RISEN FROM THE DEAD
“After the Sabbath, as the first light of the new week dawned, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary came to keep vigil at the tomb. Suddenly the earth reeled and rocked under their feet as God’s angel came down from heaven, came right up to where they were standing. He rolled back the stone and then sat on it. Shafts of lightning blazed from him. His garments shimmered snow-white. The guards at the tomb were scared to death. They were so frightened, they couldn’t move.
The angel spoke to the women:”There is nothing to fear there. I know you’re looking for Jesus, the One they nailed to the cross. He is not here. He was raised, just as he said. Come and look at the place where he was placed.
“Now, get on your way quickly and tell his disciples, “He is risen from the dead. He is going on ahead of you to Galilee. You will see him there.’ That’s the message.” Matthew 28:1-10 (Message)
Prayer: O God, you gave your only Son to suffer death on the cross for our redemption, and by his glorious resurrection you delivered us from the power of death. Make us die every day to sin, that we may live with him forever in the joy of the resurrection, through your Son, Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen
DON’T SETTLE FOR DEFEAT
“Finally, build up your strength in union with the Lord and by means if his mighty power. Put on all the armor that God gives you, so that you will be able to stand up against the Devil’s evil tricks.” Ephesians 6:10 & 11 (TEV)
Have you ever faced circumstances so overwhelming that you wondered how you would stand up under them? In the book, Living the Extraordinary Life, it states that often fear and discouragement are caused by a willful determined assault by the devil to steal your peace and joy, to cause confusion and anger, and to encourage wrong relationships in your life. The devil will do anything he can to cheat you out of the blessings the Lord has promised.
Ephesians 6:10 tells us to “be strong in the Lord and the power of his might and the dress in the full armor of God and stand firm.” We stand firm by getting his power unto our lives by prayer. Through prayer the Lord releases his energy, divine power, and protection, enabling us to love a godly, holy, and peaceful life regardless of our circumstances. These circumstances may include finances, family, relationships, or health. The one thing Satan hates above all else is the believer who knows how to persist in prayer and claim the promises of God—the enemy has no defense against persevering prayer, which crushes his might and sends him running. WHEN WE DON’T PRAY, WE SET OURSELVES UP FOR DEFEAT.
But when we petition, thank and praise the Divine Spirit, we dress ourselves in the “full armor of God”, and are able to stand firm no matter how difficult our circumstances. Praise be to God.
Prayer: Dear Lord, hear us as we pray and enable us to suit ourselves in the “full armor of God” daily. We ask in Jesus’ name. Amen
WE DON’T LISTEN!
“Pay…respect to whom respect is due, honor to whom honor is due.” Roman 13: 7b (RSV)
I was posting some monthly bills online when I heard my husband say, “You’re not listening to me, are you? “ “WHAT?” “You didn’t hear a word I said.” And he walked away.
We don’t listen to our spouses, parents, children, brothers or sisters---really, really listen? When the other person is talking we are often busy thinking about what we will answer or have tuned them out completely. We think about our defense or response to what is said or thinking of another issue entirely.
God doesn’t do that. God speaks to us through the scriptures, through our parents, spouses, children or siblings. If we try to listen and really understand, we are showing respect and honor not only to God but to each other. Listen! God is trying to speak to all of us through others. Take the time and effort to really listen. Forget the defense and/or tune out. God listens to us when we ask of Him. We can listen to God through others, too.
Prayer: Holy Father, forgive us when we are so busy or bull-headed to not listen to each other. Help us to be more respectful and patient with others and to love each other as you love us. Amen
THAT WORD! THAT JESUS!
“The Mighty one, God the Lord, speaks and summons the earth from the rising of the sun to its setting. Out of Zion, the perfection of beauty, God shines forth. Our God comes; he does not keep silence….” Psalm 50:1-3a (RSV)
I have friends and family who though they live miles from me are always in contact with me through phone, e-mail, text or slow mail. We gladly listen to each other’s concerns, stories, fears, and events. We know just how to say the right things to each other so we feel better. We fill each other up with news through laugher, silence, and tears. Sometimes, I’ve said more words than they in our conversation but what words they spoke made all the difference to me.
God speaks a word to each of us and comes to be with each of us. In John 1: 3, it says “all things were made through Him (God).The Word became a human being.” The Baby Jesus in the manger is God’s Word to us. That Word, That Jesus—came into this world bringing love and light to all who believe. That Word, That Jesus came into this world to die for our sins so that we should not perish but have eternal life. That Word, That Jesus –made all the difference.
