Praise Break

Micah 1:1-4:13; Revelation 6:1-17; Psalm 134:1-3; Proverbs 30:1-4
“Oh, bless the Lord, all you servants of the Lord, you who serve as night watchmen in the house of the Lord. Lift your hands in holiness, and bless the Lord.  May the Lord, who made heaven and earth, bless you from Jerusalem.” Psalm 134
There are many wonderful things we are taught from the Word of God but none so uplifting as to praise our God. Praise tears down strongholds, praise honors God, praise can demolish depression, praise is amazing!
Let’s take a few minutes right now and lift our hands and worship our God. Come on now, you can do this. If you have some inspirational music, turn it on and allow yourself to get into His presence. Escape this world for awhile. Honestly, there’s no better place to be than with our God!
Lord, I praise and worship You with all my heart. I love You so much and You are more real to me than the air I breath. You are so incredible. There is nothing that can touch Your awesomeness!! I am so grateful You brought me into Your fold and I pray for supernatural boldness and wisdom to see others come to know You in this personal way so they may experience You as well. Have a wonderful day God, keep smiling, we love and appreciate You. Amen.
Now that’s refreshing –

OK God, I’m Catching the Next Fish In, Geez!

Jonah 1:1-4:11; Revelation 5:1-14: Psalm 133:1-3; Proverbs 29:26-27
“So the Lord said, ‘You cared about the plant, which you did not labor over and did not grow. It appeared in a night and perished in a night. Should I not care about the great city of Nineveh, which has more than 120,000 people who cannot distinguish between their right and their left, as well as many animals?'” (Jonah 4:10)
I absolutely love the book of Jonah. There are so many wonderful lessons God packaged in there. One lesson, as Christians, I think we need to get out of this book is that God’s love reaches far beyond us. We may almost border, dare I say, on the edge of hatred toward some segments of society. Since the Hebrews were God’s chosen people some of them felt that God did not care about any other people in the world, especially those heathen nations. My goodness, how could God possibly love people that live in such darkness. I John 4:19 states we love only because God first loved us. He loved us in all of our sin and rebellion, He cleaned us up; we didn’t do it ourselves. Couldn’t do it for ourselves. God is the originator of divine agape love. Love that transcends all human love and allows for the coverage of a multitude of sins. (I Peter 4:8)
God gave Jonah an assignment (as He does with all of us) to go to the people of Nineveh. Their wickedness had come before the Lord and He wanted to give them an opportunity to repent and get things right or He was going to judge them. Jonah wasn’t feeling up to this duty at all so he ran. That’s right, ran away from the all-seeing, all-knowing God. Duh, like where you gonna go that He isn’t. How silly we get sometimes, God says that even if we make our bed in hell, behold He is there. (Psalm 139:8) So after an unfruitful boat ride Jonah is given another opportunity to preach to Nineveh. After spending three days and nights in the belly of a fish, he accepts. Go figure huh.
Well, Nineveh was a big city that takes three days to walk, it was hot outside and Jonah wasn’t preaching a real popular sermon series, it’s called “Turn or Burn,” perhaps you’ve heard it. He thought to Himself, “God is so good, what if I walk through here preaching that and they actually repent. That would be horrible! These wretched sinners deserve His wrath, not His love.” How many of us have felt like Jonah at some point in our walk? Think about it. When I say the words homosexual, terrorist or abortionist, what feelings do they invoke? I’m not saying to be soft on sin, Jonah preached an uncompromised message of repentance only because God loved these people. He loves all people… “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son that whosoever should believe on Him will not perish but have everlasting life.” John 3:16 – Christianity 101.
Yes, God loves more than just the “us four and no more” clique. He’s willing to get His hands dirty and doesn’t mind spending a little time ironing out our issues. He’s so incredibly good and consistent. God has been grieving and wooing and loving hard-headed people since creation. As good as He is part of His love is correction. In this book He sent correction to the people (sinners) of Nineveh through Jonah in order to keep them from the judgment to come and He caused the people on the boat to throw Jonah (His child) overboard so that He could hem him up in order to get his mind right.
Sometimes, in love, you have to throw “Jonah” overboard so he can get it right with God. You cannot protect Jonah without YOUR boat sinking. I know it feels bad but you’ve got to let Jonah go so that God can get him where he needs to be. Everything’s gonna be alright.
Lord, help me to see beyond the satisfaction of my salvation and that of my loved ones. There is a whole world of people out there who need to know about You. Give me wisdom, boldness, discernment and the words to speak to those who are lost and/or struggling. Please let me know when I’m harboring a Jonah too. I need to know when to help a person and when to let them go. I love You Lord. In the name of Jesus I pray, amen.

