Friday, February 27, 2009

Be Prepared!

Today's truth

"Be careful! Watch out for attacks from the Devil, your great enemy. He prowls around like a roaring lion, looking for some victim to devour." 1 Peter 5:8 (NLT)

Friend to Friend
During the first week of boot camp, the new recruits were taking a written examination. When one of them was asked why he wasn't working, he replied, "Sir, I have neither paper nor pencil." "Well," exclaimed the instructor, "what would you think of a soldier who went into battle with neither rifle nor ammunition?" The recruit thought for a moment, and then answered, "I'd think he was an officer, sir."

Unfortunately, too many Christians today think they are "officers" in God's army and don't really have to prepare for the battle. Not true and very dangerous thinking! The best way to avoid sin is to stay prepared to face temptation. The minute that we let our guard down or the minute that we are unprepared, the enemy strikes. We must take three actions in order to be on guard against temptation.

· Action One: Be alert.

"Alert" literally means "to stay on guard" or "to keep watch". Our Father wants us to stay alert and always be on guard! Columnist Herb Caen wrote in the San Francisco Chronicle: "Every morning in Africa, a gazelle wakes up knowing that it must run faster than the fastest lion or it will be killed. And every morning a lion wakes up knowing that it must outrun the slowest gazelle or it will starve to death. It doesn't matter whether you are a lion or a gazelle; when the sun comes up you'd better be running." It doesn't matter how long we have known God, we must get up each day, prepared to guard against sin, knowing we will face temptation. The best way to stay alert and the greatest deterrent to sin is the word of God!

Psalm 119:11 "I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you." (NIV)

It is important to remember that God's truth came before Satan's lies. When God's truth comes first in our lives, we will be able to recognize the lies of Satan and temptation will be easier to withstand. When we get away from God's word, however, we become an easy target for temptation and sin. Sin will keep us from God's Word or God's Word will keep us from sin.

Eve either did not know God's command very well or she chose to forget God's command. When Jesus went into the wilderness and was tempted, He won the battle of temptation by using the word of God. Every time Satan tempted Him, Jesus responded with scripture. If it was good enough for Jesus, it is good enough for us. The best way to prepare for temptation is by knowing the Word of God.

· Action Two: Pray continually.

Paul tells us in 1 Thessalonians 5:17 to "never stop praying". But many times, we pray only as a last resort. I read about a kindergarten class that went to the fire station for a tour. The fireman was explaining what to do in case of a fire. "First go to the door and feel the door to see if it's hot. If it is hot, fall to your knees! Does anyone know why you should fall to your knees?" A little voice spoke up, "Yeah, to start praying and asking God to get us out of this mess!" How true!

The power to withstand temptation comes from a praying heart. The devil will do anything to keep us from praying! He laughs at our religious activities and mocks our human wisdom, but he trembles when we pray! I wonder what choice Eve would have made if she had talked to God about Satan's temptations.

· Action 3: Practice self-control.

James 1:14-15 "Temptation comes from the lure of our own evil desires. These evil desires lead to evil actions, and evil actions lead to death."

Temptation is the first step on the road to sin. It begins in human desire and can stop there if we learn how to control those desires. While speaking for a conference in Sterling, Colorado, I often saw cows on the country roads. I even spotted a sign that read "If you hit a cow you pay for the cow". A local farmer explained that cows often escape and get lost. When I asked how a cow could possibly get lost he explained, "Well, the cow starts nibbling on a patch of green grass. When it finishes it looks ahead to the next patch of grass and starts nibbling on that one. Then it nibbles on a clump of grass right next to a hole in the fence. On the other side of the fence is another patch of grass, which the cow nibbles. The next thing you know, the cow has nibbled itself into being lost." Sin is not usually one giant leap but the result of many small steps. Eve chose to give in to, rather than control her natural desires and physical appetites.

Genesis 3:6 "When the woman saw that the fruit of the tree was good for food and pleasing to the eye, and also desirable for gaining wisdom, she took some and ate it. She also gave some to her husband, who was with her, and he ate it." (NIV)

Today, we are tempted just like Eve was tempted. When she ate that fruit, it was more than just a rebellious act. It was choosing to value her own desires over God's will. It was choosing to believe the lies of Satan. Adam was just as guilty as Eve - not just because he ate the fruit but because he said nothing. Silence is always agreement. Self-control is the choice to do the right thing in preparation for facing temptation. To win the war with temptation we must be prepared by staying alert, praying continually and practicing self-control.

