Thursday, February 20, 2014

Your Struggle Will Lead You To Your Purpose

Your struggle will lead you to your purpose. The things you've overcome are your testimony. When you share your testimonies and your God-given gifts, those are the things the world is in need of, and that is where you will find your purpose. Live with intention to find where those two roads merge, and you will discover great fulfillment.

 How do you discover your purpose? The first part of the answer is, you must first develop your relationship with God, for He is the one that gave you distinct and unique gifts that are tied to your calling. Without drawing close to Him, you can't possibly hear Him to know what He is saying. He won't shout, you have to quietly listen for His voice. So, the closer you are, the more you learn to develop that listening ear.

The second part of discovering your purpose is to look deep within and ask yourself, what are you really good at? Usually it is something that just comes easily, like a natural gifting. That is one clue that it is God-given. Others can't do what you do like you do it. Whatever that thing is, it makes you unique. Zero in on THAT.

Tyler Perry had a really great inspirational message on this topic and one thing he said is that he had a dream and that dream wouldn't go away. He tried and tried in his own strength to make his dream come to pass, but only met with failure. UNTIL, one day, GOD breathed life into the dream and it was birthed for real. We all have to learn the lessons of perseverance and risk looking foolish. That is part of maturing and growing our faith. We have to learn to deal with failure, but failure in itself is not an indicator of whether or not the dream is actually going to come to life and be successful. With every failure and false start, God tests our responses. We will be challenged with how we handle offense, disappointment and the assault against our soul when the enemy does all he can to discourage us from trying again. There are times when you desperately want others to acknowledge your success or give you that 'attaboy' pat on the back, and be met with stoney silence. You know in your heart it is a deliberate slight by those you thought would or should be happy for you. This too, is all testing prior to the dream coming to pass. Because what God has in mind for you can sometimes be so big, it astounds even you. It can be so awesome, that it makes others envious of the way you are getting blessed. You have to be able to handle that with grace and not offense.

Your purpose and the dream inside of you WILL come to pass if you give yourself to doing that ONE THING with excellence. You may be able to do a lot of things well, but the gift that you give yourself to, to do it with an excellent spirit, is the thing that will lead you into the birth of the dream of God. FOCUS. Pursue excellence in all you put your hand to do, and pray that the grace of God does for you what you cannot do for yourself. Your purpose will be fulfilled and joy will be the trademark of your life's work.

Healing For Your Soul

And Jabez called on the God of Israel saying, "Oh, that You would bless me indeed, and enlarge my territory; that Your hand would be with me, and that You would keep me from evil, that I might not cause pain!" So God granted Him what he requested. (1 Chron. 4:9,10).

Today we're going to dissect a little portion of scripture that has big implications. It's called the Prayer of Jabez. The story of Jabez is tucked away between genealogies in the 4th chapter of 1st Chronicles. It begins by informing us that Jabez was more honorable than his brothers. That's just half of the first sentence, but let's stop there for a moment.

Jabez was MORE honorable than his brethren. It doesn't say his brothers were a bunch of rascals. It just tells us that Jabez set the bar a bit higher and that was a notable quality about his life. Friends, what do you think others would deem notable about your life? It makes one stop and think, doesn't it? If we want our prayers to get the attention of heaven and compel answers to come forth, then I think this is our first clue as to why God granted Jabez' request. Live your life in such a way as to capture your Father's heart. Don't let there be any reason for Him to have to consider whether or not your petition is answered quickly! When Daddy hears your voice, let His immediate answer be a resounding YES, give her whatever she requests!

"...and his mother called his name Jabez, because she bore him in pain." (1 chronicles 4:9). So, imagine you're talking to your mom one day, and your conversation goes something like this: "Hey Mom! How did I get my name?" you ask innocently. "Well..." her voice trails off. Reluctantly, she continues. "Bringing you into this world was the greatest pain I have ever experienced. There was trouble all around. There were things going on in my life, you know...your daddy left and war made everything a fearful time. There was hardly enough to eat, and then you came along. It wasn't a good time to be having another baby, but what was I going to do? Five kids already and another mouth to feed, and I was all alone. There was just a lot of sadness and sorrow. Life wasn't good, so the name Jabez just seemed appropriate."

I can't imagine the sadness and sorrow this boy felt when he realized why he was named Jabez. His mother cursed him with a poor choice in names, but once Jabez discovered the meaning behind his name, he made a conscious choice to NOT cause pain. Back then, in biblical times, a person's name was deeply significant. Their name and destiny were very connected. Jabez obviously did not want to feel responsible for other people's pain, and that was incorporated into his heartfelt prayer. So here it is, all 4 lines of it.

And Jabez called on the God of Israel saying, "Oh, that You would bless me indeed, and enlarge my territory; that Your hand would be with me, and that You would keep me from evil, that I might not cause pain!" So God granted Him what he requested. (1 Chron. 4:9,10).

