Learning How to Pray Effectively in 59 Seconds or Less (Part 16)

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I read about the following Bob Jones’ vision many years ago:

In it, Jones watched a baseball game between the Lord’s team and Satan’s team. It was the bottom of the ninth with two outs.

Love was at bat and Satan threw his best pitch. Love hit the ball into the outfield for a base hit. “Love never fails.”

Faith came to bat and promptly smashed a base hit. “Faith works with love.”

The next batter was named Godly Wisdom. Satan threw him four straight balls and Godly Wisdom was issued a walk. “Godly wisdom does not fall for Satan’s pitches.”

The bases were loaded.

A player named Grace walked into the batter’s box. Jones noted the batter was not much to look at and wondered about his ability to handle the tense situation. Jones also said Satan’s team relaxed when they saw the weak looking Grace stepping up to the plate.

Grace swung on the first pitch and Jones said he had never seen a ball hit so hard. Satan’s center fielder, the prince of the air, leaped to catch the ball, but the ball went through his glove, hit him in the head, and knocked him to the ground. The ball continued its flight over the fence for a grand slam home run. The Lord’s team won.

The Lord turned to Jones.

“Do you know why Love, Faith, and Godly Wisdom could get on base, but could not win the game for My team?” the Lord asked.

Jones shook his head.

“If your love, your faith, and your wisdom could win the game for you alone, you would think you had done it. Your love, your faith, and your wisdom can only take you so far, but then you need My grace to win the game for you.”

(Excerpt from my memoir, The Hunt for Larry Who, an Amazon eBook.)

Like the Apostle Paul, I have learned to boast in my weaknesses when I pray, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me.

(Continued in Part 17…earlier parts can be read by clicking here or above on the header.)

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Inside Israel

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Once again, it’s time to hear from our sister in Jerusalem about what she is witnessing there as a believer in Yeshua. Put your prayer shawls on and pray for Israel and Sister J. Now here she is …

Greetings dearest sisters and brothers with peace and mercy from Him Who alone can pour these out.  All glory to God Who gives us all things of Himself richly to enjoy.

With barely the hint of a moment to catch our breath, the third of the fall feasts is upon us.  Following Rosh Hashanah (feast of trumpets) and the 10 days of awe leading up to Yom Kippur (the day of atonement) the gears shift dramatically giving an interesting glimpse into the Heart of God: Sukkot (the feast of tabernacles) begins at sundown on a Wednesday night.

 

            *NOTE: It is now the night of Sukkot and we were blessed beyond blessing by our first rain, accompanied by lightening, thunder and rainbows from Haifa to Eilat.  We in Jerusalem had a wonderful drenching.  Scripturally, the early rains begin during Sukkot.  What a symbol of God’s faithfulness.

As you may know, we generally experience NO rain during summer at all and count on the early rains and the latter rains for our yearly water supply and KNOW that it is a blessing from God when they arrive.

Sukkot is undoubtedly my favorite holiday, except for maybe Passover and Yom Kippur and then there is Shavuot (Pentecost). I will just focus on Sukkot right now.  I love it.

What does GOD say?  Not just say but He COMMANDS all Israel to STOP. But this time, having blown the shofar, having called the people to repentance and set us aside to repent, now we are to quickly build flimsy, temporary huts with leafy branches for the roof so that we can see the stars through them. Then we dwell in them for 8 days, while we rejoice before God, remembering the great deliverance from Egypt and giving thanks for His abundance.

And not only that, but this is one of the 3 pilgrim feasts.  Three times a year, all Israeli men are COMMANDED to “come up to Jerusalem to rejoice before Him.”  Passover, Shavuot (Pentecost) and Sukkot (feast of tabernacles).

When you read Psalms and see the heading “song of ascents” around Psalm 120 and on, these are the songs that were, and are still, sung as the people went up to Jerusalem.

You can read the scriptures referring to Sukkot in Deuteronomy 16, Leviticus 23, and Nehemiah 8 to see the scriptural background of this feast.

