Do you need a bit of Good News today ? If so, I have something for you. If you have accepted Jesus as your Savior, you are already blessed with the experience Christians refer to as Eternal Life. Here is something to consider – you don’t have to wait until you have passed onto Glory to experience this gift, you have a gift card to use and redeem right now – your card was activated by Jesus when you became born again. There is no expiration and no black out dates ! You are now walking in Eternal Living!
John 17:3 AMPNow this is eternal life: that they may know You, the only true [supreme and sovereign] God, and [in the same manner know] Jesus [as the] Christ whom You have sent.
Eternal life is a reference to Eternal salvation. The word Salvation in the Greek is Sozo and is the same word used for Healing. God uses the same spiritual mechanism to save as He does to heal, and that is the acceptance of His Son and everything that Jesus died to give. When experiencing sickness, disease, or infirmity, make a decision to focus on the cross and the body of Christ and the physical aspects of His sacrifice. Thank Jesus for everything that He did on the cross to purchase your healing from ______ illness. I can tell you from experience that the illness will quickly begin living on borrowed time.
Jesus has paid all sin debt – He was the only one that could. Your authentic acceptance of Jesus as the perfect sacrifice is what saves you from Eternal damnation, scooping you away from the edge of the cliff and placing you back onto firm standing on the rock.
John 3:36AMP “He who believes and trusts in the Son and accepts Him [as Savior] has eternal life [that is, already possesses it]; but he who does not believe the Son and chooses to reject Him, [disobeying Him and denying Him as Savior] will not see [eternal] life, but [instead] the wrath of God hangs over him continually.”
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FB: Tracy Gatewood Christian Writer and Teacher
Author: Doorways of Grace: My Uncommon Journey to Healing, Wholeness and Meeting Jesus – available on Amazon.
We come before you with praise and thanksgiving for the many blessings that you have bestowed on us, on our families on our communities and on our great nation. We thank you for placing us in this time and season of history because we know that your divine timing is perfect and You make no mistakes. Your ways are as pure as they are wise and your ways are as good as they are wise and pure and ALL of your actions are done for Your glory.
Today I petition for your help for our nation the United States of America. This beautiful country which was crafted by your hands through men and women placed in a holy crucible, as they were led by your spirit to form this nation. Lord we ask you for your mercy on us as we again come to a crossroad of opinions and agendas. I ask you to blow the smoke away from the nation and set a right order, your order – within every official – coming in or departing. Show them the way – the right and honorable way – to lead during these times. I ask that You please move to restore order to our communities and across this Land with speed.
You are the Almighty – El Elyon – and as those who believe seek you in the Secret Place, we know that we remain stable and fixed under your protection, while covered underneath the shadow of your power. We call out the death spirits of LAWLESSNESS and FEAR and command them by the power of Jesus Name and by our authority in the Blood of Jesus that these spirits be bound and silenced across our communities and this nation. We accept our duty as Holy Warriors of the Kingdom to exercise our abilities to defeat demonic forces through spiritual means by taking our authority in prayer to dismantle their assaults. We also call on angelic forces to surround our communities and bring them to order. We ask that in Jesus Name. I decree a bloodline of protection around my city, my state and our nation from these demonic spiritual attacks.
In these uncommon times Lord, we ask for uncommon levels of GRACE – for you to show yourself as Mighty, calming the hearts of the people and showing them that your hand is on this hour for all people, not just the ones that claim you as Lord. We pray that quivering hearts and minds will turn toward you in this hour and claim your truths afresh rather than defaulting to fear and the fearful tactics of anger, rage and even murder.
We need you Father here in America. We depend on You to navigate our nation through supernatural means to extricate our government away from the precipice of economic destruction due to $20 trillion dollars of debt. We depend on You for wisdom in how to make determinations on people that have moved into this country by illegal means. We depend on Your wisdom Lord to shine the light on all of the major social issues that are consuming the minds of the American people and to assist our leaders in making these profoundly impactful decisions. We cannot move ahead successfully without you, Father. We must have your strength, your power and the wisdom that comes through You from above.
