1 The Lord is my Shepherd [to feed, guide, and shield me], I shall not lack.
2 He makes me lie down in [fresh, tender] green pastures; He leads me beside the still and restful waters.
3 He refreshes and restores my life (my self); He leads me in the paths of righteousness [uprightness and right standing with Him—not for my earning it, but] for His name’s sake.
4 Yes, though I walk through the [deep, sunless] valley of the shadow of death, I will fear or dread no evil, for You are with me; Your rod [to protect] and Your staff [to guide], they comfort me.
5 You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies. You anoint my head with [a]oil; my [brimming] cup runs over.
6 Surely or only goodness, mercy, and unfailing love shall follow me all the days of my life, and through the length of my days the house of the Lord [and His presence] shall be my dwelling place.
I knew this day was coming. I have not been caught off guard or by surprise, but I still feel disappointed it did. I knew when we sold our house there would not be another waiting just around the corner in time. I have been to this dog and pony show before. At the same time, I didn’t expect it would take so long to find another house.
I would love to be able to walk into Wal-Mart, ask someone where their ‘Houses for Sale’ aisle is and just pick up what I want and need, land and all! I really didn’t think it would be much harder than that. We sold when God told us to and I just thought we would wait about a month at the most and BAM, there would be our reward for prompt obedience! It isn’t happening exactly like that.
Evidently we are going through a ‘maturing’ phase, a trust phase, and a ‘don’t you dare be jealous of someone else’s blessing’ phase! I have heard in the last month of two couples we know that found MY dream home, and paid next to nothing for it…well they paid what we were looking to pay.
Oh, my eyes turned heavenward and, in all honesty, these thoughts came to my mind, “That is great God, but where is mine? Really? Seriously? They turn a corner, look up one classified, and there it is! I am scouring every resource I can find and coming up with nothing! Forgive me, Father! I am happy for them, but I am the blessed, too and I have waited for 30 years on this.”
I have to be honest, dear reader, I truly don’t know what the lesson is. I have searched my heart and soul, had hubby search his and soul and, not that we are perfect, we truly can’t find anything that is so horrible that it would make us homeless and living in someone else’s backyard in a travel trailer.
I am grateful we have a place to live, be it ever so humble. Many tonight will sleep on concrete and have next to nothing to eat in the days and weeks to come. Nevertheless, this is NOT the blessing of Abraham we have been promised and I know God doesn’t lie.
I think my greatest concern is can I hear Him as I need to? Did He try to tell me about the house in the country that was a ‘steal’, did He try to move us to another state, did He try to tell me what classified to look at, or even what prayer I should have prayed to receive what I need, and was I to ditsy not to hear it? Did I miss Him? I don’t know.
I do take this comfort in knowing sheep are truly stupid animals. They will literally walk off a cliff and accidentally kill themselves if the shepherd isn’t watching closely. We are compared to sheep for a reason. My Shepherd is watching, and oh how I long to feel and know His guidance. He will not allow me to walk off a cliff into a pit of bad decisions, and He will lead me by His Spirit. In the meantime, I pray I can rest in the pasture I have been placed in for this time and remember my Shepherd can always be trusted to do what is best for all the sheep, including me.
One of the greatest hindrances to answered prayer is offense. Recently I was perusing a book on prayer and this jumped out at me. It was titled “Unforgiveness Hinders Your Prayers”. The last part of the Lord’s Prayer which Jesus prayed brings to light a very important principle.
Prayer will not work in an unforgiving heart. You cannot hold things against people and be offended and maintain a prayer life that is successful and gets results. It is so important for this to be realized and for it to be a true revelation to our minds!
In Ken Hagin’s workbook on prayer, he tells us this:
It is so natural, so human, to hold things against people; it is part of our carnal nature. I have had people who were saved and filled with the Holy Spirit, but who were not walking in the best of fellowship with the Lord, tell me just how badly they had been treated by someone. They would tell me in great detail what So-and-so did to them.
Then they would say, ‘Oh, yes, I have forgiven him, alright. But I will never forget how they treated me” (talking about their brother or sister in the Lord). So, you see, they really hadn’t forgiven that person. Unforgiveness was still in their hearts because it showed up in what they said.
In many cases people need help because they’re frustrated and mentally confused because they are harboring offenses on the inside of them against people. They need to forgive. Their frustration and confusion can many times be attributed to their unforgiveness.