These are but a few of the many times in scripture that Sukkot is referred to.  In Zech 14 it says that the saved among the gentiles will come up to Jerusalem to worship during the feast, and oh they do by the thousands from around the world, and the Israelis wait and watch with wonder, awe and appreciation. There are indeed, MANY gatherings, conferences and prayer convocations taking place right now in Jerusalem and throughout the country attended by believers from around the world.  The Christians marching and waving flags from their countries are the highlight and delight of the Israelis during the popular Jerusalem march, which is scheduled to take place on Tuesday.

I love watching the city in a happy tizzy, running hither and yon gathering materials to build their sukkas and to gather the necessary ingredients for the holiday.  First there are the 4 species: a willow branch, a palm branch, a myrtle branch and an etrog or citron fruit. The three branches are wrapped together and the etrog is held separately and brought as an “offering” of sorts, with prayer, to the western wall and daily to the sukka (market).

There are also the 7 species: Deuteronomy 8:8: “A land of wheat and barley, grapevines, figs and pomegranates, a land of olive oil and dates.” that grace most tables in the sukka. The sukkas are fun and although the different denominations impose different rules concerning what should and shouldn’t be about the sukka, the scriptures give us the liberty to build them with joy and rejoicing and all of the creativity that the Lord placed in us.  I love looking at pictures on the web of sukkas in Jerusalem during the 1800s.

And now it is Thursday, the first day of Sukkot. We decided to go to the western wall of the temple in the Old City as in our reading together this morning we were in 1 Kings chapters 5-8. That’s where Solomon completed the first temple and Solomon prayed. And his powerful prayer which he prayed on his knees with his hands in the air has echoed through the ages and truly is more powerful then pogroms, and Hitlers, and replacement theology.

It includes those who come from the nations who are not part of the tribes of Israel.  My husband was struck by hearing over and over again, “when the people sin…when they pray toward this place and repent…hear them.”

He showed me a you-tube video of the wall on Yom Kippur with thousands of people there repenting and turning toward that place where The Lord chose to put His Name.  Then we talked about why he often sees people on the bus stand and face east (the Temple Mount with the wall being a remnant of the temple) as they pray and others pull over at sunset as they say their prayers and get out of their cars and stand facing the Old City to pray and so forth.

But what struck us most was that Solomon’s prayer for the dedication of the temple and the people TOOK PLACE ON SUKKOT. (the feast of the 7th month) and after he blessed all of the people they rejoiced for 7 days here in Jerusalem and round about and then returned home to rejoice for another 7.

So off we went to the wall to look at some of those stones shaped in the quarries so that “no sound of a tool would be heard in the temple.” And surely we are being shaped that way, or at least I am and I suspect that you are too. Hammered away on, shaped and chipped out in a pit somewhere and THEN coming together to be part of His temple, the body, growing, knit and joined to bless and reflect HIM.

And that is why this letter is so late.

I don’t dare write if there is something wrong with my spirit that I’m aware of and there was. I really really enjoy sukkot.  I get to sit outside in my sukka with earth and plants around me and it feels simple and rural.  I was born in NYC but have always been very much a rural person.

When I left NY permanently at around 20 years old I swore that I would NEVER again live in a city. (I also fully believed that I would not live past 30, but that’s a different story.) BUT GOD Who answers prayer has heard the DEEPEST cries of my heart: “I WANT TO KNOW YOU!  I WANT TO DIE TO MYSELF AND BE CONFORMED TO YOUR IMAGE!  I WANT YOUR BEST FOR ME NO MATTER WHAT!  YOUR WILL AND NOT MINE BE DONE!  OVERRULE THIS WILL AND FLESH OF MINE AND LET ME BECOME NOTHING BUT A SIGNPOST TO YOU!

Your heart too, right?  Ouch!  Some of us are more stubborn and self-willed then others perhaps.  At any rate, He Who knows our hearts better then we ourselves do must lead us all on His path to Himself.  Mine includes living in the nosiest part of the CITY with difficult neighbor and being told by my husband this year that we were NOT BUILDING A SUKKA

Talk about a pouting, rebellious wife…oy!

