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Archive for December, 2011

Keep Count in 2012

For which of you, intending to build a tower, sitteth not down first, and counteth the cost, whether he have sufficient to finish it? – Luke 14:28 (KJV)

In 2012, you had better keep count of some things.  You should keep count and keep track throughout the year. Look back at how God answered prayers and provided for you thus far, holding on with hope for Him to continue to grant you such blessings of grace and mercy in 2012.

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 Evening, and morning, and at noon, will I pray, and cry aloud: and he shall hear my voice.” – Psalm 55:17 (KJV)

With the new year approaching, it seems quite appropriate to share a simple prayer plan. 

A prayer plan?

Yep.  A prayer plan for the new year could assist  you in staying on track just like a daily Bible reading plan can help one staying on track with reading the Bible throughout the year.  The plan offers you an opportunity to get in touch with God on a consistent basis throughout the day.

 Evening, and morning, and at noon, will I pray, and cry aloud. . .

David offers the believer the outline for a daily prayer plan.  Evening. . . morning. . . at noon are the time periods that David mentions in this psalm.  He speaks on his own personal commitment to prayer.  He shares his own daily prayer commitment to God.

We can do so, too.  We don’t have to write a psalm or a pledge, not even a covenant.  We just have to commit to the plan and commit the plan to prayer.  That sounds both rhetorical and redundant, but let me make it clear to you.  In order to make a commitment to daily prayer, you will need to have a plan on how to get started.  You can choose to follow David’s prayer prescription or do otherwise.  You just need to decide on a plan that will get you consistent with daily prayer.  Once you have decided on that plan, then you need to commit that decision to prayer.  You will even need to pray to the Lord as you decide upon the plan and pray to the Lord once you have decided on what to do and how to do it.  You need prayer throughout the planning and preparation for engaging in daily prayer.

Pray to God for:

  • Clarity
  • Commitment
  • Consistency

Start with prayer in order to continue in prayer.  Start the year with prayer and stay consistent in prayer.

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 Then he said to his disciples, “The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few; therefore pray earnestly to the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest.”
– Matthew 9:37-38 (ESV)

Jesus expects us to have compassion on the sight of those who look like sheep without a shepherd.  He also wants us to be discerning about what it takes to the reap the harvest of souls throughout this world.  He knows that our hearts cry out for the very souls of the poor and needy, the ones who do not accept the Lord as Savior and those who never heard His Word.

The Lord has an expectation of us as believers.

He wants us to be more:

  • Ready: The Lord stated the bounty of the harvest.  If we are to harvest souls, we need to be ready to reap.  Our readiness will determine how much and how well we reap what has ripened in its season.  He expects us to be ready.
  • Responsive: The Lord points out that the laborers are few.  In the right season, you will be expected to be responsive.  The appropriate response to the harvest is to get to work and pray.  Work with what the Lord has provided you in your spiritual gifts and resources, but also be sure to pray to the Lord of the harvest for the help that you need for the harvest.  Work and pray as part of your response to the Lord placing you in position to respond to the plentiful harvest.
  • Reliant: The words of Jesus make sense.  We are expected to work in the midst of the harvest.  However, we are also expected to pray and rely upon the Lord of the harvest for who He will send our way and into the harvest.  We cannot simply rely upon what we have in our hands or heads and on our hearts.  We have to rely on God Almighty for all the help that we need for the harvest.  He is the Lord of the harvest and has all things within His power.  We need to become more reliant upon Him throughout the season of the harvest.

 And he said to them, “Go into all the world and proclaim the gospel to the whole creation.
– Mark 16:15 (ESV)

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Two are better than one because they have a good return for their labor. For if either of them falls, the one will lift up his companion. But woe to the one who falls when there is not another to lift him up.Ecc. 4:9-10 (NASB)
Prayer partners work well.  Accountability partners keep you honest and on your toes. A teaching partner should do the job of both as well as help you lead the Bible lesson.
For those of you who teach the Bible, find you a partner.  Find you someone who can pray with you and for you as you prepare your Sunday school lesson.  If you lead a small group, let your partner know as you begin to prepare.  Invite your partner to check in with you or to study the Scriptures with you in preparation.  Let them share insights with you and hear your concerns about nervousness and issues.
You might need this same person to hold you accountable.  You may be ready to skip some tough issues that are in the Bible lesson.  Be sure that your partner is a person of conviction who will tell you to keep to the text and keep it real.  You need someone who will force you to cut it straight and ensuring that you are rightly dividing the word of truth.

