Priority One

Psalm 86:11 says, “Teach me Your way, O Lord, I will walk in Your truth; unite my heart to fear Your name.” My margin says: give me singleness of heart.

The Strong’s word for worry is: to divide into parts. Matthew 6:25 says, “Therefore I say to you, do not worry about your life…” Worry is a distraction. It is a preoccupation with things that stress us. It fragments our heart.

I love Psalm 63:8 in the Amplified. It says, “My whole being follows hard after You and clings closely to You; Your right hand upholds me.” Verse 5 says, “My whole being shall be satisfied as with morrow and fatness; and my mouth shall praise You with joyful lips.”

These two verses are essentially saying: I am reaching out to You with all that is within me, to lay hold of You and to cling tenaciously. Here is another. Psalm 119:10 Amplified says, “With my whole heart I sought You, inquiring for and of You and yearning for You; O let me not wander or step aside (either ignorantly or willingly) from Your commandments.”

1 Chronicles 28:9 Amplified says, “…For the Lord searches all hearts and minds and understands all the wanderings of the thoughts. If you seek Him (inquiring for and of Him and requiring Him as your first and vital necessity) you will find Him…”

When our trials take our breath away with their crushing blows, He becomes our sustaining breath. We cling to Him as our vital necessity, and we know His Presence experientially. Here is a new song He gave me this morning. Think about your own circumstances and sing this with me.

I bow before You Lord, in honor and wonder of Your love. You sustain and uphold my heart, and carry me through every trial. Your love is unending, Your grace abounding, Your mercy is new every morn. There is no one like You, no one Your equal. You alone deserve all glory and praise.

Stretch It Out

Matthew 12:9 says that there was a man with a withered hand. Think about it a moment. His hand was atrophied and paralyzed. He could not use it. Verse 13 says, “Then He said to the man, Stretch out your hand. And he stretched it out, and it was restored as whole as the other.”

Amazing miraculous healing. Think about the areas in your life that are “withered.” It could be areas were you lack faith. Doubt, fear, unbelief have crept in. Reluctance to do something indicates self-reliance which withers faith.

Joshua was the next leader after Moses died. Joshua 1:3 says, “Every place that the sole of your foot will tread upon I have given you, as I said to Moses.” Then in verse 6, 7, and 9 the Lord spoke to Joshua to be strong and of good courage. Verse 9 says, “Have I not commanded you? Be strong and of good courage; do not be afraid, not be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.”

I love Isaiah 41:10. It says, “Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, yes, I will help you, I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.”

We stretch out the area of our heart that has withered by undergirding it through God’s word. What does His word say to you? This morning I read 1 Peter 1:13. It says, “Gird up the loins of your mind…” That means to me: I need to arm my thoughts with truth from God’s word. Be alert to any thought entering my mind that opposes God’s word, His ways, and His will. Bring it captive! Make it bow in defeat! Don’t give it another thought!

Stretch out that gift that has laid dormant. What has He called you to do that you have not done? We block active faith each time we rely on ourselves. Apart from Him we are withered (John 15:5).

Right now as I type this, the report of hurricane Dorian is forecasting disaster. Yet, the Lord who has created all things is on the scene. Through concerted prayer, we have the privilege to stand in the gap before Him for the state of Florida.

It is good to remember Who the Lord is. Jesus calmed the storm with a word. Mark 4:39 says, “Then He arose and rebuked the wind, and said to the sea, Peace, be still! And the wind ceased and there was a calm.”

The Power of Concerted Prayer

We are called to intercede. We stand before God, the Creator Sustainer on behalf of others. We boldly approach His throne of grace to find mercy and grace in time of need, whether ours or others. 2 Corinthians 1:8 says, “For we do not want you to be ignorant, brethren, of our trouble which came to us in Asia: that we were burdened beyond measure, above strength, so that we despaired even of life.” Look at verse 11. It says, “You also helping together in prayer for us, that thanks may be given by many persons on our behalf for the gift granted to us through many.”

Romans 15:30 says, “Now I beg you, brethren, through the Lord Jesus Christ, and through the love of the Spirit, that you strive together with me in prayer to God for me.” Amplified says, “…to unite with me in earnest wrestling in prayer in my behalf.”

Our trials are not a solo, unique, only-me-type hardship. The body of Christ is under fire. We stand in the gap for others in their need, as others stand in the gap for us in our need. It is a circular provision ordained by the Lord.

Ephesians 1:18 says, “Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, being watchful to this end with all perseverance and supplication for all the saints.” The Lord Himself intercedes for us. He is our excellent example. Romans 8:34 says, “Who is he who condemns? It is Christ who died, and furthermore is also risen, who is even at the right hand of God, who also makes intercession for us.”

Luke 4:18 Amplified says, “…to send forth as delivered those who are oppressed (who are downtrodden, bruised, crushed, and broken down by calamity).” Do you fit this category? Then ask some folks you know to intercede for you. They will stand in the gap before our Merciful and Gracious Lord on your behalf. Paul said that they were helped through prayer as they endured their trouble in Asia.

