The Arrow Zone

Trials seem to come to me like attacks in an Indiana Jones movie: everything is copacetic (or at least doable) one minute and the next I find myself on a battlefield in a barrage of arrows coming from all directions.

A rude word screams in from over there, a rejection flies in from that place, one of the children faces his own crisis, the car and the house vie for which will break biggest and best.  Add to that a health crisis and I want to run and hide behind a rock and nurse my wounds.

The attacks catch me off guard every time.  My tendency is to get my eyes focused on the circumstances and/or people who shot the arrows.  That would be a good thing if I were in a physical war, but I’m not.

I am, and you are, in a spiritual war. 

God tells us that “we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places.”  Ephesians 6:12

Our war is not with what or whom we see, but with the unseen spiritually dark forces that wage war with God’s children.  They fight to stop our growth, our witness and our voices from speaking to the world the name of Jesus Christ because it is the power unto salvation.

God knows we’ll find ourselves being the target of some pretty big and pretty fiery arrows so He’s given us a piece of spiritual armor to protect ourselves.

“…above all, taking the shield of faith with which you will be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked one.”  Ephesians 6:16

When we find ourselves in the arrow zone, we must hold fast to our faith in Christ and all that entails—faith that He’s with us and will never leave us.  That He’s infinitely more powerful than all other powers combined. That God loves us always, no matter what.  That He has a reason for allowing them.  That He’ll use them for good if we allow Him to.

When we remember and know who we are in Christ we’ll know the arrows are nothing but lies and half-truths and vain attempts to refocus our attention away from the Lord.  Away from doing His will.  And away from showing God’s love, even to the very ones who have hurt us.

Maybe it’s those very people who need someone to show them the love of Christ and the enemy wants nothing to do with that.

Stand strong in the faith and “Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you,bless those who curse you, and pray for those who spitefully use you.”  Luke 6:27-28

Seeing others as people who need Jesus instead of as our enemies and then praying for them takes the sting out of the arrows. Standing in faith gives us the strength and confidence of the Lord to walk through the battlefield. 

We may be wounded, we may be scarred, but we will come through the battle looking even more like our Savior than we did the battle before.

Dorci Harris

Blog – God Treasure
Facebook
Twitter

Labor in Prayer

The experience of giving birth is one that a woman carries close to her heart and clings to emotionally always. I clearly remember the severity of the contractions and increased frequency as labor progressed. I did not take Lamaze classes to gain helpful information on labor; yet taking deep breaths likely came without any coaching.

Do I personally identify with the feelings of urgency and expectancy, as I am inspired to labor in prayer? “My children, with whom I am again in labor until Christ is formed in you- (Galatians 4:19 NAS).” This should be my burning desire; the need should nearly take my breath away. I want the heart of Paul who faithfully prayed for lost souls and I anticipate the promised breath of the Holy Spirit to move in hearts to birth children in God’s kingdom.

Don’t Stop!

How long is your attention span? I learned as a childcare worker that very young children average one minute of concentration for every year of life. That explains why it is so difficult for them to sit still and quiet in worship service. It amazes us when we discover a child who breaks the mold. Thomas, a boy in my class could concentrate for long amounts of time, either by himself with an educational toy, or as a listener. He gave very close attention as I read an ABC’s book to him. Yes, Thomas demonstrated a superior attention span; he puts most adults to shame.

We can gauge our attention by our interest in the subject. Sports fans can spend hours at live events or watching television. They seem to be in a trance; yes, sports hold their attention. Avid readers and music lovers easily concentrate on a good book or sing along favorite. What about God’s word and prayer? I wish I could say we score as well there.

Our minds wander, and we think of all the other things that need our attention. Very often, we just get sleepy and give up; we need staying power. Others are depending on us to pray. “They said to Samuel, Don’t stop praying to the Lord our God for us. Ask the Lord to save us from the Philistines. Then Samuel took a baby lamb. He offered the lamb to the Lord as a whole bunt offering. He called to the Lord for Israel’s sake. And the Lord answered him (1 Samuel 7:8-9 NCV).” Please, don’t stop; the Lord will answer!