Please Help, I’ve Misplaced Jesus Somewhere

Amos 1:1-3:15; Revelation 2:1-17; Psalm 129:1-8; Proverbs 29:19-20
“You possess endurance and have tolerated many things. But I have this against you: you have abandoned the love you had at first. Remember then how far you have fallen; repent, and do the works you did at first. Otherwise, I will come to you and remove your lampstand from its place – unless you repent.” (Revelation 2:3-5)
Perhaps as you read this some of you will be able to identify with me and will hopefully be encouraged. When I first came to know Jesus, I was so fantastically changed. I mean I hardly recognized myself. Previously I had been living out of two bags on the street, sleeping where I could, hustling just to make it. Even though I didn’t have a home or a vehicle, I could always find money for cigarettes and something to get high on. It’s amazing how we can live apart from reality. A falsehood becomes our identity and we get trapped on this one way street. Anyway, meanwhile back at the ranch…Jesus touched my heart, began the healing and deliverance process in my life and set me on this new path.
I did so well for about a year or so. I loved Jesus and was extremely grateful for all He had done for me. There was no shadow of doubt that He was real to me. I certainly had no power or desire to change myself the way He did. Yes, Jesus was real and His Word was alive. Every day it was showing me truth and guiding me. So what happened?
Somewhere down the line, I got caught in the trap of life and allowed the seed of the Word (my lifeline) to get choked out. (Matthew 13) Jesus restored my family, opened a door for employment and gave me a car. After a minute of being on my feet, I found that I wasn’t in my Word near as much. I started trimming down the time I was with my church family and started attending office functions where the party was a key. I became complacent and didn’t realize how much I had put my friend Jesus on the back burner.
Over a short period of time I couldn’t hear His voice as well. My thoughts became confused as I began to deal with loneliness and problems with my old ways of coping. Before I knew it I was partying again, being promiscuous and was so full of shame that I could scarcely hold my head up. “What a disappointment I must be to God,” the enemy of my soul would interject into my thoughts. So much so that I believed it fully and could not seem to get back up.
After a while of this I submitted to accountability and got myself back on track as far as you could tell on the outside but on the inside I struggled with whether what I had experienced with God was real. I knew it was, no way I could have done all that on my own, but was it, why didn’t it last? Why can’t I get back to that place, have I gone too far? The struggle was real.
One day I realized God was not through with me. I would think, “If it’s over for me then why would the Holy Spirit continue to convict me and speak to me.” Once I resolved that, the Lord gave me this scripture and I realized that I must return to my first love, and not just in “works.” I had to accept forgiveness for myself and do those things that brought me close to God in the first place. It’s been a journey. Don’t ever compromise like I did. It is simply not worth it. Always be faithful to Jesus. If you do backslide, be quick to repent and get back up.
I’ve been saved for many years now and I’ve noticed in myself and others that we can get caught up in doing the work of God and forget to love on the God of the work. It’s like getting caught up in the current. We don’t realize how quickly and far we’ve drifted from shore. The people in Ephesus, the church being spoken to, were guilty of this. They were strong, persisting believers, however, the Lord had a problem with them because they had strayed away from that personal relationship with Him.
If it’s all become about the work for you then it’s time to back up and spend some serious love and meditation time with Him. He appreciates what you do for Him but He’d really like relationship over rules and obedience more than our sacrifice. If your life has become a rigid religious practice it’s time to loosen your tie and go back to your first love.
God, I pray for those who are backslidden and struggling to get back up and I pray for those who have been faithful but have grown dull over time. I pray for a fresh revival in our spirits. Lord as we return to our first works of sitting in Your presence, talking to You and meditating on Your Word waiting for You to speak, please honor that and spark our holy romance with You. Looking forward to an exciting new era in Christ, in the name of Jesus I pray, amen.