Hope defined is a confident expectation of good in every situation. Please restore HOPE and CONFIDENCE in the people of America, reminding each one of the great things that you have done in past times. Remind them that You are God – and Republicans and Democrats are not nor will ever be. That You alone direct the water courses of Kings and Nations and that work in this Nation will glorify You or change can occur with no notice to insure your will is done. We ask for your Spirit to lead our Nation to a balance of HOPE and RESTORED ORDER beginning now, today. Shut the mouths of the slanderers, mockers and gossipers who are filled with hate and who are stoking the flames of fear among the people. Quench the fire of the Religious and Fan the Flame of anointing in people that are in true authentic relationship with Jesus. Draw people to your Word for Truth and Knowledge, away from political pundits and mere men that cannot properly discern these times and seasons. Give your people 20/ 20 Vision in the Realm of the Spirit to see what you want us to see and to help those that cannot see You in these circumstances and have them help without judgment.
Now to the people listening – I speak to every spirit of Fear and I rebuke you in Jesus Name. Jesus bequeathed peace to everyone that claimed a relationship with Him and I release Peace into your mind. Jesus bore a crown of thorns on His head that drew the blood that Purchased peace in our minds for all of mankind so by the power and authority that I have in the Name of Jesus and By the Blood of Jesus – I bind up Fear and I release Peace, and Calm. I decree that the Tormenter be Silenced in Jesus Name.
Thank you for your mercy and great kindness. Your love endures forever. When I ask, you impart gifts from your Holy Spirit and as needed, the gifts of love, patience, kindness, self-control are brought to me without delay. Through my failures and successes, you have equipped me with sound wisdom, but your correct time and seasons are without fault or error to impart this wisdom. I seek timing, leading and most importantly, even more of your wisdom.
Because I walk in undeserved, unmerited favor, I live expectant that doors of great opportunity unlock on my behalf and in their correct time and season. The favor of the Lord opens doors that no man can shut. The favor of the Lord is upon me, and He confirms and establishes the work of my hands. Because of the New Covenant and the finished work of Jesus, my career is blessed, my family is blessed and my ministry work is blessed. I have been granted the keys to the Kingdom. Because I have dominion on the earth, what I bind on earth will be bound in heaven.
I decree that the favor of the Lord surrounds me like a shield against all enemies. When I call forth the blood of Jesus as protection – I speak into existence an impenetrable fortress. I am always above and I am never beneath. I am always the head and I am never the tail. Jesus has acquired all heavenly wisdom and because I am in Him and He is in me seated in heavenly places at the Father’s right hand – His Spirit counsels and teaches me skillful and Godly wisdom for any circumstance. I have the Spirit of Jesus Christ living in me and possess the identical power that raised Him from the dead and back to life. Thank you, God for the gift of your Spirit to me.
In the Name of Jesus I Pray – AMEN (So Be it)
Prayers of Grace –
FB: Tracy Gatewood Christian Writer and Teacher
Author: Doorways of Grace, available on Amazon
I praise you with thanksgiving for this day, and for the many blessings that You have set before me. The work of your Son is complete so as I stand from victory for my prosperity, my safety and protection, my healing and wholeness, I hold on to the truth of Your Word. As I look unto Jesus and in the knowledge of His perfect sacrifice, I will move forward in confidence and boldness that He is partnering with me and mediating on my behalf. I remain fixed and focused on Jesus , relinquishing all self-occupation, fear and condemnation.
I am grateful that I have a good, good Father that loves me with an immutable, infinite caring love. The knowledge of this great love fills me with the light of hope and happiness. Knowing that my Father loves me and that Jesus is partnering with me in all family, career and ministry matters, keeps me grounded and provides a stable foundation for all areas of my life. While my sapphire foundation was established through affliction, You Lord set my gates, walls and foundation with precious stones. Your love and kindness never depart from me and your covenant of peace and completeness will never be removed.
