This week, as we Bostonians celebrate Patriot’s Day and the Boston Marathon, I hear the Lord speaking about the spiritual races we are running. He’s saying:
Too often we want God to agree with us in prayer, when the real work of prayer is to agree with God! We see in scripture that we are to pray with “all kind of prayers and supplications,” and jump joyfully into prayer, asking God to agree with our human assessments of life’s difficult situations. Then we wonder why our prayers didn’t work. I know. I’ve done it!
Here are just a few of my not-so-fruitful prayers: “God, would you take that difficult person out of my life?” Or, “Can you please (I even said please!) get me out of this trial?” Or even better: “Make my children (wife, husband, etc) obey you!”
I’ve found that God is not interested in agreeing with my flesh. My human nature. Nor will he override someone’s free will to get them saved! While praying through our emotions can be cathartic (David did it in the Psalms), it’s not the most fruitful way to pray. So what really works?
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(To view or print a copy of the original Prophetic Word for 2017, please click here.)
For though you might have ten thousand instructors in Christ, yet you do not have many fathers; for in Christ Jesus I have begotten you through the Gospel.
~1 Corinthians 4:15, NKJV
Parents have a divine mandate to “train up a child in the way he should go.” (Proverbs 22:6.) Like climbing bean plants that need support to grow, children need the supportive framework of the Word of God or they will only connect with the things of the earth, never growing upward to their spiritual destinies in the Lord. (Book Review and Giveaway continues below).
“The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace…” Galatians 5:22, NJKV
Jesus came to earth looking for a Bride. He is as interested today in a pure, spotless Bride as He was when He walked the earth. As any marriage counselor will tell you, the preparation of a bride’s heart is far more important to the marriage relationship than her preparations for an elaborate wedding ceremony.
Spiritually, our wedding with Christ has yet to take place. (See Revelation 21.) The central question for us during this time of “engagement” is: Are we busier with our religious activities than with preparing our hearts for Him? Are we focusing on religious ceremonies, but neglecting the Kingdom of God within us? Are we living a life of peace and joy, rooted in intimacy with the Bridegroom?
To believe God for greater things requires that we know God in greater ways. Asking boldly in prayer means we must move beyond superficiality. God's compassion is stirred by those who attend to Him daily, listening to His words and seeking His face. God is looking for deep friendship with His people, and for those friends, He has great promises. Here are some of the promises He is making for this season.
God said something unusual to me in a quiet time this week. He said: “Unusual miracles will happen when the church at large begins releasing people to do unusual things.”
"Now God worked unusual miracles by the hands of Paul, so that even handkerchiefs or aprons were brought from his body to the sick, and the diseases left them and the evil spirits went out of them." (Acts 19:11, NKJV)
"And pray in the Spirit with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord's people." ~Ephesians 6:18, NIV
Most Christians realize early on that it takes a mixture of both prayer and action to fulfill the Great Commission. Faith without works is dead (James 2:26). Good works alone won’t fulfill God’s purposes any more than they’ll get you into heaven. (They aren’t rooted in the leading of the Holy Spirit.) And isolated prayers won’t accomplish everything, since someone must still put food on the table for the hungry!
It takes a partnership between the two: a “syncing” of Mary’s God-infused stillness with Martha’s active sense of mission. Only when we begin to balance the two do we really start fulfilling the Great Commission. One look at Isaiah 58:6-9 seals this truth. (Hover your cursor over scriptures in every post to read them.)
What are you building?
How are you using your talents to further the Kingdom of God?
Have you started something for God, only to not finish it for some reason? What got in the way?
If you’re like me, you’ve had lots of wonderful ideas of things you’d like to do for God, maybe even done a number of them. But for many people, your spiritual to-do list looks more like a hoped-for “bucket list” than a resume of accomplishments. Even when God tells us what should be on our lists, we sometimes fail to persevere and finish the tasks. Why is that?
It’s easy to be excited about prophetic words, especially when they promise growth, expansion, restoration, or blessing. The prophetic word I released at the beginning of 2017 contained all of those. God is speaking about Kingdom expansion in the coming year. Yet God also gave us a prophetic mandate to re-examine Nehemiah’s “growth strategies,” found in the scriptures. This post on discouragement is the first in a series I will write on combating the enemy’s attacks during a time of growth.
Learn to do right; seek justice. Defend the oppressed. Take up the cause of the fatherless; plead the case of the widow.
Isaiah 1:17, NIV
Roughly 6 months ago, I had lunch with a dear friend, a writer, who is also a member of the His Inscriptions community. As we talked, she asked if I knew of any local ministries that rescued women from human trafficking. She wanted to invest personally in freeing women from this type of captivity.
I didn't at the time, and I promised to pray that God would connect her to a ministry in the near future.
We are living in a time of great acceleration. In speaking about the coming New Year, God reminded me of scriptures from Amos 9:13, Leviticus 26:5, and Joel 3:18. Through both scripture and some amazing practical confirmations, He is revealing that 2017 is to be a year when “the plowman overtakes the reaper.” Scarcely will your seed be sown before you see the harvest from it! You will have a thought in your heart and almost immediately see the provision of the Lord for it.
This week, I hear the Lord speaking to us of His enduring love. In the midst of a season that seems to derive its energy from excitement, anticipation, and creating special experiences for loved ones, I feel the Lord is reminding us of a love that is constant and enduring, one that doesn't depend on emotional "highs" to validate itself. The love of God is true and sure, constant and unchanging. Listen in to what He shared with me, and let the peace of God settle in your spirit, filling you with a hope that is far more exciting than what lies under your tree!
