A Morning Prayer Time With God. Here’s How To Do It!

By on July 17, 2018

STARTING EACH DAY WIITH God in prayer! What a neat idea! How much better would your life be if you could do it! How much happier you’d be; how much more victorious over your sins and bad habits! How much better of an attitude you’d have towards the mean people in your life! Probably everything would be better, if you could get in the habit of starting each day with God!

But here’s the hard part: How do you do it? if you’re like me, starting the day off with God doesn’t come easy. And, I confess, it didn’t come naturally. I had lots of false starts and failures for several years before I discovered some of the basic principles of starting the morning with God.

“Seek ye first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness and all these things shall be added unto you.” Jesus said that in Matthew 6:33. When He said that, He was telling us the secret of receiving the things that we have need of in life. Every need that you and I have is connected to our relationship with God.

That’s the key to receiving; putting God first. Putting God first is impossible if we don’t give Him first place on our daily schedule. That’s what causes good things to be ADDED unto you.

So you start each day declaring (or prophesying!) “This is the day which the Lord hath made; we will rejoice and be glad in it (Psalm 118:24).” You recognize that the day you’re beginning is a unique gift from God.

In this day, God has prepared specific opportunities and people for you to meet. Ephesians 2:10 says we “are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.” See? He’s ALREADY planned for some good things to happen in your life. You just have to be in tune so you don’t miss them.

By meeting with God each morning, you remind yourself that you can’t live on yesterday’s blessing. When the children of Israel were in the wilderness, God fed them with manna each day. Manna gathered the day before would go rotten overnight. That’s how they learned to build a daily relationship with Him, admitting their dependence on God.

Then there’s the fact that He’s your Heavenly Father, and He wants to get time with every one of His children each morning. The Father is so interested in your life and in helping you to walk in the footsteps of Jesus. He’s more than willing to be there for you as you follow Jesus as your pattern in all things.

The Holy Spirit in your heart yearns to guide you into the daily Presence of God. He wants to cleanse you, refresh you and fill you with His grace and strength – so you can get through the day without failing short or slipping back.

A few years ago, a lady was at our church giving me a piece of her mind. (Not that she could afford it…) I was thinking of some pretty appropriate things I COULD have said to her. I was thinking, “I bet you’re a real treat to live with. BUT, I didn’t say any of the things I was thinking. You know why? Because I had already made up my mind when I was in prayer that morning that I was going to be SWEET!

When you search the Scriptures, you’ll find that the men and women in the Bible whom God used the most were people who put Him first each day.
Abraham, the father of faith, wherever he went, the first thing he did was to establish an altar, and worship God. “Abraham believed God, and it was counted unto him for righteousness (Romans 4:3).” His FAITH caused him to first erect an altar to God wherever he went.

In Exodus 24:4, we read about Moses building an altar early in the morning. That was his habit, to pray first thing each morning. What did God say to Moses in Exodus 32:2,4? He said, “Be ready in the morning, and come up in the morning unto Mt. Sinai, and present thyself to Me in the top of the mount.”

Job, who went through the most intense trials a person could go through, went through them successfully. What was his habit? Job 1:5 says that he continually rose up early in the morning and prayed, offering sacrifices for his family. He developed the practice of “rising up early in the morning” and praying for his family.

Isaiah the prophet testified that it was his morning times with God were he got his learning and knowledge. “The Lord God hath given me the tongue of the learned, that I should know how to speak a word in season to him that is weary. He wakeneth morning by morning, He wakeneth my ear to hear as the learned.”

So, how do we DO it? David tells us the first key in Psalm 143:8. “Cause me to hear Thy lovingkindness in the morning. For in Thee do I trust. Cause me to know the way wherein I should walk, for lift up my soul unto Thee.”

You ASK God to move in your heart to draw you to prayer. Let Him know you trust Him. Then, ask Him to reveal to you throughout the day the way you should walk.

Second, focus on the things that are going RIGHT in your life, rather than dwelling on your needs. Psalm 92:1,2: “It’s a good thing to give thanks unto the Lord, and to sing praises unto Thy name, O Most High. To show forth Thy loving-kindness in the morning…”

That’s how you get into the presence of God. You “enter into His gates with thanksgiving and into His courts with praise. Be thankful unto Him and bless His Name (Psalm 100:4).” Start with praise and thanksgiving.

Third is staying focused, awake, in touch and in tune. Some people tell me they can’t sleep at night. Two of the best ways I’ve ever found to fall asleep is to either read my Bible or to pray!

But, in your morning time, you WANT to stay awake. So, HOW do you do that? First off, get to bed at a decent hour, keeping in mind that you’re going to get up and pray first thing in the morning.