Ten I’s of Prayer #10

https://i0.wp.com/i438.photobucket.com/albums/qq107/mosherlynn/prayer9d.jpgIntimacy

Well, we come to the end of our I’s, and I saved the best one for last, at least, I think it’s the best one. Intimacy.

What is intimacy? We think we know. Let’s check and see.

The main definitions of ‘intimacy’ mean a close, familiar, and usually affectionate or loving personal relationship with another person or group, an act or expression serving as a token of familiarity, affection, or the like, the quality of being comfortable, warm, or familiar, and privacy especially as suitable to the telling of a secret.

Ooo…don’t you love that?

According to all our words on prayer…

*intercede
*invade
*inspire
*influence
*instruction
*invest
*increase
*impact
*imbue

…none of them will be effective if we do not have an intimate relationship with the Lord.

Though we have virtually perfected our horizontal conversations, we have seriously failed in our Vertical one. Prayer is the development of our personal relationship with the Lord, as our intimate friend.

This spirit-converse can be found only when one retreats to that quiet place, to listen for the intimate whisperings of our precious Lord.

The intimacy of prayer is like a child or grandchild crawling up in your lap just to snuggle with you because he or she loves you. Do you ever crawl up in the Father’s lap just to love on Him? He delights in that, just as you do.

Do you make time to experience this cherished alone-time with the Lord? Or do you merely rush in, lay out your plans and wishes, and rush out again?

No great soul ever grew in intimacy with the Lord on the streets of a busy life, only in the solitude of prayer. When busyness keeps us from hearing the whispers of our Beloved and keeps us too distracted to feel the comfort of His arms and the peace of His words, we will never discover what Mary did as she sat as His feet.

We need to be alone with God, where no outcries of earth intrude, where no ghosts of years past interrupt, where no outside opinions interfere, where no urgency of decisions impede.

Is intimacy with the Lord missing in your life? If you want to know the Lord and grow the fruit of spiritual graces, spend time in His presence, for only then will deep affection blossom, resulting in a richer relationship with Him.

Speaking of prayer, Martin Luther said “to be a Christian without prayer is no more possible than to be alive without breathing.”

If I could inject anything into your heart about prayer, it would be this: be still in His presence and listen, guard your heart against intruders, have the right attitude by not being in fear or doubt, or being timid, whiney, or hypocritical, do not take it for granted or leave it out of your daily schedule, claim your inherited rights and privileges in Christ and the promises of the Word, pray for all men, pray for Israel, rely on the Holy Spirit, fast when necessary, pray according to God’s Word and His will, pray in faith, trust, confidence, patience, boldness, and expectation, all in the Name of Jesus, and until you have peace, praising and giving thanks to God at all times.

~~Blessings of intimacy, Lynn~~

Ten I’s of Prayer #9

https://i1.wp.com/i438.photobucket.com/albums/qq107/mosherlynn/prayer2f.jpgImbue

Since I’ve started these prayer posts with a definition, this one is no different. In part, the word ‘imbue’ means to fill with moisture, permeate or saturate, to fill the mind (etc.), to impregnate or inspire with feelings, opinions (etc.), to influence thoroughly, pervade, to cause to become impressed or penetrated, to cause to absorb, and so on.

How do these definitions fit in with prayer? We’ll find out in a second.

First, in our prayer times, don’t we usually run to the Lord to pray…

…when a child is in a car wreck,
…when peace disintegrates into chaos,
…when a best friend stabs us in the back,
…when the repo man stands knocking at the door,
…when the cupboard holds little more than the cup,
…when pain strikes the chest and there is no insurance,
…when a husband loses his job and finances are cut off,
…when buying Christmas presents is a vague recollection,
…when the roof overhead is in jeopardy of being taken away?

When these things occur, do we then allow raging emotions to fill us? In our immaturity, do we stomp our feet and whine at life’s circumstances, “Why me?”

And with what do we usually try to satiate our emptiness and pain? Do our circumstances call us to raid the refrigerator, drive us to the local bar, lure us to try drugs, tempt our eyes and lusts with porn or an affair?

Or do we seek the Lord, allowing Him to fill us with all that we need? According to our word’s definitions, the Lord will…

…imbue us with His power, His plan, His holiness, and His will,
…saturate our negative minds with the positive mind of Christ,
…inspire our misplaced feelings and opinions to be transformed,
…fill us with His Spirit and quench our thirst in those dry, wilderness days,
…pervade and influence our new-creation lives by impressing us with the image of His Son.

