Category: prayer


July 15, 2013
Ask and You Will Receive
Mary Southerland

Today’s Truth

Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you (Matthew 7:7, NIV).

Friend to Friend

I have always loved giving gifts to my children – all kinds of gifts including hugs, kisses, time, and love – as well as material things like toys, books, and clothes. When the kids were young we didn’t have much money, so the gifts were small, but the kids didn’t seem to mind. I often scrimped and saved in order to buy a certain item for a birthday or for Christmas, and loved every minute of it.

Dan and I now have five grandchildren and I am in so much trouble! I want to give them everything! I know I need to give them the important things such as love, time and training in the ways of God, but I find myself in the same situation I was in when our son and daughter were babies – little money but a big desire to give.

I once took our daughter-in-law shopping for Jaydan and Lelia, our five-year-old twins. I had a list of items I wanted to purchase but was disappointed when I found only half of the items on the list. However, it was getting late, and the babies began to “tell” us that they were ready for dinner and bedtime. We checked out, loaded the babies into the car, and headed home.

When Jodi leaned over to kiss my cheek and thank me for the gifts, I looked at her and said, “You are so welcome, honey, but it’s not enough!” Jodi chuckled, but I was serious! “No, you don’t understand,” I continued.  “We have to go shopping again because I haven’t given the babies enough and my heart is not excited enough yet!” I know. I am totally ruined, but I am going to try very hard not to ruin Jaydan and Lelia. (The projected success rate does not look good right now, but I promise to work on it.)

On the way home, I began to analyze my words and my heart. I fully realize that material things won’t satisfy the deepest needs of our grandchildren. I am also committed to investing time in their lives to help them find Jesus Christ and discover His plan for their lives. Honestly, I don’t really know how to explain what I feel for our grandchildren, but it is sort of like watching my heart walk around on the outside of my body. I know I can love them in so many ways…and I do…and I will…but I always want to give them more.

Our Father has the same heart – a giving heart – when it comes to giving His children good things. The problem is that we don’t really believe that truth. We tend to measure His love and benevolent heart of giving by how much we have done or accomplished, or even by what we haven’t done and promise not to do.

We are missing the truth that God’s love simply cannot be measured. God doesn’t love us because we are so lovable. God loves us because He is love.

One of the most tragic results of our unbelief is an ineffective prayer life. We pray, not really believing that God wants to or really will answer those prayers. Jesus addresses this issue in Matthew 7:7-11.

Matthew 7:7-11 “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; he who seeks finds; and to him who knocks, the door will be opened. Which of you, if his son asks for bread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a snake? If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him?”

Jesus is teaching about prayer and about the very nature of God. He relates it to something we all can understand, the child-parent relationship. The son has been out in the fields working all day long and by the time he comes home, he is starving. His family is seated at the dinner table as dishes of steaming, delicious food are being passed around. I can almost see that tired and hungry boy’s eyes zeroing in on the food, salivating in anticipation of the meal before him. Then imagine that the father, seeing the hunger of his child, picks up a rock, tosses it to his son and says, “Here! Eat this!” Jesus is driving home the truth that good fathers want to give their kids good gifts. Now if this is true of earthly parents (and grandparents), imagine what our Heavenly Parent wants to give us – if only we would ask.

No one’s voice sounds sweeter to God than your voice, girlfriend. Nothing in the universe could keep Him from giving you His full attention when you pray. In fact, He longs to hear your prayer. In Psalm 34:8, the psalmist invites us to “taste and see that the LORD is good.” In this verse, “Lord” means “Jehovah, Abba Father.” In other words, your Abba Father, Dearest Daddy, is inviting you to come to Him in childlike faith, with a hungry heart so He can fill it with the gifts of peace, contentment and a satisfied spirit.

Don’t think you have to figure out a way to steal a blessing from God. Don’t believe you have to trick Him into giving up what He would rather keep for Himself. It is God’s very nature to give to His children. He has made all of His resources available to you. Do not doubt for a moment that He is a giving God with a heart that longs to bless, to encourage, to empower and to love you. God is not only able to answer your prayer, but God wants to answer your prayer. Ask and you will receive.

Pray Praying!

    Pray While Praying

Lord Heal

Lord, there is someone hurting today. Someone has been left to bear a most pressing burden on their own; lift that burden and give them rest. Someone has been seized by the unbearable pain of abandonment; hold them in your arms and caress away the hurt. Someone is perplexed by the enigmatic conundrums that seem to plague their lives; simply this moment so that they can exhale.

Lord, somebody is at the point of giving up, shine a light into their darkness so that they may see that they are standing on the edge of a breakthrough. Lord someone has been convinced that their life is not worth living, reveal the cross so they will see that you thought so much of their life that you gave yours to save it. ~ Dr. Rick Wallace

In Everything

April 14

In Everything

“In nothing be anxious” (Phil. 4:6).

No anxiety ought to be found in a believer. Great, many and varied may be our trials, our afflictions, our difficulties, and yet there should be no anxiety under any circumstances, because we have a Father in Heaven who is almighty, who loves His children as He loves His only-begotten Son, and whose very joy and delight it is to succor and help them at all times and under all circumstances. We should attend to the Word, “In nothing be anxious, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God.”

“In everything,” that is not merely when the house is on fire, not merely when the beloved wife and children are on the brink of the grave, but in the smallest matters of life, bring everything before God, the little things, the very little things, what the world calls trifling things — everything — living in holy communion with our Heavenly Father, arid with our precious Lord Jesus all day long. And when we awake at night, by a kind of spiritual instinct again turning to Him, and speaking to Him, bringing our various little matters before Him in the sleepless night, the difficulties in connection with the family, our trade, our profession. Whatever tries us in any way, speak to the Lord about it.

