Formula For Prayer?


Psalm 145:1-21 (ESV), “The Lord upholds all who are falling and raises up all who are bowed down. The eyes of all look to you, and you give them their food in due season. You open your hand; you satisfy the desire of every living thing. The Lord is righteous in all his ways and kind in all his works. The Lord is near to all who call on him, to all who call on him in truth. He fulfills the desire of those who fear him; he also hears their cry and saves them. The Lord preserves all who love him, but all the wicked he will destroy. My mouth will speak the raise of the Lord, and let all flesh bless his holy name forever and ever.”

In January our Church always begins the New Year with a corporate fast. We spend extra, set-aside time in prayer and fasting. We fast things such as food, food groups, media, entertainment, etc. This year I added “fasting” fiction books. I love to read, but I felt compelled to read only Non-fiction Christian books for the month of January. I included some books on prayer and fasting. Let me start out by saying that I receive good, sound, biblical teaching on this subject at my Church so it wasn’t that I needed new information, I just wanted some encouragement and confirmation.

Sadly, only a few of the books I read were a real blessing. Oh, they all had a few good things to say about fasting and prayer, but some of them were trying to give a “formula” for prayer. Of course, that isn’t what they called it, but that was exactly what they were doing. Over the years I have read great books on the subject, some by Derek Prince, Charles Spurgeon, and Andrew Murray (just to name a few), so I am not saying don’t read a book on prayer. I am warning you that after reading a book, or while reading, if you are left feeling like God isn’t pleased with the way you are praying, STOP and pray before continuing. It may just be that God is showing you a better way, or it may be the enemy trying to get you to back away from prayer.

Some of the things I have recently read included, but was not limited to, the concept that you should never ask God for anything, only ask Him “what should I do” and the rest of the time thank Him. Their argument was that since God already knows what we need, we shouldn’t have to ask. I have read that you should never go to God in prayer unless you exalt Him and spend time in praising His name first. I have also read that we can’t be too familiar with Him, that He is Holy and that we need to approach Him with reverence and fear. Another one was that we should always pray out loud using His Word. Now, let’s not throw the baby out with the bath water here, I approve of some of the thinking behind these statements. However, the problem is that if we try to limit how we talk to God or what we can say to Him we are hurting instead of helping our relationship with Him. A red flag went up with some of those “never” and “always” statements. Yes, He is Holy. Yes, we should reverence and honor Him. Yes, we should always thank Him, but that isn’t all that we can or should do.

So this morning before my daily Bible and prayer time, I simply asked God, “Abba, am I too familiar with you? Are You displeased with my prayers? Is there a certain “formula”, a certain set of words that I need to use when talking with You?” (I purposely used this term of endearment for God to make sure.)

This is the answer that God spoke into my heart, “My desire is to spend time with you, one on one and face to face. It does please me when you pray according to my word and take the time to listen to my response. I always hear you, but My word spoken verbally in faith has a power to accomplish what I intend. I also enjoy our simple conversations. Speak to Me in your heart and with your mouth. I hear them all. There is time for quiet prayer and time for shouting. There is time for supplication and time for fellowship. I love you. My word is true and alive. You are dear to me. Honor Me, show your love, and trust Me. That pleases Me.”

I couldn’t ask for a better Daddy! As I pondered on this I thought about a parent’s relationship with their children. We love for them to ask us for thing and to ask us questions, but we especially love it when they just want to talk and spend time with us. We don’t refuse to listen because they haven’t used the right words. I think we should teach our children manners. However, when they are coming to talk to us, don’t use that time to correct their grammar. God brought to my remembrance a time when I witnessed a child come and ask an adult if they could use the restroom. This was a toddler who had almost waited too long and was doing the “potty dance” this adult kept that child standing repeating to the wiggly little one “how do you ask?” expecting this little one to use the correct “may I go to the restroom.” I cringed when the little one stammered, “can I go to the restroom, please,” only to have this adult respond, “you are capable of going to the bathroom, but that is not how you ask.” I finally couldn’t take it anymore and told them and stage whispered, “ask-MAY I go to the bathroom, please.” There were no accidents that day, but I couldn’t help wondering how many sets of clothing had to be changed as this “lesson” was being taught. Thankfully God is not like that! He wants to give us good gifts; He says we can ask Him, in fact He said, “ye have not because ye ask not.” He is not expecting us to use certain language.