The Valley of Decision

Joel 1:1-3:21; Revelation 1:1-20; Psalm 128:1-6; Proverbs 29:18
“I will pour out My Spirit on all humanity; then your sons and your daughters will prophesy, your old men will have dreams, and your young men will see visions. I will even pour out My Spirit on the male and female slaves in those days…Then everyone who calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved..” (Joel 2:28-29, 32)
“Hammer your plowshares into swords and your pruning knives into spears. Let even the weakling say: I am a warrior…Swing the sickle because the harvest is ripe…Multitudes, multitudes in the valley of decision! For the Day of the Lord is near in the valley of decision.” (3:10, 13, 14)
As time passes on, knowledge is increasing and God is pouring out His Spirit more and more. Where sin is in abundance God is going to be increasing His grace in order to help people come out of their blindness and have the ability to live for Him. Anyone that calls on the name of Jesus will be saved.
It’s time for those of us who have been sitting on the sidelines to sharpen our instruments into weapons of warfare. All of those books you’ve been reading, well it’s time to put that knowledge to the test. That mission’s trip you’ve been talking about for ten years, it’s time to go. That gift you’ve been sitting on because you’re too embarrassed or afraid to use it, yep, it’s time to step out. The harvest is ripe and there is no more time to sit idle. Multitudes, multitudes are in the valley of decision.
Israel was formed as a nation so that God could introduce Himself to the world. It was their job to evangelize for their great God by witnessing and being a witness of His great mercy and power. Many didn’t get it and therefore became religious and idolatrous, lumping Creator God in with idols made with their own hands. There was no true separation between them and the nations they were supposed to be influencing. I’m sure some may have thought, “Other nations have these great sex goddesses and hedonistic gods, how did we get stuck with this prudish God that is so particular in how He’s served.” So they did their ritual duty and then turned to their spiritual lovers and provoked God. God said he would take a people who were not a people (the gentiles) and write His laws on their hearts and they would provoke Israel. He is grafting in this wild olive tree. But don’t get haughty, the natural branch can be grafted back in easier than us. God loves His people.
Knowing all of this, we must do our best to know our Lord and to live for Him. This doesn’t mean we are going to be perfect or always say and do the right thing. It does mean we will be quick to repent when we sin and we will allow our God’s goodness to shine through to those who are lost. And not by beating them down or acting superior but by sharing His great love and plan of salvation. Truly, we cannot be satisfied with our own salvation when so many are still lost. We must get about our Father’s business, we cannot fail our God, it’s simply not an option. Come on mighty warrior, you are weak but in Him you are strong. Get up and do your best as you let His light shine. Souls are in the balance and they need you.
Lord, I ask You to help me get over myself. I lay my life before You and ask You to forgive me for being so selfish. Use me Lord, use my gifts, let me do something great for You. I am going to make every effort to relax and allow Your power to flow through me. Give me boldness to share Your Word with others. Give me at least a soul a day Father. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.

