Category Archives: Food For Thought

SPIRITUAL DETERIORATION

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SPIRITUAL DETERIORATION

Deterioration is described as the action or process of becoming impaired or inferior in quality, functioning, or condition.

Revelation 3:1 NKJV
“And to the angel of the church in Sardis write, ‘These things says He who has the seven Spirits of God and the seven stars: “I know your works, that you have a name that you are alive, but you are dead.”

Spiritual deterioration does not happen all at once – it is usually little by little. Often spiritual deterioration comes without our awareness.

Judges 16:18-21 NKJV
“When Delilah saw that he had told her all his heart, she sent and called for the lords of the Philistines, saying, “Come up once more, for he has told me all his heart.” So the lords of the Philistines came up to her and brought the money in their hand. Then she lulled him to sleep on her knees, and called for a man and had him shave off the seven locks of his head. Then she began to torment him, and his strength left him. And she said, “The Philistines are upon you, Samson!” So he awoke from his sleep, and said, “I will go out as before, at other times, and shake myself free!” But he did not know that the Lord had departed from him. Then the Philistines took him and put out his eyes, and brought him down to Gaza. They bound him with bronze fetters, and he became a grinder in the prison”

Samson had the power of God upon him, but he played around with sin and was found helpless in the face of the enemy because he was unaware that God’s power had left him. Like Samson many believers and churches are playing around with sin. Things that God calls sin are no longer considered sin in the eyes of many. The sins have been renamed in an attempt to make them sound more acceptable. And just like Samson, one day they will realize that they have allowed spiritual deterioration to creep in, and that God‘s anointing is no longer upon them. Hopefully they will wake up from their slumber and repent before it is too late.

Some signs of spiritual deterioration are:
Avoiding fellow believers
Careless concerning the things of God
Cease to desire to worship God in spirit and in truth
Declining faith
Delusions
Greater emphasis on number of attendees or members than on the presence of God
Hardness of heart
Heresies
Indifference to the Word of God
Lack of personal discipline
No desire to pray
No desire to receive the baptism of the Holy Spirit
Oblivious to the reality of the occult and spiritual realm
People want to be entertained
Persistent doubts concerning God’s Word
Religious errors
Seeing praise and worship as just a song service
Substituting fellowship with God with fellowship with people
Talk begins to change
Unteachable spirit

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AGENDAS

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AGENDAS

Agenda can be described as a list or outline of things to be considered or done. It can also be described as an underlying plan or program. God had a plan and agenda for the church long before it was ever formed.

* Man has his own agendas, and they usually conflict with God’s agenda. Often today we see churches where the leaders and the people are concerned more about their own agendas than God’s. There are even churches that have a scheduled order of service that is so strict it schedules a move of the Holy Spirit right out of it.

* Are churches more interested in being a social club or a house of prayer? God’s agenda is not for churches to try to be the biggest and best church around. Many look more like a social club or civic organization than they do a house of God.

* There are some leaders in the church that use the church for personal advancement – both monetarily advancement and position / power. Their plans are implemented according to their own desires and in such a way that it is a positive addition to their resume or their portfolio.

* Within the church man’s agenda is often dictated by worldly viewpoints, secular influences and unsanctified lifestyles, not by prayer.

* Often times churches are more interested in making attendees rather than disciples.

Matthew 28:19-20 NKJV
“Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you…”

* During services many churches spend more time on announcements and greeting each other than they do greeting God, welcoming the Holy Spirit, praying or worshipping God. God calls His people together to worship Him, not to worship church.

A house of prayer
According to Jesus the church was to be a house of prayer. Jesus was very interested in the sanctification (set apart for God) and purity of the temple. Twice in His ministry Jesus was enraged at what He saw going on in the temple.

At the beginning of His ministry.

 

John 2:13-16 NKJV
“Now the Passover of the Jews was at hand, and Jesus went up to Jerusalem. And He found in the temple those who sold oxen and sheep and doves, and the money changers doing business. When He had made a whip of cords, He drove them all out of the temple, with the sheep and the oxen, and poured out the changers’ money and overturned the tables. And He said to those who sold doves, “Take these things away! Do not make My Father’s house a house of merchandise!”

At the end of His ministry.

Matthew 21:11-13 NKJV
“Then Jesus went into the temple of God and drove out all those who bought and sold in the temple, and overturned the tables of the money changers and the seats of those who sold doves. And He said to them, “It is written, ‘My house shall be called a house of prayer, but you have made it a ‘den of thieves.”

Mark 11:15-19 NKJV
“So they came to Jerusalem. Then Jesus went into the temple and began to drive out those who bought and sold in the temple, and overturned the tables of the money changers and the seats of those who sold doves.
And He would not allow anyone to carry wares through the temple.
Then He taught, saying to them, “Is it not written, ‘My house shall be called a house of prayer for all nations? But you have made it a ‘den of thieves.”

Jesus said, “It is written, ‘My house shall be called a house of prayer, but you have made it a ‘den of thieves.” A thief can be described as someone that takes something that doesn’t belong to them. While we don’t have people sitting around in our foyers today selling things in a fraudulent manner, we could be described as a den of thieves in a way. Some churches have stolen God’s agenda and replaced it with their own. Instead of God being honored, worshipped and glorified, man is.

When the church is a house of prayer, one that is pure and set apart for God, it will be the voice that boldly proclaims the good news with power that totally changes people. Just maybe it is time to go through the church, and its agendas, with the Word of God. When the church seeks God’s agenda and lines up their services, ministries and outreaches accordingly great things will happen, the kingdom of God will increase, and disciples will be made.

HURTS

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HURTS

Hurts within the church happen everyday. People hurt pastors…pastors hurt people…people hurt people…pastors hurt pastors….that’s just a fact of life. Hurts can lead to unforgiveness and unforgiveness effects everyone in a church – either directly or indirectly. Because of that we must guard against an unforgiving spirit. Unforgiveness HURTS you more than the other person – forgiveness HELPS you more than the other person.

Forgive means to:
* to stop feeling anger toward (someone who has done something wrong)
* to stop blaming (someone)
* to stop feeling anger about (something)
* to forgive someone for (something wrong)
* to stop requiring payment of
* to give up resentment (a feeling of indignant displeasure or persistent ill will at something regarded as a wrong, insult, or injury) of
* to give up claim to requital (something given in return, compensation, or retaliation)
* to cease to feel resentment against

Forgiveness is described as the act of forgiving someone or something and the attitude of someone who is willing to forgive other people. It can be defined as letting go of anger, bitterness, and the desire for revenge. It is not a feeling, but a decision to let go of anger, bitterness, and the desire for revenge. It is purposely deciding (a mental decision) not to hold others sins/wrongs against them. Forgiveness is extending loving mercy to those who have hurt us. God has instructed us to forgive throughout the Bible. A few examples are:

Ephesians 4:29-32 NKJV
“ Let no corrupt word proceed out of your mouth, but what is good for necessary edification, that it may impart grace to the hearers. And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. Let all bitterness, wrath, anger, clamor, and evil speaking be put away from you, with all malice. And be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, just as God in Christ forgave you.”

Colossians 3:13 NKJV
“bearing with one another, and forgiving one another, if anyone has a complaint against another; even as Christ forgave you, so you also must do.”

Matthew 6:14-15 NKJV
“For if you forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.”

