Why and How To Create an Effective Prayer Strategy

Prayer

The previous weeks’ posts have been focused on goal setting and/or creating your life plans. But there is one important aspect of setting goals that I want to highlight today, that is, the importance of having a prayer strategy. In the Living Success Goals Workbook & Planner I discuss the importance of connecting the word of God to your goals by speaking what God says about you.

Over the years, I have titled this method in different ways such as … “My daily confessions of faith” or “Pray the Word” or “What God says about me” or “My prayer strategy”. Prayer Strategy? What’s that? Simply defined prayer is conversation with God. And a strategy is also defined as “a plan, method, or series of manoeuvres or stratagems for obtaining a specific goal or result”. Therefore a prayer strategy is basically a set of guidelines you use when in prayer in order to see God’s will and purpose established in your life.

You may be wondering, “Do I have to plan how to prayer too?” Actually, yes. This isn’t something that the Lord Jesus wouldn’t approve of. After all, He gave us a model of how we should prayer (Matthew 6: 9-13). For years now I have used the Model Prayer along with creating my own prayer strategies. I have experienced the benefits of doing this:

More focused time – I am less distracted when I have my notes (prayer strategy). Whether on my phone or in a mini note book it serves as a point of reference to revert back to if I get side-tracked. And you and I know that sometimes when you set out to prayer distractions tend to come either because our minds drift off to something else or some other interruption occurs.

Purpose-driven prayer – I create prayer strategies based on the promises, commands, warnings and life examples found in the word of God. This way, my prayers are not based on what I want but on what God’s will is for me. They are focused on His plans for me.

Stronger faith emerges – As I pray according to His word, sometimes it wasn’t always faith-filled. But the more I spoke the word of God (Romans 10:17), the more I believed Him. The more I became certain that what I was hoping for would become a reality in my life (Hebrews 11:1, 6).

Develop persistence – When you know what you are praying about or for and you have the help of your prayer strategy and the Holy Spirit, you zero in more on those life issues that need to be addressed with tenacity and passion until the answer to your prayer is received (Luke 18:1-8).

Answers to prayer are received – This I can attest to that as I have prayed for God to work on in specific areas or circumstances in my life He has been faithful to do so. Even though my prayers are Biblical based they are also include my goals or life areas I need to develop or improve. I can do nothing without God so I rely on Him for all things.

Become more thankful – Certainly as I have seen God at work in my life, I have become more thankful and appreciative of His goodness and His love toward me and others. Answered prayers not only cause you to develop a grateful heart but also a faith-filled one.

Establish God’s will in you and others – The beauty of developing a prayer strategy based on God’s word is that you are saying to God, “Come kingdom of God, be done will of God in my life and in the lives of others.” Furthermore, you are less likely to go to God complaining but rather you desire to see God and His righteousness in your specific situations. Also, you are less likely to pray amiss because your heart condition become one in which you seek the will of God rather than your own.

You know what to prayer – Whether you’ve been a Christian for many years or just give your life to the Lord Jesus sometimes you find yourself lost for words to say to the Lord. You can become frustrated with yourself if this happens regularly and may find yourself drifting away from spending that essential time with the Lord. Please don’t give up. Use your prayer strategy to help you express your heart to the Lord and also ask the Holy Spirit to help you pray effectively.

But you may be wondering how to create a prayer strategy. Here a few simple steps to help you get started.

  • Review your goals for this year or a few years ahead
  • Examine your life and write down what you don’t like or rather what doesn’t line with God’s will and is causing frustration, sickness, stress, or anything negative in your life
  • For each of the above you’ve listed (some will overlap), search the Scriptures. What does God’s word say about each of these areas? Write out the Word of God that resonates with you for each area. Two or three verses for each issue would be a good start.
  • You can personalize the Word by creating confessions of faith or faith declarations or simply use the verses you found to remind you of God’s will when you are praying on specific matters
  • Make time daily to prayer using the prayer strategies to assist you. Some days you may cover every aspect of the prayer strategy and other days only a few areas as the Holy Spirit guides you.
  • Listen for God’s direction. This is not just an exercise in you doing all the talking. Let God speak. Ask questions and listen. Speak and pause for His response. God has much He wants to share with you to help you prosper through life. As you do this, please obey His direction.
  • Try to involve others in the process. Pray with a trusted friend or two. Jesus promised that as you agree with others in prayer, our Father God will do as you ask (Matthew 18:19-20). You can do this by either in person, by telephone or even online meeting. Get innovative about prayer. There is greater power in numbers.
  • Post your list where you can frequently see it so that you are ever mindful of what needs to be sent up to the throne room of heaven. You can put the prayer strategy in your dresser mirror, closet, home office, fridge door, computer screen or wherever you frequently go to pray. During my study I normally write and then type and print out my prayer strategy. I keep my prayer strategy in a folder close to my bible and notebook. I have even posted it in my Evernote account or my phone’s note app so I can reference it when I am on the road and have some moments for prayer. Of course, there are apps that you can use to assist you but keep it simple. Do what works best for you.

One more thing, set reminders for yourself to pray. You can become so bogged down with life that at times when you should be praying you are trying to solve the problem or fight the battles of life on your own. Set reminders for a few times a day – it could be to rest, to pray, to read the Word, to listen to some gospel music. A 15-minute break or two during the day dedicated to things gospel would make a significant difference in your life. It will help you to lead a life of praying without ceasing.

A prayer strategy will help you to focus on what matters. Your prayers will be aligned with the will of God for your life and for those persons and circumstances that you bring before the Lord. In my journey with the Lord, the more I consistently prayed about the matters that concerned me, the more I saw the hand of the Lord in my life. The more I saw the Lord working through every situation to bring it into His will and plan for me, the more grateful I am. Also the more I prayed, the more my faith grew and I developed a resoluteness that what God promised in His Word, He would perform.

As you prayer the word of God you will see the will of God expressed in your life. Therefore, make your time with the Lord your must-do and not just another to-do. Through your essential time of prayer; the Lord will strengthen, encourage, empower and guide you. You will enjoy His love and His peace.

So, what do you do to ensure that you spend time in prayer?

How to Make FAITH Goals Rather Than SMART Ones

wirting goals_16732976_sFaith is the confidence that what we hope for will actually happen; it gives us assurance about things we cannot see. –Hebrews 11:1 (NLT)

Goals and God, do they mesh? The short answer is, Oh, yes, they do! The worldview for goal setting is the use the S.M.A.R.T. (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, Time sensitive) method. The aim of this is to make sure that a person set goals that are realistic and that they can achieve. Unfortunately, SMART goals leave no need for God because these goals are set based on a person’s natural ability to achieve it. Don’t get me wrong, I am not knocking this method of goal setting. It helps you to think through what you really want to achieve in a methodical or logical manner. To me, that’s good.

S.M.A.R.T. goals have their place especially if you are new to goal setting but even for those who’ve been setting goals for a long time. You can find this method beneficial too if you feel intimidated by the idea of writing out and seeing your dreams laid out before you because it breaks the process into small steps. But as a Christian, when you set goals being S.M.A.R.T. about them can be a hindrance to God’s best for you.

How’s that?

