Hump Day Prayer

Hump Day Prayer: Teach Us to Use Our Time Wisely

It’s Wednesday, also known as Hump Day. Do you need to get over the hump? Here’s a quick prayer to help you finish this week strong!

Do  you ever feel like there’s never enough time in the day to complete everything on your to-do list? You’re always scrambling to catch up, but every time one major project is finished, another is slammed right down on your desk to take its place. Try as you might, you can’t seem to get ahead of those burdensome deadlines. Twenty-four hours just isn’t long enough these days.

Today, we live in a fast-paced world, and a lot of us have become busy bodies. Our mindset is always work, work, work, work. We work to eat, we work to pay bills. We wake up in the morning sluggish, gulp down two to three cups of coffee before getting in the car and driving down busy roads and highways, crowded with more sluggish coffee drinkers commuting to work. We spend eight to ten hours in an office working, leaving our seats only to use the bathroom, sometimes holding the need to “go” until the last minute, often eating lunch at our desks. Occasionally we  stay late, using the excuse that we can get more work done no one is around to interrupt, leaving only when the night janitor comes to vacuum. We stop for takeout on the way home because we’re too tired to cook, and when we get home, we bring that same work with us, sometimes even falling asleep on it, dreaming about it. Then we wake up the next morning to do it all over again.

“Martha, Martha,” the Lord answered, “you are worried and upset about many things, but only one thing is needed. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.” Luke 10:41-42; NIV

We are too busy. Does any of the work we’re doing amount to anything? When Jesus visits the home of Martha and Mary, Martha distracts herself with endless preparations, running back and forth throughout the house, I can only imagine, like a chicken with its head cut off. Meanwhile, Mary sits at the feet of Jesus, listening to His every word. When Martha asks Jesus to make her sister help her, He rebukes her for being so worked up over things that don’t matter.

I’ll admit I’ve been distracted. This week has been full of distractions. From threats of nuclear war, to the horrific acts of terrorism in Charlottesville, VA, to personal matters like work assignments, project deadlines, trying to appease everyone, you name it. I’ve been stressed, I’ve been sleep deprived, my mind has been racing towards everything but what’s important. I had to stop and ask myself one question. Are any of the things I’m worrying over promoting the kingdom of God? If the answer is no, then let them go.

“The world and its desires pass away, but the man who does the will of God lives forever.” 1 John 2:17

So what are you doing that’s got you so busy, and is it in accordance with God’s will. As I said in Sunday’s post, sometimes you have to sacrifice certain things so that you can be aligned with God’s purposes for your life. It’s a lesson I am still learning as I continue to shed certain “busy works” off my to-do list so that I can dedicate more time to reading and meditating on the Word, praying consistently, and of course, sharing all that I learn here on this forum.

If you are struggling to hear what your assignment is from God, if you are having a hard time understanding His will for your life, look for distractions that could be blocking you from hearing His word. Maybe it’s television, or the news, or social media, or maybe you’re just too busy doing “other” things. As my pastor often says, we should never be too busy for God. And truly, twenty-four hours should be more than enough time to spend at least five minutes of it with God to ask Him what He wills for us to do that day. It all comes down to how we choose to use our time.

Whenever I start to veer off the path God has set for me, it’s usually a sure sign that I need to fast. And a fast doesn’t always have to be not eating food. You can fast your favorite television show, sports, certain kinds of music, Facebook, Twitter, anything that you feel has become a distraction and has drawn you away from sitting at the feet of Jesus.

So what’s got you so busy? Are you more like Martha and less like Mary. I challenge you this week to stop. Stop doing what you’re doing, stop your tireless work, and just listen. Listen for God to speak to you, and hear what He has to say.

God Bless.

“Many are the plans in a man’s heart, but it is the Lord’s purpose that prevails.” Proverbs 19:21

Hump Day Prayer: Heavenly Father, teach us to use our time wisely. Help us to do your will rather than focus on busy tasks. Clear our minds and realign our focus. We want to be about your business, Lord. Your word is a lamp unto our feet and a light unto our path. We desire to listen and obey. We trust you to guide our footsteps, leaning not unto our own understanding, but acknowledging that you are always in control and that you know exactly where you are taking us. We ask for your peace which transcends all understanding, to guard our hearts and minds in you, that we are never distracted from what’s important by the busyness of life in this world. In Jesus’ name, we pray. Amen.

Hump Day Prayer

Hump Day Prayer: Help Us to Overcome Our Fears

It’s Wednesday, also known as Hump Day. Do you need to get over the hump? Here’s a quick prayer to help you finish this week strong!

