Living Light

Stirring The Deep


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A Superhero’s Strength (PART II)

A Superhero’s Strength

(PART II)

Continued from previous post, How to Become a Superhero (PART I)

What does working in God’s strength mean?

In 2006, God called me to write. At the time, I didn’t like writing. I didn’t think I could write. I had nightmares of writing from the months of writing my masters thesis in graduate school and a corresponding chapter for a scientific book. (sounds exciting, hey?) It was probably one of my least favorite activities. So the fact that I felt compelled to write, I knew it wasn’t my idea, but God’s – especially because I’d be writing about a relationship with Him. After a painstaking week of making the decision to leave the familiar waters of my career behind and plunge into unknown depths, I committed to it. The next day, I sat down, prayed and started writing and … the words flowed. Every morning as I sat down at the computer I prayed – God help me, I can’t do this alone. He always did. I was and still am totally dependent on Him to put words on a page for others to read.

Once committed, God gave me the desire. I enjoy writing. It’s fulfilling and challenging. It’s surprisingly rewarding. It’s been an incredible experience of acting in and depending on God’s strength.

However, though God has shown His faithfulness in this venture every day for five years, I still get a little anxious each time. I am still completely dependent on Him because it has always been about His strength and not mine. However, though it’s “uncomfortable” and I feel “out of control” it’s glorious at the same time as I see His working in my life and I wouldn’t trade it for anything.

The Role of Prayer

One of the most powerful ways of embracing God’s strength is through prayer. When we are in God’s will, what we pray will be done. John 15:7 Prayer of a believer who is seeking God’s will is extremely powerful.

In prayer we are reminded God is in control. It’s His power and not ours that makes a difference. In prayer, we humble ourselves to His will. We shift our confidence from us to God. We sync up our lives with His will. We are asking God to do the best for all effected by a situation. We are aligning our minds with truth. We look to God’s strength not ours. We admit our need for help and call upon God to help. Prayer stirs things up. It changes the situation. When we are in line with God’s will, our prayers are powerful.

Dealing with Difficult People

An example I’m sure many can relate to of working in God’s strength where prayer has proven powerful is dealing with difficult family members. Ones who have treated us or those we love poorly. Who have taken advantage. Who have abused the privileges of being part of a family.

On one occasion, as I was seeking God’s counsel with a family member, He told me to establish healthy boundaries but to love that person. (The boundaries would help me to love.) On our own truly loving someone like this can be a difficult task. The resentment, pain or anger may be too much to get past. We can try to fake love and care, but it’s not only hypocritical but a waste of time because our true feeling come out.

However being God’s will that we love him/her, He will provide what we need to truly love. I’ve seen Him do it time and time again. Our part is to be willing to walk in God’s will and submit to it and pray. (It’s easy for our pride to interfere with a willing heart to be humble and love.) With a willing heart, we pray for a heart to love that difficult person. Before each interaction with him/her, we pray for God to give us the right heart and mind. We ask other believers to pray for us.

Summing Up

When we are operating in God’s strength, instead of trusting ourselves to accomplish a project, grow a business, repair a relationship, provide for our family, or protect our family, we can look to God to do those things through us. His strength gives us the ability to do what we do with resolve, persistence and passion. We can approach each day with the attitude of doing what is in front of us, leaving the outcome is in His hands. We are obedient to Him, and leave the results up to Him. Not only does this provide a tremendous peace, but what He’ll do through you will surprise you.

One warning … be prepared to only receive what you need today. God will provide what we need, when we need it. Philippians 4:19. The problem is we want strength not just for today but the rest of the year. We want to feel superhuman. However, God gives what we need today. That daily provision keeps us dependent on Him and not ourselves so that we don’t make an idol of ourselves, or anything else. It is for our own protection and freedom. Matthew 6:34.

2 Corinthians 12:9, Philippians 4:13

If God has put a passion or purpose on your heart don’t give up. Don’t trust in you or your strength, trust in His. Pray and move forward and see how He brings it to pass. You were never meant to accomplish anything alone. Purposes created by God whether our vocation or to truly love another can only be accomplished by the union of you and Him. Yes, it can be uncomfortable living beyond yourself and yet it’s glorious at the same time because you constantly see God at work in and through your life. It creates an intimacy with God that is rich because of the level of dependency and connection you have to have to live and work in His strength.