Matthew 7:11 (Aramaic Bible in Plain English), “If therefore you who are evil know to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in Heaven give good things to those who ask him?”

It is important that we don’t ever think of God as an ATM or a fast food restaurant where we can zoom through drive through and place an order expecting the “product” in sixty seconds or less. We don’t demand, we don’t go to Him in pride and arrogance saying we deserve something, or try to negotiate and cut a deal with God. I am never saying that we shouldn’t have respect and show honor to the One who is worthy! We should be more concerned with our hearts than how spiritual we sound, or how long we pray, or in what position we pray. I have prayed in bed, in the car, at work, in my dreams, and even on the toilet! (God isn’t embarrassed by that, why should I be? He made my body and its functions.) I have prayed lying down, on my knees, eyes open, eyes closed, head bowed, head up towards heaven, sitting down, standing up, and my favorite, while walking. At Church and on our knees with eyes closed and head down, isn’t the only prayer place and posture.

So what is acceptable prayer then, and how should we pray? Prayer is a “solemn request for help, or an expression of thanksgiving” it is “communication with God.” I don’t think I would be off base scripturally to say that prayer is a child talking with a parent. Again, we can’t limit prayer to just one thing. Just as there are different ways we communicate with one another, there are different kinds of prayer. Let’s look at a few scriptures and some truths about prayer.
It’s ok to ask God for things and for help, for ourselves and for others. In fact, He wants us to.

Luke 11:5-13 (NAS), “Then He said to them, “Suppose one of you has a friend, and goes to him at midnight and says to him, ‘Friend, lend me three loaves; for a friend of mine has come to me from a journey, and I have nothing to set before him’; and from inside he answers and says, ‘Do not bother me; the door has already been shut and my children and I are in bed; I cannot get up and give you anything.’ “I tell you, even though he will not get up and give him anything because he is his friend, yet because of his persistence he will get up and give him as much as he needs. “So I say to you, ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. “For everyone who asks, receives; and he who seeks, finds; and to him who knocks, it will be opened. “Now suppose one of you fathers is asked by his son for a fish; he will not give him a snake instead of a fish, will he? “Or if he is asked for an egg, he will not give him a scorpion, will he? “If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask Him?”

Jesus tells the disciples this right after He leads them in the Lord’s Prayer. We are supposed to ask, and keep on asking! Yes, He knows what we need before we ask, but notice in Matthew 6, we aren’t told, “He knows what you need so don’t ask.” Keep on asking doesn’t mean begging, or repeating some “mantra” or chant. We ask, and then thank Him for the answer. We keep doing this until it is manifested. No whining, no complaining, and no bargaining.

Matthew 6:7-8 (NLT), “When you pray, don’t babble on and on as people of other religions do. They think their prayers are answered merely by repeating their words again and again. Don’t be like them, for your Father knows exactly what you need even before you ask him!”

If we are “asking” we need to ask the Father in Jesus name.

John 16:23 (NIV), “In that day you will no longer ask me anything. Very truly I tell you, my Father will give you whatever you ask in my name.”

What day is Jesus talking about? After His death and resurrection. Jesus is not saying that we can only “communicate” with the Father! We have full access and every right to talk to God the Father, God the Son (Jesus), and God the Holy Spirit. They are ONE. When we talk to the Son, we are talking to the Father, and when we talk to the Spirit, we are talking to the Father. You can’t separate them. They each have a purpose in our lives, a vital purpose. So when we ask, or petition the Lord, we ask the Father, but it is perfectly acceptable and strongly encouraged for us to speak with Jesus and the Holy Spirit. It is ok to say, “Jesus, thank You for dying on the cross for me,” or “Holy Spirit, thank You for leading and guiding me this day.”