What are you afraid of? For me, it’s bugs, specifically big bugs. This past Sunday, I told you about the terrifying dreams I used to have before I was saved. Well, one of those dreams included being under the control of a giant demonic cockroach. This isn’t the plot from a creepy kids cartoon show, this was an actual dream. I don’t know what I watched on TV that night before going to bed, or what I ate, but I remember waking up in a cold sweat—the house completely dark and deafeningly silent—screaming the name of Jesus. Even then I knew who to call on to save me.

Several weeks ago, I had a rather unpleasant encounter with a huge cockroach. Not as horrifying as the one in my dream years ago but equally as nasty. It was about the size of my index, middle, and ring fingers combined, and I had come to the conclusion that it was an unwelcome guest I had unknowingly brought home with me from work—a chemical company that sells pesticides that have obviously mutated the bugs on site.

I enlisted help to kill it, but all we did was dance and scream and run around. We sprayed bug spray on it, which only made it mad, because then it began to chase us. Finally, I slammed a wicker basket down on top of it, climbed inside and jumped up and down to make sure it was dead, and when we lifted the basket, we still had to finish it off with a fly swatter.

Afterward, we were both very squeamish. And I sat up several hours trying not to think about it before finally falling asleep, thankfully without any nightmares. Later, a thought came to my mind: When God gave man dominion over all the earth and all the birds and fish and animals and critters that crawl about the earth (Genesis 1:26), did He understand just how much bugs, specifically big bugs, give me the creeps?

“Behold, I give you the authority to trample on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy, and nothing shall by any means hurt you.” Luke 10:19; NKJV

While most of my past fears have been washed away by the blood of Jesus, there’s one that still remains: BUGS. That thorn in my flesh. When Paul received the thorn in his flesh, he begged the Lord three times to remove it. But God said no; “My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness” (2 Corinthians 12:7-9).

When I questioned whether or not God really knew just how afraid I am of bugs, He gave me a similar revelation. What is there to fear when I have the power of the Holy Spirit living inside of me? Greater is He who lives in me than he who lives in the world (1 John 4:4). I knew that back when I was unsaved, screaming Jesus’ name. What is there to be afraid of when He has given me the power to tread over serpents and scorpions and overgrown cockroaches, both real and dreamworld demonic? When God gave me dominion over this earth, He knew exactly what He was doing.

That night, battling the giant cockroach, I might have been afraid for a moment, but in the end, God still put that nasty little bug under my feet (Psalm 8:6), and any other nasty little bugs that will follow, natural or spiritual. I have the power to fight them all, because I rely on the One who gives me strength, even in my weaknesses.

“For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.” 2 Timothy 1:7

Hump Day Prayer: Heavenly Father, help us to overcome our fears, for you did not give us a Spirit of fear, but one of power through the Holy Spirit. We know that without you we can do nothing, but with you all things are possible. In our weakness, guard us from dangers seen and unseen, give us the strength to stand against the devil and his schemes, to overpower our enemies. We are more than conquers through Christ who loves us. For neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord. So we will not be afraid because if God be for us, He is more than the world against us. Thank you, Father, for your love and your mercy and your power, which make us stronger even in our weakness. In Jesus’ name, we pray. Amen.

Hump Day Prayer

Hump Day Prayer: We Are in Awe of Your Work

It’s Wednesday, also known as Hump Day. Do you need to get over the hump? Here’s a quick prayer to help you finish this week strong!

If you’re like me, you’ve just returned from an awesome vacation, and getting back into the routine of work has been, for lack of a better term, hard. Just a week and a half ago, I was on a cruise to Alaska, a terrain still relatively untouched by man. There I got to see the beauty of God’s majestic hand: mighty glaciers, wild animals in their natural habitat, flourishing flora and fauna, the still, clear waters of the inlets and fjords, grand mountains standing tall, high above the clouds. As we stopped at the various sites to snap pictures and bask in the stillness, the peace and quiet, the freshness of the air, there’s was one comment that consistently arose from among the crowd: How can you look at all these great wonders and still say there is no God?

“May the glory of the Lord endure forever; may the Lord rejoice in his works— he who looks at the earth, and it trembles, who touches the mountains, and they smoke.” Psalm 104:31-32; NIV

There is a song entitled, “You Alone Are God,” by gospel singer, Marvin Sapp, that I am drawn to when I think about the mighty works of God’s hand. The song opens with these lines: There’s no question of your greatness / No searching of your power / All the wonder of your glory / To you forty years is but one hour.

