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DID YOU REALLY MEAN TO PRAY FOR THAT?

Several years ago I consistently scripture prayed Isaiah 58:5-11 and in that scripture was these words, “And the Lord shall guide thee continually, and satisfy thy soul in drought, and make fat thy bones.” During this time, I was unsuccessfully dieting and trying to lose weight, and then one day it hit me, God was answering my prayers and making fat my bones. I continued to pray Isaiah 58:5-11; however, I omitted the request to make fat my bones, and I am happy to say I lost weight.

Also, I remember the experience of a young college student who attended my church. She purchased a second-hand car to get her back and forth to college, which was about a 45-minute drive from her home. She prayed and asked God to keep the car working while she attended college, and God answered her prayer, and the day after she graduated, her car died on her.

How many times have you heard people ask God to help them have patience, become fearless, build their faith in Him, or help them love people? Unfortunately, they did not realize that their request may produce painful and unpleasant situations for these emotions and skills to develop?

I am sure that you like me have prayed and asked God for things without seriously thinking about the consequences of your prayers. Knowing God is a prayer answering God, I suggest that we should not make random prayers that sound nice. We should thoughtfully consider what we are about to request, and remember the saying, “Be careful what you ask for” and “Think before you speak.”

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DAILY BREAD

Luke 11 records a discourse between Jesus and his disciples. Jesus had gone up into the mountain to pray, and at the conclusion of his prayer, one of his disciples said to him, “Lord, teach us to pray, as John also taught his disciples,” to which Jesus recited to them what we presently call the Lord’s prayer.

Within that prayer, there is an important request that I believe many believers say but do not fully comprehend, and it is “Give us day by day our daily bread.” When we pray, we think about tomorrow, we think about the future, and we request many things pertaining to future endeavors. These things or provisions are what we consider important; however, Jesus gave his followers a formula to practice that would alleviate stress and worry. Just pray for today’s provisions and when tomorrow comes, pray for the provisions for that day, in other words, take one day at a time for God provides for us daily as he did for the Israelites in the wilderness.

The Lord’s prayer is also recorded in Matthew 6, which is part of Jesus’s sermons on the mount, and it was part of several discourses which Jesus shared with his followers on that day. Furthermore, in this particular chapter, Jesus tells the people to, “Take no thought for your life, what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink; nor yet for your body, what ye shall put on.” He continues to explain to them that if God feeds the birds, and makes the grass which withers quickly to look beautiful, surely he will take care of a man. Less they forget Jesus repeats himself in verse 31 “Therefore take no thought…” and ends the chapter with verse 34 reiterating, “Take therefore no thought for tomorrow.”

So, let us adhere to the words of Jesus and daily pray for the bread (provisions) for that day and take no thought for tomorrow’s bread.

YOUR ENEMIES’ BEST INFORMANT

I have found that we blame the devil for most of the bad things that happen in our lives, and we give him undeserving credit. We forget Satan is a created being; he is not omnipresent, omniscient, or omnipotent. Satan has his headquarters, and he rules from that place. He has angels and demons that do his bidding, and some of them are assigned to you.

These angels and demons can cause things to happen in your life, but their best informant on the success of their plans is you. Your conversation and actions inform the evil spirits whether their strategy is effective. Your conversation and actions give fuel to evil spirits. They watch you closely and pay attention to your words. They delight in hearing you speak, particularly when it is to their advantage. Thus, we must be on the alert and apply the following scriptures:

1 Thessalonians 4:11a And that ye study to be quiet. (Learn when to talk and what to say when you talk. And if you have difficulty doing this, pray and ask God for help and guidance).

Ephesian 4:27a, 29a Neither give place to the devil. Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth but that which is good to the use of edifying. (When you talk be mindful of what you are saying).

1 Corinthians 14:2 For he that speaketh in an unknown tongue speaketh not unto men, but unto God: for no man understandeth him; howbeit in the spirit he speaketh mysteries. (When in difficulty, start praying in your unknown language).

Romans 8:26 – 28 And in the same way—by our faith[e]—the Holy Spirit helps us with our daily problems and in our praying. For we don’t even know what we should pray for nor how to pray as we should, but the Holy Spirit prays for us with such feeling that it cannot be expressed in words. And the Father who knows all hearts knows, of course, what the Spirit is saying as he pleads for us in harmony with God’s own will. And we know that all that happens to us is working for our good if we love God and are fitting into his plans. (For this scripture I used the Living Bible because I believe it needs no explanation).

