Knock, Knock… Answered Prayer

August 1, 2018
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Acts 12:12-15
When he realized this, he went to the home of Mary, the mother of John Mark, where many were gathered for prayer. He knocked at the door in the gate, and a servant girl named Rhoda came to open it. When she recognized Peter’s voice, she was so overjoyed that, instead of opening the door, she ran back inside and told everyone, “Peter is standing at the door!” “You’re out of your mind!” they said. When she insisted, they decided, “It must be his angel.”

I love this story because it reminds me how easy it is to get caught up in the routine of prayer and lose sight of the power of prayer. This wasn't your typical Wednesday night service or fellowship dinner that just happened to include a little prayer time. They were up late at night; perhaps well past midnight, and they had gathered to "pray very earnestly for him" (Acts 12:5). They were praying with purpose, and that purpose was Peter! 

This wasn't a group of casual Christians; they would have already been in bed. This was a group of devout Christians. They loved the Lord and had seen Him do miracles. However, somewhere in this spiritual battle they got so caught up in their need that they lost focus of their Provider.

They prayed all night for Peter, so why didn't they believe when God answered their prayer and hand delivered him to their doorstep? When Rhoda told them, "Peter is standing at the door," they told her, "you are out of your mind" (Acts 12:15). I kept asking myself, "Why would someone stay up all night praying for something they never believed they would receive?" My first thought was that they really were out of their minds. But the more I reflected on it, I began to realize their lack of faith wasn't in who God is, but rather it was their believe in what He would do.

Perhaps everyone there was praying that Peter would be spared, but Rhoda was standing close to the door because she had been praying that Peter would be hand delivered. Why else would she be "so overjoyed" while everyone else was so full of doubt (Acts 12:14)? The words of Jesus came to mind when He said, "Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these" (Matthew 19:14). A little faith, in a little girl, can move a really big mountain! Perhaps, like this little servant girl, when our time with Him accompanies our faith in Him, we too will hear the answer to our prayer knocking at the door.

Father, thank You for teaching us, training us, and the privilege to boldly enter into Your presence with thanksgiving and prayer. Help us to never loose sight that You hear us, You love us, and You move mountains when we come to You with a mustard seed of faith and prayer.

Not By Sight

July 1, 2018
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Acts 3:4-6
Peter and John looked at him intently, and Peter said, “Look at us!” The lame man looked at them eagerly, expecting some money. But Peter said, “I don’t have any silver or gold for you. But I’ll give you what I have. In the name of Jesus Christ the Nazarene, get up and walk!

We are abundantly rich in Christ Jesus! In Him, we are overflowing with love, light, and healing power. Not by our own might or strength but by the power of Christ that reigns and resides within us (Zechariah 4:6). 

How many times have we casually passed by opportunities to invest in the hurting, the sick, and the less fortunate, while looking to our physical wallets instead of our spiritual surplus? Christ has called and created us to be more than conquerors (Romans 8:37). He has empowered us to share the Good News to the ends of the earth. Perhaps, like Peter and John, we may not have the money; but what we do have is far greater (Ephesians 3:20). The same healing power that raised Christ from the dead resides in us (Romans 8:11).

​This story continually challenges me to move and walk in faith! I sometimes wonder how many hospital beds could be empty if all of us, as God’s children, walked in bold faith. Peter took the lame man by the hand, “and as he did, the man's feet and ankles were instantly healed and strengthened” (Acts 3:7). The man was healed “as” Peter moved in faith and not a second before. The healing occurred through the power of Christ, but it was transferred through the loving touch of Peter. The greatest Hospital in the world resides within our hearts! Isn’t it time to open the doors? 

Lord, give us the strength we need to move in faith. Thank you for Your healing power that resides within us. Help us to freely give and share with others all that You have so graciously shared with us. Help us to be Your hands and feet! In Jesus' mighty name we pray, Amen.

The Sea in Front of Me

June 1, 2018
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Luke 5:5
Simon answered, "Master, we've worked hard all night and haven't caught anything. But because you say so, I will let down the nets." 

While standing on the shores of the Sea of Galilee, I became convinced that Jesus was a bottom fisherman. Not only was He born in one of the lowliest of places, He also journeyed through some of the geographically lowest places on earth. The Sea of Galilee is about 700 feet below sea level and is the lowest fresh water sea on earth. The only sea that is lower is the Dead sea which isn't far down the road. Jesus was literally using lowly people from the lowest places! 

On this trip to Israel, we were able to see what many people believe to be Simon Peter’s home. As I gazed at it, it became evident that Peter’s abundance didn’t come from how much he had. His abundance came from who he was with! It wasn’t Peter's and Andrew's earthly success at fishing that qualified them; it was their willingness. After all, they hadn’t even caught a fish when Jesus showed up that day (Luke 5:5). Jesus spoke to them about fishing because that is something they knew and could understand. Matthew 4:19 came to mind when Jesus said, “Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men.” Fishermen and "fishers of men" are so similar in sound yet so different in purpose. The first is for the purpose of living, but a “fisher of men” is living for a purpose.

