Moving on with God

It was a sad time in our lives, nearly twenty years ago. Our beloved church of nineteen years went through a horrendous upheaval, changing us all forever. We had experienced the deep, abiding presence of God (in every service!) during a mighty, sovereign move of God which lasted nearly nine years. I frequently said to the Lord in my heart, “I will never go back to anything less than this.”

Then, the unthinkable happened.  Our dear pastor fell apart emotionally and resigned. People were understandably wounded by the sudden loss and resulting change. Many blamed the pastor, each other, and even the revival we had experienced and loved for so long. The division between us was heartbreaking. God’s presence could no longer be felt in our services.

The day came when a new pastor was hired, and the reaction of some went beyond relief to an idea which shocked me. I heard several people gleefully saying, “Isn’t it great? Now we can go back to the days of ‘Pastor Jones'” (a previous pastor from before the time of the revival). And I thought, “They can go back if they want to, but I can never go back.”

Now, I had very much enjoyed the ministry of “Pastor Jones” myself, back in the day. He was a wonderful person and one of the most accurate Bible teachers I have ever heard speak. But God’s presence was not mightily, tangibly felt among us then, except on rare occasions when the Spirit moved. It was not what I had since tasted and was unwilling to ever step away from again. Our family moved on.

While I couldn’t agree with them, I did understand why people wanted to go back to what they had known a decade before. They wanted to forget the deep pain by reverting back to an era remembered for its stability and comfortableness. Our human nature loves those things. The unknown makes us nervous! 

The Israelites reacted the same way, once Moses led them out of Egypt. When they were challenged by their journey through the wilderness, even though God was taking care of them all along the way, they became uncomfortable, complained, and reminisced about how great it had been in Egypt — totally forgetting that they had been abominably oppressed in slavery there!

They were willing to live without the demonstration of God’s power, as long as they knew what was coming next.

While our natural tendency is to cling to the comfort of the familiar, God wants much more for us. He is always moving forward, and He loves to take His people on new adventures. However, we often prefer to camp in what appears to be a safe spot. We need to realize He is not a stay-in-your-comfort-zone kind of God. As C. S. Lewis put it in The Chronicles of Narnia series, Aslan (depicting Jesus) is not a tame lion, and neither is He safe.

You know, while God is not “safe,” He always keeps us safe when we move ahead into new territory with Him. (His “new” always stays within the boundaries of Scripture, so, as a caution, if we’re into something new which is not in keeping with His Word, it’s not really the Lord leading it.) But He does want to expose us to new things, planned in detail by Him.

It will often look scary in the moment. We might question Him, “Why is this happening?” “How are we going to get out of this place?” “Do You see what’s going on? And aren’t You going to do something about it???!!!”

He might explain things to us, or He might simply say, “I know what I’m doing. You’re just going to have to trust Me and know that I’ve got this.”

Every one of us, if we are going to experience all the Lord has for us, must make a conscious choice. We can be like the Israelites, who desired to go back to Egypt and the life they had known there, or we can swallow hard, take Jesus’ hand, and agree to let Him lead us into unfamiliar, seemingly unsafe territory, keeping in mind that we are always safe with Him.

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Changing Winds

The wind blows wherever it wills, and you hear its sound, but cannot tell where it comes from and where it goes. So is everyone who is born of the Spirit. — John 3:8

I’ve probably mentioned numerous times through the years that I am a hearer more than a seer. The Lord speaks to me more in the inner voice than He does through visions.

But lately, something has shifted. I have been receiving more from the Lord through seeing than hearing. This has been somewhat of a surprise to me. And it got me thinking —

We can’t get stuck in a rut when it comes to how we interact with the Lord.

We should always be open to Him communicating with us in ways which are new to us. We can even take the initiative by asking Him to come to us in ways which are unfamiliar to us.

Some of these things come and go in waves. For a while, God may speak via dreams or visions. If we normally interact with God by seeing pictures in our mind’s eye, He may decide to get our attention through actual words He speaks. Still at other times, we may receive from Him mostly by sensing, without defined words or pictures. Perhaps He’ll direct us for a period of time mostly through an inner  peace or the lack of it. Or, we’ll notice verses in the Bible popping out at us and touching our heart deeply during our regular course of reading. This may happen far more frequently than we’ve experienced in the past, even though God seems to be silent in other ways.