“By prayer and supplication,” taking the place of beggars, with earnestness, with perseverance, going on and waiting, waiting, waiting on God.

“With thanksgiving.” We should at all times lay a good foundation with thanksgiving. If everything else were wanting, this is always present, that He has saved us from hell. Then, that He has given us His Holy Word — His Son, His choicest gift — and the Holy Spirit. Therefore we have abundant reason for thanksgiving. O let us aim at this!

“And the peace of God which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.” And this is so great a blessing, so real a blessing, so precious a blessing, that it must be known experimentally to be entered into, for it passeth understanding. O let us lay these things to heart, and the result will be, if we habitually walk in this spirit, we shall far more abundantly glorify God, than as yet we have done.
–George Mueller, in Life of Trust

***

Twice or thrice a day, look to see if your heart is not disquieted about something; and if you find that it is, take care forthwith to restore it to calm.
–Francis De Sales

http://rickwallaceministries.bbnow.org

http://rickwallaceministries.com 

I want each of you to pick up your iPhones, EVO’s, and all of those other smart phones, turn off the screen until its dark and then look at your reflection in that iPhone and I want you to tell yourself, “Self, I am coming out and I am coming out with my hands up! I coming out of every dark situation with my hands held high in victory. God has promised that he would deliver me.I am coming out of the trap of selfish ambitions.
I am coming out of depression.
I am coming out of low self-esteem.
I am coming out of financial difficulty.
I am coming out of this abusive relationship.
I am coming out of confusion and despair.
i am coming out of subpar living
I am coming out of the sphere of dwarfed goals
I am coming out of weak moments and poor decisionsLook to God and tell Him that you glory in His name and you rest in the promises of His Word. Self, I know that God has something for me, for His Word says that Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, nor has it entered into the hearts of men all of the things that God has prepared for those that wait on Him. Self, hold on a little while longer, the breakthrough is coming. Self, settle yourself into the peace that transcends all understanding and wait for the flow of God’s awesome power to reach into this situation. Self, I am coming out. I coming out with my praise in tact. I am coming out with my joy in place. I am coming out with my song ever refreshed in my soul. I coming out with a new testimony. I am coming out with new wings to soar. I am coming with a Dance like David’s. I am coming out with vision and purpose in view.

Praise God.

The Potency of Prayer (Revised)

by Rick Wallace original written on Thursday, November 11, 2010 at 1:01pm Revised on Monday, March 21, 2011

The Potency of Prayer

 

Foundation Scripture: Mark 11:22-24; James 4:2-3

 

And Jesus, replying, said to them, Have faith in God [constantly].

23Truly I tell you, whoever says to this mountain, Be lifted up and thrown into the sea! and does not doubt at all in his heart but believes that what he says will take place, it will be done for him.

24For this reason I am telling you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe (trust and be confident) that it is granted to you, and you will [get it]. (Mark 11:22-24 AMP)

 

You are jealous and covet [what others have] and your desires go unfulfilled; [so] you become murderers. [To hate is to murder as far as your hearts are concerned.] You burn with envy and anger and are not able to obtain [the gratification, the contentment, and the happiness that you seek], so you fight and war. You do not have, because you do not ask.

3[Or] you do ask [God for them] and yet fail to receive, because you ask with wrong purpose and evil, selfish motives. Your intention is [when you get what you desire] to spend it in sensual pleasures. (James 4:2-3 AMP)

 

As we embark on today’s journey into the infallible Word of God, it is my earnest and heartfelt desire that God will reveal Himself in a powerful and succinct way.

 

It is now that I pray that God illuminate and elucidate His Word that we may be able to grasp in depth its true meaning; that it may touch our hearts in a manner that draws us ever closer to Him. I pray also that God decrease me in every way and increase Himself within me, that the message

is that of God and not of me. I further pray that the hearts of those that receive this message will be anointed with a spirit of lucidity, that they might receive the message in a manner that they are able to apply it to their daily lives, Thereby becoming more powerful and effective in their walk with Christ. This is my prayer. Amen

 

Today’s text focuses on the subject of prayer; not just prayer in the broad sense of the word, but more specifically, the effectiveness of true prayer.  We are concerned here today with prayer that is efficacious as well as perpetual in its efficacy.

 

It is my opinion that though prayer is the most powerful weapon in our arsenal, it is the most misused, underused, and misunderstood as well. I will endeavor to bring some lucidity to the function of prayer and its benefits.

 

What is prayer? Well, before we address this question, let discuss what prayer is not. Prayer is not a method of getting God’s attention, for God is perfectly cognizant of every detail in your life. Through His Divine attribute of omniscience, he knows all there is to know and does not need you to bring any of it to His attention. Prayer is not attempting to convince God to do something on your behalf, for God has already done all that is needed. Hebrews 4:3 tells us that the works were finished before the foundations of the World. This means that all that will ever be needed to function, progress, and prosper in the ethereal journey we call Christianity has already been completed by God in eternity past. Let’s look at this passage of scripture a little closer because there is a wealth of power in the apprehension of this passage.

 

3For we who have believed (adhered to and trusted in and relied on God) do enter that rest, ]in accordance with His declaration that those [who did not believe] should not enter when He said, As I swore in My wrath, They shall not enter My rest; and this He said although [His] works had been completed and prepared [and waiting for all who would believe] from the foundation of the world.)

4For in a certain place He has said this about the seventh day: And God rested on the seventh day from all His works.

5And [they forfeited their part in it, for] in this [passage] He said, They shall not enter My rest.

