When the world says “No”, God says “Yes”

I have found out through the years that when the world says “No”, the Lord says “Yes.” I have been in many situations where things seemed bad and the world was telling me that they will never get better or it would take a miracle for things to change. I have had many rejections from the world. I have seen many closed doors. Some doors looked like they were open from a distance but they were shut in my face when I got closer to them. I have been told that I was a dreamer whose dreams were too far-fetched. I have experienced anxiety that wouldn’t settle for a while. However, I have also been told that nothing was impossible with God. That is what the Lord says. He says that He can do all things and the No of the world becomes a Yes with Him. For every rejection there has been acceptance from the Lord. He has taken me under His wing when I couldn’t fly and when my hope couldn’t take off. He says “Yes” with a smile when the world says “No” with a frown. Jesus came to save the world and to make the impossible possible. He put an end to death and He rose from the dead Himself as the Savior who can rise above anything and everything. Death couldn’t keep Him in the grave. Failure was not part of His vocabulary. It looked like everything was over when He hung on the cross but it was just the beginning. It was the beginning of “Yes, you can have life through Him” and “Yes, you are going to make it.” God says, “Yes, child I can do it. Yes, child you are going to have a breakthrough. Yes, child your time is coming. Yes, child My timing is always perfect.” Today I want to remind you that the Lord is saying Yes. He is saying “Yes, I can help you. Yes, I can heal you. Yes, I can bless you and Yes I am always with you.”

 

Collect all the No’s you have been given by life. Put them together in a prayer and offer them to the Lord. Cast your burdens on Him. Give Him all the rejections and all the closed doors. Don’t accept them. Don’t take No for an answer when the Lord says “Yes, I am the answer.” Keep on walking. Don’t let the rejections stall you. Don’t let the failures paralyze you. God has what you need and His Yes is more powerful than all the No’s of the world combined. His Yes can raise you from the dead situation you have been facing. Remember that nothing is impossible to the Lord. The lies of the enemy have been tormenting you for too long. This is not the end. Let God have the final say. He is almighty, loving and good all the time. Your current circumstances don’t dictate who God is. Speak up and express your faith over your circumstances. Show your situation that God is reigning over your life and you will get out of this mess thanks to Him. Let your words reflect the Yes from the Lord and weaken the No in your life. Don’t let the No take control of your mind and make you think that there is no way out. Jesus is the way out and He is taking you out of your trouble. Praise Him!!!

 

Closed doors can be very discouraging. Rejection letters from life can be disheartening. God has a welcome letter for you, friend. He has doors that are part of a new construction that is meant just for you. Those doors will not only be open for you but they will let you inside a house whose structure is solid and permanent. They will reinforce God’s love and demonstrate that nothing is impossible with Him. Something is going to happen that will make you forget all the pain and all the rejection. That first door God opens for you is going to seem unreal but it is all part of God’s reality. Stay in faith. Stay with hope. The No of the world is not stronger than the Yes from Heaven that has been with you the whole time. Tune in to the Yes and embrace it. Tell the Lord you trust and believe Him. Thank Him for His Yes. Praise Him for the Yes and stay in peace. You have nothing to worry about and nothing to fear when you say Yes to God’s Yes. Do something today that underlines God’s Yes in your life. Share the message of His Yes with someone. Find a creative way to illustrate His Yes in your life. I like to come up with songs for Jesus. Sing, dance, celebrate Jesus because He is saying Yes. Put the No’s behind. Be prepared for the No’s to come and be ready to reject them with your faith. When the world says “No”, God has a Yes for you. Glory to God!!!

Suggested reading: Genesis 18:14; Luke 1:37; Hebrews 6:18

Jesus is the reason why you will make it

There will always be a reason to get discouraged. There will always be a reason to give up and to feel defeated but there will also always be Jesus. Jesus is the reason why you will make it. He’s the reason why you will get through this. He’s the reason why all the bad reasons are going to be canceled. The enemy wants you in a place of total frustration and despair but Jesus wants you in the palm of His hand where there is peace and hope all the time. You are in His hand. You have been there but your mind tends to take you places where Jesus is nowhere to be found. Remember that He is everywhere. Remember that He is with you in the valley. Remember that nothing, absolutely nothing can separate you from His love. Don’t give the negative reasons a reason to win over your reasoning. As a child of God, your reasoning should mirror the Lord’s reasoning and be completely faith based. As a child of God living in this world, your faith will be challenged and you will reason like the world. Let Jesus be your reasoning. Let your thinking be impacted by Jesus. Jesus makes sense to your spirit. Allow Him to make sense to your mind by focusing on Him and making Him the number one reason why. Jesus is the reason why you are blessed. The number one reason why you are loved. The number one reason why you are who you are. The number one reason why you have no reason to fear and to worry. Jesus is always the reason!