Whatever mode He uses to speak, we should cherish it and eagerly look forward to Him expanding our capacity to know Him through a wide range of means. God loves variety, as is evident in nature, where no two things are exactly alike, and climates and geographical features are so vastly different around the globe.

It’s a little like how our prayer lives shift and change over time. For a while we may be in militant spiritual warfare mode. At other times we may be more conversational with the Lord, or focus on deliberately listening for Him. Worship may be the dominant feature for a season, or petitioning intercession, or extended time praying in tongues, or repenting for ourselves, our nation, state, and city.

Whether it’s how we receive revelation from the Lord, or how we proceed in prayer, we need not become distressed or feel like there is something wrong with us if we notice our usual patterns are changing. Instead, we can be confident it is the Holy Spirit leading us.

He may even take us into an extended time when He doesn’t communicate at all. This is often a season when He zeroes in on strengthening our character, teaching us to trust Him and to be faithful in pursuing Him when we can’t sense His nearness. We haven’t done anything wrong, and He’s still with us. But He chooses to be silent while He revises attitudes in our inner man.

So, when the method God chooses to make Himself known changes, relax and allow yourself to flow with wherever and however the Spirit decides to commune with you. Anticipate it as a new adventure He is leading you into, for He says,  See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it?…” (Isaiah 43:19, NIV).

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Christian podcast

Did you know there’s an Out of the Fire podcast? It’s different than what you see at the blog, too!

And it’s short (I like short, don’t you?) Episodes average about seven minutes.

Just look for “Lee Ann Rubsam Out of the Fire” at your favorite podcast platform, or start here.

Division and Clarity

Image by Leeds Museums and Galleries (LEEDM.E.1963.0109) via Flickr.com. Copyright 2010.
Licensed under CC BY-NC 2.0.

A little over a week ago, I experienced two significant visions which I’d like to share with you.

in the first one, I saw a giant meat cleaver thrust down into a chopping block. I then heard the words, “Choose you this day whom you will serve”  and, “the valley of decision” (Joshua 24:15 and Joel 3:14).

I understood that the meat cleaver represents a dividing work the Lord is about to do on a global scale. It will be a clear-cut division between truth and deception, day and night, light and darkness. He will make the difference clear to Christians and non-Christians alike, so that people will be required to decide which they side with. Those who cast their loyalties in with deception and darkness will do it because they consciously, rebelliously choose to do so.

I also heard, “How long will you halt between two opinions?” It comes from the story of Elijah and the contest on Mount Carmel (1 Kings 18:20-40). Elijah asked, “How long will you halt between two opinions? If the LORD is God, follow Him, but if Baal, then follow him.” The people did not answer, seemingly because they did not know what the correct answer was (v. 21).

Right now, many, even in the Church, are confused in who and what they side with. Deception has blinded their thinking to the point where they blithely stand with opinions and policies which are the opposite of the Lord’s viewpoint. That is about to change. Clarity is coming to those who are confused or deceived. If they continue in their deception, it will be because they want to.

When will this become obvious? I believe it is coming quickly, but how soon, I don’t know. It is time for those of us who claim to be Christians to start seeking the Lord’s direction. We can be assured that “The Spirit of truth … will guide [us] into all truth” (John 16:13) if we want Him to.

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In the second vision, I saw the Lord as a huge man, striding forcefully across the U. S. from the west to the east. He was bent forward in urgency and determination, violently overthrowing and overturning everything which stood in His way, tossing what looked like boulders to the left and the right. (I don’t know if the west to east direction was significant or just the way I saw it.)

With that, I had the thought of the Lord as a mighty man who roars. In looking up where that idea is in Scripture, I found it in Isaiah 42:13: “The LORD shall go forth as a mighty man. He shall stir up jealousy like a man of war. He shall cry, yes, roar; He shall prevail against His enemies.”  Isaiah 42:13-23 all follows that theme, if you are interested in looking into it further.

Have any of you heard similar things from the Lord? If so, please comment on what He has been speaking to you.

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intercessor training

The Intercessor Manual,
by Lee Ann Rubsam

Lessons from My Journal

Image by terimakasih0, from Pixabay

I’ve been reading through a journal of things God spoke to me nearly twenty years ago.