Let's Pray
Lord, today I choose to become a student of the bible. Strengthen me through your truth and empower me to stand against temptation and sin. I also choose to make prayer a natural part of every day. Make me more aware of your presence and power, Lord. I want to be a godly woman, a woman of discipline, a woman whose life honors you and draws other to you. Amen.

Now It's Your Turn

· Recognize the power of prayer against temptation.
· Admit that you have allowed the enemy to "sneak" into your life.
· Identify the areas in your life that are out of control.
· Choose to surrender those areas to God.
· Make me aware of your power and presence in my life.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

"I've just got to DO something about it!!"

I love the story of a man who came home from work, picked up the paper and settled into his favorite chair for a few precious and well-deserved moments of solitude after a long day at work. He had just begun to relax when his son burst through the front door. Spotting his dad, the little boy raced across the room, flung himself against his father's knees and said, "Daddy, I love you!" The father gave him a pat on the head and said rather absentmindedly, "Yes, Son, I love you, too!" Picking up his paper, the father continued reading - but the boy was not satisfied. He leaned a little further into the newspaper barricade and said, "But Daddy, I really, really love you." The man took a deep breath, put the paper down and hugging the boy said, "Yes, Son. I love you just as much!" Again, he picked the paper up and resumed reading. Finally, the little boy could not stand it any longer! He jumped up on his father's lap, crushing the newspaper and any thoughts of relaxation the dad might have had. "Son, what is it that you want?" the father tiredly asked. In response, the boy threw his arms around his dad and gave him a big squeeze, explaining, "I love you so much, Daddy and I've just got to do something about it!"

That is exactly what God said to Jesus. "Son, I love them so much that I have to do something about it!" Then He sent His one and only perfect Son to earth where He would live and die for you and for me. God's love is an unconditional love -- a love with no strings attached -- a love worth celebrating!

In the bible, we find the story of a sinful woman, a prostitute who had spent her entire life seeking a love with no strings attached. Then Jesus came to town and into her life, and everything changed. When Simon, one of the local Pharisees, invited Jesus to his home for dinner, the sinful woman walked through her shame and fear, and went to meet Jesus. Everyone at the party, including Simon, knew who she was. Simon would never have allowed this kind of woman to enter his home, but when a Rabbi was invited to someone's house, others could stop by and listen to the conversation. She came, knowing that everyone at the party would recognize and judge her, but her desire to meet Jesus was greater than her pride.

Emptiness and sin eating away at her soul, this woman was tired of being used, unwanted and unloved. She came, and Jesus met her there, love and forgiveness in His hands. As the love of Jesus enveloped her very soul, she fell at His feet, weeping tears of worship and praise. Her natural response was to love Him so much that she had to do something about it! In her hands was her most precious possession, a bottle of very expensive perfume she used in her "business". This woman was not wealthy by any means and worked the streets, selling her body in order to live. She could have put a small amount on the feet of Jesus and it would have been a great financial sacrifice. But she brought it all and gave it all! She came, totally abandoning herself and all she had to Jesus. His response was to love her, unconditionally and completely.

Like this sinful woman, we are spiritually bankrupt, looking for love in all the wrong places. Jesus came, spelling Himself out in a language you and I can understand -- a message of love. There is no condemnation with Him, friend. He adores you just as you are. He wants to spend time with you, laugh with you, dry your tears and fill your heart with new dreams. Today, no matter where you are or where you have been, He stands waiting for you. Come to Him. No matter how ugly the sin or how great the failure, He loves you. Come to His love. Celebrate Jesus!

A Satisfied Soul

by Gwen Smith

Today's Truth
"Satisfy us in the morning with your unfailing love, that we may sing for joy and be glad all our days." (Psalm 90:14, NIV)

Friend to Friend
Our souls constantly demand to be fed, and make no mistake about it: if God does not have the proper place in your life, your soul will remain hungry. When I invite God into my days, I experience His satisfying presence no matter what I face. But when I don't set aside time to pray, when I don't read my Bible, and when I don't praise, I get hungry. Really hungry ... and grouchy.

Christians are hungry people. Just like the Israelites who wandered in the desert, we need God's daily bread, His spiritual manna. Jesus taught us to ask for a daily portion. In the New Testament book of Matthew, Jesus took a moment to teach His followers how to pray. In that prayer, commonly referred to as the Lord's Prayer, He said, "Give us today our daily bread" (Matthew 6:11, emphasis mine).

