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Enjoy the messages of Pastor Peggy right here (below)

 

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The First Love

This last 2 week period has been quite hard to take. Two of my dearest sister/friends have gotten into a ridiculous fuss with each other.

Last night at church the Lord spoke so strongly within me about this that I was compelled to share it. Both women were present, sitting at opposite ends of the room from each other.

This is what the Lord spoke to my heart:

Will you go on believing the lies that are swirling around in the darkness around you, or will you do some serious spiritual warfare with the enemy???! This is nothing but the spirit of leviathan trying to pull God’s people apart and destroy them! Do not fall prey to his deceits! This spirit is a master at twisting words around, so that what you hear is not the thing that was spoken, and what you speak to someone else is not what they hear.

People of God, we do not have time for this nonsense. Jesus is coming soon. Will He come suddenly and find us fussing at each other instead of doing the work of the Kingdom?

You probably don’t even fully remember what the dividing issue was all about at this point.

We need to allow NOTHING to separate and divide us. United, we stand. Divided we fall. Go to the extreme in resisting this urge to “have ought against each other.” When you have been hurt, be the first one to make the move. Someone has to be first. It does not matter who is right or who is wrong.  Don’t walk–RUN–to each other and resolve to begin again. Lay aside the weights that so easily beset you. REFUSE to be offended.


This morning I was scrolling through FaceBook and came across this beautiful piece on “Christians Unite” and I share it here with you:

“Father, I will that they also, whom thou hast given me, be with me where I am; that they may behold my glory, which thou hast given me: for thou lovedst me before the foundation of the world.” (John 17:24)

This is the very heart of the moving prayer of the Lord Jesus Christ in the upper room before His arrest and crucifixion. As we hear Him pray, we are translated back in time, before time began, and there we encounter the indescribable love within the counsels of the triune Godhead—Father, and Son, and Spirit—three persons, yet one God.

Then, after speaking of this love, Jesus prayed—in the final words of His sure-to-be-answered prayer—

“that the love wherewith thou hast loved me may be in them, and I in them” (v. 26).

This love—the love within the Trinity—was the primeval love and, therefore, is the spring from which flows every other form of true love—marital love, mother love, brotherly love, love of country, love of friends, love for the lost, or any other genuine love.

It is appropriate that the first mention of love in the Old Testament refers to the love of a father (Abraham) for his son Isaac (Genesis 22:2), and then that the first reference to love in the New Testament (Matthew 3:17) speaks of the heavenly love of God the Father for God the Son. In both cases, the son is called “beloved,” yet in both cases the father and son are prepared to go to the altar of sacrifice, that the will of God might be done and a way of salvation be provided for lost sinners.

“He that spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, how shall he not with him also freely give us all things?”
(Romans 8:32).

One day—as He prayed—we shall be with Him, see His glory, and even experience His own eternal love in our hearts. HMM

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And then, later in the day, this gem appeared:

The Enemy’s After Our Love

by Victoria Boyson

The Lord impressed my spirit that the enemy was after our love! I began to weep at the thought of it. By the enemy’s pursuit of it, it showed how terrified he is of it. The Lord reminded me of the last few years in my own life and the enemy’s constant pursuit to destroy my ability to love.

“And many will turn away from me and betray and hate each other. And many false prophets will appear and will deceive many people. Sin will be rampant everywhere, and the love of many will grow cold” (Matthew 24:10-12 NLT).

The attack on our love has increased and our ability to love has been assaulted. With many in the body of Christ, it’s been a vicious battle, wrestling with issues of forgiveness and justice. But His Word says,

“We are not fighting against flesh-and-blood enemies, but against evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against the mighty powers in this dark world, and against the evil spirits in heavenly places” (Ephesians 6:12 NLT).

The enemy uses people to fight against us so it’s not always easy to remember who our real enemy is.

Honestly, I can’t say that I see an end to this battle for our love coming anytime soon – the enemy’s not going to quit – he’s got too much to lose to give up. But we can become wise to his plans and schemes against us and learn from every battle we encounter. And most of all, we need to reminds ourselves daily of the power of God’s love.

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Impossible Rescue and the Word of God

 

(Facts gathered from facebook posts and news reports)

(Scriptures gathered from the treasures of God’s Word, The Holy Bible)

We have all seen the news of the dramatic, miraculous rescue. I’ve been following it avidly, and the Lord began downloading thoughts and scriptures which bring out the tremendous spiritual application of the whole story. There is a profound spiritual message in the details of this incident! God has something to say to us through it!

Twelve soccer players, ages 13-16, and their coach had cycled to the Tham Luang cave complex in Thailand on June 23, 2018. They ran to a cavern to scrawl their names on the rock wall.  They were forced to seek higher ground deeper inside the huge cave system when torrential rain started flooding the tunnels. They were stranded more than two miles inside the cave complex, which weaves almost six miles below the Dot Nang Non mountain.