S.M.A.R.T. goals are specific and maybe too specific in that you may not make room in your mind for anything greater than the amounts, times, places, people that you’ve identified in your goals. In other words, you can make these S.M.A.R.T. method mistakes (1) setting your goals too low or (2) wanting to accomplish them too quickly. You likely would overestimate what you can do in a year and underestimate what you can do in ten.

I like the idea of being specific, and that’s naturally me. But I’ve learned that when you do this you can become so bogged down with the specifics that you don’t see anything more or less than the goal you’ve created. But what if God wants more for you that you’ve determined?

Consider this: Instead set big goals with God for your life and spend the rest of your life going after them.

S.M.A.R.T goals are said to be achievable and realistic. Achievable by whom – You? Realistic to whom – the world standards? When you set goals that fall into this two categories, therein lies a problem. The goal is all dependent on you and not the Lord. First off, that places a lot of the burden on you to perform. Secondly, there is no reliance on God to help you. Thirdly, you miss the opportunity to ask God to show you His plans for you and help you craft then according to His will.

So enough said about S.M.A.R.T. goals. I like using the method but keep in mind the limitations for you and me as Christians.

Now, what I want to propose to you or challenge you to do is to set F.A.I.T.H. (Focused, Audacious, Inspiring, Transforming, and Hopeful) goals. Goals that will be require faith not in your ability to achieve them but in God’s ability to achieve them for you. I want you to set goals that will stretch your faith not in yourself but in God, in His word and in His ability.

So here is what I think F.A.I.T.H. goals should look like…

FOCUSED

A focused goal directs your attention or efforts to a specific task that is measurable and time-bound. A goal is a dream with a deadline.

These are S.M.A.R.T. goal setting aspects that are still needed. Why? When God works in you, through you, with you and for you to help you achieve your goals, you need to know what they look like so that when you receive the blessing you can clearly identify God’s handiwork and give Him all the glory for what He has done.

AUDACIOUS

This is where F.A.I.T.H. goals become interesting. An audacious goal will take you outside your comfort zone and inside the realm of God possibilities. Goals like these require you to be bold, daring, fearless, and highly inventive. This requires outside the box thinking that doesn’t conform to the norm for conforming sake. When your goals are audacious you take bold steps but with faith in God that He will reward your efforts.

Therefore be audacious! Stop thinking inside the box and stop the negative arguments against yourself and your goals. Let the size of your God determine the size of your goal. Don’t limit God by small thinking!

Now to Him who is able to [carry out His purpose and] do superabundantly more than all that we dare ask or think [infinitely beyond our greatest prayers, hopes, or dreams], according to His power that is at work within us. –Ephesians 3:20

INSPIRING

More specifically, faith goals are God’s inspired goals. These goals produce feelings or thoughts towards that which is kingdom oriented. They build confidence in you – not in your ability but in God ability to help you do what you need to do and in His awesome power to perform a great work in your life that you’re not capable of alone. When you have F.A.I.T.H. goals you are inspired by the belief in a better future.

This is my command—be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid or discouraged. For the Lord your God is with you wherever you go. –Joshua 1:9 (NLT)

TRANSFORMING

No matter where you are in your Christian walk, you would have realized by now that God is at work in you to change you and others into better His image and likeness. So whenever you set F.A.I.T.H. goals aim to impact others in your sphere of influence. The beauty of goal setting is that it doesn’t end after you have put it in writing. There is more involved. The journey to achieve your goals is a journey in which you and others will see transformation in your perspective, your character and other areas of your life. You will with God’s help know Him more and make Him known to others. You will become more like Christ. In the midst of the goal setting and goal getting, you should be kingdom-focused and kingdom driven. Therefore, be the light and the salt of the earth while accomplishing your goals.

HOPEFUL

F.A.I.T.H. goals give you a hope and a future that are good and exciting to look forward to. They will give you the impetus to get up and go in the morning. They will spur you on when the going gets tough. They will keep your eyes on the prize (particularly I you review them regularly). They will inspire you to do good works.

When you create F.A.I.T.H. goals, you are expressing hope. You are expressing your belief that you will succeed at what you are about to do. In reality, goals are statements of faith or statements of hope. When you set an F.A.I.T.H. goal you believe that God will help you to accomplish it.

I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. –Philippians 4:13 (NKJV)

I hope that this post in inspire and challenge you to set your goals full of FAITH in the Almighty God. As you go through the goal setting process and as you work on this through the year, as yourself, “Will this require me to have faith in God?” Matthew 9:29, Jesus said, “According to your faith let it be to you.” Your faith determines what you receive or achieve in this life. God works with your faith. God acts on your behalf based on your faith. And it pleases Him when you have faith in Him. So remember, how much He does in your life have a lot to do with how much you believe He can do in your life. Your F.A.I.T.H. goals make that statement, “Lord, I have faith in you to accomplish…”

My friend, as you take this journey to dream great dreams. The question isn’t who you think you are but who do you think God is. Create F.A.I.T.H. goals to speak to the greatness of your God. God bless you!

It’s not too late to start setting F.A.I.T.H. goals and living out God’s success in you. I created the 2016 Living Success Goals Workbook & Planner out of a desire to have a goal setting process with a Christian perspective. I hope you’ll get a copy and start the road to living successfully in Christ.

7 Reasons Why Christians Should Make Life Plans

22867681_s_where is my life goingGoal setting is making life plans and it’s a God-thing. What do I mean by that? God sets life plan or goals. One such life plan was the plan of salvation so that all would come to Him and have eternal life through Christ. Think about it. It was a goal – to save mankind from his sin. It took planning, timing, implementing in order to make this gift of eternal life available to all. That is an awesome plan that many people had and continue to reap the blessings from.

Throughout the word of God there is evidence of God setting goals or life plans for His children and for the effective working out of each of those plans in their lives. Today, it’s no different, God has life plans for you and I and wants to work with us to accomplish them.

Even though, goal setting is a God-thing. There are several reasons why you and I should set goals and work to make them happen.

1. Goal setting is spiritual
How is that? Your life plans should reflect the will of God for your life. For sure the plans He has for you are good and are worth looking forward to.

“For I know the plans I have for you,” says the Lord. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.” -Jeremiah 29:11 (NLT)

However, when it comes to you there are plans specific to you and no one else. This is where life planning or goal setting gets spiritual. You will need to spend time in reflection, prayer, thanksgiving in order to learn His plans for you.

The good this is that you may already have a good start at knowing His specific will and plan for you. Usually the very desire of your heart is the very thing God desires for you. The things in life that you’re passionate about form part of the big plans God have for you. The important key is the ensure that these inner desires a good and acceptable to God (Romans 12:1-2).

2. Life Planning Set the Course of Your Life
If you choose not to plan, then you live by default and everyone else’s suggestions and plans become your own. You react rather than respond to life because you have no life plan to keep you from wandering through life aimlessly
diverting away from your main goals.
However, to plan and do it with God is to be purpose-driven. Jesus and the Apostle Paul as excellent examples of meaning specifics. They had an aim and worked towards those goals, their life’s purpose regards of the obstacles.
Have goals or a life plan means that you know where you are going. You are not side-tracked or easily distracted when you have a plan.