Some hindrances to forgiving are thinking that you have to forget in order to forgive, thinking that trust and forgiveness are the same thing, and thinking that forgiveness eliminates the consequences of what has been done.

Forgiving and Forgetting
When you forgive someone it doesn’t mean that you will forget. You don’t have to forget the hurt in order to forgive the person. There is a difference between a scar and a scab. When a wound is completely healed a scar is sometimes left behind. A scab on the other hand is a wound that is still in the healing process. When you have a scar many times you don’t even notice it, but from time to time you eye may catch a glimpse of it and remember the wound that was there. So it is with forgiving. You may never truly forget what happened, and from time to time those memories will try to creep in, but you can choose to forgive and move on with your life. FORGIVENESS IS A CHOICE NOT A FEELING.

Trust and Forgiveness
Trust and forgiveness are not the same thing. When a person is hurt many times it will cause them to loose their trust in the person who hurt them. Trust is a fragile thing. Once trust has been broken, it takes time to be restored. Sometimes it takes many years to rebuild the trust between people and sometimes it never will be. For some people they will have to forgive and move on without attempting to restore trust. Just because you do not trust someone doesn’t mean that you can’t wish them blessings. Sometimes you must do this from a distance. You don’t have to trust everyone. NOT TRUSTING A PERSON IS NOT A SIN.

Forgiveness and Consequences
Forgiveness doesn’t eliminate the consequences of what has been done. There will still be consequences even when forgiveness is given. However, we must leave the consequences up to God and not take matters into our own hands.

Luke 17:1 NKJV
“Then He said to the disciples, “It is impossible that no offenses should come, but woe to him through whom they do come!”

Jesus Himself said that it was impossible for there to be no offenses. He did not say for us to get even with the offenders ourselves. He said woe to him through whom they (offenses) do come. The word woe in the Greek is ouai and is more than just an expression of a feeling – it is a judgment. It is not our place to try to get back at someone because of an offense. God will take care of it, that’s not our job. GOD IS THE JUDGE, NOT US.

Luke 6:37 NKJV
“Judge not, and you shall not be judged. Condemn not, and you shall not be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven.”

 

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Dear Father,
I choose this day to forgive everyone who has, or who I think has, wronged me or my family. I choose not to hold on to anger, hurt, resentment, or bitterness. I choose to walk in love and forgiveness. I pray blessings on each of these people. Help me by the power of the Holy Spirit to have a godly mindset.
In Jesus’ name, Amen

Less Talk – More ACTION

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Less Talk – More ACTION

When praying for problems or situations between people or groups of people there should be less talk and more ACTION.
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A – Acknowledge your own sin.

C – Confess your sin to God. Pray for clean hands and a pure heart.

T – Take God’s side.

I – Intercede for all involved

O – Opinion – Keep yours to yourself. Everyone has an opinion, but it’s only God’s opinion that matters.

N – No negative talk. Don’t interfere with what God is doing by speaking negative words.

Children and the Rapture – One Christian’s Perspective

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Children and the Rapture – One Christian’s Perspective

When Herod realized that the wisemen were not coming back to tell him where the King was born, he became very fearful and angry. He sent his soldiers to Bethlehem and all the surrounding towns to kill all the baby boys two years and younger. The Bible tells us that a great weeping and mourning was heard over the deaths of the babies.

Matthew 2:16-18 NKJV
“Then Herod, when he saw that he was deceived by the wise men, was exceedingly angry; and he sent forth and put to death all the male children who were in Bethlehem and in all its districts, from two years old and under, according to the time which he had determined from the wise men. Then was fulfilled what was spoken by Jeremiah the prophet, saying: “A voice was heard in Ramah, Lamentation, weeping, and great mourning, Rachel weeping for her children, Refusing to be comforted, Because they are no more.”

My thought is, however great the lamentation, weeping and mourning was it will pale in comparison to the weeping and mourning that will take place immediately following the rapture.

When that trumpet sounds and Jesus steps out on the clouds to call His bride home, all the children under the age of accountability will go too. Because of God’s mercy and grace, a child that dies under the age of accountability goes to heaven and I believe that the same principle will apply to children concerning the rapture.

Can you imagine the cry that will be heard when millions of babies and little children suddenly disappear? Can you imagine the horror parents will feel as they franticly search for their children? Babies will disappear from their cribs, daycares, or even from the arms of their mothers. Little children from all over the world will suddenly vanish from their homes, yards, and schools.

My plea to parents is for you to turn to God and accept Jesus Christ as your Savior and Lord. Live in such a way that you know that you will go to be with God and your little children when the rapture occurs (whenever that is).

If you don’t make it in the rapture and your little one does, please remember that there is still hope for you to be reunited with your loved ones – you can still turn to God. As long as there is breath in your body there is still hope for you, you can still repent and you can still be forgiven. It won’t be easy, and it may cost you your life but it will be worth it.

Words And Prayer

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Words And Prayer

Our words are important in our everyday life and in our prayer life.

I. WORDS

A. Word
The definition of word is:
*a unit of language, consisting of one or more spoken sounds or their written representation, that functions as a principal carrier of meaning.
* speech or talk: to express one’s emotion in words
* the text or lyrics of a song

 

Words are powerful. They communicate thoughts, transform, deliver information, teach, and express feelings. Positive words inspire others in a positive way. Words were essential in creation and redemption. Our words display the work of God in our lives, our relationship with God, and what’s in our heart. God looks at our heart, but he listens to our lips.

Our words are like seeds. We speak them and they will bear fruit – yield a harvest.

Words tell what is really in the heart.

Matthew 12:33-37 NKJV
“Either make the tree good and its fruit good, or else make the tree bad and its fruit bad; for a tree is known by its fruit.
Brood of vipers! How can you, being evil, speak good things? For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks.
A good man out of the good treasure of the his heart brings forth good things, and an evil man out of the evil treasure brings forth evil things. But I say to you that for every idle word men may speak, they will give account of it in the day of judgment. For by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned.”

Words At Creation

Genesis 1:3-32 NKJV
“Then God said, “Let there be light”; and there was light. And God saw the light, that it was good; and God divided the light from the darkness. God called the light Day, and the darkness He called Night. So the evening and the morning were the first day. Then God said, “Let there be a firmament in the midst of the waters, and let it divide the waters from the waters.” Thus God made the firmament, and divided the waters which were under the firmament from the waters which were above the firmament; and it was so. And God called the firmament Heaven. So the evening and the morning were the second day. Then God said, “Let the waters under the heavens be gathered together into one place, and let the dry land appear”; and it was so. And God called the dry land Earth, and the gathering together of the waters He called Seas. And God saw that it was good. Then God said, “Let the earth bring forth grass, the herb that yields seed, and the fruit tree that yields fruit according to its kind, whose seed is in itself, on the earth”; and it was so. And the earth brought forth grass, the herb that yields seed according to its kind, and the tree that yields fruit, whose seed is in itself according to its kind. And God saw that it was good. So the evening and the morning were the third day. Then God said, “Let there be lights in the firmament of the heavens to divide the day from the night; and let them be for signs and seasons, and for days and years;
and let them be for lights in the firmament of the heavens to give light on the earth”; and it was so. Then God made two great lights: the greater light to rule the day, and the lesser light to rule the night. He made the stars also. God set them in the firmament of the heavens to give light on the earth, and to rule over the day and over the night, and to divide the light from the darkness. And God saw that it was good. So the evening and the morning were the fourth day. Then God said, “Let the waters abound with an abundance of living creatures, and let birds fly above the earth across the face of the firmament of the heavens.” So God created great sea creatures and every living thing that moves, with which the waters abounded, according to their kind, and every winged bird according to its kind. And God saw that it was good. And God blessed them, saying, “Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the waters in the seas, and let birds multiply on the earth.” So the evening and the morning were the fifth day. Then God said, “Let the earth bring forth the living creature according to its kind: cattle and creeping thing and beast of the earth, each according to its kind”; and it was so. And God made the beast of the earth according to its kind, cattle according to its kind, and everything that creeps on the earth according to its kind. And God saw that it was good. Then God said, “Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over the cattle, over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.” So God created man in His own image; in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them. Then God blessed them, and God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply; fill the earth and subdue it; have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over every living thing that moves on the earth.” And God said, “See, I have given you every herb that yields seed which is on the face of all the earth, and every tree whose fruit yields seed; to you it shall be for food. Also, to every beast of the earth, to every bird of the air, and to everything that creeps on the earth, in which there is life, I have given every green herb for food”; and it was so. Then God saw everything that He had made, and indeed it was very good. So the evening and the morning were the sixth day.