I sink in deep mire, Where there is no standing; I have come into deep waters, Where the floods overflow me. Ps 69:2

Wearing only their soccer practice clothing, the boys were unprotected from the cold damp air, and had to huddle together in the total darkness for warmth. The temperature was in the mid twenties centigrade (50 F). When found after nine days, they were given foil wraps to help conserve body heat. They were perched on a ledge above a muddy slope.

And the Lord said, “Here is a place by Me, and you shall stand on the rock. Ex 33: 21. 

With any further occurrence of rain (which was expected), their area could have been reduced to 100 sq. feet or submerged. The more water that was in the chamber, the less room there was for oxygen.

Let not the floodwater overflow me, Nor let the deep swallow me up; And let not the pit shut its mouth on me. Ps 69:15

They were in good spirits when found after nine days. They had been drinking mineral water seeping from overhead rocks, hoping it was clean enough not to harm them.

Behold, I will stand before you there on the rock in Horeb; and you shall strike the rock, and water will come out of it, that the people may drink.” Ex 17:6

Ekapol Chanthawong (the coach) had lost his whole family as a child. He trained as a monk and then devoted his life to helping kids. According to rescue officials, he was among the weakest in the group because he gave the boys his share of the limited food and water they had with them in the early days. He also taught the boys how to meditate and how to conserve as much energy as possible until they were found. He kept 12 children alive in a cave without food or light for 9 days. He is only 25 years old.

For when we were still without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly. For scarcely for a righteous man will one die; yet perhaps for a good man someone would even dare to die. But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Rom 5:6-8

At first the situation appeared to be hopeless, and only after much study, planning and teamwork was the rescue possible.

“With men this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.” Matt 19:26

Knowing they would have to swim to reach freedom, the boys were shown the basics of scuba diving by Thai Navy SEALs who risked their own lives in the treacherous excursions in and out of the enclosure. Some of the boys had had no swimming experience at all. Even in their increasingly depleted conditions, they needed to keep a positive attitude, look forward, and pay attention to every word of the training and instructions. Their job was to eat, breathe, keep calm and encourage each other. Food and oxygen was provided as well as humanly possible. They didn’t have to work to get it. They could know that they were not alone;  indeed, the whole world watched and prayed.

Teach me, O Lord, the way of Your statutes,
And I shall keep it to the end.
Give me understanding, and I shall keep Your law;
Indeed, I shall observe it with my whole heart.
 Make me walk in the path of Your commandments,
For I delight in it.
Incline my heart to Your testimonies…
Turn away my eyes from looking at worthless things,
And revive me in  Your way.
 Establish Your word to Your servant,
Who is devoted to fearing You.
Turn away my reproach which I dread,
For Your judgments are good.
Behold, I long for Your precepts;
Revive me in Your righteousness. Psalm 119:33-40

Someone bigger than those boys has already gone through and survived the tight, treacherous places. Their word could be depended upon completely.

And God sent me before you to preserve a posterity for you in the earth, and to save your lives by a great deliverance. Gen 45:7

For we do not have a High Priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin. (Heb. 4:15)

Implicit trust was required between each boy and his rescuers. To survive, they needed to trust the leaders, and not try to figure it out for themselves.

Trust in the Lord with all your heart, And lean not on your own understanding; In all your ways acknowledge Him, And He shall direct your paths. Proverbs 3:5-6

After going nine days without food before they were found on July 2, they had begun to emaciate; and doctors were busy assessing whether they were healthy enough to even attempt the grueling dives necessary to get out of the cave.

The cave divers were working in claustrophobic and dangerous conditions and they repeatedly made the treacherous trip to bring food and oxygen to the trapped group. Saman Gunan, former Thai SEAL, gave his life providing necessary oxygen for the children.

Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one’s life for his friends. John 15:13

One source said that the oxygen levels in the air they were breathing were as low as 15%. The air we normally breathe is 21% oxygen. 19.5% is considered the minimum needed for normal breathing requirements.

The boys were brought out one after the other, the weakest first. Each success inspired and invigorated those remaining.

Trust in the Lord with all your heart, And lean not on your own understanding; In all your ways acknowledge Him, And He shall direct your paths. Prov 10:24

The coach came out last. 

Hear my cry, O God; Attend to my prayer. From the end of the earth I will cry to You, When my heart is overwhelmed; Lead me to the rock that is higher than I. For You have been a shelter for me, A strong tower from the enemy. Psalm 61

Each of the rescued team members was accompanied by two Navy divers—one alongside and in front of them and one behind.

 And the Angel of God, who went before the camp of Israel, moved and went behind them; and the pillar of cloud went from before them and stood behind them.

