The Big Question

2e52dd1d53Maybe it is time we define, “worship.” Maybe our self-made worship is more about us and our feelings than it is about drawing near to God and exalting and adoring the Lord God. Maybe we have turned our worship service into a self-serving manipulation of God turning the spotlight on my life rather than His glory. Maybe, just maybe, we need to define worship by going back to the Bible and seeing what God really desires.

When God created man it was for the dual purpose of fellowship and expression. Fellowship was the heartbeat of God for mankind to know and experience the love of God on an everyday basis. Expression was to manifest His glory upon them and within his creation; upon them for influence to reach for the souls of men and within them for personal hope and peace. When the glory of God illuminates upon a man He will influence others to righteous living. When the glory of God resides within a man, he will walk in integrity, transparency and peace.

When Adam and Eve sinned they lost fellowship and expression; they lost the everyday fellowship with a loving God and they lost the glory of God upon and within them. After their sin, God began earnestly looking for them and God asks the BIG QUESTION, “Where are you?” (Genesis 3:9). The first question God ever asked, and the most heart wrenching, the man and woman He created were gone; he sorrowfully asked, “Where are you?”

The BIG QUESTION needs to be asked today, “Where are you?” Are you living in everyday fellowship with a loving God and is the expression of His glory upon you and within you? God is looking for you, pursuing you so He might show His lavish love by everyday fellowship and supremely pour His glory upon and within you. He wants you to come to Him. He wants to be with you. “Where are you?”.

Let’s do a checkup. The following reveals the emptiness of living without the presence of God in our life:

 

  1. Frustration, anxieties and other emotional downfalls
  2. Provokes a man to live close on the edge of failure
  3. Friction at home escalates
  4. Financial pressures abound
  5. Emptiness creates larger vacuums
  6. Our heart becomes weary
  7. Complaining instead of worship flows from our mouth
  8. Our song, joy and dance is gone
  9. People problems become prevalent
  10. Life becomes complex and worrisome
  11. Fear is substituted for faith
  12. Weakness in our Spirit
  13. Job related problems increase
  14. We begin to withdraw from others
  15. Our attitude becomes obnoxious and defensive
  16. We cower from the presence of God
  17. The Word of God becomes boring
  18. Life is increasingly boring
  19. Depression and discouragement
  20. Loss of Hope

The good news is that one step in His direction and He will come running towards you. James 4:8 Draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh to you. The opportunity for more is within my grasp. Matthew 5:6 Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled. When you hunger for more, thirst for more, it is your initiative that brings God’s blessings. His glory is poured out upon a man who enlarges his capacity by total surrender of heart, mind, soul and body. The empty self gains the fullness of His glory. He is ever longing to speak to you, bless you, fill you, heal you, restore you and love you.

His presence is waiting for you now – He wants fellowship and to express His glory – to overflow you with His love and His glory.

Copyright by Jim Laudell. Materials may not be copied, reproduced or distributed without the written permission from the author. You may share on Facebook, Twitter, and other forms of social media while giving credit to the author. This post should not be construed as medical, legal or counseling advice.

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Are We Praying Wrong?

prayerPraying often has its dips and turns according to the emotional needs of the man or woman praying but what would happen if we changed one-act of prayer? No, I’m not advocating a new, improved or  “greater revelation” type change but a scriptural change to our prayer life. Of course, I am assuming prayer is a natural element of your Christian life. We have both, corporate and private prayer and unlike some, time spent praying is not as important as why we pray.

We all agree, to pray is to communicate with God, both speaking and listening but acting on our prayer has been virtually nonexistent. We are asking according to the Word of God; right? We have checked or examined our motives and heart; right? We have prayed earnestly and sincerely; right? Yet, no answer; why? I believe this simple act of stepping out or taking hold of it through action may be the very thing missing in most of our prayers.

Jesus asks the question, “Who do you say I am?” A very important question to ask our self as we pray, in fact, Jesus instructed us first to acknowledge the “I AM” when he taught the disciples how to pray, “Our Father, which art in heaven, hallowed is your name.” Hebrews also, reiterates, “You must believe that HE IS and is a rewarder of those who seek him.” Prayer is based not on His power but on His person, the I Am.

Once you believe in your prayer then it is time to act on your prayer.

Matthew 16:19 And I will give unto thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven. This was a direct message to the conquering church, just before Jesus promised the gates of hell could not prevail against the church. When people come together in corporate prayer act on the prayer by action.

