Memorial Day, 2018

 

No regular post today. May you have a special time with your family and friends as you honor those who have given much, so that we can have freedom. 

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Speaking in Tongues

 

“It’s only when I have been very deliberate to exercise the gift of tongues that I’ve seen advancement happen in my life.” 

Katherine Ruonala 

The Holy Spirit desires to pray for you and through you. He does that as you pray in tongues. When we pray in the Spirit, our minds become engaged in faith. I’ve become more intentional with praying in the Spirit on a regular basis since I read Katherine Ruonala’s Life with the Holy Spirit 

Speaking in tongues has not been emphasized, so I didn’t acknowledge the importance or the benefits that come from praying in the Spirit. In I Thessalonians 5:19, the Apostle Paul wrote, “Do not quench the Spirit.” To quench means “to extinguish,” as if we’re putting out a fire. I don’t want to do anything that may prevent the Holy Spirit from moving in my life. 

Years ago when I taught a weekly women’s Bible study, the Holy Spirit instructed me to pray in tongues when I didn’t know what He wanted me to say. So while folding laundry I prayed in the Spirit. Afterward, He gave me direction for the message. Currently, I pray in tongues prior to writing, for His creativity to be released.  

Sometimes I’ll pray in tongues while cleaning the house or driving. I’ve interceded in the Spirit to wage war against the enemy. Praying in tongues shows me how to pray when I don’t know how to pray for a loved one. It’s as if Spirit intercession clears away the cobwebs in my mind and looses the heart of God. I know how to pray specifically with words and my faith is built up to believe. It opens my mind to how God wants me to pray. 

Praying in the Spirit is for personal edification, to strengthen us. If I’m feeling anxious or overwhelmed, that’s the time for me to pray in tongues. As I do, the Holy Spirit intercedes on my behalf and lifts me up. Speaking in tongues also deepens my intimacy with Him. 

When you’re at a loss for words and you don’t know how to intercede on behalf of a loved one, pray in tongues. When you feel confused and need direction, pray in tongues. When condemnation consumes your heart, pray in tongues. When you want to pray according to God’s will, pray in tongues. And when you desire to scoot a little closer to the Holy Spirit, pray in tongues. 

“You may pray for your own agenda, but when praying in tongues the Holy Spirit will pray what He wants. You can trust that His prayers are the will of the Father.” 

Katherine Ruonala 

Relevant Reflection: 

What benefits have you seen from praying in tongues? 

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Kingdom Investment

 

“You are your own mix of gifts, skills, and experiences God wants to stir up to serve His Son.” 

Beth Moore 

God doesn’t give us spiritual gifts just to keep them all for ourselves. He gives them to us to share them with others. What we do with what has been given to us, determines whether we receive more in the future. If we’re faithful with what He gives us and share what we’ve received, then God will multiply what we’ve been given, and we’ll be given more. The parable of the talents in Luke 19:11-27 portrays this kingdom principle. 

In this passage, a noble man, soon to become king, gave ten of his servants the same amount of money, which was about three months’ wages. He told each of them to “Put this money to work,” in other words, invest it. (vs. 13) When the king returned, one of his servants had earned ten more, while another increased what had been given to him by five. The king was pleased with the returns on their investment and gave them more responsibility over cities. 

Likewise our faithfulness to invest in God’s kingdom will result in increase. God will bless the gifts we’ve shared by giving us more to share. We’ve all been given something from God. But what happens to that, whether it’s multiplied or not, is determined by us-what we’ve done with it. If we’ve hid it or have kept it to ourselves, we will not hear “Well done,” from our King. 

For years I hid what God gave to me because of shame and fear of man. But just like a parent encourages their children to share, God encourages us to give away what we’ve received from Him. Sharing what we have is a form of investment. And when we give away what we possess, then we’re investing in God’s kingdom. 

I became convicted while I studied this passage. I realized my emotional healing and restoration, are not just for me. I’m to share what has been given to me in hopes that God will use it to bring wholeness to others. Rebekah Lyons in You Are Free writes: “Freedom is never just for the freed. Freedom is a gift that’s meant to be shared.” I’m retrieving the emotional wholeness manuscript I worked on a couple of years ago. I want Luke 10:26a to be fulfilled. “But to all who have been faithful, even more will be given them.” (Passion Translation) 

Let us each take what God has given to us and invest it back into His kingdom! 

