Nothing is too Wonderful

Amen to this:

God has made wonderful promises to us, too. All the promises have their “Yes” in Christ (II Corinthians 1:20). But like Sarah the wait wears us down. Do you, like me, have prayers unanswered? Do you wonder if God hears? HE DOES. So let’s encourage and remind one another: “Nothing is too hard, nothing too wonderful for God to accomplish.”

Jean Fleming: Live the Mystery

blog-phone

The story is familiar and moving. A couple longs for a child. They try and try again. Year after year. They pray. This prayer percolates up, bubbling to their vocal chords. The wife wakes with the prayer already in her mouth. Her prayer catches the rhythm as she kneads bread or stirs the pot. The prayer lies heavy on her chest before she falls asleep. Leaden. Futile? An exercise so well established that she can’t give it up. But hope ebbs. Too long hope is deferred. Prayer unanswered.

This is how I imagine Sarah, now old, past child-bearing, worn out by the wait.

God has promised a son. In fact, a nation. The promises God made lit up the sky and lay in the sand at their feet. Promises too great. Promises so expansive and glittering. Promises so wonderful—and impossible.

Time had run out for them. She was past child-bearing…

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Fighting demons with God’s love

Dear friends,

It’s been a long time since I made a post online but today’s article was too important not to share. There are many followers of Jesus who are engaged in spiritual struggle with the enemies of their souls, Satan and his evil hordes. Whether this struggle is unconscious or rather more blatant (and it’s the latter that really concerns me), I wanted to share some beautiful insights from God that have helped me.

I am a sincere follower of Jesus of Nazareth yet I suffer from demonic attacks. I wrote about these first on the “About” page of this blog, yet recently the intensity of the attacks has increased as I’ve come to faith in Jesus again, rather than decreased. I now not only feel invisible hands attacking my body, but hear evil male voices telling my mind negative things such as that I am not saved and God has finished with me. Last night they said that they could take my soul if I didn’t believe that Jesus of Nazareth was the Son of God and had saved me. They then induced a spirit of unbelief over my mind and heart such that – after I fell under it due to weakness and sin – I could no longer feel the conviction of my saving faith in Christ. The results were very frightening: I kept clinging to my belief in Jesus as “the way, the truth and the life” (John 14:6), and the only way for sinful humanity to be reconciled to God the Father. Yet the demons insisted that God the Father, the Holy Ghost, and Jesus of Nazareth in particular do not exist, that sin is a myth, and that practically everyone I knew was headed to a heaven different from mine because they had learned to love better than I had.

I fought for hours praying to Jesus of Nazareth, clinging to Him tenaciously as much as I could (which the demons interpreted, correctly I believe, as Him refusing to let me go), until my faith returned and I felt in my heart that Jesus was once again my Lord. I felt in my heart that I knew Him once more as the Son of God and my Saviour. At this point I was lying in bed trying to sleep when the demons told me I was “blessed” because most times people who were in unbelief such as I had been were not allowed to continue having faith. The demons then told me that they were sick of me and my faith and had petitioned God to send me to heaven early, within the next few weeks, by tormenting me so grievously that my husband and family would call the CAT team and get rid of me.

From the above we can learn that demons are merciless persecutors and they can quite literally cause a person to fear so much for their soul (and the souls of their loved ones) that it drives out love for God and others. As it is written, demons do not come to sincere Christians to entertain them or befriend them, they come to destroy them spiritually and must be resisted with everything we’ve got:

The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly. (John 10:10)

Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. (James 4:7)

I thought this morning that what my demons are trying to do is to make me lose hope in God, to stop me praying in faith to Him. And our faith in God is strengthened by our love and trust in Him. Again, as it is written:

There is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear: because fear hath torment. He that feareth is not made perfect in love. (1 John 4:18)

The demons really fear faithful prayer from believers because it brings God’s power to earth, where they reside. So we must do all we can to shore up our love and trust for God, which then overflows to others, when we feel that we are under attack from evil spirits.