Ex 14:9 Then your light shall break forth like the morning, Your healing shall spring forth speedily, And your righteousness shall go before you; The glory of the Lord shall be your rear guard. Isaiah 58:8

An 8mm static rope that they could hang onto had been installed to guide them through the cave. They were literally hanging onto a life line. This made me think of Rahab…

She let them (the spies in Jericho) down by a rope through the window, for her house was on the city wall; she dwelt on the wall. And she said to them, “Get to the mountain, lest the pursuers meet you. Hide there three days, until the pursuers have returned. Afterward you may go your way.” So the men said to her…bind this line of scarlet cord in the window through which you let us down, and …  bring your father, your mother, your brothers, and all your father’s household to your own home. Joshua 2:15-18

The scarlet cord was symbolic of the Blood of the Lamb, at Passover, which protected the children of Israel from death.

And you shall take a bunch of hyssop, dip it in the blood that isin the basin, and strike the lintel and the two doorposts with the blood that is in the basin. And none of you shall go out of the door of his house until morning. For the Lord will pass through to strike the Egyptians; and when He sees the blood on the lintel and on the two doorposts, the Lord will pass over the door and not allow the destroyer to come into your houses to strike you. Exodus 12:22-23

The water temperature, like the air,  was 22-26C. Divers carried oxygen cylinders. The front diver had one for himself and one attached to the boy by an air hose, supplying his oxygen. The boys were shackled and harnessed to their divers.  

Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in Me. “I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing. John 15:4-5

The waters were muddy. The only light which broke the total darkness came from lamps that had been brought in and installed along the way.

I will bring the blind by a way they did not know; I will lead them in paths they have not known. I will make darkness light before them, And crooked places straight. These things I will do for them, And not forsake them. Is 42:16

He reveals deep and secret things; He knows what is in the darkness, And light dwells with Him. Daniel 2:22

The boys wore full face masks, which helped with the claustrophobic aspects. Panic is a common problem even for experienced divers.

He will not be afraid of evil tidings; His heart is steadfast, trusting in the Lord. Ps 12:17

“Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.” Joshua 1:9

They were outfitted with wet suits, some needing to be created especially to accommodate such small bodies. When they reached the narrow places, the oxygen tanks had to be removed and rolled along. Scuba fins could not be used in that environment. 

Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might. Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand…Eph 6:10

The narrowest section in the escape route was just 15 inches wide, equivalent to three Mars bars laid end-to-end. They boys had to go through it alone, under water, in the dark. It was called the Choke Point. The biggest challenge was to navigate this very tight section of tunnel where a sharp upward bend is followed by a downward slope. They had to crawl out of the water swirling with silt, in complete darkness; and clamber across a rocky peak before descending into the murky waters again. Indeed, they were born again, through a rocky birth canal. 

“Enter by the narrow gate; for wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and there are many who go in by it. Because narrow is the gate and difficult is the way which leads to life, and there are few who find it. Matt 7:13-14

And again I say to you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God.” Matt 19:24

They were accompanied by a large team of “angels” dedicated to helping them in any way possible, but each one was required to go through that narrow place on their own.

In their hands they shall bear you up, Lest you dash your foot against a stone. Ps 91:12

After navigating about another mile and an half, the boys reached the supply base for the rescue mission, close to the mouth of the cave system. They were checked out there, wrapped in life-giving warmth and tended to before being taken to the hospital by ambulance to be placed in isolation for testing and protection.

Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us Heb 12:1

When they emerged from the cave into the light of day, they needed strong sunglasses to protect their eyes after being in darkness for so long.

So it shall be, while My glory passes by, that I will put you in the cleft of the rock, and will cover you with My hand while I pass by. Ex 33:22

But You, O Lord, are a shield for me, My glory and the One who lifts up my head. I cried to the Lord with my voice, And He heard me from His holy hill. Ps 3:3-4

I am sure that if I were to sit here before the Lord for a longer time, there would be even more “downloading” of His Word into my spirit. I pray that each person who reads this will experience the continuation of the conversation the Lord is having with me.

In the days ahead, as the world watches those precious boys recovering from their ordeal, I pray that there will be testimony of God’s miraculous deliverance and that all the glory will go to Him. May many souls be delivered from darkness.

For this reason we also, since the day we heard it, do not cease to pray for you, and to ask that you may be filled with the knowledge of His will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding;  that you may walk worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing Him, being fruitful in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God;  strengthened with all might, according to His glorious power, for all patience and longsuffering with joy;  giving thanks to the Father who has qualified us to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in the light.  He has delivered us from the power of darkness and conveyed us into the kingdom of the Son of His love (Colossians 1:9-13)

 

 

A Gift from God – To You

Psalm 61:1 Hear my cry, O God; listen to my prayer.

 

We, often, are hungry for the TRUTH, hungry to be filled and do so with study, classes, church going. We are excited just to live in the word. As time rolls on, that enthusiasm drops. Some experience miracles and then begin to take them for granted. We must guard against being lazy or asleep spirituality. What if we constantly grabbed every concept as new – – every moment as new; and every day as a fresh start – no regrets of yesterday.

