Powerful Prayers – Step Three!

I believe that God has given every person the ability to talk to and hear from Him!  This is an amazing ability that He has blessed us with and we need to be extra careful not to take it for granted.  The best way to not take it for granted is to use it for His glory and everyone’s blessing!

We are learning the steps that we must take, if we are going to use this gift of powerful prayer to accomplish glory and blessing.  We are being “schooled” by “The Prayer Of Jabez!”.  A prayer which was made popular a few years ago by a book written by Dr. Bruce Wilkerson about the prayer which is found in I Chronicles 4:9-10.

This is what those two verses share: “9 Jabez was more honorable than his brothers. His mother had named him Jabez, saying, “I gave birth to him in pain.” 10Jabez cried out to the God of Israel, “Oh, that you would bless me and enlarge my territory! Let your hand be with me, and keep me from harm so that I will be free from pain.” And God granted his request.”

The first step is the Step Of Integrity! If we are going to pray powerful prayers, then we must be people of honor, people who’s walk and talk match up to bring glory to our Creator and Sustainer!

The second step is the Step Of Godly Focus! When we pray we need to make sure that our prayers are talking to and listening for God and His will for our lives.  God has a plan and it is to bless us, so we need to make sure that we are paying attention to Him!

The third step is the Step Of Request! The scripture says that Jabez cried out to God and asked:  “Oh, that you would bless me and enlarge my territory!” He requested the very thing that God was longing to give Him!  God wants to bless you and God wants to give you room to grow and prosper.  The Bible is full of the promises of God and in so many of those promises, God is declaring His love and through that love the desire to do things for you, that you could never do for yourself.

“We have not, because we ask not!”  What is it that God is leading you to request from Him?  Could it be that you don’t have what you need because you have been trying to obtain it in your own strength and power?  Could it be that God is just waiting for you to ask, so that He might respond and bring glory to Himself while giving blessings to you?

Take some time today to listen to God! Look into His Word and discover His awesome and amazing promises and then go to Him with the request that He has laid on your heart and get ready for Him to do a work in and through your life!

Powerful Prayers – Step Two!

You Can Do It!

You can pray powerful prayers!  I want you to get this truth:  God wants to respond to you and to your needs and this is one of the reasons that prayer conversation with God is so important!

Yesterday we discovered Step One in praying powerful prayers.  The first step is the Step Of Integrity!  If we are going to pray powerful prayers, then we must be people of honor, people who’s walk and talk match up to bring glory to our Creator and Sustainer!

We are taking our learning from 1 Chronicles 4:9-10 where we find “The Prayer Of Jabez!”  This little tucked away prayer was made popular a few years ago by Dr. Bruce Wilkerson in his book entitled by the same name.  The scripture says: “9 Jabez was more honorable than his brothers. His mother had named him Jabez, saying, “I gave birth to him in pain.” 10Jabez cried out to the God of Israel, “Oh, that you would bless me and enlarge my territory! Let your hand be with me, and keep me from harm so that I will be free from pain.” And God granted his request.”

Today we are going to discover the second step!  The second step is The Step Of Godly Focus!  The Scripture says “Jabez cried out to the God of Israel.”  It is very important when we pray, that we know who we are talking to and listening for.  Our prayer needs to be to someone who can do something about the things that we are praying about!  God is that Someone that can do that something we are needing done in our lives!

Take some time today to talk to and listen for God!  Don’t just say you are.  Don’t pretend you are.  Don’t be satisfied with just going through the motions.  Actually take some time to talk with God, your Creator and Sustainer!  Make some time to listen for His still, small voice.  What is it that you need to say to God?  What is it that God is saying to you?  This is the kind of real conversation that allows God to be powerful in your life and that enables your life to be powerful in this world!  You can do this!  Take some time and have that conversation!  You’ll be glad you did!

Powerful Prayers – Step One!

Several years ago, Dr. Bruce Wilkerson helped a lot of people to discover a prayer that was tucked away in the Old Testament book of 1 Chronicles 4:9-10.  It has become widely known today as The Prayer Of Jabez!  All Scripture is powerful and meaningful for our lives.  This particular Scripture is very meaningful to us, because it gives us the words that we want to say, but are just never quite sure how to say them!

This is what those two verses say: 9 Jabez was more honorable than his brothers. His mother had named him Jabez, saying, “I gave birth to him in pain.” 10Jabez cried out to the God of Israel, “Oh, that you would bless me and enlarge my territory! Let your hand be with me, and keep me from harm so that I will be free from pain.” And God granted his request.”

There is much to learn from these two verses of Scripture.  Let’s see if there is anything that we can learn that might help us to grow in our relationship with our Creator and Sustainer!