I was struck by how many interactions with Him I had forgotten — encouraging words during times of difficulty and uncertainty, His explanations of His nature and how He works, and the sheer number of promises He had deposited in my heart. Some of those promises have already been fulfilled, some may soon unfold, and some have yet to begin to take shape.

And something else struck me, too: how many times I had unnecessarily feared that the Lord wouldn’t come through for me, that I would irretrievably mess up, or that people would thwart my destiny in some way. It all seems so foolish now to have worried about these things, because I know Him better today.

I thought sharing some of the pits I fell into back then might help someone else. I suspect they are fairly common snares:

I wasn’t confident in my ability to hear God accurately.

 In John 10: 4, 5, Jesus promises that His sheep will hear His voice and recognize it, as opposed to the voices of strangers. This is a process which improves over time. Just like a newborn lamb doesn’t yet know the shepherd’s voice well, we have to learn how He sounds, too. (But He is patient and trains us into it, often speaking loudly at first, then gradually turning the volume down, until we are able to recognize even His whispers.)

The main problem for me, though, was that I got into the trap of constantly second-guessing what I’d heard. I spent way too much time fretting, “Perhaps I am only hearing myself mimic God’s voice, thereby deceiving myself.” A major reason for that was — 

I believed apparent circumstances more than what I had thought God said.

I think this is common to many of us. God gives us a promise, and the next thing we know, it seems like the exact opposite is happening. Really, this is spiritual warfare. As soon as God says something, just like in the parable of the sower (Mark 4: 2-20), where the birds eat up the seed before it gets a chance to grow, the devil comes along and tries to steal our promise.

Probably most of us get a little farther along than having that word immediately snatched. Our response is more like the seed which germinates on the rocky soil, having no depth. We receive our word from God with gladness, but we only endure for a short time, thinking everything will happen quickly and without difficulty. When it doesn’t, we become offended with God because He supposedly dropped the ball, or else we assume we must have heard God wrong.

One of the largest arenas of warfare we engage in is the conflict between what we see with our natural eyes and what we have seen and heard by God’s Spirit. When we believe what our natural senses are screaming at us, instead of holding God’s vision before our eyes, we’re buying into the same lying insinuation Satan fooled Adam and Eve with: “Has God [really] said …?” We must make our natural perceptions subservient to what God has shown us.

Although we all make mistakes along the way, I have found, more often than not, that I did hear God’s voice — even though it didn’t look like it for a while. As Hank Kunneman, a modern-day prophet, often says, when God speaks, give the word time to breathe. In other words, just hold on and wait. I would add, if it’s really God speaking, He’ll continue to lead in that direction. If it’s not, He’ll say, “No, this is the way.”

I thought if I heard it now, it was supposed to happen quickly.

The “gotta have it now” syndrome is common to most of us. We tend to look for instant results. But few things in God’s kingdom happen that way. You would think we would know this. Genesis tells of Abraham’s twenty-five year wait for his promised son Isaac and Joseph’s twenty-two year wait for his prophetic dreams to be fulfilled, but somehow we think it should be different in our situation. (May I roll my eyes here?)

This “gotta have it now” mentality places us smack dab back into the parable’s example of the young plant which withers because of rocky soil with no depth. We must determine to be good ground for God to sow His promises into. I like the way Luke 8:15 ends the parable: “But those on the good ground are they, which in an honest and good heart, having heard the word, keep it, and bring forth fruit with patience.”

I didn’t understand God’s power and trustworthiness to the extent I do now.

We can acknowledge these attributes of God with our heads and yet not truly know them in our hearts. I look back on that time almost twenty years ago and wonder how I could have been so dense. Why did I fret? Why did I not trust God more?

Some of us have an easier time believing than others, but knowing Who God is, in all His unshakable goodness, is a learning process for everyone. God reveals Himself to us gradually through His Word and our experience with Him. As we read the Bible and ponder it, the vibrant life it holds takes firm root in us. And as we see His faithfulness, time and again, through every circumstance we thought we were going to die in, and how He brought us out alive and well, we become stronger in our confidence in Him.

So, what do we do while we wait for God to fulfill what He said?

