Going deeper for the treasure

grayscale photography of man jumping on body of waterOnce a month our fellowship has started an evening service dedicated to worship and seeking God’s presence.    I had a picture during the worship time recently of a large lake.  A leisure lake and there were lots of people enjoying and having fun in the water.  Some people were running and jumping into the lake, doing back flips, dive bombs etc.  Some people were stood on the shore just dipping a toe into the water – testing it out.   Some went up to their knees for a paddle – some ventured a bit further and started swimming.    I felt God saying that the lake represented His presence.    People entered and experienced it differently.  Some people were taking things slowly (especially if this was new to them) whereas some would dive straight in,  but the most important thing was taking that first step.    If you want to start by dipping your toe or if you are the sort of person to jump straight in then that is fine.   That is your starting point and from there we gain the confidence and enjoyment to stay longer and go deeper with God.    God wants to encourage you not to stay in the shallows all the time though and also not just to play around on the surface but to go deeper with Him.

 

 

gold beaded necklaces on gold jewelry box

In the picture, I saw people diving down below the surface of the lake going deeper and deeper down.    As they did so they discovered beautiful pearls on the bottom of the lake- some of the pearls were hidden in the weeds, some were hidden in the muddy depths, some were in the dark places – these pearls were God’s treasure that was hidden waiting to be discovered.     As we go deeper into God’s presence we will discover this treasure that He has for each one of us.   We have to search it out and press in even when we feel uncomfortable.  I encourage you today not to stay at your starting point but to press into God and see what He has for you and what you will discover about Him.

 

 

 

Prevailing Prayer – Don’t give up

Sometimes we have to just keep going.   If our prayers have not been answered then we can persist in praying until either the answer comes or we have a peace and assurance that God has heard & will provide the answer in His perfect timing:

Jesus said:  LK 11:5 “Suppose one of you has a friend, and he goes to him at midnight and says, `Friend, lend me three loaves of bread, 6 because a friend of mine on a journey has come to me, and I have nothing to set before him.’ “Then the one inside answers, `Don’t bother me. The door is already locked, and my children are with me in bed. I can’t get up and give you anything.’ 8 I tell you, though he will not get up and give him the bread because he is his friend, yet because of the man’s boldness he will get up and give him as much as he needs.

LK 11:9 “So I say to you: Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. 10 For everyone who asks receives; he who seeks finds; and to him who knocks, the door will be opened.

LK 18:1 Then Jesus told his disciples a parable to show them that they should always pray and not give up. 2 He said: “In a certain town there was a judge who neither feared God nor cared about men. 3 And there was a widow in that town who kept coming to him with the plea, `Grant me justice against my adversary.’ “For some time he refused. But finally he said to himself, `Even though I don’t fear God or care about men, 5 yet because this widow keeps bothering me, I will see that she gets justice, so that she won’t eventually wear me out with her coming!’ ” And the Lord said, “Listen to what the unjust judge says. 7 And will not God bring about justice for his chosen ones, who cry out to him day and night?

Prevailing Prayer:

It requires discipline – It will often be the last thing that you will want to do.  If you know that you need to prevail in prayer about a certain situation then try to set aside a time when you can devote yourself to it and will not be distracted.

Expect Opposition – In the first example Jesus gave of the friend who kept knocking. Everything seemed against him – The door had been bolted, the friend did not want to be bothered, he made excuses to put him off.  You will face opposition so don’t be disappointed if things seem against you – don’t be put off. There are times when we have to keep pressing through in prayer until the breakthrough is achieved.

 It is hard work – It can be physically and emotionally draining to prevail in prayer.   In the example Jesus gave the need had arisen at Midnight – The darkest & loneliest hour.   Don’t forget to rest at such times and allow the Holy Spirit to refresh you.

 It requires boldness – In both examples Jesus gave the friend & the widow were bold and this was part of the reason they received their answers. Be bold. Scripture tells us that we can “boldly” approach God’s throne in time of need.

 and KEEP GOING because:

 Prevailing Prayer can mobilise angels – Daniel Ch 10:12

Then he (the angel) continued, “Do not be afraid, Daniel. Since the first day that you set your mind to gain understanding and to humble yourself before your God, your words were heard, and I have come in response to them. 13 But the prince of the Persian kingdom resisted me twenty-one days. Then Michael, one of the chief princes, came to help me, because I was detained there with the king of Persia. 14 Now I have come to explain to you what will happen to your people in the future, for the vision concerns a time yet to come.”