He didn't ask to be fed for an entire week--just for today.

We would be wise to do the same.

Some people might think that once we become Christians all of our spiritual hunger subsides. Not so! I've found that the more I get to know God, the more I want to know Him. The more I experience His peace, presence, and power in my life, the more I want to experience His peace, presence, and power. I crave Him more.

In John 4:13, Jesus says to a Samaritan woman at Jacob's well, "Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again." He was referring to the water in the well and a body's physical thirst. But then He tells her what He can offer her soul: "but whoever drinks the water I give him will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life" (v. 14).

Jesus also addressed spiritual thirst and hunger when He spoke to a large crowd outside Capernaum. The day before, He had met their physical need by miraculously feeding over five thousand hungry people on a hill near the Sea of Galilee. But on this day, the crowds questioned him about what God wanted them to do. Jesus told them that they must "believe in the one [God] has sent" (John 6:29). (God isn't satisfied by what we do, but by whom we believe.) From there, the conversation went like this:

So they asked him, "What miraculous sign then will you give that we may see it and believe you? What will you do? Our forefathers ate the manna in the desert; as it is written: 'He gave them bread from heaven to eat.'"

Jesus said to them, "I tell you the truth, it is not Moses who has given you the bread from heaven, but it is my Father who gives you the true bread from heaven. For the bread of God is he who comes down from heaven and gives life to the world."

"Sir," they said, "from now on give us this bread."

Then Jesus declared, "I am the bread of life. He who comes to me will never go hungry, and he who believes in me will never be thirsty" (John 6:30-35).

In his book, Come Thirsty, Max Lucado writes:

You're acquainted with physical thirst. Stop drinking and see what happens. Coherent thoughts vanish, skin grows clammy, and vital organs shut down. Deprive your body of necessary fluid, and it will tell you.

Deprive your soul of spiritual water, and it will tell you. Dehydrated hearts send desperate messages. Snarling tempers. Waves of worry. Growing guilt and fear. Hopelessness. Resentment. Loneliness. Insecurity.

But you don't have to live with a dehydrated heart. God invites you to treat your thirsty soul as you would treat your physical thirst. Just visit the WELL and drink deeply.

Every day we eat bread (food) to keep us healthy and strong. We stay healthy and strong spiritually by continually communing with Jesus. He calls Himself the Bread of Life as well as the Living Water. In order for food and water to sustain and strengthen us physically, we must eat and drink it. Likewise, we need to call on Jesus each day to sustain us spiritually. Call on Him now.

Let's Pray
Dear God, Thank You for the invitation to come, eat, drink, and be satisfied in You. You are all that I need, and more than enough. I pray that You will bear the weight of the burdens on my heart today, and ask that You would fill my soul with Your rest. Finally, please increase my cravings for You, Lord -- so that you can be glorified in and through my life. In Jesus' name, Amen.

Now It's Your Turn

* Spending time with the Lord through His Word is one great way to feed your soul. Read and meditate on Psalm 63:1-8.
* Read it silently the first time, then read it again out loud.
* When have you witnessed God's power in your life? Thank Him!

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

God Loves You Enough to Say No

How many times have we been in the store or at the mall and have seen a child throw a temper tantrum because they didn’t get their way. Now, you know if a child does that in public, it’s because they think it will get them what they want because that’s how it works in private. Permissive parenting strikes again! Is God a permissive parent? I mean, He wants to bless us with all good things, but does that make Him “permissive”?

In the past month, God has been picking a theme a week and everything that’s been going on in my life has revolved around that theme. First it was motivation. What’s my motivation for obedience, prayer, and service? Second, it was my priorities. What are they and are they in accordance with God’s will? Third, it was His love. How am I an active participant in His love and how does He show me his love on a moment to moment basis? And this week, it’s Confession and denial. Given that this is only Wednesday, I can only imagine what this week is going to hold, but here’s what’s been going on so far, and seeing that it’s only Wednesday, I think it’s pretty huge!

1 John 1:5-10 (New Living Translation)

Living in the Light

5 This is the message we heard from Jesus and now declare to you: God is light, and there is no darkness in him at all. 6 So we are lying if we say we have fellowship with God but go on living in spiritual darkness; we are not practicing the truth. 7 But if we are living in the light, as God is in the light, then we have fellowship with each other, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, cleanses us from all sin. 8 If we claim we have no sin, we are only fooling ourselves and not living in the truth. 9 But if we confess our sins to him, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all wickedness. 10 If we claim we have not sinned, we are calling God a liar and showing that his word has no place in our hearts.

