Incense of Prayer

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“And when he had taken it, the four living creatures and the twenty-four elders fell down before the Lamb. Each one had a harp and they were holding golden bowls full of incense, which are the prayers of God’s people. Revelation 5:8”

Wow, the privilege of praying! We get to bring our petitions before God and He answers them (1 John 5:14-15).

Before I came to Gospel for Asia, prayer was not a significant part of my life . My eyes have been opened to the wonderful privilege and importance of prayer. Studying the life of Jesus, we find that He was always praying and also fasting.

I have discovered that things happen when God’s people fast and pray. Without prayer, I cannot do anything. I have learned to not just pray when I struggle but to purposefully take time to pray and even to simply be still  before the Lord.

Here at Gospel for Asia, prayer is the means of the operation. Either the day begins in a prayer meeting or it ends in one. Three bells go off during the day for prayer to refocus on the Lord. Being in the School of Discipleship program, we have our own prayer night each week and on top of that, the first Friday of every month we have a prayer meeting that goes till midnight.

When I look at the life of Jesus, it seems He always had time to pray. In this fast food day and age we live in,we must choose (just as Jesus did) to carve out time to pray. Everything else will still happen but God does great things when we pray.

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My Surrender

Here is a poem I wrote based off my experience in the second year of School of Discipleship. The Lord taught me how I needed to surrender everything and trust Him!

My Surrender

The time has come to look ahead,
To hit the mark, my path to tread.

The past is gone, the past is dead,
I’ll look to Christ, my daily bread.

I’m not my own, I am His slave;
He came to earth, my soul to save!

In Christ alone, this is my call,
He is my strength, my all in all!

In times of sorrow I can see,
My God and Father leading me.

And when I stumble, when I fear,
my precious Savior draws me near.

I’m not my own, and this my plea:
That I could give my all to Thee!

In Christ alone, this is my call,
He is my strength, my all in all!

 

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The Faithful vs. the Faithless

“… if we are faithless, he remains faithful—for he cannot deny himself.” 2 Timothy 2:13

“And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ.” Philippians 1:6

“The Lord will perfect that which concerns me; Your mercy, O Lord, endures forever; Do not forsake the works of Your hands.” Psalm 138:8

“… just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love…” Ephesians 1:4

“Now to Him who is able to keep youfrom stumbling, And to present you faultless Before the presence of His glory with exceeding joy…” Jude 24

How many more promises need to be made by a God who is incapable of lying before I will believe Him? My Friend has promised that He will always be with me, yet somehow, I would rather try to do things on my own. The work I’ve been called to do is not mine, but His. He will perfect everything that concerns me. He will do it because He is faithful.

So, what role do I play in this?

“But you, beloved, building yourselves up on your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Spirit,  keep yourselves in the love of God, looking for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life.” Jude 20-21

“For consider Him who endured such hostility from sinners against Himself, lest you become weary and discouraged in your souls.” Hebrews 12:3

“Today, if you hear his voice, do not harden your hearts as in the rebellion.” Hebrews 3:15

“Therefore let that abide in you which you heard from the beginning. If what you heard from the beginning abides in you, you also will abide in the Son and in the Father.  And this is the promise that He has promised us—eternal life.” – 1 John 2:24-25

Abba, convince us of Your goodness, please. Convince us that You are for us, that You love us, and that no matter what we do, Your heart towards us never changes. Convince us that Your grace is true, and that all You require of us is to be weak, and willing to receive You in our weakness. Convince us, Papa, that when we are weak, You are strong. It’s what You’ve promised.

Teach us to believe You, and teach us to receive Your love. Teach us that you are trustworthy.

Thank You for allowing us to come before You in complete confidence. Thank You for sending Jesus to be our Hope, our Redemption, our Sanctification, our Righteousness, our LIFE.

Faithful Father, teach us how to love you. Through Jesus I ask this, amen.

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Choosing Life and Death

On November 3, the church recognized International Day of Prayer for the Persecuted Church. As I thought about and prayed for my brothers and sisters who are persecuted for their faith in Jesus, I also thought about being a martyr. I hear testimonies of people who have laid down their lives for the sake of the Gospel – and I think, “And that is worth it.”

I know that it is worth it to live for Jesus, and to lay down my life for His sake.

But why do I somehow think that living for Jesus is not worth losing sleep over, or is not worth being inconvenienced by? That being Jesus’ disciple is not worth giving up my comfortable life for?

I do believe that following Christ is worth giving my life and my everything for. But very often, the choices I make and the way I live my life do not reflect that.

Something is wrong here. Following Jesus IS worth everything. So I need to start living like it.

Then Jesus said to his disciples, “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me. For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will find it.” – Matthew 16:24-25

 

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I Love Mockingbirds!

I Love Mockingbirds. They are just happy all of the time, and it seems like to me that they are free to sing whatever they want; they can chirp, squeak, trill, peep…you get the picture. Any way I love them, and yesterday I was sitting at my desk thinking to myself, “I haven’t seen a mockingbird in forever!” (they usually are all over down here in Texas). I really wanted to see, and hear a mockingbird (did I mention they are AWESOME!).

But I wrote it off because one, it’s not spring, and two, it was cold and if I were a bird I would want to be where it is warm right now. So that was me, depressed and sitting at my desk because there were no mockingbirds in Texas.

This morning I awoke from my very restful sleep, I sleepily got dressed and went outside for my morning prayer/walking time, but as I closed the door of my apartment guess what I heard! A MOCKINGBIRD! Needless to say I thought it was cool, but not much more than that until I started praying.

“That bird is for you” said a still small voice, “What!? No way! Are you serious God? You care enough about me to put a single mockingbird on the roof of an apartment complex, in the middle of Carrollton, in the state of Texas, in the center of America, in the country of the United States, on a tiny planet called earth, in a tiny solar system (comparatively), in a huge galaxy, in the unending expanse of space? It’s not possible!”

Or is it? In John 17:23 says “…Then the world will know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me” (Emphasis mine). Friends God loves us as much as he loves Jesus Christ! It blows my mind the vastness of His affection for us. Psalm 37:4 says “Delight yourself in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart.” I didn’t even pray for that Mockingbird, but God still put it there for me, and the reality probably is that He does stuff like that for us all the time!

I will stop saying things now and let scripture speak for itself:

Matthew 6:25-34 “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? 26 Look at the birds of the air (Strangely appropriate); they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? 27 Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life?

28 “And why do you worry about clothes? See how the flowers of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. 29 Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. 30 If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you—you of little faith? 31 So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ 32 For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. 33 But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. 34 Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.”

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My Life Prayer – I Need to Give Up Myself

Jesus, I need to give myself up. I am not strong enough to love You and walk with You on my own. I can’t do it, and I need You. I need You deeply and desperately. I believe You are worth it, that You are better than anything else I could have in this life or the next. I want You. And when I don’t, I want to want You. Be all in me. Take all of me. Have Your way with me.” ~Francis Chan

This is my heart’s desire!

 

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