I have been established in righteousness and I am in right standing because I seek to live in conformity to God’s will and His order. I am far from thoughts of oppression or certain destruction because I fully embrace the power of the Blood of Jesus Christ over my life. Righteousness, peace and victory over opposition is my heritage as a servant of my Lord and my God. I gladly receive the reward of peace as vindication for all unrighteous acts done to me.
In the Name of Jesus I Pray – AMEN (So be it)
Prayers of Grace –
Facebook: Tracy Gatewood Christian Writer and Teacher
Author: Doorways of Grace, available on Amazon
The following is a prayer that is written for you and based on Ephesians 6:10 – 18 as well as the New Covenant promises made to all who believe in Jesus Christ. I hope that you will print this prayer and read it aloud as part of your daily reflection.
Heavenly Father, I come before you with praise and thanksgiving for the many blessings that you have given me. It is your desire that I walk by faith and not by sight throughout all circumstances, standing on the promises of your Word which exhort me to put on complete armor (v6:12AMP) so that I may stand firmly, resisting every intrusion of the enemy, drawing strength by the power of your Holy Spirit. I cast every care onto Jesus who has by His eternal blood, rescued me from every contagion, all lack, pestilence, and calamity. Your Spirit is my strength in every time of need.
Now Father, having done everything to stand through all danger, I tighten the Belt of Truth around my waist that secures this armor and look unto Jesus who is all Truth and Grace as He stands victorious on my behalf. I have been crucified in Christ and it is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me.
Confidently, I put on the Breastplate of Righteousness which diligently guards my heart from condemnation and accusation as well as protects my chest cavity. I am the righteousness of God by faith in Christ Jesus, seated in Heavenly places at the Father’s right hand (2 Cor 5:21, Ephesians 2:6) therefore I am in right standing with God because of Christ’s sacrifice and my relationship to Him.
Gratefully, I put on the Shoes of Peace that allow me to stand firmly and with stability with no fear and in true understanding of the grace given to me by my Lord Jesus Christ. I also remind myself that You Lord are my Defender.
I lift my Faith as a Shield to quench every destructive emotional spirit sent to me by the enemy. By faith I lean my entire personality on God in absolute trust and confidence in His power, wisdom and goodness.
I place the Helmet of Salvation and hope on my head to guard my mind and believe always in a confident expectation of good in every situation, praising God for my wholeness, restoration, financial protection, and deliverance from all evil. I ask for the manifestation of every blessing given to Abraham as a joint heir of his Covenant which has been purchased by the precious blood of Jesus.
With confidence and respect, I wield the Sword of the Spirit, which is the inerrant Word of God. I ask you Father to enable me to use your Word to defend me from Satan and for the purpose of claiming your promises.
Finally, I Pray in the Spirit in every season and persist in watching out for fellow believers, praying for them with depth and intensity as your Holy Spirit leads me. Thank you for giving me a burden for people who do not know your Son. I ask for 20/20 vision in the realm of the Spirit to discern your wisdom and your will for me as well as for others.
I ask all these things in the mighty Name of Jesus Christ my Lord. AMEN (So be it)
#Prayer #Pray #ArmorofGod
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From October 2009 to early summer of 2012, I earned a PhD in FEAR during a remarkable season of transition. From the time that I made a commitment to move back to my hometown in July 2009 until 3 years later – I white knuckled my way through a lengthy list of peaks and (far and away mostly) valleys. If you have ever walked through a Job season, then you can clearly relate to what I am referring. My family and close friends watched in disbelief as a series of extreme circumstances came in wave after wave over several years, but in the fullness of His time, but by His grace, God redeemed my desperate and bleak situation, opening up new avenues of hope and restoration.
Joel 2:23-26 AMPBe then glad, you children of Zion, and rejoice in the Lord, your God; for He gives you the former or early rain in just measure and in righteousness, and He causes to come down for you the rain, the former rain and the latter rain as before. And the (threshing) floors shall be full of grain and the vats shall overflow with juice (of the grape) and oil. And I will restore or replace for you the years that the locust has eaten-the hopping locust; the stripping locust, and the crawling locust, My great army which I sent among you. And you shall eat in plenty and be satisfied and praise the name of the Lord, your God. Who has dealt wondrously with you. And my people shall never be put to shame.
