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Tag: courage

Can God Hear Your Voice?

Here are some simple ways you can improve your prayer life.

Written by Colin Millar on 12/02/2019

Series: Weekly Devotional

Tags: PrayerRelationshipsSalvationThankfulness


Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working.

James 5:16

Recently I was driving while listening to a College Student Prayer Conference Call over the speaker in my car. My youngest son, Chris, leads this Tuesday night of “College Worship with a Message” and for most of the time, it turns into 45 minutes of prayer. I’ve heard Chris pray many times before, but on this night when I heard his voice, three things happened at the same moment! 

  1. Tears of joy sprung forth from my eyes.
  2. I heard the voice of our Heavenly Father over my own voice saying: “That's my son!”
  3. God gave me inexplicable joy. The same joy in our Father experiences when we, His children cry out loud to Him in prayer. This joy felt like a drumbeat of rolling thunder through my heart, mind, and soul. 

Let’s pause and pray out loud:  

“Father, I rejoice that You love to hear my voice and heart turned to you in prayer. Please forgive me when I ignore Your presence. I commit to daily being a student in your “School of Prayer” and to cry out to you regularly. Lord, please teach me to pray.”

The best way to learn to do anything is by doing that thing, right?

Would you learn to ride a bike, play football or cook a meal by reading about how to do them? No, you would practice! Like these activities, the best way to learn how to pray is to pray. So we can be obedient by doing it. In James 5:16 we are given the commandment to “pray for one another.” I often quote Leonard Ravenhill when teaching on prayer where he says,  “Few are called to preach, but all are called to pray!” The instruction from James is addressed to every believer in Jesus. So, if you are reading this, then you are called by God to pray. 

A simple way to pray throughout your day

“Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” (1 Thessalonians 5:18)  Right before this verse, it says, “Pray without ceasing,” which is another instruction to pray. 

Precious reader, those two simple words, “thank you,” are a secret key to virtually every person’s heart, and it can give you the opportunity you need to pray for people. Let me explain in just one instance. Whenever I board a plane, I look at the flight attendants standing in the cabin entrance in their eyes, smile and say: “I want to say thank you to you both for serving in the skies today. God bless you.” Whether it’s to your mother, a family member, a stranger, on the phone to customer service, you can say thank you to them. A very simple next step is to ask this question slowly, clearly and sincerely from your heart:

"If there was one thing I could pray now for you personally, what would it be?" 

This question has allowed me to share Jesus with so many people! A few months ago, I wanted to rent a small car, but there were none available. In America, there is a company called U-Haul, which rents big cars so people can move their belongings from one place to another. Since I could find no small cars, I had no choice but to rent a U-Haul. With a listening heart, God gave me a number of opportunities to say thank you to people and then ask them the "one thing" question.

When we work, we work, but when we pray, God works! In the next 24 hours, God brought Sharon, a gas station manager, Jake, a young man who had been asleep on the couch in the U-Haul office, and Evangelina, my bus driver at the airport, to salvation as I thanked and prayed for each of them in response to the "one thing" prayer question. 

Now, salvation does not come with every person you pray for. However, the more people you pray for, the more you will see God heal, encourage, and set free from worry.

Now, do you want more resources so you can grow in your prayer life? You can use the following: 

1. Igniting Prayer Action’s Online School of Prayer is a simple, eight-session, scripturally based teaching that brings you from a place of setting time apart for prayer to living with prayer as a part of who you are.

2. Zume Online Disciple Multiplication Training is a remarkable, life-transforming way to step into prayer-filled obedience of the Great Commission. I have just completed facilitating a small group of seven through this 10-session journey, and each one of us has grown significantly in our daily rhythm of a prayer-filled life.

Will you commit to saying an intentional "thank you" to five people a day and then asking the "one thing" question of at least two of those people a day?


Pray this week:

“Lord, let me use this lesson as a way to grow in my prayer life. Also, give me the courage to ask more the ONE THING question and share of your saving grace. Amen.” 


Let us know if you asked the "one thing" question with those around you! Connect with a caring Christian friend today.

Alan Zibluk Markethive Founding Member

How to Conquer Stress Fear and Anxiety

 

God speaks about fear and anxiety in plain terms in the Bible.

Written by Gary Fleetwood on 01/01/2019
Series: Weekly Devotional
Tags: Anxiety, Fear, God, Stress, Trust
Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

Philippians 4:6-7
In Matthew 14:22-32, the disciples found themselves in a very stressful situation. They were in a small boat in the middle of the sea when a great wind came up, making their boat toss back and forth. Many of these disciples were fishermen, so they knew the dangers of the storms on the sea very well. Under their circumstances, most likely they felt that they may not make it through the storm alive. However, what is often missed in this story is that in verse 22 it says that Jesus “…made the disciples get into the boat and go before him to the other side.”  Jesus knew full well what was going to happen to the disciples on the Sea of Galilee, so this could actually be called a “spiritual test.”  It should never surprise a believer that God will often test their faith in Him by placing them in a very stressful or uncomfortable situation.

Why can we say that stressful moments should not cause us to be afraid or anxious?
God is most often the author of what happens in our life. He is always wanting to do something in us so that he can do something through us, and many times He is more than willing to place us in a situation that we did not create and one that we cannot control.  So, in the midst of those kinds of difficulties, it is such an important lesson to learn that God controls all things and that there is nothing that He cannot control. He is never caught by surprise by what happens to someone, and that is why Paul could so confidently say in Romans 8:28, "And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose."

No matter what may happen to us as believers, what the Scriptures teach is that if we truly are trusting God, we will find that even the anxious and stressful moments are things that He allows to happen to draw us closer to Him. Sometimes we become so distracted with other things that we lose focus on what is eternally important, so God often times raises up very difficult and trying circumstances to help us see more clearly what His greater purposes are for our life.

So, what is God really saying when He says that we do not need to be anxious about anything?
The utterly amazing part of Philippians 4:6-7 is when Paul says, “Do not be anxious about anything.” Our normal behavior is to constantly worry about things that in the big picture really have a very minor impact in our lives, making it difficult to stay focused and ignore the eternal issues that will define our eternity. When I read a statement like “Do not be anxious about anything,” I immediately realize that God is staking His reputation on this statement. He is an all-powerful, all-knowing, and compassionate God, that He simply does not want us to somehow miss the reality of His control over whatever may happen in our lives. For someone who simply created the heavens and the earth with just a word, taking care of any problem or difficulty we may have is simply no big deal.

This is what is so amazing about these verses because when fully understand they are God’s way of saying that we can cast our every care on Him no matter what our stressful circumstances may be saying to us.  1 Peter 5:6-7 explains it this way:

Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time He may exalt you, casting all your anxieties on him, because He cares for you.

Not long ago, the nuclear plant where my oldest son had worked for seven years was shut down. Everyone that worked there lost their job — 5,000 people in one day without any notice. My son and his family were traveling home at the time when he received the phone call and his wife called us to let us know. In that process, she made the remarkable statement that God causes all things to work together for good for those who love Him. They never became anxious about what my son losing his job was going to do to their life, but they sincerely found that trusting God in the middle of an outwardly stressful reality was really not difficult. To them, it just seemed to be the most natural thing to trust in God. 

If we can trust Him completely with our eternity, then surely we can trust Him with our present circumstances.

The Bible never promises believers that life will be easy and it never promises that there will be no problems.  However, what it does promise is that when life is difficult and when there are very real problems affecting our life that God has all of the right answers and all of the resources to see us through those stressful moments in our life.  It is His way of helping us to trust Him.

Pray this week:
“Father, I come to you seeking the grace that I know I will need for the difficult times in my life that will challenge both my faith and my confidence in You.  You are a great God and I seek your grace for the strength, courage, and wisdom that I need to trust you fully with my life.”

If someone else were to examine my life when life creates very anxious moments for me, would they be able to tell someone else that I was truly trusting God in the midst of those difficult times?

Alan Zibluk Markethive Founding Member