Thursday, February 4, 2016

Discount Christianity

  
  
  
Prayer 


  Father God, help me to deny myself daily. Help me to take up my cross each and every day and to follow you, even when I am uncomfortable. Help me to love Truth and to walk by faith and not by sight. Give me strength, courage, and a willingness to serve you on your terms.Help me to live a surrendered life that you may receive glory. Please help my unbelief-I find it easy to trust you in many areas and in others I struggle. I declare my confidence and hope in you in the name of Jesus' I pray, Amen.  



Discount Christianity by Veronica Garrett 

 Then he said to them all: "If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me.”(Luke 9:23)

Following the Lord and daring to trust Him beyond myself is often hard. Surrendering my desires, hopes and dreams is at times a painful journey.  At times denying oneself is such a sad thing, but how else can a resurrected life be lived.  In order to live a new life by His power the old one has to die. The water immersion symbolized the death to self and newness of life in Christ.  
If we are not careful we promise people all the benefits of spirit filled living in what I call discount Christianity.  Webster defines a discount as a reduction made from a regular or list price. Many who are not willing to pay the price of being a disciple but would like to claim the peace and joy of the Lord, the power of God and blessing of His provision. They spend days, months, and years wondering why this Christianity thing doesn't seem to quite work for them.  
Meanwhile, everything about their message, their vision and values are counter Christianity.  The peace and joy of the Lord abided in the heart of those who are willing to trust and obey. Discount Christianity won't bring the power of God because He fills Himself into vessels that are poured out for His sake. The idea that God blesses rebellion and disobedience is untrue. His mercy and his blessings are entirely different.
In our society, many saints are left thinking that maybe if the Way wasn't so narrow, we could recruit celebrities who could attract a following for Jesus.  A discount Christianity says if we place a 75 %-90%  sticker sale then many will follow Christ. Just come to church and pay your tithes. God's wants to bless you. These two are a good start.  He wants a few hours of your time as well as 10% of your income, but more than these He wants YOU. While exercising your faith you are blessed.  
Many Christians are doing the Hokey Pokey. We spend a great deal of stepping out in faith and shrinking back from faith. Christ paid the full price for you. He took up the cup of suffering for me. Mere Christianity is giving one's life to Christ. When the Lord Jesus Christ has 100% of you then and only then are you most useful to Him and most privy to His resources (for His name sake).  

Thursday, January 28, 2016

Labor and Delivery



  
Prayer 

  Lord God, thank you for Your blessings and protection. Please forgive me for my sins and cleanse me from my unrighteous ways. Create in me  a clean heart, oh God, and renew a right spirit within me. Bless my Pastor, his family and the entire congregation. Bless this city, state, and nation, help your people who are called by your name to humble ourselves and pray. Give us sensitivity to Your spirit and Your will. Order our steps according to Your purpose and plans. Bless and protect my family, friends, coworkers, and the entire body of believers. In the name of my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, I pray. Amen.

              Labor and Delivery by Veronica Garrett 
Evening, morning and noon
       I cry out in distress,
       and he hears my voice. Psalm 55:17
Sometimes praying a thing through is like pregnancy.  A positive pregnancy test shows that   a woman is expecting a baby. Some blessings or deliverance we have to  nurture them in faith and in due season they are delivered. In the early stage of pregnancy a challenging time is the morning. And as the months go by, the pregnancy can become difficult in the middle of the night. Soon thereafter lunchtime can  be troubling. Then towards the end of pregnancy, the wee hours of the morning can be wearisome. 