During this season I had well meaning friends, say to me any number of things, “Tracy, where’s your faith?”, I had never struggled with my faith, actually I always believed that I had very strong faith but no amount of faith was turning around these problems or “Why don’t you just get a job!”, like I had not been looking under every rock for one for over a year, or telling me that I was going in the wrong direction in returning back to Tuscaloosa – even after I had explained exhaustively that God had told me to move back. One couple whom I mistakenly trusted, successfully convinced me that I had waited too long to move after being called by God to do so and I was obviously being chastened. Unfortunately, I allowed this latter remark to seep into my soul, and this was one of 3 primary reasons that I slipped into a downward, even vertical spiral of total condemnation that almost destroyed my mind. Condemnation will kill you. Fear will kill you, too.
A Description of Fear
Fear is an evil spirit. That’s right, what most people associate with horror movies or witches, fear spirits are in the unseen realm that surround us. Just like Angels are in the unseen, a person cannot see an evil spirit. If you accept one you should accept the existence of the other. Fear is also an emotional response to a real and undesired situation however it is when fear is left to run rampant and unabated, continually flailing around in a person’s mind, is when this spirit has the ability to lodge into a soul and wreak havoc in the life of anyone. All people are made up of (3) things: Spirit, Soul and Body. If you have accepted Christ, then your spirit is connected to the Holy Spirit which is how you hear the will of God, your soul is comprised of (3) things: your mind, your will and your emotions.
Throughout this season of fear, I had the choice of either learning how to combat this spirit or allow it to kill me. I decided I wanted to fight and to live. After observing the effects of extreme fear at a very close range for a prolonged season, I concluded the following:
1) The enemy always enters a person’s mind or soul cloaked in a spirit of fear or cloaked in a spirit of condemnation. Even the slightest root of fear can open the door to a full blown attack. Keep the fear door closed tightly.
2) Fear acts as a portal into a person’s soul through which every negative emotion can and will flow: confusion, depression, suicide, insecurity, greed, envy, jealousy, trauma, abuse, shame, and terror. Its always Fear (or condemnation) First before the associated negative emotion kicks in.
3) The immediate response to a spirit of fear must be trust in God (belief versus unbelief). Keep faith building scripture verses close at hand to combat fear, just as you would keep Vitamin C and Zinc close at hand if you have a cold. Faith is the antidote to fear. Speak these verses ALOUD.
4) Fear is the enemy’s heaven – fear is like oxygen to the demonic.
5) If the spirit of fear is not present, the enemy has nothing to convert to evil – he has nothing on which to “latch” himself to a person. This is an essential point to grasp in the understanding of the subject of fear and strategy of the enemy.
Jesus, Your Great High Priest Hebrews 8: 6-7
But as it is now, He (Christ) has acquired a (priestly) ministry which is as much superior and more excellent (than the old) as the covenant (the agreement) of which He is the Mediator (the Arbiter, Agent), is superior and more excellent, (because) it is enacted and rests upon more important promises. For if that first covenant had been without defect, there would have been no room for another one or an attempt to institute another one.
This might be your first exposure to New Covenant terminology, and if so, I wish that I had the time to completely round out this wonderful topic in its entirety but this article is blog length. When Jesus was sacrificed on the cross, His resurrection served as ratification of a brand New Covenant (agreement) with all people that have accepted Him as their Savior. There are many, many things that shifted from the Old Testament over to the New following the crucifixion but in regards to freedom, Jesus’ death and specifically His blood, bought back from the enemy, our ability to walk in complete freedom at our will, through the power of the Holy Spirit. You have been given the ability to self deliver – you have the ability to pray for healing for yourself and call on God’s power to answer your prayer. If you are struggling with any emotional issue in your mind -(1) picture yourself standing firmly rooted and grounded in the love of God – God’s perfect love will cast out fear. Drawing on God’s love for you will bring confidence.(2) Understand that Jesus has purchased your right of ownership to a sound mind (He is Jehovah Shalom-the Prince of Peace), and your mind can now be calibrated into rest and to the perfect mind of Christ. This was won for you at The Cross.