The rest of the story isn't available, only that God gave him what he asked for. But I can tell you this from experience and from praying this prayer myself. If we're serious about being a person of influence, the first thing God does is set about cleaning up our character so that we aren't a source of pain to others. He uncovers our weaknesses. He lovingly challenges us to surrender to the remolding and reshaping processes under the guidance of His tender care. We are all somewhere on this road of development, and we need to learn to be gentle towards one another, because none of us should want to be responsible for causing other people pain. Please tell me that you aren't so hurt and bitter that you relish the idea of getting back at someone else to cause them is not fulfilling. It only loads a person down with guilt and shame.

I pray that today you can take a new look at whatever your circumstances are, and know that God isn't punishing you or deliberately causing pain. Pain comes when we refuse to examine ourselves in light of His word and try to stay the same person that God is trying to change. God's purposes are always redemptive. If He is stripping you, then it's only so that you learn to ask the right questions and pray the prayers He wants to answer. If He is asking you to surrender your will over a situation, it's because you can't play god and ask Him to be God at the same time. The presence of pain, anger, fear or insecurity in our life is evidence that we have lies in our belief system that God is trying to root out. Pain is evidence of unhealed wounds. The truth of His word is what heals. When we get the revelation of His word in us, the lie is displaced and truth is what heals our fragmented soul. Let us come to Him eagerly and surrender the pain, the resistance, and the uncertainty so that our eyes can be opened to the truth that heals. When you aren't in pain, you have less of a chance of causing pain or offense to others. This is a secret Jabez understood. If he didn't want to repeat the pattern of causing pain like his own mother inflicted upon him through his name, it was up to him to break the cycle. Today, it's up to you, and with God's help, you can break every negative, painful cycle you've endured. Let today be a day of a fresh start!

 "That I might not cause pain..." The simple, heartfelt cry from Jabez' prayer is that he would not cause pain to others. Now THAT is an honorable prayer! People can cause pain to others in the least of ways that they don't even stop to think that's what they may be doing. What seems harmless to us may actually inflict unnecessary discomfort, pain or offense to others. Personal judgments are felt by others whether we intend them to or not. A raised eyebrow. Inflection in conversation or the use of a particular tone of voice can convey the thought that you disapprove of something in the life of another person. An attitude of rejection or many other messages are conveyed just as easily through body language as they are through verbalization, and they are just as wounding. When ever we carry judgments that tell us we know better than another person, we are going to end up hurting or offending them - even if that is not our intention. 

I have never wanted to be an instrument of pain to someone else, yet I have found that when I am pained in my soul, it can be ever-so-easy to do. When your soul is not at rest, when it feels anxious, angry or can begin to feel like you can't breathe. Out of our own discomfort, discouragement and distress, we can far too easily become the instrument of pain that releases negative words over others. This is what Jabez'  mother did when she named him out of her own pain. She actually caused a curse to occur over his life, and he could have lived with that identity forever - except there was something inside of him that longed to be free of that curse and longed to be free and healed! Jabez took his own destiny into his hands and said, "I will NOT become a source of pain!"

Your soul can't breathe if it's suffocating under the weights of anxiety, depression, over taxation from too much busyness and distraction, or the many things that can deplete us. If it continues over an extended period of time it can feel like you're suffocating. Make time to take time - for a time out. Rest your weary soul. In the words of our Lord, "Come to me, all you who are weary and heavy laden, and I will give you rest." Ask Holy Spirit to come and fill all those empty places with Him. I say to your storm: "Peace, BE STILL."

 Sensitivity to the Holy Spirit means that we pick up on these things (hopefully sooner rather than later) and be willing to yield to His Spirit so that we don't cause pain.

Holy Spirit,

Forgive me for all the times when I have needlessly inflicted pain or offense on others. I give You my heart, my mouth, and my entire being; just please don't let me cause pain to others. I will gladly yield myself to You so that no matter what the situation, You can speak through me. You can put a guard on my mouth, revise the outgoing message and adjust my body language so that I do not send negative messages. Forgive my proud judgments against other people. Forgive me for being a source of pain to others when I have spoken and acted negatively towards others out of the pain in my own soul. Breathe life and fresh breath into my soul, Holy Spirit. Let me soul and spirit be renewed and refreshed. Let me be an instrument of healing, encouragement and peace, and speak whatever You would say to others. Help me to withhold what ever is unnecessary so that Christ can be glorified and others are encouraged. In Jesus name., amen.

Sunday, February 16, 2014

A Prayer a Day Keeps the Enemy At Bay!