3. Goal setting is faith-based
Goal setting and faith go together. When you set goals you are making statements of faith. You are saying that you have faith in God to accomplish a specific thing by a specific time frame or period.

Are you confident in God that the goals (the hope you have) will happen?

“Faith is the confidence that what we hope for will actually happen; it gives us assurance about things we cannot see.” -Hebrews 11:1 (NLT)

FAITH goals please God. Those mentioned in the Hall of Faith had an aim, a life goal that they believed God would be able to do. Set your goals with faith in God. Believe that God will help you make them happen.

4. Goal setting is faith-stretching
Your faith in God is stretched or challenged only when you set goals that not is within your reach and therefore require God’s intervention in order to be achieved.
The bigger the goal, the risker the goal, the more your faith will be stretched. A faith-stretching goal compels you to run towards God and to believe that He will reward you as you seek Him.

Try setting goals based on what the word of God says in Ephesians 3:20 MSG “God can do anything, you know—far more than you could ever imagine or guess or request in your wildest dreams! He does it not by pushing us around but by working within us, his Spirit deeply and gently within us.”

5. Goals focus your energy
When you have goals, they keep you from wasting time, money or energy. When you have focus you have an effective life. Like Paul you are driven by “this one thing I do”. The more you focus your life the more powerful and effective it will be.

Don’t think that you have to do everything. God doesn’t expect you to. You are human and knows that very well. Set the goal and then focus your energy to achieve the goal. The key is to do what do what matters most. Do what has eternal value.

“You know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize. So run to win! All those who compete in the games use self-control so they can win a crown. That crown is an earthly thing that lasts only a short time, but our crown will never be destroyed. So I do not run without a goal. I fight like a boxer who is hitting something—not just the air.” – 1 Corinthians 9:24-26

6. Goals keep you active and persistent
Having goals fills you up with hope and give you something to look forward to. They make you persistent even when the going gets tough. You are able to see past the pain and aim at the prize. This is just what Jesus did – “who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.” (Hebrews 12:2, NKJV)

Goals give you a reason to get out of bed in the morning and to be enthusiastic about life. They give you something to look forward to. However, without goals you feel hopeless; you don’t see a good future ahead of you (Job 6:11, NLT)

Have something to look forward to. Have something to live for. If you do you won’t loose hope and give up.

7. Goals build your character
The greatest benefit of setting and working on your goals in not the achievement of the goals but what happens to you in the process. Success is said to be a journey – a journey that starts with you and produces a better you as you work with God and allow God to work in you.

Through the process of goal-setting and goal-getting, God is more interested in your character than your accomplishments. He is more interested in who you are and who you become. While you are working on the goal, God is working on you.

As you create your life plans, aim to be more like Christ – to know him and to make him known to others. You cannot become the man or woman God wants you to be unless you’re intentional about it.

8. BONUS POINT: Good goals will be rewarded
The beauty of goal setting for Christians is that you have the advantage of doing it with God and of being guided by the Holy Spirit on a daily basis. This is an uncommon advantage but one that is often taken for granted or not recognized.

As you set your goals and work toward them, you will be rewarded on earth by people and by God in heaven. The key to success in the depend solely on God, the CEO of your life to guide you and help you every step of the journey.

“Commit your actions to the Lord, and your plans will succeed.” -Proverbs 16:3 (NLT)

So as you start this New Year, commit all your plans to the Lord and one day and one step at a time let Him work in you, through you and with you to bring into reality your heart’s desire. I wish you a year of Living Success!

The 2016 Living Success Goals Workbook and Planner is now available. As an added bonus this year, a full year planner is included for your convenience. Enjoy!

Your Dream is Not Denied

live your dreams_12077915_s

 Does it seem like the promises of God are so far away or never reaching?

Recently I was feeling a bit low and began to talk to God about some projects I have been working at for a while that seem not to be bearing the kind of results of wanted. I was also reflecting on the past and wondering if there were areas I could have worked on more diligently to achieve my goals faster. The bottom line is I was wonder why some of my dreams were taking longer to become real than I wanted them to. I was trying to figure out how I could move things along faster. I wanted results and was being quietly impatient before God.

As I reflected on the matter during my prayer time, the Lord reminded me, 

  Although the promises of God seem far away, I was being gently and repeatedly reminded that because something takes long to happen doesn’t mean that God has denied it. In other words, it’s just a matter of time. Or in the process of time, what I am seeking will become a reality.

We don’t like waiting no matter how strong we are in the Lord. Waiting can be hard. At times we are patient in the process but at other times we wonder in our hearts, “Lord, when?” or “Lord, how much longer must I wait?”

Today, be encouraged that waiting does mean that God won’t come through for you. However, He will do just what you desire (Ps. 21:2) and more at the right time. During the waiting season we just need to keep ourselves occupied and get ourselves ready for the promise. Every dream that become real to us, every miracle that we experience involves preparation and opportunity.

I took time to study the word and be comforted by the lives of those who waited for the dream. When we think about their lives, they didn’t have hindsight or knew their future; they just had a dream and the faith that it would be fulfilled.

Abraham – believed God for his dream

He was given a wonderful promise – to be the father of many nations. God promised him that because of him all the family of the earth would be blessed (Gen. 12:1-3). Wow! But he didn’t even have a son at the time. Abraham’s dream was to have his own son. Yet he waited for the promise and God considered him a righteous man for his faith (Gen. 15:1-6). How long do you have to wait? I don’t know. But take strength from Abraham’s life, believe God.

Joseph – Stayed the course to the fulfillment of his dream

Oh, the dreamer or so his family called him. His dreams were a glimpse of a great future and deep within he must have known that one day his dream would become real to all. Even those who mocked him and tried to stop his dream became witnesses to its unfolding (Gen. 45).

People may laugh at your dream. Your dreams may even mock you – that’s when your start second guessing yourself about whether it will happen or not. Your dreams may even cause you to end up where you least expect and cause your hope to fade. But be steadfast like Joseph. When your dream becomes real for all to see, they will glorify God with you.

Jabez – Prayed about his dream

We often look at Jabez’s prayer and think of it a just that – a prayer. I don’t think that one day Jabez just decided to ask God to bless him. He had a dream. He did not want to be known for his name (to be called Pain) but he wanted to be seen as whom he was – an honorable man. He had a dream to be blessed of God and to be blessing.

Do like Jabez and talk to God about your dream and God will grant your request too.

Be encouraged. Don’t give up hope on your dreams and the promises of God. They will come. Let the word of the Lord comfort you.

Not a word failed of any good thing which the Lord had spoken to the house of Israel. All came to pass.    —Joshua 21:45

“Behold, this day I am going the way of all the earth. And you know in all your hearts and in all your souls that not one thing has failed of all the good things which the Lord your God spoke concerning you. All have come to pass for you; not one word of them has failed.          —Joshua 23:14

“Blessed be the Lord, who has given rest to His people Israel, according to all that He promised. There has not failed one word of all His good promise, which He promised through His servant Moses.                     —1 Kings 8:56

For the Lord God is a sun and shield;

I’d love to hear from you. Please share and encourage others. What are you doing to keep your dream alive? Do you already live your dream?