Psalm 33:6-9 NKJV
“By the word of the Lord the heavens were made, And all the host of them by the breath of His mouth.
He gathers the waters of the sea together s a heap; He lays up the deep in storehouses.
Let all the earth fear the Lord; Let all the inhabitants of the world stand in awe of Him.
For He spoke, and it was done; He commanded, and it stood fast.”

In the beginning everything was created by a word. God spoke words in the spiritual realm to make things happen or come about in the physical world. God formed us in His image and therefore, just like Him, our words have power.

Words That Ushered In Our Redemption

John 19:29-30 NKJV
“Now a vessel full of sour wine was sitting there; and they filled a sponge with sour wine, put it on hyssop, and put it to His mouth. So when Jesus had received the sour wine, He said, “It is finished!” And bowing His head, He gave up His spirit.”

The words “It is finished” are important words in the redemption story. When Jesus said those words, He was declaring the debt for our sins was wiped away completely and forever.

B. Words Are Words
Words are words no matter if they are spoken, written or sung.

The Mezuzah
Written words are just as important as spoken words.

Deuteronomy 6:9 NKJV
“You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.”

God commanded the Israelites to write His Word (Deuteronomy 6:4-9) on a small scroll and attach it to the door post of their homes.

Deuteronomy 6:4-9 NKJV
“Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one!
You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your strength.
“And these words which I command you today shall be in your heart.
You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, when you walk by the way, when you lie down, and when you rise up.
You shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes.
You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.”

C. Words Have Power
Research shows that words have emotional, physical and spiritual impact. Words effect everything – animals, plants, people, situations….

Your words are negative or positive. The words you speak have the power to wound or heal, discourage or encourage, tear down or build up, bless or curse. Words are binding.

Your words effect you, your home, your church, your country…Our words will either bless a situation or curse it.

James 3:10 NKJV
“Out of the same mouth proceed blessing and cursing.”

With words, Jesus cursed the fig tree and it died. Jesus spoke commanding words and those words caused the tree to die.

Mark 11:12-25 NKJV
“Now the next day, when they had come out from Bethany, He was hungry.
And seeing from afar a fig tree having leaves, He went to see if perhaps He would find something on it. When He came to it, He found nothing but leaves, for it was not the season for figs.
In response Jesus said to it, “Let no one eat fruit from you ever again.” And His disciples heard it.
So they came to Jerusalem. Then Jesus went into the temple and began to drive out those who bought and sold in the temple, and overturned the tables of the money changers and the seats of those who sold doves.
And He would not allow anyone to carry wares through the temple.
Then He taught, saying to them, “Is it not written, ‘My house shall be called a house of prayer for all nations? But you have made it a ‘den of thieves.” And the scribes and chief priests heard it and sought how they might destroy Him; for they feared Him, because all the people were astonished at His teaching.
When evening had come, He went out of the city.
Now in the morning, as they passed by, they saw the fig tree dried up from the roots.
And Peter, remembering, said to Him, “Rabbi, look! The fig tree which You cursed has withered away.”
So Jesus answered and said to them, “Have faith in God.
For assuredly, I say to you, whoever says to this mountain, ‘Be removed and be cast into the sea,’ and does not doubt in his heart, but believes that those things he says will be done, he will have whatever he says.
Therefore I say to you, whatever things you ask when you pray, believe that you receive them, and you will have them. “And whenever you stand praying, if you have anything against anyone, forgive him, that your Father in heaven may also forgive you your trespasses.”

Words Can Steal
Speaking negative words can steal things from you. The story of Moses sending the twelve men out to spy out the land is a good example of how you can allow words to steal something from you.

Joshua and Caleb gave a good report, but the other ten men gave a bad report.

Numbers 13:25-33 NKJV
“And they returned from spying out the land after forty days. Now they departed and came back to Moses and Aaron and all the congregation of the children of Israel in the Wilderness of Paran, at Kadesh; they brought back word to them and to all the congregation, and showed them the fruit of the land. Then they told him, and said: “We went to the land where you sent us. It truly flows with milk and honey, and this is its fruit. Nevertheless the people who dwell in the land are strong; the cities are fortified and very large; moreover we saw the descendants of Anak there. The Amalekites dwell in the land of the South; the Hittites, the Jebusites, and the Amorites dwell in the mountains; and the Canaanites dwell by the sea and along the banks of the Jordan.” Then Caleb quieted the people before Moses, and said, “Let us go up at once and take possession, for we are well able to overcome it.” But the men who had gone up with him said, “We are not able to go up against the people, for they are stronger than we.” And they gave the children of Israel a bad report of the land which they had spied out, saying, “The land through which we have gone as spies is a land that devours its inhabitants, and all the people whom we saw in it are men of great stature. There we saw the giants (the descendants of Anak came from the giants); and we were like grasshoppers in our own sight, and so we were in their sight.”

Don’t talk yourself out of God’s promises and victory by your words.

Negative words can cause you to miss out on the promises of God.

Words Can Keep You In A Desert Place
Negative words can keep you in a dry, place, wandering around instead of entering into the promises of God.

In Exodus and Numbers we read where the people complained and it kept them out of the promised land. God has given us promises by His Word. We must be careful not to mess things up by our words. Sometimes we just need to be quiet.

Number 16:26-35 NKJV
“And the Lord spoke to Moses and Aaron, saying, “How long shall I bear with this evil congregation who complain against Me? I have heard the complaints which the children of Israel make against Me. Say to them, ‘As I live,’ says the Lord, ‘just as you have spoken in My hearing, so I will do to you: The carcasses of you who have complained against Me shall fall in this wilderness, all of you who were numbered, according to your entire number, from twenty years old and above. Except for Caleb the son of Jephunneh and Joshua the son of Nun, you shall by no means enter the land which I swore I would make you dwell in. But your little ones, whom you said would be victims, I will bring in, and they shall know the land which you have despised. But as for you, your carcasses shall fall in this wilderness. And your sons shall be shepherds in the wilderness forty years, and bear the brunt of your infidelity, until your carcasses are consumed in the wilderness. According to the number of the days in which you spied out the land, forty days, for each day you shall bear your guilt one year, namely forty years, and you shall know My rejection. I the Lord have spoken this. I will surely do so to all this evil congregation who are gathered together against Me. In this wilderness they shall be consumed, and there they shall die.’”