Seeing the beauty of the natural earth, you can’t help but feel closer to God, to break out into worship. It’s amazing that we have this Great Designer, this Creator of heaven and earth, whose wisdom and power and knowledge know no limit, and yet, He still takes the time to pursue an intimate relationship with each of us. Psalm 8:3-5 says, “When I consider your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars, which you have set in place, what is mankind that you are mindful of them, human beings that you care for them?”

In my mind, I’m still in Alaska, in complete awe, dreaming of one day going back, but I have to remember that I can see God’s touch in everything around me, especially when I look in the mirror, and God’s image and likeness is reflected back at me. We are His creations, just like the mountains, the oceans, the forests, the glaciers, fearfully and wonderfully made (Psalm 139:14). So let’s worship Him for His works, both abroad and right here at home.

God Bless.

“The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands. Day after day they pour forth speech; night after night they reveal knowledge.” Psalm 19:1-2

Hump Day Prayer: Heavenly Father, we are in awe of your work. In six days you created heaven and earth. Only a fool would say you don’t exist. You are God, the one and true living God, who created the heavens, who formed the earth and made it, who has established it, who did not create it in vain, but formed it to be inhabited. You formed us from the dust of the earth and breathed the breath of life into our nostrils. Mighty are the works of your hands, Lord. We meditate on all your works and all your deeds. What god is great like our God? There is none other than you, and we will forever worship you, in all your power and all your glory. In Jesus’ name, we pray. Amen.

Hump Day Prayer

Hump Day Prayer: Help Us to Love Others

It’s Wednesday, also known as Hump Day. Do you need to get over the hump? Here’s a quick prayer to help you finish this week strong!

How are you around other people? Do you speak to strangers passing by? Do you say good morning to your coworkers as you enter the office building? Do you have a friendly and welcoming smile, or can others read the visible irritation on your face and avoid you like the plague?

As Christians, it is so important that God’s love is revealed in us and through us. We’re all familiar with the song that says, “What the world needs now is love, sweet love. It’s the only thing that there’s just too little of.” These lyrics couldn’t be more true today in a world that is consumed by hate based on religion, ethnicity, politics, and so much more. Our world needs love, and not just any kind of love, but only the kind of love that Jesus brings. Jesus left his disciples with this command: to love one another. By this love will the world know that we are followers of Jesus Christ (John 13:34-35). So do you love your brothers and sisters in Christ? Are you willing to lay down your life for them? How often do show the love of Jesus in you to others?

“Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love.” 1 John 4:7-8

How can we say we love God when we can’t even love each other? 1 John 4:20 says, “If anyone says ‘I love God,’ yet hates his brother, he is a liar. For anyone who does not love his brother, whom he has seen, cannot love God, whom he hasn’t seen.” If we can love God, whom we’ve never seen, we should have no problem loving others, who are made in His image and likeness (James 3:9). The Bible instructs us to be imitators of God, and if God is love, we must also imitate His love. And His love is this: He gave His one and only Son to die on the cross so that anyone who believes in Him can be saved. If He is willing to do that for anyone, despite whatever sin they may have committed, we have no excuse for why we can’t love others.

“Follow God’s example, therefore, as dearly loved children and walk in the way of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.” Ephesians 5:1-2

Our two greatest commandments from God are to love Him above all else, and to love each other (Matthew 22:37-40). Unfortunately we often fall short on the second commandment. It’s hard to love someone who is mean and rude, who holds prejudices against us, who has hurt or wronged us in some way. And let’s be honest, there are some people in this world who are just plain unlovable. Thankfully Jesus left the Holy Spirit in each of us to teach us all things and to remind us of everything He’s said (John 14:26), including His command for us to love each other. So ask for help and guidance from the Holy Spirit when dealing with those people who are particularly difficult to love.

“Anyone who hates his brother is a murderer, and you know that no murderer has eternal life in him. This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers.” 1 John 3:15-17

So how do we love others? Follow Christ’s example. The Bible tells us not to love in words but in actions (1 John 3:18). Be selfless, put others before yourself, give to those in need, pray for those who are going through storms, be kind and compassionate to others, forgive those who hurt you, encourage those who are at crossroads, build up those who feel torn down, speak to others—sometimes people just need a simple “Hello,” or “Have a good day,” to get them through—smile, laugh, hug, kiss, talk about Jesus, how He’s changed your life. Remember, we are to be that city on a hill so that our actions will bring glory and honor to our Father in heaven (Matthew 5:14-16), and it begins with our love.

God Bless.