10 Ways to Grow in God’s Word

Grow in God’s Word

Reading the Bible

But the word is very near you, in your mouth and in your heart, that you may do it. Deuteronomy 30:14

The Bible is a wonderful gift from God to us, yet we hardly make use of it. Although we claim to be Disciples of Christ, we can find ourselves more inclined to read everything else except the Word of God or be involved other activities that occupy our time leaving us with little or no time for the word of God. But this Word is really special.

The Word of God is …

  • Alive, full of power, effective, energizing and knows the condition (thoughts and purposes) of man’s heart. Heb. 4:12
  • Everlasting. There is no time limit on it. Matt. 24:35 & Isaiah 40:8
  • Sure. God holds His Word in high regard. He stakes His integrity on it. Isaiah 55:11
  • Full of truth and life. We can live abundantly by the Word of God. John 6:63 & John 6:63 (GW)
  • To be desired more than riches and is sweeter than the sweetest thing every tasted! Furthermore, the Word rewards the one who obeys it. Psalm 19:10-11 (AMP)

The word of God is so very relevant to our present and future but yet we take light of its importance. If you need direction or guidance on anything in your life – spiritual, financial, relationships, career, health or wellness, emotional, professional – you can look in God’s word for help. There are so many ways to feed ourselves with the word that we have no excuses for not knowing what God says in about specific aspects of our lives or for not living it out daily.

  1. Read the Word daily. Read it like a book – from cover to cover – and gain insight into life through the accounts of God relating to man. I try to read it through at least once a year. If I don’t succeed the challenge of finishing it by the end of January, I try to continue until I’ve reached the end.
  2. Pray the Word. Remind God what His word (His promise) is concerning you. However, you can only do this if you know what the word says about that area of your life.
  3. Speak the Word. I am not talking about praying here but about making God’s word a part of your everyday conversation with friends, family, work colleagues, and whoever you interact with in your day.
  4. Study the Word. If you want to know how to manage your money, how to raise your child, how to related to your family and friends and about anything pertaining to your life and your relationship with God; the answers are in the word of God. You can research specific passages, people, topics, etc. You can also adopt certain methods of study like in the inductive or manuscript method and others that would help you gain a better understanding of God’s word.
  5. Teach the Word. God commands us to teach our children His word. Through family devotions and classes at church we can teach them. But of importance is to teach them through our lives – what we say and do have great impact on how they view God. Therefore we must aim to live God-honoring lives and as we do God promises that training our child in His ways will help them to remain in Him.
  6. Memorize the Word. I never really took much effort in memorizing though it is highly recommended. I realize that the more you study the Word, you will remember it and the Holy Spirit will remind you of specific scriptures when you need encouragement and guidance.
  7. Meditate on the Word. In the Hebrew language “meditate” means to speak or to mutter repeatedly. When I read and I find a scripture that stands out, I would personalize that verse or passage and speak it out. I would put it on a cue card to visualize it throughout the day or I would do further study on it and write it out in a personalize way. I recently shared Psalm 91 with you.
  8. Believe the Word. If you claim that the Bible is written by men who were inspired by God to pen this message to us, then believe it. If you choose to become a disciple of Christ, take God at His word.
  9. Share the Word. God’s word is good news that isn’t for one but for all. Share with those who believe to encourage, exhort or even reprove. Share with those who don’t believe that they might come to believe and accept Christ as their Saviour and Lord.
  10. Apply the Word to you. The Word is not just for the purpose of gaining knowledge but it’s meant to change man to become like Christ. The Word is like a mirror but searches deeper the surface. It shows you who you in your heart are and gives you the insight on how you can change. Let the word enter your heart and bring the life transformation your need.

Once during Bible reading month challenge this verse above (Deuteronomy 30:14) really stood out for me. As I thought about it I realized that when this was said to Israel the Word (then the Law) was read to them on occasionally. Yet God said the Word is in their mouths, and their hearts and they should live it out.

What about us today? We have access to the wonderful gift 24/7 in hard-copy form in various translations, on our cell phones, on e-readers, in CD or audio format, in DVD format, on television and there are even programs that would help you by sending reminders to read the Word. Check out: Bible Gateway, You Version, Faith Comes by Hearing, and The Word of Promise. We can read, we can listen, we can watch the Word anytime.

God promises that His word will bring you all-round and ongoing success when rightly applied (or lived out) – Joshua 1:8-9. I encourage you to intentionally spend time in the Word of God and apply the methods above to make it a part of your daily living.

How near is the Word of God to you? This week, make a plan to study specific areas of the Bible outside of your daily devotional time. It will bless your life.

 

Living Separate Lives, a novella by Paulette Harper Johnson

A good read about relationships, forgiveness and emotional healing – Living Separate Lives

It is time for a FIRST Wild Card Tour book review! If you wish to join the FIRST blog alliance, just click the button. We are a group of reviewers who tour Christian books. A Wild Card post includes a brief bio of the author and a full chapter from each book toured. The reason it is called a FIRST Wild Card Tour is that you never know if the book will be fiction, non~fiction, for young, or for old…or for somewhere in between! Enjoy your free peek into the book!

You never know when I might play a wild card on you!

Today’s Wild Card author is:

 

 

and the book:

 

Thy Word Publishing (November 9, 2013)
***Special thanks to Paulette Harper for sending me a review copy.***

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Paulette Harper is an award-winning and best-selling author. She is the owner of Write Now Literary Virtual Book Tours and is passionate about helping authors succeed in publishing and marketing their books. Paulette has been writing and publishing books since 2008. Paulette is the author of That Was Then, This is Now, Completely Whole and The Sanctuary. Her articles have appeared on-line and in print.

Visit the author’s website.

SHORT BOOK DESCRIPTION:

Four Friends, One Secret and The Weekend That Changed Their Destiny

Candace Walker, Kaylan Smith, Jordan Tate, and Tiffany Thomas have their share of sorrows, but neither of them realizes how deep the sorrow goes. What happens when they agree to meet for a weekend of relaxation in beautiful Napa County? Which one will leave the same or worse?

For Candace Walker, life has left her battered and bruised. Kaylan Smith has struggled with prejudice from her in-laws. After fifteen years of marriage, bitterness is trying to raise its ugly head for Jordan Tate, whose husband wants to call it quits. And for Tiffany Thomas, dealing with rejection has never been one of her greatest feats.

Although they have been friends for years, they thought they knew each other well. But will a secret destroy their relationship and bring the sisterhood to a complete halt? Will they be able to forgive and allow God to mend that which might be torn?