If you diligently follow these scriptures, you will not be your enemies’ best informant.

SPEAKING LIFE TO DEAD SITUATIONS

When faced with difficult or unpleasant situations, people will cry, pray, complain, share their situations with others, or become depressed and overwhelmed. Therefore, on today, knowing our words have power I would like to use Ezekiel 37:1-10 as the scriptural reference for this blog about speaking life to dead, difficult or unpleasant situations. Also, I will be extracting from this scripture keys to follow when you like Israel, who in this text was feeling hopeless and discouraged.

The main character in this scripture is Ezekiel, the son of Buzi who was a priest but is known to us as a major prophet who lived during the Babylonian exile and was commissioned by God to be a watchman to his peers who were a rebellious people.

In a vision, Ezekiel is transported to a valley filled with disjointed human bones that appeared dry, brittle and were scattered on the ground throughout the valley. Ezekiel was asked whether he thought the bones could live, to which he replied, “O Lord GOD, thou knowest.” He was then told to prophesy to the bones to hear the word of the LORD which said “Behold, I will cause breath to enter into you, and ye shall live: And I will lay sinews upon you, and will bring up flesh upon you, and cover you with skin, and put breath in you, and ye shall live; and ye shall know that I am the LORD.” Accordingly, Ezekiel did as he was instructed, and there was a noise and shaking as the bones came together and formed skeletons. Then sinews, flesh and the skin covered the bones, but they remained lifeless without breath in them until Ezekiel prophesy to the four wind for breath to come and breathe in the slain bodies that they may live. Again, Ezekiel followed the instructions, and the breath came into the slain bodies; they stood up and lived.

According to the text, in the vision, Ezekiel was taken to a place where a calamitous battle had occurred, and the bodies of the dead soldiers were not buried. This may have occurred because there were no survivors to do the burial, the victors may not have thought their enemy was worth burying, or they may have left the bodies as an example to others. The vultures and other scavenging animals had devoured their flesh, and over time, the bodies that were exposed to the sun and wind became dry, brittle, and disconnected.

God had warned Israel their rebellion would lead to the scene that Ezekiel was experiencing (Deuteronomy 28:25-26; Jeremiah 34:20). However, in his priestly role Ezekiel was forbidden to be defiled by going around dead bodies except for his near kinsman, so, in this vision, he was taken out of his customary element (Leviticus 21:1-3). This lets us know that there are some places God will carry you because on your own you would not go.

Everywhere Ezekiel turned all he saw was the ravages of destruction, and he was made to look at the situation not with his natural eyes but with faith in the Word of God. He was instructed to prophesy to what he saw. Understanding that prophesy is the mind of God revealed, Ezekiel was speaking God’s mind.

As he spoke, there were noise and movement, the bones did not come together quietly, and Ezekiel did not become unnerved by what he was seeing. That which was needed to give structure, strength, and covering materialized, but there still was no life.

Ezekiel’s last act was to speak the mind of God in the atmosphere and call the four winds that controlled and did different acts in the atmosphere to work in concert with each other. The conclusion of this final action produced an exceeding great army of living men.

This is what I learned from this text:
1. To know that even when I am placed in difficult situations, God is with me and gives me the ability to speak change.
2. When I speak, change comes progressively. Change may involve noise and things being moved around.
3. I am to call forth structure, strength, and covering.
4. Speak into my atmosphere for everything to work together to produce life.

Be blessed and I pray this blog has provided you within insight, answers, and instructions

FOLLOW THE PLAN

While talking to a fellow believer this week, I encouraged him to follow the plan. What plan might you ask? My answer, “The plan that God has provided in His Word for our continued success.” The Word provides us with knowledge or information that is needed to obtain that success, but it requires us to seek after it. The consequence of not having or seeking after the knowledge that is found in the Word is expressed by God to Israel “My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge” (Hosea 4:6a).

A believer that wants to be successful cannot be lazy. We have to do the work, but this, unfortunately, is not the case in a large percentage of our lives. I have come to realize believers can fall into various categories, and they are:
1. Those who do not read the Word consistently.
2. Those that do not know the Word because they are not reading it.
3. Those that read it but they are not applying it to their lives.
4. Those that read, know, and apply the Word.