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“At the Day of Judgment, we shall not be asked what we have read, but what we have done.”

Think back to this morning.  Recall how you started your day at work.

How did you consecrate yourself and your staff?
Did you pray together?
Did you share a hymn or an inspirational verse with one another?
Did you do any form of consecration at all?

Certainly, there is much buzz about the separation of church and state when such a subject comes up.  Do not dwell on what you cannot or should not do.  Identify what you can do.

If you own the business, even if it is a franchise, you are welcome to offer staff members a period during the day where they can join others in prayer.  Provide them with a place and time.  Share how your faith has led you to the point of making such an offer. 

Don’t get preachy.  Just make the offer.

You can do so by organizing a morning prayer meeting or devotional period 15 to 30 minutes prior to scheduled work time.  This may work on those days where you have that dreaded morning meeting.  Prepare for presentations by dotting each and every “i” and crossing each and every “t,” but be sure to also solicit the prayers of your fellow Christians at work. 

Be sure to let people know that it is not mandatory.  Don’t try to make it a full-blown worship service.  Just offer it to them.  Those who want it will surely show up and serve as the core group.  Others will drop in as they find themselves in desperate need of prayer and support.  Just make the offer where you can and get started, in prayer of course.

“Commit thy works unto the LORD, and thy thoughts shall be established.” – Proverbs 16:3 (KJV)

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Devote Yourself to Prayer

Devote yourselves to prayer, being watchful and thankful. – Colossians 4:2 (NIV)

Check your devotion level.

Are devoting yourself to prayer?

One of the Strong’s Concordance definitions for such devotion stems from the King James usage of the word continue.  It simply states the word may be used in the sense of the ability to persevere and not to faint. 

Could that be the state of your commitment to prayer?

Are you persevering?

Are you continuing without fainting?

Imagine if you had such devotion and commitment to prayer that you continued, persevered and never fainted.  Don’t dig into the other definitions of adherence, constant readiness and steadfastly attentive.  Just focus on the perseverance and not fainting at the task. 

Do you want to devote yourself to prayer?

  • Focus on what you have been called to do.
  • Focus on what God has equipped and empowered you to do
  • Focus your energy on tapping into God’s power, not relying upon your own resources
  • Focus on having faith, being watchful and thankful
And he spoke a parable to them to this end,
that men ought always to pray, and not to faint – Luke 18:1 (KJV)

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O taste and see that the LORD is good; How blessed is the man who takes refuge in Him!- Psalm 34:8

The psalm shares how taking refuge in the Lord can cause one to be blessed.  In fact, it starts this particular verse with an intriguing invitation to “taste and see that the Lord is good.” It is an entreat, starting with “O.” It implores and beseeches the one who reads or hears it read to pay close attention to what is being said.  It calls upon one to open his or her ears and eyes to what is being laid out.

O taste and see. . .

In other words, the psalm writer is beckoning others to come and try the Lord out for themselves.  He doesn’t simply say for others to take his word for it.  He offers others the opportunity to taste and see about the Lord on their own.  He assures them that once they have tasted of what the Lord has to offer that they will see just how good He truly is to those who seek Him.

Beyond everything else, the psalm shares how taking refuge in the Lord can lead to one being blessed by the Lord.  You do not have to keep running around and looking here and there.  Run to the Lord.  Seek refuge in Him.  Go to the Lord.  Flee to Him.  Make haste and come unto Him.  He alone can bless you beyond belief.  God alone can bestow blessing upon you that surpass your own imagination.

Try to recall the last time that you invited someone to taste of the Lord’s goodness and see for themselves.  Offer the invitation to the blessing of a lifetime to someone who may be near and dear to you.  Share it with a perfect stranger.  Put it on your Facebook status.  Tweet it in a direct message to a friend.  You’ve already tasted of His sweetness.  Share it with someone else.

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