Some blessings that God gives that are wrapped in time, you have to have faith to receive.  Often we go through seasons of praying in the early morning, midday, and late night.  We conversate with the Lord to hear what He’s saying about the situation.  Liken to pregnancy, a woman can be very pregnant and just not showing!  Faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see. (Hebrews 11:1)  
You cannot trust your eyes when you've prayed in faith because often in the meantime nothing seems to be happening. Consider that a pregnant woman believes she will soon hold a baby even when she hasn't gained an ounce. In fact, she celebrates the blessing with a baby shower and she makes many preparations. When we pray in desperation do we wait with great expectation? 
A pregnant woman changes her diet and life habits in consideration of her baby. A man or woman expecting a blessing from God walks uprightly before Him in great expectation. In fact, a pregnant woman prepares a hospital bag. Men and women walking by faith know that they must prepare themselves to enter the delivery room.
Being pregnant is a work and at times praying is too. When a pregnant woman says it’s time most often the delivery of the baby is near. When is God going to deliver?  I don’t know, you’ve been praying about it, what's He saying to you?  When it's really time, He will deliver. He could deliver without any cooperation on our part but most of the time He doesn't. He allows us to labor.  And then, at just the right time He delivers. 

Thursday, January 21, 2016

Forgiving a Betrayal


  

  
Prayer 

Gracious and loving Father, it is you O Lord that I greatly esteem. I'm so thankful for your tender mercies, new each and every morning. Cleanse me from my hidden sin. You desire truth in the hidden and secret places.  Bless my family, friends, and co-workers. Lord today I ask that you will especially bless my enemies. Pour your love into my heart in such away that your forgiveness shown to me lavishly overflows to those who have hurt me. In Jesus' name, Amen.

 Forgiving a Betrayal by Veronica Garrett 
Even my close friend, whom I trusted,
       he who shared my bread,
       has lifted up his heel against me." Psalm 41:9

 


A stranger can take advantage of us, deceive us, or manipulate us but only a friend or loved one can betray us. A person that we love and trust can bring pain into our lives that sting so deeply and wedge wounds that left alone with time that doesn't necessarily heal. If we are not careful the very pain and trauma that we have endured will break our hearts more with each passing day. 
There are few offenses that sting like that of knowing a love one has plotted against you. Somehow the one who was supposed to bring healing and safety brought deception and devastation. The damage may seem irreparable when we have been betrayed.When our efforts to protect ourselves from being hurt by anyone results in us being guarded from everyone we have allowed the offense to have a lasting power over our life’s journey.
There is a culture that says we should forgive and forget, but perhaps we should pray God’s forgiveness to overflow our hearts so that we can forgive.  The Lord God chooses not to remember our sins but that doesn’t mean that he’s forgotten them.  He knows the end from the beginning so He does not erase his awareness of our sins but he says for his own sake he does not remember.  
He chooses not to hold our confessed and repented offenses against us because our Savior paid our sin debt.  We must follow his example and for our own sake choose to free those who have hurt us.  We must choose to grace them as we ourselves have received grace through faith. It is my prayer that God will enlighten the eyes of your heart that you may rejoice in beauty and blessing of being forgiven so that it may overflow to others.

Thursday, January 14, 2016

He Went Down

  

  
Prayer 


Awesome Father, Mighty God, Lord of all Creation thank you for loving me before anyone else knew me.  Gracious father, I’m humbled by your redeeming love for me and more than that I want to be obedient to you even in the small things. I surrender my life so that you will be glorified.  My earnest desire is to faithfully serve you. Thank you for directing me, correcting me and protecting me. I pray that you would lead and guide me today and every day. Not my will, but yours be done in my life. In Jesus’ name I pray, Amen.  
 He Went Down by Veronica Garrett 

"The word of the Lord came to Jonah son of Amittai: “Go to the great city of Nineveh and preach against it, because its wickedness has come up before me. But Jonah ran away from the Lord and headed for Tarshish. He went down to Joppa, where he found a ship bound for that port.  After paying the fare he went aboard and sailed for Tarshish to flee from the Lord. Then the Lord sent a great wind on the sea, and such a violent storm arose that the ship threatened to break up.” Jonah 1:1-4