The angel came on the first day that Daniel’s prayer was heard in response but he was then detained by an evil power until Michael came to help him. The enemy was trying to stop the angel getting through to bring revelation to Daniel.  As Daniel prayed he was unaware of the struggle going on in the heavenly realm but I believe his continued prayers were helping the angel in the fight and a reason why Michael was sent to help.

Perseverance  – the continual knocking can be one of the pre-conditions to our answer arriving.   Daniel prayed for 21 days before he got the breakthrough and the angel arrived with the answer – What would have happened if he stopped praying on day 15 or day 20? Your answer may be on the way – Don’t stop until you know in your spirit and have peace that your prayer has been heard and answered.  Delay does not necessarily mean No.

Does this mean that we receive the answers to all our prayers if we pray long enough? – I don’t think so no – because some of the things we ask for are wrongly motivated.  James 4:3 “When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures.”

Or it could be that it is just not God’s Will for us that the prayer is answered.    We have to trust God in such situations.   He sees the bigger picture.    We may not know until He reveals it in the fullness of time.

The difficulty for us is discerning when God is saying NO to our prayer request or when we have to persist in prayer for the answer.     Thankfully,  we have the Holy Spirit to help and guide us at such times.

 

All kinds of prayers

Ephesians 6: 13 says ”And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the saints”. NIV

Paul is encouraging his readers to pray with all kinds of prayer and to keep on praying.      After all,  we are all kinds of people – all different and each one unique, who make up the body of Christ.   You are unique – you have a personality that is you.  Some types of prayer will come easier to you than others because they are a natural expression of you.   God doesn’t want you to pretend to be someone you’re not when you pray.

If you are currently struggling in your prayer life then one reason may be because you are trying to be like someone else and model their prayer life.   Whilst it is vital to have good spiritual role models and understand the biblical principles of prayer, you might find yourself struggling because what suits others just may be doesn’t suit you.    It can mean you end up feeling guilty when you don’t pray and a failure when you can’t pray like you feel you ought to.     You feel you don’t measure up when you compare yourself to other believers so why even bother – you question what difference your prayers actually make.    Eventually, you can end up feeling discouraged and worn out and your prayer life suffers and fizzles out.    The body of Christ loses out.

Perhaps it’s time to re-evaluate your prayer life.    When you find your natural prayer rhythm it will inspire you, show results and lead you deeper into the things of God.   You will start to thrive.   Scripture says Jesus rose early in the morning whilst it was still dark to go off to a private place to pray  (Mark 1:35)- if you are an early riser with time in the morning then great, but if not you’ll exhaust yourself trying to do this every day,  feel stressed, guilty if you miss a day,  rush it, get distracted by the million and one other things vying for your attention, get frustrated and then eventually you may give up all together.  Instead of trying to force it, find another time of the day to spend that quiet quality time with God.

Beware the backlash

We have experienced a backlash from the enemy on a few occasions when pushing forward in prayer and engaged in spiritual warfare.    The enemy hates to lose ground and will try and re-establish himself/his stronghold and it is important to be aware of this and stand firm when the assaults come.   Recognising them and their origin is key to dealing with them.   Attacks can come in all forms & guises -doubt, fear, jealousy, arguments, strife, lies – the fiery darts, the barbed words – even from family and friends – and other Christians.   These attacks always seems worse when our guard is down, we are tired or feeling a bit low and discouraged.    They can knock us back and cause us to retreat, but I hope you will feel encouraged by our testimony not to give up but press forward into what God is calling you to do.    Submit to God, resist the enemy and he will flee from you.   Quench his fiery darts with the shield of faith, rebuke the barbs and forgive those who deliver them.

Fear seems to be a weapon of choice of the enemy.  If the enemy can instil fear in us then we can be overcome.   Faith and trust in God are essential when faced with these types of attacks.    The word of our testimony and the blood of Christ are keys to overcoming.   I have a few examples from my own experience which I feel led to share.    Early in our prayer ministry my friend and I had just finished a deliverance session and were praying to cast out other demons when she felt a scratch on her throat.  She didn’t think much about it at the time but the next day her throat had swelled and she was admitted to hospital with trouble breathing.   She said it felt like a vice around her throat.  She couldn’t speak.    I can’t tell you how much this frightened me but I also knew that this was the work of the enemy.   All sorts of thoughts were going around my head though.  I felt fearful that my friend was going to die and guilty that she was in hospital because of me.   I was really struggling and wanted to give up and not carry on with any future deliverance ministry or spiritual warfare.    This was all a strategy of the enemy to bring fear into my life and stop the prayer ministry.   These were lies of the enemy but I was taking it all on board.     Thankfully, we cried out and prayed to God about the whole situation.  We gave it to Him and the Lord told us to trust him, not to fear but to go and anoint our friend with oil and she would be healed.    We duly went to the hospital to do this, but God in his faithfulness had already gone before us to prepare the way.    One of the elderly gentlemen at our church was in the hospital visiting someone else, had seen my friend and prayed and taken communion with her.   She had felt a lot better after communion and once we had anointed her with oil, her throat immediately felt better.   She could speak properly and the restriction and swelling in her throat went.     Later in the day though after we left, my friend took some medicine which the doctor in the hospital prescribed and immediately her throat got worse again.    She recognised the cause -when the medicine was prescribed she felt in her spirit that she didn’t need it but instead of declining it she took it.   Immediately she felt ill again and so she repented of taking the medicine and her throat was healed.    This taught us that the enemy is always looking for a way back in and to cause us to doubt our healing- he just wants to kill, steal and destroy.

