Prayer Warrior for Friends

Is any one of you in trouble? He should pray. Is anyone happy? Let him sing songs of praise. Is anyone of you sick? He should call the elders of the church to prayIMG_0298 over him and anoint him with oil in the name of the Lord. And the prayer offered in faith will make the sick person well; the Lord will raise him up. If he has sinned he will be forgiven. Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective.  James 5:13-16

Dell walked toward the stone structure he’d come to call his home church. He reflected on the way his life had changed since he’d become a believer. It wasn’t that long ago that he had few friends and the ones he considered friends were only his friend as long as he had booze or dope to feed them.

He’d lived in a biker gang, partying all the time at their meeting place, a local bar that was still there but of no interest to him now. In fact, one of the guys had called him yesterday.

“Hey, Dell, where you been buddy. We missed ya.” The voice had sounded raspy to Dell’s ear, the dry sound of a smoker who’d coughed up a storm recently.

Dell smiled into the receiver. “I been around. How’re you doin’? Still smokin’ I see. Those things’ll kill you one of these days.”

The caller suppressed another cough. “Still preachin’ I see. That’ll get you dead one of these days.” The threat was evident in the menacing sound that reached Dell’s ears. He’d crossed the line.

Hey Dell.” The caller continued as if he’d never spoken harshly. “Wanna come to the ‘Spokes’? We could have a few laughs just like the old days.” He cleared his throat a few times and then laughed in a forced manner.

“Naw. I quit that place. You know that. But the place where I go now is a friendly place and you’d be welcome.” Dell stopped breathing waiting for an answer.

A loud incredulous laugh rang through the phone waves. “Me? Go to church? It is church you’re talking about, ain’t it? I heard you got religion. Leave me outta that, man. I don’t need none of that.” The phone went dead. It was as if the caller raced to get away from something that was chasing him.

Dell walked on. He recalled the feeling of hopelessness that he’d felt then but also the knowledge that God could change that man as he’d changed him. Dell also remembered how the pastor urged his congregation to not take rejection personally but to continue to pray for the people God placed on their heart. Dell also added his friend to the prayer chain. He had many others praying for his friend now.

Dell was not alone. His church family celebrated life with him, prayed with him, and invited him to many fun get-togethers. Dell had even met a wonderful woman who didn’t care what he’d done a couple of years ago. She loved the man he was now.

Being part of the family of God gives us a whole new group of friends who really do care about us both physically and spiritually. Are you part of a believing congregation? Do you pray for them and do you ask them to pray for you? Do they keep you accountable? We are all significant to the people we attend church with as we pray, fellowship, and keep each other on the narrow path toward heaven.

Father, thank You for my friends. Thank you for bringing me to this fellowship of believers and for the freedom we have to meet together and praise you together every week. AMEN.

This is an excerpt from Two-Up, Riding With The Lord

In Two Up, Riding With The Lord, Barbara Ann Derksen creatively illustrates the importance of what it means to be God’s adopted child… Accepted, Secure,

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Significant, and Free… through faith in God’s one and only Son, the Lord Jesus Christ. You will discover the privileges of being a child of God, your strength as a believer, and the power given to you by God’s Holy Spirit as you spent time in His Word through these daily readings.

 

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Can Do Attitude

I can do everything through Him who gives me 103strength. Phil. 4:13

 Janet trembled. Going to this particular rally frightened her to death. What if…but then she’d already dealt with the what if’s. She turned them over to God, hadn’t she? This was still way out of her comfort zone. Maybe…

Just then, Jason, her husband, roared up to the front door on his shiny black and chrome Harley. He was raring to go, excited to show his new bike to the other members of the group they’d be camping with. Sometimes, Janet thought he loved that bike more than her…but only sometimes.

Jason grinned toward her, a silly smirk, excitement shiny from every pore of his skin. He began loading their gear into the saddle bags, the trunk and on the top of the trunk. Janet watched as he secured everything with bungees as she reluctantly strapped her helmet in place. Jason would never understand if she said she didn’t want to go again.

“Come on hon. Let’s boogie.” Jason waited patiently for Janet to straddle the bike and sit in the passenger seat. He got on and then they connected their headphones so they could talk to each other while they rode. “Let’s pray, Janet, before we head out.”

Jason bowed his head and Janet followed his example. She listened as he began to talk to His Lord. “Father, this ministry is your idea and you have called us to participate in it with you. Please protect us as we drive, and protect us at the rally. Keep us sensitive to those You bring into our path so we can minister with Your love to them all. Also Father, calm Janet. Help her see that with You we can do all things for it’s Your strength we are tapped into. AMEN.”