 

When the reason why I am happy or excited has nothing to do with the Lord, I can end up being very disappointed. When my hope is placed in things outside the Lord, I set myself up for a disaster. When the reason why I get up in the morning is not connected to God, my day can easily go the wrong way. I am not saying that I shouldn’t enjoy life unless I see the Lord in what happens or in what I do. When I see that the Lord is behind the events of my life or He is the reason why I have the people in my life and the things I have then I am looking at the right reasons. I love my family and friends and I thank the Lord for them. I love my job and my daily activities and I thank the Lord for them. I love my relationship with the Lord and I thank the Lord for it. I love learning about God, love and faith and I thank the Lord for that. I love prayer, praise, worship and gratitude and I thank the Lord for them. I love the Word of God and I thank the Lord for it. Jesus is the reason behind the scenes in my life and I thank Him for that. Jesus is the reason why I am saved and I can’t forget that. I can’t get over what He did on the cross. I can’t get over how much He loves all of us. Jesus is the reason why even when I am lonely, I am never alone. Jesus is the reason why even when someone doesn’t like me, I am still loved. Jesus is the reason why even when I lose patience, God is still patient with me. Jesus is the reason why I always get back up even when life beats me down. There are a million reasons why I can get angry but Jesus is the reason why I don’t get overwhelmed by anger.

 

The number one reason why things are going to get better for you is Jesus. He took care of your current circumstances when He was on the cross. He carried your sins, your sorrow, your difficulties, your trouble, your trials, your lacks and your worries and fear. Anything that is negative in your life was nailed on that cross and it died back then. Jesus rose from the dead and left all that negativity in the grave. Don’t let your mind and your emotions resurrect it. Leave all that bad stuff behind. It is not going to win against you. It is not going to ruin you. Put the thoughts and the emotions in the hands of the Lord. He is the reason why you are going to conquer them all. Look at the reason why you should be holding on to hope and not hanging on to fear today. Jesus, the reason why you are loved, is going to make things right for you. He is pressuring your current situation with His resurrection power. He is blowing life into your life and giving you a reason to remain hopeful. Jesus is the reason you can do this and you will do it beautifully. Don’t let your heart be troubled. Trouble your troubles with the peace of the Lord. Show your problems that you have a Lord that is way bigger and way stronger than them. Sing to the Lord a new song. Sing to Him a song that celebrates the reason why hope will never die. Keep your head up. Keep your hopes up. Keep your eyes on the best reason why. Keep remembering that Jesus is the reason why you have no reason to be afraid. The Lord is always with you!

Suggested reading: John 14:6; Romans 8:38; 1 Timothy 2:5

 

Gratitude toward God

One of my former students has been in touch with me on a regular basis. He is full of positive energy and learned the power of gratitude at a young age. He is aware that most of his peers take things for granted and he is doing his best to show the silver lining in clusters of clouds and teach people that there is so much to be grateful for. He inspires me and he pushes me to be the best encourager I can be. Understanding the power of gratitude in the Christian context is understanding that Jesus is the One who does everything good and we should thank Him for His goodness that is greater than the world’s bitterness. Jesus takes the sourness of the world and turns it into a dish of delicate and delicious fruit. There is a table He lays before us and with the power of gratitude we have access to everything that is on that amazing table. If we whine and complain, we turn down the beautiful spread the Lord has prepared for us . I want to feast at the table of the Lord and remain seated there as long as I can. Gratitude is the ticket that gets me through the door and that affords me a seat at that table. Gratitude combined with faith makes the table accessible. I don’t want to live my life eating sour grapes. I want the succulent fruit of the Spirit to be in the basket I carry around. It’s one thing to have the fruit and it’s another thing to have it and be grateful for it. Today I want to encourage you to turn up the volume of your gratitude and silence the whining and the complaining. There is always one thing in your life that you can be thankful for. If you have running water, a family, friends, transportation, a pulse, a smile, ideas, hope, and a mind that thinks and reflects, you can be grateful. Gratitude goes for small things and great things. Experience transformation in your life when gratitude toward the Lord is a lifestyle.