We see in verse 3 that the works had most definitely been completed before hand (before the foundations of the world0, but we also see that just because God has provided the inheritance, does not guarantee that all will receive them. There are some requirements that precede the obtainment of the inheritance. In this particular passage of scripture the inheritance in question is “REST”. The writer in Hebrews in comparing the Nation of Israel in the wilderness and the contemporary believer, both having the Gospel preached to them. The Israelites had failed to enter into their rest (the promised land of Canaan) because of unbelief and the disobedience associated with the unbelief.

 

2For indeed we have had the glad tidings [Gospel of God] proclaimed to us just as truly as they [the Israelites of old did when the good news of deliverance from bondage came to them]; but the message they heard did not benefit them, because it was not mixed with faith (with [c]the leaning of the entire personality on God in absolute trust and confidence in His power, wisdom, and goodness) by those who heard it;[d]neither were they united in faith with the ones [Joshua and Caleb] who heard (did believe). (Heb. 4:2 AMP)

 

6Seeing then that the promise remains over [from past times] for some to enter that rest, and that those who formerly were given the good news about it and the opportunity, failed to appropriate it and did not enter because of disobedience, Heb. (4:6 AMP)

So it is quite important that we understand that although the inheritance has been prepared for us, it is not automatic. We have to execute our faith, and we do that through by exercising our faith which produces obedience. One more thing to take notice of here is that the writer makes mention of the fact that God rested on the seventh day. This does not have any religious or sacramental implication, but what it speaks of here is the fact that God rested after His work was completed, and this transfers to us in that we shall receive the prepared inheritance after we have completed the work. The work for the Israelites in the wilderness was to believe and trust God,

which would have led to their obedience and their moving into the rest of the promised land. The same applies to the contemporary believer; we must execute faith and move in obedience to receive the inheritance.

 

Okay then, we have, at least a minimal understanding of what prayer is not, but then what is prayer? How does it work? Why do so many fail in their prayer lives? These are the questions I will endeavor to answer for you today. Unfortunately, too many believers are struggling in the area of prayer, mainly because they don’t have an understanding of its function. It is extremely difficult to operate in any area without some type of understanding of the dynamic process of what you are doing.

 

In defining prayer, we can say prayer is that function that allows immediate access to the throne room of God. It is open fellowship between the believer and his creator. It involves both, talking and listening; reaching out to God with fervency and passion. It is sharing our concerns and desires. Prayer is the believer’s most effective tool in developing a more intimate and active relationship with God and it opens the portal to power.

 

Prayer is a communication system designed by God, which in essence, opens up the portal to unlimited resources that through salvation have been placed at our disposal. It would be remiss to take a lethargical approach to our prayer life. Look at what God says concerning prayer in the book of Isaiah:

 

“It will come to pass that before they call, I will answer; and while they are still speaking, I will hear. (Isa. 65:24 NASB)

 

God, in eternity past, knew through His omniscience every prayer that every believer would offer up to him. God’s omnipotence gives him the absolute power to provide in advance the answer to everyone of these prayers. Let’s look even deeper into the Word concerning prayer:

 

I love the LORD because He has heard    my appeal for mercy. (A)

2 Because He has turned His ear to me,    I will call [out to Him] as long as I live. (Psalm 116:1-2 HCSB)

 

“I will call on Him as long I live.” What a powerful statement. David is saying that he will never cease to call on the Lord. We are told to pray without ceasing, 1 Thessalonians 5:17. With the power and effectiveness linked to prayer, why would anyone be satisfied with a perfunctory and stagnant prayer life? I believe one of the issues with prayer is that most of us for one reason are another, don’t have the productivity we desire from prayer.

 

In fact, the ineffectiveness of the Christian prayer life has become an ever increasing concern of mine. In analyzing the multitudinous conversations I’ve shared with some of you, I have noticed a lack of fervor, a lack of desire, and a lack of anticipation when it comes to prayer. James 5:16 tells us that the effectual fervent prayers of a righteous man avails much. What this means is that the heartfelt, expectant prayers have potency.

 

Unfortunately, too many of us have ascribed a sense of mundanity to our prayers. I might even dare to say that some view prayer as a necessary task or duty instead of an expectant privilege. Prayer has become ritualistic; we have confused religion with relationship. Christianity is not religion; it is a relationship that culminates in becoming one with Christ. It is a lived lifestyle, not a sacramental obligation! Religion has crippled us and made us mechanical and unresponsive the voice and promptings of God. We can’t hear God when he speaks because our movements are not properly motivated. We move out of ritualistic habit instead of through the motive love, adoration, and gratitude.

 

There is no wonder that there is so much concern when it comes to the effectiveness of our prayers. We have not grasped with certainty the true nature of prayer. Prayer has become something we have to do instead of something we yearn to do. True prayer has power. True prayer is never mandated by religious rite or sacrament. True prayer is extended through the free volition of the believer with earnest expectation, because prayer rests on the foundation of the believer’s faith. Prayer is to be enjoyed and passionately pursued instead of conscience driven.

 

C.H. Spurgeon, the prominent nineteenth century theologian and pastor, once said that when studying the Word of God, we must do three things: look at the text, look at ourselves, and then look above ourselves. With this in mind, let us first look at the text.

 

Therefore, I say unto you, whatever things you ask when you pray, believe that you receive them and you will have them.” (Mark 11:24 NKJV)

As we began to anatomize this text, it is to our benefit to consider the admonishment of Paul to Timothy:

15Study and be eager and do your utmost to present yourself to God approved (tested by trial), a workman who has no cause to be ashamed, correctly analyzing and accurately dividing [rightly handling and skillfully teaching] the Word of Truth. (2 Timothy 2:15 AMP)

 

With this scriptural admonishment in mind, let us now examine the text that is before us.