Today I prayed for God to send me love in my heart and uplifting scripture passages or encouragements from the Spirit of Truth to ensure that I know I am a child of God. He mercifully sent the following three passages that I wanted to share with you today:

  1. God is true
  2. God is love
  3. God is faith

So we see that once our first step of faith is taken (a supernatural knowing that God is true), we can then ponder the fact that God is perfect love, the most perfect kind of sacrificial love we can imagine. The life of Jesus of Nazareth, who left His glory and came to earth as an ordinary man to die on a cross and save us, exemplifies the latter. Thankfully, because Jesus was also God, as well as an ordinary man, we can move to the third step, that of putting our complete trust and faith in Him. So the truth about God leads to loving Him and putting our faith in Him to catch us when we fall spiritually, and save to the uttermost those who come unto God by Him. As it is written:

Wherefore he is able also to save them to the uttermost that come unto God by him, seeing he ever liveth to make intercession for them. (Hebrews 7:25)

It is also encouraging to remember that the reason we know all of the three points above (God being true, God being love and God bringing us to faith) is because He is always the initiator in our relationship with Him. He never waits for us to “get it right” and approach Him first, He makes sure we are safe with Him by doing this for us. Again, scripture bears out this truth:

We love him, because he first loved us. (1 John 4:19)

I hope this helps others who may be suffering from demonic attacks and are unsure how to combat them. We know also that demons can be cast out in the name of Jesus of Nazareth, as per the below:

And this did she many days. But Paul, being grieved, turned and said to the spirit, I command thee in the name of Jesus Christ to come out of her. And he came out the same hour. (Acts 16:18)

Yet sometimes faith alone in Jesus of Nazareth needs to be strengthened for demonic deliverance to be successful. Prayer and fasting are the keys, as per the below:

But as for me, when they were sick, my clothing was sackcloth: I humbled my soul with fasting; and my prayer returned into mine own bosom. (Psalm 35:13)

And I set my face unto the Lord God, to seek by prayer and supplications, with fasting, and sackcloth, and ashes: (Daniel 9:3)

And he said unto them, This kind can come forth by nothing, but by prayer and fasting. (Mark 9:29)

If your church does not genuinely deliver people from demons, if they do not regularly fast and pray to combat evil spirits with strong faith in the Lord, you must do all in your power to move them to do so. Zeal is catching: be the kind of spiritual change you want to see in your church and in the world. Start with yourself first and reach out to other believers. Love your church, pray for them, and pray especially for those in the church who have the rule over you, they need your assistance in every way spiritually. And we know that most every Christian church will have at least “two or three” true believers in Jesus (oftentimes more – as per Matthew 18:20) meaning that it is part of the body of Christ (1 Corinthians 12:12, Colossians 1:24).

I wait to stand corrected on this but I have not seen one scriptural example of a person doing self-deliverance. So I have come to the conclusion that other believers must deliver, in Jesus’ name, those who are vexed or possessed with devils. I continue to pray that someone will be sent into my life who can do this for me. A true believer in Christ who is strong in faith and power, as Stephen was. Or that God will bless a follower of Jesus who maybe isn’t that strong in faith but wants to help the demon-afflicted from their heart.

Never feel that you are alone if you are reading this and suffering from evil entities. You can always talk here, in the comments below, and we can pray for each other to be upheld by God’s great mercy, love and grace until we are delivered.

May the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ be with you all.

Love your friend in Christ,
Naomi

Site of the day: NationalPrayerBank.com

I have been a beneficiary of NationalPrayerBank.com for over a year now. The faithful prayers of fellow believers were instrumental in helping me maintain faith during recent unemployment, and in giving me the courage to apply for other positions. I came across this article about the site today and wanted to share:

Michala Mesler

For Michala Mesler, 19, a computer offers a window into supplication.

At her family’s home in Fairhope, peering into a screen, she scrolls through petitions posted by the devout from around the world.