We pray our promises through to completion. That includes contending for them. We may have to speak to mountains (obstacles) to be removed, as Jesus instructed in Mark 11:23. Paul said to Timothy, “This charge I commit to you, son Timothy, according to the prophecies which went before on you, that you by them might war a good warfare” (1 Timothy 1:18).

We continue to release our faith toward God and resist doubt, “bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ” (2 Corinthians 10:5).

We relinquish the timing and outcome to God. “Here, Lord. I know what You said, and I believe it. I don’t know how You are going to do it, but I leave it in Your hands.”

There comes a day when there is no more to be prayed into that promise. From thereon, we rest and trust in Him. We lay it on the altar and let Him do with it as He pleases. Resting in Him becomes so settled that when the promise’s fulfillment finally arrives, it might take us by surprise, because we are no longer grasping at it and thinking about it obsessively. We may have even forgotten about it and moved on, but God has not forgotten. He does what He says.

I hope my experiences will encourage you to trust in the Lord for everything He has spoken to you. If you have a testimony of His faithfulness in keeping His promises to you, please share it in the comments. You might end up bolstering someone else’s faith!

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intercession

Your Intercession Questions Answered

(A companion book to The Intercessor Manual)

     

  

 

The Need for Rest

Image by GioeleFazzeri from Pixabay

Do you ever feel heavily weighed down with all the events going on around us which desperately need to be changed through prayer? For some of us, the exhortation to “pray without ceasing” (1 Thessalonians 5:17) has taken on a meaning which neither the apostle Paul, nor the Lord, ever intended. It has caused an anxiousness in prayer which refuses to relax or engage in types of prayer other than intercession, because the job of bringing God’s answers to earth seems more urgent.

Sometimes this fretful anxiety evidences in neglecting personal praise and worship, or in being unwilling to sit quietly with the Lord and allow Him to do the talking. The overburdened intercessor may be impatient with time set aside for worship and praise in prayer groups, too. While everyone else is enjoying extolling the Lord and sensing His presence draw near, this prayer warrior continues independently in a frenzy of petition, instead of focusing on the Lord Himself. In periods of silence when others in the group are content to listen for God’s voice, he or she nervously jumps in to pray about something — anything — because, Hello, it’s a prayer meeting, and time should not be wasted. We came to intercede, right?

Jesus has a word for nervous, care-ridden prayer warriors: “Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn of Me, for I am meek and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy, and My burden is light” (Matthew 11:28-30). Oh, I know we’re all familiar with this passage, but maybe it’s time to pull it out of storage and apply it again!

Philippians 4:6 says, “Be care-filled for nothing; but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.” In the midst of “letting our requests be made known to God,” we must not neglect the other points mentioned: not being care-filled and giving thanks.

I Thessalonians 5:17’s “praying without ceasing” is about more than intercession. It includes worship, praising God for His goodness, and thanksgiving. Quiet time before the Lord, where we give Him opportunity to speak, is also prayer. So is give-and-take conversation with Him.

We should not delude ourselves into thinking that if we don’t keep up incessant intercession, everything will go down the tubes, and it will be our fault. The future of the world does not rest solely on us. God is still quite capably in charge. He doesn’t expect any one of us to take on all the prayer burdens all the time. If we relax in His presence, He has someone else somewhere on the globe who will carry on in intercession while we take time out to worship, listen, and simply enjoy Him. Even with our prayer language, if we were to receive interpretation for everything we pray in tongues, I dare say we would be surprised at the high ratio of praise to petition which goes on there.

It’s time for many a weary prayer warrior to learn to rest in God’s presence once again. When we take a break to do that, our intercession gets better overall. It becomes infused with God’s fresh power and efficiency because of our time lavished solely on Him.

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Sling Bags and Sidewalks (A Dream)

Photo by furkanfdemir from Pexels

A few weeks ago, I had a dream which I think is relevant to our times and how to make our way through them.

I was out for a walk on my street, with a large leather tote bag slung over my neck and shoulder.

Along the way, I came across a large cat, which seemed to immediately adopt me. Assuming it was a stray, I popped it into my bag to take home with me. I also met a young girl who struck up a conversation with me. We spent some time walking together, as I answered many of her questions about how to navigate life.