 

 

Matthew 18:3 “Truly I say to you, unless you are converted and become like children, you will not enter the kingdom of heaven.”

 

You do not become children again, in small bodies. We all know that! You become converted in attitude, and see the wow and wonder in everyday life. You become LIKE children in your spirituality, and you enter a heavenly state of consciousness. Your excitement for life never slows down.

 

You see, when you spend a lot of time in prayer and meditation, watching your breath or working with whatever focal point you are working on, the mind can sometimes say, “This is boring.”

 

So, let’s begin fresh and new and focus on every moment as being rich with newness. What happens is we get information or spiritual truth on Sundays, and the mind says, “Oh, I’ve heard that before. Let’s find something else. What’s new? What’s bigger? What’s brighter? Where’s the new information on this?” Yet, a Beginner’s mind tells us that every moment, every time you hear the same truth, it is new. That is the way it is – because we hear it at deeper and deeper levels. Think about that for a moment.

 

The Bible says that you must be born again, that you must become like a little child. Another translation of this is that you must begin again, that you have to look at your spirituality with a childlike wow and wonder to discover the hidden truth.

 

So let us have beginner’s minds this morning. When we walk outside, notice the birds—as if for the first time. When we meet and greet our loving friends do so as if for the first time, what a gift that is.

 

We live in a very sped-up world right now, due to technology and all of the changes that are happening right in front of our eyes. We are no longer separated by oceans. We are all part of a global community, because we can all communicate with each other so quickly. We care a lot more about what is happening on the other side of the world, because it is right in front of us on television. There is a lot of energy with this. There is some chaos with it. There are all kinds of human interaction. It is very distracting.

 

How do we navigate through this? Some people are working out their career goals; some are raising little children and some are just trying to make it through every day. The lives of people who are retired are just as busy, wild, full of distraction and energy, as they were when they (we) were trying to move up that career ladder. It is a BUSY time.

 

Even commercials on television now changed their images every one and 1/2 seconds to keep the attention of the preoccupied mind. We define success by how busy we are – how many projects we have going, how many clubs we belong to, how many things we are doing with our time.

 

It is an exciting, energetic culture, and it can be distracting. How do we maintain this connection to Christ through all this distraction? One way is to pray and meditate. It is the most powerful tool. But it is also counter to everything taught in society – for it encourages us to slow down and stop and notice what is important and do so as if for the first time.

 

Acts 1:14 They all joined together constantly in prayer, along with the women and Mary the mother of Jesus, and with his brothers.

 

I know you have all heard this before and you are probably saying to yourself, “Yes, I should pray and meditate more, but I don’t have time. I am not really very good at meditating. Maybe there is something else I can do.” Or you may be saying, “I really want to pray and meditate, but the kitchen has to be cleaned first. Then I will get around to it.”

 

In the past, some schools of thought have given arbitrary amounts of time as to how long you should sit in the silence of prayer. “You should sit in the silence of prayer 20 minutes, twice a day,” or “You should sit in the silence of prayer right after you get up in the morning and right before you go to bed at night.”

 

We have gotten these kinds of feelings about how it is supposed to be, and that if we do not do it that way, then we are not doing it right. And if we do not do it right, we tend not to want to do it at all, so we do not meditate quite as much as we should. Then we come to church and hear about sitting in the silence of prayer, and we start to feel guilty. We think, “Maybe I should pray and meditate more.” Then, when we get off-center from some of the activity that is all around us–if we get nervous, have some sort of anxiety issue, or maybe a little stress comes up in our lives–we think, “Oh no, I haven’t been praying or meditating enough.” Then, we feel MORE guilt.

 

Do you know what human beings do when something is not working smoothly for them? They tend to avoid it more. They tend to put it on the back burner. They tend to fall asleep to it.

 

Yet, during that quiet time is the way we feel Christ. It helps us to be 1000 times more effective in our busy days. There are so many ways to pray and to meditate. We don’t have to do it in blocks of time, right when we wake up or before we go to sleep.

 

You know the motto in our culture – “More is Better.” So if we pray for ten minutes, we think twenty would better – it would make me a better person. But, time is a human concept, not a spiritual one. Think about this, ‘Prayer is timeless.” We can say, loudly or softly, “God is with me RIGHT NOW, this moment,” and that can be as valuable as spending 20 minutes saying it. It all depends on the depth of our focus and spirituality. With God, there is no time or space; there is only Presence. So we meditate and pray for a moment, if that is ALL the time we have, or if that is all the focus time we have. When we invoke the Presence of God, God is with us, no matter where we are or what we are doing.

 

Sometimes, we get so involved with earthly things that it becomes difficult to remember that God’s help is at hand. We try, but we get distracted. Then we get down on ourselves for that feeling of separateness. We do not have to do that! Life is much more pleasant, and the world is much more loving than that.