“Keep on loving each other as brothers. Do not forget to entertain strangers, for by so doing some people have entertained angels without knowing it. Remember those in prison as if you were their fellow prisoners, and those who are mistreated as if you yourselves were suffering.” Hebrews 13:1-3

Hump Day Prayer: Heavenly Father, help us to love others. You said in your word that love covers a multitude of sins. Your love and forgiveness cleansed us of all our sins and we want the same for our brothers and sisters. Help us to offer ourselves to others in your love. Help us to give of our time, our gifts, our hospitality, our finances, our kindness all in your name. Give us the strength to love those who seem unlovable, knowing that they are the ones who need your love most of all. Help us to remember that our love for others should always bring glory and honor back to you. In Jesus’ name, we pray. Amen.

Hump Day Prayer

Hump Day Prayer: Help Us to Pursue a Relationship with You

It’s Wednesday, also known as Hump Day. Do you need to get over the hump? Here’s a quick prayer to help you finish this week strong!

Have you ever been in love? Love is such a beautiful feeling, and it is most exciting during its early stages. When you first fall in love, you think about that person every day, sometimes throughout the day. You call each other constantly. You go out on dates. You make special memories together, like the first time you held hands, your first kiss, even your first argument. When you argue, you can’t stay mad at each other for long, because you get butterflies in your stomach whenever the other is near. You can’t fathom a second apart. You’ve found the one whom your soul loves, and without them you would feel as if half of yourself were missing.

So why aren’t we like this with God? We want Him to speak to us, but we never pray. We want Him to direct our paths, but we lack the faith. We want Him to perform miracles in our lives, but we haven’t taken the first steps in receiving those miracles by obeying God’s word and aligning with His will.

In order to have a steadfast relationship with our Father in heaven, one that is fulfilling and prosperous, we must take an active role. Pursue God the way He pursued us. Harden not our hearts when we hear His voice calling (Hebrews 4:7). If we draw near to God, according to James 4:8, He will draw near to us.

“For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight. In love, he predestined us for adoption to sonship through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will—to the praise of his glorious grace, which he has freely given us in the One he loves.” Ephesians 1:4-6

God has already made the first move in this relationship. Remember, we did not choose Him, but He chose us so that we might go out and bear good fruit, fruit that will last (John 15:16). And isn’t that a wonderful feeling? To know that He cared for us enough to send His Son, Jesus, to die for our sins and redeem us. Through Christ, we have been adopted as sons and daughters and heirs of God (Romans 8:16; Galatians 4:4-7).

We already know that no greater love exists than for one to lay down his life for his friends (John 15:13). When God reveals to us this great love—that even before the creation of the world, He already chose us; that while we were still slaves to our sins, Christ died for us (Romans 5:8); that we’ve been adopted as children of the Most High God and have received His Spirit in our hearts to cry out “Abba, Father”—we have no excuse for why we don’t make time for Him the way we do with a romantic lover.

God is infinitely greater than a fickle boyfriend or girlfriend. Does a boyfriend or girlfriend have the power to save your soul? Heavens no! But because of God’s love, we now have eternal life. Let’s not wait until we get to heaven to love Him back. Every day of our lives we should want to prove that God didn’t make a mistake in choosing us. We should want to do exactly what He’s called us to do; and not just want to do it, but do it, willingly and with enthusiasm.

“Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.” 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18; NKJV

Know that we are never alone when we’re with God. A boyfriend or girlfriend eventually has to go home, and, although you don’t want to think about it so soon, the relationship may not last. You may find out that you have very different personalities that don’t mesh. Your lover may meet someone he or she likes better, or you may discover that you want different things out of the relationship. But God said He will never leave you nor forsake you (Joshua 1:5). Jesus said, “I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you” (John 14:18). He has given us the Holy Spirit to be with us and to live in us. He promised that if we abide in him, He will abide in us, and we will bear much fruit to the glory of God the Father, showing that we are His disciples (John 15:5; 7-8), and finally He assured us that He is with us always, even to the very end of the age (Matthew 28:20).

So pursue an intimate relationship with God today, knowing that it will last forever. Talk to Him every day in prayer. Think about His glory and majesty in worship. Make a date to study His word. Create special memories with Him, your testimonies to share with others so that they may come to know Him, like the day you felt Him drawing you to be saved, the day His Spirit swept over you and filled you up until you overflowed, the day He provided a way out of a personal storm, the day He first gave you your assignment in His kingdom, and countless others.

Make it your prime objective in this life to know your God inside and out. To love Him the way He loves you. To have that fulfilling relationship that quenches your soul.

God Bless.