1 Peter 4:19 says, “Therefore let those who suffer according to the will of God commit their souls to Him in doing good, as to a faithful Creator.” Here is God’s eternal purpose for His church. The hard trials that we go through are a testimony of God’s wisdom. Ephesians 3:10 says, “To the intent that now the manifold wisdom of God might be made know by the church to the principalities and powers in the heavenly places.”

Jesus told Peter that satan wanted to sift him. Luke 22:32 says, “But I have prayed for you, that your faith should not fail; and when you have returned to Me, strengthen your brethren.” Right after this, Peter denied the Lord three times. 1 & 2 Peter were written by that beloved apostle. 1 Peter 5:10 says, “But may the God of all grace, who called us to His eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after you have suffered a while, perfect, establish, strengthen, and settle you.”

Concerted prayer is like an ambush against the enemy. It is a secret effective weapon that breaks through all opposing forces. There is no other ministry like it. What a privilege to stand in the gap before God on behalf of others.

 

Two Holes ~ Part Three

The other hole in the hedge of our life is made by the enemy of our soul. Please remember, that whatever happens in our lives is under God’s control, orchestrated and allowed by Him. When we have no answers, we must rest in Deuteronomy 29:29. It says that the secret things belong to God, but the things He reveals belong to us.

We know that Jesus told Peter that satan desired to sift him (Luke 22:31). Paul had a thorn in the flesh that was a messenger of satan (2 Corinthians 12:7). Job’s hedge was removed and satan wrecked havoc. In Job 1:12 God gave satan permission but with a boundary that he could not lay a hand on his person. In Job 2:6 we see that again God gave satan permission, but the boundary was that he must spare his life.

Ephesians 6:11 says, “Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.” Wiles are his schemings to destroy our faith. Verse 16 says, “Above all, taking the shield of faith with which you will be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked one.”

John 10:10 says, “The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy…” 1 Peter 5:8 says, “Be sober, be vigilant, because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour.” Isaiah 59:19 says, “When the enemy comes in like a flood, I will raise up a standard against him.”

I love Psalm 18:18. It says, “They confronted me in the day of my calamity, but the Lord was my support.” In every situation of our lives, there is always His Ever Presence, His power, His provision, and His promises. Psalm 46:1 says, “God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.”

Here is a new song the Lord gave me, as well as the title of my book: He Drew Me Out of Deep Waters: encouragement for hard trials. It is an ebook available on Amazon. I’m waiting to hear from a publisher for the paperback. Psalm 18:16 says, “He sent from above, He took me; He drew me out of many waters.”

He Drew Me Out

I am an overcomer. I am more than a conqueror. You are my Stability. My life is hidden with Christ in God. I cried out to You. You split the skies and came to my aid. You drew me out of deep waters. Set me on solid ground. You established my ways. You gave me new songs of joyous release. I will praise You. For I am Yours forever.

Two Holes ~ Part Two

Let’s look at the reason for the first hole ~ unconfessed sin. Now look at the definition of an intercessor in Ezekiel 22:30. It is one who makes a wall, and stands in the gap before God on behalf of another.

Sin is sin and it blocks our fellowship with the Lord. The objective in our intercession is to make a wall of truth by speaking God’s word over the person we are praying for. Jeremiah 1:12 says that He watches over His word to perform it.

For example: I know someone who is angry at God. They charge God with wrong. They are self-deceived. They do not recognize that their anger against God is the very thing that is blocking a fulfilling relationship with the Lord.

How do I pray? Open the eyes of their heart (Ephesians 1:18). Colossians 1:10 ~ that they would walk worthy of the Lord…increasing in their knowledge of Him. Ephesians 3:19 Amplified. That they would come to know practically through experience for themselves, the love of Christ.

When we are deceived, we don’t know we are deceived. James 1:22 says, “But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving ourselves.” It cannot be more clear. When our walk does not reflect the character of Christ, we are deceived. We are controlled by the lies of the enemy we have believed. Remember, our heart is our belief center.

2 Corinthians 13:5 is our path to freedom. The Amplified says, “Examine and test and evaluate your own selves to see whether you are holding to your faith and showing the proper fruit of it. Test and prove yourselves (not Christ). Do you not yourselves realize and know (thoroughly by an ever-increasing experience) that Jesus Christ is in you–unless you are (counterfeit) disapproved on trial and rejected?”

When I want to examine the back of my hair, which I cannot see, I get a mirror. That is how God’s word is to us. Hebrews 4:12 says that it discerns our heart. We read His word and compare it to our heart-belief and actions. If there are discrepancies, then we need to course correct.

First, recognize that there is a hole in your life’s hedge. Second, ask a few close friends to make a wall and stand in the gap for you. Stay accountable them. In the meantime you take God’s word and begin to implant it in your heart. James 1:21 Amplified says, “…in a humble (gentle, modest) spirit receive and welcome the Word which implanted and rooted (in your hearts) contains the power to save your souls.”

The intercessor stands in the gap on your behalf. As you are renew your mind with truth, His word begins to close up the hole. Joshua 1:8 says that we are to meditate in His word day and night, observing to do. We walk in His word, we speak it, and we make it our own.