Words Can Build Up – Edify
The story of Gideon is an example of how the right words can build a person up and help them to see themselves as God does.

Judges 6:12 NKJV
“And the Angel of the Lord appeared to him, and said to him, “The Lord is with you, you mighty man of valor!”

The children of Israel had done evil in God’s sight, so God allowed the Midianites to oppress them for seven years. Afraid of their enemies, the Israelites hid. The Midianites continually stole animals and ruined the crops, leaving the Israelites to starve. Impoverished because of the Midianites, and the children of Israel cried out to the Lord. As fearful Gideon hid from the Minianites threshing wheat in a winepress, the Angel of the Lord appeared and said, “The Lord is with you, you mighty man of valor!” Gideon was fearful when the Angel of the Lord appeared to him.

Words Can Mean The Difference Between Life And Death

Proverbs 18:21 NKJV
“Death and life are in the power of the tongue,
And those who love it will eat its fruit.”

The Shunammite woman is an example of being careful with our words. Sometimes when we experience a devastating event we can be prone to speak negatively. No matter what we see with our eyes or what people say to us concerning our situation, we must be careful to guard our words.

2 Kings 4:18-33 NKJV
“And the child grew. Now it happened one day that he went out to his father, to the reapers, And he said to his father, ‘My head, my head!’ So he said to a servant, ‘Carry him to his mother.’ When he had taken him and brought him
to his mother, he sat on her knees till noon, and then died. And she went up and laid him on the bed of the man of God, shut the door upon him, and went out. Then she called to her husband, and said, ‘Please send me one of the young men and one of the donkeys, that I may run to the man of God and come back.’ So he said, ‘Why are you going to him today? It is neither the New Moon nor the Sabbath?’ And she said, ‘It is well.’ When Elisha came into the house, there was the child, lying dead on his bed. He went in therefore, shut the door behind the two of them, and prayed to the Lord.”

The son that the woman was promised now lay dead in her arms. If she had looked at things through her natural eyes she would have accepted the death of her child. But she knew that God had promised her a son. The woman was careful with the words that she spoke over her son. There is life and death in our words. Every word that comes out of our mouth either brings life or it bring death.

Proverbs 13:3 NKJV
“He who guards his mouth preserves his life, But he who opens wide his lips shall have destruction.

By guarding our lips (our words) we actually guard our lives.

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D. The Words You Sing
Some people wouldn’t be caught dead saying certain words or talking in a certain way but they have no problem singing a song with the same words or phrases in it.

Listening to songs with negative words and phrases are just as bad as singing them.

Knowing that words have power, we must be just as careful with what we sing (and listen to) as we are with what we say.

God hears us singing. Are the words that we are singing positive, do they encourage, build up, or bless?

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Words Are Important In Our Worship
Worship ushers in the presence of God – wither it is spoken or sung. Worship songs can help welcome the Holy Spirit into your presence. The Holy Spirit can use songs as one means of preparing our hearts to hear from God.

God is enthroned in our praises. Praise leads to worship and worship leads to the manifest presence of God. Wherever and whenever God’s people come together to worship Him in spirit and truth, they become a habitation for His manifest presence.

Everyone and anyone can praise God however, not everyone can truly worship God. Worship is ascribing value to something or someone. You cannot worship what you don’t honestly value or see as precious.

Praise to God and worship unto Him are both important.
But there is a difference between praise and worship.

Praise centers around acts (things done or given you) and worship centers around the person (their character, who they are, your love and reverence for them…)

Example 1:
In a husband and wife relationship, during times of intimacy (as they are entwined in each other‘s arms), which do you think the husband would rather hear from his wife: In a regular voice, “Thank-you for being a good provider to me.” or in a sweet whisper, “I love you so much.” ?

Which do you think a wife would rather hear from her husband: in a regular voice, “Thank-you for keeping the house clean.” or in a hushed whisper, “You mean everything to me.”?

Jesus is our bridegroom and He longs for us to draw close to us in worship.

Example 2:
In a parent child relationship (when they were small) which do you think the parent would rather heard from them, “Thanks for the new ball,” as they ran out the door or “I love you,” as they curled up in their lap?

God is our Father and He longs for us to seek His face and not just His hand.

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Words Can Change Your Praise Into Worship
Sometimes in a service the congregation may be singing a praise song about God, but in your spirit you may feel a longing to draw closer to God in worship. You can change your praise into worship. Make the song personal to God just by changing a few words – remember words have power. When you do, you will be ministered to ( blessed, encouraged, refreshed…) even if no one else is.

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Do They Truly Edify?
Not all Christian songs and hymns edify. There are some songs we would be better off not singing. How do songs that declare that you are weary, lonely and so forth edify?

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E. Words Last Forever
Words are so important that we will be held accountable for them. Once spoken words cannot be retracted. Our words have long term effects. and one day our words will be judged.

Matthew 12:36-37 NKJV
“But I say to you that for every idle word men may speak, they will give account of it in the day of judgment.
For by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned.”

An example of the lasting effect of words is found in Joshua 6:26.After the Lord God gave the city of Jericho into the hands of Joshua and the people of Israel, Joshua pronounced a curse on the city.

Joshua 6:20-27 NKJV
“So the people shouted when the priests blew the trumpets. And it happened when the people heard the sound of the trumpet, and the people shouted with a great shout, that the wall fell down flat. Then the people went up into the city, every man straight before him, and they took the city. And they utterly destroyed all that was in the city, both man and woman, young and old, ox and sheep and donkey, with the edge of the sword. But Joshua had said to the two men who had spied out the country, “Go into the harlot’s house, and from there bring out the woman and all that she has, as you swore to her.”
And the young men who had been spies went in and brought out Rahab, her father, her mother, her brothers, and all that she had. So they brought out all her relatives and left them outside the camp of Israel. But they burned the city and all that was in it with fire. Only the silver and gold, and the vessels of bronze and iron, they put into the treasury of the house of the Lord. And Joshua spared Rahab the harlot, her father’s household, and all that she had. So she dwells in Israel to this day, because she hid the messengers whom Joshua sent to spy out Jericho. Then Joshua charged them at that time, saying, “Cursed be the man before the Lord who rises up and builds this city Jericho; he shall lay its foundation with his firstborn, and with his youngest he shall set up its gates.” So the Lord was with Joshua, and his fame spread throughout all the country.”

Joshua’s curse did come true many centuries later, during the time of King Ahab, when Hiel of Bethel laid its foundation and rebuilt its gates at the expense of his two sons.

1 Kings 16:34 NKJV
“In his days Hiel of Bethel built Jericho. He laid its foundation with Abiram his firstborn, and with his youngest son Segub he set up its gates, according to the word of the Lord, which He had spoken through Joshua the son of Nun.”

Joshua did not promise Jericho would never be rebuilt. He said the person who rebuilt it would be judged by the loss of his firstborn son and youngest son. At the laying of the foundation Heil’s first son died. At the hanging of the gates, the youngest son died.

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F. God’s Word Is Powerful
Great things can be accomplished when we quote (speak) the Word of God.

2 Timothy 3:16 NKJV
“All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness”

The Word of God is powerful and effective.

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Isaiah 55:11 NKJV
“So shall My word be that goes forth from My mouth; It shall not return to Me void, But it shall accomplish what I please, And it shall prosper in the thing for which I sent it.”