I have read that medical doctors have found that resentment causes some people to be more prone to certain types of diseases. The doctors said that when they could get these people to get rid of resentment, often their ailments cleared up, when before they had not responded to treatment.
We are learning more and more how unforgiveness is connected to sickness and disease and ultimately with unanswered prayer. These things are all related. We don’t want anything to hinder our prayer lives.
As you can see, satan has tied many issues to offense from our health to our power in prayer, or lack thereof. No wonder the Bible tells us to beware of offense for a chance to be offended will come on a daily basis! We will delve deeper in this soon. We will find out why it is important to know the strategy of our enemy and how to successfully counteract it!
God bless you! See you soon!!
I have written on ‘The Blessing’, and I have much more to share on that subject. I am going to briefly interrupt that particular series because, honestly, I need to get this down in my spirit and writing helps me do that.
I have seen so much confusion about this following passage of scripture, and when I found this writing by Ken Hagin, Sr., I had to study it out and really get it in my spirit and mind! God does not want us confused, or in disagreement! There are people who are both confused and in disagreement over this particular passage, and they equate it to personal experiences and do not measure it with the full Word of God. You will always be confused, and most of the time wrong, when you do this!
I have heard the phrases, ‘praying through’, and ‘pray until you touch God’, for a great deal of my life. What is praying through? Praying through should mean you pray until you become convinced God is willing to do for you what you have asked according to His word, not until you have convinced Him to stand by it. Too often the ‘old timers’ mean the last part of that sentence when they say this!
Remember faith is believing not only God can, but God will! God doesn’t need convincing! He said He valued His Word above His name! In other words, He stands by His promises readily and cannot break them. God isn’t even tempted to break His Word to you! He isn’t a liar or a con artist.
What does it mean when people say to pray until you touch God? They mean basically the same thing as ‘praying through’. It means you pray until God is touched and moved to compassion by your tears, sorrow, and pleading. This is so unbiblical I cannot believe anybody ever bought into it!
What touches God, according to the Bible, is faith! I don’t see anywhere, where the amount of tears you cry, how loud you scream, how much you beg, or the amount of times you ask Him for something ‘touches’ God. Again, you may need to pray until you are convinced, but God was convinced of His word and His willingness to give you the promises He made in the word the instant He said them!
I am taking the following from Ken Hagin’s “Prayer Workbook”. It explains this subject so well and so thoroughly. May our old ideologies that do not hold with the Bible be put to rest once and for all time!
THE PRAYER OF IMPORTUNITY
Luke recorded something about faith and prayer that neither Mark nor Matthew said. Luke talked about the prayer of importunity, that is, being persistent in your faith and in your praying. Again, so many people miss it when they hear that. They believe what Jesus is saying is this: “You just keep on asking, and eventually you will get it.” Let’s look at this passage of scripture to see what it is actually saying.
5 And he said unto them, Which of you shall have a friend, and shall go unto him at midnight, and say unto him, Friend, lend me three loaves;
6 For a friend of mine in his journey is come to me, and I have nothing to set before him?
7 And he from within shall answer and say, Trouble me not: the door is now shut, and my children are with me in bed; I cannot rise and give thee.
8 I say unto you, Though he will not rise and give him, because he is his friend, yet because of his importunity he will rise and give him as many as he needeth.
Here was a man who had a friend who came to his house in the nighttime to visit. The man didn’t have any bread to set before his friend, so he went to another friend’s house and said, “A friend has come to visit and I have no food. Please, lend me three loaves of bread.”
The second friend said, “But, I’m already in bed and my children are in bed, too.” And the Bible says, “…Though he will not rise and give him because he is his friend, yet because of IMPORTUNITY he will rise and give him as many as he needeth.” (Luke 11:8).
If you take this passage literally, then God would be likened to the friend who is in bed. However, we know that God never sleeps nor slumbers (Psalm 121:3-4). Therefore, we know this verse is showing us an analogy or a similarity to scriptural prayer because Jesus was teaching on prayer when He gave this illustration. He was proving a point.
Jesus was simply saying that even in the natural you could get results from a friend like the man did in Luke 11, not necessarily because a person was your friend, but because of your urgent request. In other words, a person might not grant the favor because he is your friend, but he would grant you the favor because of your importunity; that is, you wouldn’t take no for an answer.