“If you love me, keep my commands. And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another advocate to help you and be with you forever—the Spirit of truth. The world cannot accept him, because it neither sees him nor knows him. But you know him, for he lives with you and will be in you.” John 14:15-17

Hump Day Prayer: Heavenly Father, help us to pursue an intimate relationship with you. We want to know you, God, for you said in your word that you desire our love more than sacrifice and that we come to know you more rather than give burnt offerings. Father, we love you because you first loved us. You gave your best for us through your Son, Jesus Christ, so we give you our best—our love with our whole heart, mind, and soul. We give you our devotion, our time, our strength. Will give you our willing hearts to follow your commands. We will forever draw nearer to you, knowing that our active pursuit and response to your voice will only bring you closer. We continue to praise you for your unfailing love. In Jesus’ name, we pray. Amen.

Hump Day Prayer

Hump Day Prayer: Help Us to Think Righteously

It’s Wednesday, also known as Hump Day. Do you need to get over the hump? Here’s a quick prayer to help you finish this week strong!

What are you thinking about this week? Are you looking forward to your upcoming vacation? Are you silently cursing your co-workers for making your week hell? Are you worrying over how you’re going to stretch your funds to your next pay day?

Our thoughts reveal a lot about us. Proverbs 23:7 tells us that as a man thinks in his heart, so is he. So what are you thinking? If our ultimate goal is to be more like Christ, we must begin with our minds.

“Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship. Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.” Romans 12:1-2; NIV

Paul says that part of our worship of God has to involve the renewal of our minds. Our focus should not be on matters of this world, but that God’s will on earth comes to pass. He reaffirms this in Colossians 3:2-4 when he says, “Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God. When Christ, who is your life, appears, you also will appear with him in glory.” He goes on in verse 5 to say, “Put to death, therefore, whatever belongs to your earthly nature.” That includes those occasional sinful thoughts. For Jesus said that it’s not what goes into the body that defiles a person, but what comes out—those evil thoughts that come from our hearts within (Matthew 15:17-20; Mark 7:18-23).

While we can’t always stop negative or sinful thoughts from coming to mind—for no one is righteous on their own (Romans 3:10)—we can quell them before they come out of our mouths. We must learn to bridle our tongues (James 1:26). That word bridle means to keep a tight rein on, to control, or to tame. We all know the phrase, “If you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say it at all.” Apply that saying to your Christian walk, for it’s even said in Proverbs that “fools are thought wise if they keep silent, and discerning if they hold their tongues” (Proverbs 17:28).

“My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry, because human anger does not produce the righteousness that God desires. Therefore, get rid of all moral filth and the evil that is so prevalent and humbly accept the word planted in you, which can save you.” James 1:19-21

Yes, the bible describes our thoughts as filthy and evil. My pastor calls it “stinkin’ thinkin’.” But when we hide God’s word in our hearts, our nasty thinking will change (Psalm 119:11). How do we do that? First, we must read and study the Bible. Commit certain verses to memory, find a favorite Bible verse that you can quickly recite out loud whenever a sinful thought arises. Are you one who thinks about sex often? 1 Corinthians 6:18-20 is a great scripture to put on your heart when tempted. Do you have a problem with lying? The story of Ananias and Sapphira (Acts 5:1-11) might set you straight. Any verse that can help you deal with the sinful thoughts that continuously plague you is a verse that you should always have in your arsenal. Secondly, you should pray. Talk to God. Tell Him about your problems. He already knows (Matthew 6:8), but He wants you to seek Him for an answer. Hebrews 4:15-16 says that because of Jesus Christ, we can “approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.”

Ask God to help you think righteously. Ask Him to help you think like Christ. Paul says in Romans 13:14 to “clothe yourselves with the Lord Jesus Christ, and do not think about how to gratify the desires of the flesh.” So be imitators of Christ (1 Corinthians 11:1; Ephesians 5:1). Think like Jesus, and sin will be the furthest from your mind.

God Bless.

“Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything be excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.” Philippians 4:9

Hump Day Prayer: Heavenly Father, help us to think righteously. You said in your word that you will keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on you. Lord, we strive to think only on you, to focus on heavenly matters rather than earthly. Fill us with your thoughts, Holy Spirit, and guide us toward righteousness. Help us to hold our tongues, that we do not curse others and praise you in the same breath, for death and life are in the power of the tongue. Bring to our remembrance your word whenever we are tempted, that we may hid what we’ve heard from you in our hearts, put it into practice, and not sin against you. We thank you for your continued mercies, your forgiveness, and your unfailing love. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.