God is perfect light and in Him no darkness can live. He has shared a spot in that light for me so that I can abide with Him and never fear the darkness of the world. Yet there is darkness in me that cannot be in the light. The sin in me needs to be taken away, which He did on the cross, but I need to daily confess my sin, not to keep myself clean, but to continue in an open, honest relationship with Him. He knows my heart and mind better than I do, but much like the parent who knows which child broke the lamp, He wants me to come to Him with my sin so that I know He’s taken it away.

Confession as Freedom:

God is not a liar, and it not mocked. For us, on point of confession is our freedom, but it’s more than that because if we confess, we can be close to God, which is His desire. His faithfulness in cleansing us from our sin comes from His love for us and His desire to be close to us. Obedience to Him begins with confession, and living in the truth comes with that. Fellowship with each other also comes with confession, freedom with God and man.

Confession and Denial (God used Sam and Bible Study last night in a big way to help me see this correlation):

Genesis 3:1-7 (New Living Translation)

The Man and Woman Sin

1 The serpent was the shrewdest of all the wild animals the Lord God had made. One day he asked the woman, “Did God really say you must not eat the fruit from any of the trees in the garden?” 2 “Of course we may eat fruit from the trees in the garden,” the woman replied. 3 “It’s only the fruit from the tree in the middle of the garden that we are not allowed to eat. God said, ‘You must not eat it or even touch it; if you do, you will die.’” 4 “You won’t die!” the serpent replied to the woman. 5 “God knows that your eyes will be opened as soon as you eat it, and you will be like God, knowing both good and evil.” 6 The woman was convinced. She saw that the tree was beautiful and its fruit looked delicious, and she wanted the wisdom it would give her. So she took some of the fruit and ate it. Then she gave some to her husband, who was with her, and he ate it, too. 7 At that moment their eyes were opened, and they suddenly felt shame at their nakedness. So they sewed fig leaves together to cover themselves.

Adam and Eve had it good in the garden, they had everything. Except one thing. One thing they were denied, though for good reason. When the serpent came to Eve, he didn’t point at the tree and say “God’s completely and totally wrong, eat it, you’ll be fine. God doesn’t even exist!” He knew that wouldn’t work because she knew that God existed in a very personal way, a way even more personal than you and I might know that God exists. Instead, Satan planted one seed of doubt and got her thinking about the one thing God said she couldn’t have. She went from being happy to be with God and have this perfect life, to being disappointed that she wasn’t God. She was denied this fruit by God, the one thing He said not to eat, and she wanted it! Notice how it didn’t take much convincing on Satan’s part to get her to eat the fruit. But when her eyes were opened, she realized that God said no for a reason, but it was too late.

Friends, God says no for a reason!

He loves us enough to not let us have everything we want, to keep us safe from hurting ourselves. Where does confession come into this? Tell Him. Tell God where in your life you feel denied and ask Him to help you deal with the fact that He tells you “no” because He loves you enough to keep you from all harm. Ask Him to show you how you try to fill that gap of what you feel you’ve been denied with things other than Him. Understanding God’s immense love for you is only the first step. Once you have a feel for His love, test it with confession, knowing that He will forgive you and, even better, heal you! Let Him show you your denial in your own life. What are you refusing to see about yourself?

Personally, and those of you that know me know this, I feel I have been denied a husband so I try to fill that gap with other things. But God has been showing me a better way, a better solution to this problem. Trusting in Him and His wisdom in my life; I’ve already proven that when it comes to my own life, I’m a terrible driver.

In what ways has God said “no” to you? Have you tried to fill that gap with other things? Have you confessed those other things with a true heart of repentance or are you just confessing to try to alleviate your own guilt? What is your motivation in repentance? How has this denial changed your view of God and how should God actually be viewed?

Remember: We are denied things for a good reason. God love you enough to say no!

