Acknowledging Prayer

“And he said unto them, When ye pray, say, Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name.  Thy kingdom come.  Thy will be done, as in heaven, so in earth.  Give us day by day our daily bread.  And forgive us our sins; for we also forgive every one that is indebted to us.  And lead us not into temptation; but deliver us from evil.” Luke 11:2-4

When one acknowledges something or someone they are ascribing or giving them credit that they deserve.  Here, opening His teaching on prayer, Jesus jumps in without hesitation, stating, “When ye pray, say, Our Father which art in heaven.”  Now, notice first that Jesus didn’t say “if” ye pray.  He point-blank expected that His people should have an active and working prayer life so He said, “When ye pray.”

Starting with the statement, “Our Father which art in heaven,” Jesus acknowledges to whom one’s prayers should be directed.  And, in the verses following God gets the credit for everything!  This is acknowledgment.

“Our Father which art in heaven,” points one in the right direction.  There are many voices that try to offer advice and insight to the world we live and to the troubles and woes we face.  Yet, none can have the insight as He who created all things.  None is Sovereign as He to really be our champion for real change.  That can only come from He who is enthroned in heaven for all eternity; by He Whom everything takes its commands: “Our Father.”

“Our Father” describes the intimate, relational context in which God wants to be committed to us.  Did you get that?  God wants to be “Our Father” so much that Jesus, God incarnate, instructed us to address Him as such in prayer.  Man may not always step up to the plate to fill this role, but God does.  He willingly takes on the role of “Father,” meaning more than provider in my view.  He takes on the responsibility to love, care and nurture those who come to Him seeking Him as daddy.  Romans 8:15 describes it as this: “Ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father.”  This adoption is an on-purpose act of love that He is seeking to fulfill as the role of “Father.”  God “will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty,” (2 Corinthians 6:18).

“Hallowed be thy name.”  Part of acknowledging prayer is respecting His holiness.  Oh, I cringe when I see people take the name of the Lord in vain.  God’s name is not like any other and should not be treated as it is.  His name is holy (Isaiah 57:15), and He is the one who “dwell in the high and holy place.”  When one invokes God’s name in prayer it is not a plaything.  We are seeking His holiness to come in on our behalf; garnering His stamp of approval.  Heaven knows how to treat His name so much that they speak the word “holy” three times: “Holy, holy, holy, is the LORD of hosts,” (Isaiah 6:3).

Acknowledging prayer recognizes God’s authority, His power, His Sovereignty, His control, His kingdom, and His will overall. “Thy kingdom come.  Thy will be done, as in heaven, so in earth.”  No wonder at the end of the parallel of this prayer found in Matthew 6:13 it states, “For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever.  Amen.”  We should want to see the glory of God’s will take over the atmosphere of this old stale world “as in heaven.”  We should have heavenly visions of God’s power reclaiming this earth.

Acknowledging prayer recognizes that God is the provider of all.  “Give us day by day our daily bread.”  “Not that we are sufficient of ourselves to think any thing as of ourselves; but our sufficiency is of God,” (2 Corinthians 3:5).  We, as all other things created, are dependent on Him as our provider.  “Behold the fowls of the air: for they sow not, neither do they reap, nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feedeth them.  Are ye not much better than they?” (Matthew 6:26).  God will provide.

Acknowledging prayer knows that forgiveness comes from God: “And forgive us our sins; for we also forgive every one that is indebted to us.”  2 Chronicles 7:14 declares, “If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.”  God wants to spiritually heal people from their sin-sick ways.  “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness,” (1 John 1:9).

In return, we are expected to offer forgiveness to those who ask for it.  Gulp!  Yes, forgiveness in any form can be a hard pill to swallow.  But, let me ask you this.  How many times has God said no to us whenever we sought for healing and restoration for the wrongs we have done?  Exactly, He hasn’t!  Forgiveness, much like love, is nothing to be played with.  It is not lip service to please others rather, it is a heart service to the Lord.  It is, in a sense, showing to others the same grace and mercy that God showed toward us.  And, we acknowledge that this is His will for us.

