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!
What is your favorite season? I love the anticipation of the Fall season. The crisp morning air, the changing colors of leaves to yellow, orange and deep red before they lazily fall to the ground, cozy sweaters and fleece lined slippers and everything pumpkin spice!
When the ancient Israelites burned incense the smoke is said to have been symbolic of the prayers of God’s people. Have you ever thought about your prayers having a fragrance? Close your eyes and think about your prayers reaching up to God as a beautiful fragrance of your choice. How would this cause you to view your prayer life differently?
If praying has become monotonous, a chore or another check on your ‘to do’ list ask the Creator of creativity to help you to become creative in your prayer time! Ask Him to help you see that each prayer you utter is a sweet smelling request that is pleasing to Him. You can even burn your favorite incense, candle or oil in a diffuser during your prayer time.
However you choose to freshen your prayer time hold onto the truth that as you set your prayers before the Lord he hears you and each one is an amazing smell to Him.
As for me, well, I can experience Fall all year as I imagine my prayers reaching God smelling like pumpkin spice!
Do you pray? Do you believe in the power of prayer? These aren’t judgements whether you do or not, they are simply questions.
Recently we have been having passionate conversation in our home about the effectiveness of prayer [if you’ve been following Hurricane Dorian you may know that a group of believers in Jacksonville, FL gathered together on the beach and began to pray against H. Dorian]. The question has been posed that if God is all knowing and knows the outcome of where Dorian will hit, if it does, is it ineffective to still ask Him in prayer to stop the hurricane. My short answer is, no, prayer to God is never ineffective especially because we don’t know the reasons, aside from the obvious, why God has called us to pray about certain things.
After being informed that a group of Christians got together to rebuke Hurricane Dorian and based on the question that was asked, which is relevant, I dug a bit deeper and came across an article written by The Happy Atheist. You can read Mr. Mehta’s article here. I left the following comment on his article:
Only God knows the reason[s] He led this group of believers to pray. However, through their obedience to show up as a group on the beach and rebuke this hurricane in the Name of Jesus, The Happy Atheist constructed his article. Is it irony that God used someone who proclaims atheism to write an article that I believe will bring attention to believers around the world and unite us in prayer? Perhaps. Maybe this is two-fold, believers uniting in prayer and praying for the salvation of The Happy Atheist.
Dear friends I encourage you to not only read Mr. Mehta’s article and pray but to share, share, share (with grace of course) and encourage your readers to pray and share as well. Or, you can simply repost my article to your website. Either way let’s come together as the Body and use our gifts for the glory of His kingdom and the saving of many lives.
When my mom opened the door her heart sank. She knew the only reason these men stood in front of her was as bearers of sad news.
The year was 1968. Two men, dressed in their Army uniforms came to our front door. One was an officer the other a chaplain. When my mom opened the door her heart sank. She knew the only reason these men stood in front of her was as bearers of sad news. She immediately thought that my brother, who was eighteen and had been drafted after he graduated from high school and sent to Vietnam, had been killed in combat. But these somber men who carried the news of a soldier’s death had the wrong house. Sadly, our neighbors son was the soldier not coming home.
My mom, devout in her religion, prayed three times a day everyday for my brother until he came home safely but not unscathed. He told us many stories with too many close calls. Stories of how he ought to have died but miraculously survived.
Maybe you’ve heard the expression prayer changes things. I believe prayer does change things but more than that I believe prayer changes the atmosphere around us. Prayer is a very real weapon that can stop the enemy dead in his tracks. Prayer infiltrates the unseen world like a stealth bomber causing ripples in the air not seen by the human eye and shakes up the constant warfare going on around us.
The Apostle Paul was a prayer warrior and an intercessor. He considered it an honor and a joy to pray for others. He knew the power of prayer and reminded others he was praying for them consistently. Paul’s discipleship heart was that all believers know and follow God’s will for their life. Asking God to fill them with His knowledge through all spiritual wisdom and understanding. So he prayed.
