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A Prayer For Israel


Lord,

I want to lift up Israel in prayer today. I pray that you would lead and guide its leaders to follow your truths found in the Bible. This country has a long history of following you and leaving your commandments. I’m asking that you bring repentance to this nation followed by revival. I pray not only for the Jews and Israelis who live here, but for the Arabs and other ethnicities and nationalities represented here. Send your revival fire to tall of them.

As psalm 122:6 tells us to, I pray for the peace of Jerusalem and for all its inhabitants. You know each one by name and love them. I pray that you would protect this city from hate and terrorism. Since the time of David, this city on a set of hills has been a place that has pointed others to you. I’m asking that you would continue to use this city to bring your word to life, but also to bring others to the cross where they will be saved.

May you cause people not to worship the stones and temples erected here, but to use them to find you. It broke my heart to see people worship stones, images, and icons that were designed to point them to you. Open the eyes of all who come here and live here to see you and to out their faith in you. I know that you are alive and well, and that your desire is that none should perish. I know that includes Jews and Gentiles from what I’ve read in your word.

I pray that your love would reign supreme in the hearts and lives of all who live here and in the surrounding territories and countries. I know this is a big request, but I believe it’s in line with your heart. John 3:16 tells us that you loved the whole world and sent your son to die for everyone here. Please hear this request and have your way in this land. As Jesus said, “Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven.”

In Jesus name I pray,Amen 

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Do The Work

Most of us spend very little time reading in the Minor Prophets in the Bible. Those are the little books at the end of the Old Testament in case you’re wondering. The book of Haggai is almost to the end of those books and the Lord gave him a word for Israel, but it can apply to us as well. The people of Israel had returned from exile and rebuilt their homes, however, the Temple still laid in ruins. God was upset because the people were more concerned about their well being than His. He pointed out that all of their labor wasn’t producing what it should have. He tied that to their lack of interest in rebuilding the Temple.

When all we are concerned about is ourselves, God can’t bless it. We will work our tails off, but will never get ahead. It doesn’t matter what we do, it will never be enough unless we put God first. This was the message Haggai gave to Israel and it goes out to us as well. When the people heard the message, they decided to obey the Lord’s command. As soon as they began, the Lord sent another message in Haggai 1:13, “I will be with you – that is my promise. (GNT)” When you’re doing the work God gives, we have the promise that He will be with us in it. He will not leave us alone.

In Haggai 2:4, God sent another message through Haggai. He said, “But now, don’t be discouraged…(GNT)” When we do what God has called us to do, there will be long periods where you work in obscurity. It will seem like no one is noticing, not even God. It will appear that you aren’t making progress, but God is there in the obscurity with you. Every great leader you can think of in the Bible spent years in obscurity. Moses left the palace to tend sheep. David hid in caves while waiting to be king. Abraham was a man without a home. Joshua was a spy before he was a leader.  Whatever obscure position you’re in now, is preparation for the greater thing God has for you. Don’t get discouraged.

The next part of that verse says, “Do the work…(GNT)” We can’t quit doing what God has called us to. We have to continue the work. Rome wasn’t built in a day and neither will the work you do for God. There’s a scriptural principle that Jesus spoke of that we need to remember. It’s simply that if we are faithful with the little things, God will put us in charge of larger things. We have to be willing to do the small work before God can trust us with the greater work. He doesn’t just give that out. Whatever God has put in front of you, do the work and do it well. 

In the final part of that message in Haggai 2:4, God reminds the people, “I am with you. (GNT)” God is with you before you begin and during the process. He has promised to be there when no one else is. He has given you His word that no matter how hard things get, He will still be there with you. Don’t give up. Don’t look at the final outcome. Do the work one day at a time and God will bless it. When you’re doing what He called you to do, obscurity is a way of life because you’re doing things for His glory, not yours. Don’t despise small beginnings. There is much to learn, much to grow and much ministry to be don’t in those times. Don’t get discouraged, keep working. 

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Keep Your Mind On Things Above (Video)

And set your minds and keep them set on what is above (the higher things), not on the things that are on the earth.

Colossians 3:2 (AMP)

If the video doesn’t play, click here.

 

 

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God’s Distracting Hand

I love my son with everything in me. He’s funny, he’s got a great personality and is always wanting to learn. He loves to show me what he knows and often points things out as we pass them by. At two years old, his world is ever changing and his knowledge is ever increasing. Often when I try to talk to him, he gets distracted and points to something else and starts talking about it. Other times, I try to get his attention, but he’s too involved in what he’s doing to pay attention. I have to put my hand between his eyes and whatever he’s doing so he will look up to see me.