Acknowledging prayer shows God as a deliverer: “And lead us not into temptation; but deliver us from evil.” God doesn’t tempt people into sin.  “Let no man say when he is tempted, I am tempted of God: for God cannot be tempted with evil, neither tempteth he any man,” (James 1:13).  Sin is a choice and so is choosing to let God lead and trusting Him to keep you in those hard times.  “O keep my soul, and deliver me: let me not be ashamed; for I put my trust in thee,” (Psalm 25:20).  “Keep back thy servant also from presumptuous sins; let them not have dominion over me . . .” (Psalm 19:13).  He is a keeper to them that know Him as a deliverer and He is a protector against the ultimate enemy, the devil.

The Bible gives us this wise advice: “Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths” (Proverbs 3:5-6). Acknowledging prayer says that there is no part of our lives that is untethered by the touch of God’s love. Therefore, in everything, and in every way, I lean into God, trust Him, and acknowledge Him in every area of my life.

Modified excerpt taken from 4 Keys to Powerful Prayer

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The Common Thread

There are many things that make us unique creatures.  We all have something that is particularly special about us.

You may be that one with the personality that instantly lightens up a room when you enter in.  Or, you may be a great analytical thinker – a real go-getter and problem solver.

Perhaps you are a great encourager who puts a smile on the face of others.  You may be a great cook, a tinkerer, and a fixer of many things.

As many as there are people on this earth, there are just that many ways to think, do, and perform the things that make you uniquely you.

All the different features and skills – they are remarkably you as God’s unique design.  Knowing this, David says, “I will praise thee; for I am fearfully and wonderfully made…” (Psalm 139:141).

But in the community of humanity, looking through the scope of everything that makes us us, there is one thing many fail to remember.  Universally speaking, we all have this common thread: “The rich and the poor have this in common, The Lord is the maker of them all” (Proverbs 22:2, NKJV).  

Not one of us placed ourselves here (truth).

Not one of us was spawned from higher dirt than others (how absurd).

Not one of us gave life to ourselves (can I get an amen).

Through our many differences, there are more things about us that are the same.  And with God being the maker of all, there really is no reason for any to sport a superiority complex or to live under an inferiority complex.

In the grand scheme of humanity, we are all God’s beautiful creation.

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Ye Shall Laugh!

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“Blessed are ye that weep now: for ye shall laugh.” Luke 6:21

Many of us have been well acquainted with tears on more than one occasion.  Tears or weeping are most often shed in times of sorrow; during times of hardship and anguish.  Crying gives one an opportunity to release those pinned-up emotions that stress the body and soul of man.

Whether this weeping is associated with sorrow of sin or because of adversity of the wicked, those that endure through it now will find a time when “God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying…” (Revelation 21:4).

“For ye shall laugh,” the Bible says.  Where there is laughter, joy has replaced the sorrow that was once felt.  Where there is laughter, a release is felt from the oppression of the wicked.  David once wrote, “Fret not thyself because of evildoers…” (Psalm 37:1).  If they are the source of tears, forget about it.  He goes on to say, “The Lord shall laugh at him: for he seeth that his day is coming,” (Psalm 37:13).  When God laughs, as His followers, we will share in the same joy as our Savior.

The Bible says, He will “appoint unto them that mourn in Zion, to give them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness…” (Isaiah 61:3), and they will be able to laugh!”

God has this promise for His people: it won’t always look like this. There will come a time to laugh. Joy is on the horizon!

“But let all those that put their trust in thee rejoice: let them ever shout for joy, because thou defendest them: let them also that love thy name be joyful in thee.” Psalm 5:11

“They that sow in tears shall reap in joy.” Psalm 126:5

And, they shall laugh!

“For the joy of the Lord is your strength.” Nehemiah 8:10

“Till he fill thy mouth with laughing, and thy lips with rejoicing.” Job 8:21

“Therefore my heart is glad, and my glory rejoiceth: my flesh also shall rest in hope.” Psalm 16:9

“Thou wilt shew me the path of life: in thy presence is fulness of joy; at thy right hand there are pleasures for evermore.” Psalm 16:11

“Weeping may endure for a night, but joy cometh in the morning.” Psalm 30:5

“Thou hast turned for me my mourning into dancing: thou hast put off my sackcloth, and girded me with gladness.” Psalm 30:11

“In the multitude of my thoughts within me thy comforts delight my soul.” Psalm 94:19

“This is the day which the Lord hath made; we will rejoice and be glad in it.” Psalm 118:24