 

If we feel far from God, we need to know that God did not move – we did. God is right here beside us, waiting for us to reconnect with HIM; and the reconnection is so sweet – as if for the first time.

 

Do you have one minute to fix yourself?

 

Time is relative, so one minute of prayer and meditation can be as good as 20, especially if we do it twenty times during the day. Prayer and meditation is a skill. The more you do it, the more skillful you become at it. The more miracles you see in your life because of it, you will move its importance from the back burner to the forefront.

 

Meditating is like letting the activity of God work, in us, through us, and around us. The natural flow of our minds is constantly going. There are some belief systems that say that the goal of meditation is to stop the mind. Well, imagine a flowing stream. Try stopping it by putting logs at one point. The stream is going to build up, eventually go over the logs (acting as a dam), running faster and creating a splashing waterfall. The same is true if we totally try to stop our minds.

 

So instead of trying to stop the mind, let’s try prayer and meditation together, focusing on gaining insights from God. Let your thoughts be like flocks of birds, flying by. By doing this, we are kind of observing our minds and we develop the ability to realize that we are so much more than just our thoughts. It is here that we can sense our connection to God.
There is also a recharging of your soul that occurs during this time.

 

Let’s go on a one minute vacation to the gap! GAP—God-Awareness-Present!

 

This is a wonderful tool, because it is the space between observation and thought where creativity and God’s guidance can be felt. It is where newness of life springs up. It is where new ideas come in, new ideas that have no limits or boundaries. That is the gap—through which God-given, creative energy flows. That is where solutions are, and it is also where peace is.

 

GAP—God-Awareness-Present!

 

That is where peace comes from. We realize that through this gap and through this awareness we are one with and empowered by the Christ; we are more than the old human thoughts. We are more than the sum of our thoughts. Our thoughts are just things of this brain.

 

Have a philosophy. Try to live your life in the GAP.

 

Let’s try it right now for one minute. . .

 

Just take a moment to close your eyes and in prayer and meditation. Breathe naturally with no force. This not anything we have to do; it is just being in the loving presence of God. Feel the thoughts of mind and set them aside. This is the moment to observe the in and out of the breath. That is all; just feel the Holy presence of God. If a thought comes you say, “Oh, there goes that thought,” and you go back to your prayer. It is so good. Just be. Thoughts come and they go by like clouds, or schools of tiny fish. In this gap there is Christ. The Christ has no judgment, no bad. The Christ’s light is here in this moment.

 

Now, let’s open our eyes. Congratulations! You just did your minute of meditation and prayer.

 

There is a story about a tortoise that got mugged by a snail. The tortoise went to the police and the policeman said, “What did the assailant look like?”

 

The tortoise said, “I don’t know . . . it happened so fast.”

 

Time is relative.

 

We give ourselves a gift, a spiritual vacation, a moment of meditation and we make our day one minute at a time.

 

How would you walk across the entire United States? One step at a time. One small step added to another is accumulative.

 

A mother used to say that every time she would see someone whose mouth was curled down, it made her want to curl her mouth up in a smile. We use the times we might make mistakes as reminders to remember the truth of God, instead of getting down on ourselves. As long as we are in a human form, there are going to be a few mistakes made. We are doing the best we can.
We are listening. We are making an effort. We care about what is going on.

 

You know that a minute smiling at another can change a life. Now know that a minute spent with God allowing God to smile at you can change your life.

 

Remember, meditation and prayer is your gift from God, to you.

 

 

The Power Of An Overcoming Mindset

 

We all have issues and battles in our lives that we either want to overcome, or are in the process of overcoming.  I really believe that there is a stillness, a resilience and a consistency that come with an overcoming mentality. IMG_4644You have to have your eyes fixed on the prize; focused ahead on getting through whatever you are facing.  All overcoming stems from the joy and peace in believing that better things lie ahead of you.

When you lose that joy and that peace, you are waging war from within; fighting two battles.  The battle to overcome your obstacle, and the inner battle with negativity. I believe that is the first obstacle you have to conquer; your own negativity.  Negativity about the world around you, your negativity about the Lord, the Kingdom. Negativity, procrastination, doubt, fear, anxiety, anger, resentment, bitterness, passivity, unbelief and resignation give the enemy so many tools and weapons to create havoc.

You have to wage that war first, before you can even think about overcoming any other battle.

RADICAL PERCEPTIONS

When we speak about overcoming negatives, we can only do so by talking about what replaces them.

fullsizeoutput_5f71I believe this is where peace and rest come into play.  The stillness of the Lord and acquiring a Christ-like mindset through joy and thanksgiving can be a remarkable antidote to negativity.  The encouragement we receive from others and the love we get from the Father are paramount to establishing a heart and mind that can not be shaken by negative self-talk.