 

The question is, what are you grateful for today? Are you grateful for material things? For spiritual abilities and blessings? For family and friends? These are all great reasons to be thankful but the One Person we should be thankful for every day is Jesus. Just because He is Jesus. Isn’t He the most wonderful Person you have ever met? Have you met Him? You have. He is around you and with you. Look at your life. Look at what He has done. Look at what He can do. Look at how good He is. No one has had as much impact on my life as Jesus has and I am so grateful for Him. He is the One Person that has changed me so much. He has made my life so much better. I am nothing, absolutely nothing without Him. When I think of that I have many reasons to be thankful. It’s not about possessions. It’s not about goods. It’s all about Jesus. Being grateful for Jesus is being grateful for Love, for the Word of God, for resurrection, for salvation, for freedom and for a new life. Gratitude toward God the creator should precede gratitude toward the creation.

 

David the psalmist and king knew how to show gratitude toward God. He did it through music and songs and through a lifestyle that spoke highly of who God is. Gratitude works hand in hand with honor and respect and if we are going to show gratitude toward the Lord we can’t forget to honor Him and to show Him respect. It’s time we put Jesus on a pedestal and removed all the idols in our lives that are getting first place in our hearts. Gratitude and honor are what makes us get closer to our perfect Savior. God’s love and goodness endure forever. That alone is a reason to be thankful. His love won’t stop when you mess up. His goodness won’t vanish once you have gone down the wrong path. They are here to stay and they will never go away. We honor the Lord by continuing to live our lives in Him. Let’s show gratitude by showing respect for the Lord and imitating Him, turning to Him, acknowledging Him in all we do, seeking His face and putting Him before our needs. Devote yourself to the Lord and gratitude is one way you can get there. Gratitude toward God is a great way to live!

Suggested reading: Psalm 118:1; Colossians 2:6-7; Hebrews 12:28-29

When your back is against the wall

I have always found the expression “to have one’s back against the wall” to be a very good description of how we feel when it happens. When your back is against the wall, you are in a difficult situation. Your situation is hard to deal with. You are against the wall and you can’t move away from that wall. There is nothing else behind you. The wall is not there to support you but it is there to limit you and to keep you from moving.The key idea here is that you are limited. I have had my back against the wall a few times and every time it was hard to step away from that wall. I call it the wall of limitations and lamentations. You are limited and you are in pain. The emotional pain that comes with this wall of limitations can be deep. You can’t act and you can barely think. When your back is against the wall, look at who is before you. God is still there when you are pressed against the limitations set by the enemy. Don’t look back, look ahead. The Lord is there with you, reaching out and giving you a hand so you can move away from that wall. The goal is to be able to see Him and to acknowledge Him. The enemy will make the wall so real that you will only focus on the limitations and forget the One who can make all things possible. The wall of limitations is not the end of the road. There is a road ahead of you and the Lord is making your path clear. If you feel like your back is against the wall today, know that the Lord is making a way for you to walk away from the wall and to run toward a way out. Whatever is getting you stuck to that wall will go. The Lord is going to melt the glue of desperation and get you away from the lamentations!

 

Blessed is the man who remains steadfast under trial, for when he has stood the test he will receive the crown of life, which God has promised to those who love him*.” This verse from the first book of James indicates how we should react when our back is against the wall. Should we lose hope? Should we lean against that negative wall and give up? No, we should remain steadfast which means that we should keep the faith. I know it’s hard. I know it’s not our natural way of reacting to hardships but we can pray to be strong. We can say “Holy Spirit, I need Your help. Make me strong so I can stay in faith and I can stand the test. The crown of life belongs to me in Jesus’ name and I will get it.” Try that prayer and you will see that it gives you confidence to keep going. When you turn to the Holy Spirit, things start to change. Always get Him involved in what you do especially when it comes to your spirituality. Don’t rely on yourself. Rely on Him. He has more than one way to get you away from that wall that is so cumbersome. The wall of limitations will always pull you in the direction of hopelessness and the Holy Spirit will always tell you that there is hope.