In prayer this week, I felt the Lord's desire to know His people - really know us, intimately. Sometimes we think this isn't possible because it seems so hard to hear Him. Into this difficulty, God desires to speak hope, because from His perspective, things look VERY different! The following words are what He gave me to share with you.
“The Lord bless him!” Naomi said to her daughter in law. “He has not stopped showing His goodness to the living and the dead.”
~Ruth 2:20, NIV
What is the best thing God has ever done for you? Apart from your salvation, when in your life have you been most aware of the goodness of God?
In a culture that seems to have forgotten its Godly heritage, how can we bring God back to the center of our Thanksgiving celebrations and prayers? Will it be disrespectful to other faiths to say "grace" at our table? How do we remove some of the awkwardness of prayer if our families are not accustomed to praying together on a daily basis?
This Thanksgiving, I'd like to give you some practical ideas to honor God as you celebrate the harvest with family and friends. Grab a pencil and jot down the ones you think might work for your festivities. Above all, don't let a fear of offending others keep you from shining your light! You might be surprised at how attractive that light becomes!
My father used to have a “personal proverb” he lived by, a saying I heard him repeat many times when I was young. He said: “Keep your expectations low. Don’t trust anybody, and you’ll never be disappointed.”
To my little ears, this seemed like a pretty good formula for success; after all, who has not been betrayed or disappointed at some point in their life? His proverb, while it reeked of self-protection, seemed a sure guarantee for a pain-free life.
As I write to you on this Election Day, the winner of the 2016 election has not yet been determined. Even as this decision unfolds, the Lord is stirring me to remind you that the warfare and deception we have seen on a national level applies to believers at an individual level. Satan, our enemy, is still "seeking whom he may devour." (1 Peter 5:8.) To forget this would be to surrender again to an apathy far more dangerous.
Thankfully, many Christians have been stirred by the election process to wake up from apathy and passivity, and are praying fervently for our nation. If you are one of these people, it might comfort you to know that the fear, complacency or even apathy you have felt for some time is not entirely your fault, although the enemy would like you to believe it is!
Encouragement is a rare commodity. Strife and division abound in today’s culture, so much so that it seems things have never been worse. Even within the church, we find sharp divisions between believers over politics, doctrine, gifts, and personalities. Despite our call to love one another, Christians often doesn’t look much different from the world.
If the lack of encouragement and unity makes you wish Jesus would simply come and rapture us now, you might be surprised to know that two of the most respected leaders in the early Christian church encountered the same problem, just a few years after Jesus walked the earth! The source of their division was a man named John Mark.
Many of you in the His Inscriptions community responded positively to last week’s post, which included a reminder of God’s promise to bless those who set aside time for Him. You may remember that part of the specific promise the Lord gave was to “release strategies to help you bring the full tithe of your time and energy into the Kingdom.” (For the full post, click here.)
This week as I studied, the Lord gave me a strategy to share with you, which I have found immensely helpful. It is the idea of a “mini” Christian prayer retreat. What I will share with you is an adaptation of a plan outlined in Michael Hyatt and Daniel Harkavy’s new book, entitled “Living Forward.” (Click here to preview the book.)
Malachi 3 contains a wonderful promise of abundant blessing for those who "bring all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be food in My house." (Malachi 3:10, NKJV.) Israel (in context) and the church of God (by extension) are promised that the windows of heaven will open and there will not be enough room to contain the blessing God gives us economically. I know this to be true, and have seen God bless me personally as He has changed me from tightwad to tither! (You can read some of my financial testimonies here.)
Yet with many Scriptures, the Holy Spirit often reveals deeper layers of meaning to us as we grow. His job is to break us out of the "boxes" we put ourselves - and God - into. One of the things He is revealing now is that we must move beyond the "financial blessing" box described here and see that God is looking for our hearts, not just our wallets. Giving is secondary; all giving flows first from the heart. Tithing is not just financial, but also personal.
As I prayed recently, I saw in the Spirit a sleeping army, like an army of dry bones in the valley (Ezekiel 37:1-14). I believe I heard the Lord say, “It is time to wake up those who sleep, to activate those who slumber.” I felt His desire to reassure you of His friendship with you. He wants to call forth creative abilities in the Spirit!
God is calling forth latent creative gifts within you and calling you to come to the forefront. It is time for a great army of creative worshipers to arise like dry bones out of the valley. God is going to cause the brittle and broken dryness of your lives to disappear, and to be rubbed with a salve that takes away all pain. Those who cannot see or envision what God is doing will have their eyesight restored. Those who need creative input will receive anointed ideas, not just techniques, to impart LIFE.
"The more you rely upon the Anointed One (Jesus) and His anointing in you, the more life you will impart to others through your creations."
This is what God whispered to me this week. He is looking for people who rely fully on Him as they live, work, minister and create things for Him. I believe He wants us to move beyond the quick prayers we send up at the beginning of our projects or events ("Bless this, Lord...") and move deeper into a place of total reliance on His Holy Spirit. Listen to what He shared in my prayer time:
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A severe hearing loss from childhood caused Deborah Perkins to develop what she now calls her secret weapon: tuning in to God's voice. A Wellesley College graduate and an award-winning writer, Deborah is now a wife and mother of 3 boys. Deborah has devoted over 25 years to professional and lay Christian ministry in New England and beyond. Her passion is inspiring people to cultivate greater intimacy with God.