My good friend, Clifford Hurst, pastor and Greek scholar, stated the Greek text states, heaven has already “loosed” or “bound” and now the church can act on it. That’s powerful! Praying in God’s purpose knows the work has already been accomplished and now we can rejoice in the prayer answered. Praise Him before the results come because we pray not for results or revelation but we have a relationship with the I AM. No, not a “name it, claim it” but a pray it – believe it.

Take for instance, Hannah prayed for a child and received the promise, she left the temple, knowing in her heart God had granted her request but the answer came gradually over the next nine months. She painted the nursery and put together the crib after she received the promise. When God puts the seed of faith in your heart then you can begin to act on it.

The greatest form of faith is when I walk out of the prayer room knowing God has heard me.

What have you been praying about? What can you do to act on it? Put shoes on your prayer. Take the step of faith. Build your relationship instead of hoping for results. Trust the I AM – believe and act.

Copyright by Jim Laudell. Materials may not be copied, reproduced or distributed without the written permission from the author. You may share on Facebook, Twitter, and other forms of social media while giving credit to the author. This post should not be construed as medical, legal or counseling advice.

What I Know About Problems

Your problem may not be a problem

Your problem may seem bigger than it is

Your problem may not be your problem

Your problem may not take as long as you think it will

Your problem may add something to your life rather than subtract

Your problem may be a miracle in disguise

Everyone has problems

God cares about your problems

Life and Longevity

Life is not measured by its longevity but by its quality. John Boy Walton, of the popular Walton series TV Miniseries, quipped, “Life is not measured by birthdays but by memories.” Life has its up and downs. Life always has those moments when we question the unexpected loss of someone we held dear to us but God said He alone is the giver of life. God expresses the quality of life is based on the fear of God so life and death are in the hands of God. There are parts of life and much of death we don’t understand. In fact, we know very little of what the other side looks like.

The Bible tells us about the streets of gold, the Crystal Sea, gates of pearl, the throne of God but little about what life is like in the eternal heavens. Jesus tells us He has gone to prepare a mansion for us but doesn’t tell us why we need a mansion in heaven. Jesus tells us there is no marriage nor giving of marriage in heaven; yet we will be known as we are known. Yet there is much about life in heaven we don’t understand. We wonder – what really awaits us after death, we speculate, wish and hope.

But there is one scripture in the Holy Bible that helps me more than any other. In Hebrews 11:1 -2b Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us, Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; …..  These witnesses are not mourning their passing but are rather standing on the balcony of heaven but watching below those who are still running the race. Not tears but applause. Not sorrow but cheering; Cheering on those who are yet to cross the finish line; Applause for everyone to run well; Applauding our efforts as we move closer and closer to the finish line.

In the stillness, of the midnight. Precious sacred scenes unfold,*  tears run silently down our cheek, in the pain of loneliness grips our soul, we are compelled to listen, to listen carefully to the soft applause of our loved one; “run, run well; keep on running, cross the finish line with faith; we applaud you.”

So while we may not see them it is definitely clear that they can see us and they are cheering us on – yes, you can make it.

 

*Precious Memories, original lyrics, © 1966 by Stamps-Baxter Music & Printing Co. J. B. F. Wright, author-composer of “Precious Memories” (originally copyrighted in 1925)

Copyright by Jim Laudell. Materials may not be copied, reproduced or distributed without the written permission from the author. You may share on Facebook, Twitter, and other forms of social media while giving credit to the author. This post should not be construed as medical, legal or counseling advice.

 

Spiritual Growth Habits for 2014

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Every year thousands of Christians begin their spiritual journey by diving into a devotional, Bible reading plan and usually, the Daniel Fast. Intending to make the best and most profitable increase in our inner man we go to the bookstore in search for the item that looks the best. Before you start; begin by discovering some of the devotionals, Daniel Fast plans and Bible reading plans outlined below.

Making the best of things begins by starting the best of things.

