don't know how to pray. (Romans 8:26)
Advocate – He is our attorney, pleading our case.
Strengthener – He is the One within us who gives us strength to fight the battles of life.
Standby – He's more than a spectator in our lives; He is a vital part of everything that we do. He stands by us and walks with us through life.
Spirit of Truth – He works in and with believers to bring us into new levels of truth awareness. He guides us into all truth.
I'm so thankful that when Jesus went back to Heaven, He didn't leave us here alone to walk through life by ourselves. He said He would come back again; through His Spirit. He is here today. He is the One who convicts of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment. He is the person of the Godhead that I fellowship with; talk to! I know that when I need a Helper, He is here with me.
In my early years of Christianity there wasn't much said about the Holy Spirit, so I was in my early 40's before I really understood Who He was and What part He was to play in my life. I knew He came to live within me when I received Jesus as my Savior and Lord, but that's about the only role I knew He played in my life. But God had more for me to experience in my walk with Him. He gently led me into a new awareness of the Spirit-filled life when He baptized me in the Holy Spirit in 1991. From that day forward my life was totally, dramatically changed. The Bible took on a new light; all of a sudden I understood its teachings and was more fully aware of God's presence within and around me. My sensitivity to the Holy Spirit was awakened and I spoke in that heavenly language that the book of Acts talks about. It was as if I “came to life”; I was a new person!
Acts 1:8 :”But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.”
Acts 2:4 And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance.
Father, I thank You for moving me to a new understanding of You in all Your fullness. I thank You for awakening me to the power of Your Spirit within me. Thank You for causing me to awaken to new life in my walk with You through the infilling of Your Spirit! I pray for my Spark Friends today that they might each one come to an awareness of You that they haven't experienced before. Make life in You real to them today, Lord! Move them into all that You have for them in their walk with You. Teach them Your ways that they may walk closely with You, Lord. In Jesus' name I pray. Amen.
Tuesday, April 24, 2012
My husband just came in from being out in the garage "piddling" as he calls it and said "I ordered you something". I said "what did you order me"? He said, "I'm not going to tell you; it's a surprise." I said "did you order me a Fitbit?" I had never heard anything about a "Fitbit" until I read about it on a lady's blog this morning. It calculates your calories burned, steps walked, stairs climbed and the amount of sleep you get each night. I thought it sounded like a pretty good little device, but hadn't mentioned anything about it to Gerald. He said, "what's a "Fitbit"?, so I took him to the website and showed him all about what it did and everything. He said "would you like to have one of those?" I said, "yes, I think it would really be nice to have one of those." Then, guess what!!!! He said, "I ordered you a Fitbit!" I said, "aw, you're just saying that; did you really order me one?" He said, "yes, they had them on Slickdeals and I thought you might like to have one!" Wow, I was really surprised. I hadn't even heard of them until this morning and now I have one coming in the mail! I have the best husband a woman could ever have! God has been so good to me to give me a godly mate who loves me as Christ loved the church and gave Himself up for her. Gerald is always thinking of me!
Thank You, Lord, for my husband! I pray Your blessings on him today. That you bless him with good health and long life! In Jesus' name. Amen.
Tuesday, April 24, 2012
Ephesians 1:15-23 NLT Ever since I first heard of your strong faith in the Lord Jesus and your love for Christians everywhere, I have never stopped thanking God for you. I pray for you constantly, asking God, the glorious Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, to give you spiritual wisdom and understanding, so that you might grow in your knowledge of God. I pray that your hearts will be flooded with light so that you can understand the wonderful future He has promised to those He called. I want you to realize what a rich and glorious inheritance He has given to His people. I pray that you will begin to understand the incredible greatness of His power for us who believe Him. This is the same mighty power that raised Christ from the dead and seated Him in the place of honor at God's right hand in the heavenly realms. Now He is far above any ruler or authority or power or leader or anything else in this world or in the world to come. And God has put all things under the authority of Christ, and He gave Him this authority for the benefit of the church. And the church is His body; it is filled by Christ, who fills everything everywhere with His presence.