He and I are a lot alike. We’re both easily distracted, visually stimulated and get so engrossed in what we’re doing that the outside world fades away to the point that we can’t hear or see anything outside of what we’re doing. When God tries to speak to me, my mind runs away and I start thinking of the possibilities. I change the subject on Him and point to other things that aren’t a part of the conversation. Other times, I’m so involved in what I’m doing that I fail to hear Him.

He has to put His hand in my way, block my vision and do what it takes to get my attention. When that happens, like my son, I get upset. My stubbornness kicks in and I move around His hand so I can continue doing what I was doing. I even try to move His hand out of the way at times because I’m not thinking about His will, I’m only thinking of my own. I think about what I want to accomplish, not what He wants me to accomplish. His hand in my life often frustrates me.

It really shouldn’t bother me though. As my Heavenly Father, He knows what is best for me. He tries to teach me new things, redirect my attention to what matters and show me what’s important to Him. His will for my life is what is most important and I often ask for His hand to guide me. The funny thing is that I often don’t recognize His hand in my life for what it is. Instead of seeing it as Him pointing to something better, I see it as a nuisance or a problem.

When things are happening in our lives that knock us off our daily routine, I believe that it’s probably God trying to get our attention. He’s putting His hand in front of our face to get our attention off the daily routine and to focus on what He wants. Sure, we have to-do lists and things that must get done. He understands that, but when He needs our attention or tries to speak to us, it’s important to look up and to listen. I’m not there yet. I have a ways to go, but I’m starting to recognize His hand in my life. I’m making a point now to not try and get around His hand, but to stop and give Him my full attention when He intervenes.

What’s going on in your life right now that could be God trying to get your attention? Are you fighting against it or are you stopping what you’re doing so you can pay attention to Him?

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Make Today Count

Several years ago, a guy I worked with would get on the store intercom each morning before we opened. He would give a motivational speech with some great quotes and remind us about why we work. He would always close his speeches the same way. You could hear him take a breath and then slowly say, “Make…. today…. count.” He signed off on all of his emails with it too.

All of these years later, I don’t remember each speech he gave, but I still remember those words: make today count. I believe we are to live purposeful lives. We are to be proactive not reactive. Jesus said, “Ask and it shall be given. Seek and you shall find. Knock and it shall be opened.” These are all proactive steps that require you to act. The Bible is full of things we are to be proactive at.

A proactive person sees a need and helps. They look for ways to get involved. They don’t just want to do something for God, they do it. A reactive person responds to things that happen. They wait until there is no other choice but to act. It s not done out of willfulness, but out of obligation. As a manager, I can tell you that those who do things willfully are more successful and do better work than those who do things out of obligation.

It’s simple really. Proactive, willing people put their hearts into whatever they do. Ecclesiastes 9:10 says what my coworker used to say, “Each day is God’s gift. It’s all you get in exchange for the hard work of staying alive. Make the most of each one! (MSG)” I don’t know if he knew if what he was saying came from the Bible or not, but there it is. We are commanded to make the most out of each day. They are gifts from God in which we are to be proactive and do something for others.

Colossians 3:23 in the Message also says, “Don’t just do the minimum that will get you by. Do your best. Work from your heart for your real master, for God.” God knows that if you work from your heart, what you do will cause others to be motivated to do better. Our job is not simply to do things on our own, it’s to get others motivated to do things better too. When each of us in the body of Christ start working with all of our potential and are living a life of purpose, the Kingdom of God will grow.

I know many people are going back to work today after having been off for the holidays. Don’t go back with a sour attitude. That is infectious too. That is not what you want others to catch or to think about you as a Christian. Choose to go to work with a great attitude. Choose to find someone in need today and be the hands and feet of Jesus to them. Choose to make today count.

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Withholding things from God

Last night as our church group sat around talking and eating, the debate of waffle fries or McDonald’s fries came up. During the debate, it came up that I love McDonald’s fries so much that I won’t even share one with my wife. If she wants just one, I’ll go buy her a bag of fries rather than give her one of mine. Someone told me that if I loved her like Christ loved the Church, I would give her one. I jokingly said back, “I don’t know if He loved the Church that much!”

The truth is that He loves the Church infinitely more than that and he has called us to love our wives that much. Is there something you hold back from your spouse? It could be something silly like a French fry or it could be a compliment, a thank you or the words I love you. Beyond that, what is it you withhold from God?

Here are something’s that I’ve found I withhold from Him sometimes.

1. My time

There are 1440 minutes in each day. If I were to tithe on my time, I should give Him 144 minutes each day. That’s 2 hours and 24 minutes each day to put it into perspective. When you think of all he has given to us, 10% is not much. Time is something that is very valuable to all of us. We only have so much of it and it seems everyone wants some of it.