Binding and Loosing
Although rarely taught, the scriptural way to eradicate a spirit; fear, depression, suicide, confusion, condemnation or anything previously mentioned is a technique that is so simple, and it is how Jesus Himself instructs us to control things we choose to declare to be unlawful or improper. In fact He states in Matthew 16:19 that He is giving us the ” keys to the kingdom “.
Matthew 16:19 AMP
“I will give you the keys to the kingdom of heaven; and whatever you bind (declare to be improper and unlawful) on earth must be what is already bound in heaven: and whatever you loose (declare lawful) on earth must be what is already loosed in heaven.”
When you bind, and rebuke a spirit – you send it packing. Binding it up, renders it null and void. Conversely, you can loose or release an opposite spirit (joy, hope, a sound mind), right back into yourself or another person for whom you are praying. It’s right there in the bible. Jesus Himself holds the Key of David:
Isaiah 22:22 – And the key of the house of David I will lay upon His shoulder: He shall open and no one shall shut, He shall shut and no one shall open.
This is Jesus. Jesus is the literal Tree of Life.
The Gospel of Grace allows us to be transformed by Jesus from glory to glory and it also allows for some tactical “moves” that are administrated by the Holy Spirit. If you want to free yourself from fear – declare it aloud and speak to the fear like it was a person (actually it is a thing). Tell that spirit that your are binding and breaking it in the name of Jesus and by the blood of Jesus. Acknowledge the work of Jesus on the cross in Isaiah 53. Stand firmly planted in the love of God and believe that you are standing firm from a victorious stance, never fighting from a position of defeat. You are not your emotions, and these things cannot continue to remain if you identify them, carefully bind them, rebuke them and ask God to send them away. Although you are speaking the words, this is a work of the Holy Spirit and Jesus holds the keys to close the door on these offenders.
It is so simple – no process – and it is God’s Recipe for Success and Freedom From Fear and Condemnation.
Please note: If you follow me on WordPress, I am changing the name of this blog to match my Twitter account ~ sacredramblings.com. When account names are changed WordPress cautions that you can lose all manner of things so if I lose you, please come back to me 🙂 and sign up for sacredramblings.com. Peace and Grace to you and let me know if I can pray for your emotional healing and freedom from fear!
I was a late bloomer in knowing Jesus. As a child, I grew up attending church every Sunday, sitting there week after week believing I had everything necessary to get to heaven when it was my time to “pass” (I never liked that term – still don’t). In college and in my 20’s I steered clear of churches but in my early 30’s I lived on an Atlanta street that bounded the largest Presbyterian church in the country. The pastor was an older gentleman and great communicator of masterfully crafted moral essays that made my sharp young mind really think about moral virtue, where I was headed and why, but he rarely mentioned Jesus.
Time wore on and 4 days shy of my 35th birthday, I married a quiet, reserved man unknowingly that was hiding a profoundly advanced addiction.The next 1.5 years were chaotic adjusting into newly married life, moving twice and for him – trying to slay this addiction before I found out about it. Did I mention advanced. Three years into the marriage, after his repeated job losses, I was well fed up with the bizarre, unexplained behavior. The confrontation finally occurred, the truth came out and the magnitude of the circumstances were beyond anything that I could understand or imagine. We attended a great church but were not deeply involved and I was a base level believer. Immediately following the “exposure” he moved out to live with his Sponsor (I had no idea what that meant), living away from our home for over a year. It was during that time of total devastation that my walk with Jesus started as does this story.
