Food for the Hungry Soul

Man shall not live by bread alone,
but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God.
Matthew 4:4

In my continued study on prayer and intercession, I am amazed at how our heavenly Father answers our prayers when we know why and what to pray.

Two main points of this thing called Prayer are essential if we are to experience answered prayer. And these two  are the essence of Christian life ~ not just for prayer.

Christian living and Prayer are two sides of the same coin. Our petitions are selective and representative of our lives.

Asking from the Heart

As earthly creatures, we speak from the heart the first thing that comes to mind.

James speaks of those whose prayers are not answered because they ask selfishly.

Jesus speaks of answered prayers spoken according to what our heavenly Father promises.

Jesus did not come to earth from His glory in heaven to receive the scorn of sinners, to die, and to open heaven so that we could continue in our selfish state.

There are many facets of prayer. We will consider two in this article. One facet of prayer is the understanding of why we pray. The other facet is knowing what to pray

When we consider who we are in Christ, living to the glory of God ~ whether we eat or drink ~ or pray ~ it is all to the glory of our heavenly Father
(1 Corinthians 10:31)

Our main course of eating should be the Word of God. Our main drink should be the Holy Spirit (Luke 11:13). We know why we pray when we are feasting at His table. We pray for the resources revealed in His Word for His glory and the benefit of others.

The Pipeline of Grace

Prayer is the pipeline of grace that reaches the heights of His glory, whereby we ask and receive what He has prepared for His people. Heaven is the storehouse of the goodness and provisions we need for His life and preparation for eternal life with Him.

We, as His creatures, know what to ask because we know Him. We must know His Word and His promises.  His promises are much more applicable to our needs than what we usually ask.

We ask to be relieved from our troubles. The Lord promises to be with us in our troubles. In His sovereignty, He plans to use our trials and difficulties as His means of grace to draw us closer to Him and to grow us in grace and knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.

We are called to pray for others. When Job prayed for his friends, the Lord restored him.

The Storehouse

Getting back to the point and title of this article, we, as God’s people, have access to the storehouse of God’s Word that replenishes and satisfies the human soul.

We speak it in power to others, and it opens the storehouse of heaven when we ask it for others. What we ask in prayer has to do with what He wants to give.

We ask according to His Word, knowing Him and His Word. We pray because our lives are dependent on Him and because we live according to His Word and for His glory.

 It is the spirit that quickens; the flesh profits nothing:
the words that I speak unto you,
they are spirit, and they are life.
John 6:63

We experience prayer in its true light when we see it from God’s point of view.

Imagine you are God, waiting with glorious things prepared for your people, blessings unimaginable to the human mind. They do not receive because they do not know your great heart and love for them. They do not read the good news you sent them with the order form, or they would come and ask and partake of the glorious bounty you have promised in your Word.

Then Simon Peter answered him,
Lord, to whom shall we go?
you have the words of eternal life.”
John 6:68

Gracious heavenly Father, you have blessed us by your grace to know your goodness and to see your glory. In your Word, you have revealed the greatest gift ~ eternal life through Jesus Christ your Son. By your Holy Spirit, you open our eyes to the promises revealed in Christ. Thank you for drawing us to Him to receive Him, to live in and through Him here, now, and forever. In Jesus’ name, I praise you. Amen.
This will lead us into our next post ~ Words of Life ~ BREAD
Fran

Urgently Knocking

A most unusual discovery in our study of the words “Ask, Seek, and Knock” is that Jesus expresses only one thing for each of these.

In Luke 11:13, He says to “ASK for the Holy Spirit.”
In Matthew 6:33 He commands us to “SEEK the kingdom of God and His righteousness.”
In Luke 13:25 He mentions those who wait too late to “KNOCK at the door.”

We must be born of the Holy Spirit (John 3:3-8) in order to see, to seek His Kingdom, to knock and to enter His kingdom.

We find in the following verses the diligent seeking and the urgent knocking.

In Luke 11:6-10 is the widow’s persistent asking, seeking, and knocking until the master of the house opens the door to her request.

“Strive to enter in at the strait gate: for many, I say unto you, will seek to enter in, and shall not be able.
When once the master of the house is risen up, and hath shut the door, and ye begin to stand without, and to knock at the door, saying, Lord, Lord, open unto us; and he shall answer and say unto you, I know you not whence ye are:” Luke 13:25-26

The strait gate leads to the master’s house. But when He has shut the door, man’s knocking and crying, Lord, Lord, will be to no avail.