A man has cancer; a child is ill; someone has just lost a job. The human drama unfolds.

Pray for me.

The website is the Mesler family’s creation — http://www.nationalprayerbank.com — launched 3 years ago to create a spiritual online community.

The prayer bank, says Mesler, “touches those in need of prayer, but also blesses those who pray.”

“Everyone involved is a volunteer,” says her mother, Marlene Mesler, who explains that the whole family — she, husband Don, and their six children — donate not only their time, but also their various expertises, to furthering the mission.

A son-in-law in Birmingham is the programmer.

The family say they charge nothing, and do not fundraise. The entire enterprise, to participants, is free.

“A lot of people want to minister,” says Marlene Mesler. And those often most isolated — the elderly, the disabled — become “prayer warriors, too” she says.

Michala Mesler, a sophomore at University of Alabama-Birmingham, says the prayer bank has deepened her own sense of faith.

Home-schooled before heading off to college, she is majoring in music technology at UAB, and aspires to be a worship leader.

Merging the old and new seems natural to her.

“Prayer is the same today as it was in the early church,” she says.

“We haven’t done anything to change prayer, but rather to offer a 21st century way to share prayer requests and encouragement.”

Anyone can go to the website and read the exchange of prayers. A prayer request, though, requires creating an account and log-in. They ask that site participants be at least 13 years old.

The list of people who have signed on, says Marlene Mesler, is not shared with any other organization.

When people post a prayer request, it is read by the Meslers and other select volunteers to make sure it is appropriate.

Then it is posted.

The mom-and-pop ministry is growing.

As of mid-July, the site had logged 374,874 prayers.

And the requests —for healing, for financial well-being, for the repair of marriages — keep on coming.

Just this week, a request was posted by a man asking for prayers for a friend: “His needs are salvation, healing from drug and alcohol addiction, and healing for his body.”

So far that request has received 23 prayers in response.

A woman posted: “My children and I will be homeless at the end of the month. We are in extreme danger where we live and I am trying to get my family relocated to a place of safety . . . Our lives are in danger here . . . please pray that God will send relief.”

She has received 40 prayers.

“Please pray for me that I don’t have cancer,” writes another.

The response: 45 prayers.

For a request posted 1/29/11, titled, “Cancer On the Skull,” there are 14 pages, when printed, of prayers listed, culminating on June 5 with this response:

“Thank you to all my prayer friends for praying for healing for my son . . . the last cycle of chemotherapy was completed on last Saturday. The next step is to receive radiation . . . Please continue to pray for complete restoration . . . Luke 1:37: ‘For nothing is impossible with God.’ God’s blessing.”

With a click of the mouse, one can read prayer responses in full, and see how to contact those who have made them.

There are prayer groups, too, including circles of those down on their luck at work or those in prison.

The idea for the prayer bank came when Marlene Mesler was expecting her sixth child — a high-risk pregnancy.

One of her children, then 11, prayed for her health, she says, and gave her a calendar marked with the days of his petitions.

Later, that same son, then in his 20s, cut his hand to the bone and was rushed to the hospital. When members of their church, First Baptist of Fairhope, prayed for his healing, they kept a prayer registry — the church’s custom, she says — and gave it to her.

Those accounts of prayers gave her heart, she says, and she wanted to create the same effect in an on-line community.

Such prayer registries can be powerful tools, says Ryan Smith, First Baptist of Fairhope’s minister to students.

He says that his church’s prayer lists originate at Wednesday night meetings.

Prayers are offered for those who are ill, those in need, Smith says. All those who pray sign a letter that goes out to the person who is suffering.

Smith describes the “glimmer of hope” in the eyes of those who are hurting when they see that others have held them up in prayer.

Their faith, he says, is bolstered by “the encouragement” of friends.

There are parallels in the national prayer bank, he says, where the exchanges take place on a national, even global level.

“When you pray,” says Marlene Mesler, “God releases his resources.”