Product Details:
List Price: $8.10
Paperback: 146 pages
Publisher: Thy Word Publishing (November 9, 2013)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 098996910X
ISBN-13: 978-0989969109

AND NOW…THE FIRST CHAPTER:

“Who cares anyway if I die? I hate my life; I curse the day I was born,” said Candace as she rolled out of her twin bed to face yet another day of sheer disappointments. Her feet landed on the beige, shaggy, dirty carpet that had seen better days. As she sat on the edge of her bed, she looked around the small apartment as though she was expecting to see something different, but nothing had changed.
“Lord, can I get a break? Can something good happen in my life?” she cried as her head collapsed in her hands. She knew within herself that today would be like all the rest: gloomy, sad, and most of all, lonely. After all she had experienced in life, how could she think today would be any different?
Candace lived in a small studio apartment off of School Street in the city of Pittsburg, California, a city surrounded by the beautiful San Francisco Bay Area. Her apartment had enough room for only one dresser and a nightstand, which she got at the neighborhood Goodwill store.
The walls of her apartment were dirty from years of cigarette smoke that didn’t escape out of the window. Her kitchen table was made of plywood, which she covered with a red table cloth. The table was encompassed by two chairs, one for her and the other one she had hoped would be occupied by someone who genuinely wanted to be with her. The blue and cream décor in her kitchen came from visiting the neighborhood garage sales. Her neighbors knew her so well because of the frequent visits she made to their sales. Although Candace always had a roof over her head, she did not like the environment in which she lived. After looking intently at her dwelling place, she lay back on her bed and stared at the ceiling. Her thoughts shifted from her disappointing apartment to her anger about the issues she had to deal with, problems that had been with her for years, issues with her family.
Since high school, life was hard for Candace. Almost every decision she made never retuned a good dividend. The men in her life came and went, except for Derrick. He stayed the longest, but his bout with kidney failure ended whatever dreams she had of getting out of what she called the “ghetto.” Derrick was her sure ticket to a better life, she hoped. The only consolation to his memory was the pictures on the stained walls and a locket she wore around her neck.
Candace grew up with both parents and two siblings. Her sister, Monique, was three years younger than her; her brother, Zach, was two years younger. Candace always felt that she got the worse end of the stick when it came to Monique. Monique was light-skinned with long, black, wavy hair, which belonged to her, by the way. Candace’s skin tone was a few shades darker than Monique. She was short in stature; five feet, three inches tall, to be exact. She wore her hair down and straight, although it mostly contained black hair extensions, which she bought from the neighborhood beauty supply store.
Monique was the image of her mother minus a few inches of hair. She stood five feet, eleven inches with a small frame; she could have been chosen as America’s Next Top Model. But Monique decided to study law, passing the bar on her first attempt; she then started her own practice and moved it to Los Angeles. Monique and her parents could not figure out how Candace didn’t make more of herself. To them, Candace was merely existing and taking up space. They wrote Candace off years ago.
Her parents would say they didn’t show favoritism to any of their children, but let Candace tell the story; she would disagree. Candace didn’t have a great relationship with her parents, nor did she have one with her sister. She longed to connect with her mother, Vivian, even dreaming of having meaningful conversations with her, but that never materialized. Vivian grew up without love, so showing love was not something she did or knew how to do.
Nothing Candace did was ever good enough for her parents. She realized long ago that they would never validate or accept her for who she was. And that always bothered her. The only relative that Candace found solace in was her baby brother.
Zach was the comic relief in the family and the only one who tried to keep Candace from running away from home when they were teenagers. Despite what he saw from his family, he found laughter to be a source of comfort. A joke at the right time would always make Candace laugh instead of crying many days. Now that he was older, his life revolved around school, his baby, and opening up his own barber shop.
Zach had similar features like his dad. He had a body like LL Cool J, muscular in built, which required him to spend more time in the gym and less time getting into trouble. His skin tone was the same as Candace’s, and his hair was black and curly, which he kept cut low.
Their dad, Robert, didn’t care about too much except a good home-cooked meal and the wrestling matches that he saw nightly. He was content to spend his time sitting in his brown leather recliner with a blanket next to the wooden table that had enough room to hold his can of soda, the remote control, and the cordless phone.
While reminiscing about one’s family may bring happiness to others, memories of her family only angered Candace even more. The longer she lay there, the angrier she got. In order to avoid another day filled with anger, she started thinking about how much her life would change for the better if only she could win the lotto or meet a rich man. But that wasn’t going to happen any time soon, especially if she continued to linger in the bed all day like she had been doing for the last few days. Candace sighed and finally decided to climb out of bed. Maybe today would be her lucky day.
Candace made her way to the small kitchen and began fixing breakfast. Today’s meal consisted of a slice of toast and coffee. Once she finished her breakfast, she stepped into the shower and let the warm water sooth her. She grabbed a pair of jeans and a tee shirt, and headed out the door.
Outside her apartment she could hear the normal chanting from the neighborhood kids. “There she goes,” the kids began to yell. Candace was often referred to as “crazy Candi” because many times while walking to the corner store to pick up her soda, cigarettes, and a lottery ticket, they often observed her muttering to herself. Whenever they mocked her, she would turn around and yell back at them.“I ain’t crazy,” she would yell. “I know y’all think I am, but I’m not. I’m talking to God. That’s something y’all young hoodlums should think about doing sometimes.”
While walking along the street, Candace decided to do something differently. Instead of passing by the church on the way to the store, she decided to go in and pray. She made herself comfortable in one of the pews. The soft music that played inside the church made her thoughts wander to the first time she went to church.
Candace was introduced to Christ by one of her friends, Kaylan, To Candace, going to church was the last thing on her mind or on her agenda. But she figured church couldn’t be any worse than being home with people who didn’t give love or show love. “I’ll give church a try,” she said to herself. “Maybe I could find some answers to my probing questions as to why God didn’t give me a loving family and why nothing good happened to me. Maybe the church folks would love me and help me, but most importantly, pray for me,” she said to herself.
She remembered the first time she walked into New Life Christian Center on Christmas day. All the people were raising their hands, which was so foreign to her. It didn’t seem real. She was feeling something, but didn’t know exactly what to call “it” or if “it” had a name. This was one feeling she couldn’t identify.
The church décor was beautifully decorated with poinsettias placed around the stage area. For the first time in Candace’s life, she thought that maybe this was exactly the thing she needed. When she and Kaylan entered the sanctuary, the usher wanted to sit them close to the front of the church, but Candace would not have it. She leaned toward Kaylan and said, “Oh no, can’t we sit near the back? I might need to go to the restroom.” Kaylan agreed. Seating them in the front was not a good idea for more reasons than one. And Kaylan didn’t want Candace’s first visit to New Life to be her last.
Kaylan motioned to the usher, “We’d like to sit in the back, if that’s okay.” With reservations, the usher directed them to the empty seats in the back of the church. During service, the choir did not sing songs that Candace had ever heard. Luckily, the words were plastered on the screen for people like her, the un-churched. Yet the sound that came from the choir calmed her apprehension. The choir leader invited everyone to stand and join along. Kaylan turned to Candace, as she stood up to join in on the praise.
“Come on, Candace; it’s okay. Let go and let God.” Candace looked skeptical.
“Let go and let God,” Candace muttered. “What in the world does that mean?” Maybe Kaylan will educate her on the church lingo later, she thought. Candace slowly stood on her feet and joined Kaylan and all the church folks who didn’t have the same problem as her. Not feeling as comfortable as Kaylan, Candace left her arms by her side.
As the music continued, people began clapping, shouting, and running around the church. Candace’s brown eyes widened as big as saucers as she watched all this, and her focus went from the choir to the little lady doing what appeared to be some type of praise dance. All Candace could do was laugh. A nudge from Kaylan on her arm got her attention back on the choir. After thirty minutes into the singing, the Pastor emerged and took the podium. “That’s Pastor Jonathon Williams,” Kaylan proudly announced to Candace “That’s my Pastor,” she said with excitement.
“Good morning, saints. This is the day the Lord has made; let us be glad and rejoice,” Pastor Williams said in a baritone voice.
“Praise the Lord,” echoed the congregation to the pastor; well, everyone except for Candace.
“First, the usher wanted to seat us in the front of the church. Then they wanted us to stand. Now we get to yell back to the Pastor?” Candace whispered right before Kaylan let out a loud “Glory to God.” More claps and more shouting came, and the applauses became louder. The roar reminded Candace of a sports game when the winning team finally scored. She remembered that, but had no idea “church” was anything like that.
“Today’s text comes from John 3:16. You may be seated,” said Pastor Williams.
Candace and Kaylan exchanged glances, and Candace’s voice let out a soft “Praise the Lord.” They immediately started smiling and took their seats.
Candace’s five-inch, black stilettos were not the ideal pair of shoes to wear to church. They were cute, but being cute was not good enough. Candace didn’t realize that it took preparation to come to church, something she’d have to really consider next time.
Kaylan reached down into her purse that was located on the floor and pulled out her notebook, a Bible, and a pen— all of which Candace had none.
“You taking notes?” Candace inquired. “You didn’t tell me to bring a notebook.”
“Don’t worry. Here you go.” Kaylan quietly tore out several pieces of paper from her notebook and handed them to Candace along with a pen.
“The words will be up on the screen, or we can share my Bible,” Kaylan said as they moved closer together on the seat. In his message, Pastor Williams talked about the reason why Jesus came to the world and why people needed to be saved; in his message, he explained the real meaning of love. While Pastor was speaking, the ushers were walking around the sanctuary, offering Kleenex to those who were apparently shedding tears. Candace declined the offer. Instead, she wiped the tear from her face with the back of her hand when the Pastor began to talk about love, something she yearned for from her family and men.
“God is love, and God showed His love by given the ultimate sacrifice by sending His son, Jesus,” said the Pastor. At one point in his message, he stated, “We try to find love in all the wrong places; the void in our lives can only be filled by God’s love.”
During his message, Candace’s mind traveled back to all the times she wanted to be loved by her family, excluding Zach because he did love her. Her mind wondered about the men who had been in and out of her life. The Pastor was right; she had been looking for love in all the wrong places. Unable to stop the flow of tears, she realized the reasons why her life was in such chaos.
Loud shouts of “Amens” startled her, and brought her back from her reverie. At the end of the message, Pastor Williams gave what Kaylan called “an invitation to salvation.” Before Kaylan could ask Candace if she wanted to accept Christ, Candace was already making her way down to the altar.
Yes, it truly had been a while since Candace first felt that love and acceptance from others. After the death of Derrick, it was hard for her to see that God really loved her. But as she walked into the church this dreadful afternoon, she decided that it was finally time to make a change.