 

When you are in a difficult situation and your back is against the wall, it’s as if someone were pushing you against that wall, pinning you against it. The enemy has that effect on us. He pushes us around until he gets us against that wall and we feel like we can’t escape from him. In the name of Jesus, you can escape from him. Resist the devil and he will flee. This is a verse from the Bible that describes something that we too often don’t do because we don’t know we can. The Lord wouldn’t tell us to resist the enemy if it were impossible. I would again get the Holy Spirit involved in this matter. Resisting is exerting force against another force. Our will and our faith make up the force that we can use against the enemy. Here we have to resist giving up, resist panicking and resist turning away from God. Like I said earlier when our back is against the wall we can look straight ahead and we will see the Lord. We can talk to Him and thank Him that even though we might be in dire straits, He will get us out of the depth of limitations and bring us back up to where millions of possibilities exist. God is the God of all possibilities so your back will not be against that wall forever. Praise the Lord, thank Him and you will experience some amazing deliverance from what’s been limiting you. God has your back, not the way the enemy does but in a liberating way. He will hold you up and keep you safe against a wall of hope, peace and victory. Lean against the Lord and the wall of limitations will fall. Lean against the Lord and a new wall will be built. God is going to get you out of your mess. Stay encouraged!

Suggested reading: James 1:12*; James 4:7; Galatians 5:1

Fix your heart on the promises of God

Psalm 37 is a psalm that I have read many times. It sums up a lot of what we as believers need to do and what we can expect. One of the translations of this psalm says “Fix your heart on the promises of God and you will be secure, feasting on His faithfulness.” That translation has been speaking to me for days pouring revelation and encouragement into my heart. When you fix your heart on something, you focus on it and you stay on it. You don’t get distracted by anything else. You are all about what your heart is dwelling on. Fixing our hearts on the promises of God means that His promises are the most important declarations and assurances in our lives. The world might be delivering lies and fears but our hearts are not moved by what the world has to offer. Our hearts are moved by the promises of the Lord. Our hearts are anchored in the promises and no waves can rock our boat of trust and confidence in the Lord. I am doing all I can to ensure that my heart is fixed on the promises of the Lord. We can all be God-centered and leave the world to the side. God has promises that cannot be removed from your destiny. Learn about His promises and make them the focus of your journey. Don’t let the schemes of the enemy erase the clear promises that are strewn on your path. Pick up the promises you see on your journey one by one like precious gems of hope that are worth more than gold. There are some promises along the way that will pop up when it’s God’s timing. His promises are indelible and they will materialize. Expect God to bless you. He promises to always love you and protect you. He said He would never leave you. Hold on to His promises and you will be secure and you will feast on His faithfulness.

 

What are you fixing your heart on every day? What occupies your mind? How much room do you give to the Lord in your heart? Do you start your day rejoicing over God’s promises or do you start your day wishing God kept His promises? He does keep His promises. He makes many promises in His Word. He promised that He would never leave us, that He protects us, He loves us, He is for us, He won the battles for us and He is almighty. These are just a few promises that we can focus on. I love to underline how much God loves us. It gives me hope and it gives me a boost. He promised to love us no matter what. When we sin, He still loves us. When we fail, He still loves us. When we forget Him, He still loves us. When we walk a million miles away from Him, He still loves us. These promises are not licenses to sin or to walk away from God. They are decrees that establish the powerful love of the Lord. Nothing and no one can separate us from His love. When I fix my heart on the promise that God always loves me, I do feel secure and I know I am safe. It is more than a feeling. It is a strong reassurance that keeps me going. Since He loves me unconditionally, I can feast on His faithfulness.

 

When we make God’s promises our priority in our hearts, we find ourselves on a higher platform of hope where faith abounds. The more we focus on the promises, the more real they become. Meditating on them is important. The Holy Spirit imparts knowledge and wisdom when we seek the Lord’s face in meditation. Our thoughts and our emotions are pulled from different directions. The enemy tries to control them and he does it with force. The Lord desires to bless us with noble and pure thoughts and peace and He does it softly and gently. His Spirit is the ultimate gentleman. When we allow the enemy to pull our thoughts into his direction, we lose footing in the realm of blessings. When God’s promises are given a backseat, it is hard to see hope and to go past the negative thoughts of the enemy. This is why we should practice daily meditation on the Word of God and on God’s promises. It has to be a daily occurrence so that the enemy doesn’t steal the space that should be filled with the Lord’s peace. God’s promises come with peace and the enemy can’t stand that peace because he knows God can operate in our lives when we are at peace. All the distractions and the worries that emerge inside are meant to disconnect us from God’s promises. When we are “plugged in”, we can enjoy God’s faithfulness. This means that we can see God’s promises come to pass in our lives.