The first things we see is that Jabez was an honorable man.  In fact the Scripture says that he was more honorable than all of his brothers.  This means that he was a man of his word.  His words and actions complemented one another.  His walk and his talk matched and gave him a reputation of integrity!  If we want to pray powerful prayers we must seek to be honorable men and women, whose walk and talk match!  Take a moment and think about some of the steps that you need to take, so that your walk and talk can match in a way that will honor God and open your life to growth and blessing.

Tomorrow we will take a look at another step that we need to take, if we want to pray powerful prayers.  Until then, work on being a man or woman of honor, by making sure that your walk and talk match up for God’s glory!  Remember James 5:16 “The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective.”

Five Things!

Every now and then I will get the question:  “How do you come up with some of the stuff that you come up with?” I usually answer:  “If I come up with anything good, then it most likely is not me, but the Holy Spirit!”  This answer tells you where the good stuff comes from, but not how to open up your life to receive it.

I was thinking this morning about how I hear, feel and receive from the Holy Spirit and here are five things that I do, that I believe help me to be in touch, in tune and in step with the Holy Spirit!

1.) I take time to pray meaningful prayer everyday! I don’t just mean that I pray!  I pray on purpose and with a purpose!  I want to talk to God and I want to hear from God!  Meaningful prayer is much more than simply going through the motions of prayer!  In fact, I usually begin my day with prayer and pray all throughout the day as things come to mind.  This ongoing conversation with God often reveals amazing things and brings comfort and strength on a continual basis!

2.) I make time to reflect on a regular basis! One of the things that will slip out of your life is the time to think about what is happening and why.  We experience opportunities for growth almost continually, but we miss out on the growth, because we fail to take the time to reflect, think and learn.  I have found that if I don’t make the time, then I won’t take the time!  This reflective learning is so important that I make time to slip away and ask the question:  What is the Spirit trying to teach me?

3.) I study and learn new things all of the time! I learned a long time ago from John Maxwell that leaders are readers.  I have books, magazines and printed articles all over the place.  If I have a still moment, then I try to fill a part of that moment with reading that will allow me to learn something new!  I now am blessed to have an iPad and Kindle, and I use both of them to enhance my reading and often share thoughts as they flow into my head and heart via Twitter and Facebook!

4.) I serve others and give the glory to God! One of my favorite things in life is getting to spend time with others.  I love to sit down across the table from someone and listen to their story, struggles and victories, and then encourage them to head into the even more amazing stuff that God has for them.  Time is the most valuable commodity that any of us have on this earth and one of my greatest pleasures is being able to use the time that I have to help serve others by helping them to find and travel in the right direction!

5.)  I submit and am accountable for Kingdom glory! I have a small handful of very close friends, who I talk with on a very regular basis.  I trust them completely and share with them every part of my life, especially the parts that you can’t see, that float around in my mind and heart.  I listen to what they have to say and use it to help me understand God’s guidance and direction.  Many times this changes the direction that I am traveling.  Often I don’t want to change my direction, but have to submit, because ultimately it is not about me, but God, His glory and His Kingdom!

I hope these five will help you in your journey toward right direction!  God Bless, Press On and G3!  (Give God Glory!)

You Are Not Perfect And That’s Okay!

You read that right! You are not perfect and you do not have to be!  We waste a lot of energy trying to be something that we are not.  We waste a lot of time pretending to be something that we are not.  The truth, if we will admit it is simply this:  We are not perfect and we are probably not going to be any time soon!

Here’s the important question: Who said you had to be perfect anyway?  Let me show you from the Scripture why imperfection is an invitation for God to come in and do what you can’t!  2 Corinthians 12:9 says:  He said to me “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.”  Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.

Really Good News! Is that not some of the most awesome news you have ever heard?  We don’t need perfection, We need GRACE and that is exactly what God has for us – and His grace is sufficient (all that we need and then some!)

The next part of the verse is really amazing! “His power is made perfect in  weakness!” If I am perfect, then I am not weak.  If I am not weak, then His power cannot be made perfect in me, because His power is made perfect in weakness.  My not being perfect allows God’s power to come into my life and grow to perfection.

Don’t Play The Game! Stop trying to be what you are not!  Stop pretending that you are something that you are not and instead admit your weakness, mess ups, sins, failures, mistakes and allow the power of God to grow in and through your honest life!

You Can Get This! Figure this one out and it will bring you to a place of amazing freedom!  I hope you get it!  God Bless, Press On and Give God Glory!

What Do You Expect?

What Do You Expect?

Our expectations often determine our realities!  Expectations have the potential to limit or increase your blessing!  We usually get what we expect!  In Matthew 9:29, Jesus says: “According to your faith will it be done to you.” In other words if you expect things to be bad, then they will most likely be bad, but if you expect things to be good, then they will most likely turn out for good!