God Already Done It… Your Success Assured

Done!

Done!

Have you ever realized that God speaks in the past tense especially when He is talking to us about a present situation we are dealing with? Yes, God speaks to our present like it’s in the past. Or rather as though He has already seen and already taken care of the problem. He has an interesting way of assuring us that everything is alright; that He is aware of our problems and that He has already taken care of them.

Although it does not make sense to our limited human logic, the Lord tells us what He has already done. It’s like He saying, “Oh I’ve already taken care of that! You don’t need to worry about how it looks now. I’ve got everything under control.”

As we read through the Word, it is sometimes hard to imagine the challenges people were facing and yet God was saying, “Oh, I have already solved that problem for you!” Even now in our lives, when in the midst of a difficult – sickness, lack of money, a troubled relationship, a wayward child and many others  – it is sometimes hard to hold on to the promises of God.

God is always ready. Nothing surprises Him. He has prepared well in advance to solve our problems, fight our battles, provide our needs, heal our bodies and give us success in all areas of our lives.

Already Provided

In Genesis, the account of creation, God shows us that He is an All-ready God who has taken care of all our needs.

And God said, “See, I have given you every herb that yields seed which is on the face of all the earth, and every tree whose fruit yields seed; to you it shall be for food. Genesis 1:29

So God blessed Noah and his sons, and said to them: “Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth.And the fear of you and the dread of you shall be on every beast of the earth, on every bird of the air, on all that move on the earth, and on all the fish of the sea. They are given into your hand. Every moving thing that lives shall be food for you. I have given you all things, even as the green herbs. Genesis 9:1-3

Already Own

When God made a covenant with Abram, He gave him a promise that went beyond him (to descendants that he would not see) and He spoke it as already done. God promised to give them land and He spoke this to Abram:

“On the same day the Lord made a covenant with Abram, saying: “To your descendants I have given this land, from the river of Egypt to the great river, the River Euphrates …” Genesis 15:17-19

Throughout Israel’s journey to Canaan, God reminded them that He had already given them the land to own. Numbers 33: 53 “you shall dispossess the inhabitants of the land and dwell in it, for I have given you the land to possess.”

Already Succeeded

Joshua was facing battle with a formidable force, yet God says to him, “And the Lord said to Joshua: “See! I have given Jericho into your hand, its king, and the mighty men of valor.” Joshua 6:2

Even again Ai, God spoke to Joshua in a similar manner, “Now the Lord said to Joshua: “Do not be afraid, nor be dismayed; take all the people of war with you, and arise, go up to Ai. See, I have given into your hand the king of Ai, his people, his city, and his land.” Joshua 8:1

Really, now. Joshua had not even started to fight yet but God said he’d won the battle. Hmm, when God speaks we ought to take Him at His word. From that word and Joshua’s obedience to do as God instructed, Jericho was sorely defeated and so was Ai.

What promise do you have what instruction has you been given? Step out in faith and you will win!

Already Answered

There is no limit to what God has already put in place for us. Even when it comes to our many and varying prayer requests, God answers like they have happened. Look what He says to King Solomon who asked for wisdom to lead Israel, “Behold, I have done according to your words; see, I have given you a wise and understanding heart, so that there has not been anyone like you before you, nor shall any like you arise after you. And I have also given you what you have not asked: both riches and honor, so that there shall not be anyone like you among the kings all your days. So if you walk in My ways, to keep My statutes and My commandments, as your father David walked, then I will lengthen your days.” 1 Kings 3:12-14

Isn’t God amazing? He does more that we think of asking (Eph. 3:20)!

Already Healed

Before the coming of our Lord Jesus to the earth to fulfill God promise of salvation, God tells us through Isaiah that we were healed.

Surely He has borne our griefs (sicknesses, weaknesses, and distresses) and carried our sorrows and pains [of punishment], yet we [ignorantly] considered Him stricken, smitten, and afflicted by God [as if with leprosy]. But He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our guilt and iniquities; the chastisement [needful to obtain] peace and well-being for us was upon Him, and with the stripes [that wounded] Him we are healed and made whole. Isaiah 53:4-5

Today, those in Christ can hold to this promise of healing as being already done since Jesus did it on the cross where he bore of sicknesses and diseases through the stripes he suffered.