Feasting on something is delighting in it, enjoying it. When we feast on God’s faithfulness, we enjoy the benefits of His promises. We delight in the Lord and He gives us the desires of our hearts that are in agreement with His will. I encourage you today to fix your heart on God’s promises. You will be in a safe place at all times. The enemy will attempt to get you down but the Lord will shield you and assist you. When your heart is focused on the Lord and His Word, you will see the manifestation of God’s love in your love. Miracles will come through the door of your faith and peace will be a resident in your heart. Look for the promises in the Word and meditate on them. Thank the Lord that He is faithful and praise Him for His goodness and His faithfulness. You will also learn how much the Lord delights in you and you will receive an amazing boost of faith and trust in Him. Keep your eyes on the Lord and you will see His greatness!

Suggested reading: Psalm 37:3-5; Proverbs 23:17; Colossians 3:2

You can do it all

I needed the message I received yesterday. I needed it badly. The Lord has a way of reminding us of what matters and what is true despite our feelings, our moods and our apprehensions. I had a lot on my plate yesterday. I had meetings, housework, puppy training, errands to run and a report to write. I woke up with the peace of the Lord like I do every day but once I left my prayer room, everything came flooding into my mind and worry tried to get the best of me. I felt overwhelmed and the Lord reminded me that when life is overwhelming, it’s time to overwhelm yourself with His presence. I wasn’t going to let stress dictate how my day was going to go. The day was given to me by the Lord and He should have the upper hand all day long. It’s not about praying first thing in the morning and then whining and struggling the rest of the day. There will be struggles. They are inevitable but the Lord is also inevitable. When we let Him be in the way of what is bothering us, He always makes a way. That is what I did, I let Him invade the space that worry was starting to control. I went back to prayer for a few minutes and the message came. The message was, “You can do it all through Me.” The Bible tells us that we can do all things through Christ who gives us strength. I didn’t have to do everything in my own strength. That is where the stress came in. The picture I had of the day looked like a giant that was too hard to tackle. My day showed up in my head like a Goliath and I was David. I needed to have David’s confidence in the Lord and praying was the stone that was going to defeat Goliath.

 

I threw the stone of prayer to that giant and it fell apart. I saw my day as an ensemble of events that God could easily handle one by one. The meetings, the work, the report, the errands, all flashed through my mind but the Lord was there for each and every one of those events. I was not alone and I was going to make it. Jesus says that we can do it all through Him. Once we trust that we can do it thanks to Him, we can expect to go through it all with flying colors. The strength of the Lord is way bigger than my strength. I can’t even compare what I can do on my own with what the Lord can do. The beauty of His message is that He gives us ownership. He says that we can do it. We own the victory and the power of achieving everything. He gives it to us. We go through Him to accomplish everything but we are the ones who do it. The most difficult tasks that you and I will ever encounter can be daunting but we can deal with them because we can do it all in Jesus’ name. Let’s keep God in the picture. He will frame the situation, give His input, provide a solution and let us take it away in His name. It is our choice to take this promise to heart and apply it to our lives. Our faith can heal us. Our faith can help us. Our faith can heal all situations. Our faith can get us to our final destination. The daunting meetings will become dazzling opportunities that prove that the Lord is right. His strength and power added to our faith will always yield amazing results.

 

Once I had the great reminder that I could do it all, I became calmer and I gave God the glory. I sang. I praised Him. I opened the gates of heaven a little wider with my praise and worship and I gave the Lord the floor. I let Him speak to my heart even more and His encouragement was priceless. God knows that nothing, absolutely nothing is impossible to the one who believes. He knows that there is a David in us who can face all the Goliaths of the world but we need to step out in faith and sling that stone. We will not be defeated with the Lord on our side. We will not be conquered. We will always conquer whatever comes our way. I said to myself that the day was going to be awesome because of my awesome God. I didn’t care how much I had to do. God was going to send me help. Angels were dispatched to assist me and the Spirit of the Lord counseled me all day long. The joy that was in my heart as I was going through the day was phenomenal. I thanked the Lord for His presence. He never leaves us. We just leave Him at the door when He knocks. We ignore the knock or we are too distracted to hear it. I was able to do all things thanks to the Lord and everything went even better than I had imagined. My imagination was poisoning my hope but the Lord took care of the poison and injected me with faith in His promises. Friend, you can do it all. Not because you are Superman but because of the One who lives in you. Greater is the One who lives in you than the devil that is in this world. Greater is the One who lives in you than all the busy events of this world. You can do it all and you are going to do it beautifully in Jesus’ name. Hold on to hope!