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Learn to pray for your friends and loved one from head to toe

* Head --That he will look to You as Lord of his life. (1 Corinthians 11:3)

* Mind -- That he will have the mind of Christ and think as the Holy Spirit would lead him and not the flesh. (1 Corinthians 2:16)

* Eyes --That You will keep his eyes from temptation and that he will turn his eyes from sin. (Matthew 6:13, Mark 9:47)

* Ears -- That he will hear Your still small voice instructing him. (1 Kings 19:12, Psalm 32:8)

* Mouth -- That his words will be pleasing to You. (Proverbs 19:1)

* Neck -- That he will humble himself before You and be strong, courageous, and careful to do everything written in Your Word so that he will be prosperous and successful. (James 4:10, Joshua 1:8-9)

* Heart -- That he will love and trust You with his whole heart. (Deuteronomy 6:5, Proverbs 3:5)

* Arms -- That You will be his strength. (Psalm 73:26)

* Hands -- That he will enjoy the work of his hands and see it as a gift from You. (Ecclesiastes 3:13, 5:19)

* Feet -- That You will order his steps and that he will walk in Your truth. (Proverbs 4:25, Psalm 26:3)

Friday, February 13, 2009

It's Going to Be Okay

by Max Lucado

Bill Tucker was sixteen years old when his dad suffered a health crisis and consequently had to leave his business. Even after Mr. Tucker regained his health, the Tucker family struggled financially, barely getting by.

Mr. Tucker, an entrepreneurial sort, came up with an idea. He won the bid to reupholster the chairs at the local movie theater. This stunned his family. He had never stitched a seat. He didn't even own a sewing apparatus. Still, he found someone to teach him the skill and located an industrial-strength machine. The family scraped together every cent they had to buy it. They drained savings accounts and dug coins out of the sofa. Finally, they had enough.

It was a fine day when Bill road with his dad to pick up the equipment. Bill remembers a jovial, hour-long trip discussing the bright horizons this new opportunity afforded them. They loaded the machine in the back of their truck and secured it right behind the cab. Mr. Tucker then invited his son to drive home. I'll let Bill tell you what happened next:

"As we were driving along, we were excited, and I, like any sixteen-year-old driver, was probably not paying enough attention to my speed. Just as we were turning on the cloverleaf to get on the expressway, I will never ever, ever forget watching that sewing machine, which was already top-heavy, begin to tip. I slammed on the brakes, but it was too late. I saw it go over the side. I jumped out and ran around the back of the truck. As I rounded the corner, I saw our hope and our dream lying on its side in pieces. And then I saw my dad just looking. All of his risk and all of his endeavor and all of his struggling and all of his dream, all of his hope to take care of his family was lying there, shattered.

"You know what comes next don't you? 'Stupid, punk kid driving too fast, not paying attention, ruined the family by taking away our livelihood.' But that's not what he said. He looked right at me. 'Oh, Bill, I am so sorry.' And he walked over, put his arms around me, and said, 'Son, this is going to be okay.'

God is whispering the same to you. Those are his arms you feel. Trust him. That is his voice you hear. Believe him. Allow the only decision maker in the universe to comfort you. Life at times appears to fall to pieces, seem irreparable. But it's going to be okay. How can you know? Because God so loved the world. If God can make a billion galaxies, can't he make good out of our bad and sense out of our faltering lives? Of course he can. He is God.

From 3:16, The Numbers of Hope
Copyright (W Publishing Group, 2007) Max Lucado

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Happy Valentine’s Day (or Singles Awareness Day as the case may be)!

Given that this is Valentine’s Day week, it’s only fitting we should all take a moment and talk, or at least think, about love. Personally, I like love. It’s a nice thing, a gift. I have many friends who are celebrating a “first” this Valentine’s Day; first V-Day being together, first one being engaged, the first one being married, and first one with a kid or two kids. It’s all very sweet and wonderful, but not what I’m going to talk about and not what God has been speaking to me about this week.

When I read the Bible for my daily devotional time, I read the same passage or chapter or whatever for five days and each day, God shows me something different, something that I hadn’t seen on the first, second, third, or fourth reading! It’s pretty amazing!

My passage this week is Ephesians 3:14-21 (New Living Translation):

(Paul’s Prayer for Spiritual Growth)

14 When I think of all this, I fall to my knees and pray to the Father,15 the Creator of everything in heaven and on earth.16 I pray that from his glorious, unlimited resources he will empower you with inner strength through his Spirit. 17 Then Christ will make his home in your hearts as you trust in him. Your roots will grow down into God’s love and keep you strong. 18 And may you have the power to understand, as all God’s people should, how wide, how long, how high, and how deep his love is. 19 May you experience the love of Christ, though it is too great to understand fully. Then you will be made complete with all the fullness of life and power that comes from God.

