I Believe In Prayer

Praying for Branch County and Beyond

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Day 29 – Help Our Church Leaders!

“So Christ himself gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the pastors and teachers…”  Ephesians 4:11 NIV

Lord, we pray for our pastors, elders & deacons, and ministry leaders… protect them from the enemy,  fill them with your Spirit, use them mightily for the Kingdom!

Help our leaders to be humble, gentle and great encouragers to the Body of Christ.

Lord Jesus, bless their marriages and homes with a hedge of protection.  Bless them to be filled with the fruit of Your Spirit.

Give our leaders patient endurance Lord, that they will be able to fight the good fight, finish the race, and keep the faith.

 I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.”  2 Timothy 4:7  NIV

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Day 28 – Our God Who Heals – Rapha

Heal us Lord, body – soul – spirit!

“Jesus went throughout Galilee, teaching in their synagogues, proclaiming the good news of the kingdom, and healing every disease and sickness among the people.”  Matthew 4:23 NIV

Pray for all those in the Medical Professions.  Pray for wisdom, compassion, skills for diagnosis and healing.

Pray that each one may come to know Jesus (the Great Physician) as their Lord and Savior.

Pray for all who live in Branch County to be able to get the medical care they need.

Revive us again, fill each heart with your love, may each soul be rekindled with fire from above!

Day 12 – Feed Us Lord!

Matthew 6:11 “Give us this day our daily bread.”

Pour out your heart to the Lord today for The Church.  How we desparately need a refreshed hunger and thirst for The Lord and the Word of The Lord!

Thank Jesus for the physical food that you have for today.

Thank Jesus for the spiritual food that He is providing for you today.

Thank Jesus for the fellowship you receive at your local church body.

Ask the Lord for a craving hunger for righteousness.  For yourself and for all those who follow Jesus.

Cry out to the Lord for the young people in our county.  Pray that they will get a great desire for the things of God rather than the things of this world – the lust of the flesh and the lust of the eyes & the pride of life.

Open your heart to the Spirit of God and ask the Lord who you can be a blessing to today.  When that person comes to mind … don’t hesitate – Act!  Go and bless!

Day 8 – Refreshing From The Lord

Pray with Boldness for a powerful conviction from the Spirit of God:

  • that sins will be forsaken: pornography, addictions, alcohol, drugs, rebellion, immorality
  • that people in Branch County will experience the Lord’s deliverance
  • that Christ will so confront people with His forgiving love that they will turn from their sin to the joy of following Him
  • Take the time to thank the Lord and to praise Him for delivering you from willful sins that have enslaved you

What’s Love Got To Do With It

Romans 5:5

And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.

Being a child of the 60’s & 70’s I remember Tina Turner singing this song of utter despair about life. In the lyrics she laments about the kind of love she has experienced as being worthless. I think everyone has experienced the heart ache of natural human love in their teens and early twenties. I dabbled in the things of God for years as a kid and walked away from the Church life simply because I thought that the world offered me a lot more…boy was I wrong!

Love has absolutely everything to do with this life we live. Now I’m not talking about the world’s kind of love that brings both marriage and divorce because it’s primarily dependent on a “second hand emotion” that is too often self-serving and fickle. I’m talking about the love every heart longs for, the love that only comes from God Himself – agape-love. The God kind of love that is absolute, unchanging and unconditional. THAT kind of love is what gives life its ultimate true meaning.

To every Christian I remind you that this exact kind of agape love has been placed in your spirit by an act of the Holy Spirit already (Rom 5:5). Think about that, the love the whole world is searching for is already alive within you now! I am convinced that if we could actually pattern our life’s decisions on this one thing alone by asking ourselves “what would love do” that there wouldn’t be enough room in our Churches to hold all of those who wanted to know this Jesus we worship. I read my Bible and I see a very simple thing that God has required of the Church. First is to Love God with all of our being and to love our neighbors as our self. The second is to tell everyone we meet about the goodness of God (the gospel) so they can be saved.

It’s right in front of our faces every time we look at the cross of Christ, a vertical and a horizontal form of our new life in Him. Now, loving Jesus is easy but that loving mankind is something else. When we choose to take this love and give it away in little ways and in big ways we set into motion something very powerful. We release God’s reality into the hearts of the lost by planting a seed of hope. A seed that says “it is true; there is a love that still seeks me.

It’s my sincerest prayer that you take a step of faith today and ask God to give you a divine appointment where you can sow a seed of Agape love into a total stranger’s life today. You will experience a compelling partnership with the Almighty every time you do. Try it, you’ll like it and your life will never be the same.

H.J.

Can’t Buy Me Love

1 John 4:9-10

“This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins.”

Deuteronomy 7:6-8

For you are a people holy to the Lord your God. The Lord your God has chosen you out of all the peoples on the face of the earth to be his people, his treasured possession. The Lord did not set his affection on you and choose you because you were more numerous than other peoples, for you were the fewest of all peoples. But it was because the Lord loved you and kept the oath he swore to your ancestors that he brought you out with a mighty hand and redeemed you from the land of slavery, from the power of Pharaoh king of Egypt.”

Paul McCartney “don’t care too much for” theology. Unlike John, who before his death described himself as a “most religious fellow,” or George, who was a devotee of Hare Krishna for over thirty years, or Ringo who, just a few years ago, announced a return to faith and asserted that “God is my life,” Paul has kept his distance from God.

But his early song, “Can’t Buy Me Love” (some of you are probably hearing it in your heads right now!) has some good theology. Love isn’t for sale. You can’t buy it and nothing you can do will earn it. Love isn’t a commodity.