Downstairs at the Mesler home, away from the computers, there is another kind of keyboard.

Michala Mesler spends time at the grand piano, composing.

“Worship music,” she says, “is what the Lord laid on my heart.”

She has just recorded her first CD, a 10-song album called “The Nations.”

When people open up http://www.nationalprayerbank.com, they can listen to the title track from that album.

“God does answer prayers,” she says.

By Roy Hoffman, Press-Register.

Celebrating Christmas

God, our loving Father, help us remember the
birth of Jesus, that we may share in the song of
the angels, the gladness of the shepherds and
the wisdom of the wise men.

Close the door of hate and open the door of love
all over the world.

Deliver us from evil by the blessing which
Christ brings and teach us to be merry with
clean hearts.

May the Christmas morning make us happy
to be your children and the Christmas evening
bring us to our beds with grateful thoughts,
forgiving and forgiven, for Jesus’ sake. Amen.

Robert Louis Stevenson (1850-94)

Send me sleep

This is a favorite prayer of mine before bed-time. It may be short but it says a lot faith-wise in few words.

May it be a blessing to you too.

Lord, send me sleep that I may live;
The wrongs I’ve done this day forgive.
Bless every deed and thought and word
I’ve rightly done, or said, or heard.
Bless relatives and friends alway;
Teach all the world to watch and pray.
My thanks for all my blessings take
And hear my prayer for Jesus’ sake.

Author unknown. The painting is by Roberto Ferruzzi (1854 – 1934, Italian).

The glory of creation

“O God, we thank you for this earth, our home;
For the wide sky and the blessed sun,
For the salt sea and the running water,
For the everlasting hills and the never-resting winds,
For trees and the common grass underfoot.
We thank you for our senses by which we hear the songs of birds,
And see the splendor of the summer fields,
And taste of the autumn fruits,
And rejoice in the feel of the snow,
And smell the breath of the spring.
Grant us a heart wide open to all this beauty;
And save our souls from being so blind
That we pass unseeing
When even the common thornbush is aflame with your glory,
O God our creator, Who lives and reigns for ever and ever.”

Walter Rauschenbusch (1861-1918)

A Work Prayer

A few days ago I felt anxious about taking over my boss’s role while she is away over Christmas. I was wanting to ensure that if I said “yes” to my company, I was remaining in the Lord’s will and not doing things in my own (limited) strength. I feared being asked to take on responsibilities above my ability to manage.

So I posted up prayer requests at National Prayer Bank (which is USA-based) and the Australian version of this site too. A kind man called Roy got back to me from the Australian site and recommended some helpful Christian links. One of the links recommended was http://ydyc.org/.

While searching on this site I came across a lovely work prayer that gave me hope. I’ve posted it near my desk for inspiration and wanted to share it with others. Here it is:

Thank you, Heavenly Father, for supplying my needs today from your abundant resources.

Thank you for freely giving me your peace, in exchange for anxiety. Your love, in exchange for fear. Your joy, in exchange for heaviness. Your faith, in exchange for doubt. Your strength, in exchange for weariness.

Lord Jesus, your Word tells me that the same Spirit that raised you from the dead dwells in me. I need your power to help me to be in the world, but not of the world.

I yield myself to you and ask the Holy Spirit to enable me to be efficient, creative and honest. Help me to work today with integrity, diligence, self-control, faithfulness and forgiveness.

Your Word also declares that, if I lack wisdom, I can ask you and you will give it generously. I need your wisdom today, Lord Jesus, to enable me to make correct choices.

In the Name of Jesus I forbid the enemy’s schemes that would rob me of productive time by attacking me emotionally, mentally, physically or financially and claim your protection in every area of my life.

Help me to sow seeds of life, bringing encouragement and edification to those I meet. Thank you, Lord Jesus, for opening opportunities to share your love today.