If you see the glass half empty, then you will always be focusing on what you don’t have and you will probably never have anything of substance.  If you see the glass half full, then you have learned to focus on the blessings in hand and you will probably see your life travel in the direction of more and greater blessing.

This does not mean that you don’t ever have any problems or challenges.  It just means that you have learned to look at them differently than the majority of the world.  God loves you and He has an amazing plan for your life and He has promised that He will use even the bad for good in the lives of those who love Him and who live according to His calling to fulfill His purpose!

If your expectations are messed up and in the wrong place, then change them up.  Start by taking some time to pray and ask for God’s help.  Next, spend some time letting the positive message of God’s Word to move in positive way through your life.  And finally challenge yourself every time you find the negative and low expectations creeping in!

You can do this – grow your expectations and Give God Glory!

Don’t Miss The New Thing!

The past is good and tradition is good, as long as we do not get stuck in it! The good thing about the past and tradition is that they can instruct us into a better and more productive future, if we are paying attention and learning for what they are teaching.

It is very easy to get “set in your ways”. We restrict ourselves from the forward progress that God has for us because we get stuck in our personal perspectives.  If we are not careful, we will find yourself in a rut of our own making, because we have gotten stuck in our own thinking!

Remember This! It is very important to remember that our God is a Creator!  As a creator, God is always doing something new.  But God can’t and won’t accomplish something new in and through our lives, if we are not willing to change.  We must be ready to enlarge our vision and expand our thinking – if we are to experience the new creation of our Amazing Creator God!

Don’t Miss It! In Isaiah 43:19  God says: “Behold I am doing a new thing!  Do you not perceive it and know it?” God wants to grow you!  God wants to promote you!  God wants to give you increase!  God wants to do something new, magnificent and unexplainable in and through your life.  God wants to do a new thing in and through you!  Did you notice the question in Isaiah?  It says:  “Can you not perceive it?”  If you can’t from your perspective, see the new thing that God wants to do in and through you, then you need to change your perspective!

Learn And Grow! Learn from the past and appreciate tradition, but don’t get stuck there, because if you do, you will miss the new thing that God is doing!

A Pray To Pray! Thank you God for our past and for helping us to learn from our mistakes and failures!  Thank you for tradition and for how it reminds me of Your faithfulness, goodness and grace!  Help us Lord to appreciate, but not get stuck in these places.  We don’t want to miss the new thing that you are doing.  Please let us be right in the middle of Your perfect will!

Out Of The Box!

This Box Ain't For You!

I have a friend that bought one of those little computers and it got messed up, so we have been trying to figure out how to fix it.  I gave up on it about a month ago and just put everything back in the box and sat it on a shelf.  I took the box down yesterday and pulled the computer out and thought what a waste for this thing to sit in the box on a shelf!

Later I got to thinking about my life and ministry.  I work hard to be outside of the box.  There is not much that I can do inside the box to be a blessing to others.  There is not much that I can do inside of the box to bring glory to the One Who gave me life!  To be a blessing to others and to bring glory to God, I have to get out and stay out of the box.

The Bible says that we were created in the image of God.  You can’t put God in a box!  There is not a box big enough or strong enough to hold Him and His glory!  If we are made in His image, then it stands to reason that we were not made for the box either.

Stop putting yourself in the box!  Don’t allow other people to put you in the box!  Be who God created you to be!  Do the awesome things that God created you to do.  Be a blessing to others and bring glory to God by getting out of the box if you are in it and by staying out of the box if you are out of it!  G3!

Friendship Matters!

How Many Of You Loved This Show?

We are getting ready to begin a new series at Northwood called BFF! – Building Faithful Friends! In preparation for this series, I have been searching the scriptures, reading everything I can get my hands on and observing the lives of others while reflecting on my own, to try to better understand friendship.

I have discovered several principles that we need to consider and reconsider on an ongoing basis, if we are to be a friend and have a friend!  The first principle is what I call The Principle Of Priority! It basically says that “If friendship really matters we will recognize it as a priority that touches every other area of our lives!”

We have a decision to make!  “Does friendship matter?” If it matters, then the next question is: “Is it worth the effort?” If it’s worth the effort, then we must make it a priority, which means that we give it “top shelf” attention, time and effort.

I have to admit that with a lot of my friendships, I have not given them the priority that they need and deserve.  (The truth is – I have not given any of my friendships the priority they need and deserve!)  This is an area of my life that I am right now working to fix, so that my life might bring God greater glory and my friends more special blessing!

If our friendships are right and growing, then every other area of our lives is better!  Thank you for being my friend and know that I look forward to growing our friendship in the days, months and years ahead!