Suggested reading: 1 Samuel 17; Matthew 19:26; 1 John 4:4

Scare your fears away

Fear is a tool the enemy uses against everyone because he knows it’s the opposite of faith. He tries his best to keep people from believing and from living a life free of fear. Someone who believes in God and who has no fear is a problem to the enemy. Someone who applies the Bible to his or her life and who has love that excludes all fear is a danger to the enemy. Perfect love doesn’t know fear. We Christians can attain a level of love that is void of all fear. We have so many fears that it is a real process to get rid of them. Only the Lord can remove fear and leave a clean slate of love in its place. When you get impacted by God’s love, fear is dissipated. It can’t stay where God abounds. It can’t stay where God’s love reigns. It can’t stand the goodness of God. It can’t stand the Word of God. There are ways we can conquer fear and God can assist us. God can scare your fears away when you put your life in His hands in faith. You can speak against the fears in your life and scare them away. Speak up against fear and worry by speaking the Word of God.

 

The Lord tells us not to fear hundreds of times in His Word because He knows that He can stop fear in our lives. He knows that when we take His Word and shove it against the fears in our lives, the fears have to fade away. He tells us to be relentless and to persevere in all we do. In order for us to win the battle against fear we have to persevere and keep pushing against it. Like I said, love is the power that neutralizes fear. It has to be part of the equation if we want to solve this problem. We can declare that we are loved by the creator of the universe and therefore we don’t have to be afraid. God our Rock and our Refuge cares about us. He will never leave us nor forsake us. Let’s not be discouraged because His hope is always there. His love and protection will shield us through any storms of life. When we declare the truth of the Word of God against fear, we wage a war that we can’t lose. Fears try to separate us from God but nothing can prevent the Lord from loving us. We can put pressure on our fears by exalting God’s love for us. Fear hates love. The more love-conscious we are, the less power will fear have on our lives.

 

We are the redeemed of the Lord and we belong to Him. Do you ever think about that? Do you ever remind yourself that you belong to Jesus? The Lord has called you by His name. You are part of His family. Fear will attempt to break that family bond by overwhelming you with negativity. Fear brings other negative agents with it and it is a disastrous domino effect before you know it. Fear punches you in the head and in your heart. It gives you butterflies that wouldn’t be pretty to look at if you could see them. I picture dark and morbid butterflies when I think of what stress causes. Those butterflies are not entitled to be part of your life and you can rebuke them. You can rebuke fear and scare it away so that it hates being around you. The enemy will always come back and try to destroy you but once you have established a rhetoric that discriminates fear, you are good to go. The goal is to constantly put fear down and slam it with hope and with the power of the Word of God. Give it a chance. Scare your fears with God’s love. Fear doesn’t want to hear that with God nothing is impossible so tell your fears about your invincible God. Lift Him up above the fears. Refuse the fears. When they come with their scary agenda, show them what God has to say about them. He says they died on the cross. Remind them of their death and let your faith rise up. Scare your fears away in Jesus’ name!

Suggested reading: Psalm 18:2; Isaiah 43:1; 1 John 4:18

This is how I pray

Once I learned that prayers were more than requests, my prayer life changed completely. I found out that prayer was more like a ceremony. It was more like a ceremony of interaction with God. Interaction and communication are key elements when it comes to prayer. Prayer is a form of communication where both parties are engaged. It shouldn’t be a passive recitation of memorized lines that sound good but that are empty at the same time. When we get into prayer, we engage with God and He actively engages with us. Prayer exalts the Lord and puts Him at the center of our focus. It is an engaged act of adoration and surrender. God comes first when  we pray. Our request and needs come last. Why? If we put Him first everything else will be added into us. When I started to look at prayer from that angle, I started seeing things I had never seen before and I started experiencing a level of God’s impact on my life that I had never had before. Prayer is that time when God imparts His presence and changes us on the inside. Today I want to encourage you to be actively engaged with God when you pray. See prayer as more than words. It is a beautiful love letter from your heart to God’s and from His heart to yours.

 

When I say that prayer is a ceremony I am not saying that it is anything formal. I think that “formal” makes it less intimate and more complicated than it is. Prayer is time set aside to be with the Lord and to magnify Him. It’s a chance to give Him credit and to learn about Him. It’s a two-way street where we can walk to God and He walks down to us. God is the center of prayer so we should expect Him to show up. What if you don’t see Him or feel Him? He doesn’t live in our feelings. He always shows up and we know that through faith. Faith is what fuels our prayers. Faith makes it all happen. The Holy Spirit is also a main player in prayer. He gives us the desire to pray. You might not be aware of it but the Spirit of God leads you to pray. He does it subtly or He can do it in a big way.