Prayer isn’t just talking. Like any good communication it should involve listening. If you noticed, that was one of the things God said to me. I have to admit; sometimes I am not a good listener with Him. Now, with people, I find it easy, but with God, I tend to say what I want to say and move on, giving Him little time to speak with me. Thankfully I am improving in this area. I shudder to think about how much I have missed out on by being in too big of a hurry or by manipulating the conversation with my Father, not even hearing what He wanted to say to me. I can “hear” Him throughout the day as He speaks to me, but there is something special about that intimate time of communicating, just as any parent knows.

God is so worthy of Honor and He is HOLY. It is so important that we never take that for granted or get so comfortable with Him that we forget how awesome He is. If I pray, “Heavenly Father who created everything and holds it all in the palm of Your hand. Holy are You Lord, and worthy to be praised. I come before you today to humbly thank You for supplying all my need according to Your riches and Glory in Christ Jesus” in my quiet time with Him, or if I say “Thank You, Father” during the day when something simple yet wonderful happens, He hears them both. They please Him not by our quantity or quality of words, but for the simple fact that our hearts are thankful and we are taking the time to tell Him. Both of those prayers are equally acceptable to Him. He is too wonderful to even find words for, but we don’t crawl to Him on our bellies like a worm. Because of the work of the cross and the shed blood of Jesus, we have unhindered access to the father.

Hebrews4:16 (NIV), “Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.”

As in so many areas of our Christian walk, there is no easy formula for prayer. Let the Holy Spirit lead you. Those hour- long groaning and weeping prayers of intercession, those quick shoot-from-the-hip prayer of “thanks” or “help”, those times we just quietly tell Him about our day, when we boldly proclaim His word over our lives and speak out His promises, and the times we listen to what He wants to say, are all important prayer times. We should never just limit ourselves to one. They are all necessary and all pleasing to God. I haven’t even covered all the types of prayer, or mentioned where, or when we can pray.
There is not a “correct” posture or place for prayer. I have prayed in my bed, on my face on the floor, on my knees, in the shower, at the shopping mall, on the scariest carnival ride ever, and even on the toilet (God made this body and its functions so He is not embarrassed by it). I have prayed anywhere and everywhere, any time and anyway that my heart wanted to. I can think of only one kind of prayer that God isn’t pleased with…

Luke 18:11-12 NLT), “The Pharisee stood by himself and prayed this prayer: ‘I thank you, God, that I am not a sinner like everyone else. For I don’t cheat, I don’t sin, and I don’t commit adultery. I’m certainly not like that tax collector! I fast twice a week, and I give you a tenth of my income.’”

Matthew 6:5 (NIV), “And when you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the street corners to be seen by others. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward in full.”

The prayer of the self-righteous and the hypocrite. He’s not so happy about those.

So is there a formula for prayer?

Love and honor+ heartfelt two way conversation = PRAYER (That’s the only formula I can find).

James 5:16b (Word English Bible), “The insistent prayer of a righteous person is powerfully effective.”

Book Review for “The Shaking” – Christian Fiction

I was given a copy of “The Shaking” in exchange for an honest review. This book deals with a topic that is hard for most Christians to handle, homosexuality, and the author did a wonderful job. Though this isn’t the main topic of the book, it is an important part. This story is about a young woman in the last days who finds she is in a Church that is more concerned with rules and regulations than in reaching the lost. A great story of forgiveness and grace, and finding who you are in Christ. I give it five stars. No swearing or sexual content so I can recommend for teens and up.

About Midnight


Acts 16:25-26 (NIV), “About midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the other prisoners were listening to them. Suddenly there was such a violent earthquake that the foundations of the prison were shaken. At once all the prison doors flew open, and everyone’s chains came loose.”

Midnight is generally the darkest part of the day, just like noon is the brightest. Paul and Silas had not had a good day. They were about the Lord’s business of preaching and teaching, evangelizing the gentiles in Philippi. Unfortunately, when they cast the spirit of divination out of a young slave woman, all hell broke loose, literally. Her owners were not pleased.