Hump Day Prayer

Hump Day Prayer: Help Us to Stay Equally Yoked

It’s Wednesday, also known as Hump Day. Do you need to get over the hump? Here’s a quick prayer to help you finish this week strong!

My pastor once said, “People are like elevators. They can either take you up or down.” Which direction are your friends taking you?

“Do not be unequally yoked together with unbelievers. For what fellowship has righteousness with lawlessness? And what communion has light with darkness?” 2 Corinthians 6:14; NKJV

The term “yoke” is used most often in farming. It refers to a wood frame used to join two animals, usually oxen or horses, together at the neck so that they can work together as a team to pull an object like a cart or plow. Both animals have to be of equal strength and ability in order to successfully pull the vehicle. If one is too strong, it may drag the other along and wear it down. If one is too weak or too small, it may strain the other and hold it back. Either way, because the animals are unequally yoked, the farmer will have no success in moving the plow or cart forward.

Are you walking a successful Christian life? Has God made good on all His promises to you? Or do you feel stuck? Do you feel as if you haven’t made any progress despite all your hard work? God wants us to be successful, but the thing about godly success, we must first give up something.

“Anyone who loves their father or mother more than me is not worthy of me; anyone who loves their son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me. Whoever does not take up their cross and follow me is not worthy of me. Whoever finds their life will lose it, and whoever loses their life for my sake will find it.” Matthew 10:37-39; NIV

Look at who you’re hanging around. Are they taking you up or dragging you down? Do you have a friend who can’t finish a sentence without saying a curse word? Do you find yourself cursing whenever you’re around them? Maybe you have a cousin who likes to drink, who is always inviting you to a bar or club to get drunk past the point of making smart decisions. Are you still trying to prolong a doomed friendship with an ex, but old feelings arise whenever you two are alone together? It may be time to let these people go. They could be holding you back from your God-given potential.

In Matthew 12, Jesus is in the middle of teaching to a crowd when His mother and brothers show up wanting to speak with Him. He asks the messenger who are His mother and brothers. Then He points to His disciples in the crowd and says, “Here are my mother and my brothers. For whoever does the will of my Father in heaven is my brother and sister and mother” (Matthew 12:49-50). God’s will is that His gospel be preached throughout the world, that people in darkness will come to light, that everyone will come back to Him through their faith in Jesus Christ. Are your friends keeping you from accomplishing His will?

When we are saved, the Bible tells us to put off the old man and put on the new man (Ephesians 4:22-24). This means we must turn away from our old sinful ways and pursue righteousness through Jesus Christ. Sometimes putting off our old selves means leaving certain people behind. When God called Abram, He said, “Leave your country, your people, and your father’s household and go to the land I will show you” (Genesis 12:1). When Jesus called His disciples, they “left everything and followed him” (Luke 5:11). The requirement to be a follower of Christ, is to first deny ourselves—set aside selfish interests—and pick up our cross—publicly proclaim that Jesus is our Lord and have a willingness to endure whatever troubles may come our way because of this proclamation (Matthew 16:24; John 16:33). In Luke 14:26, Jesus says that our love for Him and our desire to follow Him should be so great that in comparison it would be like we hate our father and mother and family, even ourselves.

So are you willing to leave everything—old life, old pleasures, old friends—behind to follow Christ? Jesus says that anyone who has left “houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or children or fields for my sake will receive a hundred times as much and will inherit eternal life” (Matthew 19:29). The children of Israel grew to be as numerous as the stars (Genesis 15:5) and inherited a land flowing with milk and honey (Deuteronomy 26:9) because their ancestor Abraham left everything behind to follow God’s promise. And we will inherit something much better, the kingdom of God, when we leave everything to follow Christ. As Jesus said in Mathew 12, we will have an even bigger and greater family in the body of Christ. Do you believe this? Will you finally let go of the things and people that are holding you back and follow Jesus?

“Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” Matthew 11:29-30

Hump Day Prayer: Heavenly Father, help us to stay equally yoked with other believers, for they will keep us aligned with your will. You said in your word that blessed is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked or stand in the way of sinners or sit in the seat of mockers. But his delight is in the law of the Lord, and on His law he meditates day and night. We delight to do your will, Lord. Forgive us for holding onto the things that keep us from accomplishing the plans you have for our lives. We let go of everything now, for our only objective is to follow you, knowing we will be rewarded much greater in your kingdom. We bless you and praise you for continually fulfilling your promises. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

Hump Day Prayer

Hump Day Prayer: Help Us to Fight Temptation With Your Word

It’s Wednesday, also known as Hump Day. Do you need to get over the hump? Here’s a quick prayer to help you finish this week strong!

