Hope for Today will inspire you to live a life connected to Christ by empowering you to fall in love with Jesus through personal spiritual growth. Teaching you the power of your identity and authority in Christ. Encouraging you in your inheritance as an ambassador for the kingdom of God!
Earlier this morning as I was praying I was thinking about an encouragement that I see often across social media in various forms. The thought is if we are meeting with resistance or experiencing push back then surely God is getting ready to bless us. I’m still looking for where that is specifically in Scripture and if you have any verse references please leave them in the comments.
Resistance and push back are simply part of the enemy’s plan to lie, cheat, steal and destroy. Especially when we begin to choose to go deeper into an intimate relationship with God. Satan doesn’t want us to know one iota more about our identity, authority or inheritance in Christ than we currently do because he knows what that will look like for him and glory to God it isn’t pretty!
As I continued to pray this morning I heard Holy Spirit gently whisper, “You push back, you resist.” In a moment’s notice my prayers did an about face and I began to fight back in prayer like the mighty warrior that I am.
Spiritual warfare is so real that is why it is so important to be in God’s word everyday. Holy Spirit infuses you with Scripture that he imprints on your heart and in your soul and when the moment is called for He brings the right verse to mind. He gives us His words for the battle.
Precious One, as the old saying goes, “Them’s fightin’ words!”
Our Women’s Bible study is doing a topical study on discipleship. In addition to the study homework, reading through the book of Acts is another level of deeper involvement in the study. I have been reading through a chapter a day and am fascinated by what Holy Spirit is showing me that I haven’t paid attention to before.
I am particularly fascinated by the praying that takes place in chapters 9 and 10. In Acts 9:10 we find the Lord calling to Ananias in a vision. It is most likely that Ananias was praying because visions and prayer were often associated with each other in the books of Luke and Acts. Further along we find Ananias praying over Saul so that he may see again and be filled with Holy Spirit.
In Chapter 10; Cornelius, a Roman centurion, from the Italian Regiment ( now, that has never stood out at me!), and who was, along with his family, devout and God-fearing, was praying one day at three in the afternoon. Guess what happened? He had a vision! The next day at noon Peter was praying and…he had a vision!
All of this had me thinking about the watches of the night. The night watches were designated times that soldiers or guards would stand watch for any threat by an enemy. In the OT the watches were broken down into 3 times; sunset to 10:00pm, 10:00pm to 2:00am and 2:00am to sunrise. In the NT a fourth watch was added. The first watch ends at 9:00pm, then 9:00pm to 12:00am, 12:00am to 3:00am and 3:00am to 6:00am.
Recently I had the opportunity to teach on Matthew 28:19,20 and I discovered that the word obey in the v.20 is actually the word observe in the original Greek and it means to spiritually guard. When I think of spiritually guard it reminds me of the armor of God in Ephesians, which is a depiction of a Roman soldier dressed and fitted for battle.
We, as believers in Christ, are like the picture of the Roman soldier ready for battle. We are clothed and equipped with several items, among them the helmet of salvation, which protects our mind, the breastplate of righteousness, which protects our heart and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God, which is Jesus himself and protects our soul!
Think about the times you have been awakened during the night for what may have seemed no reason at all. Has it been during the watches of the night or fairly close? I am often awakened at 3:00am sometimes I go back to sleep and sometimes I will pray. A few mornings ago, at 3:00am, I woke up and asked God what he wanted me to pray about. I heard Holy Spirit whisper, “I am calling the Body of Christ around the world to stand the watches of the night.” “Pray that they will listen and accept the call.”
Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. 1Peter 5:8.
Can you imagine what it would look like if every believer in Christ accepted the call to their designated watch of the night?! There wouldn’t be anything for the enemy to devour!
And should you think you would be too tired to go on with your day if you stood your watch.
He gives strength to the weary, And to him who lacks might He increases power. Isaiah 40:29.
Precious One, will you go to bed tonight clothed in the full armor of God and answer his call to stand your watch of the night? I will join you.
A few nights ago I had the opportunity to watch the movie War Room, in short, a movie about a woman, Miss Clara, who devoted her life to prayer and taught other women her method of praying. In reality she was sharing her deep faith and trust in God that led to this fantastic prayer life.
Prayer is one of my passions. I have been praying to God since I was about 7 or 8 years old. I was raised in a different religion at the time but I had the faith of a small child that I was indeed praying to the God of heaven. I have dedicated times of prayer but mostly I talk to God all day long. Talking with Him helps me to feel connected to him.
But, let’s face it, at least for me, sometimes prayer can become a chore rather than a sweet and intimate time with the Lord.
I was reading through Ephesians 6:10-18, commonly known as, the Armor of God. In verse 18 we are instructed to pray in the Spirit on all occasions and with all kinds of prayers and requests.