There are two prayers in Ephesians that have directly influenced my growth in the Lord. This is the first one and the other one is in Ephesians 3:14-19. In this first prayer we see Paul praying for the Ephesian believers to grow spiritually. I started praying this prayer for myself back in the late 1980's and immediately saw my spiritual life grow and increase by leaps and bounds. God loves for us to pray His word over our lives. Paul prayed these things for the Ephesian believers:
1) That they would have spiritual wisdom and understanding so that they might grow in their knowledge of God.
2) That their hearts would be flooded with light so they could understand the future God had promised them.
3) That they might realize the glorious inheritance He has given to His people.
4) That they might understand the great power He has made available to His believers; that same mighty power that raised Christ Jesus from the dead.
5) That His believers would understand that they share Christ's authority because they are His body and are filled with His presence.
I am amazed when I pray this prayer for people, to see God move in such a mighty way as to remove the scales that cover their spiritual eyes. He longs for us to pray for others that He might grow within them and open the eyes of their understanding to see Him more. Without a spiritual awakening people continue to walk around in darkness. We must bring them before the Lord and intercede for their spiritual well-being. This is just one of the prayers that will unlock their spiritual understanding. Just as Paul prayed for his friends at Ephesus, so we must pray for family and friends to know the Lord!
Have you experienced these five things in your spiritual life? Do you have the spiritual wisdom and knowledge to know the Lord more fully? What about your understanding of the future God has promised you? Jeremiah 29:11 says that God has a good future for His people, full of good things. He desires to do good to you and not harm you, to give you a future full of hope. What do you know about the inheritance He has given you as a child of His? When we understand who we are in Christ Jesus we can walk in the fullness of all that He has planned for us. We can walk with authority because God has given us that same authority over the devil that Jesus had. The power that is available to us as believers is the same power that raised Christ Jesus from the dead. What a mighty power that is! That is the power of the Holy Spirit within us! He lives in us and through us and enables us to live victoriously over all the bad things that the devil tries to bring against us.
Jesus said in John 10:10 “The thief's purpose is to steal and kill and destroy. My purpose is to give life in all its fullness.”
Here we see that Satan has a plan for people everywhere; it is to steal, kill and destroy. But God's plan for people is that through Christ Jesus they might have life in all its fullness.
God's desire is that we have life in abundance. The word for abundant in the Greek means superabundance, excessive, overflowing, surplus, over and above, more than enough, profuse, extraordinary, above the ordinary, more than sufficient.
Is that the kind of life that you are living in Christ Jesus today? If not, maybe you need to delve into the word and find out just what Jesus died to give you. It is only as we hear the word of God that we can have faith to receive all that He has made available to us because faith comes by hearing and hearing by the word of God according to Romans 10:17. If you don't understand what is yours by covenant rights purchased by the blood of Jesus you can't believe to receive them.
Father, this morning I pray for my spark friends, that You would give them the spirit of wisdom and understanding that they might know you more fully. I pray that the eyes of their understanding would be enlightened so that they might know the great inheritance they have in You and that they might understand the great power that You have made available to them in Christ Jesus; that same power that raised Jesus from the dead and seated Him at Your right hand, far above all principality and power and rule and dominion. I pray that they might understand the authority that You have placed within them as they look to Jesus as their head. I ask You to fill them to overflowing with You understanding of what belongs to them as children of God; their place in the Body of Christ. Thank You, Lord, for making Yourself real to each one of them. In Jesus' name. Amen.
Monday, April 23, 2012
Psalm 138:8 The LORD will perfect that which concerns me; Your mercy, O LORD, endures forever; Do not forsake the works of Your hands.
As I was praying this morning the Lord reminded me of this verse of scripture. I am so thankful that what He has begun in me He will bring to completion. Many times we look at the magnitude of what He has called us to do and feel that it is our responsibility to get it done. How wrong! He is the one doing the work through us and will complete it in His own way!
Perfect – Hebrew word gamar – means to end, finish, accomplish, perfect; to come to an end, cease; to perform, fulfill. This verb occurs five times in the Old Testament. Three times it refers to something or someone being cut off or brought to an end (Ps. 7:9; Ps. 12:1; Ps. 77:8). Twice it refers to the completing, finishing, and perfecting of God's work in one's life.