No one ever loved you because you deserved it. Not your mom or dad, not your wife or husband, and certainly not God. Love doesn’t work that way. Love does not depend on the loveliness or lovability of its object, but on the heart of its subject. That is, love doesn’t start with the person being loved, but with the person doing the loving.

God doesn’t love us because we are so great, but because he is so good; not because we are so lovable, but because he is love. How wonderful is that? If God’s love depended on my lovability, there are times (to be honest, most times), I would be unloved.

We can point people to God and his Son Jesus Christ by loving them the way God has loved us: not because they are lovable, but because we are possessed by God’s love. We can proactively love them, as God loved us. And when they are unlovable, we can love them anyway, because our love doesn’t depend on them but on the God who has loved us.

This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. (1 John 4:10)

S.L.

Bold Faith Prayer 2017

BOLD FAITH PRAYER 2017

O LORD,

In honor of your Holy name,

help me to truly love my neighbor as myself;

Touch through my hands, speak through my words,

love through my actions;

Soften and turn hearts toward You;

Let Your Spirit work immeasurably more than imagined;

I boldly ask these things in your name, Lord Jesus.  Amen.

 

As we prepare to launch the Bold Faith Initiative for this year, let’s wholeheartedly pray this prayer.  Everyday.

Our theme for May 2017 is: Love Your Neighbor

Our Lord Jesus Christ has called us to love our neighbors based on our love for God.  Matthew 22:37-39, “Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment.  And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’

We will apply this by loving our ‘neighbor’ in a general sense, but we also will explore what it means to love our ‘literal’ neighbor.  Who are the people who live closest to you and how can you be a blessing to them, showing them practical expressions of the love of God.

As always, we need God’s help.  So let’s abide in the vine, Jesus Christ, for without Him we can do nothing.

 

 

Something Better

Hebrews 11:40
I was walking by a New Age bookstore one day and was intrigued by a sign in the front window that said, “Bibles for sale.” I thought to myself, “Are you kidding??? When did New Agers start marketing the Old and New Testament?”

So, I went into this fairly large bookstore (imagine ½ the size of a Barnes and Noble). I walked past the incense isle and the healing crystal isle. On a prominent shelf toward the back of the store, there were twelve or so books in the “bibles” section.

I opened each “bible” to John 1:1 to test the accuracy of the translation. John 1:1 is literally translated, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God and the Word was God.” I wasn’t surprised to find everything BUT the literal translation in these misleading and unfortunate non-bibles;

“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was a god.”

“In the beginning, God spoke a word…” “In the beginning was God…”

These misquotes reject the foundational truth of Christianity proclaimed in scripture; that God has had a plan in place to send Jesus Christ to redeem the world since BEFORE time began.

John 1:1 is an affirmation of God’s plan to choose to love mankind fiercely and attests to His desire to restore nearness with us. God’s Plan A (Jesus) is a perfect plan for us, for all who lived before us, and for all who will come after us. There is no Plan B. Maybe you have a neighbor or friend who needs to hear this truth spoken to them in love today.

“…God had planned something better for us
so that only together with us would they be made perfect.”

BT

The Others

Hebrews 11:35-40
Hebrews 11 is well known to serious students of the Bible and stands as a tribute to faithful servants of God from long ago.

The list of names forms a “Who’s Who” of Old Testament heroes; Noah, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Joseph, and Moses, to drop a few names.

In verses 35-40, the word “others” appears twice to inform us the list given is not complete, and that enduring in faith is not only heroic, but also involves sacrifice and suffering. The author mentions experiences endured by these others such as torture, humiliation, beatings, chains, imprisonment, stoning, being sawn in two, abuse, homelessness and, death.

The ancient apologist, Tertullian reminds us; “The blood of the martyrs is the seed of the church.”

Who were these unnamed “others”? Whose faces flashed through the mind of the writer? Perhaps heaven will reveal these unknowns.

Perhaps reflection on the passage causes us to respond in two ways:

1: With gratitude for the strength and faith exhibited, which drew them to the high and ultimate price of their calling and, as a result, to commit ourselves to honoring and obeying God despite the cost. And

2: To deeply examine my own commitment to following Christ in light of the challenges I face in my time and culture.

In my office I have an 8 1/2 x 11 sign from a Willow Creek Leadership Conference. It reads:

You can choose COURAGE,
Or you can choose COMFORT,
But you cannot choose them both.

DP

Between Eden and Armegeddon

Hebrews 11:32

Are you old enough to know what a “bag phone” looks like? If not, get your smart phone out later and ask Google or Siri, and imagine strapping one on your shoulder every day. Bag phones were as heavy as a bowling ball and so ENORMOUS, they had to be carried in a bag slung over the shoulder. Fortunately, they were just a transitional piece of technology that helped transition between landline and cell phones.

There is a transitional person in Hebrews 11:32 who obtains an honorable mention in this list of Old Testament “all-stars” of faith in Yahweh. His name is Samuel.

Samuel was the last of the “judges,” who were early leaders of God’s people. Samuel was willing to step aside and transition to a new role as the first “prophet” in Israel. Samuel anointed a tall and handsome man named Saul as “King” over Israel, and later God directed Samuel to anoint a successor, David, who was a small, red-headed sheep herder at the time.

You are a transitional figure in many ways, living in a transitional time between Eden and Armageddon, and between the last generation and the next. You are a transitional figure, and Jesus Christ has given you the “ear tingling” news that He will be returning soon. Are you living closely enough to Him that you can discern between His Will and the most obvious choice?  Are you determined to do whatever He says? If so, today you may find even better ways of expressing love to God with all your heart, soul, mind and strength, and your neighbors as self.

 And the Lord said to Samuel: “See, I am about to do something in Israel that will make the ears of everyone who hears about it tingle.

(1 Samuel 3:11)

BT

 

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