On another occasion, after another time of intense prayer for our area a witch came into our church to presumably try and place a curse on me or cause me some sort of harm.    On the morning, the Lord had warned me that a witch was going to come into the church but not to be fearful.   I had not mentioned this to anyone in my fellowship group as we generally all sat together.   On the morning, one of the stewards came towards us with a woman who we had never seen before.  He explained that she was new and she had asked if she could she sit with us.   I immediately recognised that this was the witch that the Lord had warned me about.   I did not say anything and we all welcomed her.   I don’t think anyone else knew that she was a witch at that time.   She took a seat directly behind me and next to some of my other friends.    During the time of worship, I noticed that she had her hands pointed out towards me – at the small of my back.    A friend who was sitting next to me suddenly turned to me and said that the Lord had told her to tell me that I was standing in His circle of protection and that no harm would come to me.    She had seen a picture of me and it looked as though a glass shield was all around me.    I was encouraged by this and took no notice of the woman behind me although, I could tell she was getting very agitated by this time and more agitated as the worship went on.   Whatever she was trying to do with her spells or curses clearly wasn’t working.    The Lord told me to turn around and tell her that He loved her – He really loved her and had died for her.   She just nodded and smiled at me and then at the earliest opportunity left and we never saw her again.  I hope she remembers those words though and if she hasn’t already, finds Jesus as her saviour.   Jesus died for everyone even those who oppose him.    Jesus’ heart was love for that woman and we are commanded to love our enemies and do good to those who hate us.

God is faithful and He is our defender and protector.   I love the words of Psalm 91 – “I will say of the Lord “He is my refuge and my fortress; My God, in Him will I trust.  Surely He shall deliver you from the snare of the fowler and from the perilous pestilence.  He shall cover you with His feathers, and under His wings you shall take refuge; His truth shall be your shield and buckler.  You shall not be afraid of the terror by night.  Nor of the arrow that flies by day, Nor of the pestilence that walks in darkness, Nor of the destruction that walks in darkness, Nor of the destruction that lays waste at noonday.  A thousand may fall at your side, And ten thousand at your right hand; but it shall not come near you.”.     Thank you Lord.

 

 

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Invite Christ in -Access all areas

I had this word when I was praying some time ago and have shared it in our fellowship but feel that the Lord wants me to share it again now.

My dear children – you are all children in my sight, dear and beloved to me. How my heart aches for you. How my heart longs to take you in my arms and remove the burdens you are carrying.  I am here – just waiting for you. Waiting to lift you up in my arms and carry you through the night. Do you hear me calling to you?  Do you hear my still small voice crying out to you?   Do not try and block out my voice.   Do not fill your hearts and lives with worldly things which would stifle my still small voice.   Make room in your hearts for me.   Make room.

Some of you need to clean out the house (our hearts) – to make room so that I can come in and sup with you and talk to you and make you mine.

Some of you have squeezed me into the smallest room of your heart and tried to close the door and keep me in that small space and will not allow me to have access to the parts which I need to access – the parts which need healing, cleansing and release.

Some of you have opened up a parlour, the best room, where I am invited to sit.   Where everything to outward appearances is swept clean and tidy – all rubbish hidden out of view – a room where a fire burns and which seems welcoming and inviting and where everything appears to be alright – but you are not comfortable with me.   You are not comfortable in my presence and you do not know how to be comfortable with me. You are not really comfortable with my presence there because you are fearful that I will want to go into the other rooms and all the other rooms are barred to me. You are ashamed of them. You feel that they are not good enough for me. You feel that I would not want to really see inside those rooms – rooms which are dirty, unclean, cluttered, and full of things which you are ashamed of – those are the very rooms I need to go into with you and help you clean. Help you bring warmth and light into those rooms. Those areas of your life which you are ashamed of – those areas of your life which you try and keep me out of and pretend do not exist. I am not fooled.   I want to come into all areas. I want to be able to access all areas of your life and your hearts.