Helpful scripture resources:

Jeremiah 32:17:
“Ah Lord God! behold, thou hast made the heaven and the earth by thy great power and stretched out arm, and there is nothing too hard for thee…”

Daniel 11:32:
“And such as do wickedly against the covenant shall he corrupt by flatteries: but the people that do know their God shall be strong, and do exploits.”

Hebrews 10:19:
“Having therefore, brethren, boldness to enter into the holiest by the blood of Jesus…”

Philippians 4:19:
“But my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus.”

Romans 8:11:
“But if the Spirit of him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwell in you, he that raised up Christ from the dead shall also quicken your mortal bodies by his Spirit that dwelleth in you”

1 John 2:15:
“Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him.”

James 1:5:
“If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him.”

2 Corinthians 10:4-5:
“(for the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds;) 5 casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ;”

Ephesians 3:20:
“Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us…”

I trust you found the work prayer helpful.

As a postscript to this article, I was so encouraged when the Lord answered my prayers very promptly and gave me grace in my boss’s eyes. Several kind people posted up encouragements on National Prayer Bank (USA site), saying they were praying for me.

I then had a meeting with my boss (shortly after posting up my prayers online) that was very reassuring. She listed down all the tasks I will be responsible for while she is away and I saw that this was – thankfully – fair and manageable. Praise God! With God, all things are possible (Matthew 19:26).

Until next time, Lord willing.

Our Prayer

My friend Karina has just had a baby boy. The following article contains a beautiful prayer for a child that was so lovely, I had to share it. May it be a blessing to you.

Karina's Thought

Our Prayer-Karina's Thought

Hello my dear blog friends, I am grateful to God today could come back to blogging after around a month not being active in the blog world. I have missed so much beautiful and awesome posts from all of you and later will try to take time to visit and reading your posts.

This evening I just want to share something that have touched my heart so deep. Three days after my baby was born, my mother asked me to talk privately and she gave me her diary book. She said that the diary contained her daily writing about my growth progress when I was a baby. She wrote in detail every growth that happened to me day after day. She said, “I hope you could learn something from this diary. You could know and learn how amazing seeing our baby grows. That is such a great and beautiful God’s…

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Please help me pray for Peter Kassig

Peter Kassig is currently being held as a hostage by ISIS (Islamic state).

He converted to Islam during his imprisonment yet he was recently shown in the execution video of aid worker Alan Henning. From all reports ISIS are planning to murder Peter some time in the near future.

Peter is a gentle soul, a self described “hopeless romantic and idealist” who desperately needs to find Jesus before his life is taken. Peter has found comfort in Islam, so he is a man of faith, but he has faith in the wrong God. Please help me pray for him to be shown God’s true character, love and mercy in the person of Jesus Christ.

In 2012 Peter founded a humanitarian aid group called SERA (Special Emergency Response and Assistance), so he is also a person with a strong social conscience. The non-governmental organisation, based in Gaziantep, Turkey, but not currently functional, provided food and medical supplies for refugees fleeing Syria’s civil war.

Please help me pray for Peter’s life to be spared and for his salvation. His soul is hanging in the balance.

Please also help me pray for Peter’s captors, that they would receive repentance unto life as well and be saved.

Thank you for listening and helping with this need.

Together we can petition the Lord for mercy for all concerned.

Update from 06/10/2014:
I was heartened to see several prayer sites for Peter and other ISIS captives have sprung up on Facebook. Many caring Christians are praying for his salvation and release, along with that of other captives.

Peter’s parents have released a letter he has written in captivity. In the letter, Peter wrote: “I am obviously pretty scared to die but the hardest part is not knowing, wondering, hoping, and wondering if I should even hope at all….I am very sad that all this has happened and for what all of you back home are going through…If I do die, I figure that at least you and I can seek refuge and comfort in knowing that I went out as a result of trying to alleviate suffering and helping those in need…In terms of my faith, I pray every day and I am not angry about my situation in that sense.” The letter – which the parents received on 2 June – ends with the words: “I love you.”