The first thing that we must take note of here is that our prayers require specificity. Christ says, “Whatever things you ask.” There must be something definite and specific for which you are praying. All too often we send up prayers that are nebulous and ambiguous, even to ourselves. These vague prayers lack concentration of specificity; meaning that there is no clear indicator of what we are seeking. We know we are in need of something, but are unclear as to what it is or we are unable to adequately express it. Without the focus of something specific and real for which we are praying, our prayers become empty and fruitless; perfunctory in nature! When praying we speak specifically and clearly what we are seeking. There has to be something clear on which our faith and hope rests.

 

Next, your prayers must be encapsulated by faith. Christ says, “Believe that you will receive”. A prayer insulated by faith is a prayer of expectation and hope. True faith demands that we see beyond the visible circumstance before us. True faith requisites spiritual insight; this insight comes through the Word of God; and is confirmed by the Holy Spirit. Faith does not consider the facts, because faith, by its very definition transcends fact. Stop looking at the outward circumstances and start believing that the God you serve is bigger than any circumstance you will encounter.

 

Why are we not walking in power? Why are pinned in by the enemy? Why are we lacking in so many areas? James 4:2-3 sheds light on this question:

 

‘…You do not have, because you do not ask.

3[Or] you do ask [God for them] and yet fail to receive, because you ask with wrong purpose and evil, selfish motives. Your intention is [when you get what you desire] to spend it in sensual pleasures.” (AMP)

We have failed either to ask our father for what we need or want or we are asking amiss. Asking amiss is simply asking for something with the wrong motive and intentions. So many of us make our wish list out for God with no reverence or consideration given to his will. Knowing and understanding the will of God is of utmost importance.

 

“So then do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is. (Eph. 5:17 NASB)

 

“Do not be conformed to this world (this age), [fashioned after and adapted to its external, superficial customs], but be transformed (changed) by the [entire] renewal of your mind [by its new ideals and its new attitude], so that you may prove [for yourselves] what is the good and acceptable and perfect will of God, even the thing which is good and acceptable and perfect [in His sight for you].” (Romans 12:2 AMP)

 

Our prayers have to be in line with the perfect will of God for our lives. No matter how passionate our prayer; not matter how intensely we profess; if we are opposite God’s will, we are praying in vain. Prayer is not a tool used to circumvent the sovereign will of God, but to perpetuate it. We are called in Romans 12:2 not only to know the will of God, but to move away from the thinking and ways of the world. One of the effective weapons of Satan has been his ability to infiltrate the Christian faith with worldly philosophies. I call this a comingling of the Word and the World and it is totally in direct opposition to God’s will.

 

This carries us into the next phase of our study, “Looking at ourselves”. When our prayer life is unproductive, it calls for introspection, a looking within, and a veracious assessment of where we are and what we are doing. We must search ourselves to find where we have fallen short.

 

In your personal prayer life, are you praying specific and direct prayers, or are your prayers traditional, rehearsed or repetitive, with no true passion? Are your prayers unaccompanied by faith and anticipation; just left in the air to linger? Have you taken the time to align yourself with the perfect will of God or are you still living by your own rules and standards? Are you living on

your own terms, yet arrogantly expecting God to honor your request? The audacity we display when we place our petitions and supplications at the altar after having shaken our fist in the face of God declaring: “This is my life.”

 

You may reply by proclaiming that you’ve done no such thing; however, each time you choose to move opposite to His will, any time you choose through your own volition to sin, any time you choose your way in neglect of God’s way you have said to God, “I will live my life as I please.” As a free willed creature, this course of action is of course, your prerogative; however, you must be prepared for the consequences, one of which is a stagnant and ineffective prayer life.

We must first align ourselves with the will of God before we approach His throne. When we examine ourselves, are we in line with God’s Word? Can we say with certainty that we are in unison with today’s scriptural text?

 

Lastly, let us look above! Let us first look to God and repent, for God has given us a powerful and mighty weapon in prayer and we have allowed it lie dormant and rust away from nonuse. How can we consider ourselves to be soldiers of the cross, when God has given us this matchless and unparalleled power, yet that power lies still, dormant, and untapped?

 

How Satan must emote with joy knowing that so many of us have failed to utilize this most awesome weapon at our disposal. In reviewing history it is said that the Roman Emperor Constantine saw that on the coins of other emperors before him that their image was struck in an erect posture of triumph. Instead of following suit, he ordered that his image be struck kneeling in prayer, for he said, “This is the way that I have triumphed.” Constantine had an erudite understanding that there is no victory without prayer.

We too, must come to this reality. We cannot prosper without prayer; there is no victory aside of prayer.

When we begin to see our prayer life as a privilege instead of a tedious task, it will open a pathway to victory. When we see prayer as a direct line to our power source, we will be able to face the vicissitudes of life without fear and anxiety. When we see the right to approach the throne of grace as an honor and not a burden, we will unleash the power of God into our lives and circumstances.

 

Many of us have been awaiting the movement of God in our situations. We have been searching for peace in the midst of the storm. We have been looking for something in which we can anchor our hopes. 2 Chronicles 7:14 lays out the powerful force of prayer as God speaks to Solomon concerning the temple:

 

“If My people, who are called by My name, shall humble themselves, pray, seek, crave, and require of necessity My face and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven, forgive their sin, and heal their land.” (AMP)

 

Let us turn away from the selfishness of our self-centeredness toward God. Let us humble ourselves in His presence; let us seek his face with an anticipation of what’s to come. Let us know that when we seek Him at the point of His perfect and definite will, He will move mightily on our behalf. We will be able to gain ground in this spiritual walk. We will be able to claim the precious promises of God. We will be able to face the struggles of this life with a newfound hope; with renewed purpose and vigor. Through our prayer life, we will be able to embrace the truth that troubles don’t last always. In prayer we will find that we can do all things through Christ. Through prayer we will find that God’s grace is sufficient for every struggle. In prayer we will find that no weapon formed against us will prosper. Though prayer will find the Lord is mighty to save. Through prayer will find that our weapons are not carnal, but mighty in God to the pulling down of strongholds.