“Then was our mouth filled with laughter, and our tongue with singing: then said they among the heathen, The Lord hath done great things for them.” Psalm 126:2

“These things have I spoken unto you, that my joy might remain in you, and that your joy might be full.” John 15:11

“For the kingdom of God is not meat and drink; but righteousness, and peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost.” Romans 14:17

“Now the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that ye may abound in hope, through the power of the Holy Ghost.” Romans 15:13

“Rejoice in the Lord always: and again I say, Rejoice.” Philippians 4:4

“Whom having not seen, ye love; in whom, though now ye see him not, yet believing, ye rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory.” 1 Peter 1:8

Excerpt taken from Jesus Teaches His Followers

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We Who Know God

“With him is an arm of flesh; but with us is the Lord our God to help us, and to fight our battles. And the people rested themselves upon the words of Hezekiah king of Judah.” 2 Chronicles 32:8

When you don’t know the true God, your perception of things becomes off.

When the servant of Sennacherib was sent to Hezekiah and those in Jerusalem during the siege, this servant boasted of something that was false; in something that would falter (2 Chronicles 32:9-17).

His boast was that his god was better than the Lord God.

His boast was to mock the worship of one God, before one altar.

His boast was in thinking that God Almighty could be catagorized in the same catagory as other gods who were unable to save their people: “And they spake against the God of Jerusalem, as against the gods of the people of the earth, which were the work of the hands of man” (2 Chronicles 32:19).

Ah, my friend, but we who know God, know Him to be outside of those false catagories.

We who know God, know where our help comes from (Psalm 121:1-2).

We who know God, change the focus of the boast of the enemy and declare the God who is able to deliver; the God who has been faithful in the past; the God who is “with us . . . to help us, and to fight our battles” (2 Chronicles 32:8).

As David before Goliath, we know know God can say, “Thou comest to me with a sword, and with a spear, and with a shield: but I come to thee in the name of the Lord of hosts, the God of the armies of Israel, whom thou hast defied” (1 Samuel 17:45).

When Isaiah declares, “No weapon that is formed against thee shall prosper; and every tongue that shall rise against thee in judgment thou shalt condemn. This is the heritage of the servants of the Lord, and their righteousness is of me, saith the Lord” (Isaiah 54:17), we who know God can march forward in the truth of those words and promises.

When Paul asks, “What shall we then say to these things? If God be for us, who can be against us?” (Romans 8:31), we who know God can readily answer to His call in complete faith.

When God tells Joshua, “Have not I commanded thee? Be strong and of a good courage; be not afraid, neither be thou dismayed: for the Lord thy God is with thee whithersoever thou goest” (Joshua 1:9), we who know God can move with the same confidence knowing that we have this promise: “I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee” (Hebrews 13:5).

“For whatsoever is born of God overcometh the world: and this is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith” (1 John 5:4).

With eyes of faith and hearts that believe, we can overcome because “with him is an arm of flesh” (2 Chronicles 32:8), but we who know God, “may boldly say, The Lord is my helper, and I will not fear what man shall do unto me” (Hebrews 13:6).

We know our God is with us to help fight life’s battles and we can rest ourselves upon the promise of the Word.

More Word Promises:

“Some trust in chariots, and some in horses: but we will remember the name of the Lord our God.” Psalm 20:7

“For the Lord shall be thy confidence, and shall keep thy foot from being taken.” Proverbs 3:26

“Fear thou not; for I am with thee: be not dismayed; for I am thy God: I will strengthen thee; yea, I will help thee; yea, I will uphold thee with the right hand of my righteousness.” Isaiah 41:10

“Blessed is the man that trusteth in the Lord, and whose hope the Lord is.” Jeremiah 17:7

“I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.” Philippians 4:13

“Cast not away therefore your confidence, which hath great recompence of reward.” Hebrews 10:35

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For every mountain and trial You brought me through, I thank You.

Father God, thank You for bringing me over every mountain and through every trial and storm I face. Thank You for allowing my eyes to see a new day and to give Your name the praise! I praise You, O God! You are worthy of all glory and honor! Hallelujah!