For believers, it takes reading, knowing, and applying the Word for complete and continued success. So, I reiterate we cannot be lazy.

Furthermore, many of us worry about issues that confront us which is a natural thing to do, but we must follow the words of Peter, “Cast all your care upon him; for he careth for you” (1 Peter 5:7) and the words of Jesus in Matthew 6:34a, “Take therefore no thought for tomorrow: for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself.” Thus, knowing that the Creator of all things is with you and willing to take care of you is paramount, and practicing not to worry about tomorrow or your future gives you peace.

Finally, God’s Word is the COMPLETE PACKAGE, it holds the answers to life problems, and all we need to do is FOLLOW THE PLAN that is found in the Word

PROVISIONS FROM UNEXPECTED SOURCES

Often I have found that we limit God’s intervention in our lives because of our expectations. In our restricted minds, we think of the ways God will resolve our issues, and we don’t expect the unexpected. Therefore, I pray the following three accounts I am going to share of Divine intervention will encouraged and inspire you as it did me.

1 Kings 17 introduces us to the prophet, Elijah the Tishbite who told King Ahab Israel would not have dew or rain until he said so, and consequently, it did not rain in Israel for three years. This word was given because of Israel’s idolatry, and this word challenged the strength of the god Baal-Melkarth, the god of rain and crop production whom Israel was presently worshipping. However, during this time as seen in 1 Kings 17, God provided food for Elijah from unexpected sources, and then He again provided food for Elijah in 1 Kings 19 when he was fearfully on the run from Jezebel.

1 Kings 17 reveals after his prophetic word to Ahab God instructed Elijah to hide by the brook Cherith, Elijah followed God’s instruction, and he was able to drink water from the brook and eat bread and flesh in the morning and evening provided miraculously by ravens commissioned by God to bring him food.

When the brook dried up, God sent Elijah to Zarephath, to a Gentile widow who was also commissioned by God to sustain Elijah. Upon arrival in Zarephath Elijah saw the woman and told her to get a little water for him to drink and to bring him some bread for him to eat. Her response to this request was, “As the LORD thy God liveth, I have not a cake, but an handful of meal in a barrel, and a little oil in a cruse: and, behold, I am gathering two sticks, that I may go in and dress it for me and my son, that we may eat it, and die.” However, Elijah encouraged her to respond positively to his request by sayings, “For thus saith the LORD God of Israel, The barrel of meal shall not waste, neither shall the cruse of oil fail, until the day that the LORD sendeth rain upon the earth.” The women did what Elijah said and for the remainder of the drought she, her son and Elijah who stayed with them, had food to eat, their daily bread was supernaturally provided.

In 1 Kings 19, after his great victory over the prophets of Baal and Asherah Elijah becomes fearful when he heard Jezebel wanted him killed and in despair, weariness, and depression he heads south to Beersheba. While journeying, exhausted, and wanting to die, Elijah stops and falls asleep under a Juniper tree until an angel touched him and woke him up, saying, “Arise and eat.” Elijah supped on a cake and a cruse of water after which he returned to sleep. A second time the angel woke him and told him to eat because the journey ahead of him would be too great without nourishment. Elijah followed the instructions of the angel and was able to travel forty days and nights to Mount Horeb without any further substance.

In these two chapters despite scarcity, Elijah was provided for first by an unclean bird, then by a Gentile widow and finally by an angel. He was provided by a creature, a human and an angelic being.

God’s Word tells us not to worry for God promises to take care of our daily needs. God understands our frailty, and he supplies the substance necessary for our survival. He can and will send us provisions as He sees fit. Our response is to expect it from many source and thank Him for His gracious care.

ESTHER SERIES – CHAPTER 9 & 10

As the day that Haman had scheduled for the demise of the Jews drew near the Jews throughout the Persian Empire came together in their cities to defend themselves against their enemies. An added military aide to defeat their enemies was given to the Jews by all the rulers, lieutenants, deputies, and officers of the king, because of the fame and notoriety of Mordecai. Thus, in the providences outside of Shushan, seventy-five thousand men were slain on the thirteenth day of Adar.