Acts 16: 20-24 (N IV), “They brought them before the magistrates and said, “These men are Jews, and are throwing our city into an uproar by advocating customs unlawful for us Romans to accept or practice.” The crowd joined in the attack against Paul and Silas, and the magistrates ordered them to be stripped and beaten with rods. After they had been severely flogged, they were thrown into prison, and the jailer was commanded to guard them carefully. When he received these orders, he put them in the inner cell and fastened their feet in the stocks.”

There they were, beaten, surrounded by soldiers, feet in stocks (metal manacles chained to the wall or floor or wooden beams with holes for your feet), and what were they doing “about midnight?” Yep, they were praying and singing hymns to God. Now, I think I have been a little distracted by the pain, or maybe in the throes of the biggest pity party ever, but not these men of God. They kept their focus and the other prisoners were listening. They weren’t mocking them, or cursing them, they liked what they were hearing, it gave them hope! So about midnight, at the darkest hour, God came through for them, and not just for them, there were glorious salvations from that act of praise.

Acts 16:27-34 (NIV), “The jailer woke up, and when he saw the prison doors open, he drew his sword and was about to kill himself because he thought the prisoners had escaped. But Paul shouted, “Don’t harm yourself! We are all here!”The jailer called for lights, rushed in and fell trembling before Paul and Silas. He then brought them out and asked, “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?”They replied, “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved—you and your household.” Then they spoke the word of the Lord to him and to all the others in his house. At that hour of the night the jailer took them and washed their wounds; then immediately he and all his household were baptized. The jailer brought them into his house and set a meal before them; he was filled with joy because he had come to believe in God—he and his whole household.”

That isn’t even my favorite part of the story, the next morning those same government officials sent word to let Paul and Silas go free. This wasn’t acceptable to Paul.

Acts 16:37-40 (NIV), “But Paul said to the officers: “They beat us publicly without a trial, even though we are Roman citizens, and threw us into prison. And now do they want to get rid of us quietly? No! Let them come themselves and escort us out.”The officers reported this to the magistrates, and when they heard that Paul and Silas were Roman citizens, they were alarmed. They came to appease them and escorted them from the prison, requesting them to leave the city. After Paul and Silas came out of the prison, they went to Lydia’s house, where they met with the brothers and sisters and encouraged them. Then they left.”

There darkest night turned into a morning of honor as the magistrates came and escorted them out of the prison!
Never lose hope, never give up or give in. If God is for you, who can be successfully against you?

Without Hypocrisy

Romans 12:9 (NASB), “Let love be without hypocrisy. Abhor what is evil; cling to what is good.”

James 3:17 (KJB), “But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, and easy to be intreated, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality, and without hypocrisy.”

There is nothing that irritates me more than phony people. After years of working with kids, it was obvious that they can spot a phony from a mile away. Jesus railed on the Pharisees for being fake and phony.

Matthew 23:23-33 (NIV), “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you tithe mint and dill and cummin, and have neglected the weightier provisions of the law: justice and mercy and faithfulness; but these are the things you should have done without neglecting the others. “You blind guides, who strain out a gnat and swallow a camel! “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you clean the outside of the cup and of the dish, but inside they are full of robbery and self-indulgence. “You blind Pharisee, first clean the inside of the cup and of the dish, so that the outside of it may become clean also. “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you are like whitewashed tombs which on the outside appear beautiful, but inside they are full of dead men’s bones and all uncleanness. “So you, too, outwardly appear righteous to men, but inwardly you are full of hypocrisy and lawlessness. “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you build the tombs of the prophets and adorn the monuments of the righteous, and say, ‘If we had been living in the days of our fathers, we would not have been partners with them in shedding the blood of the prophets.’ “So you testify against yourselves, that you are sons of those who murdered the prophets. “Fill up, then, the measure of the guilt of your fathers. “You serpents, you brood of vipers, how will you escape the sentence of hell?”