Ezekiel 12:25 NKJV
“For I am the Lord. I speak, and the word which I speak will come to pass; it will no more be postponed; for in your days, O rebellious house, I will say the word and perform it,” says the Lord GOD.’”

Hebrews 4:12:13 NKJV
“For the word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.
And there is no creature hidden from His sight, but all things are naked and open to the eyes of Him to whom we must give account.”

 

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II. PRAYER

A. What Is Prayer
Prayer is talking and listening to God. In 1 Peter we read that God hears the prayers of the righteous. God sees the righteous and He hears their prayers. Righteous can be described as right standing with God. When we are in right standing with God we know that God will hear and answer our prayers.

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

Psalm 66:18 NKJV
“If I regard iniquity in my heart, the Lord will not hear.”

Proverbs 15:29 NKJV
“The Lord is far from the wicked, But He hears the prayer of the righteous.”

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

Prayer can be described as communicating with God. Communication is the exchange of information between people, a spoken or written message, and the communicating of information.

Communication is essential in every part of our lives. Without it we would not achieve much. Relationships between people who do not communicate with each other fall apart. The same is true with our relationship with God. We must talk and listen to God. The dictionary defines prayer as a spoken or unspoken address to God.

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There are many types of prayer. Prayer may express praise, thanksgiving, confession, or a request for something such as help or somebody’s well-being.

1. Praise – Praising God for who He is. Praise is an expression of admiration, worship and thanks to God.

2. Thanksgiving- Thanking God for what He has done and for what He is going to do. It is also a public acknowledgment of God’s goodness.

3. Confession – Confessing (telling) God your sins, faults or failures. Confession mean admission of wrongdoing, an open acknowledgment of feelings, an admission of having done something wrong, admission of guilt, and a declaration of sins to God.

4. Requests – Asking God for something. A request is an appeal made to someone who has the power to grant it.

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B. Follow Jesus’ Example

Jesus would go off alone to seek God’s direction and to draw closer to God. Should we not do the same? There are times that the Spirit will draw us away from everyone in order to give us strength for what lies ahead.

Spiritual victories are often followed by times where we have been alone seeking the face of God. Also, after a spiritual victory, we need to get alone with God for fresh strength and fresh vision.

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A Time Of Prayer
We need to have a time of prayer.

Mark 1:35 NKJV
“Now in the morning, having risen a long while before daylight, He went out and departed to a solitary place; and there He prayed.”

If you want to grow wither in your personal spiritual life or your church you must have a time of prayer.

In our busy world we must make time to pray. If we do not make time our enemy, will keep us so busy that we don’t have time to.

Jesus (Mark 1:35, Matthew 14:25) , Abraham (Genesis 19:27, 21:14, 22:3), Jacob (Genesis 28:28, Exodus 24:24), Joshua (Joshua 3:1) and David (Psalm 57:8, 63:1, 78:34, 90:14) all rose up early to pray.

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A Place Of Prayer
Jesus had a place of prayer. We need a place of prayer

Burdens become a victory in the place of prayer.

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Pray Out Loud

Matthew 26:39 NKJV
“He went a little farther and fell on His face, and prayed, saying, “O My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from Me; nevertheless, not as I will, but as You will.”

God hears our silent, whispered, murmured and loud prayers, however there are many good reasons to pray out loud. A few are:

1. When we pray out loud it zeros in on our thoughts. At any given time we have many thoughts going through our mind so when we pray out loud it helps to single out what we are praying for.

2. Praying out loud together is the pattern set for us by the early church

Acts 1:14 NKJV
“These all continued with one accord in prayer and supplication, with the women and Mary the mother of Jesus, and with His brothers.”

Acts 2:42 NKJV
“And they continued steadfastly in the apostles’ doctrine and fellowship, in the breaking of bread, and in prayers.”

Acts 12:12 NKJV
“So, when he had considered this, he came to the house of Mary, the mother of John whose surname was Mark, where many were gathered together praying.”

 

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3. Praying out loud declares your faith.
According to Romans 10:9-10, confession is made with the mouth.

Romans 10:9-10 NKJV
“that if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.”

By praying out loud, you are declaring, or confessing, your faith.

4. Praying out loud is an encouragement.
When we pray out loud those that hear can be encouraged by our words.

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When Jesus prayed for other people He prayed out loud so that those who heard Him could be strengthened in their faith and encouraged.

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5. Praying out loud can help stir up faith and prayer in others.

Hebrews 10:24-25.NKJV
“And let us consider one another in order to stir up love and good works,
not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as is the manner of some, but exhorting one another, and so much the more as you see the Day approaching.”

 

.6. Praying out loud help others to pray.
Jesus taught His disciples how to pray. By listening to Jesus pray they gained greater understanding on prayer and how to pray.

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7. Praying out loud can speak things into existence.
Our words contain power and they have the ability to speak things into existence.

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8. Praying our loud (in a group setting) is a way of sharing our struggles and weaknesses.

It can also be comforting for others to pray out loud for us.

James 5:13-16 NKJV
“Is anyone among you suffering? Let him pray. Is anyone cheerful? Let him sing psalms. Is anyone among you sick? Let him call for the elders of the church, and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord.
And the prayer of faith will save the sick, and the Lord will raise him up. And if he has committed sins, he will be forgiven. Confess your trespasses to one another, and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much.”

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9. Praying out loud helps build your faith.

Your mind thinks it, your mouth says it, your ears hear it and your mind believes it.

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Lord’s Prayer
Jesus gave us an example of prayer in Matthew 6:9-13. We call it the Lord’s Prayer.

Matthew 6:9-13 NKJV
“In this manner, therefore, pray:
Our Father in heaven,
Hallowed be Your name.
Your kingdom come.
Your will be done
On earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread,
And forgive us our debts,
As we forgive our debtors.
And do not lead us into temptation,
But deliver us from the evil one.
For Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen.”

1. Address God.
(Examples: Dear Father, Our Father, Heavenly Father, Abba Father, Father, Lord, Dear Lord)

2. Exalt God for who He is and thank Him for what He has already done.
(Examples: Thank-you for this day, Thank-you for Your love, Thank-you for Your mercy)

3. Pray for others – present their needs to God.
(Examples: heal Your people, save my family, provide for the hungry, thy kingdom come)

4. Pray for yourself.
(Examples: Give me strength to do what is right, Help me to obey You, Fill me with Your Holy Spirit, Forgive me of my sin, Cause me to listen to my parents and teachers, Help me to overcome temptation)

5. Words of praise to God.
(Examples: I praise and worship You, Bless Your name, I praise You, I exalt Your name)

6. End in Jesus’ name. When we end a prayer in Jesus’ name it means “in the authority of Jesus“.

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C. Pray Specifically
Praying specifically…
clears your mind.
emphasizes your dependence on God.
helps you define your needs.
increases your faith.
makes you more alert to answers.

Praying specifically may mean the difference between receiving the good and the best.

Pray for people by name.

Pray for situations and circumstances by name..

When Jesus was going to do something for someone He would ask them, “What did they want?’