We who are born of His Spirit will continue to ask Him to lead us. We walk and live by His Spirit (Galatians 5:16-25and continue to seek the kingdom of God and His righteousness. Unless we knock at the door of His heart in His timing, He will not know us, and the doors of heaven will be shut.

“And while they went to buy, the bridegroom came;
and they that were ready went in with him to the marriage:
and the door was shut.”
Matthew 25:10

When Jesus Knocks

The Book of Revelation records Jesus’ words in the letter to the church at Laodicea.

“Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me.” Revelation 3:20

Knocking indicates a separation (a door that must be opened from the other side) between the person knocking and the person  on the other side. There is a need and the only fulfillment of that need rests in the promise of someone who can provide that need.

Does the door swing both ways? Had Jesus knocked at the door of the heart of those who were left out?

 “Wherefore (as the Holy Ghost saith, To day if ye will hear his voice, Harden not your hearts, as in the provocation, in the day of temptation in the wilderness: So I sware in my wrath, They shall not enter into my rest.) Hebrews 3:7-12

By His Holy Spirit and His Word, Jesus knocks at the door of our sin and unbelief. He calls us to put away our sin ~ to repent and believe ~ to allow Him to lead us out of the bondage of self and sin.

We cannot seek or knock of our own volition. It must be the work of His Spirit within us drawing us to Christ even as He draws near to us. John 6:44; John 6:63-65

 The Doors of Wisdom

“Blessed is the man that heareth me, watching daily at my gates, waiting at the posts of my doors.” Proverbs 8:34

The Doors of Heaven

They are “the doors of heavenPsalm 78:23,

 In Revelation 4:1, “a door was opened in heaven to John where he saw and recorded what would come to pass.

 Jesus is the Door to the Kingdom of Heaven

“Then said Jesus unto them again, Verily, verily, I say unto you,
I am the door of the sheep.”  
I am the door: by me if any man enter in, he shall be saved,
and shall go in and out, and find pasture.”
John 10:7,9

 A Door of Hope

“And I will give her her vineyards from thence, and the valley of Achor for a door of hope: and she shall sing there, as in the days of her youth, and as in the day when she came up out of the land of Egypt.” Hosea 2:15

The Door of Faith

 “And when they were come, and had gathered the church together, they rehearsed all that God had done with them, and how he had opened the door of faith unto the Gentiles.” Acts 14:27

In this brief study of Jesus’ words, we learn that asking, seeking, and knocking are descriptive of the work of prayer by His people, for His kingdom. His Holy Spirit brings us to repentance and faith in Him so that as we continue to ask for His Spirit, we are led to seek His kingdom and His righteousness and to knock at the door of His heart for all He has promised.

We understand that this practice is not just for us individually, for our own needs, but in unity with His people ~ the body of Christ ~ for the needs of others. Intercession involves a greater degree of fervency, diligence, and urgency as we pray continually at His throne of grace.

The prayer life of a Christian is a daily dwelling in His presence. He dines and sups with us continually as He opens His Word and His promises to us and proves His presence and His power in our lives.

In Christ, we dwell in the throne room, in unity with His Spirit ~ knowing His power to accomplish all He desires for our good and His glory.

“And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together
in heavenly places in Christ Jesus:”

Ephesians 2:6

We ask what we will because we ask in faith according to His will, seeking His glory in all things, continually knocking at the door of His heart as He intercedes and presents our petitions to our Father.

But as it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard,
neither have entered into the heart of man,
the things which God hath prepared for them that love him.”
1 Corinthians 2;9

We are continually filled with his grace, nestled in His goodness, and wrapped in His glory. In Christ and Christ in us, we are kept by His power now and forever.

Dear Father, we cannot thank you enough for all you have prepared for us and given by your grace. We are unworthy stewards of your blessings but you have entrusted us with the knowledge of your Word and your will so that we know what to ask, what to seek and where to knock. Continue to draw us to Christ by the power of your Spirit, to dwell in Him and receive your heavenly blessings as well as all our earthly needs. We praise and bless you in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. Amen.
Fran

Suggested Reading: GOD is Our Goal ~ GOD’S Plan for His People
CONTACT us and request a free PDF of paperback.

Image: Google

Blessings in Intercession

A short note today in relation to last Saturday’s post Advocates for Bill and Terri:

I had thought to reference this during the week but did not have time.
Much of the week has been spent in intercession for Bill and Terri.
Too, I have spent a considerable amount of time reading Terri’s blog ~ having only known her a few months, I have kept up with Bill’s blog for years.