There were a lot of things He could have found fault with, their non acceptance of Him for one, but what He calls them on the carpet for is their hypocrisy, their phoniness, the fact that they wanted to appear righteous, but on the inside were still full of sin. I love the analogy of the whitewashed tomb! Now, before we judge those Pharisees too harshly, let’s take a quick look at The Church. Historically, we have spent more time trying to change our out word appearance than our hearts and minds. Some denominations have lists of what you can wear, what you can eat, and who you can hang out with; they even want to regulate how you can pray. Again, if you don’t go to one of those Churches, let me caution you not to judge before we take a look at our own lives.

How many of us put on our “Christian Mask” before going to Church on Sunday, or when we invite the Pastors over to our house for dinner? How many of us behave and talk one way at work and at home, but behave in a completely different manner at Church? Do you hide your past? Are you afraid to share what is in your heart, the temptations that you face? Then we are a new breed of Pharisee. It ought not to be so!

It is time that we are real. We have not been perfected yet. We are all working out our own salvation with fear and trembling. Putting on a “mask” is detrimental to the Body of Christ. People can see through the cracks and they will label you as a hypocrite. This never brings glory to God. The whole concept of the mask is to either hide your insecurities, or because you are full of pride. It’s either one or the other. Neither one is about Him, and neither one will build the Kingdom. When we accept the liberty that Jesus bought for us, that God has called us to, we don’t have to wear a mask. Our security and confidence isn’t in what we can do, it’s in the finished work of Christ. We also have nothing to be proud of, it wasn’t our righteousness, it was and is all His.

This is the way God showed me the whole concept of being real: I saw a scarecrow in the middle of my garden; he had the shabby clothes, the worn hat, the burlap bag face, and straw sticking out everywhere. His job, his calling was to keep pests out of the garden. God then asked me a simple question, “Why does the scarecrow look like a man?” My immediate answer was that crows and other little garden pests are afraid of men. So, the scarecrow is a fake man. He isn’t real, he can’t move, talk, or yell at the pests. He can’t fire a BB gun, or bang a few pans together. He just stands in one place and pretends to be a real man. That is a picture of us when we “play Church” or put on our Christian mask. Just like Pinocchio wanted to be a real boy, shouldn’t we want to be real Christians? That scarecrow will work for a while, maybe longer on some of the less than sharp minded pests, but eventually they will figure it out. We have all seen scarecrows with crows perching right on their heads or outstretched arms. That is like us trying to wear our mask and rebuking the devil. He is smarter than any crow or rabbit. He knows who is really surrendered to God and who isn’t. He has to obey those that don’t wear the mask. He doesn’t have to obey the ones who are pretending to follow Christ.

We don’t even have to be perfect! To walk in our calling and fulfill the purposes and plans God has for us, we just have to be real and to allow the Spirit to lead us, humbly allowing ourselves to grow in the things of the Lord. So what if you are still a babe in Christ, that’s better than being a carnal Christian. Determine to grow up and in the meantime, serve Him. Let’s go back to the garden analogy again. Let’s say the pests have gotten wise to our friendly scarecrow, so instead we put a three year old in the garden. Can that little one fulfill the call? You bet! They may trample a few plants, and get distracted by a few bugs and butterflies, but they will make enough noise and move around enough to keep every pest away. The few plants that get lost can’t compare to the damage that those pesky pests can destroy. I know I had every bean and pea plant destroyed by those cute little bunnies! The goal would be that as that little one grew up, less damage would be done, and there would be more focus and fewer distractions.
God is that patient with us. He isn’t waiting for us to be perfect to use us. He doesn’t want us to pretend that we are, that again is either pride or insecurity. We are real, we make mistakes, we get distracted, and we stumble. However, God tells us that the righteous may stumble, but that they keep getting back up. (Romans 24:16, Psalm 27:34)He also promises that those who obey Him, and love Him, that even if they make a mistake, He will turn in around for our good. (Romans 8:28) He chose us, the messed up ones, on purpose. When we get something done for the Kingdom, or stand up and rebuke the enemy, or resist temptation, it’s not us, it’s Him in us, and He gets all the glory!