Example: Blind Bartimaeus

Mark 10:46-52 NKJV
“Now they came to Jericho. As He went out of Jericho with His disciples and a great multitude, blind Bartimaeus, the son of Timaeus, sat by the road begging. And when he heard that it was Jesus of Nazareth, he began to cry out and say, “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!” Then many warned him to be quiet; but he cried out all the more, “Son of David, have mercy on me!” So Jesus stood still and commanded him to be called. Then they called the blind man, saying to him, “Be of good cheer. Rise, He is calling you.” And throwing aside his garment, he rose and came to Jesus. So Jesus answered and said to him, “What do you want Me to do for you?” The blind man said to Him, “Rabboni, that I may receive my sight.” Then Jesus said to him, “Go your way; your faith has made you well.” And immediately he received his sight and followed Jesus on the road.”

Example: Two Blind Men

Matthew 20:29-33 NKJV
“Now as they went out of Jericho, a great multitude followed Him. And behold, two blind men sitting by the road, when they heard that Jesus was passing by, cried out, saying, “Have mercy on us, O Lord, Son of David!” Then the multitude warned them that they should be quiet; but they cried out all the more, saying, “Have mercy on us, O Lord, Son of David!”
So Jesus stood still and called them, and said, “What do you want Me to do for you?” They said to Him, “Lord, that our eyes may be opened.” So Jesus had compassion and touched their eyes. And immediately their eyes received sight, and they followed Him.”

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Pray In The Spirit
Sometimes we don’t know the specifics of a situation or need so we don’t know how to pray effectively for the request. It is during these time that we must allow the Holy Spirit to pray through us.

Romans 8:26-27 NKJV
“Likewise the Spirit also helps in our weaknesses. For we do not know what we should pray for as we ought, but the Spirit Himself makes intercession for with groanings which cannot be uttered. Now He who searches the hearts knows what the mind of the Spirit is, because He makes intercession for the saints according to the will of God.”

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D. Pray From God’s Perspective

We are called to bear one another’s burdens but we must remember that in many cases we can’t change anything, but we know the One who can. Seeking God’s will is important. In our own flesh we may try to fix things for others but, we only make them worse because God may be trying to speak to the other person through their problem.

The same can be true in our prayers. Sometimes what we assume we should pray for isn’t always what God wants us to pray. At times with our natural eye we might pray for one thing, such as deliverance when we should be praying for strength or endurance.

We need the Holy Spirit to guide us so that we can align our prayers up to God’s will. Praying according to the will of God includes asking for wisdom (to know the will of God) and asking in faith (to trust the will of God).

Matthew 6:10 NKJV
“…Your will be done On earth as it is in heaven.”

Prayer is not about getting God to do what we want Him to … it is releasing God’s will on earth as it is in heaven.

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E. Our Part, God’s Part
God knows what we need before we ask, and He wants to meet our needs. However, He wants us to take an active part in His plans. Our part is to pray. We must leave the results up to God. When praying we must expect God to answer.
God will always answer, however it is not always answered in the way we desire. God says yes, not, and wait. No is an answer that we do not like to hear, however when God tells us no He has a reason for it.

Romans 8:28 NKJV
“And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose.”

God desires for us to be concerned about others. It is important for us to pray for them, both the saved and the unsaved. Do not take it personally when you pray for someone and your prayer is not answered in the way you thought it would be. Remember when praying for others, our job is to pray and leave the results up to God.

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Sometimes a yes answer is not given, not because of your faith or God’s ability, but because the person you prayed with spoke in a negative way about their need.

Example: Praying for a person to get well and then the person says something to the effect of. “I am so sick“, or “I’m never going to get well.”

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.You can see examples of this almost every day social media. People claiming a sickness by saying phrases like: my asthma, my heart problem, my diabetes, my depression, my arthritis….

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Standing In The Gap
God not only wants to talk to Him about our needs, but He also wants us to take part in His meeting the needs of others.

God is always looking for people to stand in the gap for others through prayer. If we stand in the gap for others, God will hear and answer our prayers.

God wants us to…
be part of His plan.
be involved in what He is doing..
stand in the gap, to go before Him on behalf of those who do not know Him.
be concerned about the welfare of others.
pray for those around us.

Ezekiel
In Ezekiel 22 God wanted Ezekiel to stand in the gap for the people in Jerusalem.

Ezekiel 22:30 NKJV
“So I sought for a man among them who would make a wall, and stand in the gap before Me on behalf of the land, that I should not destroy it; but I found no one.”

God told Ezekiel that He is getting ready to pour out His judgment on Jerusalem because of all the wickedness in the city
however, He was looking for someone to pled their case.

Abaraham
Before the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah were destroyed, Abraham was visited by three messengers of God. The Lord told Abraham what would happen to the cities. Abraham interceded for his family and the righteous people that might live there.

Genesis 18:22- 33 NKJV
“Then the men turned away from there and went toward Sodom, but Abraham still stood before the Lord. And Abraham came near and said, “Would You also destroy the righteous with the wicked? Suppose there were fifty righteous within the city; would You also destroy the place and not spare it for the fifty righteous that were in it? Far be it from You to do such a thing as this, to slay the righteous with the wicked, so that the righteous should be as the wicked; far be it from You! Shall not the Judge of all the earth do right?” So the Lord said, “If I find in Sodom fifty righteous within the city, then I will spare all the place for their sakes.” Then Abraham answered and said, “Indeed now, I who am but dust and ashes have taken it upon myself to speak to the Lord: Suppose there were five less than the fifty righteous; would You destroy all of the city for lack of five?” So He said, “If I find there forty-five, I will not destroy it.” And he spoke to Him yet again and said, “Suppose there should be forty found there?” So He said, “I will not do it for the sake of forty.” Then he said, “Let not the Lord be angry, and I will speak: Suppose thirty should be found there?” So He said, “I will not do it if I find thirty there.” And he said, “Indeed now, I have taken it upon myself to speak to the Lord: Suppose twenty should be found there?” So He said, “I will not destroy it for the sake of twenty.” Then he said, “Let not the Lord be angry, and I will speak but once more: Suppose ten should be found there?” And He said, “I will not destroy it for the sake of ten.” So the Lord went His way as soon as He had finished speaking with Abraham; and Abraham returned to his place.”

Abraham went to God on behalf of Sodom and Gomorrah – he didn’t just sit back with a negative attitude about the cities.

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F. Your Prayers Are Prophetic
Prophesy is speaking for God, not about God.

If you pray according to God’s will you are prophesying to your future or the future of others.

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G. Praying God’s Word

Hebrews 4:12 NKJV
“For the word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart”

The Bible is full of the promises of God. We have been given a promise for every situation , problem and circumstance that we face. God already has the answer even before we know that we have a need.

Deuteronomy 4:29 NKJV
“But from there you will seek the Lord your God, and you will find Him if you seek Him with all your heart and with all your soul.”

When you seek something you search for it. You make an honest attempt to look for it.

Psalm 34:10 NKJV
“But those who seek the Lord shall not lack any good thing.

When you have something that you need to pray about you should find the promise or a similar need in the Bible. It is up to each one of us to search out the promises that God has given us.

1. Find the promise in the Bible
2. Pray the promise back to God out loud.

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H. Examples Of Praying God’s Word
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Example 1:

Isaiah 53:5 NKJV
“But He was wounded for our transgressions,
He was bruised for our iniquities;
The chastisement for our peace was upon Him,
And by His stripes we are healed.”