“I will love thee, O Lord, my strength. The Lord is my rock, and my fortress, and my deliverer; my God, my strength, in whom I will trust; my buckler, and the horn of my salvation, and my high tower. I will call upon the Lord, who is worthy to be praised…” Psalm 18:1-3

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It’s up to you…

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“Jotham. . . did that which was right in the sight of the Lord. . . and the people did yet corruptly.” 2 Chronicles 27:1-2

It’s up to you to live a life that is pleasing in the sight of God.

It’s up to you to walk the path of righteousness for yourself.

It’s up to you to choose how to live your days upon the earth, days spent honoring or dishonoring the grace of these moments that God has blessed you with.

There is one thing our current culture has forgotten in their attempts to pass the blame for the how’s, what’s, and why’s of life, and that is individual responsibility. While the attitudes and actions of others can negatively affect people, many don’t have this as their reasoning. Rather, they indulge in unrighteous acts and wrong living, celebrating sinfulness, all the while expressing that it is not their fault. They shift the blame to others as a defense for their reasoning to do wrong.

The above verses show that even when you have a leader or a person of influence in your life who chooses to do right and set a good example, the people still had a choice to make for themselves. The old expression “You can lead a horse to water, but you can’t force him to drink,” comes to mind here.

There can be one who shows you the way and the hows of choosing the right path to walk, but it is the individual’s responsibility to choose to walk in it.

We are given choices in this life. And ultimately, we are the ones who will determine our eternal futures based on how we invested in this life given to us; based on which path we have chosen to walk: “Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat: Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it” (Matthew 7:13-14).

It’s up to you. Choose the blessed life (Deuteronomy 28:1-14).

“I call heaven and earth to record this day against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing: therefore choose life, that both thou and thy seed may live:” Deuteronomy 30:19

“Then Moses stood in the gate of the camp, and said, Who is on the Lord’s side? let him come unto me. And all the sons of Levi gathered themselves together unto him.” Exodus 32:26

“Behold, I set before you this day a blessing and a curse; A blessing, if ye obey the commandments of the Lord your God, which I command you this day:” Deuteronomy 11:26-27

“See, I have set before thee this day life and good, and death and evil; In that I command thee this day to love the Lord thy God, to walk in his ways, and to keep his commandments and his statutes and his judgments, that thou mayest live and multiply: and the Lord thy God shall bless thee in the land whither thou goest to possess it.” Deuteronomy 30:15-16

“And if it seem evil unto you to serve the Lord, choose you this day whom ye will serve; whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the flood, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land ye dwell: but as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.” Joshua 24:15

“And Elijah came unto all the people, and said, How long halt ye between two opinions? if the Lord be God, follow him: but if Baal, then follow him. And the people answered him not a word.” 1 Kings 18:21

“For to him that is joined to all the living there is hope: for a living dog is better than a dead lion.” Ecclesiastes 9:4

“The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly.” John 10:10

“For they that are after the flesh do mind the things of the flesh; but they that are after the Spirit the things of the Spirit.” Romans 8:5

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He calleth His own by name…

You are valued in the eyes of God! He knows you! He knows your name!

To Him, you are somebody.

To Him, you are valued.

To Him, you are important.

To Him, you are not invisible.

You are personally known and personally loved by God!

“To him the porter openeth; and the sheep hear his voice: and he calleth his own sheep by name, and leadeth them out.” John 10:3

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This morning, lay to rest…

This morning, lay to rest and hand over any troubles that may be stirring in your heart. Jesus is the answer for a troubled heart.

Father God, we are praying for an anointed release over Your children. We are praying against any troubles or circumstances that try to invade the peace that Christ so beautifully secured for our lives. Father God, we know that You are near Your children regardless of what they face or may be going through. Help us to grab hold of that truth as we go about this new day that You have blessed us with. In the name of Jesus Christ, we pray, Amen!

“Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me.” – John‬ ‭14:1

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“Be Progressive”

“And the LORD said unto Moses, Wherefore criest thou unto me? speak unto the children of Israel, that they go forward,” Exodus 14:15

Have you heard of the phrase “two steps forward, one step back?” What if we could erase that end part? What if we could subtract from the equation the minus one step? What would the total sum of one’s life be if all they ever did was progress? If all they ever did was to add without factoring in any negatives?