 

When you feel an urge to pray, it’s the Holy Spirit knocking at the door of your spirit. You open the door by getting into prayer mode. What happens after that is up to you. You can continue to be led by Him or you can do your own thing. The Bible says that we should open up the gates with praise. Starting prayers with praise is what made my prayers stand out from what they used to be. It is what made me see prayer more as a ceremony or a time of adoration. Jesus should come first in our prayers and He is in our praises so entering prayer with praise is like giving Him the front seat. I spend a good part of my prayer time in praise. I glorify Him. It is a precious time. Joy comes in. Peace shows up. Praise and adoration are fun times! They make prayer time a more personal time with the Lord. I sing songs I know or songs I have made up. What matters is that I start prayer with praise. I go into prayer through the gate of bliss and joy.

 

Gratitude and thanksgiving are a natural segue during my prayer time. I thank the Lord for His kindness and His goodness. I thank Him for the people in my life. I give Him the glory for saving my life. Then I ask Him to guide me and to change me so I can be more like Him. I give Him anything and everything I am holding on that is getting in the way. I ask for forgiveness and I forgive those who have not treated me well. I also pray for them. Then I pray for my family and friends. I keep a log of people’s prayer requests and I thank the Lord for answering those requests. Now, during the whole time after praise and adoration I remain attentive because the Lord often interrupts me and gives me messages. I sit there and listen. It is quite a wonderful daily experience. I love being “interrupted” by the Lord. His voice is what I want to hear.

 

Prayer is such a personal and intimate event with the Lord. I pray that your prayer time is always the best time of the day. I pray that you get to know Jesus more than anyone in the world. I pray that you realize how powerful your relationship can be with the Lord. I pray that He floods your spirit with revelation and your heart with His love. I pray that you pray every day and that every time you get more and more in love with Jesus!

Suggested reading: Jeremiah 29:12; Psalm 102:17; Philippians 4:6

No weapon formed against you shall prosper

“No weapon formed against you shall prosper.” This verse is a weapon in itself. It is a verse that many Christians have been using, especially these days. It is a promise that God will protect us against the attacks of the enemy. Anything bad that happens to us is a weapon that is meant to destroy us, to rob us of our joy and to kill our faith. I am sure you can think of many weapons that have formed against you in your life and some are forming now as well. What is important to notice here is that the Lord said that weapons would form. He never said that there would never be attacks, that there would never be problems. Problems, trials, and tribulations are weapons that will always form against us. When something is formed, it is taking shape and it is being prepared. The enemy is always preparing something to knock us down. Some people don’t have that many weapons formed against them it seems because the enemy has them where he wants them. However, the truth is that him holding them captive and hostage is a major weapon. We all have something negative formed against us but we also have the Lord who has always been ready. He has known about the weapons. He has conquered all the weapons. It is up to us to react positively when faced with those weapons. I am not saying we should be happy when we are facing difficulties. We should stay happy in the Lord despite the difficulties because of our faith. Our faith is the weapon that can bring down any weapon formed against us. A few words spoken in faith can keep the weapons from prospering. Today I want to encourage you to use your weapon of faith daily. Let it take shape in you. Let it form against the weapons that are trying to ruin you. Let the Lord be the essence of your weapon and you will see that no weapon formed against you shall prosper.

I used to think that being a Christian meant that I would have fewer problems and that my life would be easy. I thought that salvation translated into liberation from the enemy. That thinking was detrimental because every time something bad happened I doubted God. I doubted Him and I would get mad at Him. The enemy knows how to form weapons in our minds by giving us the wrong thinking. He has ideologies and theories that appear to be truth worthy but that are really false teaching that alienates us from God’s truth. I believe it is important to analyze our thinking and to detect where mental weapons are hiding. We ought to ask the Holy Spirit to help us unload the weapons of wrong thinking. God can show us where we are going wrong in our thinking and His Spirit can stop those weapons from hurting our belief systems and from stalling our faith. God has the perfect weapon against wrong thinking; His Word studied with the assistance of His Spirit. When we speak the Word against the mental weapons of the enemy, we neutralize his stronghold on our minds. We must constantly speak the truth so the lies don’t stick and so they don’t prosper. I can’t emphasize the power of our positive confessions enough. Speak against the weapons. Speak faith against fear. Speak love against hatred. Speak peace against the storms. Speak joy against sorrow. Speak God against the enemy.