For to this you were called, because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that you should follow His steps: “Who committed no sin, Nor was deceit found in His mouth”; who, when He was reviled, did not revile in return; when He suffered, He did not threaten, but committed Himself to Him who judges righteously; who Himself bore our sins in His own body on the tree, that we, having died to sins, might live for righteousness—by whose stripes you were healed. 1 Peter 2:21-24

Believe God’s Already…

We tend to speak based on what we have experienced. We speak of “have done” based on the past – what God has done for us that we have seen, heard, tasted, smelt, touched. The kind of experience that David mentioned in Psalm 21:2  “You have given him his heart’s desire, and have not withheld the request of his lips.” David praised God for the wonderful things He had done in his life. Yet, you can hold to this word. It is a wonderful promise.

But God speaks of “have done” even before we experience it! He is telling us, “I have already done it for you.” It is almost strange to talk this way but like God – we should speak what is even though it is yet to happen (Romans 6:17). That is faith talk.

God already said, “It is done”. He has already solved our problems. Therefore we must speak like He does; like we already have it. So when we are faced with a problem we should speak to ourselves and say, “Yup, God has already done it.” Believe in Him and His promises. He has the power to perform the “Already”.

Yet he did not waver through unbelief regarding the promise of God, but was strengthened in his faith and gave glory to God, being fully persuaded that God had power to do what he had promised. (Rom. 6:20-21, NIV)

Are you fully confident that God has already done for you what you long for?

What Does Your Future Look Like?

The future

The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams

And then God answered: “Write this. Write what you see.
Write it out in big block letters so that it can be read on the run.
This vision-message is a witness pointing to what’s coming.
It aches for the coming—it can hardly wait! And it doesn’t lie.
If it seems slow in coming, wait.
It’s on its way. It will come right on time.

Habakkuk 2:2-3 (MSG)

Last year, I decided to do something I had thought of doing for years – to learn how to become a life coach. So I took the plunge and now I am a Certified Professional Coach. Praise God!

The effectiveness of coaching is in the ability of the coach to bring out the best in you. As a coachee, you’ll be asked some questions that if answered openly will bring to light a lot about yourself.

As I reflect on the coaching sessions I had, one interesting aspect of the program is the development of a client vision statement. This vision statement is created based on the discovery sessions with your client where questions are asked to understand not only the client’s present situation but his/her future dreams and desires. It is amazing that in a few short sessions, an attentive coach can write a vision statement that speaks truthfully to the client’s life and desires.

The vision statements are written in present continuous tense using the word imagery your client expressed during conversations with them. When a coach listens and then writes in unbiased non-judgmental manner using the client’s voice it’s amazement how clearly you can capture your client’s heart on paper. Each client is encouraged to read and / or listen to their vision statement on a daily until it became a part of them and they began to act towards their vision. You see, it’s how you condition your mind and think, is who you become – as a man thinks, so is he.

Some years back I have done a similar exercise for myself in creating a vision statement. However, there was one element missing that kept me from accomplishing any part of that vision statement – I did not make it a part of me – I did not read or listen to it daily. If I did those words would have made an imprint on my mind that would lead to actions that would make my dreams become reality.

You may not use a vision statement with active and vivid language to describe what your life looks like in the future but you may employ other methods. What I have done for many years is to write a list of 12 goals for each year. I then broke these down into smaller manageable goals. During the year, I would pray about these 12 goals regularly. I kept a list in my Bible and even on my smart phone as a constant reminder. This practice taught in our church and proved fruitful to many with great testimonies heard throughout the year. We were encouraged to look ahead and trust God both for the practical things we could do and our seemingly impossible dreams. I did not always accomplish all I had on my list – some were longer term goals and for these I would continue to include them on my list until fully seen and in other cases some were revised as I got a clear picture of what I wanted.

As we enter into a new season – do you know what your future looks like? Do you know what you want to do, have, experience in the New Year and beyond? Have you took time to imagine what your year would look like, how you would feel, what you want see or hear? Do you have a mental picture of what you want to accomplish a year from now, or in five years or ten years? In what area of your life do you want to see change?

  • Do you want a closer relationship with God?
  • Do you want to be more Christ-like?
  • Is there a desire to study the word of God more?
  • A better relationship with your spouse or other loved one?
  • Do you want to start your own business?
  • Is there a career promotion that you are hoping for?
  • What about seeing your children excel in the things of God and in life? Do you know what you can do help them excel?
  • What do you need to do the move into your God-ordained destiny?

The questions are many but the answers are in you and as a Christian, God’s Spirit will guide you. You just need to take the time to express them outwardly. Today, spend some quality time with yourself and examine these key life areas – Career, Social, Financial, Family, Physical, Intellectual, and Spiritual. Get a few blank sheets, a quite place and write down your dream list for this year and the years ahead. You’ll be surprise at what you write. Take time to digest the dream and make sure to read and pray on those things regularly. Act on what you have written by starting with small steps toward those main goals.

There is always room for improve and I certainly desire better. I desire to live out God’s purpose in my life – part of which is being an author, a good wife and mother and much more. I desire to help others serve the purpose of God in their lifetime too. I think we all want to leave this world fulfilled and complete – knowing what we’ve done pleased God.

What about you? What do you dream of? What do you want to do? What is holding you back from being a blessing to others? As we enter this New Year, don’t remain where you are but decide to be the better you – an empowered you, a successful you, a person who both you and God will be pleased with.

In this year, as you delight in the Lord, may He grant your heart’s desires. May you experience the blessings and favor of the Almighty God.

I look forward to a blessed, favorable and abundant year. Let this be our best year ever!

To Your Good Success

Pamela C

Living Success Goals Workbook

Where Can You Find Safety In This World?

God over all

Life is no trouble-free zone and although we try our best to take care of and protect ourselves, we’re not very good at it.  Even in seasons of celebration and good times, in this world there is still turmoil, death, sickness, wars, and every kind of calamity that we silently hope would not come close to home.

For several weeks now, I have been meditating daily on Psalms 91:1-16 (AMP). I am fully persuaded that I am alive and well because of God’s protection and care. It is God alone who keeps us. He is always looking out for us and wanting our best. This does not mean that in this fallen world there won’t be trouble at times but certain there is a way we can keep most of them away. If you make the promises of God your own, if you make the Lord your secret place, you will be find safety while living in this world.

As I meditated on and prayed Psalm 91 over the past few weeks, I have some promises that I hold dear to my heart and wanted to share with you:

  • I am safe in God. He is my Protection and my Safety Nest. I imagine being a little girl with her Dad who she sees as Strong and Invincible. No one can defeat my Dad and when I am with Him I am so very sure that everything is alright and I don’t need to be afraid of anything (Ps. 91: 1-2, 5-6).
  • Although trouble may lurk and try to attack me, I am sure that God will rescue me from it. He will even allow me to see from a distance the trouble He kept me from (Ps. 91: 3, 7-8).
  • Jesus has given me authority over the enemy and nothing can harm me (Ps. 91: 13; Luke 10:19). Therefore I must use that authority as a defensive and offensive weapon against to works of the devil.
  • I especially like the benefit of being trouble-free and sick-free when God is my Refuge and My dwelling place (Ps. 91: 9-10).
  • It is comforting to know that I am not alone. The Father, the Son, the Holy Spirit and the angels of God are all on my side. God’s angels are specifically assigned to watch over me and each member of my family. I have my own 24/7 body guards who even make sure that I don’t do anything to hurt myself (Ps. 91:12). Wow! Indeed, if God is for me, who can be against me!
  • Even when there is danger, God will come to my rescue and hide me in a place of safety (Ps. 91: 14) and be with me in the midst of troubled times (Ps. 91:15).