1 Corinthians 15:57 NKJV
“But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.”

Dear Father,
Thank-you for Your report – Your Word tell me that Jesus was wounded for _____________’s transgressions, Jesus was bruised for _____________’s iniquities, the chastisement for ___________’s peace was upon Jesus, and by Jesus’ stripes ____________’s is healed. Victory is given to _______through our Lord Jesus Christ. By the power of the Holy Spirit may I not look to the right or to the left. Help me to only look into Your face, the King of Kings, the Lord of Lords, the Great I Am. You are Abba Father. You are the Great Physician. You are the Holy One. You are the Mighty One. You are our Strong Tower. You are the Rock on which I stand. Thank You Father that all Your promises are yes and amen. I will believe in Your report – Your report says ____________ is healed. Your report says victory.
In Jesus’ name, Amen

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Example 2:

Numbers 6:24-26 NKJV
“The Lord bless you and keep you; The Lord make His face shine upon you, And be gracious to you; The Lord lift up His countenance upon you, And give you peace.”

Dear Father,
May You bless and keep my spouse, our children, their spouses, and our grandchildren. May You make Your face shine upon them, and be gracious to each one – smile upon them. May You lift up Your countenance upon my spouse, our children, their spouses, and our grandchildren, and give them peace – show each one Your favor.
In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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Example 3:

Psalm 91 NKJV
“He who dwells in the secret place of the Most High Shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty.
I will say of the Lord, “He is my refuge and my fortress; My God, in Him I will 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 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.
Only with your eyes shall you look, And see the reward of the wicked.
Because you have made the Lord, who is my refuge, Even the Most High, your dwelling place,
No evil shall befall you, Nor shall any plague come near your dwelling;
For He shall give His angels charge over you, To keep you in all your ways.
In their hands they shall bear you up, Lest you dash your foot against a stone.
You shall tread upon the lion and the cobra, The young lion and the serpent you shall trample underfoot. “Because he has set his love upon Me, therefore I will deliver him; I will set him on high, because he has known My name. He shall call upon Me, and I will answer him; I will be with him in trouble; I will deliver him and honor him.
With long life I will satisfy him, And show him My salvation.”

Dear Father,
As I abide in You, I abide in the secret place of the Most High and under Your shadow. You are my refuge and my fortress. In You I will trust. You deliver me from the snare of the fowler and from perilous pestilence. Under Your wings I take refuge. Your truth is my shield and buckler. I will not be afraid of the terror by night or of the arrow that flies by day. The pestilence that walks in darkness and of the destruction that lays waste at noonday does not have power over me. A thousand may fall at my side, and ten thousand at my right hand, but it shall not come near me. No evil shall befall me, nor shall any plague come near my dwelling. Thank-you that You give Your angels charge over me, to keep me in all my ways. In their hands they will bear me up. When I call upon Your name, You hear me and answer my cry. You satisfy me, and show me Your salvation. By the power of the Holy Spirit, help me to appreciate each day You give me. May I rejoice and be glad all my days. And may the beauty of the Lord be upon me. No matter what is happening around me help me to always make You my dwelling place.
In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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Example 4:

Psalm 23:1-6 NKJV
“The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want. He makes me to lie down in green pastures; He leads me beside the still waters. He restores my soul; He leads me in the paths of righteousness For His name’s sake. Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil; For You are with me; Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me. You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; You anoint my head with oil; My cup runs over. Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me All the days of my life; And I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.”

Dear Father,
You are my shepherd. In You I lack nothing. You supply my every need, and You refresh and restore me. I will not fear when things are dark and uncertain, for You are there with me. You provide relief in my distress and You show me the way. You lead me in the right direction. You have set me apart for a particular purpose, even in the presence of my enemies. Thank-you for all the goodness and mercy that You shower upon me. By the power of the Holy Spirit keep me on Your path. And may I bring glory to You. It is my heart’s desire that I dwell in Your house forever.
In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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Example 5:

Psalm 92:12-15 NKJV
“The righteous shall flourish like a palm tree,
He shall grow like a cedar in Lebanon.
Those who are planted in the house of the Lord
Shall flourish in the courts of our God.
They shall still bear fruit in old age;
They shall be fresh and flourishing,
To declare that the Lord is upright;
He is my rock, and there is no unrighteousness in Him.”

Dear Father,
We come before You on behalf of the elderly. We ask that you give them rest and encouragement. May You ease, relieve and refresh their souls, spirits and bodies. By the power of the Holy Spirit, may they cast all their cares, burdens and anxieties upon You. Put a new song in their hearts and on their lips. By the power of the Holy Spirit, cause them to remember and hold on to the promise that You will not permit the righteous to be moved – that You will sustain them in every area and season of their lives. We thank-you that the righteous shall flourish and shall still bear fruit in old age. They shall be fresh and flourishing. You are their Rock and they will declare Your glory.
In Jesus’ name, Amen

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Example 6:

Isaiah 59:19 NKJV
“So shall they fear
The name of the Lord from the west,
And His glory from the rising of the sun;
When the enemy comes in like a flood,
The Spirit of the Lord will lift up a standard against him.”

Psalm 18:39 NKJV
“For You have armed me with strength for the battle;
You have subdued under me those who rose up against me.”

1 Samuel 17:47 NKJV
“Then all this assembly shall know that the Lord does not save with sword and spear; for the battle is the Lord’s, and He will give you into our hands”

Zechariah 4:6b NKJV
“ ‘Not by might nor by power, but by My Spirit,’
Says the Lord of hosts.”

Philippians 4:13 NKJV
“I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.”

Dear Father,
Thank-you for all that You do for us. You truly are the Lord Our Strength. When the enemy comes in like a flood against us, You, O Lord, lift up a standard against him. You will wage war against our enemy and You subdued those who rise up against us. By the power of the Holy Spirit, help us stand firm in the face of the enemy and arm us with strength for the battle. May we always remember that the battles that we go through do not belong to us. They belong to You, O Lord.
Cause us to keep our eyes on You and not on our enemy and may we never try to fight the battle for You. Fill us full of vigor, strength, force and power for Your glory. Thank-you that we can do all things through Christ who strengthens us.
In Jesus’ name, Amen

Sanctification

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Sanctification

Sanctification means to be separate or to be set apart. It also means to be set apart for holy use, to make holy or to purify. For a thing to be sanctified it means it is set apart for a special use. Things that are sanctified are reserved for God’s purposes or use. To sanctify someone is to set that person apart for the use intended God. We are sanctified when we are used for the purpose God intends. A person is sanctified when they live according to God’s design and purpose.

* The Temple
The vessels used by the priest were to be used for holy purposes and to be pure and to glorify God. Each time that the temple or temple vessels ceased to be used for holy purposes there had to be a process of sanctification and purification.

Exodus 29:35-38 NKJV
“And you shall offer a bull every day as a sin offering for atonement. You shall cleanse the altar when you make atonement for it, and you shall anoint it to sanctify it. Seven days you shall make atonement for the altar and sanctify it. And the altar shall be most holy. Whatever touches the altar must be holy. “Now this is what you shall offer on the altar: two lambs of the first year, day by day continually.”

During Ahaz’s reign the priests and Levities had been stripped of their temple duties and the temple was not sanctified unto God. When Hezekiah took control he commanded the priest to sanctify themselves and the temple.