One thing I want to mention here is in reference to those who have been interceding. Have you been blessed by your intercession for them? I certainly have, and in the process been brought closer to the throne of grace.

As our great High Priest, he Lord waits for our petitions.

Do You Sense Your Prayers are Being Heard?
Does it ever seem that your prayers are not getting through? I was reminded of this possibility this week. When there is something between us and the Lord that has not been settled, our petitions are not heard.

Search me, O God, and know my heart:
try me, and know my thoughts:
And see if there be any wicked way in me,
and lead me in the way everlasting.
Psalm 139:23-24

When there is hidden sin in our lives, the way is closed to His presence.
Confession of our sins, repentance, and faith open the door to His heart.

Intercession is not just for others but it is a means of grace to strengthen our relationship with the Lord. He willingly accepts our requests and grants them when our hearts are clean before Him.

Be Blessed by Reading Their Blogs
Another thing I suggest, if you are not acquainted with Bill and Terri, is to peruse their blog sites. Their posts will be a blessing and minister to you. Whatever your state in this world, their witness of God’s grace will change your perspective of your own life. They testify of the fulfillment of God’s promises to us as His children.

Bill’s blog: Unshakable Hope

Terri’s blog: Diary of a Quadraplegic

Please continue to intercede for them and for all God’s people. Continue to pray to experience the power of the Holy Spirit in your life and the lives of others.

Gracious Father, thank you for a Spirit-filled week and for the preparation for our worship tomorrow. Fill us with your Spirit and teach us how to pray continuously and fervently. Search our hearts, try our thoughts and see if there be anything in us that is keeping us from you. Forgive, and lead us onward and upward in pursuit of your blessings for us and others. In Jesus’ name, I pray. Amen.
Fran

Image: Google

Advocates for Bill and Terri ~ A Spiritual Exercise

This follow-up to a previous post, Words of Life ~ ADVOCATE, is a means to share how the Lord has been working in my heart the last few days, and to ask you to join me for a life-changing experience.

The Lord brought Bill and Terri into my life several months ago. Bill lives in the southwestern part of the USA and Terri in the eastern region. They have become advocates for each other.

As they have shared how God is working in their lives, I have become an advocate for them before the throne of grace.

If you know Bill and Terri, you can skip this part and go to the exercise. But it may be a good thing to review who and where they are.

Bill and Terri each live in a physical state of paralysis. Their conditions are similar but different in how they operate in that state. They are mindful of their circumstances and have learned to function and communicate with others in a gift of clarity most of us do not have. They are each a special gift to us who know them.

Bill
Bill, diagnosed with ALS (Lou Gehrig’s Disease) over twenty years ago, has been preserved long past the average two-to-five year expectancy. The Lord has done a miraculous work in Bill for a witness of the Unshakable Hope he has in Christ. With Mary, his wife and principal advocate, Bill lives at home, functioning with modern equipment that moves him from and into his bed and chair. He writes with his eyes with a computer designed for this purpose. For his blog and book project, Bill is filled with the Spirit of God, influencing and encouraging people throughout the world to know and trust their lives to Christ. His hope is not in himself or anything of this world but only in the promises of eternity when he will have full use of his body and faculties to praise and serve the Lord.

Even though ALS has drastically changed my life and that of my wife and our two daughters, I don’t believe anyone should allow a disease or any life-challenge to define who we are.

To do so is to give that challenge more credit than it deserves and is the first step on a dead-end road of hopelessness.

This trial has taught us that the only way to experience genuine and consistent hope, peace, and joy in the middle of a trial is to view our lives and situations through God’s eyes. For me, learning this was a long and difficult process—but a rewarding one; an ongoing process that will continue until the day I go to be with the Lord.

Terri
Terri, from a fall in her kitchen, has been a quadriplegic since 2013, She is single and dependent on medical staff in a nursing facility. She, too, is a witness for Christ, and attends her church for worship. Terri has siblings and church family who are advocates in the capacity of which they are able. She uses some of the same equipment as Bill and by her voice, communicates through her computer. In these six years, dealing with other medical issues, she has spent time in ICU and been moved to other facilities which upset any rhythm in her life, causing depression and anxiety. From one of her blog posts, I quote the following.