The lyrics of Fill Me Up, Lord by Richard Blanchard seem appropriate:

Like the woman at the well I was seeking
For things that could not satisfy;
And then I heard my Savior speaking:
“Draw from My well that never shall run dry.”

Fill my cup, Lord, I lift it up, Lord!
Come and quench this thirsting of my soul;
Bread of heaven, Feed me till I want no more–
Fill my cup, fill it up and make me whole!

Which do we seek from the Lord to fill us up and make us whole: His hand to give us something or His face and His presence? When we seek Him, do we praise Him? Scripture says, “They who seek the LORD will praise him.” (Ps. 22:26 NIV)

When you lift your hands to the Father, with what are they filled? God says as He did to Moses, “What is that in your hand?” (Ex. 4:2 NKJV) What does He see? Does He see fingers tightly clutching anger? A palm filled with the works of self-righteousness? A glove stuffed with hidden schemes?

If you are filled with hatred, unforgiveness, bitterness, or anything else from your trials and heartaches, how can you have room to be filled with the Lord and His praise?

Paul instructs us, “Thank [God] in everything [no matter what the circumstances may be, be thankful and give thanks], for this is the will of God for you [who are] in Christ Jesus.” (1 Thess. 5:18 Amp) Are you obeying God’s will to praise and thank Him?

One definition I left for the end. Absorb. The Lord has been so gracious and loving to me that, when I sit adoringly at His feet, I do not ever want to miss out on being filled with His presence and absorbing all He has for me.

Are you imbued with all of the Lord?

~~May you be filled to overflowing, Lynn~~

Ten I’s of Prayer #8

https://i2.wp.com/i438.photobucket.com/albums/qq107/mosherlynn/sunrise2d.jpgImpact

According to the English dictionaries, some of the meanings of the word ‘impact’ say the effect of one thing on another, the power of making a strong, immediate impression, bear on, touch on, influence, effect, the force exerted by a new idea, concept, technology, or ideology, to fill up, or alter.

Can all this be applied to our prayer times? Do our prayers have…

1) an impact on us?
2) an impact on our family, others, or the world?

1) …on us? If our intimate conversations with the Lord do not impact us in some way…touching, influencing, effecting us…are we making the most of our prayer times?

* Do we allow God’s Word to alter us?
* Do we allow the Lord to fill us with His purpose, His vision, His heart?
* Do we sit still long enough to allow His presence to make an impression on us, influencing the way we think and ultimately changing the way we speak and act?

The Bible tells us to “be transformed (changed) by the [entire] renewal of your mind [by its new ideals and its new attitude], so that you may prove [for yourselves] what is the good and acceptable and perfect will of God.” (Rom. 12:2 Amp)

‘Renew’ defined, by Vine’s Expository Dictionary, says it is “the adjustment of the moral and spiritual vision and thinking to the mind of God, which is designed to have a transforming effect upon the life.” There’s that impact.

Are our morals and spiritual thinking impacted and renewed as we sit at the foot of the throne?

As new creations, “what counts is whether we really have been changed into new and different people.” (Gal. 6:15 TLB)

2) …on our family, others, or the world? If our intimate conversations with the Lord do not impact us, how then do we think outside of ourselves and plea for others, thus impacting their lives?

Sometimes God calls on us to pray for a certain person or situation even when we have no knowledge of the whys or what-fors. It may be to save someone from a disastrous circumstance, to give them needed comfort, or to right some wrong. The Spirit leads us in those times to be an intercessor.

Do we obey the Spirit’s call? Do we also make it a regular habit to pray for those other than our family members? Do we have a worldview, praying around the world to save the oppressed, the hungry, the poor, the naked, the hurting, the lost?

Jesus said, “Look at the fields! They are ripe for harvest.” (John 4:35b NIV) Therefore, we pray that the Lord will send someone to cross the path of the lost, for scripture says we are to “pray the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into His harvest.” (Matt. 9:38 NKJV)

God “doesn’t want anyone lost.” (2 Peter 3:9b Msg) He desires all mankind to recognize Him as the Good Shepherd of the sheep. Of those who do not yet acknowledge Him as the Shepherd, He agonizes that they are lost without Him. His family flock is incomplete without them.