“Stewardship is the acceptance from God of personal responsibility for all of life and life’s affairs.” 

Roswell C. Long 

Relevant Reflection: 

What has God given to you and how are you investing it back into His kingdom? 

 

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Judgmental Walls

 

“People can always sense when you are judging them, and it causes them to put up walls to defend themselves against your judgments, hindering the possibility of personal connection.” 

Katherine Ruonala 

Last week’s post was on a rebellious son and a religious son. I have struggled with being religious, performing and following the rules, to puff up my pride and feel better about myself. The end result is being judgmental in my heart and mind. Even though I may not say anything, I believe people pick up on it. When people feel judged, they shut down and cannot be their authentic selves. 

Personally I have been affected by this. Jealousy breeds judgment and it prevents the freedom to be who God has created us to be. I have also experienced the opposite. When others see me like Jesus does and expects His gifts to flow through me, I rise to their level of acceptance and flourish. Our thoughts, judgments or acceptance, somehow defines people. I want God’s thoughts to define others and to free them to be all that He’s created them to be. 

I remember on one of my dad’s visits, I so desired to receive my father’s blessing and I prayed for that to take place. One day, early on during Dad’s time with us, God interrupted my thoughts: Why do you need your earthly dad’s blessing when you already have Mine? At that point I released my dad from having to give me his blessing. I let go of any expectation. I no longer needed that since I was secure in my heavenly Father’s acceptance. 

I believe Dad sensed the change in me. Even though I had never said anything to him about my desires, some how there was a shift and he knew it. He was no longer expected to give me something, instead, he was accepted as he was. He ended up saying it was the best vacation he had ever had. 

Another reason why I don’t want to be judgmental, is because I don’t want to be judged. “You, therefore, have no excuse, you who pass judgment on someone else, for at whatever point you judge the other, you are condemning yourself, because you who pass judgment do the same things.” (Romans 2:1) If I sow judgment, I will reap judgment. (Galatians 6:7) 

People tend to judge others in the areas they judge themselves. Don’t let your judgments undermine your relationships. Let’s love and accept people, as well as ourselves, so that all of us walk in God’s freedom. 

“Who judges others condemns himself.” 

Anonymous 

Relevant Reflection: 

In what area do you judge others? Ask God to see them through His eyes of acceptance. 

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Grace for the Rebellious and the Religious

 

Our assurance is anchored in the love and grace of God expressed in the glorious exchange: our sin for His righteousness.” 

Tullian Tchividjian

Recently I studied Luke 15:11-32, the passage known as the prodigal son. I was impressed with the contrast between the two sons, whom I will call the rebellious and the religious. Please take some time now and read through those verses. 

The younger, or rebellious son was disobedient. He took his inheritance, left home and squandered it on reckless living. He wasted what his father gave him and used the money on sinful behavior. His provisions ran out, making him hungry, desperate, and humiliated. He didn’t feel worthy to be his father’s son. In humility and with a repentant heart, this son decided to return home to his father. 

The older son was obedient, stayed home, and worked for his dad. He performed every duty his father requested. Even though he lacked nothing and had full supply of all that his dad owned, he didn’t realize what was at his fingertips and he squandered his sonship. Instead of embracing his inheritance, he tried to earn a place in his father’s heart. When he discovered his dad threw a party in celebration of his younger brother’s return, he became angry and refused to celebrate. His prideful, self-righteous arrogance resulted in judgmental accusations. 

I tend to resemble the elder son, one who wants to perform, follow all the rules, and in the end, become judgmental of others. Who do you most identify with – the younger, rebellious son, or the older, religious son? It doesn’t matter which one you relate to, both are in need of grace and both sons needed to receive forgiveness from their loving and compassionate father. 

Likewise, our Heavenly Father is the same toward us. When we’re in need of forgiveness and grace, He is there to supply. “The father said, ‘My son, you are always with me by my side. Everything I have is yours to enjoy.’” (Luke 15:31, Passion Translation) In spite of our rebellious or religious nature, our Daddy extends His generous gift of grace. 

“Grace is sufficient even though we huff and puff with all our might to try and find something or someone that it cannot cover. Grace is enough.” 