20 Now all glory to God, who is able, through his mighty power at work within us, to accomplish infinitely more than we might ask or think. 21 Glory to him in the church and in Christ Jesus through all generations forever and ever! Amen.”

Here’s where God took me with this today (basically, I’m just going to copy these pages of my journal for you- note that this is written from God’s POV):

My love is:

-Wide enough to cover the breadth of your own experience and it reaches out to the whole world.

-Long enough to continue the length of our lives and long-suffering enough to put up with all your personal crap.

-High enough to rise to the heights of your celebration and elation.

-Deep enough to reach the depths of your discouragement, despair, and even your death.

Let My love act as a Quieter for your soul. Let Me quiet you in the midst of the storm, I am strong enough for you! Let My love be enough and you will never be disappointed in it. It’s human nature to want another person to be close to, I should know, I made you that way, but no other person can fill the gap in your heart that I created for Myself. I want to live in your heart, I want to make you strong so that you will be ready for the oncoming battle. Don’t you realize that without Me, you will not be able to stand? The thought of you falling brings tears to My eyes because I love you so much!

As you learn to trust Me, I will instill Myself in your heart all the more, I will shield your heart but only if you let Me. I can only move if you let me. This has nothing to do with My power and everything to do with your faith. I have more in store for you than you could ever dream! I have plans for you that would knock your socks off! And I want to tell you about them, but you must be ready! Fortify yourself with My love and you shall never ever fall where My love will not catch you.

I know there is so much more to learn from this passage, so much more that God can show me. I’m excited to learn more, to know more, to love more.

Happy Valentine’s Day (or Singles Awareness Day as the case may be)!!

Friday, February 6, 2009

When You Speak, God Hears

by Max Lucado

Those who pray keep alive the watch fires of faith. For the most part we don't even know their names. Such is the case of someone who prayed on a day long ago. His name is not important. He is important not because of who he was, but because of what he did.

He went to Jesus on behalf of a friend. His friend was sick, and Jesus could help, and someone needed to go to Jesus, so someone went. Others cared for the sick man in other ways. Some brought food; others provided treatment; still others comforted the family. Each role was crucial. Each person was helpful, but no one was more vital than the one who went to Jesus.

John writes: "So Mary and Martha sent someone to tell Jesus, 'Lord, the one you love is sick'" (John 11:3, emphasis mine).

Someone carried the request. Someone walked the trail. Someone went to Jesus on behalf of Lazarus. And because someone went, Jesus responded.

In the economy of heaven, the prayers of saints are a valued commodity. John the apostle would agree. He wrote the story of Lazarus and was careful to show the sequence: The healing began when the request was made.

The phrase the friend of Lazarus used is worth noting. When he told Jesus of the illness, he said, "The one you love is sick." The power of the prayer, in other words, does not depend on the one who makes the prayer but on the one who hears the prayer.

We can and must repeat the phrase in manifold ways. "The one you love is tired, sad, hungry, lonely, fearful, depressed." The words of the prayer vary, but the response never changes. The Savior hears the prayer. He silences heaven so he won't miss a word. The Master heard the request. Jesus stopped whatever he was doing and took note of the man's words. This anonymous courier was heard by God.

John's message is critical. You can talk to God because God listens. Your voice matters in heaven. He takes you very seriously. When you enter his presence, the attendants turn to you to hear your voice. No need to fear that you will be ignored. Even if you stammer or stumble, even if what you have to say impresses no one, it impresses God--and he listens.

Intently. Carefully. The prayers are honored as precious jewels. Purified and empowered, the words rise in a delightful fragrance to our Lord. "The smoke from the incense went up from the angel's hand to God" (Rev. 8:4). Incredible. Your words do not stop until they reach the very throne of God.

One call and heaven's fleet appears. Your prayer on earth activates God's power in heaven.

You are the someone of God's kingdom. Your prayers move God to change the world. You may not understand the mystery of prayer. You don't need to. But this much is clear: Actions in heaven begin when someone prays on earth. What an amazing thought!

When you speak, Jesus hears.

And when Jesus hears, the world is changed.

All because someone prayed.

In the Eye of the StormFrom
For These Tough Times:
Reaching Toward Heaven for Hope and Healing

© (Thomas Nelson Publishers, 2006) Max Lucado