Then, follow these cues given in Psalm 5:3. Pray out loud. “My voice shalt Thou hear in the morning…” Find a place you can actually TALK to God out loud. Maybe in your bedroom, family room or garage. Maybe even in your car, or out in the yard somewhere. But, talking out loud is one of the best ways to pray well.

The next tip in Psalm 5:3 says to keep your eyes OPEN, if you don’t want to fall back asleep. “In the morning I will direct my prayer unto Thee and will look up.” With your eyes closed, your praying will end up becoming snoozing. Talk out loud to God and keep your eyes open.

Psalm 63:1, “O God, Thou art my God: early will I seek Thee.” That’s the secret to walking with God in a real and satisfying way. Have a private visit with Him first thing in the morning. Enter into His presence for a time of fellowship with your oldest and best friend, Jesus.

Seek God first, and walk in righteousness – then God will fill your life with every good thing. Jesus says so!

Using Your Faith To Help Others…(And Get Your Own Needs Met)

By on July 10, 2018

You and I are surrounded by people with needs. People who are tired, worn and empty in life. They’re hungry for meaning, hungry to be loved, hungry to be accepted, and hungry for God. Even if they don’t realize it.

What do you do? How can you help people? What if you’re just barely making it yourself? You might be inadequate to help other people!

Well, on your own, you ARE inadequate. Me, too. But, fortunately, you and I aren’t on our own, but we have the Holy Spirit of God backing us up, speaking through us, preparing the other people around us, and working in all our situations.

One time, I was praying and was really feeling the weight of trying to bring God’s Word to so many people…trying to bring a touch of God’s love to people who were rejected and outcast. I was telling Him I just didn’t have what it takes.

Then, He led me to Mark 6:37, where the disciples were in the same situation. They were out in the desert with Jesus, and multitudes of hungry people were there with them. Jesus turned to the disciples and told them to feed the multitudes.

The disciples told Jesus they didn’t have enough to feed the hungry multitudes. They had figured what it would take to meet the peoples’ needs, and KNEW they didn’t have what it takes.

What they had wasn’t enough. And, they knew it. Then Jesus asked them, “How many loaves do you have? Go and see.”

When they knew that they didn’t have what it took to meet the peoples’ needs, Jesus told them to find out just what they DID have.

That spoke to me. We feel so inadequate, and that we don’t have what it takes to meet the needs of the people, but we really aren’t sure just what we DO have.

So, Jesus says, “Find out what you DO have.” He isn’t so interested in what you have, on your own, without a miracle from God, isn’t going to be able to help anybody very much.

What ELSE do you have? You have salvation. If you have salvation, the Holy Spirit, the Bible says, lives on the INSIDE of you. And, you have faith. You also have wisdom available to you from God’s Word and through the Holy Spirit. THAT’S pretty good!

See, YOU’VE got more than you think! You’ve got more to offer than you realize. That’s what Jesus was preparing the disciples for.

Next, He told them to speak to the people, and get them ready for what Jesus was planning on doing for them. Jesus has plans of GOOD for people.

He has good things He wants to DO in peoples’ lives.

Jesus knew EXACTLY what He was going to do. He was going to take the LITTLE that the Disciples had, and BLESS it, so that the multitudes could be fed.

When the disciples got the people prepared for what Jesus was going to bring to their lives, Jesus did the next step. He DIDN’T do it first.

That’s important. Notice, He didn’t make several baskets pf “wonder” bread, and THEN tell the disciples to go take it to the people. No, He told them to use their faith, to be obedient, and have the people get in a position where God could bring blessings from Heaven into their lives.

Jesus then, in v.41, took what the disciples had given Him, and blessed and told the disciple to bring it to the people. And, guess what?

Everybody, including the disciples, ate until they were full! Not only that, but they had twelve baskets full of leftover bread and fish!

What you have to do is have a heart for people and their needs. That’s where it begins. Caring about people other than yourself. You go to Jesus, you bring their needs to Him. You care about them, and you KNOW He cares.

Next, offer yourself and all that you have to Jesus. Even though it seems like a lot. Or, even though it seems pitifully small.

When you’re hungry, five loaves of bread and two good sixed fish seems like a lot. When you’re realizing that needs of people around you, what you have seems like almost nothing. Not even worth offering!

The disciples used their faith! You’ve got to use YOUR faith! They gave Jesus what He would do SOMETHING GOOD with it. You’ve GOT to USE your faith!

What is faith? Hebrews 11:1 says that “Faith is the substance of THINGS…” What kind of things? “Faith is the substance of things HOPED for!” And, “the EVIDENCE for things not seen.” It says that right in your Bible.

The disciples were HOPING for FOOD! They had NO EVIDENCE in the NATURAL sense that what they were HOPING for would come to them. But they had FAITH!

You’ve got to listen to Jesus, and know what He’s calling you to be and do. You’ve got nothing to lose and everything to gain by using your faith. FAITH ATTRACTS GOOD INTO YOUR LIFE.