Janet understood, but had yet to experience, the peace that passes understanding when we walk where God wants us to walk. It is through Him and with Him that we can do whatever He asks us to do as He takes us out of our comfort zones. We are significant to His plan for the people on this earth and all we have to do is walk in His footsteps.

Father, take me out of my comfort zone so I can experience Your peace in all circumstances. Help me be aware of where You want me to go and then help me be obedient to follow. AMEN.

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I Am free

In Him and through faith in Him we may approach God with freedom and confidence. Eph. 3:12

 “Hey, Red, wanna come with me to the Blaine residence? They got a party goin’ on.” TJ looked expectantly toward his current girlfriend.

Sherie continued to look out the window. Her red hair sparkled in the sun’s reflection through the panes of glass. “I don’t know those people. That big house scares me. What if I touch something and it breaks. Everything in there must cost a fortune.” Sherie turned towards her boyfriend. “We don’t fit with those people.”

TJ grinned. “I got a personal invitation from the man himself. He likes me. We get along.”orange rose 005

Sherie shrugged her thin shoulders. Her t-shirt, beads attached to the frayed hem, made a clicking sound as she moved. “Are you sure he meant for us to come when all his friends were there?”

“Sure, come on. You’ll have fun.”

TJ was Sherie’s ticket into a home that she’d dreamed about for a long time. When she was a child, she’d pass the house and wonder about the people who lived inside. She pretended that one day she’d have a home just like that and children whom she’d love unconditionally.

Jesus is our ticket to the father’s side. Because of His death on the cross, His payment for the sin debt we owed, we have the freedom to approach God with confidence. God sees us as significant because of the price Christ paid on the cross. All we have to do is believe.

We don’t even have to get in our car and drive over there as Sherie and TJ had to do. We can sit in our own homes and reach out to our Creator, our Father in heaven.

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God’s Workmanship

For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus best camelia Picto do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.  Eph. 2:10

Elma dipped her brush into the perfect color of paint for the blue hues she wanted to create on the canvas. She’d been working all morning to adapt a photo she’d taken last week to a masterpiece, a work of art that her client had asked for. Elma sighed. This was going to take a long time but then, the money was worth it. Her paintings were sold for a great deal of money these days, considered collector’s items.

Elma, an artist using the oil medium, had earned the right to be considered one the best artists in her city, or even in her country. People from all over the world commissioned work from her and were willing to pay exorbitant fees and wait inordinate amounts of time. This current project would be considered her finest workmanship.

God is our creator. We are His workmanship, created in Christ to do good works, a work He prepared ahead of time for us to do. We don’t just hang on God’s walls for other people or angels to look at. We have a job to do, a job that gives our life meaning and purpose.

Do you consider the work God has for you to do each day? How do you accomplish what He has set for you to do? Do you just go about your business ignoring what God’s plans are for you? Maybe today, you might want to ask God what He wants and then do it.

Father, you created me for a purpose, gave me significance in that task. Thank You. Help me do it to the best of Your ability for without You Lord, I am hopeless to the cause. AMEN.

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Seated With Christ

Windemere Baptist Camp, Roach MOAnd God raised us up with Christ and seated us with Him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus. Eph. 2:6

Ella scrubbed and scrubbed, her hands turning red with the effort. The floor gleamed, waxed to a high shine by the time she’d finished but her hands were cracked and bleeding. She quickly smoothed some antibiotic ointment on them and covered them with gloves but then continued toward the staircase to the bedrooms. It was almost 8 a.m. The family would soon be down for breakfast and she needed to tidy their rooms, make their beds and clean out their bathrooms before they finished.

Ella was a servant. Her masters treated her fairly but mostly, as if she didn’t exist. They had friends, places to go, and things to do that were out of reach for Ella. She worked from sunup to sundown, every day, hoping that one day her life would change.

One morning, a messenger came by. He extended the King’s invitation to a party to celebrate his son’s birthday. Have you figured out the story? Cinderella, of course. She ended up married to the prince and living happily ever after.

God has placed us next to His Son in the heavenly realms. We join Christ in God’s Kingdom when we ask Jesus to be the center of our life. We are elevated by the King of Kings and Lord of Lords and given a place of prominence just like Cinderella. Only this is not a fairy tale, a piece of fiction written about by mortal men or women. This is God’s truth and it’s available to all of us, not just one lonely young girl.

Father, thank you for seating me with Christ in Your Heavenly Kingdom. Thank You for thinking me significant enough to belong in Your house and by Your side. AMEN.

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God’s Co-Worker

Windemere Baptist Camp, Roach MO 4As God’s fellow workers we urge you not to receive God’s Grace in vain. 2 Cor. 6:1

Gina worked her way through the smoke filled room toward the man who was bent over the pool table. Her hand carried a frosty glass of his favorite beer.