Two Holes

In Ezekiel 8 the Lord showed His prophet a hole in the wall. Behind the wall was sin being played out through idol worship in His inner court. In verse 6 He asked Ezekiel if he saw what they were doing. Verse 7 says, “So He brought me to the door of the court; and when I looked, there was a hole in the wall.”

Psalm 66:18 says, “If I regard iniquity in my heart, the Lord will not hear.” Iniquity is doing anything independent of God. We create a hole in our wall of protection when we sin against the Lord. It gives the enemy opportunity to oppress us.

There is another hole. Isaiah 7:5 revealed that it was a plot against Israel. Verse 6 says, “Let us go up against Judah and trouble it, and let us make a gap in its wall for ourselves, and set a king over the, the son of Tabel.”

Two holes: one of our own making through hidden sin, and another created by the enemy. Remember in Job the conversation between God and Satan? Job 1:10 says, “Have You not made a hedge around him, around his household, and around all that he has on every side?”

Ezekiel 22:30 gives us more insight into the breech. It says, “So, I sought for a man among them who would make a wall, and stand in the gap before Me on behalf of the land, that I should not destroy it, but I found no one.”

The ‘gap’ in the above verse is taken from the illustration of a vineyard. There was a protective wall of stones or a hedge around the vineyards to protect them from encroachment. If a small critter made a gap in the hedge, it could get in to destroy. If the gap was undetected, something bigger would come along to enter and make more destruction. Song of Solomon 2:15 says, “Catch us the foxes, the little foxes that spoil the vines, for our vines have tender grapes.”

We see a warning for us in Proverbs 24:30-31. It says, “I went by the field of the lazy man, and by the vineyard of the man devoid of understanding. And there it was, all overgrown with thorns; its surface was covered with nettles.” Ignored (unconfessed) hidden sin propagates weed seeds that choke God’s word in our hearts.

I wrote this in my journal this morning and circled it: anything I do apart from You is sin. Romans 14:23 Amplified says, “…For whatever does not originate and proceed from faith is sin (whatever is done without a conviction of its approval by God is sinful).”

John 15:5 says, “…for without Me you can do nothing.” We live by faith. 2 Corinthians 5:7 says, “We walk by faith, not by sight.” Colossians 1:10 says to walk worthy of the Lord. Hebrews 11:6 says that without faith it is impossible to please God. 1 John 1:7 says that we are walk in the light. 2:6 says we are to walk as Jesus walked.

Conclusion: when we walk dependent on the Lord, we will bear fruit that glorifies Him. Galatians 5:16 says, “I say then: Walk in the Spirit, and you shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh.” Our fleshly actions are absolutely independent of God.

Possibility Thinking

Matthew 19:26 is in the context of a rich man getting saved. In verse 25 the disciples ask the Lord how can they be saved. Jesus answered, “with men this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.”

Add to this verse several that says that nothing is impossible for God. Luke 1:37 says, “For with God nothing will be impossible.” Our thoughts precede our words. Do you hear what you are thinking through the words that come out of your mouth? Do you ever say, “I can’t, it won’t work, it’s too much, or it’s too hard?” Those words were first thoughts, coming from your eyes fixed on your impossible circumstances. Renew your mind with possibility truth-breakers.

Therefore to think in righteousness, we must think thoughts that agree with God’s word. That is walking in possibility thinking. Monday I took my car to get a smog check. The waiting room was a place of defilement. I turned a magazine cover over so it wasn’t in my periphery. The receptionist was dressed in a way that hurt my heart. Jesus died for her. The next morning I wrote in my journal and circled it. Help me to see through Your eyes.

Yesterday He turned me to verses that spoke of how His purpose will not be annulled, nor changed by anyone or anything. Through these verses He gave me His way to pray for three families that are in hard trials.

Numbers 23:19 says, “…Has He said, and will He not do? Or has He spoken, and will He not make it good?” Isaiah 14:27 says, “For the Lord of hosts has purposed, and who can annul it? His hand is stretched out, and who will turn it back?” 2 Chronicles 20:6 says, “…in Your hand is there not power and might, so that no one is able to withstand You?” Job 23:14 says, “For He performs what is appointed for me, and many such things are with Him.” Proverbs 21:30 says, “There is no wisdom or understanding or counsel against the Lord.” Isaiah 43:13 says, “Indeed before the day was, I am He; and there is no one who can deliver out of My hand; I work, and who will reverse it?”

According to God’s eternal, unchangeable word, no circumstance, no one, nor any thing can annul His purpose for your life. Do you believe it? Are you thinking and speaking these truths? God is at work in your life and nothing is impossible for Him!

Yesterday I had written these verses in my journal. They are stated unchangeable facts. So how do I pray? My conclusion was to thank Him for each truth in each verse. Thanksgiving for stated truths!

I have to leave you with one of my favorite verses about God’s power. Habakkuk 3:4 says, “His brightness was like the light; He had rays flashing from His hand, and there His power was hidden.” Take this verse and the above verses and pray them over your life’s area of bondage. Then thank Him for Who He is as stated in His word.