God has called us to liberty. In this freedom, through Christ, there is never any reason to put on an act, to pretend we are something we aren’t. We aren’t sinners saved by grace. We were sinners, now we are the righteousness of God in Christ Jesus. No, we aren’t perfect, far from it in fact, but God chose us, He called us, and if anyone has an issue with who we are then they can take it up with God. This is never permission to sin, or to cause others to stumble. We stay humble and acknowledge our need for Him. We allow the Holy Spirit to use us. The key word is USE. God wants to use you. He wants to use us. He has big plans for us. Walk in the liberty He gave you. You can’t earn it, it is a gift.

Get real with God, with each other, and most importantly with yourself. Be who God created you to be.

Take off the mask.

Book Review for “Fire Wind”-Christian Science Fiction/Western


Another good work of fiction by one of my favorite Christian authors! I was given a copy of “Fire Wind” in exchange for an honest review. I loved it…honestly! It mixes sci-fi and western, two great genres. Mr. Stanton is unapologetically Christian in his writing, but he is also real and genuine. No preachy sermons, just a day in the life of people trying their best to live right. He almost always includes some salvation stories and this one does not disappoint. Looking forward to the rest of the series. My favorite work of his is still the “Warrior Kind” series, but this one is running a close second. I give it five stars. No swearing or sexual content, clean enough for teens and up.

Laundry Lessons

Jean Francois laundry days[1]

Ephesians 5:26 (NIV), “that He might present to Himself the church in all her glory, having no spot or wrinkle or any such thing; but that she would be holy and blameless.”

Jesus is returning for His Bride. That’s pretty exciting. I think for most of us women; loving weddings and births were just built into us (the Bride of Christ includes you too men so please don’t stop reading). We dream about our own weddings from the time we are little. Our dreams however never include all the hectic, crazy, planning and work, maybe even losing a few pounds to fit into our dream dress. Every girl wants to be the most perfect bride.

This is reflected in our scripture from Ephesians. The bride that Jesus is coming for will have “no spot or wrinkle.” Think about that wedding dress for a minute and let’s learn a lesson from the age old process (chore) of doing laundry.

For years laundry was done at the river, weather frozen or not. You took your laundry with some special tools. One was a washing bat. “Long thin washing bats are not very different from sticks. Both can be used for moving cloth around as well as for beating the dirt out of it. Soaking laundry in lye, cold or hot, was an important way of tackling white and off-white cloth. It was called bucking, and aimed to whiten as well as cleanse. Coloured fabrics were less usual than today, especially for basic items like sheets and shirts. Ashes and urine were the most important substances for mixing a good “lye”. As well as helping to remove stains and encourage a white colour, these act as good de-greasing agents.” (taken from the Old and Interesting website, history of laundry, all emphasis mine.) Later they had washing boards, laundry tubs, and wringers to wring out the water. This all involved stinky, skin eating soap, hard work and sweat, and hauling and boiling a lot of water.

Then there was the ironing: “Blacksmiths started forging simple flat irons in the late Middle Ages. Plain metal irons were heated by a fire or on a stove… Flat irons were also called sad irons or smoothing irons. Metal handles had to be gripped in a pad or thick rag.” These irons were heavy and hot! After seeing some of these irons at museums I understand the joke, “no wonder they call them sad irons, I’d be sad if I had to spend hours using one of those.”

So, I think it is safe to say, that even in our modern times, keeping things spotless and wrinkle free isn’t always easy. At the time that Paul wrote Ephesians, the process would have been pretty daunting. However, he didn’t say, “when Jesus comes He will make you spotless and wrinkle free”, he said, He is presenting Himself to her in all her glory, spotless and wrinkle free, holy and blameless.” Yes, that is still exciting, but just like trying to remove a stubborn stain, it sounds like hard work. I don’t want to make it seem like we have to do this all ourselves! I am not. It is God working in us that removes every stain.