It was time to turn home, and to my dismay, a lot of the sidewalks were now torn up to be replaced — so many that I was having difficulty figuring out how to get home. Furthermore, with torn-up sidewalk directly ahead, I couldn’t get off the sidewalk where I stood, because now there were deep, muddy ditches on either side of the walkway, and those ditches were too wide to jump across.

I kept assessing and reassessing whether this or that alternate route might work. What should have been a short trip home became a longer journey, as I continued to turn to the left or right, down one street and then up another, looking for short stretches of sidewalk which did not end up as dead ends. It was a bit like a maze. Finally, I did reach my home safely. Eventually, I also helped the little girl find her way back to her home.

I prayed for understanding of the dream, and the Lord explained that the tote bag meant I had come prepared to take hold of opportunities. (The cat and the little girl were opportunities to care for others.)

The torn-up sidewalks are about the troubled times in which we live, where everything is rapidly changing without warning. I had to keep on adjusting my route, looking for new ways to get home, trying this way and that, sometimes with a dead end showing up, meaning that backtracking a little was necessary.

I think the Lord is saying that this is a time when His people need to be intentional about being prepared — not in the sense of stockpiling for bad times ahead — but in keeping our eyes open for new opportunities we may not have seen before to serve Him and to advance His kingdom.

We will need to be more flexible than we’re accustomed to, because the old ways to accomplish our purposes are not going to be there as they once were. We will have to use new, creative methods and routes to get “home” to our destination — the completion of our God-given assignments. There will be obstructions along the way, and it may take us longer to achieve our mission than we had anticipated, but we will still succeed in getting there.

God is not going to allow His Church to come to a standstill during this time. We will still have those opportunities to do His will and serve well. We simply need to watch for what He is placing before us and move in it, like I did in picking up the cat to take care of it and in helping the little girl.

And, we don’t have to stand there looking at the destruction of the path we thought we would take, feeling hopeless. The Lord will help us find the alternate routes we need. He will lead us safely through it all and get us home. But we must be willing to be creative in discovering new ways to do things, and step out into those. The Holy Spirit will help us know what to do.

I also felt the sidewalks being torn up to be replaced indicated that the upheaval we are going through in the world is not a permanent devastation. God has a plan to replace the current reality with something better. It’s going to get better. It may not be as soon as we’d like, and it may not be the way we would assume it should be done, but He will do it.

I encourage you to be prepared for whatever the Lord has ahead. Especially, keep your spiritual eyes open for what God might have for you to do. Take hold of opportunities He places in your path. Be flexible, strategize, and be creative, as you following His new leading for how to complete your mission for Him. And know that He will get you there safely. 

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A Nail in a Sure Place

I love the names of God, especially because He is so intentional in revealing His nature to us through them. In His names, He invites us to know Him intimately — how He thinks, what He feels, how He acts.

One of my favorite names is “a nail in a sure place.” It is a hidden reference to Jesus, the coming Messiah, found in Isaiah 22:23.

The backstory starts in Isaiah 22:15, where God sends Isaiah to inform Shebna, the proud, self-serving treasurer under King Hezekiah, that he is about to be replaced by another man, Eliakim. God says,

And I will clothe him with your robe, and strengthen him with your sash [indicating official authority], and I will commit your government into his hand. And he shall be a father to the inhabitants of Jerusalem and to the house of Judah.

And the key of the house of David will I lay upon his shoulder: so he shall open, and no one shall shut; and he shall shut, and no one shall open.

And I will fasten him as a nail in a sure place, and he shall be for a glorious throne to his father’s house.

And they shall hang upon him all the glory of his father’s house….
— Isaiah 22:21-24

Eliakim appears as a foreshadowing of the coming Messiah, Jesus, Who is our “nail in a sure place.”

In earlier times, people didn’t have cupboards and closets. So they hung their clothing, pans, and other possessions on pegs or nails, which were firmly secured in the wall. Jesus is like such a nail. He is firmly, unshakably anchored, so that we can hang all our hope and trust on Him.

How do we know the nail in a sure place is talking about Jesus? Because in Revelation 3:7, Jesus specifically applies the previous verse in Isaiah 22 to Himself. He references verse 22 (“And the key of the house of David will I lay upon his shoulder: so he shall open, and no one shall shut; and he shall shut, and no one shall open.”) in telling the Philadelphia Church, “These things says He Who is holy, He Who is true, He Who has the key of David, He Who opens and no man shuts; and shuts, and no man opens.”