You can either use your faith, and live by it, or you can operate in doubt and unbelief. I can tell you, though, that faith will bring good into your life. Doubt and unbelief will repel good from you. Your life is shaped by either faith or by doubt and unbelief. Faith will turn you into a bigger person, a giver. Doubt will cause you to shrink back, and become a taker in life.

You either sow seeds of faith or seeds of doubt. You’re either going to be feeding the people the bread of Jesus, or you’ll end up sending them away, tired, broke and disappointed. That’s what the disciples were GOING to do, in Mark 6:35 & 35, before they acted in faith.

What EVER you sow, Galatians 6:8 says, that what you’re going to reap. What you sow in the now, how much you sow, and WHERE you sow, these are what determine what your crops will be tomorrow in your life. When you exercise great faith and sow bountifully into the lives of others, God will send a generous and bountiful harvest into YOUR life (Luke 6:38). That’s what happened to the disciples. They gave all that Jesus gave them, and they had plenty for their OWN needs and THEN some!

Some people use their faith for a while, but then when a storm comes, they draw back, and lose faith in their faith. They stop walking a faith walk. When the storms in life come, they can pound on you and sweep you back into doubt and unbelief. But, God’s best comes and rests in the lives of those who just keep using their faith.

This is the bread of Jesus that you want to feed those around you. They have been feeding on fear, hurt and doubt for so long.

Doubt is the major cause of failure. It causes people to give up, to not try hard enough, or long enough, or to start late and to stop early.

Doubt causes people to see a pothole on the road and think it’s a canyon they can never cross.

Feed them the faith that Jesus gave you. Faith is what tells you to keep on. To win the race. To overcome. To always believe and never doubt. It ALWAYS has a solution. It causes you to hang on, find God’s answer then ACT on it. (Faith is only day-dreaming if it’s not followed through with consistent action.)

Sure, you’ve got needs, too. So did the disciples. Everyone has rocks on their road, mountains to climb and rivers to cross. But whether you let them stop you, or cause them to strengthen you is your choice. Jesus isn’t going to let you starve! He didn’t take their bread and fish and turn around and give them rocks and snakes!

When you use your faith and begin to pass it on other people, you’ll find your problems turning into opportunities to demonstrate the power of God in this life. You’ll find that God WILL meet the needs of those you care about, and the needs that YOU have. He’ll give you all you need and more than you need, because that’s the kind of God He is!

One Problem After Another…What It All Means

By on July 5, 2018

ONE PROBLEM AFTER ANOTHER…WHAT IT ALL MEANS
By: Steve Davis

When I was a kid, I used to love playing with the sifter in my mom’s kitchen. I’d turn that handle whether there was anything in it or not. It was just great fun imagining sifting wheat and flour.

Then, I got hold of one that was being thrown away by a neighbor. I had hours of fun in the back yard, sifting dirt and putting it in my Tonka trucks.

You know how a sifter works: You put the dirt in and crank the handle. The arm on the inside keeps hitting the flour (or dirt, if you’re a 7 year old boy) and mashes it against the screen. It pulverizes every part of the flour until it’s just a bunch of powder.

Knowing about sifters helps you understand your life a lot better! Sometimes you feel like a cup of flour (or dirt!) that’s being sifted. Over and over again, you’re hit and smashed, until it feels like you’re being ground to powder!

In Luke 22:31, Jesus told Peter that Satan desired to have Peter, that he might sift Peter like wheat. Satan wanted to hit, pound, pulverize, crush and strain Peter until there was nothing left but a heap of broken little pieces.

That’s the reason you can have so many things, one after another hit you – until it almost makes your head spin. Maybe a bill gets lost in the
mail, so you don’t pay it, and it affects your credit rating. Then, someone who owes you money doesn’t come through. Your hours get cut at work. Next, a car repair wipes out your little bit of savings.

On the job, it seems like you can’t concentrate, and things go wrong. Some of it’s your fault, because you’re not thinking straight, so you accept the criticism of the others who wonder what’s wrong with you lately.

At home, things are needing repair, and maybe a major appliance breaks…and you can’t get anyone out to fix it at a reasonable price. You’re not eating right, not sleeping well, and the phone, the TV, and your nerves.

This is about the time your body stops cooperating with you. Everything else is going wrong, and now even your own body joins forces against you. Headaches, bad digestion, joints and muscular aches, lack of concentration all conspire against you.

Of course, this is when other people start getting super sensitive and impatient with you. They don’t notice the pressure you’re under or the problems you’re dealing with. They get more and more demanding and less and less understanding of you. And, when you exhibit any signs of being merely human, they get all hurt, pouty and mad at you!