Trust in the Lord with all your heart and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight. Proverbs 3:5

No matter how frustrated, disgusted, or depressed, I get about being a quadriplegic, I know I’m where I am meant to be. I don’t have to understand why this happened. I only need to acknowledge that God is sovereign, loving, and good. And he doesn’t make mistakes.

Bill and Terri’s readers continue to encourage and support them. The greatest encouragement comes from Bill and Terri to us when we read what the Lord is doing in them.

A SPIRITUAL EXERCISE AS AN ADVOCATE

We cannot, as advocates for Bill and Terri, appeal with the strength of the medical equipment they need. Those things are already provided for them. The idea and the means for advocacy on their part is for the spiritual strength and grace they need to endure and triumph as witnesses for Christ as they are bound, imprisoned in their bodies.

They are teaching us what the world is like ~ paralyzed ~ and in need of a heavenly outpouring of the Spirit to move in His people.

Here is where we can be a part of an awakening in the body of Christ.

For the last few days, the Lord has uniquely led me to pray and intercede. At first, the thought was only for Bill and Terri. Then the blessings came for me, my family, my church, and the whole church worldwide.

Three things will come as a result of this exercise.

1. Bill and Terri will be strengthened in their witness of Christ.
2. We and other Christians will be strengthened in our witness for Christ.
3. God, our Father and our Lord, Jesus Christ will be glorified.

This exercise began when I awoke. I lay still as if paralyzed like Bill and Terri. Quietly I waited, arms at my sides, imagining their immovability; then, remembering Psalm 46:10 ~

Be still, and know that I am God,

I again waited ~ motionless.

Stillness is not easy in a world that is spiritually paralyzed. The body does not want this stillness and will not succumb to it except by His Spirit.

“I will be exalted among the heathen, I will be exalted in the earth.”

This exercise is an excellent means to realize that every breath is by His Spirit and through Christ alone.

The Spirit then moved me to the first petition of the Lord’s Prayer.

“Our Father in heaven, hallowed be thy name.

Our whole of living moment by moment, day by day, is for this purpose. He wants us to know Him as our Father. Through us, He is exalted, honored, and His name hallowed in this world.

This prayer and this thought of His overall sovereignty and exaltation led me to ask for an outpouring of His Holy Spirit from His throne of grace to fill me and enable me to pray in the Spirit for power as an advocate for Bill and Terri.

From the Holy Spirit’s leading, then came the request for the Spirit’s filling for them. I prayed for the continual work in their lives to overcome in the battle against weariness, discouragement, uncertainty, depression, and anxiety. Among other requests, I prayed for the Lord’s filling and leading for Bill to finish his book.

There was a third request for the filling of the Spirit for His people everywhere. (You need facial tissue for this exercise.)

I went to the next petition, which the paralyzed body of Christ needs ~ asking for His kingdom to come in power by His Spirit, and His will to be done in the hearts and lives of His people everywhere.

“God hath made with me an everlasting covenant |
ordered in all things and sure,
this is all my salvation and all my desire.”
2 Samuel 23:5

Even as with David, this everlasting covenant revealed and fulfilled in Jesus Christ, is God’s means to establish His kingdom’s rule here on earth and His will to be operative in the hearts and lives of His people.

It is by His divine power that we destroy strongholds, casting down imaginations and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God and bring every thought captive in obedience to Christ. 2 Corinthians 10:4-5

Before getting up to start my day, I finished petitions for which I usually ask. I asked for the Spirit to raise me and His people everywhere for the work He has for us to do ~ to be the moving witnesses Bill and Terri encourage us to be.

These are only the beginnings of what I have experienced in this new intercession.

During the day, this exercise can be done anywhere and anytime you can lie down, or even sit quietly and still ~ as you desire the Holy Spirit’s filling and moving in your heart and spirit for you, Bill, Terri, all who are ill or physically handicapped, and especially for the moving of God’s Spirit.

Teach your children and do this as a family exercise. Let this exercise displace some of the time you usually spend with your devices. Set your timers and stop and pray throughout the day.

If possible and you feel led, continue this exercise for a week. We may post some of the responses and address any concerns next week.

Advocates for Bill and Terri could become a movement in this world to bring an awareness of the need for God’s Spirit for all people. Let us share this need and call others to join this exercise of intercession for His glory.

Since getting to know Bill, and Terri, through her blog, emails, and my phone conversation with her, Jerry appreciates his wheelchair, and the use of his one leg though he has not been able to walk for over two years. It is amazing how your life can change when you are aware of the more significant needs of others.