I was taken by “pray in the Spirit” and did some investigating. I found that in the original Greek text Spirit means possessed, influenced or controlled by the power of the Holy Spirit in his knowledge, desire, deciding and acting.
Perhaps what causes prayer to become chore like is the fact that we are not asking the Holy Spirit to influence our prayers with his power in his knowledge, desire, deciding and acting. This is so simple! I think the challenge is that in order to allow the Holy Spirit to influence us we have to surrender our will, our thoughts, our prayers and what the outcome of our prayers might look like. We have to place our trust in an unseen God with the faith he has blessed us with for the words given to us by the Holy Spirit in prayer.
Precious One, I am starting today to pray in the Spirit, in his knowledge, desire, deciding and acting and waiting expectantly with great anticipation in my soul for the answer to my prayers. Will you?
And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people. Ephesians 6:18
The meaning of his name meant pleasant, beautiful or delightful. As was the custom of the time, parents normally named their children according to what was going on in their life. Perhaps at his birth the weather was pleasant, perhaps he was such a beautiful baby or his mother bore him with great delight. His name was Naaman. The two a’s make one long ‘a’ sound against the word man – Naa-man.
Just for fun I thought I would look up the names of my family. You all know that my name is Terese and the closest I could find was the name Teresa, which means harvester. Interesting, for years God has been telling me to feed his sheep and has called me to be a part of a teaching ministry.
Before a farmer can harvest his crop there is much preparation. The land is tilled and made ready for seed. The seed is sown and the farmer is attentive to his soon to be crops by making sure weeds and varmints don’t overtake the new seedlings. He waters and weeds and waters and weeds. Soon it is time to harvest the crops and delight in the bounty of his hard work.
Ministry is akin to farming and perhaps this is why we are given this analogy in Scripture. There are season’s of forming new relationships, prepping the soil, and season’s of laying the seed of the gospel, still other time’s we walk along side and encourage with the truth of God’s word, speaking life into and over our ‘seedlings’ protecting from the varmints and weeds. And then, oh glorious day, there are season’s of great bounty and harvest and new members are welcomed to the family!
My husband’s name means powerful ruler. I know without a doubt that God is shaping him into a very powerful man of God and it is exciting to see him grow in this direction!
Our oldest’s name means from the court. From a very young age she has always been concerned with justice, in fact, her major is law and justice and she aspires to become a lawyer with her sight set in politics.
One day, when our son was very young, he spontaneously ran across the lawn pretending to hold a sword high in the air yelling, “Leviticus charge!” A few years ago he went to a Christian healing room for prayer and the person praying for him told him he saw my son holding a spear. My son’s name means spear strength or strong spear.
Our youngest has a very big compassionate heart, from about the age of five she has said she someday wants to open a homeless shelter. Her name means favor or grace.
But, I have digressed further than I intended, back to Naaman. Naaman was the commander of the army of the King of Aram. He was a valiant soldier and in the sight of King Aram he was a great man and highly regarded because through him the Lord had given victory to King Aram. (2 Kings 5:1).
There was one problem with Naaman, he had leprosy. There was a young girl from Israel who was the servant girl of Naaman’s wife. One day the servant girl told Naaman’s wife that Naaman should go and see the man of God – the prophet, who lived in Samaria. The servant girl was sure that he would heal Naaman! As it was, Naaman did just that.
Now, when Naaman arrived in Samaria he pulled up in his chariot to the door of Elisha, the prophet of God fully expecting Elisha to come out and greet him. However, Elisha sent a messenger to tell Naaman to go and wash himself seven times in the Jordan and after that his flesh would be clean. Naaman was appalled! He thought that Elisha would surely have come out to him and stand and call on the name of the LORD his God, wave his hand over the leprosy and cure him. He continued with his tirade saying, “Are not Abana and Pharpar, the rivers of Damascus, better than all the waters of Israel? Couldn’t I wash in them and be cleansed?” He then left in a rage. Clearly he wasn’t living up to the full meaning of his name that day.
Thankfully, for Naaman, his servant, who was with him was thinking clearly. The servant said to Naaman, “My father, if the prophet had told you to do some great thing, would you not have done it? How much more, then, when he tells you, ‘Wash and be cleansed’!”
Huh, how many times do we allow pride to block our view of answered prayer simply because it doesn’t look like what our mind conceived it to be? How many times do we choose to be offended because God, who is sovereign, decides to use someone in our life to deliver his message rather than speak directly to us?
Naaman eventually did what Elisha told him and washed in the Jordan seven times and was healed. And this was his response, “Now I know that there is no God in all the world except in Israel.” (2 Kings 5:15b).
Precious One, live up to the full potential of your name in Christ Jesus.