Just while you are reading this, hoards of lost sheep have wandered off the path and have fallen off the precipice of life. Is there a lost sheep you can rescue from falling into the great abyss of eternal death?

Is your life impacted by those intimate words shared with the Lord in your prayer times? Are you influenced, transformed, and renewed enough to impact the lives of others with your prayers?

May your prayer times transform you and, in turn, impact the lives of others for the Kingdom of God!

~~Blessings, Lynn~~

Ten I’s of Prayer #7

https://i2.wp.com/i438.photobucket.com/albums/qq107/mosherlynn/Imagefortext14copy.jpgIncrease

The English dictionaries define ‘increase’ as to make greater as in number, size, strength, extent, capacity, scope, or quality, augment, add to, multiply, to reproduce, intensify, or enlarge.

Since this is on prayer, two things come to mind when I think of increase. Well, more than two, but we’ll just look at two.

Our prayers…

* increase our faith

First of all, faith and prayer must go hand in hand. If we believe and have confidence in God, then we pray to Him.

Prayer without faith degenerates into ineffective utterances. What’s the point of praying if we have no faith? A prayer breathed in faith unfurls its fragrance at the Father’s feet. Spurgeon said, “Prayer cannot draw down answers from God’s throne except it be the earnest prayer of the man who believes.”

Through our intimate conversations with the Father, He reveals Himself and His truths to us, communicating His heart to us as we listen to Him, which then increases our faith.

However, if we do not mix faith with God’s Word, His promises, and the things He whispers to our hearts, then, we resemble the Israelites, for “the word which they heard did not profit them, not being mixed with faith in those who heard it.” (Heb. 4:2b NKJV)

Sometimes a promise of God stalls in its appearance. What happens when inactivity occurs, when a promise seems to drift farther and farther away, when circumstances linger incessantly and patience wears thin? Are we more concerned about the problem or God’s promise? What happens to our faith? Does it increase or decrease?

God’s purpose in inspiring the writing of His Word was to “give us hope and encouragement as we wait patiently for His promises,” (Rom. 15:4b NLT) to increase our faith that we “do not become sluggish, but imitate those who through faith and patience inherit the promises.” (Heb. 6:12 NKJV)

James said, “If you don’t ask with faith, don’t expect the Lord to give you any solid answer.” (James 1:7 TLB)

Our waiting may seem unproductive, yet, “we must keep trusting God for something that hasn’t happened yet, it teaches us to wait patiently and confidently.” (Rom. 8:25 TLB)

If our prayers increase our faith, then they also…

* magnify the Lord

To increase or enlarge also means to magnify, as to increase in actual size, exaggerate, amplify, and intensify. ‘Magnify’ is also defined as to extol, praise, glorify, to make seem more important, and so on.

The disciple John said it most succinctly, “He must increase, but I must decrease.” (John 3:30 NKJV)

How do we do that? As we release ourselves to the Lord for His total control, He increases and we decrease.

As the definition also says, it means to magnify. So we increase or magnify the Lord in our prayers. How do we do that? I don’t think we fully understand what magnifying the Lord means.

To extol or praise highly and exalt God enlarges His image, His power, His love, all His characteristics, intensifying them more than our circumstances or our list of wants.

If we constantly boo-hoo our circumstances or our unfulfilled desires more than praising God, we magnify our circumstances and lack above God’s character and power. David said, “I will praise the name of God with a song, and will magnify Him with thanksgiving.” (Ps. 69:30 NKJV)

Prayer is not complete without praise and thanksgiving. Paul said, “Always maintain the habit of prayer; be both alert and thankful as you pray.” (Col. 4:2 Phillips)

Therefore, do we still raise our hands in praise and worship when in painful despair? Do we still fall on our knees in His presence and exalt His name when in a heart-wrenching trial?

God is always faithful to the promises in His Word, for the One Who breathes His promises into our hearts will not fail to manifest them, when our faith is increased to obey His Word and we magnify His presence and His name above all else.

~~Magnifying the Lord with you, Lynn~~

Previous Older Entries