 

God is waiting to be gracious to you; He desires to do a new thing. He is prepared to touch every situation, every circumstance, every heartache, and every disappointment. God is ready to reach out and bring healing to every aspect of your life.

 

To those that are suffering in the horrible pit of relational dysfunctionality, God has an answer to your prayer.

 

To those that are burdened with financial strain, God has an answer to your prayer.

 

To those that have been struggling with addiction, God has an answer to your prayer.

 

I invite you to try him. Step out on faith and watch God as he moves through the show up process. We all know what God does when he shows up; He shows out!

 

Claim your blessing! Walk in triumph! Live in victory! Speak with power! Pray!

 

May you be richly blessed,

 

Rick Wallace

http://rickwallaceministries.com

 

 

4Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice! 5Let your gentle spirit be known to all men. The Lord is near. 6Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. 7And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

8Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, dwell on these things. 9The things you have learned and received and heard and seen in me, practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you. (Phil. 4:4-9, NASB)

This is, without question, one of my favorite passages of scripture in the entire Bible. I don’t make that statement lightly. My vocation as a minister and my love for the Word calls for me to spend substantial time studying scripture and the Bible is a powerhouse knowledge. So, when I say that Philippians 4:4-9 is one of my most favorite passages, it is saying a lot. Every scripture is of immense relevance to the believer, but based on each person’s background and personal experiences, certain scriptures will have more impact than others. My life has centered me in a place in which I have a yearning for a peace that is unshakable and this passage speaks to my innermost yearning.

What I would like to focus on predominately is verses 6 and 7. We are told not to be anxious for nothing; other translations rendered it “Don’t worry about anything”. This is not a suggestion, this is a command. This is something that is required of the believer. Why are we commanded not to be anxious about anything? The simple answer here is that anxiety is the result of a failure in the area of faith. Anxiety is an illness that kills, emotionally, psychologically, spiritually, and even physically. Faith is the predominate requisite in living the Christian lifestyle. Anxiety and faith cannot co-exist.

I know that many of you are saying that it is much easier said than done. Trust me; I know how hard it is not to acknowledge the grim circumstances that lie before us at times. There are times when the implacable forces that move against us are so tumultuous that we become overwhelmed by them. This feeling of being overwhelmed by the moment is what opens the door to anxiety. The key is not to ignore the circumstance; it is in understanding that your circumstances are not the determining factor of your life’s destiny; God is. God has already written your life’s story in which you have obtained the victory. This is where faith comes in. Faith enables us to look beyond the moment and see the outcome even though the outcome has not yet physically manifested itself.

This is what is great about God, he does not simply provide a demand; he supplies the means and the knowledge to execute the command. Right after telling us to never be anxious Paul immediately follows with the formula for carrying out the command.

“but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God” (verse 6b)

Paul says “in everything” (leaving no room for exceptions) by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God.” In other words, your problem is not your problem it belongs to God. We are to submit our concerns to God and allow Him to work them out to our benefit. This calls for trust. Paul tells us that when we are able to have a heart of thanksgiving that is centered in a life of prayer, there will be a peace that comes over us that is beyond our limited perspicacity. This peace bends all rationale and defies all reason. This peace acknowledges the circumstances, but thrives despite them. Paul reveals that it is this peace that will guard our hearts and minds (the essence of our soul) in Christ Jesus.

It is easy in the English translation to lose the word “guard” in the mix of all the information surrounding it. It seems almost inconsequential in the weight of the entire verse; however, when you examine the passage carefully, “guard’ is the responsive action word in the passage. When we take the appropriate action (thankfully pray) God’s peace responds with its own action equal to the faith revealed in our action. So then the word translated “guard” has great significance in this passage because it is God’s response to our faith in a matter of need. Let’s take a look at this verb more carefully.

The Greek word that is translated “guard” is;

φρουρέω

phroureō

froo-reh’-o

From a compound of G4253 and G3708; to be a watcher in advance, that is, to mount guard as a sentinel (post spies at gates); figuratively to hem in, protect: – keep (with a garrison). Compare G5083.

Strong’s Hebrew and Greek Dictionaries  G5432

Phroureo  is a compound of  G4253 “pro” a primary preposition; “fore”, i.e. “front of”, “prior” (figuratively superior) “to” in compounds it retains the same meaning  and G3708 “horao”; properly to stare at, i.e. (by implication) to discern clearly (physically or mentally); by extension to attend to; by Hebrew influence, to experience; in the passive, to appear; to be a watcher in advance, i.e. to mount guard as a sentinel (post spies at the gate); figuratively, to hem in and protect; to garrison; (Phil. 4:7; Gal.. 3:23; 1 Pet. 1:5) (This is a military term in the Greek)

 

So then, you can see that this word “guard” is quite essential in this passage. It is the guarding of the heart and mind that guarantees the perpetuation of this peace. Allow me to elucidate; when you pray and trust God for what you pray for, God’s peace enters in and stands guard against the very things that come in and attempt to rob you of your peace and sanity. Paul’s use of this military term points to the fact that the mind is a battlefield and must be guarded and protected from invasion.

There are 10 things I would like to bring into focus here.