Temptation. We all face it, and it comes in many forms. Maybe it comes in the form of a pound cake brought into the office on a day when you are fasting, or a text message from an ex-lover wanting to catch up at a time when your spouse has been ignoring you, or an invitation to skip Bible study and go to a concert at a nightclub where there will be alcohol, drugs, and most likely violence.

Anything that seeks to prevent us from aligning with the will of God, or to get us out from under the authority of God is temptation. We must always be prepared for when temptation strikes, because it lurks around every corner, seeking to catch us off guard. The Bible says in 1 Peter 5:8, “Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.” But we do have one hope; that is in Jesus Christ, and Jesus had this to say about the trials we will face in life:

“I have told you these things so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world!” John 16:33; NIV

Hebrews 4:15 tells us that “we do not have a high priest who is unable to empathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are—yet he did not sin.” Isn’t that amazing; that we have a God who knows and understands exactly what we’re going through. He’s not detached or ignorant to our troubles as and overpaid member of Congress would be to a single mother living paycheck to paycheck. God is omniscient; He knows exactly what we need, even before we ask (Matthew 6:8). We’ve already learned that God is a provider, and He provides more that just sustenance or income, but a way out of temptation.

“No temptation has seized you except that is common to man. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can stand up under it.” 1 Corinthians 10:13

God shows us our way of escape from temptation in Matthew 4, through the temptation of Jesus. Three times Satan tried to tempt Jesus. First by His hunger or lust, telling Him to turn the rocks into bread for food. Then by His pride or arrogance, telling Him to throw Himself off the temple to see if the Lord’s angels would really catch Him. And finally by His greed or ambitions, promising to give Jesus the kingdoms of the world if He’d only bow down and worship Satan. “If you are truly the Son of God, do this,” Satan said. And that’s how he approaches us too; “If you were really saved, you wouldn’t be thinking this. So do it. Just do it.”

James says that “each person is tempted when they are dragged away by their own evil desire and enticed” (James 1:14), and if we let that enticement build, if we continue to think on and entertain that desire, as Eve had when she looked at the forbidden fruit, thought on what desirable things it would give her, plucked the fruit, and eventually ate it (Genesis 3:6), it will lead to sin (James 1:15). But Jesus showed us how to combat those evil desires.

All three times, Jesus had these words to say: “It is written…” Jesus, who is the word made into flesh, knew exactly how to respond to the enemy’s tricks and lies: by the word of God, which is truth and sets us apart (sanctifies) or separates us from evil (John 17:17). How much do you know the word of God? Do you think to go to the word when facing temptation, or have you convinced yourself you can bear it on your own? God never intended for us to live this life trying to figure things out on our own. He wants us to depend on Him (Proverbs 3:5-6). We have a guide in the Bible and the Holy Spirit within us to help us to understand it (John 14:26; John 16:13; 1 Corinthians 2:14). There is not a situation we face in life that isn’t referred to in the Bible. But it would do us no good if we don’t know it. Make it your mission to know the word of God. Read your Bible every day, and pray that the Holy Spirit brings it to your remembrance whenever life’s situations get tough.

Fighting temptation can be difficult, but it becomes significantly more difficult when you have nothing with which to fight.

“For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds, casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ.” 2 Corinthians 10:4-5; NKJV

Hump Day Prayer: Heavenly Father, help us to fight temptation with your word. We are in spiritual warfare, and the forces we fight are not of this realm. Help us to wield the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God, with confidence and assuredness. For we know that it is sharper than any two-edged sword, able to pierce the hearts of men. Help us to seek you first when we face temptation, knowing that you understand, and we can cast our burdens into your caring hands. Continue to be our example, Lord, for how to respond to the deceit of the enemy, knowing that your word will always remain true and there is nothing above it. We will forever boast in you, Lord, for always being our rock and our salvation amidst adversities. In Jesus’ name, we pray. Amen.

Hump Day Prayer

Hump Day Prayer: Give us the Strength to Resist the Devil

It’s Wednesday, also known as Hump Day. Do you need to get over the hump? Here’s a quick prayer to help you finish this week strong!

How much power does the devil have over your life? If you truly know who you are in Christ, you know the answer to that question is none.

Despite having this knowledge, we often allow the lies of the enemy to get into our heads, disrupt our peace and take control of our lives. Maybe you’ve experienced setbacks this week—a flat tire that made you late for an important meeting at work, you lost power in your home after a bad storm and the food in the refrigerator went bad, you learned that your teenage daughter is pregnant and you didn’t even know she was having sex. Did you blame the devil?  Maybe you did something you know had no business doing—you cursed out an insensitive friend on Facebook, you drank alcohol when you know you’re trying to get clean, you lied about your criminal history on a job application. Did you say, “The devil made me do it”?