That is NO way to approach the command of The Lord to rejoice before Him.  To compound that, the police again contacted me that the neighbor complained that we were making too much noise – while we were sleeping.

“But Lord!  I want to describe the joys of Sukkot to my sisters and brothers abroad and to send them happy photos of us in our sukkah! Wahhhh!” Temper tantrum… temper tantrum.

So I had to work late, forgot to take chicken out of the freezer for dinner which I didn’t want to cook anyway and there was NO fresh chicken to buy at the shuk by the time I was on my way home. There to find out that my husband had invited a guest, a brother in The Lord.

Hum!  I defrosted some chicken in a bowl of salt water and sukkot came, ready or not.

BUT, as with Solomon’s prayer and countless others through out history, He heard my prayer: “Lord!  Be a sukka unto me and over this black self-willed heart of mine and change my hard heart and exchange it for your soft one.”

“Wow!  Looks like GOD built you a sukka this year,” Bob said.

I was shocked.  He continued, “With that tree right over this merapeset and all of these flowers around that you planted, I feel as if I’m in HIS sukka, the best one ever.”

My husband beamed and I broke through to a repentant heart.

Thank You Lord for Your Holy Spirit, Your faithfulness, Your quarry in which You pound away at our misshapen surfaces, and Your incredible patience.  Thank You Lord for the glimpses of Your Heart and Character that we glean through scripture, through Your holidays and even Your law as well as Your grace.  Thank You that we are changed into Your image even from glory to glory although we still see through a glass darkly.  And thank You that as You command the children of Israel to sit in flimsy dwellings where we are and where we can see the sky and remember that IT IS YOU WHO BROUGHT US UP FROM EGYPT, WHO DELIVERED US FROM SLAVERY AND DO YET DELIVER US ALL FROM THE HOUSE OF BONDAGE THROUGH YOUR SON YESHUA. IT IS ALWAYS YOU AND YOUR STRENGTH. NEVER OURS.”

And THIS is the message of Sukkot.  We rejoice before our Father Who know that we are but dust. Yet He remembers our frame and we too must remember that we really aren’t very strong and powerful. And yet precious to Him.  This is the message of Sukkot!.

Come and join in.  I will, Lord willing, write more about what I see, hear and smell AND taste, during this time.  BLESSINGS to you sisters and brothers!

Love,

J

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Why Do I Support Gospel For Asia?

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I had a vision on December 24, 1993, in which I saw thousands and thousands of dark-skinned starving children. They screamed at the top of their lungs from hunger. The mothers held their children while the fathers stood next to them. All of the parents stared at me with pleading eyes, which begged, “Would you help us? Please!”

The screams echoed in my ears and pierced my heart. I fell on the carpet and wept so much I thought the anguish would swallow me up. Whatever my life’s plans were before that moment no longer mattered because I knew that I had to help the hungry, poor, and helpless children of the world.

A second vision in early 1994 reenforced my calling. In it, I saw myself arriving in heaven, but not for a glorious homecoming. A line of dark-skinned children, as far as I could see, waited to talk with me. Each, in turn, said, “I did not make it into my divine calling on earth because you failed to fulfill your calling of helping us. I starved to death as a young child.”

Let me tell you: I do not ever want to arrive in heaven and have that happen to me. The anguish I felt looking onto those children’s eyes erased the joy of being in Paradise. If that was a sample of the pain a person could feel in heaven, I’d hate to ever visit Hell.

Now, let’s fast forward to 2011 when we received a free copy in the mail of No Longer A Slumdog by K. P. Yohannan. The title caught my attention because of the movie by a similar name. I sat down and began reading it.

There were stories about Muttu, Asha, Lata, Vichy, Tusli, and other names of poor children I could not pronounce. I read about a mother who sold her baby for ten pounds of rice. I learned about India’s caste system and how the lowest rung, the Dalits, are considered subhuman and worthy of being treated like dogs. The Dalits comprise twenty percent of India’s population or approximately the same population as the USA.