I was reading yesterday in Genesis about the death of Abraham’s wife Sarah. He needed a place to bury her and someone offered a field with a cave in it for free. He wouldn’t take it because he wanted to give his wife something that was valuable and cost him something. If time is your most valuable asset, God will honor you for giving more of it to him.

2. My problems

I know it sounds crazy, but sometimes I don’t want to bother God with what is bothering me. He has enough on His plate with everything going on in the world without having to worry or spend time helping me with my problems. Sure, I go to him with the big things, but I try to handle the little things on my own. I heard someone say this week that they only take God their big problems and someone responded, “With God, there are no “big” problems.”

God never intended us to carry the load ourselves. He told us to cast all our cares on Him because He cares for us. We don’t have to shoulder the burden ourselves. He wants to help, but we keep Him from it and wear ourselves out. In Matthew 11:28-30, Jesus told all who were weary and had heavy burdens to come to Him and take his burdens because they were light.

3. My gratitude

When I look back at my life and think of all the things I have prayed for, I can see that more were answered than not. I also see that once it has been answered, I rarely go back to say “thank you”. It’s not that I’m ungrateful. It’s that a new problem has come up and I’ve started asking for it. I think it’s important to keep a prayer journal where you write down all your requests of God. When you go back in a month, year or decade and see what your problems were and how God answered them, you’ll be grateful and amazed.

I wrote recently about being thankful here. Being thankful and showing gratitude changes your perspective and builds your faith. When you see all the little things that God has done for you, it’s easy to trust Him with the big things. Everyone likes to be appreciated for things they do. We were made in God’s image. I think He likes to be thanked every now and then too.

Have you found that these are some areas that you withhold from God too? Maybe you haven’t withheld all of them or you’ve withheld other things that are important to you. God loves you so much that the Bible says he will not withhold any good thing from you. In fact, He has proven it by sending His son to die for our sins. Even when we are ungrateful for that at times, He still gives us good things. We can make that change today. We can choose to quit withholding things from Him now. What are you going to quit withholding?

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Reignite, Renew and Rekindle

There have been times in my life where I’ve felt so close to God and other times when I felt so far away that I didn’t think he could hear my prayers. In my relationship with Him, as in relationships with others, I’ve had to maintain it. There are ups and downs, there have been times when I’ve been upset and angry, there have been times when I’ve been so excited that I wanted to shout from the rooftops.

How about you? Have you experienced that? Have you had to work on your relationship with Him? We all get complacent at times in our relationships whether it is with God or someone else. We have those times when we set it to cruise control and just go with the flow. It’s in those times that our relationship with Him wanes. We get out of touch with God and start to lose our way.

Here are three things I’ve found to reignite that passion in your relationship.

1. Reconnect through communication

The best relationships fail when communication ceases. We’ve all been there where we either don’t know what to say or have just gone so long without saying anything. The good news is that God doesn’t hold a grudge when life gets so busy that we forget to stop and talk with Him. He’s there waiting for you to starts talking.

Talking with God requires time and effort. I remember when I was a kid and would talk on the phone with someone. If I was too nervous about what to say, I’d write a list of topics we could talk about. Talking with God can be that way too. When it has been a while, it’s ok to make a list of what you want to talk about. There are no do’s and don’ts to prayer. It’s just talking to Him however you want.

2. Spend quality time

Quality time is more than just a few minutes a day. It’s about making time for Him and giving up other things you could have done to spend with Him. God wants to make sure your time with Him is well spent. He wants us to come and to spend time with Him daily. He not only wants to hear what you have to say, but He wants you to hear what he has to say.

Quality time is about giving God the ability to speak to you. Many times we go to spend time with Him in prayer or meditation and we don’t even let Him speak. God desires to spend time with you wherever you go. He wants to use situations and things throughout our day to speak to us. There are no relationships that last where you don’t spend time together.

3. Do things for Him

One of the easiest ways to build or reinvigorate a relationship is to do things for them. When you love God, you do things for Him. Look for ways to bless others. It could be paying for someone behind you in the drive through. It could be volunteering at church, a homeless shelter, a food bank or just helping out a neighbor in need. Jesus said when you do something for the least, you do it for Me.

We are not saved by our works, but our works show our faith to others. The Bible says that faith without works is dead. We can show our love for God by doing things for others. We shouldn’t do it to get anything out of it or to be seen by others. When we do it to be seen, we have our reward. When we do it for God, we will be blessed by God.

From my own experiences I can tell you that by doing these three things, you will reignite your passion for God, you will renew your commitment to the Kingdom and rekindle your relationship. If your relationship with God is stagnant right now, I challenge you to try these things and see if it doesn’t make a difference. No matter where we are in our relationship, we all have room for growth.

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