Jonah knew that God was calling him to Nineveh but instead he went to Tarshish. Yes, he ran from the Lord and then he went down to Joppa. In fact these two cities were at opposite ends of the Mediterranean commercial sphere. Is there something that God has called you to do that you are running from?  Any time we run from God make no mistake just like Jonah, we go down.  It could appear as if we are moving up the corporate ladder but if we are going contrary to God’s direction we too are going down. We could be serving a ministry other than the one God really wants us to.
You see after Jonah had boarded the ship the Lord sent a great wind on the sea and such a violent storm arose that the ship was in jeopardy of breaking apart. Usually when God adjust our course with a storm it is as if something strange is happening. The wind can be likened to a series of unfortunate events blowing our way. And before we can recover from the winds of adversity a violent storm arises. It looks as though everything will be demolished in this storm. We must be willing to humble ourselves and acknowledge our rebellion against God. If God has orchestrated these events to help us get on course we must cry out in repentance. The sailors reluctantly threw Jonah overboard and then the sea grew calm.  The storm itself did not refrain until Jonah was thrown overboard.
During a crisis even nonbeliever’s pray and request prayer. The sailors on the ship were afraid and each cried out to his own god. You see there is nothing that brings us to crying out to God like crisis.  In fact, the sailors even offered a sacrifice to the Lord and made vows to him. When people in your sphere of influence are experiencing a storm seize the opportunity to introduce them to the Lord. Our God is more than able to save them in the mist of their trial.
I don’t know about you but I don’t want to go down. Where can we run away from God? The earth is! The winds and the waves obey Him! We can never get too far from his purpose. He can reset our course at any time. The change, or delta correction can at times be as bumpy as riding in the belly of a great fish. Avoid going down by choosing to live in the will of God. 

Thursday, January 7, 2016

The Blessing of One Who Intercedes



  
Prayer 


  Merciful Father, thank you for your blessings. Help me to have a life of interceding for others. Teach me how to not only counsel my friends, coworkers and family but to also pray for them without cease. Help me to serve you wholeheartedly and to trust you completely. In Jesus' name, Amen



The Blessing of One Who Intercedes by Veronica Garrett 


When Abigail saw David, she quickly got off her donkey and bowed down before David with her face to the ground. She fell at his feet and said: “My lord, let the blame be on me alone. Please let your servant speak to you; hear what your servant has to say.”
Abigail was the wife of a very wealthy Nabal. She was smart and beautiful but her husband was mean and wicked in his business transactions. While David was in the desert he sent ten young men to Nabal with a warm greeting making a request for his favor. Nabal’s reply, was “Who is this David? Who is the son of Jesse? Why should I take my wealth and give it to you people coming from who knows where? When David’s men brought the report back to him his reply was, “put on your swords”. And they put them one and David put on his. About four hundred men went with David. In the meantime one of Nabal’s servants told his wife Abigail. “David sent messengers from the desert to give our master his greetings, but he hurled insults at them”…in fact, they protected us while we were in the fields. Think about this and see what you can do.  Disaster is hanging over our master and his whole household. He is such a wicked man that no one can talk to him.
Abigail wasted no time she gathered a feast for a king. She sends her servants ahead with the feast. She didn’t tell her husband but she went riding her donkey to meet David. When she saw David, she quickly got off her donkey and bowed down before him with her face to the ground. She takes full blame for Nabal’s folly. She admits that he is wicked and that his name means Fool. She pleads with David that since the Lord has kept him from bloodshed that he allow God to avenge him and she blesses David and curses his enemies. She acknowledges God’s promise for David to become leader over Israel so he should not even have the burden of Nabal’s needless blood on his hand. David praises God for her intervention because his mission was to kill every male in Nabal’s household. He accepts her offering and sends her home in peace. He heard her words and granted her request.
Abigail is captured in scripture as woman of intercession. When seeing her husband’s folly she doesn’t go and give him a piece of her mind she makes an offering for him.  David is to be an earthly king and since Nabal had set his face against God’s soon to be leader we see that her intercessions were not for a small matter.  Who is this David? Who is the son of Jesse?  He is in the lineage of the promised Messiah. He is God’s anointed!   When she bowed to make intercessions she was honest and she was compassionate. As we see she lavishly made an offering, she admitted her husband’s guilt, praised the king, she took his folly upon herself, and begged for forgiveness while petitioning the king. How much would we see our request granted if the child of God would instead of calling our friends who have no power to grant any request? Bow a knee to the King of kings praised & pray to him, asking for a divine intervention.