My Utmost for His Highest. This timeless classic is available in several formats, as well as, printed. If you have the YouVersion App downloaded on your phone or tablet https://www.bible.com there are several Bible reading plans available. A new addition this year is My Utmost For His Highest This special edition of Oswald Chambers’ timeless, widely read devotionals now includes Chambers’ personal prayers. From Discovery House Publishers. 30 days Journey. You will receive a daily reminder – if you wish; plus you can post to Facebook or Twitter your unique discoveries. Or, if you would like to read, My Utmost for His Highest by Oswald Chambers on your computer just go to http://utmost.org for a year’s worth of devotional thoughts and uplifting insights. If you wish you can go to iTunes and download My Utmost for His Highest app for Android or IPhone for $4.99

Streams in the Desert. This classic poignant devotional comes in three volumes in written form; this treasure never ceases to speak to me. However, go to the iTunes store and get a free download for your tablet or phone http://download.cnet.com/Streams-in-the-Desert-Devotional/3000-20412_4-75246497.html It comes with a daily reminder, bookmark and ability to add notes.

7:14 Prayer. I am really enjoying the 7:14 Prayer app on my IPad but it also works on my IPhone. You can set your own prayer list, pray for preformatted guidelines for praying for your area schools, the nation and up to date news prayer requests. This amazing app has a live feed showing people praying around the nation and an appointment reminder to “pray today.” Available free on ITunes https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/7-14-prayer/id585072149?mt=8

The Daniel Fast Maybe you would like to add the Daniel Fast to your prayer habits during the month of January. The 21 day Daniel Fast basically shuns, sugar, flour, meats and focuses on vegetables, fruits and grains. This is a great way to begin healthy and concentrate in prayer. If you would like more information my wife and I always go to http://www.daniel-fast.com or there are several books available on the subject. And there is an app for that at https://itunes.apple.com/app/id598090882

Comment: Do you have a favorite devotional you are using?

Copyright by Jim Laudell. Materials may not be copied, reproduced or distributed without the written permission from the author. You may share on Facebook, Twitter, and other forms of social media while giving credit to the author. This post should not be construed as medical, legal or counseling advice.

Engaged? What’s Missing?

The one thing missing from the engagement scene has been either overlooked or ignored.

The gathering of dating or courtship information is often overwhelming and sometimes confusing. Add engagement and the advice gets more intense.  Parents, pastors, teachers, friends and coaches give helpful, useful and insightful advice, in abundance. There is not a shortage to opinions, Tweets or advice.

But there is still one thing missing.

When my wife and I were dating and came to the serious discussions of marriage we both realized we were marrying for love, for life and for ministry. It was the last one, for ministry, that stopped us both long enough to weigh out the consequences of making a wrong decision; either marrying at the wrong time or worse; marrying the wrong person. Our ministry was at stake. Who we were and who we were to become was the bigger picture.

Upon mutual agreement, we separated temporarily, her going to be with some friends and me, staying in Texas, until we both heard from God and felt the peace of God. Like Isaac and Rebekah; we knew God had brought us together, now would God keep us together? During the many days that passed we prayed, fasted and listened to God. To better tune our ears into God’s will we both agreed not to have any communication between us during this time. Finally, on the same day we both felt the peace and when she called at 10:00 in the evening; I was ready to bring her back to Texas and begin planning the wedding day.

The one thing missing in many courtships and dating scenarios is the search for God’s blessing and

approval upon the marriage of two individuals who are in love with each other.

After 36 years we are happily married and enjoying the blessings of the Lord. While reading Proverbs recently I was alerted in my spirit about the numerous times God mentions a “wife” in the scriptures. It is a reminder to me of God’s involvement in our marriage.

Proverbs 5:18 Let thy fountain be blessed: and rejoice with the wife of thy youth. God’s word is clear that sex belongs within the moral boundaries of marriage and it is to be enjoyable. The blessing of children and grandchildren are God’s reminder of His faithfulness and a His promise for the future.

Proverbs 18:22 Whoso findeth a wife findeth a good thing, and obtaineth favour of the LORD. Simply God is intrinsically involved in the process of finding a good wife and brings His favor into the marriage. It isn’t a coincidence Jesus performed His first miracle at a wedding – expressing His delight and approval on a Christian marriage.

Proverbs 19:14 House and riches are the inheritance of fathers: and a prudent wife is from the LORD. While deceased mothers or fathers may leave an inheritance in their will – it is the cautious, careful and decisive wife which is a gift from God. God presents a man with a wife and crowns the marriage with His divine presence.

Comment: How do you pray for your marriage each day? What do you think is the most effective way to pray for your marriage?

Copyright by Jim Laudell. Materials may not be copied, reproduced or distributed without the written permission from the author. You may share on Facebook, Twitter, and other forms of social media while giving credit to the author. This post should not be construed as medical, legal or counseling advice.