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Posts Tagged ‘prayer’

When we started the “Mountains” series, we explored how beautiful the life God has for us is but as we travel the path, the fear of the cliffs around us can keep us seeing God’s glories in our life. As a community, we identified different “cliffs” we are dealing with and are going to tackle them one by one through study and practical life application.

The first one we will be addressing is our physical health. We know many have challenges due to being out of shape, struggling with illness, fighting addictions and more. For this reason, we will explore God’s ways and instructions that gives us the keys to moving forward into life and freedom!

If you have been struggling at all in the area of physical health or know someone that is, we invite you to join in and be part of a morning of worship, fellowship, encouragement and study.

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As we come into our last study in our series, we get a chance to respond….

What has the Spirit been putting on your heart lately? What areas does God want you to move in new ways in faith? Is it a time of celebration or struggle? Is a time of struggling with illness or a lingering sin? What are you to do?

Even if you have not been part of this study, you can easily walk into this one as an invitation to meet God where you are today for grace, freedom, and power.

theshepherdsfellowship.org

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In this study, we talk about drawing near to God.

Highlights include:
– Why is it so awesome that we are invited to draw close to God?
– How do you pray?
– How do you study the Bible?
– What is fasting?
– What is Ash Wednesday and Lent?

Hope you jump in……

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I have explored in the last couple posts the fact that God calls His children (those who have accepted Jesus as Leader and Forgiver and who follow His way of living instead of the world’s ways) to live in freedom. We have seen that through salvation, we are released from the bondage of this world. The truth is being locked back up by guilt, stress, or fear are not His desire for us yet somehow we keep falling back into the trap.

The simple fact is this world will try to suck us back in. Satan will try to rob from the grace and deliverance that is ours in the Lord. On certain days, it can just be overwhelming.

Today’s Psalm invites us to see how David dealt with such a time. It gives a real time experience of one of the heroes of the faith and how he modeled to get “refocused”.

Here’s the Psalm….

Psalm 10

“Why, O Lord, do you stand far away?
Why do you hide yourself in times of trouble?

In arrogance the wicked hotly pursue the poor;
let them be caught in the schemes that they have devised.
For the wicked boasts of the desires of his soul,
and the one greedy for gain curses and renounces the Lord.
In the pride of his face the wicked does not seek him;
all his thoughts are, “There is no God.”
His ways prosper at all times;
your judgments are on high, out of his sight;
as for all his foes, he puffs at them.
He says in his heart, “I shall not be moved;
throughout all generations I shall not meet adversity.”
His mouth is filled with cursing and deceit and oppression;
under his tongue are mischief and iniquity.
He sits in ambush in the villages;
in hiding places he murders the innocent.
His eyes stealthily watch for the helpless;
    he lurks in ambush like a lion in his thicket;
he lurks that he may seize the poor;
he seizes the poor when he draws him into his net.
10 The helpless are crushed, sink down,
and fall by his might.
11 He says in his heart, “God has forgotten,
he has hidden his face, he will never see it.”

12 Arise, O Lord; O God, lift up your hand;
forget not the afflicted.
13 Why does the wicked renounce God
and say in his heart, “You will not call to account”?
14 But you do see, for you note mischief and vexation,
that you may take it into your hands;
to you the helpless commits himself;
you have been the helper of the fatherless.
15 Break the arm of the wicked and evildoer;
call his wickedness to account till you find none.

16 The Lord is king forever and ever;
the nations perish from his land.
17 O Lord, you hear the desire of the afflicted;
you will strengthen their heart; you will incline your ear
18 to do justice to the fatherless and the oppressed,
so that man who is of the earth may strike terror no more.”

You’ll notice I left the verse numbers in. This was on purpose to make the following easier to reference because I believe there is a pattern here from the man that God said was “after God’s own heart” that we can find freedom in.

Verses 1-11 – David calls out his concern with no holds barred. He knows God is a strong Father who can handle the load. He knows God is a caring Daddy who wants to hear his child’s heart. David unleashes the hurt, pain, and confusion of the unfair situation in front of him from his overwhelmed, human vantage point.

Verses 12 – 15 – David starts to refocus. He moves his attention off of the circumstances that are blurring his view to focus in on his Deliverer. He aims backs towards the One who has proven Himself faithful time and time again. He cries out for God to move as David also moves into the protection of his God.

Verses 16 – 18 – Here is the result of that refocusing…. PRAISE! There is no other way I can see to explain this last paragraph. David has moved from complaining about the circumstances to claiming the truths of the strength of his God! His perception has changed (even though the circumstances have not…yet) and He has a firm foundation of truth to stand strong on.

What are you going through today?

First, check yourself and make sure you are in a place of righteousness. If you are not a child of God through accepting Him as Leader and Forgiver in your life, that is the place to start to have his grace, mercy, and firm foundation. (Romans 10:9-10; John 3: 1-21)

If you find that your situation is the result of an area where you are not living in righteousness, get some forgiveness and change your ways to match God’s ways.

If you are living righteously, then it’s time to refocus like David did. It’s time to get into the Word and explore God’s promises. It’s time to dig into Christian community with people who will spur you on towards God. It’s time to have a talk with God like David did and let Him change your view.

Being blessed is having joy which is tied to your spirit walk in spite of your circumstances. Be blessed….

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Several months ago, we were going through the following Scripture at church…

James 4:2-4

“You want something but don’t get it. You kill and covet, but you cannot have what you want. You quarrel and fight. You do not have, because you do not ask God. When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures.”

At the time, there were areas we were wanting to grow and had been stagnant. I spent a little time praying over what areas we should want change and the motives behind them and then introduced some new prayer times in our Sunday morning gatherings. Each week we started praying over four areas to grow in…… people, resources, spiritual depth, and influence in our community.

About a week ago, my family was out for lunch after church and something hit me. I grabbed my copy of the receipt and a pen and started jotting down observations on the back of it. It was a reminder that sometimes we need to stop and look to see what God is doing to catch it all.

From those notes, I shared with our church this week some changes we have been seeing that we wanted to celebrate God’s faithfulness in. The following our those celebrations…

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I was working through a Scripture for a sermon not too long ago and was encouraged by a particular passage I wanted to share.

“The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective.  Elijah was a man just like us. He prayed earnestly that it would not rain, and it did not rain on the land for three and a half years. Again he prayed, and the heavens gave rain, and the earth produced its crops. ” James 5: 16b – 18

I started to wonder “Have I ever stopped rain with my prayers? Have I ever made it rain with my prayers? If Elijah is just a man like me, then what made him so special?”

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There have been several times that I have taught through the elements of the Lord’s prayer and I wanted to take a moment and put some of those thoughts here. This is mostly for a recent prayer challenge I have given to our church family at The Shepherd’s Fellowship but it may be of interest to others as well.

In Matthew 6, we find where Jesus is teaching on prayer. He states, “This, then, is how you should pray…” Now I do not believe that Jesus was saying each and every time you prayer, it must be these words, in this order, and don’t mess up (though it is a beautiful prayer). However, if we look at the prayer, I do believe it gives a model that, if followed in honesty and in love will lead you to some of the most incredible prayers you have ever had.

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