There are tons of weapons that can form in our lives. The enemy can form weapon after weapon. He is an expert when it comes to the negative domino effect. God is an expert at destroying what the enemy plans against us. When you think about the cross and the resurrection, you see that no weapon formed against you can prosper because every weapon died on that cross and freedom resurrected. Claim your freedom from the weapons.  Declare that they died and that they can’t prosper and they can’t take you down. Disarm the enemy with the power of the cross. Disarm the enemy with the power of the blood of Jesus. Keep talking even when the enemy is screaming. Sing praises over his screaming. Sing Jesus’ victory. Don’t let the enemy win the battle of the weapons. Your weapons in the Lord are much stronger and bigger. Prayer, praise, gratitude, faith, God’s mercy, and God’s grace are weapons you can resort to. Stay in love even when the weapons are making you hate life. Love is the weapon that puts an end to the reign of the enemy. Love the Lord, love your neighbor. Seek the kingdom first. No weapon formed against you shall prosper. God has the final say!

Suggested reading: Isaiah 54:17; Matthew 6:33; 1 John 4:4

Let God be the biggest One in the room

I am a teacher and the classroom is my world. I see many things in terms of a classroom. I see the world as a classroom. It is a place where life grows, where we learn, where we make mistakes, where we are encouraged, where we are happy, we are scared, we laugh, we cry, we do life together. The classroom is my playground and it’s my battlefield. I feel very comfortable in it and I can do what I need to do to help students move forward and gain knowledge. It is a battlefield where I have to fight against certain behaviors, ideas, situations. Not against people but against principalities that are at play every day. When I am in front of 25 students, I am in front of 25 different lives. They may appear to be the same but they have their own sets of struggles, joys, challenges, triumphs and trials. With 25 lives come 25 sets of complications. We are a complicated species and when I think I start to understand what man is all about, something comes up that throws my theories out the window. I do love the classroom and I do love to teach and learn. I will also be a student in life.

The other day I was praying and I saw a classroom with many kids being disruptive and unruly. It was complete chaos. It was a very bad situation. Thank God things don’t get that out of hand in real life but I guess it feels that way at times. The Lord was showing me life as a classroom and His Spirit said deep down inside “Let God be the biggest One in the room.” It was a lesson on letting God being our focus even when things are chaotic and out of control. When we can’t control what’s going on, we can control how we react to the situation. The best reaction is to keep our eyes on Jesus. Letting Him take up most of the space in the room of life is key. How do you react when your life is falling apart and negative thoughts are screaming like little kids in the classroom of life? What do you do to get peace again in the middle of a chaotic situation? Do you walk out the door and ignore the noise in the classroom? We can’t walk out on life and give up. With the Lord on our side this should not be an option. Let’s always focus on Jesus. Let’s make Him the biggest One in the room and we will get a better perspective. We will also acquire the strength to get through anything.


That vision of God in the classroom was very powerful and very comforting.
Things were flying in the room, pens, pencils, chairs and tables. It was a horrible scene, especially for a teacher but God was there. The Lord was there standing as peaceful as can be. I saw Him the way I always see Him. I saw His presence. I saw His smile. I saw his peace. His peace pierced me and I was glued to it. God is always calm. In every situation He has peace and He can give us peace in every circumstance. The classroom was a battleground with so much going on in it yet He was at peace. When life is a battlefield and things are flying all over the place, we ought to pray and seek the Lord’s face. We should get into our quiet place and wait until His peace invades our space and it becomes bigger than our problems and our thoughts. I have a ritual that I follow when my life is chaotic. I withdraw from the world and I enter the Lord’s world. Praise gives me an entry way into the Kingdom. Praise removes all the negative thoughts that have been preventing me from getting in the “God zone.” Once I am there I pray and focus on Him until I hear from Him.

 

Seeking God’s face is a beautiful practice that should truly become a habit. I find that when I am tired, it is harder for me to “find Him.” He is always there but sometimes my mind goes everywhere but where the Lord is. When I can’t find the peace, when I can’t find His touch, I look around. My classroom has posters with some encouraging phrases on them. When I look around for peace during the trials of life, I look at the spiritual posters in the classroom of my life. I look at the Scriptures and I read them repeatedly. I meditate on them. It is a great way to get grounded and to find peace again. It also allows me to see God has the biggest One in the room. Life can be challenging but the Lord will also challenge our challenges with His love when we trust Him. Let’s make Him the biggest One in the classroom of our lives and we will always triumph!

 

Suggested reading: Jeremiah 29:13; Psalm 19:14; Colossians 3:1