Then Jesus said, “And I say unto you, Ask, and it shall be given you; seek and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you” (Luke 11:9). You see, it is the importunity of faith, not the importunity of unbelief that gets the job done. However, you could just keep on begging God and be importunate all you want to, and you would never get an answer even if you lived to be a hundred years old! Why not? Because your importune praying must be in faith, not unbelief.
It is the importunity of faith that works. So believe God’s Word that when you ask, it shall be given you. When you seek, you shall find. When you knock, it shall be opened unto you!
I like something Andrew Murray said that will help you to see what I am talking about. As I said, so many people have the idea that if they keep on asking the same thing over and over again, eventually they will get their request. They seem to think that is what Jesus is talking about in the passages of Scripture we’ve covered in Matthew 7 and Luke 11. But as Andrew Murray said, it is not good taste to ask the Lord for the same thing over and over again. It is just not good taste; actually, it is doubt and unbelief.
Murray said that if you pray to God about something you’ve already prayed for and it hasn’t materialized, do not ask again the same way you did the first time. To do that would be a confession that you didn’t believe God the first time you asked Him! You could get into doubt and unbelief by asking for the same thing over and over again.
But just remind God of what you asked for if it hasn’t materialized yet. Remind Him of what He promised and put Him in remembrance of His Word (Isaiah 43:26). Remind Him that you are expecting the answer. That way you are staying in faith, and you are being persistent in your faith. That is what it means to be importunate in your faith, and this kind of praying will bring results.
You can see then that Jesus is saying in this passage the very opposite of what most people think He is saying. So don’t stay on the negative side of importunity in prayer–just asking and begging and crying and pleading in doubt and unbelief hoping that God has heard you. That kind of praying in unbelief will never bring any results.
Instead, ask God in faith according to His Word, and believe that you receive when you pray. Then be importunate in faith, continually thanking God for the answer to your prayers. That is the prayer of importunity that will always bring results!
God moves in this earth as His children pray in faith according to the principles in His Word. So pray for those who despitefully use you, and see God move in their lives for good. Pray for laborers to be sent into the harvest, and see your prayers answered as souls come into the Kingdom of God.
Never give up in prayer; never faint in your faith! As you continue diligently to pray in faith, more and more you will see God’s will fulfilled both in your life and in the lives of others!
Paul, a servant of Christ Jesus, called to be an apostle, set apart for the gospel of God, which he promised beforehand through his prophets in the holy Scriptures, concerning his Son, who was descended from David according to the flesh and was declared to be the Son of God in power according to the Spirit of holiness by his resurrection from the dead, Jesus Christ our Lord, through whom we have received grace and apostleship to bring about the obedience of faith for the sake of his name among all the nations…
“Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart; I appointed you as a prophet to the nations.”
But I said to you, “You will possess their land; I will give it to you as an inheritance, a land flowing with milk and honey.” I am the LORD your God, who has set you apart from the nations.
Know that the LORD has set apart the godly for himself; the LORD will hear when I call to him.
Do you ever feel lonely, isolated, alone? Do you ever wonder “where have all the people gone”? I think these are natural thoughts from time to time, but we need to think about the root of why we are thinking them, not trying to find the answer to the questions and the feelings they can bring.
When you are a Christian, finding the root of what you are thinking about and who the source of the thought is, is critical. Satan comes as an angel of light, and if we don’t put a hedge up around our minds and our thinking, he can easily come in appearing to be an innocent sheep, when he is a wolf in sheep’s clothing!
I had a pastor’s wife years ago who had struggled with her thought life. She was and is one of the wisest ladies I know. I have never seen anyone in my life hear from God as she does! How did she go from fighting tormenting thoughts to being a loving, praying powerhouse for God? She began to ask a simple question when thoughts began to flood her mind. That question was and still is, “Who’s talking?” When she began to take every single thought “captive” that didn’t bring her joy or honor and praise to God, she knew who the source of that thought was. Soon, she and the Holy Spirit were in control of her thinking and she hasn’t stopped propelling into the things of the spirit since.