  1. Permit the peace of God to garrison or keep your heart and mind through Christ.
  2. Renounce all worry and by prayer, supplication and thanksgiving submit your request unto God. (v. 6; Jas. 4:7)
  3. Carry the right thoughts (v. 8; 2 Tim. 2:15-17)
  4. Keep your mind fixed on God (Isa. 26:3)
  5. Use the weapons of warfare that are available to you as a Christian warrior. (2 Cor. 10-3-6)
  6. Put on the whole armor of God. (Eph. 6:10-18)
  7. Have faith in God. (Matt. 6:25-34; 7:7-11; 17:20; 21:22; Mk. 11:22-24)
  8. Live and walk in the spirit. (Gal. 5:16-26; Rom. 6:14-23; 8:1-13)
  9. Do not cast away you confidence. (Heb. 3:6, 12-14; 6:11-12; 10:19-13, 35-39)
  10. Cast all care upon God. (1 Pet. 5:7)

Paul continues by pointing to the fact that the centrality of focus here is the mind.

8 Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. 9 Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you. (Phil. 4;8-9 NIV)

Paul provides 6 things to center our minds on in order to maintain this transcendent peace:

  1. True things – all that is in harmony with eternal truth in creation and revelation. (2 Tim. 2:15; 3:16-17).
  2. Honest things – all that is decent, honorable, and Christian. Greek “semnos”.
  3. Just things – all that is in harmony with justice and righteousness (Rom. 3:24-31; 8:4; 2 Pet. 1:4-10)
  4. Pure things – all that is chaste and holy for body and soul. (Rom. 12:1-2; 1 Cor. 3:16-17;)
  5. Lovely things – all that is pleasing and tends to bless others. (1 Cor. 13:4-8; Gal. 5:22-23)
  6. Things of good report – all that is in harmony with the best public good; virtuous and praiseworthy. (Rom. 13:1-10;2 Pet. 1:4-10)

So, we are told not to allow anxiety and worry to rule our lives and then given a specific formula that will allow and empower us to carry out this command. I encourage you to offer up your concerns to God. Peter tells us that we should cast our cares upon Him because he cares for us. When we cast our care upon Him in faith His peace consumes and stands guard over us so that the thoughts that produce anxiety are repelled.

Whatever you are facing right now put it in God’s hands. Let God do what only He can do in your situation. He is offering you peace in the midst of the storm. Notice I said peace in the midst of the storm, not circumvention of the storm. Your blessing and break through is wrought out in the storm. Your promotion and elevation process is carried out in the storm. Your deepest and most powerful connection to God is experienced in the storm. Notice in the story in which the disciples woke Jesus because of the storm; the moment when Jesus spoke to the winds and the waves and said “peace be still”; that Jesus was at peace during the storm, in fact, He was asleep. Jesus arose and rebuked the storm and then he rebuked the disciples:

39 He got up, rebuked the wind and said to the waves,“Quiet! Be still!” Then the wind died down and it was completely calm.

40 He said to his disciples,“Why are you so afraid? Do you still have no faith?” (Mk.4:39-40)

Why did he rebuke them? He rebuked them because their faith should have produced a transcendent peace; not in the absence of the storm, but despite of it. Don’t look to circumvent life’s trials, instead learn to thrive in the midst of them. Trials and tribulations provide the greatest canvas for God to paint His masterpieces of power and promotion in the life of the believer.

 

May you be bless,

 

Bishop Rick Wallace

Faith Grows Amid Storms

“He hath acquainted himself with my beaten path. When he hath searched me out, I shall come out shining” (Job 23:10, free translation).

Faith grows amid storms”–just four words, but oh, how full of import to the soul who has been in the storms!

Faith is that God-given faculty which, when exercised, brings the unseen into plain view, and by which the impossible things are made possible. It deals with supernaturals.

But it “grows amid storms”; that is, where there are disturbances in the spiritual atmosphere. Storms are caused by the conflicts of elements; and the storms of the spiritual world are conflicts with hostile elements.

In such an atmosphere faith finds its most productive soil; in such an element it comes more quickly to full fruition.

The staunchest tree is not found in the shelter of the forest, but out in the open where the winds from every quarter beat upon it, and bend and twist it until it becomes a giant in stature this is the tree which the mechanic wants his tools made of, and the wagon-maker seeks.

So in the spiritual world, when you see a giant, remember the road you must travel to come up to his side is not along the sunny lane where wild flowers ever bloom; but a steep, rocky, narrow pathway where the blasts of hell will almost blow you off your feet; where the sharp rocks cut the flesh, where the projecting thorns scratch the brow, and the venomous beasts hiss on every side.

It is a pathway of sorrow and joy, of suffering and healing balm, of tears and smiles, of trials and victories, of conflicts and triumphs, of hardships and perils and buffetings, of persecutions and misunderstandings, of troubles and distress; through all of which we are made more than conquerors through Him who loves us.

“Amid storms.” Right in the midst where it is fiercest. You may shrink back from the ordeal of a fierce storm of trial…but go in! God is there to meet you in the center of all your trials, and to whisper His secrets which will make you come forth with a shining face and an indomitable faith that all the demons of hell shall never afterwards cause to waver. –E. A. Kilbourne

*************

What an awesome revelation. The Apostles Paul said that tribulation produces perseverance and perseverance produces character and character produces hope. Paul said that hope produced through this sequence does not disappoint (Rom. 5:3-5 paraphrased). This type of hope is the product of pure faith. The type of faith is the fruit of a seed that that can only be cultivated within the fertile soil of trials and sufferings. Faith is not faith until it has been tested and proven pure.