Please share this with your Christian friends even as you become an advocate for Christ’s sake.

Gracious Father in heaven, Whom have we in heaven but thee and there is none on earth we desire beside thee. Draw your people to this intercession with understanding and the Spirit. Fill us and enable us to pray in the power and intercession of the Holy Spirit and Christ, our High Priest, who sits at your right hand calling us to Him, for thine is the kingdom and the power, and the glory, forever. In Jesus’ name, I pray. Amen.
Fran

Grace, Grace, and More Grace!

Dear Reader, please understand that the content of what you see here did not easily make its way to this webpage.  Even before computers came on the scene technology had been my foe. Our home has been without a television for fourteen years because of my addiction.

Most recently when our PC died we were encouraged to try a Mac, which we now have.  The contention has continued as I have not yet learned how to do what I want to do on it; so much time is spent just trying to use the documents from our PC which are in booklet form.  I do not “love my Mac.” Nevertheless, I am here on January 28, 2011, blogging—something I NEVER wanted to do.  In my thinking, blogging was akin to clogging. (Imagine this 71-year woman with the short skirt on the dance floor.)

Second Childhood ~ New Legacy

Many years before I ever wanted to use a computer God had drawn me to his Word, The Holy Bible.  Through my study, and prayer, He revealed Himself to me in the person of His Son, Jesus Christ.   Since then hundreds of articles, poems, essays, booklets, and books have been written of the experience of God’s grace in my life, (most writings being relegated to a Posthumous File.) My long-range plans for retirement was to be a simple wife, living a simple life, enjoying my husband and family, attending church without my services being required. All I wanted, as I had learned to wait on God, was for Him to “show me His ways, teach me His paths, lead me in His truth,” for me to do His will as humbly and simply as He would enable me to do.  He had always given me “the will, the zeal, and the skill” to do whatever He wanted me to do.

My union with Christ, not remaining stagnant, but always growing, and my communion with the Father, has been a result of His own working. By His grace, He has brought me to these latter years, and through many trials, rejoicing in Him.  This second childhood I am going through (I must be out of my mind to think that now is a good time to have books published, and to start a blog to be a support  for those who will read them,) needs more than my small bit of dust and time. This will require more wisdom, knowledge, and strength than this frail body is able to muster.

Filled, Fit, Fat, and Flourishing

The new birth in Christ that comes by-way-of the legacy of grace is like a second childhood experience.  The Father’s  inheritance comes through His Son, Jesus Christ~”For it pleased the Father that in Him all fulness dwell.”  (Colossians 1:19)  “And of His fulness have we all received, grace for grace;” (KJV)  “grace upon grace.” (ESV.)

How can we be satisfied with half a legacy? “To whom much is given much is required.” More grace is promised and required for us to “grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.” (1 Peter 3:18) To “taste of the Lord” is to see and know that “He is good.”  Just a taste will not do.  He promises that as we know and grow we shall be filled with “all the fulness of God.” (Ephesians 3:19)  It is a lifetime process.  A baby does not remain in a crib all his life, but is fed, happy and satisfied; and continues to be fed and to develop physically.  Like so, God, our Father makes us fit—enabling us to live the Christian life—to be “partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light; having delivered us from the power of darkness and translated us into the kingdom of His dear Son.”  (Colossians 1: 14)

At this age and stage are we to rebel and turn back?  I thought my life was full already.  Are we to sit back and rest on our laurels?  He promises that in old age His “righteous ones shall still bring forth fruit; they shall be fat and flourishing.” (Psalm 92:14)  God’s grace has no limits.  As long as we have breath we are His building, His field, His voice, His hands. Not physically able, nor mentally prepared, my dependence is solely upon the power of His Holy Spirit to work in me what He wants—what He is “exceeding abundantly” able to do in me. It will be more than we can ask or imagine. (Ephesians 3:20)

In the ministry of intercession my prayers continue for the working of His grace in the hearts and lives of His people—“earthen vessels” filled with the treasure of Christ. (2 Corinthians 4:7)  As a vessel created and redeemed for His use my heart’s desire is to desire what He desires.

The possibilities for a new ministry through this website are overwhelming.  And having a tendency to be carried away, I ask that you pray for me to stay focused on Christ, who is the center of my life; and not on what I think He can do through me. There is the potential for addiction to this technology as there is to anything else.

Please pray for those whose hearts and hands will help me in this new endeavor to share God’s grace and His glory—for His glory and our joy.

Addicted to His Grace  ~  Fran