Satan loves to come and tell you how useless you are, how nobody ever calls, how you are all by yourself, but have you ever stopped to wonder why you are really alone? Or could you be ‘set apart‘? I have found when I am having extended periods of ‘alone time’ it is because God wants me to be alone with Him. If I will go into prayer and praise during these times, I find there are mighty plans, purposes, and direction God is wanting to talk to me about. He is in the still small voice when we are “set apart” from the crowds, not in the noisy restaurants, shopping malls, or the movies where it is loud and we are concentrated on anything and everything but Him. When we realize we haven’t been left alone by friends and family, but we are being set apart from the crowds for prayer, our whole perspective changes on being by ourselves! We are never alone because God is with us, and that is when He is ready to have time with you!
Take advantage of these ‘set apart’ times, precious reader. This is where you get the ‘mind of Christ‘ and where the Holy Spirit will pray out vital things to your present and to you and your family’s future! You will actually become excited the phone DIDN’T ring, because you know now what that means. A blessing and the instruction you need to have it fully is coming your way!
God bless you, dear reader!! I will see you soon! Simply, Juliana
King James Version (KJV)
21 … for, behold, the kingdom of God is within you.
Last night, hubby and I were talking about what our day would consist of today. Our house is on the market, and we had a showing at 10 a.m.. We decided to eat breakfast and have some hubby/wife time. As I sat and thought about it, the Lord spoke to me and said, “Take tomorrow and pray together on purpose”. Now we have our prayer time, but I had never heard the Lord put it this way.
When we got back home from breakfast, we went straight into united prayer. We first talked about things we wanted to agree on, things that had been on both of our hearts and then hubby sat in his chair and I sat on the couch and our prayer time began. I soon began to walk. I would pray in the Spirit for a time and then in English for a time.
Many times after praying in the Spirit I don’t remember all of the interpretations, I only remember bits and pieces. Today, what I remember was confirmed in my routine of the day. I remember the Lord said this year every day would be like Christmas for me. I didn’t understand what God meant at the time. I didn’t know He would fully explain it later. He also told me to speak peace to my family and to my home. I did what He said. He began to tell me how Jesus is the “Prince of Peace” and He expounded on that for a bit.
My husband and I finished the prayer time and went on with the day. I had to go to the grocery store and pick up an item for supper. I live in a small town. We only have two grocery stores and one is fairly small. Compared with the other store, it is very small. The reason I say this is because I found a treasure there, in the most unlikely place. Our steps are truly ordered of the Lord, even in small ways as going to a market.
My daughter loves the commercial that has the camel that says, “It’s huuuuuump dayyyyy”. After I had picked up my one item, I was going to pay for it and I saw a t-shirt with this phrase and the picture of a camel on it. I decided to buy it for her. They only had one left, and it was the wrong size. Had it not been for that shirt, I would never have looked at this section of the grocery store. As I started toward the registers again, I saw a rack of books. What caught my eye was the title of one particular book. The title of this book is “Living Christmas Every Day”.
I could not believe my eyes! “Christmas Every Day” jumped out at me! It was exactly one of the things the Lord had spoken to me during our prayer time! I picked the book up, and when I opened it there was the next thing God had spoken to me! The subtitle was “The Prince of Peace“! That was the second thing God had told me during our prayer time. Yes, God fully had my attention at this point! Needless to say, I purchased the book!
When I got home, I could not wait to see what this book had to say about Christmas and peace! It is a daily devotional, that compares every day with Christmas. As I read, the author began to explain certain special things that take place at Christmas time. Families come together and enjoy one another, people visit the sick and elderly and give gifts they would not have had otherwise, and organizations buy toys and food items and give them to charities. But what if we did these things year round, not just one short time a year? Then every day would be like Christmas!
The author wrote, “The homeless would never feel alone and alienated by their unfortunate circumstances. The elderly would cease to feel that they no longer have a purpose in this world. Disputes between neighbors would be offset by kind deeds and words of appreciation. Families would come together more often to express their love and devotion to one another. Dear friend, isn’t that what life should be like?” I now knew, God had not meant that I would have an unexpected gift or blessing every day for the next year, but I would be the giver every day for 2014! A year of ‘paying it forward‘.
I saw a saying today that said, “A small token given is more valuable than all the good intentions without action in the world”. God isn’t looking for extravagance, He is looking for the willingness to listen and obey as He leads us into acts of love and kindness. A year of Christmas…a year of ‘paying it forward’…more than a lifetime of planting and harvesting the love of God in others, and goodwill to be the marker of all our intentions! That is not only what Christmas was meant to be, that is what the world is meant to be.
God bless you, dear reader! I will see you next time. Simply, Juliana