2 Chronicles 29:1-7 NKJV
“Hezekiah became king when he was twenty-five years old, and he reigned twenty-nine years in Jerusalem. His mother’s name was Abijah the daughter of Zechariah. And he did what was right in the sight of the Lord, according to all that his father David had done. In the first year of his reign, in the first month, he opened the doors of the house of the Lord and repaired them. Then he brought in the priests and the Levites, and gathered them in the East Square, and said to them: “Hear me, Levites! Now sanctify yourselves, sanctify the house of the Lord God of your fathers, and carry out the rubbish from the holy place. For our fathers have trespassed and done evil in the eyes of the Lord our God; they have forsaken Him, have turned their faces away from the dwelling place of the Lord, and turned their backs on Him. They have also shut up the doors of the vestibule, put out the lamps, and have not burned incense or offered burnt offerings in the holy place to the God of Israel.”

Jesus was very interested in the sanctification and purity of the temple. The temple was the house of God (the dwelling place of God) and it was suppose to be set apart for prayer and communication with God. Jesus was very concerned about the temple being sanctified (set apart for God). Jesus cleared, cleansed, the temple two different times – at the beginning of His earthly ministry and at the end of it.

At the beginning of His ministry.

John 2:13-16 NKJV
“Now the Passover of the Jews was at hand, and Jesus went up to Jerusalem. And He found in the temple those who sold oxen and sheep and doves, and the money changers doing business. When He had made a whip of cords, He drove them all out of the temple, with the sheep and the oxen, and poured out the changers’ money and overturned the tables. And He said to those who sold doves, “Take these things away! Do not make My Father’s house a house of merchandise!”

At the end of His ministry.

Matthew 21:11-13 NKJV
“Then Jesus went into the temple of God and drove out all those who bought and sold in the temple, and overturned the tables of the money changers and the seats of those who sold doves. And He said to them, “It is written, ‘My house shall be called a house of prayer, but you have made it a ‘den of thieves.”

Mark 11:15-19 NKJV
“So they came to Jerusalem. Then Jesus went into the temple and began to drive out those who bought and sold in the temple, and overturned the tables of the money changers and the seats of those who sold doves.
And He would not allow anyone to carry wares through the temple.
Then He taught, saying to them, “Is it not written, ‘My house shall be called a house of prayer for all nations? But you have made it a ‘den of thieves.”

* Jesus
Jesus is our example – He was sanctified.
He is holy and set apart from sin.
Jesus was set apart to do the will of God.

John 17:17-19 NKJV
“They are not of the world, just as I am not of the world.
Sanctify them by Your truth. Your word is truth.
As You sent Me into the world, I also have sent them into the world.
And for their sakes I sanctify Myself, that they also may be sanctified by the truth.”

* Believers
Sanctification is expected after you are freed from bondage (sin). After God frees you from bondage you are to walk in sanctification. After the Israelites left Egypt (bondage) God instructed them to sanctify themselves.

Exodus 19:10 NKJV
“Then the Lord said to Moses, “Go to the people and consecrate them today and tomorrow, and let them wash their clothes.”

Believer, followers of Jesus, are to follow Jesus‘ example in sanctification. They are to be holy and set apart from sin. Believers are to be reserved for God’s use – they are set apart to do the will of God.

1 Peter 1:13-16 NKJV
“Therefore gird up the loins of your mind, be sober, and rest your hope fully upon the grace that is to be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ; as obedient children, not conforming yourselves to the former lusts, as in your ignorance; but as He who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct, because it is written, “Be holy, for I am holy.”

The sanctifying work of the Holy Spirit must be active in the believer’s life. Sanctification is an ongoing or continuing process – it takes a lifetime. However, there should be tangible evidences of growth in the believer’s life. There should be ongoing noticeable differences (changes) in a person’s life. It is a progressive holiness and growing in purity that will never be completely perfected until the day Jesus returns for His bride.

Hebrews 9:22-28 NKJV
“And according to the law almost all things are purified with blood, and without shedding of blood there is no remission.
Therefore it was necessary that the copies of the things in the heavens should be purified with these, but the heavenly things themselves with better sacrifices than these. For Christ has not entered the holy places made with hands, which are copies of the true, but into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God for us; not that He should offer Himself often, as the high priest enters the Most Holy Place every year with blood of another—He then would have had to suffer often since the foundation of the world; but now, once at the end of the ages, He has appeared to put away sin by the sacrifice of Himself. And as it is appointed for men to die once, but after this the judgment, so Christ was offered once to bear the sins of many. To those who eagerly wait for Him He will appear a second time, apart from sin, for salvation.”

Just as the temple of old was sanctified for God’s use, our bodies, the temple of the Holy Spirit, should be also.

1 Corinthians 6:19 NKJV
“Or do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and you are not your own?”

1 Thessalonians 4:3-7 NKJV
“For this is the will of God, your sanctification: that you should abstain from sexual immorality; that each of you should know how to possess his own vessel in sanctification and honor, not in passion of lust, like the Gentiles who do not know God; that no one should take advantage of and defraud his brother in this matter, because the Lord is the avenger of all such, as we also forewarned you and testified. For God did not call us to uncleanness, but in holiness.”

* The Bible And Sanctification
God’s Word has an effect on a person that is undergoing sanctification. They allow the Word of God to cleanse them and make them holy.

John 17:17 NKJV
“Sanctify them by Your truth. Your word is truth.”

Toward the end of Jesus’ earthly ministry He asks God to sanctify the believers, which means set them apart. The only way a believer can be truly set apart from the world is by the truth found in the Word of God.

Psalm 119:11 NKJV
“Your word I have hidden in my heart,
That I might not sin against You.”

Believers must hear God’s Word and do what it says. They must act upon the truths found in God’s Word.

James 1:22-25 NKJV
“But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves. For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man observing his natural face in a mirror; for he observes himself, goes away, and immediately forgets what kind of man he was. But he who looks into the perfect law of liberty and continues in it, and is not a forgetful hearer but a doer of the work, this one will be blessed in what he does.”

* The Holy Spirit And Sanctification
Believers have been regenerated by the Holy Spirit and their bodies are the temple of God. The Holy Spirit dwells in the believer therefore, their bodies are vessels to be used for a holy or pure purpose and for the glory of God. We must allow the Holy Spirit to work in us. The indwelling presence of the Holy Spirit enables a believer to live a holy life.

Enable means to provide with the means or opportunity or to make possible, practical, or easier. Enable can also mean to allow something to be done.

The Holy Spirit guides, empowers, directs, and leads the believer, as well as convicts us of sin and bad habits. The Holy Spirit will speak to us and He will correct us in order for us to avoid sinning against God. When we listen and obey the Holy Spirit it makes the process of sanctification possible and easier.

John 16:13 NKJV
“However, when He, the Spirit of truth, has come, He will guide you into all truth; for He will not speak on His own authority, but whatever He hears He will speak; and He will tell you things to come.”

* Sanctification leads to victory.
After forty years in the wilderness, the children of Israel were about to cross over the Jordan River into the Promised Land. They were then given a command and a promise – God promised them that He would give them the victory, but first they must sanctify themselves.

Joshua 3:5 NKJV
“And Joshua said to the people, “Sanctify yourselves, for tomorrow the Lord will do wonders among you.”

* Sanctification leads to provisions.
After leaving Egypt the people began to cry out for something to eat, other than the manna that they were give. God promised to provide flesh for them, but first they must sanctify themselves.

Numbers 11:18 NKJV
“Then you shall say to the people, ‘Consecrate yourselves for tomorrow, and you shall eat meat; for you have wept in the hearing of the Lord, saying, “Who will give us meat to eat? For it was well with us in Egypt.” Therefore the Lord will give you meat, and you shall eat.”