Thursday, December 31, 2015

A Matter of the Heart

Prayer 

Father God, 
I am desperate for you. Give me a heart, an earnest desire, and a willingness to serve you in all that I do. Give me a pure heart so that I may see your grace in my life. Help me to be grateful for your blessings each and every day. Strengthen me so that I will endure each blow that life send’s my way. In Jesus’ name, Amen.   





A Matter of the Heart by Veronica Garrett 
  Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize. (1 Corinthians 9:24)


 
My fitness trainer told me, “I’m going to start you off with cardio.  Walk briskly one minute, run for one minute and do this for one mile.” This exercise strengthens the heart. In time I am able to run the mile. I have found that before I can run for Jesus I must first learn to walk with Him. In the life of a Christian we have to learn how to walk with God. It all starts with the heart. Salvation begins with a changed heart, one that believes that Jesus Christ has been raised from the dead. 
In order to work out our salvation we must learn to have an intimate walk with God.  This strengthens a heart for God. Far too often Christians lose their passion for Christ.  He calls us to good works that he prepared in advance for us to do. The work itself brings the greatest fulfillment and passion for life. Each Christian has a race to run that is very personal and specific to God’s plan for their lives. Running the race that God has prepared is the source of your greatest joy.  I cannot run your race.  You cannot run mine. In order to live life abundantly we have got to run the race.
Many say that God created you for tremendous blessings of wealth, power, and influence. Even so, the source of joy in the life of a believer is not attached to tangible things. Pursue God and His will for your life and you will have passion. To run the race you have got to have heart.
Ask any coach what gets an athlete farther talent or heart.  He will tell you that you have got to have heart. The race doesn’t go to the swift or the strong but to the one that endures to end. In order to keep from quitting during the tough times you have got to have heart.  A strong heart towards Christ is what keeps you going.  It all started with the heart. And crossing the finishing line, in essence finishing your God assigned race, is a matter of the heart.

Thursday, December 24, 2015

The Power of Prayer


Prayer


 My Lord, My God, I thank you for the outpour of your blessings, your rich presence, and the work of your Spirit. At times I struggle in prayer, searching to find the right words to express my concerns.  I'm confident that even when I don't know how I should pray the Holy Spirit intercedes with groans on my behalf that I cannot understand. Help me to pray continually about the cares of life. Bless our nation and its leaders that they may govern righteously. Prick the hearts of your people, draw us closer to you and reveal yourself to us daily. Open the eyes of our hearts so that we can serve You faithfully. In Jesus' name, Amen. 


 The Power of Prayer by Veronica Garrett 

  The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective. James 5:16
   
Years ago, I was a frequent business traveler.  I was very comfortable flying the friendly skies.  On this particular day all passengers were seated with belts fastened because the stewardess had completed her safety demonstration. The doors to the plane were secure and the carrier had pushed away from the docking zone. The airplane began to taxi to the runway. Sitting on a busy runway of a major airport, we awaited our turn to take off. Eventually, the airplane began to move forward with sure speed. 
This particular day I felt a sudden urge to pray.  I can only explain that often I feel the prompting of the spirit but this moment I felt a tremendous urgency. This had never occurred during a flight I begin to pray for family, friends, and the airplane and travel safety.  I can recollect that my instant thought was regarding those I loved. 
 I didn’t immediately consider that my flight was in jeopardy.  Almost immediately the Boeing 747 airplane suddenly stops. The passengers quickly became quiet because this was not a normal flight occurrence. I sat in astonishment knowing that I had bombarded heaven just seconds prior. The pilot came over the loud speaker only to tell us that another aircraft had erroneously taken off when we were about to take off.
I thank God for his prompting and allowing me to experience the power of prayer in such way.  Far too often we organize our prayer petitions in the "draft" folder of our heart and yet fail to "send" the prayer towards Heaven. We definitely want to feel the effects of answered prayer but we must always remember it is asking, seeking, and knocking we experience the blessing of answered prayer.