 

Here at The Spiritual Family, we are dedicated to bringing each other this kind of encouragement. That’s why we share Scriptures, written prayers, loving words, and spiritual songs, hoping to help someone else along the way with their struggle. Our description at the top of our chat page describes a place where people can be free to say whatever is on their heart with no fear of judgment or condemnation. We trust that the Lord will use us to speak life to others in the room.

The brilliant thing about life in the Spirit is that we are in Christ partaking of His overcoming nature. Therefore, we fight from victory not towards it. We can go into our circumstances knowing that victory is the outcome because because Christ has already won.

ENCOURAGING YOURSELF IN GODIMG_3498

What challenges are you facing right now?

Remember: in Jesus, overcoming is a given. It’s not a question of “Will I overcome?” it is a question of  “HOW?”

(adapted from a post by Graham Cooke)

Prayer:

“The LORD bless you and keep you;
The LORD make His face shine upon you,
and be gracious to you;
The LORD lift up His countenance upon you,
and give you peace.”

May you reach the purpose
for which you were created.
May you have courage above your peers.
May you have more passion for the things of God
than others think is necessary.
May you dream more than others think is practical, and
may you expect more than others think is possible.
May you choose wisely, without earthly bias.
You have people to influence
that you have not yet met.
You have lives to change
that are waiting for your arrival.
You are strategically placed wherever God takes you by His grand design,
just so you can become all He made you to be. That place is the place you can best grow,
the place you can be most fruitful, the place where the future is changed
because of your presence.
May you see vistas
that others do not even know exist.
May you see God in every petal of every flower and in every blade of grass
for each of them are designed by His hand.
May you bless your children and
may they become giants in the faith under the mighty hand of God.
You will not fail,
you were made by God to be here—
for such a time as this.

(Prayer by J.P. Jackson)

Photos by Rhea Beaudry

Powerful Prayers for Protection and Safety

5 Powerful Prayers for Protection and Safety

I found this group of crafted prayers on the internet, and I am reposting it here for us to use as a springboard, helping us to craft prayers of our own as we pray for our own loved ones and for the many requests on our Spiritual Family prayer request list. RMB

Compiled by the editors at Crosswalk.com

Our world is filled with events and situations that can cause great fear and anxiety. It’s easy to become overwhelmed and live imprisoned by fear.  We are promised in God’s Word that he is faithful and will protect us (2 Thessalonians 3:3).  God wants us to let go of fear and to live life to the fullest! (John 10:10) When you are overcome by worry, use these prayers for protection to remember who God is and the protection he has promised you.

1. Prayer for Personal Protection

Father, I come to You today, bowing in my heart, asking for protection from the evil one. Lord, we are assailed moment by moment with images on television, the internet, books and newspapers that leave us vulnerable to sin of every kind. Surround us with Your divine hedge of protection. Encompass us round about with Your strength and Your might. Let all who take refuge in You be glad, let them ever sing for joy. And may You shelter us, that those who love Your name may exult in You. For it is You who blesses the righteous man, O LORD, You surround him favor as with a shield. (Psalm 5:11-12)

Lord, I ask that You protect our minds. Father, the mind set on the flesh is death, but the mind set on the Spirit is life and peace. (Romans 8:6) O God, set our minds on You. Let us not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of our minds that we may prove what Your will is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect. (Romans 12:2) Help us by the power of Your Spirit to think on whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything is worthy of praise, let our minds dwell on these things. (Philippians 4:8)

Strengthen us in the power of Your might, O God. Dress us in Your armor so that we can stand firm against the schemes of the devil. We know that our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places.(Ephesians 6:10-12)

You are our keeper, O Lord, the shade on our right hand. Protect us from all evil and keep our soul. Guard our going out and our coming in. From this time and forever. In Jesus’ name, Amen. – by Lynn Cooke

prayer for god's protection shield

2. Prayer for the Protection and Safety of Family

Lord, I pray Your emotional, physical, and spiritual protection over my kids (grandkids). Keep evil far from them, and help them to trust You as their refuge and strength. I pray You will guard their minds from harmful instruction, and grant them discernment to recognize truth. I pray You will make them strong and courageous in the presence of danger, recognizing that You have overcome and will set right all injustice and wrong one day. Help them to find rest in Your shadow, as they live in the spiritual shelter You provide for them. Let them know that the only safe place is in Jesus, and that their home on earth is only temporary.  – Ryan Duncan, Culture Editor at Crosswalk.com

3. Prayer for Children’s Security

Lord, I pray that my kids (grandkids) will develop an eternal perspective and purpose, not an earthly one.  Help them to see life–and every challenge–through Your eyes, eager and unafraid to share with others the good news of Jesus wherever they go. I pray that they will set their minds on things above, not just what’s going on here, and that they will be rooted and grounded in Your love. I pray they will come to understand the extent of Your own love for them–that it surpasses all the head knowledge they will acquire in school. I pray they will be filled up with You from morning ’til night. – Rebecca Barlow Jordan

4. “St. Patrick’s Breastplate” Protective Prayer:

Celtic monks used it to start their day.The hymn was several stanzas long, and the last two stanzas were especially memorable and moving:

Christ be with me, Christ within me,
Christ behind me, Christ before me,
Christ beside me, Christ to win me,
Christ to comfort and restore me.
Christ beneath me, Christ above me,
Christ in quiet, Christ in danger,
Christ in hearts of all that love me,
Christ in mouth of friend and stranger.

I bind unto myself the Name,
The strong Name of the Trinity;
By invocation of the same.
The Three in One, and One in Three,
Of Whom all nature hath creation,
Eternal Father, Spirit, Word:
Praise to the Lord of my salvation,
Salvation is of Christ the Lord.

5. “Priestly Blessings” Prayer from Scripture:

>Numbers 6:22-27 is known as the “Priestly Blessing” or sometimes the “Aaronic Benediction.” There are seven requests made in this prayer.

The LORD said to Moses, “Tell Aaron and his sons, ‘This is how you are to bless the Israelites. Say to them: “’The LORD bless you and keep you; the LORD make his face shine upon you and be gracious to you; the LORD turn his face toward you and give you peace.”‘ “So they will put my name on the Israelites, and I will bless them.”

1. The Lord bless you…
The word “bless” means to “provide favor or benefit.” Father, we pray that for our children. You are the Eternal God. Please place Your great kindness and advantage on those we love. May they be approved and favored by You.

2. and keep you…
The Hebrew word “keep” means to “watch, guard, defend.” This is a prayer for protection. Father, my children are not perfect. They are going to make mistakes. But please watch over them and guard them again mistakes of youth that are unalterable. Please defend them against temptation. Protect them against Satan who desires to devour them.

3. the LORD make his face shine upon you…
This is a request for God’s presence.Father, as a parent I know that I can’t be with my children all the time, but You can. Just like they feel the warmth of the sun shining on them, please allow them to experience Your presence. Thank You for being with them wherever they go.

4. and be gracious to you…
Grace is God’s undeserved favor. He gives us what we don’t deserve. Father, thank You for Your gift of grace. I pray that gift to be poured out on my children. Following that great gift of salvation, please show them your kindness and love in all the endeavors of their lives.

5. the Lord turn his face toward you…
Here is a request for God’s fellowship.Father, thank You, that because of their trust in Jesus, the Holy Spirit lives in my children. Please walk with them in a powerful way. Enable them to submit to the Spirit’s control day by day and moment by moment.

6. and give you peace.
The Hebrew word for peace used here is “shalom.” It means “completeness, wholeness, and contentment.” Lord, please calm my children’s fears; soothe their anxious souls. Keep them complete and whole in their thinking, emotions, desires, and actions.

7. So they will put my name on ___________ (the name of your child/children).
This is a request of identification. Lord, please place Your holy mark on my children. Set them apart to be used by You. I love them but You love them more. You love them with an everlasting love. May they represent You well on their earthly journey. And when their journey is completed, welcome them home to live forever with You.
(notes by Ron Moore, The Journey)

https://www.godtube.com/embed/watch/0cjbffnu/?w=400&h=255&ap=false&sl=true&title=true&dp=true

BibleStudyTools.com: Must-See Version of Psalm 91 Has Taken Us by Storm from biblestudytools on GodTube.

 

Happy People Never Stop Growing

from Christians Unite

Following Jesus is a decision and then a process for the rest of your life. You can’t follow without walking. You’ve got to have movement!

Philippians 3:12-13 says,

“I don’t mean to say I’m perfect. I haven’t learned all I should even yet, but I keep working toward that day when I will finally be all that Christ saved me for and wants me to be. No, dear brothers, I’m still not all I should be” (LB).

Screenshot 2018-06-09 08.55.29

(This pair of photos shows my oldest grandson at age 2 and at age 18, standing in the same place….and he has only just begun his growth journey. (Rhea)

When Paul wrote that verse, he was an older man in prison in Rome. He’s at the end of life. He’s an incredibly mature person. Yet he says he hadn’t arrived. If anybody had the right to say, “I’ve arrived spiritually,” it would be the guy who wrote most of the New Testament. But Paul says, no, I haven’t arrived. I’m still growing. I’m still learning. I’m still becoming more like Christ.

What’s the trap that will keep you from following Paul’s example and continue growing in Christ? Pride.

Pride will keep you from growing, because when you pretend that you’ve got it all together, you won’t make an effort to become more spiritually mature. No one has it all together! Humility leads to happiness because it makes you teachable.

Happy people never stop growing. Happy people never stop discovering, never stop stretching, never stop learning. If you’ve stopped growing, you’re miserable, because you were made to grow.