At 37, I had no friends that had been divorced and had waited late in life to marry, determined never to end up a divorce statistic myself. My parents divorced while I was in college so I fully understood the damaging impact on families and individuals that walk through that trauma and wanted no part of it. I became acutely aware that I needed a place of belonging and began to search earnestly for answers to all of the pain. I was told of an evening bible study that was meeting up the street from my Dunwoody home; it was called 7:22 and geared toward college students and younger singles. I knew no one going there but heard that the teaching was sound, and it was taught by some guy named Louie Giglio.
I had also tried out a church a few times that was meeting on Sunday evenings while they raised the funds to build their own. It was called North Point Community Church with a pastor named Andy Stanley. He was an excellent speaker. I watched him actually teach straight from the bible, at times word for word,making sense of the bible for me for the very first time. I was hooked, learning about Jesus. He was cool. (I mark this as the time that I accepted Christ and began my relationship with Him and was baptized shortly thereafter in a North Point elder’s swimming pool) Both of these meetings were occurring at the same church about 2 miles from my home. Within 4 months, I was working for North Point and about 6 months following that, became responsible for non production aspects of 7:22 (volunteers, prayer, resource sales, customer service, etc.) 7:22, an interdenominational service for Atlanta college and single adults, quickly grew to a weekly attendance of 2800.
Although the Lord had miraculously opened a door of grace for me through this dark time, I was still actively searching for answers. Jesus seemed very far away, He was up there with God, but I needed Him down here with me ~ desperately. My marriage had imploded ending 12/1999, I could no longer afford my home, my now former husband had no job and had returned to his south Alabama family. When I went to work for North Point, I decided to close my successful staffing business. I had no active relationship with my own family. Jesus felt way “out there”, and I needed Him to be way “inside”. My prior idea of personal success had always been defined very differently. I felt as if I was treading water with no sign of moving upward, little understanding of my identity in Christ.
During this very confusing time, I left my position at the church in 12/2000 and began to prepare to leave Atlanta which felt like a tremendous relief. I put the house on the market and watched as month after month passed – no one came to look at it. I was desperate to leave the city that I associated with so much pain. In the waiting, I was told of a 28 week program that would assist with my healing and felt the Lord’s confirmation to me to take that direction. The house came off the market and I took the course. Each week, a guest lecturer spoke on an important topic of healing and then our leaders prayed over us for one solid hour each week- we were not allowed to speak, and prayers of deep healing were prayed over each of us and our individual circumstances.
I am convinced that the reason that I am healed and restored today over this situation is because 1) I forgave my former husband and 2) from the effects of these healing prayers. I am free of that damaging wound purely by the grace of God and the active working of the blood of Jesus. (the latter of which I have not understood until the last six years).
Ephesians 3:20 NKJV Now to Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us, to Him be glory in the church of Christ Jesus to all generations, forever and ever. Amen.
Ephesians 3:20 AMP Now to Him Who, by (in consequence of) the (action of His) power that is at work within us, is able to (carry out His purpose and ) do super abundantly, far over and above all that we dare ask or think (infinitely beyond our highest prayers, desires, thoughts , hopes or dreams) To Him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations forever and ever. Amen (so be it).
Immediately following His crucifixion and resurrection, Jesus appeared to the Apostles and breathed into them the life of the Holy Spirit. At Pentecost, the Holy Spirit was released into 3,000 people. These are the Bible’s first accounts of people being saved as the grace of God was poured out into humanity following the death and resurrection of His Son. The sacrifice that formed an Eternal Covenant between God and Jesus for all mankind also installed Jesus as our Advocate where He sits at the right hand of God, making intercession for us every day. The Holy Spirit, the very spirit of God that knows His will, is deposited into us as our internal Counselor, Comforter, Teacher, GPS, and Best Friend. The Holy Spirit is your Sword of Gideon.