Please keep Peter in prayer, that he would be given the gospel message by caring believers and that he would believe in Christ due to God’s grace. God can work miracles and hears our prayers, He is good and merciful and desires that all men should be saved. Please also keep Peter’s captors in prayer, the members of ISIS. They are desperately lost and in need of salvation too. They are our enemies now for the sake of the gospel and humanity but Christ instructed us to pray for our enemies, to bless them, and to do the very best we can for them for their highest good (which is spiritual). Matthew 5:43-48 says it all.

I have received much support and encouragement from fellow disciples of Christ at National Prayer Bank and the Acts 12 Movement blog, and I would like to thank them now for their faith and compassion. Here are their sites:
http://nationalprayerbank.com/
http://acts12movement.com/2014/10/05/new-prayer-request-5/

I pray that soon we will have good news concerning Peter (or Abdul-Rahman, as he prefers to be known as since his conversion to Islam) and his captors.

Update from 10/10/2014:
I’ve recently been reading an inspiring book on the work Christ is doing in the Middle East currently, to draw people to faith in Him. It’s called “Breakthrough” by Tom Doyle. In the book, Tom mentions that church congregations in the Middle East are particularly strong now because they are experiencing intense persecution. Acts of God and miracles are witnessed frequently by believers in response to prayer in the Middle East. So tonight the Lord moved me to contact several Messianic Jewish congregations (Hasdey Yeshua, Tents of Mercy, Harvest of Asher, Beit Hayeshua and Rachel Netanel) to enlist their compassion and spiritual strength in petitioning the Lord for mercy for Abdul-Rahman, other captives, and the members of ISIS.

I tried also to contact Palestinian believers but could not find any listed online (though I know they exist and are just as fervent in their faith and prayer as Messianic congregations). Perhaps I don’t know the key words to search for. If anyone can enlighten me here please feel free to comment below.

Please keep Abdul-Rahman (Peter Kassig), the other captives, and their captors in your thoughts and prayers. It saddened me recently to see that the most fervent prayer response for them seems to be from the Muslim community who, although well-intentioned, worship a God who is false and cannot save souls.

Update from 29/10/2014:
It has been 26 days since Alan Henning’s execution video became public, and Abdul-Rahman was threatened to be the next victim. However, new videos put out by ISIS (see http://www.theatlantic.com/international/archive/2014/10/isis-shifts-their-social-media-patterns/381988/) give no information on his status. The other beheading videos were all released about two weeks apart. A number of calls have been made to spare Abdul’s life — he is an aid worker and devout Muslim. Even Abu Omar Aqidi, a high ranking official in the al-Qaeda sect Jabhat al-Nusra, has called for his release. ISIS is known for its well-organized social media activity, yet it seems to be slowly changing patterns, which to the eyes of faith is evidence of God’s great mercy.

Please continue for the Lord Jesus’ spirit to continue working in the hearts and minds of ISIS, their captives and the people ISIS are warring against, so that as many people as possible come to Christ and are saved.

Update from 17/11/2014:
Last night I checked my phone and saw updates from a Facebook prayer site for Peter Kassig. They stated some very sad news, he has apparently been executed by ISIS. A friend said the lack of a propaganda statement in Peter’s death video suggested he had defied his captors. Michael Downey, a close friend from Beirut said: “I think he refused. He was a man of principle and wouldn’t give into intimidation from thugs. He never took the easy route.”

Kindly keep Peter Kassig’s family in your thoughts and prayers. Thank you to everyone who prayed for this request.

Forgiving those of ill will

“O Lord, remember not only the men and women of good will, but also those of ill will.
But do not remember all the suffering they have inflicted on us;
remember the fruits we have borne, thanks to this suffering –
our comradeship, our loyalty, our courage,
our generosity, the greatness of heart which has
grown out of all this, and when they come to
judgement let all the fruits which we have borne
be their forgiveness.”

Prayer written by an unknown prisoner in Ravensbruck concentration camp and left by the body of a dead child