Jesus changed the world through the people who were in front of Him. He invited fishermen as He walked by the sea and a tax collector as He passed through the streets. He invited those He came in contact with as He walked through life. He didn't have to fly across the world to reach it. Instead, He reached the world from right there where He was! He did it one person, one conversation, and one day at a time. With His help, so can we! 

Father, open our eyes to the people You place in our path. Help us to never miss an opportunity to share Your love and light. Give us the eyes to see, the ears to hear, and the syllables of every word that we need to speak. In Jesus' mighty name we pray, Amen.

Paper, Rock, Sifter

May 1, 2018
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Luke 22:31-34
“Simon, Simon, Satan has asked to sift each of you like wheat. But I have pleaded in prayer for you, Simon, that your faith should not fail. So when you have repented and turned to me again, strengthen your brothers.” Peter said, “Lord, I am ready to go to prison with you, and even to die with you.” But Jesus said, "Peter, let me tell you something. Before the rooster crows tomorrow morning, you will deny three times that you even know me."

The dictionary defines sift as: The act of isolating that which is most important and useful.
 
Satan undoubtedly desires to isolate us from the body of Christ. Peter was certain he was “ready to go” (Luke 22:33). He was certain that he wouldn’t be led astray. He was so certain, in fact, that he said he was ready to go to prison and even die with Christ. But as it turns out, he wasn’t ready (Luke 22:34). I began to think about the times in my life when, perhaps like Peter, I had convinced myself that I was “ready” only to later find out that I wasn’t. Peter had walked alongside Christ for years. He knew Jesus, loved Jesus, and had an authentic relationship with Jesus, yet he still fell short of where he fully intended to be. In that moment Peter thought he was ready, but Jesus knew he wasn’t. The beauty of this story is that it didn’t end there. Jesus told him, “when you have repented and turned to me again, strengthen your brothers.” In other words, Jesus was telling Peter "don’t hide your past, use it!" Matthew 16:18 immediately came mind.
 
Matthew 16:18
And I tell you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not overcome it.
 
The church is built on the Rock of Christ! This is the Rock of truth, forgiveness, mercy and grace! It is everything Peter wasn’t and everything that Christ is! What Peter couldn’t do in his own strength, he would soon come to do in Christ’s strength! Satan didn’t just asked to sift Peter. Jesus said, "Satan has asked to sift each of you” which today would include each of us (Luke 22:31). Satan is still trying to sift God’s children by pointing to what they have done, but Christ is building His church on what He is still doing! We are still here on Earth, not home in Heaven, because our work isn’t complete! The church is still being built one stone and one sinner at a time! There is still room in His house, and there is still millions of spiritually "homeless" people roaming around on the streets.
 
Perhaps He is still whispering to many of us today saying “strengthen your brothers” and reminding us that when we stop looking at the past behind us, we can begin reaching the people in front of us.
 
Jesus,
Thank for loving us, redeeming us, and making a way! Thank you for the privilege to share your grace and mercy with others! Thank you for always having open arms when we come to you with repentant hearts. We love you Lord! Amen.

The House of Our Heart

April 1, 2018
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Father,
Thank You for the privilege to serve You! Thank You for Your faithful provision and Your desire to dine and dwell in the house of our heart. Help us to become more like You in all that we say and in everything we do. We love You Lord. Amen.

Denying Doubt

March 1, 2018
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Jesus,
Thank You for Your power, love, grace and mercy. Help us to never lose sight of who You are! Help us to never forget that as we journey through this world, we are not of this world! Thank you Lord for Your ways that are above our ways. Help us to never get so focused on the ways of this world that we forget it was You who created it! We love You Lord! Amen.

The Wilderness Way

January 23, 2018
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Father,
Thank You for calling us into deeper waters! Thank You for leading us into the wilderness and making a way! Thank You for Your desire to prosper us and not harm us! Help us to never lose sight of Your perfect ways and unfailing love! We love You Lord! Amen.

The Rainbow Maker

December 24, 2017
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Lord,
Thank You for Your promises! Thank You for Your amazing creativity! Lord, thank You for Your Son that shines the light, and that even in the darkest of life’s storms, Your promises stand true. Help us to become more like You in all that we say and in everything we do. In Jesus mighty name we pray! Amen.

Healing Through the Hurt

November 4, 2017
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Jesus, 
Thank You for enduring all things so You could relate to us in all things. Help us to walk in Your ways and comfort those as You so graciously comfort us. Help us not to grow weary as You teach us along the way. Help us to use all that we have endured for the advance of your Kingdom. In Your mighty and all powerful name we pray. Amen.

Victory in Advance

October 21, 2017
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Father, thank You for going before us to secure our victory! Thank You for the things You prepared in advance for us to do! Help us not to lean on our own understanding. But instead, may we always rest confidently in Your promises — knowing that You will complete the good work that You started in us! We love You, Lord, and thank You in advance for the victory! In Jesus mighty and all-powerful name we pray! Amen.