In Shushan, on the thirteenth day of Adar, the Jews slew five hundred men and the ten sons of Haman. Next, upon Esther’s request, an additional day was granted to the Jews by King Ahasuerus to deal with their enemies that lived in Shushan specifically. So, on the fourteenth day of Adar three hundred more men were killed and the ten sons of Haman were publicly hung upon the gallows for all to see. Furthermore, despite given the opportunity to seize the property and goods of their enemy, the Jews in all of the provinces choose not to do so.

On the fourteenth day of Adar, the Jews that were not in Shushan celebrated their victory with a day of rest and festivities; however, the Jews in Shushan after their two days of fighting celebrated a day of rest with festivities on day fifteen.

Finally, Mordecai wrote an order and sent it throughout the Persian Empire informing the Jews that they should annually commemorate this event which they called “Purim” with a two-day celebration which was to be held on the fourteenth and fiftieth of Adar and involved rehearsing the events pertaining to the annihilation of the Jews, giving of gifts, giving provisions to the poor, and feasting. Queen Esther sent a second letter confirming this event, which was also to be remembered throughout every generation as a memorial of God’s protection for His people.

Chapter 10 which is the last chapter in the book contains only three verses which described the actions and riches of King Ahasuerus and the influence and fame of Mordecai who was concerned with the wealth and peace of the Jews.

FOOD FOR THOUGHT:
There is strength in unity. When the Jews came together, along with the assistance of the government officials and their military forces, the enemy was defeated.

As seen in Esther 9:2, when God causes men to fear you they will not harm you. Pray that God will cause your enemies to fear Him and you.

Though the Jews were given the opportunity and right to confiscate the spoil of their enemy, they did not, for they were concerned with life over gaining riches.

Lest men forget, the story of Esther was recorded in the Bible, celebrated annually by the Jews under the name Purim, rehearsed yearly, written in letters by Esther and Mordecai and kept in the royal documents. Let us not forget the notable events that happen in our lives. Record them and share them from one generation to another.

Don’t forget your roots. Mordecai was elevated to the second highest position in the Persian Empire, but he continued to serve his people.

Both Esther and Mordecai, who were foreigners in their land of residence, were used of God to save a nation. You are outside your comfort zone for a reason. Don’t try to escape or retreat but rather expect God to use you right where you are. So, I close this series using the words of Mordecai, “Who knoweth whether thou art come to the kingdom for such a time as this?”

ESTHER SERIES – CHAPTER 8

With the death of Haman, his estate was forfeited to King Ahasuerus who bestowed the house, property, wealth and goods of Haman to Queen Esther. Equally important, the queen told the king about her relationship to Mordecai and the king gave him the ring that he had given to Haman making Mordecai the new prime minister which was the position that Haman had previously held. Additionally, Esther positioned Mordecai to oversee the house of Haman, which was given to her by the king.

Not forgetting the plot of Haman to destroy her people Esther again approaches the king and tearfully prostrated herself at the king’s feet to intercede on behalf of the Jews. As he did before, the king extended the golden sceptre of grace toward Esther and allowed her to voice her request which was,” If it please the king, and if I have favour in his sight, and the thing seem right before the king, and I be pleasing in his eyes, let it be written to reverse the letters devised by Haman the son of Hammedatha the Agagite, which he wrote to destroy the Jews which are in all the king’s provinces: For how can I endure to see the evil that shall come unto my people? or how can I endure to see the destruction of my kindred?”

Understanding once a decree is made, written and sealed by a king it cannot be reversed by anyone including the king, King Ahasuerus gave Mordecai the authority to write a decree in his name, seal it with his ring, and then dispatch it to the lieutenants, deputies, and rulers in the 127 provinces of Persia. On the twenty-third day of Sivan the edict was written in the respective languages of the 127 provinces giving the Jews permission to defend themselves, property and possessions from any attack scheduled on their proposed annihilation date and to confiscate the belongs of whoever they defeated.

The chapter ends stating that when the people of Shushan saw Mordecai dressed in royal attire, they were exuberant and when the Jews throughout the Persian Empire received word of the new edict written by Mordecai they held a jubilant feast. Finally, because of what happened many people in the land were proselytized to Judaism.

FOOD FOR THOUGHT: Be careful, what you wish for others, can happen to you. Haman plans were to kill and then confiscate the property of the Jews, but now he was killed, and his property was confiscated.

Your bold intercession can save the lives of many. Esther boldly approached the king on behalf of the Jews.

With God, the impossible becomes possible. Edicts in Persia was irreversible, but God had a plan that overrode the first edict.