I Corinthians 6:11 (Weymouth Translation), “And all this describes what some of you were. But now you have had every stain washed off: now you have been set apart as holy: now you have been pronounced free from guilt; in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ and through the Spirit of our God.”

Though Jesus has washed every stain away spiritually, we still have some things to work out in the natural, and I will emphasis the word work. It takes some self discipline to accept and walk in the finished work of the cross. The process of making us spotless and wrinkle free may at times be painful. Think of what the clothing had to go through! The Holy Spirit may be doing the work, but sometimes He has to use a washing bat or a sad iron to get us in that pristine condition. Just like the old time spot remover, He can use what seems like the nastiest substance to get us in pristine condition. God doesn’t ever bring trials and tribulation to us, but He will certainly use them to iron us out, to work out those ugly left over’s of last night’s meal. We can’t get spotless or clean by just lying on the floor, or sitting in the laundry basket. It takes going through the process.

That’s why we can “count it all joy” when we go through stuff, just like James tells us. It’s working the uglies out of us, it is preparing us to meet our groom at the altar.

Romans 5:3-5 “(Aramaic Bible in Plain English), And not only in this way, but we boast also in afflictions, for we know that affliction perfects patience in us, And patience, experience and experience, hope, But hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has come in, overflowing our hearts by The Spirit of Holiness who has been given to us.”

Pay No Attention


I Timothy 4:1 (Holman Christian Standard Bible), “ Now the Spirit explicitly says that in later times some will depart from the faith, paying attention to deceitful spirits and the teachings of demons,”

I have always marveled at this scripture. How could anyone who truly knows God, felt His love and His presence depart for the faith? The answer to my dilemma was right there all along, “paying attention” to deceiving spirits. One version says “seducing” spirits. That makes sense. After all Jesus told us that whatever we have set our affections, that thing will have rule on our hearts.

Luke 12:34 (NIV), “For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”

How can we protect ourselves from being seduced? Let’s use some natural things to help us understand the spiritual. A married person can guard their hearts by first being honest and intimate with their spouse. They can also protect their marriage by not giving in to any other person who is trying to draw their attention away from their spouse. So, spiritually, we need to know who God is, really, not in our head but in our heart. Secondly, when Satan tries to distract us, by illness, lies, financial issues, relational issues, etc., we need to NOT give those circumstances or the enemy our attention. Yes, we may have to address the issues, pray about it, thank God for the answer, but don’t dwell on it. Don’t set your heart on it. A distraction is “just another meaningless message to keep you from paying attention to all the issues that really matter.” Don’t give Satan your attention. Give your attention to God. He is the one able to get you out of your mess. Don’t get me wrong, we aren’t ostriches and we can’t make our problems go away by burying our heads in the sand. However, we need to keep our focus on God, keep our thoughts pure and yes, sometimes just ignore the seducer.

When we pursue God, pursue True Love, the false lover, the seducer will not be able to get your attention. Make love your quest. Arm yourself with the truth. Read I Corinthians 13 and you will get a picture of what real love is and isn’t like.

I Corinthians 14:1a (AMP), “Eagerly pursue and seek to acquire [this] love [make it your aim, your great quest];”
We keep ourselves and others from falling away, or turning their backs on God when we build each other up, when we help one another keep our eyes on Jesus, “the author and finisher of our faith.”

Colossians 3:2 (Weymouth Translation), “Give your minds to the things that are above, not to the things that are on the earth.”

Here are some practical examples:
You get a negative report from the doctor; you have two options, go with that report, think about, tell everyone, throw a pity party, and get in bed with the seducer. Or, you can rebuke the seducer and the diagnosis, thank God for your healing and stand firm on His promise that “by His stripes you have been healed.” Then when the symptoms come back, don’t give them your attention, (except to rebuke them!)

Philippians 4:8 (NIV), “Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable–if anything is excellent or praiseworthy–think about such things.”