The first reference to the completing work of God in our lives is Psalm 57:2 I will cry out to God Most High, To God who performs all things for me.
The other reference is the one that I started out with: Psalm 138:8
Both of these two references are Old Testament parallels to Philippians 1:6: being confident of this very thing, that He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ;
Sometimes we have a tendency to think as we get older that there is no purpose left for us. We enter retirement and feel as if we are just on the downhill slide to the end of life. But when we understand that God is the one who is finishing the work in us that He has begun then we can look forward to each new day as another day for Him to open up new opportunities for whatever He has for us to do. We once again have a purpose to live; to see the manifestation of the promises of God in our lives. We don't have to resign ourselves to “the best of life is over”. No! The best is yet to come! When a plant reaches maturity is the most fulfilling time of fruit bearing for it. That's the time when that plant bears the most luscious fruit!
Psalm 92:12-15 The righteous shall flourish like a palm tree, He shall grow like a cedar in Lebanon. Those who are planted in the house of the LORD shall flourish in the courts of our God. They shall still bear fruit in old age; They shall be fresh and flourishing, To declare that the LORD is upright; He is my rock, and there is no unrighteousness in Him.
At whatever age you are, God has a purpose for your life! And for those who are of retirement age, we don't have to retire from God's work as we do from a secular job. He wants us to REFIRE; not retire! We are to be fresh and flourishing!
I think back through my life and have often thought that the best of my ministry years are over. I spent seven years in prison ministry and have taught all ages throughout my adult years in different church positions. And always looked forward to retirement because I would have more time to be fully involved in whatever ministry God had for me to do. Then when retirement came I found myself wondering what it was that I was to do now! God is opening new doors of opportunity even as I age. I was 60 years old when He told me to go to college to get my degree in Christian Counseling! That took a big step of faith for me and I'm so thankful that He isn't finished with me yet!
God's not finished with you either, Spark Friend! He has a work for you to do, just as He has for me!
Titus 2:1-5 But as for you, speak the things which are proper for sound doctrine; that the older men be sober, reverent, temperate, sound in faith, in love, in patience; the older women likewise, that they be reverent in behavior, not slanderers, not given to much wine, teachers of good things—that they admonish the young women to love their husbands, to love their children, to be discreet, chaste, home-makers, good, obedient to their own husbands, that the word of God may not be blasphemed.
I often tell the older ladies in our women's ministry group that they have a wealth of wisdom stored up within them to share with the young ladies. Who's going to teach the young women if the older ones retire and sit out the rest of their lives? Don't waste all that wisdom that God has placed within you!
Moses was 80 before God had him lead the Israelites out of Egypt. Caleb was 85 before he was able to take the land that God had given him for his inheritance. He had this attitude about what God had called him to do:
Joshua 14:10-12 “And now, behold, the LORD has kept me alive, as He said, these forty-five years, ever since the LORD spoke this word to Moses, while Israel wandered in the wilderness, and now, here I am this day, eighty-five years old. “As yet I am as strong this day as one the day that Moses sent me; just as my strength was then, so now is my strength for war, both for going out and for coming in. “Now therefore, give me this mountain of which the LORD spoke in that day; for you heard in that day how the Anakim were there, and that the cities were great and fortified. It may be that the LORD will be with me, and I shall be able to drive them out as the LORD said.”
It was said of Caleb that he was different from the others because he had a spirit that wholly followed the Lord His God! I want to have that same spirit within me! How about you?
Father, I thank You that I don't have to live out my calling in You by myself. It is not up to me, Lord. You are the One who is perfecting Your work in me! Thank You, Father, for continuing to cause me to be fruitful even in my retirement years. I praise You for the good plan that You have for my life; to be fruitful even in my old age. I pray for my Spark Friends this morning who may have retired from not just a secular position, but from Your work that You may have had for them to do. Father, please give them back their stamina for living! Cause them to see that You still have a purpose for their lives; that You are not finished with them yet! Strengthen them for the journey that is ahead of them and give them a glimpse of the good things that are yet to come in their lives. I pray that You will perfect that which concerns them! In Jesus' name. Amen.
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