The Old Testament story of Gideon details an account of God choosing him to be the one to deliver Israel from the Midianites. Despite his feelings of inadequacy, Gideon continued to put one foot in front of the other in obediance to the will of God. After asking God to confirm His will multiple times, God’s mercy prevailed and Gideon moved forward to fight the Midianites and Amalekites “who lay along the valley like locusts for multitude” (Judges 7:12) As the great battle neared, Gideon heard a dream interpreted that described a cake of barley bread that rolled into the camp of the Midianites, flattening their tent. (Barley was very inexpensive and the least of all grains, distinguished from ‘fine flour’.) Gideon’s family was the poorest in Manasseh and he was the least in his family but through the Lord’s detailed direction, Gideon and his small band of 300 warriors destroyed the Kings and Princes of Midian, Oreb and Zeeb, and 120,000 of their men fell by the Sword.
Ephesians 3:16 AMP May He grant you out of the rich treasury of His glory to be strengthened with mighty power in the inner man by the Holy Spirit (Himself indwelling your innermost being and personality).
The Holy Spirit is a person, working in and through, enabling you to become more like Christ while providing necessary tools and communication to live successfully. His primary role is to point you to Jesus but one of His roles is to administrate and orchestrate the redemptive covenant benefits awarded by grace through the blood and resurrection of Jesus –
It is the will of God for all people to fully understand what His Son purchased for them and walk in the fullness of the glory of the New Covenant.
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Over the past year plus more following the devastating April 2011 tornado, I have prayed diligently for my hometown; Tuscaloosa, Alabama. One December day, I prayed a simple prayer asking God specifically to allow the University of Alabama to win the BCS Championship. I barely know a field goal from a safety but I do understand that winning the National Championship brings hundreds of thousands of fans to Tuscaloosa, driving millions of dollars into its sales tax base, money still urgently needed for tornado recovery. Following my prayer, I felt a single yet strong, and very definitive confirmation from the Holy Spirit. The University of Alabama football team not only won the BCS Championship title, but shut out its opponent. Throughout this spring, the U of A has won National Championship titles in women’s golf, women’s softball, gymnastics and also recruited the #1 college football team for next season. I believe there is more to come.
God loves us, and wants to bless us exceedingly and abundantly more than we could ever imagine. I was content with one (albeit major) football game but blessing continues to flow on this program. How many times do we put limitations on God, becoming satisfied with our finite ideas of what He could do for us when He has planned exceedingly and abundantly more? He has removed all major obstacles through the sacrifice of His Son, which formed an eternal covenant with Him to provide for the needs of every Believer.
To my friends that cheered for the opposing team during the Championship….Hey – It was only a game! But you’re the ones that taught me how to pray! 🙂
HEBREWS 12: 1-2 AMP Therefore, then, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses (who have borne testimony to the Truth), let us strip off and throw aside every encumbrance (unnecessary weight) and that sin which so readily (deftly and cleverly) clings to and entangles us, and let us run with patient endurance and steady and active persistence the appointed course of the race that is set before us. Looking away (from all that will distract) to Jesus, Who is the Leader and the Source of our faith (giving the first incentive for our belief) and is also it’s Finisher (bringing it to maturity and perfection). He, for the joy (of obtaining the prize) that was set before Him, endured the cross, despising and ignoring the shame, and is now seated at the right hand of the throne of God.
A course has been set before each of us with our own personal lane for a Kingdom purpose. There is room on the course to accommodate everyone’s unique, divine assignment no matter how similar it may appear to someone elses. Most importantly, there is an appointed time for each person to step into the race – onto their section of the course to fulfill their appointed time of destiny.
Favor, which is imparted by the Holy Spirit, rests first on the assignment, and then flows to the accepting person, manifesting through their actions and words and decisions. There are innumerable accounts in Scripture of favored assignments. When Jonah disobeyed the Lord and ended up in the belly of a fish, the Lord gave Him a second chance at his assignment which was to proclaim the simple message to the Ninevites, “Forty more days and Ninevah will be overturned.” The bible states the result as – “The Ninevites believed God.” (Jonah 3:4).
There was nothing extraordinary about the actual words that Jonah chose however they were blessed and anointed by God, causing the Ninevites to fast, pray and repent. The King himself got behind Jonah’s words in support of his assignment. Jonah 3:10 states, “When God saw what they did and how they turned from their evil ways, He had compassion on them and did not bring upon them the destruction He had threatened.“ Jonah saved an entire city from the wrath of God.