Do not be afraid my children. Do not be afraid. If you will open the door then I will come in and we will eat together. We will talk together, we will commune together. I made you, created you, I know you better than you know yourselves.   I will not be shocked or outraged by anything in your life or in your heart. If you are willing to submit to me completely then I will come in and do a work in you. I will restore you and refresh you.

Some of you ran well once. Who interrupted your race? Who hardened your heart against me? Who deafened your ears and muffled my voice? Who stole away your desire to be with me and the intimacy that we once enjoyed? Who stole your first love?

I am the King of Kings and Lord of Lords. I sit at the right hand of my father in heaven. I am not a thief or a trespasser. I do not enter in where I am not invited.

Do not keep me out of my rightful place in your heart and in your life. I want to take up my rightful place in your heart and in your life.   Let me take up my rightful place.   Come to me and submit yourself to me. Open the door and let me into my rightful place.   Open the door and let me into the closed places.   I am King and Lord of all and there is no other but me. Let me come in.     Do not leave it any longer.   The time has come to let me be King and Lord in my rightful place.   For the time will come when I will no longer be stood here knocking.   Let me in to that locked and darkened room in your heart so that I may bring my light and my healing touch.

God’s banqueting table

We were taking communion on Sunday and I was reminded of God’s banqueting table and that His banner over us there is love.    The words are from the Song of Solomon but we also sing a worship song about God bringing us to His banqueting table.    It is only through that act of selfless love when Christ died on the cross that we have the ability to come to that banqueting table and to the place prepared for us there.    Christ issued the invitation and I accepted.    Christ’s banner of love is over me and all around me when I am there.    I have a place at the banqueting table and so I have access to the full provision of God.   I am dressed appropriately for the banquet with the garments of salvation and the robes of righteousness because I have accepted Christ as my saviour, so there is no chance that I will be refused entry,  but how often I can neglect to go there and take hold of and enjoy all that Christ has obtained for me at the Cross.    Thankfully, the invitation from God is always open to come at any time – 24/7.   There is always a welcome and my place will never be filled by anyone else so there is always a guarantee that I will have a place at the banqueting table.    God can do exceedingly above all that I ask or imagine there because he is a God of abundance.    The banquet is a picture of abundance and plenty for everyone.   The best food and drink are laid on at the banquet for the guests.  Let’s not neglect to ask God for the things that we need and to trust Him to provide for us and sustain us.     It might be physical or spiritual sustenance that we need and we can be sure that whatever it is,  He will be faithful to meet our needs.    Allow Him to fill us there with His love there so that we can be changed and overflow that love to others.      There was a time a few years ago when we were away on retreat and the leader encouraged us all to take up the invitation to come to God’s banqueting table.   He pulled up a physical chair and invited us to take our seat at the table.   We did so and as we did that physical act we saw and imagined ourselves seated at the table feasting on all the provision of God that Christ had obtained for us.   It had a profound effect on me.   I encourage you to take up your place at God’s banqueting table today.  Don’t leave it empty.

white and pink floral freestanding letter decor
Photo by rovenimages.com on Pexels.com

 

 

God’s Voice

There are lots of voices clamouring to be heard & lots of voices telling us untruths at the moment particularly in the media & about our nation but the Bible tells us that God’s voice is powerful, full of majesty and can shake the wilderness and strip the forest bare -Psalm 29.    The voice of the Lord is “over the waters” and when the “floods have lifted up their voice” then we need to remember that “the Lord on high is mightier than the noise of many waters, than the mighty waves of the sea” -Psalm 93.    Whatever voice or voices are raised or rising up against you or trying to come against you and in whatever circumstances – whether it is the voices of doubt, unbelief, confusion, accusation, lies, manipulation, intimidation, threats, bullying etc.. then declare the truth from the word and speak with the voice of God into that situation.   When the wind & waves rose up against Christ and the disciples and the disciples thought they would perish, Jesus rebuked the wind and said to the Sea “Peace, be still”.   Immediately the wind & waves were still.   His voice was more powerful than the wind & the waves and was truly “over the waters”.     The body of Christ has a voice and can be heard.     We need to speak up.    Speak out the words and bible truths which the Lord gives you to declare into situations and into this nation so that change can take place.    The Lord will bless us with His peace.