Do you know how wonderful it is to know that others are praying for you? I know there have been times when I felt so down and discouraged, and then someone I barely knew would comment that the Lord had laid it on their heart to pray for me and my family. Those moments are so amazing! It let's us know, just when we need a bit of encouragement, how greatly our Father loves us and is always thinking of us! Our friends, family members, even people we don't know and don't know us in our communities and city NEED our prayers! You never know what you can affect by simply saying a prayer. You CAN change the world, one prayer at a time! A prayer a day keeps the enemy at bay!

Father God, 

I pray for all those reading this post, that they may experience Your great grace today. Give them grace to forgive, grace to be compassionate and kind towards others, and grace for every situation, conversation or frustration they may encounter today. Give them restraint and self control when they feel tempted to say or do something that is not profitable, kind or considerate. Let every heart be full of thanksgiving and recognition of Your hand upon their lives.

Let every blind eye be opened and every deaf ear unstopped, in Jesus name. Let people receive, by supernatural intervention, deliverance from demonic attachments. I bind the spirits of pride, lust, heaviness, fear, insecurity, inferiority, jealousy, bitterness, rebellion and witchcraft against all those within my sphere of influence and the territory where you have given me authority. I release now the Spirit of Grace, Repentance, Mercy, Love, Forgiveness and Liberty. I release the Spirit of Adoption, the Spirit of Sight, Foresight, and Truth. Let every person that is touched by my prayer experience an eye opening, heart transforming, life changing encounter with Jesus Christ today. Let them be granted understanding so that they may receive spiritual truth and walk free from every constraint. I declare every blinder, every shackle, every yoke placed by the enemy is now broken in Jesus name.

I declare every hindrance, every curse, every condemning or hurtful word spoken against you to be broken, in Jesus name. I command all resistance, whether spiritual or natural, to be broken and removed at once, in Jesus name. I declare that your perception of your problem or that obstacle is radically changed to see things from a new perspective. Not as the enemy would want you to see, but as the Lord sees. I pray that you would be granted discernment to know exactly what your circumstances are telling you. I pray that you would be given understanding and discernment to tell the difference between what is a natural issue vs. what is actually a spiritual issue, and that God grant you wisdom to be able to know how to proceed to tackle every problem.

I ask You, Father, to bless your children with what is theirs. I pray that there would not be jealousy, contention or ill will from others when our blessings are unlocked and given into our hands. I ask for angelic assistance to be released into every life to lead people into their promise. I ask that each person would be properly prepared to receive what You have for them, and that their faith would not bottom out. Grant them the gift of supernatural faith to help them keep believing even when the circumstances seem discouraging. I pray that what You have determined is their spiritual inheritance would be released to them without delay. I ask You to give them Your vision and Your heart's desire, and they would be overcome by the power of Your great love for them. Let them be awestruck at how greatly, and how kindly You think of them. I declare blessing, grace, favor and promotion over every person in my family, my circle of friends and influence, my Facebook friends, my workplace, my community and my city. In Jesus name, I praise YOU, O God, for healing, breakthrough, restoration and blessing to flow as this prayer is released. Amen.

Out of the Web

 Shatter the lie and the walls of Jericho will come tumbling down. It's interesting in the fact that this picture of shattered glass actually resembles a spiderweb. A spider spins a web in order to catch its prey, and once it gets stuck in the web, the spider comes to do two things: bite the prey in order to anesthetize it, and spin more silk around the prey to immobilize it until death occurs.

That is exactly what the enemy does with us. Those painful bites from the enemy cause us to construct our own walls of Jericho around our hearts. Those walls of self preservation cause us to retreat mentally, emotionally and spiritually so that we actually become resistant to others that can help us get free.

Your Father loves you so tenderly, so completely, that one moment in His presence can shatter the lies that have you bound. He wants you to experience His love and grace, but He doesn't always work alone. He works through others with a gentle, loving, touch. Fear will keep you immobilized and lies will anesthetize you. They work to put you in a spiritual stupor so that you become more and more resistant to truth, loving guidance and the compassionate people the Lord sends into your life to help you. The web of lies is witchcraft used against you in order to gently lull you to sleep, dulling your hearing, dulling your senses, until you quietly reach a point of spiritual death. You are so desensitized by the continual spinning of lies that you don't even realize you are so near spiritual death, your spirit is suffocating and life is draining out of you.

Is that you today? Is something about this message ringing true with you? Do you feel a place where you have walls up that need to come down? You can be free! Don't accept the lie that you can't or won't ever be different. I pray for each person reading this, that God will send the truth that will shatter the lies that have held you captive.

Father God,

I pray for myself and for those I love (name them), that we would each receive a powerful revelation of truth that will shatter the lies the enemy has told us. Holy Spirit, please unravel every web of lies so that our belief system can be changed to receive the truth. Help us see ourselves the way heaven sees us, clothed in our true identity and understanding the authority we have as a child of God. Give us this day the understanding of our Father's heart towards us. In Jesus name, amen.

Saturday, February 1, 2014