At church, you’re so frustrated and upset that you really don’t get anything out of the worship or the message. You don’t feel the presence of God here like you used to. Maybe God’s calling you to leave. You just go from one place of pain and problems to another.

Use your head. Do you really think that, all of a sudden, your house, car, lawn mower, appliances and other possessions are just “breaking?”

Or, that everybody in your whole like is just “changing?” Or, that all of a sudden, the whole church, the Pastor, the worship leader, Sunday school department, leadership, the Father, Son and the Holy Spirit have stopped being like they USED to be?

No! A thousand times, NO! What’s happening is, you’re being sifted. Hit, pounded, crushed, pulverized, over and over and over again. And, you feel all alone and forsaken.

Satan wants to sift you like wheat! But JESUS is PRAYING for YOU! In Luke 22:31, Jesus says, “I have prayed for thee, that THY FAITH FAIL NOT! And, when thou art converted (changed, helped, strengthened, back on your feet, once again in a good position), strengthen thy brethren.”

See, Jesus KNOWS what you’re going through! HE went through it Himself, when He was on earth. His friends betrayed Him, He had people with all kinds of demands and expectations. He also had His very best friends turn their backs on Him, and leave Him to die alone and rejected.

That’s why the Bible says in Hebrews 4:15 that “we have not a high priest who cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities.” He was in ALL points tempted (tested, tired, hassled) like we are, yet He didn’t sin.

When we’re being sifted, we need MORE than ever to come to God with it. “He is able to save them to the uttermost who come to God by Him. He lives to make intercession (prayer) for them.” That’s Hebrews 7:25. Jesus is CONSTANTLY praying for YOU! Day and night, you are on His heart and mind. He is at THIS MOMENT praying to the Father on YOUR behalf!

Why does He care so much? First off, because He loves you. He “is very pitiful (full of pity), and of tender mercy (James 5:11).” He IS actually TOUCHED with the feelings of your pains and problems.

Another reason He cares so much is, that the devil is trying to wear you out. Literally, as it says in Daniel 7:25, to “speak great words against the most High, and wear out the saints…” Satan tells you God isn’t being fair, and that God doesn’t care for you.

Satan KNOWS that you’ll get the strength, the help and the encouragement your soul needs. He KNOWS that there are people who NEED for you to be in the house of God. And, he knows that the best way to attack a Believer is to get that person alone, out of fellowship and isolated, spiritually and emotionally.

When you are in church, Satan will try to make it too cold here for you or too hot! He’ll get someone or something to keep you distracted, so you can’t pay attention. And, if at all possible, he’ll try to arrange for you to get your FEELINGS hurt! That’s the best tool he has for separating a believer from the other believers!

The other reason Jesus cares so much is because He is working on other people whom YOU are meant to reach for him. People who are hurting and in need. When you’re overloaded, fried, swamped and burned out, you’re not able to win the other person. You won’t even be aware that Jesus has put someone there for you.

People are depending on you for bringing them the Word and leading them to a knowledge of Jesus. You can even USE this argument when you come to God asking for help! Tell Him, there are people who NEED you to be on top! That you need help and deliverance.

Next, remind Jesus of the enemy. That, it seems to those around you as if the devil’s being allowed to have a heyday in your life. First Samuel 12:22 says, “The Lord will not forsake His people for his great Name’s sake: For it has PLEASED the Lord to make you His people.”

Use your FAITH. It’s the “as if” principle. You act “as if” you had the victory and that things are going well again. That means, you speak to people about their spiritual well-being, you demonstrate as much patience and tolerance as the Lord helps you with, and know that NO TRIAL lasts forever.

Keep the “pattern of good works.” If Satan discovers that all it takes to knock you out of the loop is to throw a little physical pain, or a bit of rejection, what do you think he’s going to throw at you every time he wants to watch you flounder around like a lost rag doll on amphetamines?

Don’t let him chase you out of church! Don’t let him cause you to pull back from your friends! Don’t let him make you an up and down, undependable emotionally crippled puppet!

Do it anyway. Be sweet! Make the choice to be kind, patient, caring and pleasant. Be there for people. Even the unlovable ones. Be kind, even to those who don’t “deserve” it. Jesus was kind to you and me when WE didn’t “deserve” it.

Learn. Someone said “Life gives the test first and teaches the lesson afterwards.” What a nugget of useful wisdom! Go ahead and take the test. Then, search for the lesson! That way, you won’t have to have to take a “retake.”

Be strong, tough it out, be faithful and you will be victorious. “Thanks be to God, who ALWAYS causes us to triumph in Christ…” It goes on to say there in 2 Corinthians 2:14 that God USES us to make the sweetness of knowing Him obvious to the people all around us.

God, even at the worst of times, has been better to us than we deserve, and He’s going to keep right on helping, strengthening, prospering and giving favor with God and man. He’s the same, yesterday, today and forever!