I hope that as you read how I have applied this scripture to my life that you would be encouraged to make the Lord your hiding place and reap the benefits of doing so:

  1. I dwell in the secret place (presence) of the Most High and I shall remain stable and fixed under the shadow (protection) of the Almighty God (the Unconquerable One). [Almighty God, You are Shaddai is the All-sufficient God, who is forever capable of being all that I need.] Lord, You are the Almighty God whose power no foe (no sickness, no disease, no trouble) can withstand.
  2. Lord, You are my Refuge (Shelter) and my mighty Fortress, on You I lean and rely, and in You I [confidently] place all my trust!
  3. For You will deliver (rescue) me from the snares set by my enemies and from the deadly pestilence (plagues).
  4. Like a bird protecting its young, Lord You will cover me with Your feathers, and protect me under Your wings (my hiding place and my refuge). Lord, Your truth and faithfulness are a shield around me (a rock solid wall and a fire wall to protect me) and my armor. [Eph. 6:10-18]
  5. I shall not be afraid of the terror of the night, nor of the arrow (the evil plots and slanders of the wicked) that flies by day,
  6. Nor shall I be in fear of the plague (pestilence) that stalks in darkness, nor of the destruction and sudden death that surprise and strike at noonday.
  7. A thousand will fall at my side, and ten thousand at my right hand, but they (my enemies nor their weapons) shall not come near me.
  8. I shall look with my eyes [while inaccessible in the secret place of the Most High] and see the punishment (just reward) of the wicked (but I shall not suffer because of it).
  9. Because You Lord are my Refuge, and the Most High my dwelling place (my only home),
  10. No evil shall come to me; plague (sickness, disease or calamity) shall not come near my home (my household or my body).
  11. Father, You will command Your heavenly messengers to guard (accompany, defend and preserve) me in all my ways [as I obey and serve the Lord].
  12. Let them hold me up on their hands so that I will not crash, or fall or even graze my foot against a stone. [Luke 4:10-11; Heb. 1:14]
  13. I shall walk on the lion and cobra; I shall trample on the young lion and the serpent underfoot. [Luke 10:19]
  14. Because I love You Lord with all my being, therefore will You rescue me from harm. You will protect me (You will set me above danger), because I know and understand Your name [I know You intimately. I know Your mercy, love, and kindness– I trust and rely on You, knowing You will never forsake me, no, never].
  15. I shall call upon You Lord, and You will answer me; You will be with me through hard times (trouble). You will deliver me and grant me honor.
  16. With long life (many good and healthy years) Lord You will I satisfy me and show me Your salvation. I will experience the abundant eternal life of God, love, joy, peace, healing, deliverance, freedom, provision, prosperity and every good and perfect gift from God.

Thank you Lord for keeping me safe. Amen.

God, the All-Sufficient One is your Refuge! I hope what you have read encourages you to pray the Word and find safety and peace in God.

What other scriptures do you mediate or pray that are comforting to you?

Four Given by Malo Bel, Chance to Win a Kindle Fire

Four Given by Malo Bel – The Mystery of Godliness

Four Given by Malo Bel

Four Given by Malo Bel

My story started on a beach, a strange place for a journey to begin, but nothing compared to where it would lead me!

Near the end of a relaxing vacation I was walking by myself towards the beach showers. As I walked I was thinking about my life. Something is wrong! My life is all about what I want, what I do, what I feel. Where’s God? I suddenly felt empty, like it was all “me” and no “Jesus”. I was so shallow. So self obsessed. And so I asked him, “Lord, how do I let go of me and take in more of you? Please Lord, help me! I want to let go! I want to be filled with you.”

However, rather than an answer I got a question back – “How do you let go?”

What do you mean ‘How do you let go?’” And so for a while I pondered his question, “How do you let go?”

“Of course! It’s obvious,” I replied, “If you have to let go something you have to open your hand.”

What does it mean to open your hand?” he asked.

“I suppose an open hand is a hand that gives,” I replied. “Must my journey to you begin with giving?”

“Of course!” It suddenly hit me. “Is not giving the defining act of love? ‘God so loved the world that he GAVE his only son…’ And then like a flash God’s holy name leapt into my mind, and I looked and saw and was stunned. There at the very start of His name is the smallest of all Hebrew letters, the letter Yod (י). The very name of God, which defines Him, begins with an open hand, with the ultimate demonstration of love, with giving.

Is it a message to us, a journey we should take? I could feel the overwhelming sense of God’s presence wash over me, as I stood there lost in my communion with him. There was a discovery, a journey that God was calling me on.

However as quick as the excitement arose so too did my doubt. Was this really a path God was revealing to me or was it just the vain imaginations of my mind? “Maybe I am just imagining hearing him, imagining his answers. It’s all in my mind. Maybe….” At that exact moment my thoughts were interrupted by a voice.

“Excuse me,” she said. I turned around to find one of the girls who had been showering talking to me. “What are you thinking about?” I was blown away. Why would a complete stranger ask me what I am thinking about? How did she even know I was thinking anything and not just staring at the sea? Startled, I stammered, “Umm, I was thinking about…about a path. A path to God.” And before I knew it I was sharing everything with her, a complete stranger. I was giving voice, my voice to the silent conversation in my heart.

She listened intently, and then smiling said, “Wow. That’s deep, very deep.” And with that she turned and walked off leaving me with my doubt washed away. For no sooner had doubt crept in that God had spoken, than God made me give voice to what I had heard, with my very own mouth. No sooner had doubt crept in than a complete stranger would say about someone despairing in his shallowness, “That’s deep, very deep.”

And so began my journey, and my calling to write this story, and the beginning of many more miracles.

As someone who loves a good mystery, especially a real one, you can imagine how mind blowing it was for me to discover a mystery so important, so divine, so life changing, hidden within the very name of God! This is not some cleverly constructed fiction, something we read, enjoy and put aside. This is a map, a journey, a vital path for every single human being, encoded in the holy letters of God’s name. A journey that begins with a small open hand but that ends in a place called Eternity.

I invite you to join me on my journey to discover the very mystery of Godliness and life eternal in the most startling of ways. A journey that will leave you changed…forever.

Four Given is being showcased by the John 3:16 Marketing Network as part of their September Book Launch Event. Be sure to visit http://bit.ly/Christian_Books for a chance to win a Kindle Fire, a $25 gift card and a $10 Starbucks card, as well as purchase Four Given.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Malo will be giving away 50% of all proceeds from sales during the book launch to a charity that works in Africa to uplift families and communities, especially the disabled and children.

To discover a mystery about Malo Bel, point any QR Code reader on a mobile phone at the QR Code alongside.

To learn more about Malo, please visit:

Website – www.malobel.com

Blog – www.malobel.com/blog – Would love you to subscribe

YouTube – www.youtube.com/4giventv – See Malo’s book trailers and the micro message ministry

Twitter – www.twitter.com/malo_bel

Google+ – http://bit.ly/malobel