6[You should] be exceedingly glad on this account, though now for a little while you may be distressed by trials and suffer temptations,

7So that [the genuineness] of your faith may be tested, [your faith] which is infinitely more precious than the perishable gold which is tested and purified by fire. [This proving of your faith is intended] to redound to [your] praise and glory and honor when Jesus Christ (the Messiah, the Anointed One) is revealed. (1 pet. 1:6-7 AMP)

The furnace may be turned up seven times hotter than normal, but understand that you are not in the furnace alone. Just ask Shadrach, Meshach and Abed-nego about the fourth man that joined them in fiery furnace (Daniel chapter 3). When you allow your faith to be developed in the heat of life’s trials you will see your naysayers and enemies speak just as King Nebuchadnezzar, who had to humble himself before the God of his servants. Nebuchadnezzer came to personally witness the reason for such resolute faith in those three young boys. This faith produced results so powerful that King Nebuchadnezzer said: “Blessed be the God of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, Who has sent His angel and delivered His servants who believed in, trusted in, and relied on Him! And they set aside the king’s command and yielded their bodies rather than serve or worship any god except their own God …there is no other God who can deliver in this way!” (Dan. 3:28-29 AMP)

Trust God in all that you are going through right now is is worthy, willing, and able to perform His promises. Give God Some glory! ~Bishop Rick Wallace

 

Foundation Scriptures: Hebrews 3,4:1-8; Isa. 26:3,4

Key Verses Is. 26:3

“You will keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on you.” (Isa. 26:3)

 

I have read and believe that a true state of happiness is the most difficult state for a Christian to achieve.  In order to apprehend the veracity in this statement, one must be willing to be honest with themselves; next they must have the ability to detach themselves from the euphoric world in which they have become engrossed.  Allow me to paraphrase: Wake up and smell the coffee! Please understand that I am not saying that it is impossible, I am simply pointing to all that comes against us to rob us of our contentment and joy. We will find out shortly that in Christ all things are possible.

 

Through experiential progression, I have come to the conclusion that no matter how determinedly and agonizingly we strive to escape the pain, heartache and despair that life so opportunistically places at our feet, we will inevitably endure asperity and anguish.  Christians don’t like hearing that.  We want to be told that post salvation life will be a metaphorical cakewalk.  The truth is, we have been promised that there will be a great deal of trials and tribulation.

 

“These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace.  In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer.  I have overcome the world.”

(John 16:33)

 

The Greek word used for tribulation here is “thlipsis” which means: pressure, oppression, stress, anguish, tribulation, adversity, affliction, crushing, squashing, squeezing, distress.  This word carries the connotation of taking something that is free and unfettered and compressing it with the objective of producing something better.  The same word is used of crushing grapes and olives in a press.  “Thlipsis” is, in essence, spiritual bench pressing, making a stronger and more formidable Christian soldier.  So, our struggles are quite a necessary part of our spiritual progression.

 

This does not mean that inevitable trials and distresses will be easy but they should not produce fear, anxiety, or bitterness.  At the same time Jesus promised tribulation, he also promised peace.  How is this so?

 

“Indeed the hour is coming, yes, has now come, that you will be scattered, each to his own, and will leave Me alone.  And yet I am not alone, because the Father is with Me.” (John 16:32)

 

At the time of Jesus’ arrest, trial, and crucifixion, the disciples would all in some way forsake Him and flee to the safety of their homes.  Though they would leave Him, He would not be alone, because the father would be with Him.  We have the same promise.

 

“For He Himself has said, ‘I will never leave you nor forsake you.’ “ (Heb. 13:5)

“For He Himself is our peace.” (Eph. 2:14)

 

Therefore, our peace is not in the absence of trials, but in the perpetual presence of our Lord and Savior.  As believers, we tend to paint illusions of grandeur; we have all the right responses to the struggles and vicissitudes we face.  Painting over the realities of this harsh world, we give the appearance that life is all peaches and cream; when in fact, the pressures against those who believe in Christ are a thousand times greater than those of the unbeliever.

 

At first glance, the aforementioned statements present a gloomy and dark picture and may be somewhat discouraging to those who are new in the faith; However, I believe that it is of vital importance that all Christians face the facts.

 

Fact One: We reside as aliens in a world that is under the rule and Lordship of Satan.  We are considered aliens because although we reside here, our citizenship is in heaven. (Phil. 3:20)

 

Fact Two: The world by its very nature is hostile toward Christians.  Christ declared that since the world hated him, it would hate us also.

 

Fact Three: We are dead centered in the midst of a spiritual warfare, the angelic conflict.  We are both, participants and spoils of this war.  There are spiritual forces that are constantly moving against us.

 

In summary, the Christian is constantly facing tremendous, powerful, insidious pressures, and often, the greater your capacity for service, the greater the believer can be used by God, the greater the pressure on every side — the world, the flesh, and the devil.

 

In the beginning, I stated my belief that a true state of happiness is the most difficult state for the Christian to achieve.  I did not say it was unattainable, for it is very much within the grasp of every believer.  Then why is it so difficult to achieve? It is difficult because believers have taken on the worldly view of ephemeral elation, happiness of the moment.  The celerity at which happiness enters and exits the lives of believers is astounding.  To most, happiness is circumstantial, depending on situational occurrences.  This produces instability and ineffectiveness.  God, through His infallible Word, has promised perpetual joy.  This joy is irrespective in nature; it is not dependent upon external circumstances; it does not dwarf in the face of adversity and it burgeons in response to the development of our relationship with Christ.  This joy is closely related to the peace God has promised.  They are always found in close proximity to each other.  Our joy and peace are produced through constant abiding in Jesus Christ.  So allow me to reiterate this truth: Joy and peace are not produced through the circumvention of life’s storms, but are perpetually present despite them.

 

When your mind is fixed on Jesus; when your heart is settled in love, there is no storm, no disappointment; no heartache that can rob you of your joy and peace, even in the midst of the storm.  We are forever coalesced to the Prince of Peace.  “For He Himself is our peace.(Eph 2:14)  The Greek “eirene” (eye-ray-nay) carries the meaning of state of rest, quietness, calmness, an absence of strife, and tranquility.  It also carries a connotation of “being united with” as well as “to bring an end to hostility”.  So in essence, the peace that surpasses all understanding (Phil. 4:7) is the culmination of “being united with Christ” whereas he “brings an end to hostility”, thereby creating a “state of rest” in which there is “an absence of strife” and a sense of “calmness” and “tranquility”.