Prayer: Precious Lord, thank you for sending That Word, That Jesus. Your Word of love and light to us. Amen
A NEW BEGINNING
“There was a very old prophetess, a widow named Anna, daughter of Phanuel of the tribe of Asher. She had been married for only seven years and was now eighty-four years old. She never left the Temple: day and night she worshipped God, fasting and praying. Luke 2:36 & 37 (TEV)
It is a time to reflect upon our faith journey and look forward to new beginnings. I have written an article about prayer for a newsletter every month since 2005. You might ask, “How much can be said about our faith and prayer?”
May we all remember that perseverance in prayer is necessary for it to be effective and victorious? I Luke 2:36-37 we read about a faithful prophetess, Anna, who never left the temple but worshipper night and day, fasting and praying. She is just one example showing that it is by praying that we learn to pray, and the more we pray the better our prayers will be. People who pray in spurts are never likely to attain the kind of prayer described in James 5: 16 “Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous man is Powerful and Effective.”
Great power in prayer is within our reach, but we must work to obtain it. So many people in the Bible interceded in prayer for others: Abraham successfully interceded for Sodom, but could he have done that without communing with God throughout the previous years of his life? Or could Jacob’s entire night of wrestling at Peniel have been against the things that prevented him from getting the God all of his previous days? Even our Lord’s most beautiful prayer in John 17 was the fruit of His many nights of devotion and His rising often before daybreak to pray.
The great intercessors are seldom mentioned in connection with the heroes and martyrs for faith. They are, however, the greatest benefactors of the church. Their becoming the channels of the blessings of mercy to others in only made possible by their persistence- abiding at the mercy seat of God entering the Holy of Holies of their knees, laying hold of His strength for others, becoming strong, and setting the standard for those to come.
Prayer: Lord, help us to become the intercessors of prayer in this world and continue your work. Be prayer our constant in Jesus’ name. Amen
“I will be with you always, to the end of the age.” Matthew 28:20 (GNB)
Have you ever thought of having someone with you 24/7, to take care of all your needs, dreams and wishes? Well, there is someone who qualifies as this constant companion without filling out a job application, job interview, drug test or background check. This constant companion you can all relay upon when you are weak or strong, sad or happy, no matter when, where, how or what happens in your life. This companion promised you to “be with you always, to the end of the age.”
God promised to be our constant companion when he sent his only son, Jesus, to live and then die for our sins that we might have eternal life. Instead of trusting God fully and putting Him first in our lives, we have used all sorts of excuses. Confess your sins and return to the Lord our God, setting your priorities straight. God is your Constant Companion all you have to do is ask.
Prayer: Lord, through your dear Son, Jesus, you have given us a constant companion to confide in when we are weak, strong, sad, happy, as we live and when we die. Thank you. Amen
JUST AS YOU ARE
“For I know that this shall turn to my salvation through your prayer, and the supply of the Spirit of Jesus Christ. Philippians 1: 19 (KJV)
Just as you are, God lives you. No matter how unimportant you think you are, how wrongly you think you have handled something in your life, how little faith you seem to have, or how inadequate you feel. God loves you. Thank you, Lord for your love.
You are an integral and vital part of God’s creation. You were created in His image and likeness, even though you may not as yet be aware of your spiritual heritage. Thank you, Lord for creating me in your likeness and filling me with the Holy Spirit.
God loves you… let these words be written upon your mind. You do not have to be something others think you should be, or something different from what you now are in order to merit God’s love. Just as you are, God loves you. Thank you, Lord God for loving me just as I am.
Just as you are when things seem to close in on you, remember Jesus’ example. Slip away and find a quiet place to pray. It’s best response when you are pushed beyond your limits. When you are too stressed to pray, call on Jesus: “Jesus help me, give me the words to pray.” Your Lord God listens, understands and accepts, just as you are. He can change people and he can change things. There is no problem, circumstance, or situation too great to handle. So, just as you are, take it to God in prayer.
Prayer: Abba Father, I know that you will lift every weight from my mind and heart as I turn them over to you. Your love that is beyond comprehension or description enfolds me. May I continue to grow in Your love, Lord, grow strong, become more peaceful, more stable, more understanding, more loving and more giving. Thank you, Lord for pouring out Your good upon me. This good allows me to see You Father, through every experience in life. Thank you, Lord. I pray these things in Jesus’ name. Amen