In Why Do Bad Things Happen to Good People, we learned that nothing Satan does is outside of God’s knowledge and control.  We also know that God gave us the freewill to choose our own path—righteousness and reward, or evil and destruction—He doesn’t force us one way or the other. With that in mind, and knowing also that the devil is nothing but a creation of God (Isaiah 54:16), why then do we continue to blame the devil for every bad thing that happens? We are essentially saying that he has more power than God.

And He said to them, “I saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven. Behold, I give you the authority to trample on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy, and nothing shall by any means hurt you.” Luke 10:18-19; NKJV

We have the power over the devil. Nothing he does can harm us unless we allow it. The Bible tells us in Ephesians 6 to put on the full armor of God—the belt of truth, the breastplate of righteousness, feet fitted with the preparation of the gospel of peace, the shield of faith, the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God—that we may stand firm against the devil’s tricks and schemes.

James 4:7 says, “Resist the devil and he will flee from you.” That word resist means to violently oppose. Don’t let that devil get in your head and tell you your sins aren’t forgiven when the word of God says, “As far as the east is from the west, so far has he removed our transgressions from us” (Psalm 103:12). Don’t let him convince you that you’ve lost your salvation because of one mistake when you know that “if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved” (Romans 10:9). Ask God to forgive you for whatever that mistake was, and continue to move forward (1 John 1:9). You know the devil is the father of lies (John 8:44), so why do you listen to him? Why do you argue with him? Simply call on the name of the Lord, and he will scatter.

Finish this week triumphant, knowing that you are a child of the Most High and that the devil will never take what Jesus has already paid the price for.

“The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.” John 10:10

Hump Day Prayer: Heavenly Father, give us the strength to resist the devil and his schemes. We know that no weapon formed against us shall prosper, and every tongue that rises against us in judgement we shall condemn. We call on your name when tempted by the enemy, and we rely on your word to help us through, for without you nothing is possible, but through Christ we can do all things. We put our faith and trust in you and thank you for the power given us by the Holy Spirit to stand our ground against the enemy, knowing that we fight from the victory you have already won. We give you all the glory and honor and praise. In Jesus’ name, we pray. Amen.

Hump Day Prayer

Hump Day Prayer: Help Us to Look Toward You

It’s Wednesday, also known as Hump Day. Do you need to get over the hump? Here’s a quick prayer to help you finish this week strong!

Perhaps you’ve had a rough first half of the week. Maybe you’re dealing with difficult coworkers, or your boss is being inconsiderate of your time, or you were made to feel incompetent by an irate customer, or you were looking forward to that promotion or job offer that, although promised, never came. Work can be stressful, and sometimes you think you don’t get paid enough for all the foolishness you’re forced to put up with during a typical work day.

When things like this start to weigh you down, it’s important to remember what we learned this past Sunday: God is your source; His gifts are much greater than anything man can give.

“Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.” (James 1:17)

Every good thing we have comes from God (Psalm 16:2), so try to think on those good things when you go into work this morning—breath in your body to praise him (Psalm 150:6), that you woke up this morning strong and healthy, family and loved ones, a steady source of income, clothes on your back to protect yourself from the elements, food on your table.

Jesus instructed us not to worry about life or food or drink or clothes, for is “not life more than food, and the body more than clothes?” (Matthew 6:25). What I think Jesus means here is instead of worrying about worldly needs, think more on the promises you’ll receive in heaven by simply doing good and believing and trusting in God (Psalm 37:5-6). So don’t look to this world for a reward for all your hard works, but if it is according to His will, look to God. As David said in Psalm 37:4, take delight in, or take pleasure in doing the will of God, what He’s called you to do, and He will give you the desires of your heart.

God bless.

Hump Day Prayer: Heavenly Father, help us to look toward you. Forgive us for letting the worries of this world cloud our focus. Help us to seek first your kingdom and righteousness. Lord, let the light of your face shine on us. Fill our hearts with joy and thanksgiving when we meet success. Grant us your favor, Lord, that we may excel in everything we do, even when oppressed. Teach us to trust in you, that we may receive strength and the will to press on. Teach us to be patient and not fret. For we know that those who hope in the Lord will inherit peace and prosperity. May your unfailing love be with us, Lord, every day of our lives, even as we put our hope in you. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen