Effective Prayer

The Body of Christ performs a vital ministry for our spiritual life. As we confess our sins to each other, we hold one another accountable. Also, prayer unites the Body of Christ more deeply than any other spiritual discipline. When we pray for each other, we are healed. There is no disputing the fact that the prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective (James 5:16).

A wonderful way to learn God’s Word, and to gain the insight of Saints who already walked the same path, in the season of life in which we are living, is called discipleship. However, there is no better source of discipleship than sitting at Jesus feet (Luke 10:38-42). Through prayer and by reading His Word, God’s Spirit teaches us all things (1 John 2:27).

Our developing relationship with God gives us a more intense desire for holiness, as we realize how deeply our behavior affects our witness and our relationship with our Lord. The clearer we hear God speak to us, the more closely we can follow His voice in our daily life (James 1:5; Jeremiah 29:13; John 10:27). Otherwise, we suffer from impaired spiritual hearing (Matthew 11:15).

God lives in us and we are as close to Him as is possible; but we can form a deeper, more personal bond with Him by spending more time hanging out in His presence. Intimate communication in our prayer closet allows our relationship with God to deepen, because we are spending quality time with our Father (Matthew 22:37; John 17:3).

Prayer:
Father God, You are never far from us. We, however, allow the busyness of life to drown out Your voice and to rob us of our intimate times with You. Remind us to pay attention to You in every moment of every day, so that You can approach us more intimately than ever before (James 4:8). You will fill us with more of Your holiness, as well as Your Spirit (Ephesians 5:18). Then we will walk in Your power and victory over sin, the world and Satan (John 14:12-14; Acts 1:8).

Thought for the Day:
New Testament Saints made prayer a priority; why don’t we?
– Acts 1:14

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The Cleansing Tears of Grief

Stress will kill the human body. We allow so much stress into our daily life that we often end up on medication to heal the results of stress on our body and soul. It affects our cardiovascular, endocrine, psychological and immune systems—as well as most of the other organs in our body and our spiritual health. There are many proven healthy ways to deal with stress.

(See: http://www.charismamag.com/life/health/19047-how-to-deal-with-stress-god-s-way)

 

We have stress at work, home and sometimes even in our social life, which makes us sick in body and soul. Scientists and doctors agree that God designed our body to shed stress hormones when we cry. This helps to protect our brain and bodily organs. When we grieve our disappointments and losses, our tears cleanse our soul, but they also help our body.

 

After times of tears, our heart rate and our breathing grow calmer. Tears also produce endorphins, which improve our emotional well-being. Allow your soul to grieve to the extent, and for as long as it needs to, in order to gain relief from your loss. Grief only affects us negatively, when we allow it to take over our life, to exclude us from healthy activities and to closet our self from life.

 

Tears will also alert those around us that we are hurting. These people usually respond with kindness and concern, and they benefit us physically and emotionally as well. Grief can strengthen our connections with family, friends and even perfect strangers who stop to show they care. Therefore, do not hold back your tears; let them flow.

 

God uses our afflictions to purify us, to teach us patience and to help us to learn to take authority over the devil (James 1:5). He also uses our grief to cleanse us of inordinate affections and idols, which are deeply rooted in our life. God always brings comfort to us in our sorrows, through other people and by His Holy Spirit. God uses grief to restore our soul to health (Psalm 23:3).

 

God strengthens us through our night of grief, and brings us joy in the morning (Psalm 30:5). He is our ever-present help in times of trouble (Isaiah 41:10; Psalm 46:1-2). As we grieve through our sorrow, its strength dissipates and our soul feels lighter. We not only grieve the loss of people and pets, but also treasured objects that were ripped from our grasp unexpectedly. If we do not allow our soul to grieve these losses, we carry that pain with us all of our life.

 

Prayer:

Father God, we often hold on to our grief, because it brings us comfort in some distorted way. We do not realize that grieving through our loss is much healthier for us. Give to all of those who grieve the comfort, which only You can supply; Your deep, internal comfort, which changes our focus and attitude about our circumstances. Thank You also for the Body of Christ, which supports us in our times of sorrow.

 

Thought for the Day:

Blessed are those who mourn, for God will comfort them. – Matthew 5:4

 

Perfect Strength in Weakness

There are times in life when we beg God to help us because of some physical illness, emotional turmoil or trial in our spiritual life. Paul did this too. He had a “thorn in the flesh” and begged God to remove it from him. There is much speculation about what that thorn was, but it does not really matter.

The crux of the issue is that God’s grace was sufficient for Paul to excel in life in spite of it (2 Corinthians 12:8-10). Paul actually learned to brag about his imperfections and infirmities, so that the power of Christ in him would give him rest for his soul. God’s power, strength and ability are perfected in our weaknesses.

All we need to flourish in this life is His grace. Whenever we are weak, Christ in us is our strength (2 Corinthians 12:8-10). The prophet Daniel relied on God’s strength in his times of weakness too (Daniel 10:19). The warrior and national leader of Israel, Joshua, found strength and courage in his times of fear (Joshua 1:9).

If we have personal power, we would not need God; and we could boast in our abilities and accomplishments (2 Corinthians 12:1). However, our life in Christ is not about us at all (Ephesians 2:8-9). That is why God uses the weak and foolish things of the world to confound the mind of those who consider themselves wise (1 Corinthians 1:27).

Our faith does not rest on human abilities but on God’s power within us (1 Corinthians 2:5). A surrendered life is the successful life. Out of God’s glorious riches, He empowers us by His Spirit, which abides within us (Ephesians 3:16). We can excel in the will of God and live a fulfilled Christian life, because He lives in us (Philippians 4:13).

Prayer:
Father God, You remind us not to be anxious about anything, but to come to You in everything, letting You know what we need. We start from a place of gratitude for all You have already done for us, and then we make our requests known to You. This results in a shower of Your peace on our life, which transcends every negative aspect that we are experiencing (Philippians 4:6).

Thought for the Day:
God’s peace guards our mind and heart in Christ Jesus, in spite of what life throws at us. – Philippians 4:7

The Power of the Spiritual Life

Jesus suffered agony in the garden when He felt the weight of our sin on His heart; however, He came to earth with one purpose: to surrender His life for our salvation. God has a unique purpose for each of us, as well (Ephesians 2:10). We wait on God, and He works out His intentions in us moment by moment throughout our life. By His promises, we partake in the divine nature of Christ (2 Peter 1:4).

Only through the death of our carnal nature do we learn the secret of living our life through our rebirth in Christ Jesus. Like Paul, we die daily to our flesh, our will and Satan’s temptations (1 Corinthians 15:31),so that God’s Spirit can live His life through us. We are rooted and grounded in Him by faith (Ephesians 3:17). We owe Jesus all glory and honor for giving us our spiritual life.

Jesus gave us the perfect example of how to live on this earth. Even at an early age, He focused on God’s Kingdom (Luke 2:46). He trusted in, depended upon and lived and died with His total focus on our Father. We can follow in His footsteps. He who knew no sin mercifully gave His life to pay the penalty of our sins (2 Corinthians 5:21). Making Himself helpless in the hands of His persecutors, Jesus honored God.

God’s fullness in our life will take us deeper and deeper into the power and wonder of His spiritual realm. As we cast our soul – our thoughts, decisions and feelings – on Him, and totally abandon our self to His love, He who lived in total surrender to our Father will impart His divine nature to us (2 Peter 1:4). We live our life in the power of the resurrected Lord who dwells within us.

Prayer:

Father God, thank You so much for preparing the perfect sacrifice for our sins by coming in the form of a man and dying on Calvary’s cross in our place (Philippians 2:8). The fact that You raised Christ from the dead and to His throne in glory gives us so much hope and faith to know that You will bring us up from the grave and into Your glorious presence.

Thought for the Day:

To have the love, peace and joy we crave in our life, we simply surrender wholeheartedly to God. – Matthew 10:39