Sha Ba Ka People

Hosea 10:1-14:9; Jude 1:1-25; Psalm 127:1-5; Proverbs 29:15-17
“But you, dear friends, remember the words foretold by the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ; they told you, ‘In the end time there will be scoffers walking according to their own ungodly desires.’ These people create divisions and are merely natural, not having the Spirit.
But you, dear friends, building yourselves up in your most holy faith and praying in the Holy Spirit, keep yourselves in the love of God, expecting the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ for eternal life. Have mercy on some who doubt; save others by snatching them from the fire; on others have mercy in fear, hating even the garment defiled by the flesh.
Now to Him who is able to protect you from stumbling and to make you stand in the presence of His glory, blameless and with great joy, to the only God our Savior, through Jesus Christ our Lord, be glory, majesty, power, and authority before all time, now, and forever. Amen.” (Jude 17-25)
Praying in the wha…the Holy Spirit, what’s that mean? Jude encourages us to build up our faith by praying in the Holy Spirit. Praying in the Holy Spirit is allowing the Holy Ghost to pray in another language through you. There are two types of spiritual prayer as seen in I Corinthians 14, with your understanding and with your spirit. One edifies you and the other edifies people around you. In I Corinthians 12, there are also two gifts that complement each other and are meant specifically to build up others, not just the individual. The gift of speaking in tongues and the interpretation of tongues, these are different from what Jude is talking about.
In some places, you may hear someone start speaking in tongues and either they or another person will follow up by saying what the meaning is. This is perfectly in line with the use of the gifts. It is intended to build up the Body of Christ. However, you may see a group of people praying in the Spirit, mostly during worship. They are not looking to share a word, or edify anyone, they are merely building up their own faith.
God is expecting you to stay fortified so that you will prove to be more spiritual than a natural unsaved person. One day there were two boys fighting over who would get the first pancake. The mother thought to take the opportunity to teach about the strength and graciousness of Jesus. She said, “Boys, Jesus would be kind and offer his brother the first pancake.” After a moment, the oldest boy said, “Hey, you be Jesus today.” We are to be more spiritual, the one who can take a little wrong. The one who is able to have mercy on others in order to show them the way to Jesus. Lost and struggling people can be extremely offensive. The spirit that leads them wants to repel you so you will be hindered from reaching them. See beyond that, you be Jesus today…
Lord, forgive me of my sins. Fill me with Your Holy Spirit with the evidence of speaking in tongues. I pray to be truly empowered and built up. I pray for supernatural patience with people and the ability to reach them where they are without falling into their sin myself. I release my life to You, use me Lord. I choose to pay the price to be Jesus to this world. It’s in Your name that I pray. Amen.

We will come rejoicing, bringing in the sheaves…

Hosea 6:1-9:17; III John 1:1-14; Psalm 126:1-6; Proverbs 29:12-14
“Those who sow in tears shall reap with joy, he who continually goes forth weeping, bearing seed for sowing, shall doubtless come again with rejoicing, bringing his sheaves with him.” Psalm 126:5-6
Though you or someone you know may be in a dark place, comfort yourselves that everything is going to be alright. Sometimes we go through a season of “sowing tears” as we pray for a loved one to know God, or we have some crisis we are walking through, but we can rest assured that He hears and He sees. As you continue to sow your seeds of faith, in spite of the hardship, and watering them with your tears, God is in the multiplication and harvest business. He is preparing you for the breakthrough – get ready, get ready, get ready – you will rejoice and you will win!
Father, I pray for myself and everyone who is going through a tough season. I ask you to shorten this season as much as possible and bring us through to the other side. I pray our faith will be strong and steady and You will prepare our hearts for the excitement of harvest. Help us to keep our eyes on You. Our loved ones are coming into the fold, this particular season had a beginning and it will have an end, everything WILL be alright. Not only will it be alright, my mind, body and spirit are going to prosper on the other side! I’m bringing in my sheaves! In Jesus name, amen.

Pray for the Peace of Jerusalem

Daniel 11:2-35; I John 3:7-24; Psalm 122:1-9; Proverbs 29:1
“Pray for the peace of Jerusalem. May all who love this city prosper. O Jerusalem, may there be peace within your walls and prosperity in your palaces. This I ask for the sake of all my brothers and my friends who live here; and may there be peace as a protection to the Temple of the Lord.” Psalm 122:6-8
Father, we pray for the peace of Jerusalem. We love Your people and ask that You would supernaturally hedge them up with Holy warring angels to keep them protected under Your care. Order their steps, strengthen and encourage them. May the grace and peace of God reign and rule in their hearts. Save Jerusalem Lord! In Your name we pray, amen.