Brennan Manning 

Relevant Reflection: 

Which son do you most identify with in this parable? Spend time thanking God for His generous gift of grace. 

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Persistent

 

“Prayer is not overcoming God’s reluctance, but laying hold of His willingness.” 

Martin Luther 

One of my favorite passages is Luke 18:1-8, the parable of the persistent widow. In the first verse, Jesus sums up the two lessons He wants us to take away from this story. “Then Jesus told His disciples a parable to show them that they should always pray and not give up.” 

Jesus wants us to keep praying and to continually ask Him to meet our needs, as well as to intercede on behalf of others. He loves it when we talk to Him 24-7; both day and night prayers please Him. What matters is that we’re communicating with Him, which deepens our relationship. 

The second point He makes, is to never give up in bringing our requests to Him. God doesn’t want us to stop praying, nor to lose hope that He will answer our prayer. There’s no need to be ashamed of our continual intercession. God never tires of hearing our requests. It’s not like He thinks, Oh, no, she’s not asking for that again! He wants us to keep pleading and asking Him with faith, expecting Him to supply our need. 

I began to pray for my Dad’s salvation, when I was fifteen and a new believer. Forty years later, when my eighty-year old Dad had dementia, God set the scene. Dad felt remorse over the regrets in his life and God gave him a three hour window of lucidity. Dad’s mind was clear. He was able to track with me and understood what I shared. As I read Dad Billy Graham’s, Steps to Peace with God, I realized I surrendered my life to Jesus, forty years earlier, on that same date. Dad followed in my steps and gave his life to Jesus. I can’t tell you how grateful I am that I persistently prayed for my Dad’s salvation! 

I didn’t give up and nor should you. In what area of your life are you battling? Does it involve a wayward child, or a marriage that has slowly grown cold and distant? Is it a health crisis, or a career struggle? Whatever it is, remember what Jesus said to do in Luke 18:1: always pray and never give up. Then you’ll become like the persistent widow in the parable and receive what you’ve asked for. 

“Great works are performed not by strength but by perseverance.” 

Samuel Johnson 

Relevant Reflection: 

Spend time in persistent prayer for the area you’re most desperate for God to break through. 

 

 

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Revelation

 

“As prayer is the voice of man to God, so revelation is the voice of God to man.” 

John Henry Newman 

Sometimes the physical gets in the way of the spiritual and blinds us from seeing reality. It takes faith to see the spiritual realm. Overwhelming circumstances in the natural snuff out faith and cause spiritual blindness. Faith changes our vision and helps us see what others can’t. 

I’m like the two blind men in Matthew 20:29-34. I’m unable to see and understand the mysteries of God. My word for 2018 is revelation. I’m crying out to God to receive His vision and understanding. I want Him to peel back the scales of unbelief so I can see all that He is. My verse for this year is Ephesians 1:17: “I keep asking that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the glorious Father, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and revelation, so that you may know Him better.” 

When the blind men heard Jesus was passing by, they shouted, “Son of David, show us mercy, Lord!” Son of David is a term used for the Messiah. These blind men lacked vision in the natural realm, but they possessed 20/20 spiritual vision. They saw what most people missed – Jesus’ true identity. 

When the crowd tried to quiet the blind men, they screamed even louder. Their desperation for healing made them bold and they weren’t going to allow others to deter them from going after God. Jesus stopped and asked them, “What do you want me to do for You?” The blind men responded, “Lord, we want to see! Heal us!” Just one touch from Jesus and the blind men were instantly healed. 

Reason, fear of disappointment, and pride rob us from receiving the gift of faith to see beyond the natural. Faith is seen by the action we take. The blind men believed Jesus could heal them, so they cried out. Ask God for greater revelation in who He is. Then you’ll have faith to see what He sees. 

“God’s revelation does not need the light of human genius, the polish and strength of human culture, the brilliancy of human thought, the force of human brains to adorn or enforce it; but it does demand the simplicity, the docility, humility, and the faith of a child’s heart.” 

E.M. Bounds 

Relevant Reflections: 

  1. If Jesus asked you: “What do you want Me to do for you,” what would you say? 
  2. In what area of your life do you need revelation to see the spiritual realm? 
  3. What robs you of faith? 
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