Every word acted like a rock thrown against my plastic Western Christianity, creating cracks in it. Yet, it was this specific sentence on Page 31, which penetrated my heart:

“In India alone, there are 11 million children like Asha who have been abandoned, and 90% of them are girls.”

All I could think about were the 9.9 million abandoned little girls. If I closed my eyes, I saw little children, but their faces resembled my daughter, Susan, when she was four years old. I could not ignore my heart this time.

My wife and I now sponsor nine children in Gospel For Asia’s Bridge of Hope program. I am a volunteer advocate for Bridge of Hope, a Gospel For Asia blogger, a member of their prayer team, and have just opened a MyGFA entitled, “No Longer A Slumdog X 100.” My goal is to raise $42,000 to sponsor 100 kids.

S0, why do I support Gospel For Asia?

When I arrive in heaven, I want to meet parents and kids who will say to me, “Thanks for helping us.”

Click on to see MyGFA site.

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Friday’s Prayers for Prisoners (10/17/2014)

 

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Each Friday I pray and fast for nations where Christians suffer the worst persecution around the world. This week I am praying and fasting for:

Maldives. 333,000 people with .2% Christians.

To be Maldivian is equated with being Muslim, so officially there are no Maldivian Christians, only ex-pat Christians. The government sees itself as the protector of Islam, and the law prohibits conversion to other faiths; those who do so face losing citizenship. There is extensive social control over all individuals to correct any deviation from the path of Islam. This pressure is mirrored within families and communities. Consequently, there are no church gatherings or buildings, and the few Maldivian Christians hide their faith to avoid being discovered. (Open Doors Watch List)

The Maldives, an Islamic Republic, is an archipelago of 1,191 islands in the Indian Ocean…Maldives is one of the least evangelized countries in the world. The 0.2% figure for Christians refers to expatriate Christians. Citizens of the Maldives are automatically Muslim, and non-Muslims may not become citizens. The open practice of any religion other than Islam is forbidden. Maldivian believers are carefully watched. They suffer ostracism, mockery, incarceration and even torture. Christians cannot meet or read the Scriptures openly. Expatriate believers have been expelled, especially after sharing their faith. (Voice of the Martyrs)

Today, I prayed:

Lord, I pray that You break through the walls of the kingdom of darkness and lead the people of Maldives out of the gates of captivity into Your freedom and that You guide them in their journey. (Based on Micah 2:13)

Join with me on Fridays to fast and pray for prisoners, according to Hebrews 13:3.

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Praise the Lord…Pass the Ammo (Part 4)

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Like most kids, I grew up listening to popular music. Del Shannon, Dion, The Four Seasons, Beatles, Rolling Stones, Roy Orbison, Beach Boys, Bobby Dylan, The Supremes, and others were my favorites. I purchased their albums and turned the radio up to full blast to hear their sounds. I seldom did any work on Dad’s farm without a nearby radio dialed to the top-40 hits.

Even today, when I hear old songs, like Runaway or Pretty Woman, memories flood my thoughts from that era. I don’t have to stir up anything because the music has a hook in it which draws me back to that day. That is the power of popular music.

Contemporary Christian music has much the same type of hook and power in it.

If I hear the opening notes to David Ruiz’s We Will Dance, I am instantly transported back to 1995 and a Vineyard Church in Iowa. I want to raise my hands and move my feet to the song. It still has its hooks in me.

Now, there will be many believers who will say that contemporary Christian music has a heavenly anointing upon it. To which, I will answer: “Maybe.”

For God is Spirit, so those who worship him must worship in spirit and in truth. (John 4:24 NLT)

I attended a crowded assembly in late 1995 when the worship team began playing a contemporary worship song, one loved by all. The opening notes stirred us to stand and ready ourselves to worship God.

As I stood there, I looked into the heavenly realms. There I saw a beautiful creature sitting on a glorious throne heading our direction at thousands of miles per hour. I assumed at first that it was the Lord hurrying to be in the midst of our worship.

But as the creature approached, I realized it was an angel of light, posing as the presence of the Lord. The crowd around me continued to sing and raise their hands in worship.