What will your life story tell? What do you want it to tell? Let it be a powerful story because you trusted in God’s strength that took you to places beyond yourself.


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The Power of Prayer

The Power of Prayer

Sophie: During the Sneezing Days

The event I describe below occurred at the beginning of last year. This experience radically altered my perspective of my prayer life. Since then, my belief continues to increase in the power of prayer. Prayer is indeed one of the most powerful things we can do.

Malcolm and Sophie are two of my cherished treasures. God uses these Ragdoll felines to teach me many lessons, but . . . I have to seek those lessons. About a month and a half after they moved in, Sophie started sneezing. When it continued to progress to mucus flying out her nose, I took her to the vet and discovered it was an upper respiratory infection. On antibiotics, she immediately started getting better. After being off them for a couple of days, it came back and continued to get worse. We went through another around of antibiotics. Again, she got better, but after a couple of days it returned. Poor thing! I hated putting all these antibiotics in her because I was sure it would have long term affects on her little immune system. Once more, back to the vet. He took some cultures so in a couple of days we would know exactly what bacteria was the culprit. The next day she was sneezing up a storm, which was common because getting the cultures irritated her little nose. But at that point I had enough! I’d been praying for God to heal her, but it dawned on me I hadn’t sought for the lesson in all this. God, what are you trying to teach me? Obviously it wasn’t a lesson for Sophie, it must be for me.

Thankfully, God quickly replied. It had to do with the power of prayer for others. Here’s what I learned. I love Sophie more than you would think a human could love a cat. God loves me and all that concerns me is His concern. He cares for Sophie but also because of my love for her. When we care deeply about someone, God not only desires to help that person for her sake but also because of His care for us. His concern is heightened because of our concern – that is the nature of love. Heart-felt prayer spoken in faith shows we believe in God’s love for us. It’s critical that we believe God loves us because it affects our prayers. This is another reason we need to understand our value, last week’s blog. We need to have a sense of value of ourselves to be able to accept and believe God’s love for us so we can pray with the conviction that our prayers matter.

God needed me to understand this truth so I would pray for those He laid on my heart with the confidence that my prayers made an impact. I needed to believe that my prayers influenced Him because of His love for me, which then could affect the lives of others. Otherwise, my lack of belief drained the power of my prayers. See, my belief in the power of prayer had started to wane. I had started to think my prayers didn’t have THAT much impact. This mindset crept in as I was seeking to understand His sovereignty. He is in control and His will prevails so how much impact do my prayers really have? Not much was my thought until this situation. I didn’t realize how strongly I was holding this false belief until this lesson. I knew prayer was important, but I didn’t understand how much of an impact it had, especially mine. Now I know that my concern and love enhances His concern because that is love. This is the power of prayer of God’s children in numbers. If you had one child concerned about a pet – how much that would affect your heart. What if you had five children concerned – how much more would that affect your heart?

But it isn’t just about numbers, but about the state of the heart. There is power manifested when we intercede for another out of love. This is why our love needs to be with sincerity. Love is an extremely powerful force in our lives. It changes others. It moves the heart of God. This is why it is important to seek the love of God to replace our corrupted version of it so that we can truly love others because if affects our prayers for them. If we are just saying the words and our hearts are distant, then the power of prayer is sapped. That’s why vain repetitions are a waste of time. Matthew 6:7 But if we pray with conviction because we truly care it has a considerable impact. This is why sometimes God “lays” someone on our heart. We have a strong pull to pray for them, because the heart matters.

When I realized this insight about the power of prayer wrapped in love and sincerity, Sophie stopped sneezing that night. The cultures came back revealing a certain bacterium, but she was better. Isn’t God good? Glad I asked. She was going through what she did to teach me. I never would have stopped and sought if she wasn’t sick. And my seeking brought me to a very important lesson about the significance of heart-felt prayer.

God loves His children beyond what we can imagine. His heart for us is mighty and what concerns us concerns Him. Prayer is to teach us many things and one is how much He loves us. Even if He doesn’t seem to be healing a child or delivering them from an unhealthy lifestyle or friendship – know that He cares more so for that child because He cares for their life and that is amplified because of your care for them and His care for you. We can’t see the big picture. We don’t know what they may need to go through to learn what they need to learn. But God is listening if you are rightly related to Him through Christ. Proverbs 15:29 We have certain expectations about how things should play out, but God holds everything in His hands. If I hadn’t gone through the tough times I did as a kid, ones I’m sure my mom wished I avoided, then perhaps I wouldn’t have drawn near to God like I have. From those experiences, I learned my need for Him and the extent of His love for me. In the end, her prayers were answered, but it wasn’t a path she expected, but that path I needed to travel. We need to be careful of our expectations and make sure they are in God. If we are God’s and praying with the right heart and motive about a matter, we need to trust that God is working things out as they should be. We have expectations about what the best path or answer to that prayer would be, but we haven’t a clue. We need to trust in His divine wisdom to work it out to everyone’s best.

James 4:3 You ask and do not receive, because you ask amiss, that you may spend it on your pleasures.

1 Peter 3:12 For the eyes of the Lord are on the righteous, And His ears are open to their prayers; But the face of the Lord is against those who do evil.”

James 5:16 Confess your trespasses to one another, and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much.

Proverbs 15:8 The sacrifice of the wicked is an abomination to the Lord, But the prayer of the upright is His delight.

Needless to say, my prayer life totally changed. Our faith is everything. Our belief affects the power our prayer holds. John 14:12-13 I needed and am thankful for this lesson to increase my faith in the power of prayer. And I’m very glad Sophie is no longer sneezing!!

Sophie: Today

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Power of Thanksgiving

Power of Thanksgiving

Philippians 4:6 Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God;

My prayer journal is divided into three parts; praise, prayer and insights. And praise being first is essential.

Each morning, I start with praise – thanking God for all that He has done, for all the ways He has revealed Himself to me, for dwelling in His presence and all it entails. It is overwhelming. When I get to my requests my doubts and wavering have subsided, and I present them with conviction, power and faith that every care is His concern and He will provide in the perfect way and time.

This wasn’t always the case. I used to just start pouring out my heart, but my prayers lack the same confidence and faith. Putting praise first I believe made a significant difference in the impact of my prayers because it altered my mind from a state of lack and need to one of power and faith.

I think this resolve is why we are to make our requests know to God with thanksgiving. When we acknowledge all that He has done and who He is to us then it puts our requests in the right perspective – in the hands of a mighty God who loves us more than we can imagine and who is faithful to the end.

Giving thanks fuels our faith so that when we pray we do so with conviction because we focus our minds on the power and love of God at work in our lives. Faith pleases God because it is acting on our beliefs in God’s wisdom and truth, not this world’s. Faith, our beliefs in motion, is the foundation to everything we do. Faith is the power of our lives. It changes the world around us. When we meditate on what He has done it strengthens our beliefs in Him and the power of our beliefs affect our circumstances. If our faith is weak His power will be weak in our lives, if it is strong He will be strong. Matthew 13:58 Faith is everything. Thanksgiving ignites our faith in our prayers.

As I reflected back on this year, all that God has done my jaw drops. I can’t imagine going through this life without God as so many do. Why would anyone what to? Out from under the lies and control of religion . . . what God desires for us is what we all desire deep in our souls.

Without Him this year I would have missed out on; abiding in His presence on a daily basis, experiencing true, unconditional, and pure love to know and to give, witnessing His work in the lives around me, hearing His voice of counsel, guidance, and comfort, enjoying a stronger marriage, healing in several of my relationships, blessed with new meaningful friendships, being set free from fears, healing inside and out, provision during a trying financial year, protection on many levels, peace through a questionable economy, experiencing an underling rest each day, comfort in my soul in the midst of trials, insights into the truth about me and others, understanding about this world, and on and on.

Reflecting back gives me great anticipation as I welcome each new day, how will I see His perfect love played out today? From a gal who once struggled with depression and questioned why live, meeting the day with excitement and anticipation is amazing.

When our lives our infused with Him, He is glorified.


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Mountain Moving Prayer

Mountain Moving Prayer

 

Without God’s incessant guidance mankind creates destruction because of its own wicked and selfish heart. We see man’s insufficiency in government oppression, mismanagement leading to poverty, abundant financial debt, hideous animal and child abuse, and the widespread lies leading to spiritual death. When self is in control – mankind suffers.

As believers with the power of God on our side and the ability to call upon Him, we can be an influential force in the world for God’s purposes. In the stillness of prayer, we galvanize the strength of God. If we trust our own strength we are fighting a losing battle. Good will only come if we call upon and trust in God’s power and not man’s. Ezra 9:12

Many pray then go off and fight the battle in their own strength in the name of God. We are never to fight in our own strength. The act of prayer, which we are to do unceasingly, means we are acknowledging God’s strength, surrendering to His power, and letting Him direct our steps and guide our actions – not us.

God wants us to call upon Him for this forsaken world and He wants to show the world His power and might through His people – that is you and me. God wants our faith to drive us with conviction to His feet and in response He will restore, mend, and heal according to His will.

1 Timothy 2:1-3 Therefore I exhort first of all that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks be made for all men, 2 for kings and all who are in authority, that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and reverence. 3 For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior,

2 Chronicles 7:14 if My people who are called by My name will humble themselves, and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land.

Where we need to start in our fervent prayers is for our own people, the true Church. To be effective outwardly we have to be healthy inwardly. We have been beaten up and weakened by a religious mindset, mega churches, works mentality, deception, shortage of truth, lack of abiding in God’s Word, being taught by man instead of the Spirit, and neglecting the ubiquitous call to be one with Him. We have become too complacent with spiritual and physical decrepit lives for ourselves and our brethren, when those lives are supposed to be abundant and glorifying to God.

Understanding the impact of interceding on each other’s behalf is exemplified in Moses. God, completely frustrated with Israel, planned to destroy them, but Moses interceded and God saved them. Psalm 106:23 Moses’ prayer turn the tides for a nation headed for destruction.

But what made Moses’ prayer so successful, and what will make ours?

1. Intimacy with God – Moses’ effectiveness resulted from the intimacy he cultivated with God. Like our earthly relationships, we develop intimacy with God by spending time with Him one-on-one, listening to and abiding in His words and not man’s interpretations, growing in knowledge, and cultivating trust. Moses knew God face to face. For our prayers to have power we have to pray in spirit and truth and that means we intimately know our Lord and our spirits in Him are healthy and thriving. Praying without abiding in the Word is a self-center focus and a one-way relationship. To get our focus on Him and to develop true intimacy, we need to abide in His personal revelation to us, Jesus Christ, the Word. John 1:14

2. Understanding God’s will – Moses knew God’s will to be glorified through Israel. Exodus 32:10-14. God’s will is not the same for all people. Some people He wanted to completely destroy like the pagan nations as the Israelites moved into the promise land Deuteronomy 31:3. Some He wanted to save like Nineveh Jonah 3:10. We have to seek God’s will in every area of our lives and the lives of others because He is sovereign and all knowing and not follow our wills which are limited and deceived. Walking daily with God, Moses understood His heart. We come to understand His will by daily abiding in His truth. When we pray His will we honor Him, not us. If we don’t seek His will, we aren’t listening to Him but advocating our own agenda, however good we think it may be. In being taught by the Spirit, we find that these stories about destroying the pagan nations is about letting the truth of God destroy our internal enemies; pride, arrogance, selfishness, self-rigteousness, etc. As for others, we are called to love all and treat others as we want to be treated. Love is what heals and renews and what is needed.

3. Trust in God’s mercy. From their experiences together, Moses developed a steadfast faith in the mercy of God. He knew what God was capable of, what they deserved, but knew He was a God of mercy. He didn’t rely on his own goodness to save these people. His hope was in God’s compassion alone.

Moses made a profound difference from his conversation with God so can we when our prayers are based on a similar relationship with our Father. We have access to the power of God so we can be victorious as a nation of His people. As we continue to seek after God’s heart so we can pray in spirit and truth, His power will heal us and be manifested in us infusing His goodness into the world.

Proverbs 15:8b But the prayer of the upright is His delight.

James 5:16 Confess your trespasses to one another, and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much