 

 

This union with Christ is birthed through the channel of faith.  God wants to provide a place of rest, but it has to be obtained through the promises of His Word, received by faith.  Let us take a look at Hebrew 4:1,2:

 

“Therefore, since a promise remains of entering His rest, let us fear lest any of you seem to have come short of it, For indeed the Gospel was preached to us a well as to them; but the Word which they heard did not profit them, not being mixed with faith in those who heard it.”

 

 

The first thing we notice here is the conjunctive adverb “therefore”.  This word indicates that there is a preceding clause as well as a subsequent clause.  The subsequent clause is easily identified as it immediately follows the conjunctive adverb, but where is the preceding clause?  The answer is: In the previous chapter.  The original text of the Bible was not separated into chapters or numbered in verse.  This was done later as a means of reference.  So we will have to look beyond the confines of these numbered boundaries.  The preceding clause that completes this statement is found in Chapter 3, verse 19, “So we see that they could not enter in because of unbelief.”

 

In Chapter 3, the writer of Hebrews reminds us that the first generation of recently freed Israelites failed to reach the peace, tranquility, and abundance of the promise land.  The writer quotes a passage from Ps. 95:7-11 that reinforces the cause of this failure to reach the promised place of rest.

 

In Chapter 4 he jumps from the past to the present and exhorts or admonishes the readers not to fall short of the promised rest.

 

“For indeed the gospel was preached to us as well as them; the Word which they heard did not profit them, not being mixed with “faith” in those who heard it.” (Heb. 4:2)

 

Here lies the very thing that separates those who are able to attain true peace and happiness and those who are not —faith!  They received the promise just as we have, but it did not profit them.  They had the promise, but did not stand on it.  We have thousands upon thousands of promises in the Bible.  It has been estimated that there are in excess of 33,000 promises and of these, over 7,000 promises that God will have a direct and positive impact on those who will trust and believe in Him.

 

The problem with the Israelites in the wilderness was the spiritual ineptitude, the inability to see past their circumstances and trust God to perform that which he had promised.  They received the promise, but it was not encapsulated by faith.  Faith not only empowers, but it protects the promise.  Faith guards against anxiety, doubt, despair, impatience, and fear.

 

We have to face the fact that as Christians, we are going to be tested; we are going to endure trials and tribulations; we will be battered by the storms of the suffering and compounded by the vicissitudes of life; however; God has promised never to leave us nor forsake us.  God is saying, “You believed enough to trust Me with salvation, trust Me to provide you with that peace that transcends all understanding.  Trust Me to provide you with that happiness that is inexpressible.  Trust Me to anoint you with the power to fulfill your destiny.”  He is standing before you telling you that His grace is sufficient for you.

 

God has bequeathed us His infallible Word, we only need to take hold of the promises that are before us.

 

When we are able to grasp the understanding that the absence of trials and storms in our lives is not indicative of the potential for joy, peace, and fullness, but rather, our joy, peace and happiness is afforded and sustained despite the presence of life’s trials, we are then able to enter that rest.  We will be able to “count it all joy”.  We will be able to enter into our divine purpose with an unbridled pertinacity, overcoming every trial by faith.

 

As the burdens of this tedious life press us down and drain us of our strength, we can rest in the calm assurance that God’s grace is sufficient for us and His strength is made perfect in weakness.  We will be able to withstand the nefarious attacks of Satan while resting under the shadow of the almighty.

 

The Israelites in the wilderness could not enter the rest of the Promised Land because they did not receive the promises of God with faith.  So then faith is a prerequisite for peace, and we know that faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God” (Rom. 10:17)

 

It is time to uncover the secrets of God’s Word.  It is time to uncover the secret that says: “If I delight myself in the Lord, he will give me the desires of my heart.”

It is time to uncover the secret that says: “I have never seen the righteous forsaken, nor his seed begging for bread.”

It is time to uncover that secret that says: “God is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all we ask or think.”

That secret that says: “The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want.”

That secret that says: If I “wait on the Lord and be of good coverage, He will strengthen my heart.”

I’m talking about joy inducing secrets.

The secret that says: “He who trusts in the Lord, mercy shall surround him.”

That secret that says: “When my father and mother forsake me, the Lord will take care of me.”

That secret that says: “No weapon formed against me, shall prosper.”

I’m talking about shackle loosing secrets.

The secret that says: “My defense is of God who saves the upright in heart.”

The secret that says: “Fear not for I am with you.”

The secret that says: “At my first defense, no one stood with me, but God stood with me, and strengthened me.”

The secret that says: “For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty in God for the pulling down of strongholds.”

I invite you to do as I do.  When darkness falls on my life, I call out the name of the Lord.  I can call Him any time of the day.  I will call Him in my moments of weakness.  I will call Him and tell Him about my troubles.  When I call Him, I can say, “Father, I stretch my hands to thee, no other help I know, if thou withdraw thine self from me, where else shall I go.”  I can say, “Precious Lord take my hand lead me on and let me stand.”  I can say, “Guide me over Great Jehovah, a pilgrim through this barren land.  I am weak but thou art mighty hold me with though powerful hand.”  I can say as the Psalmist, “Restore in me the joy of your salvation.

 

I can call Him down in the midst of the storm.  When I call Him, I say, “Lord, I need healing” or can simply speak those two worded prayers: hold me; keep me; protect me; bless me; shelter me; guide me.  No matter what happens I know when I call Him, He answers.  I invite you to join me in this place of rest.

 

May God bless, keep, and prosper you, even as your soul prospers!

 

Sincerely,

Bishop Rick Wallace

 

 

 

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