“Here, Jer, a cold one.” She placed the glass on the wood edge surrounding the green felt. Jer scowled toward her as she moved to sit on the bench against the wall.

“Get this off here. How you think I can move with that there? Stupid….” He shouted the obscenity at her loud enough for everyone in the room to hear. Snickers could be heard from all corners as she timidly did his bidding.

Gina had been raised in a Christian home. She’d heard God’s message of salvation many times and had even asked Jesus into her heart when she was a child. But her choices as an adult left many wondering if she’d ever truly made a commitment to Him at all.

She’d chosen to hang with a crowd of losers, boozers, and thieves who partied all the time, stealing to pay for their entertainment. She belonged to Jer, was his girlfriend, and so he passed her around sometimes and she let him. She didn’t like it but that was life in this crowd. He only hit her anyway, if she refused to go along with it.

Gina ignored God’s message as if the words had no power to change her life at all. The women and men in her social circle didn’t know a thing about God and didn’t want to. Gina was not an example any of them wanted to follow.

The Bible tells us not to receive God’s Grace in vain. We are significant when we allow God to transform us, renewing our minds with His Word. Without it, we become chattel, the property of the enemy and all his followers. Seek to understand God’s plans for you. Follow Him and the path of freedom will take you to high places, like heaven.

Lord, bless the words that you’ve spoken to my heart. Help them take root and change me. Help me not hear them in vain. AMEN.

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Reconciliation for God

best camelia PicTherefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come. All this is from God who reconciled us to Himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation that God was reconciling the world to Himself in Christ not counting men’s sins against them. And He has committed to us the message of reconciliation. We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors as though God were making His appeal through us. We implore you on Christ’s behalf: be reconciled to God. God made Him who had no sin to be sin for us so that in Him we might become the righteousness of God.  2 Cor.5:17-21

Trask entered the bar, searched the faces to see if he knew anyone and then proceeded to step up to the bar. “Give me a diet coke.” He placed a couple of dollar bills on the counter.

“Hey bud.” A large meaty hand grabbed his shoulder and Trask turned to face the man who’d stepped up beside him. “Gant, how’re you doin’?

“I’m ok. How ‘bout you?” Just as Trask was about to answer, the bartender plunked a can of coke down in front of him. He took a long thirsty swig and wiped the back of his hand across his mouth. “I’m better now,” he answered.

“What’s with the coke? Never seen you drink anything but beer.” Gant leaned his elbows on the scratched up surface and stared at their reflection in the mirror behind the liquor bottles. “You sick or something?”

“Naw. I’m finally clear of that stuff. I don’t even like the smell of it anymore. And I’ve never felt better.” Trask took another swig. He looked sideways, assessing his response in the face of his companion. Gant continued to stare straight ahead. “I found Jesus and I feel like a new man s’all.”

Gant turned his face toward Trask. The man didn’t appear to be as edgy anymore. But what about… “Hey you gone soft or something?” Gant ducked, waiting for the blow to come. No one called Trask soft.

“Naw, just changed.” Trask smiled and turned to sit with his back leaning on the bar. If he’d been a girl, he’d giggle at the look on Gant’s face.

People who have had a personal encounter with Jesus Christ are not just reformed, rehabilitated, or reeducated. They are re-created, new creatures, with all the old habits gone and new habits beginning to form. We become true individuals, with a new body, new perspectives, and new purpose.

Trask was the same on the outside, but inside, he felt better and treated his body better. And his mind was clear for the first time in a very long time. He no longer had angry outbursts. His friends would have to learn to respect the new man.

God creates within us a new perspective so we can walk with Him, talk to Him, and tap into His power to defend ourselves from the arrows of the enemy who seeks to kill and destroy us. He does this so others will be drawn to want what we have, the Lord Jesus Himself.

Father, thank you for renewing me on the inside and giving my life new purpose, for adding a skip to my step. Thank you for sending the SON to shine on my world. Help me be a worthy example of Your love to those around me. AMEN.

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Bodily Temple

Iowa Hybiscus 2Don’t you know that you yourselves are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit lives in you? 1 Cor. 3:16

Duke walked across the parking lot, head bent, wondering what he’d find inside the clubhouse. The Bandeleros had been robbed, their stash of contraband cigarettes stolen, their trophies nowhere to be seen. He had a sneaking suspicion who the culprits were but he had no proof and without that…

“Hey Duke. You wanta ride, see if we can find ‘em?” A large, rather hairy man stood just inside the door. Duke raised his hand in acknowledgment.