Maybe you don’t have anyone praying for you or perhaps you are a part of multiple prayer circles. I want to encourage you that I am praying for you asking God to fill you with His spiritual knowledge and wisdom drawing you closer to Him day by day. I am praying you will hear Him and desire to be obedient to what He tells you and what He shows you.
Prayer is our authority in Christ. Prayer changes things. Prayer changes the atmosphere.
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A friend recently shared the exciting news that one of her family members was water baptized. Yay Jesus! She explained that she had been praying a really long time and that she asked one of her prayer groups to pray with her. And then she told me that her prayer group told her not to get her hopes up.
I stopped her mid-sentence and asked her, “They told you not to get your hopes up? Why would they say that to you?”
Stop right here and think about some of your responses in conversations that you have. What are some of the things you say that are rote, off the cuff, or an automatic response? If we believe one way (in hope and expectancy that God is going to answer our prayers), why would we answer another way?
When we delight in the Lord by staying tethered to Him consistently (daily), offering up praise and worship simply for Who He is He gives us the desires of our heart. Why? Because He begins to lay His heart over our heart and His desires become our desires.
If Jesus Himself set the example and was water baptized why wouldn’t He answer our prayers concerning those we are praying to take the step of water baptism? I can guarantee you He will answer this prayer every time because it is the desire of His heart!
Precious One, choose your words wisely. Words are so very powerful. Our responsibility to one another is to speak truth and encouragement no breathe doubt. I don’t think my friend’s prayer group intentional or purposely told her not to get her hopes up but I do believe they didn’t think before they spoke.
Know God’s word, know His truth, know His promises.
I thought the first time prepared me. When it happened again a few years later I was caught off-guard. It is happening again in a few short months, actually, I kid myself, it has been happening for more than a few months and I find myself completely unprepared.
Empty nesting. A season filled with innumerable changes, grief and hopefulness. It is important to allow ourselves to grieve through this process. I am still a mom but my role as mom has changed. My days are no longer dictated by drop-off and pick-up, three yearly two-week breaks and a seven week summer vacation. My days are filled with what I have been anticipating and looking forward to the past twelve months. Time. I have nothing BUT time. I have thought about, dreamed about and chomped at the bit for this exact moment. To have days filled with learning more about this gift of writing, spending endless hours traipsing through God’s word and actually writing, but this empty nest thing keeps getting in the way.
I have been expressing to others that I have been in a holding pattern for the last year and I was wrong. Today God revealed to me one of my favorite verses and one of God’s promises – James 5:17. I’m not in a holding pattern, I’m in between the rains. My responsibility is to be patient and God promises to bring the autumn and spring rains.
In between the rains is where new seeds of truth are planted in rich, deep and dense soil waiting and preparing for the new growth that is about to spring forth.
Empty nesting, like so many seasons in life, is a process. As we stay tethered to Jesus by reading and studying His word and through prayer and fellowship with those who have gone before us, we will learn to trust the process.
It all started over lunch with my beautifully sunny friend, with golden hair, a ready smile and encouragement always upon her lips. She even uses yellow hearts in her text messages. Like a sunflower follows the sun, she consistently follows and points others to the Son. Yet, she is raw and intimate and transparent in her close relationships and has no qualms about coming alongside her friends and walking life with them.
This particular day we were eating robust salads and chatting about being creatures of habit and always ordering the same salad over being adventurous and trying something different. (I have been there since and ordered the salad she had that day and it is now my new favorite!).
Our conversation turned to life and opportunities that had come along. We discussed being seen and heard by God, as we both had been in holding patterns ministerially. She has recently accepted a wonderful position at her church, that God tailor-made just for her!
Since that day, God has been connecting things together in my life like a dot to dot coloring page. Over the last several days I have had three people, so far, (and one of them was a complete stranger I met at the post office!) confirm God’s anointing on my life, that HE hears me and HE sees me.
As many of you know, last year was a season of restoration and God gave me Joel 2:25 promising to restore all the locust had eaten. This year God has given me Isaiah 49:25 promising to return the plunder the enemy has stolen.