“Two steps forward, one step back.” It’s a phrase that I have used and I know you have, too. But in reality, I actually think that we get too comfortable with that kind of mentality. Everything is not always going to go off without a hitch, we know that.  And yes, we will face obstacles at times, but it’s almost as if we expect to move back every time we try to advance forward. We are factoring in a negative from the very beginning and any time doubt is introduced into one’s advancement in this way, that will almost always sabotage one’s progress, taking away from all that they have done and gone through to move forward. It can subtract from and overshadow the positive with that seemingly bigger negative.

Don’t get me wrong. I know that there are many hard trials and circumstances that everyone will face. I will not trivialize the hurt and disappointments that one may come across in their life. But what will happen, if while we are on this journey, we try our best to look beyond the circumstances that we are in and be determined to move forward toward the promise anyway? What if for once we could factor out the negatives of life instead of factoring them in? Despite the chariots and the enemies pursuing us, we could be more determined to pursue the goals that God has for us.

That is what I really believe God wanted the children of Israel to do here. To stop looking for reasons for not progressing.  To stop looking for obstacles. To stop making excuses for why they can’t get to where God wants them to go. He had a glorious destiny for them. God had already shown them many, many miracles that led up to their deliverance from slavery in Egypt. Yet, as soon as a moment of adversity poked its head around the corner to spy on their progress, they stopped moving. Instead, they stayed in that unproductive state wallowing in self-pity: “Because there were no graves in Egypt, hast thou taken us away to die in the wilderness?” (Exodus 14:11), they cried.

God has a better plan for you than to keep you still, wallowing in the wilderness, in a state of self-pity. That’s why He said, “Wherefore criest thou unto me? speak unto the children of Israel, that they go forward.” Stop crying about it and just go! Move! Make some progress! No more backward! It’s time to go on in Jesus’ name! To move it or lose it!

Looking at the stuff one has been through and the possibility of hardship ahead can be very discouraging, but press on anyhow! There is a promised land for you and me to reach. That alone is enough to urge you onward and upward. So, go ahead – be progressive today. Say within yourself, “I’m going to make it this time!”  No turning back!

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Wholesome Words, Wholesome Life

“A wholesome tongue is a tree of life . . .” Proverbs 15:4

Oh, my friend, how careful are we to put good things into our bodies? Wholesome foods, filled with nutrition, that will nourish us from the inside out. There is no doubt for us that making good choices concerning the foods we eat affects our overall health and well-being.

To be strong, to be the best version of ourselves, we work diligently to supply this life with the things that are beneficial to us, things that are good, and things that promote health.

What of the words we speak from our mouths and the words we take into our souls?

The words we speak have power. Proverbs 18:21 plainly tells us, “Death and life are in the power of the tongue: and they that love it shall eat the fruit thereof.” What we are speaking impacts our lives. How and where we direct our words will affect what is produced from them. The things we speak from us will determine what will be filled within us: “A man’s belly shall be satisfied with the fruit of his mouth; and with the increase of his lips shall he be filled” (Proverbs 18:20).

What we speak not only impacts others who hear our words, they impact ourselves when we hear what we say. What we speak feeds us. What we say comes back into our own hearing and seeps its way into our innermost being. If we are wondering why this or that keeps happening, start monitoring the words you are speaking into your own environment, into your own life. “There is that speaketh like the piercings of a sword: but the tongue of the wise is health” (Proverbs 12:18).

So, too, do the words we allow to come into our space, into our hearing, affect us. When the Bible teaches “Death and life are in the power of the tongue: and they that love it shall eat the fruit thereof” (Proverbs 18:21), that mindfulness to guard words is not limited to what comes out of our mouths, but we are to be aware of what is coming from the mouth of others, from their tongues, that we are allowing to infiltrate our world.

Constantly opening ourselves to words of negativity and unwholesome speech can influence how we live and how we think. Unwholesome speech can be poisonous to the life that is trying to live holy and healthy, to the life that wants to produce good fruits.

This is why Paul encourages us: “Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things” (Philippians 4:8). To have a wholesome and spiritually healthy life, these are the things you want to hear. These are the things you give permission to enter the space of your hearing and thinking.

Wholesome words make a difference to a wholesome life. Guard your space and satisfy yourself with the good things that are developed and produced from good words. Good words are healthy. Good words build up. Good words restore. Invest in yourself, your space, and your life with the benefits of good words.

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