“Go in Jesus name,” I said to the fast approaching creature and it left.

We believers need spiritual discernment. We cannot go into spiritual battles with hooks in us pulling us back to 1995 or 2004 or even last year.

Ask the Lord if music – of any type – has any hooks in you. If it does, don’t listen to it anymore. We need to train like we are going to fight.

What else can we do to prepare ourselves?

(Continued in Part 5)

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Islamic Terrorists Versus Radical Christians: New Game. New Rules. (Part 2)

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(Azam Amir Kasav)

I wrote this series almost six years ago, but because I just watched a video by Rick Joyner, which you can see on Youtube here, I am rerunning this series. All Christians need to watch Joyner’s video. We must prepare ourselves now!

How do you defend a city or a nation against dedicated, radical terrorists like Kasav?

To be honest, there is no way to stop dedicated, radical terrorists from entering America and duplicating a Mumbai incident, especially if they have been trained. America’s strength is that we are an open society. Sadly, this is also our weakness in fighting terrorism. And if you couple our openness with a national “It won’t happen to us” attitude, we’re sitting ducks, just waiting to be plucked.

So, let’s say that you’re staying with your family at the Beverly Wilshire Hotel (where the movie, Pretty Woman, was filmed), just off Rodeo Drive in Beverly Hills, California. Terrorists arrive and begin shooting their AK-47’s and exploding grenades, killing, and maiming everyone they see. Confusion and havoc reigns.

Somehow you’re able to barricade your family and yourself in a first floor cafe. You hear the terrorists walking your direction.  Who can you expect to help you?

Will the president help you? He’ll make a statement on TV, deploring terrorism, and will probably add, “Most Muslims are good people. These are just a few bad eggs!” After all, he needs the Muslim vote in the next election and doesn’t want to offend CAIR.

Will the governor help you? This is California, not Texas; so, the Governor will first take a quick telephone poll to discover what the people think. You know, he’s running for office again and the election will be a close one. He also will appear on TV, deplore terrorism, announce that he is considering all options, even calling out the National Guard, and will take a helicopter to the scene.

Will the mayor and city council members help you? These guys will be relegated to low-level radio interviews. And of course, they will deplore terrorism: yada, yada, yada.

What about the police? They and their SWAT teams will surround the hotel. Phone calls will be made to the governor, mayor, police chief, and whoever else needs to be contacted before taking action. Valuable time will pass before a decision is made.

What about a DMORT team? This is the one positive that will happen almost immediately. A Disaster Mortuary Operational Response Team from Region IX will be dispatched as soon as they hear about the attack. They will bring victim identification equipment, body bags, and storage units for the expected dead people.

So, what can we do?

(Continued in Part 3)

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Click on to see MyGFA site.

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Tuesday’s Prayers for America (10/14/2014)

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“You are called to a ministry of reconciliation,” said the elder as he prayed over me during a small church service.

I probably nodded my head and may have even uttered, “Amen, brother,” but to be honest, I thought it was one of those vanilla-flavored prophecies that fits most Christians and could have been spoken by a McDonalds’ cashier during rush hour on a Saturday night.  There didn’t seem to be much pizazz in the word reconciliation. So I spent almost no time meditating or praying about the man’s prophecy.

This took place over twenty-five years ago and guess what? I have spent the last two or three years praying for reconciliation and renewal centers to be birthed on the West Coast.

Admittedly, I am a little slow sometimes.

Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold the new has come. All this is from God, who through Christ reconciled us to Himself and gave us the ministry of reconciliation; that is, in Christ God was reconciling the world to Himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and entrusting to us the message of reconciliation. (2 Corinthians 5:17-19)

The word reconciliation in the Greek means: “restoration to the favor of God to sinners that repent and put their trust in the atonement and death of Christ.”

Today, I prayed:

Father, I pray that You raise up thousands of ambassadors for Christ in America who implore people to be reconciled to God through Christ Your Son. (Based on 2 Corinthians 5:20)

What do you think and did the Lord speak to you today?

Join with me on Tuesdays to fast and pray for America.

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