Happiness and humility go together because humble people are teachable. They are always asking, “How can I be a better husband? How can I be a better friend? How can I be a better boss? How can I be a better follower of Jesus?”

“Test yourselves to make sure you are solid in the faith. Don’t drift along taking everything for granted. Give yourselves regular checkups. You need firsthand evidence, not mere hearsay, that Jesus Christ is in you. Test it out. If you fail the test, do something about it” (2 Corinthians 13:5 MSG).

I don’t mean to say that I have already achieved these things or that I have already reached perfection. But I press on to possess that perfection for which Christ Jesus first possessed me. No, dear brothers and sisters, I have not achieved it, but I focus on this one thing: Forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead,
Philippians 3:12‭-‬13 NLT
https://bible.com/bible/116/php.3.12-13.NLT

Examine yourselves to see if your faith is genuine. Test yourselves. Surely you know that Jesus Christ is among you ; if not, you have failed the test of genuine faith.
2 Corinthians 13:5 NLT

(end quote)

Rhea’s prayer: Lord, there’s excitement in my spirit just thinking about growing in Christ! I want to be just like Jesus! I have a long, long way to go. I need You every moment in my life. You made me to grow, to become. You placed a deep longing in my spirit for MORE, and that MORE is only to be found in Jesus Christ. Help me to remember that this growth toward Christ is a process, not an instantaneous burst. Help me to be patient with Your timing and my responses; not rushing ahead or shrinking back. I trust You Lord. Amen.

 

God Set Us in Families

Shared with permission

by Donna Diorio

I woke up in the night thinking how grateful I am to God that He set us in families so we could learn the basics of being family from the beginning of our lives. We need that to learn how to be family spiritually to the greater body of Messiah. That is what He calls us to.

Even though I was born into a family that seems to me had more than an average amount of relationship challenges, I am grateful that the concept of family was deeply instilled in me. My own family had lots of relationship breakers going on it from the usual variety of human conditions – jealousies, betrayals, poverty – to the deeper troubles with mental illness and other tragedies.

All of that impacted me negatively but somehow though I knew that family mattered regardless. We – I – had to make the effort to keep family connections as best as I could. It was important, not just to me but also to them whether they were in the mood to see it or not.

Really I am glad I was born at the time I was because by the time I came of age the concept of family being a central thing to protect was breaking down. Huge chucks where flying off of the idea of family. First with divorce becoming so common. Easy to marry and easy to divorce. There idea of marriage “for the sake of the kids” was mocked. Honestly, that was not an excuse for a bad marriage, that was sometimes what it took to hang in there until the rough patch smoothed out.

The idea that we should ditch loved ones when the relationship got rocky progressed from divorce to alienation of parents and children. By this time the value of family has been diminished to the point that there are no familial relationships that are worth going through the pain of rough patches with.

Human beings are human beings – they fail, they damage and are damaged. Families are dysfunctional because human beings are dysfunctional especially when trying to operate outside of the values of God. God placed us in families so we could learn from the people whose love was our most immediate bond.

I know there are people who don’t even have that, such is the tragedy in their personal histories, but even when we don’t have the original family love to train us, somewhere along the way God has given us a way to see how a family operates. The biggest thing in a family is being able to see the failures yet remain committed to love. It doesn’t mean turning a blind eye, but it does mean that even in necessary confrontation we remain committed to an enduring relationship of love and forgiveness. Families have blow ups but blow ups are not endings.

In the greater body of Christ there are many flawed people. God set us in families so we would know how to deal with each other as His family. We have to quit thinking of other believers as disconnected to us, but as family. We are not throw away to each other. We can’t just ditch relationship when we run into a rough patch. We are to hold God’s values of family…not this throwaway, dysfunction, no love modern value of families that shrinks and shrinks until a person is left alone, not valuing anyone …not even their closest family relationships.

As Christians, we have to commit ourselves to stick with each other in the family of GOD as we should have learned to commit ourselves to our blood family members. GOD SET US IN FAMILIES to teach us familial commitment despite familial relationship problems.

Donna Diorio

Pray with me (Rhea): Dear Lord, thank You for our family. Thank You for our immediate “blood” family members, some of whom have passed from this life, and some of whom we still hold near and dear. We thank You for the good memories, the tender moments…but also for the trials we have passed through together in this life. You have been at work in us, conforming us to the image of Christ–through our interactions with each other. And Lord, we thank You especially for our Christian brothers and sisters whom You have given to us. We are traveling together, on the way to our eternal  home with You, and doing Your Kingdom work as we go. Sometimes that is delightful, and other times it is very troublesome, even sad. Help us to truly love each other with Your Love as we go. We are all connected. We can’t “throw each other away” when the going gets tough, but we come to You together to show us Your value for our relationships.  Help us to live in harmony and peace with each other, forbearing each others’ weaknesses and supporting each others’ strengths. Most of all, may we enjoy the journey together! In Jesus name. Amen.