In these troubled times, we see institutions and ways of life we have always taken for granted becoming unsteady, crumbling, or even disappearing. Many of us may also be going through personal trials which threaten to shake us to the core. In the midst of it all, we can trust in Jesus, Who is that “nail in a sure place.” He will keep us steady.

He is also the One with supreme authority to open doors of His choosing before us and to close doors which would only mean harm to us. He opened the door of the ark to Noah’s family, but closed it to the wicked when the time of repentance had passed. He opened the Red Sea to the Israelites, but closed it upon the Egyptians.

So, when life is shaky, remember that Jesus is your “nail in a sure place.” He is available — and eager — to take care of you.

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names of God

The Names of God
An alphabetical list of over 650 names and titles of God in the Bible

He Calls You Beloved
An alphabetical list of the names God gives to us in the Bible

  

 

 

Extreme Discounts on Our Titles

Do you like deeply discounted books? Amazon is currently running a fabulous sale on several of my paperbacks — most of them 50% off or more. (One is currently 73% off!) Whether you are purchasing for just yourself or need to order in quantity for a group study, these prices can’t be beat by anyone! Amazon sales can hang on for a while or be gone tomorrow, so now is the time to buy. (I am an Amazon affiliate, which means when you purchase through these links, I make a small commission.)

If you have already purchased any of these titles, whether from Amazon or me, would you be so kind as to leave a review at Amazon? Reviews help authors immensely! Just click on the star rating at the top of the book’s description to get to the review page. A sentence or two is enough (unless you want to say more). ~ Thank you!

Current Sale List:

 

inner peace

All Surpassing Peace in a Shaking World — 57% off

$4.28 — regularly $9.99

f you are having a hard time achieving or maintaining a peaceful heart, this book is for you. Lots of practical tips, taken from the Bible and my own experience. I reread this book from time to time when I need a fresh start on staying peaceful!

prophetic

The Spirit-Filled Guide to Personal Prophecy — 56% off

$4.20 — regularly $9.49

How to handle personal prophecies you have received, how to be wise in giving prophetic words to others, and ideas for opportunities to use this gift

Bible study

River Life: Entering into the Character of Jesus — 73% off

$4.62 — regularly $16.99

A Bible study on developing Christ-like character for adults and older teens. For individual or group study. (Purchase the Teacher edition also, if you are leading a group study.)

intercession

Your Intercessions Questions Answered — 57% off

$4.27 — regularly $9.99

A nice companion to The Intercessor Manual

nature of God

Before Whom We Stand: The Everyman’s Guide to the Nature of God — 50% off

$5.50 — regularly $10.99

For individual or group study. Great foundational resource for new believers!

leading a prayer group

House of Prayer ~ House of Power — 19% off

$11.33 — regularly $13.99

A manual for prayer group leaders and those who plan to be group leaders — includes outlined teaching guides for your group

 

 

 

All God’s Promises

For a few years, I’ve been compiling a book of all the Bible promises. I’ve finally completed the King James Version manuscript and am currently working on a modernized KJV edition (which is what I use for all my books and blog posts these days). Preparing for publication will take a few more months after that. As of now, Yes and Amen: God’s Promises from Genesis Through Revelation is the title. Lord willing, both editions will be published late this fall.

It has been a joy to interact with the Lord over these verses, as I’ve studied and meditated on them, taken them into my heart, and then written short declarations to solidify them for myself and whoever else will read the book.  Along the way, I’ve learned a lot about God’s nature and how He wants us to respond to Him and His promises. I’d like to share some ideas on that with you.

We have been heavily influenced by the Word of Faith movement in Spirit-filled/Charismatic/Pentecostal Christianity. While Word of Faith does have some extreme people dispensing unsound teaching, what we have learned from Kenneth Hagin and many other faith teachers has been for the most part very good. We’ve learned from them to firmly plant ourselves on the Bible promises and to accept nothing less than all the Lord has promised us. We’ve learned to trust God through the waiting times until we see our breakthroughs, to build our faith by filling ourselves with His Word, and to take more care to speak in agreement with Scripture.