HEBREWS 13:20 NIV May the God of peace, who through the blood of the eternal covenant brought back from the dead our Lord Jesus, that great Shepherd of the sheep, equip you with everything good for doing His will and may He work in us what is pleasing to Him through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen.
Through the sacrifice of Jesus, and the resulting Eternal Covenant we have with God, we have permanent access to the redemptive covenant benefit of God as Jehovah Ra-ah, Our Shepherd. Through the New Covenant, the Holy Spirit shepherds us on Jesus’ behalf to teach, guide, guard, comfort even pastor us through our assignments. The Holy Spirit is the divine equipper for every Believer, possessing the ability to release His power through us to accomplish our goals and destinies and complete the part of the race that God has set before us in its perfect time and season. The Spirit of God has been released to take up permanent residence as our divine cheerleader, compass, bell weather and soul caretaker through the Eternal Covenant and the finished work on The Cross. It is the Holy Spirit that equips for everything good for doing His will and works in us what is pleasing to God through Jesus.
But in God’s grace and compassion He also provides for us earthly shepherds that are called by Him and come under the watchful eye, care and guidance of the great Shepherd. These men play a crucial role in the spiritual development of people in every community. A pastor holds the most esteemed position in every city because he is appointed by God and held to the highest level of accountability; a level at which few truly grasp.
Beneath every steepled roof works an earthly shepherd given a vision imparted to him by God (The Creator) for his community or region, carrying the responsibility to God as a CEO to forward that mission. It is critical work. Please express your appreciation by covering your pastors and their staff in prayer.
Luke 11: 29 – 32
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Author: Doorways of Grace: My Uncommon Journey to Healing, Wholeness and Meeting Jesus Available on Amazon and Page & Palette, Fairhope, AL
After volunteering for my church for several months, in June 1998, I found myself in the fortunate position of working for this start up called North Point Community, pastored by Andy Stanley. In October of 1998, we moved into the new facility in Alpharetta, experienced an explosive growth spurt and began having more formalized staff meetings and prayer time.
The very first time I prayed publicly was in a small staff prayer group with 4-5 people, one being Andy. I thought I was going to black out before it was my turn to pray. I have no idea what I prayed but probably recited the Pledge of Allegiance then buttoned it up with a chorus of Kumbaya.Andy, a very kind and compassionate man, never skipped a beat. I wanted to die but didn’t and for quite some time asked God to teach me everything possible about prayer. (Andy and his team are masterful at creating relevant environments and experiences that draw in masses of the unchurched and now have approximately 45,000 members and multiple campuses, no doubt because of my prayer prowess while working there.) www.northpoint.org
In 2002, I moved to Birmingham and struggled to find a new church home, truly convinced that heaven and God were only positioned directly over Alpharetta, Georgia. I visited good churches across Birmingham but there was always something just alittle off about these in my spirit so I continued to pray. One day someone mentioned a non – denominational church that was meeting in a high school auditorium on Sunday and on Wednesday meeting in an office complex behind a Shelby County Wal-Mart. I thought she was crazy but for some reason I still drove over there.
God apparently had to split His time and live over the High School / Wal – Mart church too because 16 years later, Church of the Highlands, pastored by Chris Hodges has 40,000 +/- members and 16 campuses. Chris is intentional about every aspect of prayer, and provides his church with all necessary tools and environments to walk out their God given destiny. An equipper of leaders with few equal and a true pastor / shepherd, his deep compassion for people is matched with a laser-like discernment. www.churchofthehighlands.com
God graced me over a 14 year period with two extremely gifted pastors not that I am so deserving but He knows I adore Him, and His Son and that I need all the help I can get each day and will even more so in the days ahead to successfully complete the assignment for my appointed time on His course. In both instances, I was led solely into these bodies of Believers, not by my natural mind, but by His Spirit. I remain very grateful for everything that Andy and Chris and their teams have done for me. Their ministries dramatically impacted my life. TG