God will demote your enemy and elevate you to a place of power. Haman forfeited his position with his treacherous plan and Mordecai obtained it.

God will turn your sadness into gladness. The Jews were saddened when they heard the first edict, but after they received the second edict they were made glad.

ESTHER SERIES – CHAPTER 7

The events that transpired during Esther’s second banquet is revealed in chapter seven.

Similar to the first banquet in attendance with Queen Esther was King Ahasuerus and Haman. For the third time, the king asked Esther what her request was, and she asked the king if she found favor in his sight to spare her life and the lives of her countrymen. She told the king of the wicked plan of annihilation and pointed out if the Jews were slave,s then she would not be justifying in asking this request, but in the Persian empire, they were free.

Immediately the king wanted to know, “Who is he, and where is he, that durst presume in his heart to do so?” to which Esther revealed it was Haman. Haman became petrified, and the king angrily left the Queen’s chamber and went into the palace garden.

Haman knowing, he was in trouble made the fatal mistake of falling on the couch where Esther was sitting to beg for mercy. When the king returned to the room and found him in that position, he thought Haman was trying to violate Esther; thus, he had his guards seize Haman.

Harbonah, one of the king’s chamberlains told him about the fifty cubits high gallows which Haman had made on his property for Mordecai execution, and the king ordered Haman be hung there, and after that, the king was appeased.

FOOD FOR THOUGHT:
The gallows that Haman had prepared for Mordecai’s demise ended up being used for his demise. What you sow, you will reap.

Can you imagine the fear that his family felt when they saw Haman hanging on the gallows, he had prepared for someone else?

When you realize you have been tricked because you misjudged someone character thinking they are honest and working on your behave; remove them from your life.

Follow the steps of Esther. She was presented with a critical problem, she fasted and prayed, she never addressed the instigator of the problem, but she spoke to the person that could, and he resolved the problem for her. So, when you have a problem with an individual who is trying to harm you or those you love, fast and pray, speak to God and allow Him to handle the situation.

ESTHER SERIES – CHAPTER 6

Chapter 6 recorded that King Ahasuerus suffered from insomnia the night of the first banquet and he decided to have the royal chronicles read to him which revealed Mordecai’s foiling of an assassination plot against him which was planned by Bigthana and Teresh, two of his chamberlains.

Upon hearing the reading, the king questioned his people whether recognition was given to Mordecai for his act of loyalty, and he found out nothing had been done for Mordecai, he had gone unrewarded. Wanting to rectify this matter the king asked, “Who is in the court?” and he found out Haman who had come early to the king to get permission to hang Mordecai was there. Thus, he had Haman brought to him, and before Haman could say anything, the king asked him, “What shall be done unto the man whom the king delighteth to honour?” Being egotistical and assuming the king wanted to bestow more honor on him, Haman said “ For the man whom the king delighteth to honour, Let the royal apparel be brought which the king useth to wear, and the horse that the king rideth upon, and the crown royal which is set upon his head: And let this apparel and horse be delivered to the hand of one of the king’s most noble princes, that they may array the man withal whom the king delighteth to honour, and bring him on horseback through the street of the city, and proclaim before him, Thus shall it be done to the man whom the king delighteth to honour.” Then to his horror, the king revealed he was talking about Mordecai, the Jew and he assigned Haman the task of doing all the things that he had just said to the recipient of the honor, Mordecai.

After finding Mordecai sitting at the king’s gate and completing the task with him that the king had assigned, Haman went sadly home and told his wife and all his friends what happened and they voiced to him that the honor the king placed on Mordecai was a bad omen for him for it foretold of his doom.

The chapter ends with Haman leaving his wife and friends and going to Esther’s second banquet.

FOOD FOR THOUGHT:

When you are experiencing insomnia, reading may bring forth revelations.

It was God invisibly at work who allowed the king’s servant to choose the exact book in which the assignation plot information was written. How many times has God led you to pick up a book that had the answers to your questions? How many times have you purchased a book and not read it but at the appointed time you pick it up and it had the answer you were seeking?

The reward for your good deeds may be delayed, don’t fret in due time it will manifest.

God can cause your enemy’s words to bless you, and God can cause your enemy to bestow honor on you even when they don’t want too. Remember Haman who hated Mordecai and craved respect from him had to give respect to Mordecai publicly.