While in prayer this morning, I was impressed to take a closer look at Malachi 3:11. The word devourer means an animal that feeds on agricultural produce such as a, wait for it, LOCUST! (definition taken from LOGOS software, FAITHLIFE study Bible).
Isn’t God AMAZING?! Through all the sifting, delivering and healing God was right there. And today He reminds me that HE restored everything the locust had eaten, He returned all the plunder the enemy had stolen and now HE protects the fruit of my labor and tells me I will continue to bear fruit!
Oh, my sweet friends! If you believe in Jesus I encourage you to start or continue to dig deep into His word for the truths He wants you to imprint on your heart that speak to you of his love and commitment and promises to you.
If you don’t yet know Jesus as your Lord and Savior, I pray that the Holy Spirit is hard at work softening your heart to hear the truth of His love for you, crowding out all the darkness with His marvelous light and you will choose Him by the power of the Holy Spirit, who gives you the faith to believe. And that Papa God will protect your new found trust in Him from the devourer.
Stand in a circle?! And pray?! That is exactly what Honi the Circle Maker did. He was an ancient Israelite scholar mentioned by Josephus in the book of “Jewish Antiquities.”
Honi drew a circle and stood in it and told God that he would not move until God provided the rain that had not come that winter. Honi prayed and God brought rain.
Rulers, scholars and religious types all thought Honi had a special relationship with God. Actually, what he had was prayer. He was so closely knit to God he knew the goodness of God’s character.
Honi wasn’t satisfied with just rain. Honi’s heart ached for the people of God. He not only desired the seasonal rain, he wanted God’s rain of favor, blessing and graciousness. Honi didn’t give up, he prayed consistent and persistent, big audacious prayers, that could only be answered by God. Then he waited in expectant anticipation for God’s answer.
Audaciously bold prayers our part of our inheritance in Jesus. You will never know unless you ask and when you ask let it come from a heart that has been steeped in the truth of God’s word and promises.
Boldly go where every man, woman and child ought to go…before the throne of God, drawing circles around your prayers.
I’m reading the devotional, “Draw the Circle,” by Mark Betterson. Today’s reading is about prevailing in prayer according to Luke 11:8. As I was reading, I kept asking myself, “Does God’s word really say shameless audacity?” Sure enough, right there in the NIV translation….shameless audacity. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve read this parable and those words have not stood out to me until today.
The Greek word isἀναίδεια and literally means shamelessness as it relates to carrying out God’s plan with unembarrassed boldness, in dignity of faith. It is the faith-led believer who isn’t concerned with human fears even when they are being accused of being extreme or excessive.
I want to live everyday in shameless audacity. So strongly connected to my Lord and Savior Jesus that I am the bold ambassador to His kingdom that he has called me to be. Throwing human fears to the pit because Jesus is my strong shelter and His banner over me and mine is love.
Shameless and dignified because of Jesus. Persistent in prayer and he will surely give you all that you need.
When our oldest was younger she loved watching a certain show with the catchphrase, “Bus driver move that bus!”
This morning as I sat down to pray a song by Jeremy Camp came to mind, “Same Power.” As I listened the Holy Spirit highlighted this part of the lyrics, “The same power that moves mountains when He speaks.”
This same power, the Holy Spirit, lives in every person who calls Jesus Lord and Savior. Then, with His wonderful sense of humor, but in all seriousness, He spoke to my heart, call out to Me, “Holy Spirit move that mountain!”
If you’re struggling today and you don’t yet call Jesus your Lord and Savior, call out to Him and he will offer you the gift of eternity.
If you already know Jesus as your Lord and Savior, boldly call out to Him and say, “Holy Spirit move that mountain.” And, with childlike faith, keep asking because He is faithful to give according to His promises and His will.
We don’t have because we don’t ask. (James 4:3). Jesus is asking, “What do you want me to do for you?” (Mark 10:51). Do you believe?