“Naw. They’re long gone by now. Those trophies are irreplaceable. They probably smashed them or ditched them in some landfill. We worked hard to earn them but now they’re gone for good.” He rubbed his forehead, an achy feeling of depression filling the spaces in his brain.

Just as the Bandeleros were robbed in this story, so were the people of Jerusalem when Nebuchadnezzar, King of Babylon, ransacked their temple and kidnapped their youth. A young man named Daniel, was taken from his home along with all God’s Holy vessels from the temple. The Babylonians treated Daniel fairly, for the most part, and they never touched the vessels, the temple trophies, until a king by the name of Belshazzar came to power. He took those goblets and used them during one of his drinking parties. God killed him that very night.

God considers you to be His temple, the Holy vessel containing His Holy Spirit. You are significant and He cares about you more than you even care about yourself. He loves you more than your parents ever did. You are irreplaceable to Him. Imagine!

He sent His Holy Spirit to live in you so that you would never have to face temptation alone again. The Holy Spirit seeks to sanctify you on a daily basis, to make you even more Holy.

Dear Lord, Thank You for considering me Your holy temple, Your holy vessel. Help me to see myself that way and to take care of myself in the future. AMEN.

 

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Personal Witness

But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you and you will be My witnesses in Jerusalem, and need to print 2in all of Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth. Acts 1:8

Jessy placed a frail hand on her granddaughter’s arm. She squeezed as much as she could to let the young woman know she was awake and listening.

“Grandma, please, don’t die.” Deena’s tears flowed freely. She had been sitting by her beloved grandmother’s side for three days, watching the older woman grow weaker, sleep more, and breathe more laboriously.

“Deena, don’t you know?” The frail voice was little more than a whisper. “Your memories will keep me with you for as long as you want. When you tell your children about me, my memory lives in them too.”  Jessy sighed, took one last shuddering breath, and then closed her eyes.

“Grandma, grandma.” Deena shook her a little but knew that there was no use. Her grandmother had passed away. She laid her head on the bed beside the woman who had raised her, and wept uncontrollably for a few minutes but then remembered her grandmother’s words.

She would tell her children all the stories about growing up in this house, about the cooking lessons at her grandmother’s side, and the games they’d played together. Her children would have a rich heritage because the grandmother had spent time with Deena and they would learn to appreciate that heritage.

Jesus has given us the significant task of telling others about Him, about His miracles, His lineage, His creation, everything so that they too will know that He loves them, died for them and wants to save them from the machinations of the enemy. Jesus is counting on us, to spread the Good News about His coming, His death and resurrection, and His eternal home beside the Father as our intercessor.

Deena planned to tell her children about her grandmother and she was the only one who could since she’d lived those wonderful days with the elderly woman. Will you tell others about Jesus? Will you advance His Kingdom on earth?

Father God, I will faithfully keep you before anyone who comes across my path either by word or deeds, letting them know that you love them. Thank You for giving my life significance. AMEN.

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Fruit Bearer

Florida Hybiscus 2 8 x 10You did not choose Me but I chose you and appointed you to go and bear fruit – fruit that will last. Then the Father will give you whatever you ask in My name.  John 15:16

Danny walked into the gray-walled, sparsely furnished room and sat. His wait didn’t last long. A door clanged. Keys rattled. In walked a tall man, gaunt in appearance, but full of pride. Two prison guards watched as his footsteps echoed across the bare room.

“Dad…” Danny moved to his father’s side.

“Sh-h-h-h. Danny boy. Let’s sit.” The large man plunked his weight into the nearest metal chair. He wriggled uncomfortably as the cold metal bit through his thin clothing.

“But, dad,” Danny whispered.  “I can’t let you do this. I can’t.” Danny’s eyes welled with unshed tears.

“You can and you will boyo. I’ve chosen this. Now you accept it. And live the best life you can so I can be proud of you.” Danny embraced the only man he’d ever loved. He looked deep into his father’s eyes and knew there was no changing his mind once it was made up.

“Dad, I deserve to die, not you. That man, the one I shot…” His father placed a large hand over his son’s mouth.

“You don’t know if they’re listening. Keep quiet. I love you son. I will do this one last thing for you. Now will you accept this and stay away from here. No more police. No more stealing. Promise me.”

“I promise.” Danny watched his father return the way he’d come. His tears streamed freely now, no shame for loving this man.

Jesus Christ made that choice for you. He chose to walk to His death, even though you were the one who deserved to die. Will you accept His gift? Will you live your life in payment by bearing fruit for Him, by bringing others into the kingdom, by living free from the bondage of sin?

Father God, thank You for giving me life through Your death. Help me bear fruit for Your kingdom and for Your glory. AMEN.

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