But there is a subtle pitfall we must guard against:

It is easy to slip into loving God’s promises more than we love the One Who spoke them.

When we get so caught up in the promises that they become our focus more than Jesus is, we have gone astray. This is an area where we are in danger of becoming disenchanted with the Lord if things don’t happen exactly as we had believed for.

When our love shifts away from Jesus to His promises, almost imperceptibly His beautiful words take on a talisman-like quality in our thinking. We use them as an impersonal tool, attempting to pray and declare them exactly right to get what we want, rather than understanding they are a life-filled extension of the Lord Himself. We quote them constantly to Him, our friends, and ourselves, trusting that our much speaking of them will bring the desired result. We forget our intimate relationship with the Lord in our endeavor to manipulate the promises to achieve their fulfillment.

I’m all for meditating on, reciting, praying, and declaring the promises. It’s how we build our faith, and God is most pleased to answer Scripture-based intercession. All of creation responds to God’s Word. It is the law of the universe. But we should keep a God-focused perspective while doing so.

Someone commented recently that the Church is expending so much energy declaring and decreeing that we have forgotten to actually talk to the Lord in prayer. I believe that man has laid hold on a sad truth. 

We should love God’s promises, but we should love the Promiser more. We should trust the promises, but that trust must ultimately lie in the Lord Himself. There is living power in God’s words, but it is only there because of the One Who spoke them and upholds them. It must be Him we are after, more — much more — than the beautiful gifts He so lovingly bestows on us.

Receiving His promises should, above all else, make us fall more madly in love with Jesus.

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Lee Ann’s books
(click link for more)

The Simplicity of Prayer

In 2 Corinthians 11:3, Paul says, “But I fear, lest by any means, as the serpent beguiled Eve through his subtlety, so your minds would be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ.” 

The gospel message is profound, and yet quite simple in how we must respond to it.

 
Likewise, prayer has its complexities, and yet, at its core, it is quite simple. We must not allow our intellect or other people’s teachings to steal its simplicity from us.

Andrew Murray, E. M. Bounds, Wesley Duewel, and Rees Howells (affiliate links), as well as some of our more modern-day teachers, give us valuable insights into the intricacies of prayer. I love receiving from these experienced intercessors, both old and new. But in the end, we need to come back to approaching our Father’s throne as children.

God doesn’t want us to become overwhelmed, thinking we must achieve some super prayer warrior status before we will be heard or can hope to receive answers to our requests. He just beckons us to come, confiding in Him, expecting Him to help us. Has He not already promised, “The Spirit also helps our infirmities [weaknesses; limitations], for we do not know what we should pray for as we ought, but the Spirit Himself intercedes for us with groanings which cannot be uttered” (Romans 8:26)? Where we fall short, being limited in our understanding of how and what to ask, the Holy Spirit fills in the blanks for us, revealing details to be prayed beyond what we had any notion of.

Indeed, God does not need for us to pray lengthy, flowery petitions at all. “Jesus, help!” is still an effective prayer, which He has answered thousands of times through the centuries. Nor is He impressed with us saying the words just right, following some five- or six-step plan. Too many today write multitudes of books or run around the countryside teaching the ins and outs of praying correctly, telling we must use their methods or be doomed to unanswered prayer. Sometimes I wonder if the Lord views teachers of these complicated prayer maneuvers much like He did the Pharisees, who put upon their followers burdens too heavy to be borne (Matthew 23:4).

Do we truly think a loving father would respond to his child’s request for a new toy, “Sorry, son. You didn’t approach me in the prescribed manner. When you learn to follow the right protocol, then you can have it”? Do we honestly believe our Father is good or not? Is our intercession based on living relationship with our Beloved, or are we trusting in incantations?

The Lord is looking for childlike people who will cleave to Him in heartfelt trust, confiding their wants and needs with sincerity. There is so much prayer power to be found in simple trust in God’s good nature.

Jesus said we must become like little children in order to enter the kingdom of God (Luke 18:17). This need to be childlike also applies to prayer. If you have become discouraged, believing that you are just too inept in prayer to get those needed answers, perhaps it is time to shift the focus off of your abilities and back onto the One Who loves you and wants to help you. Prayer is always more about Him than us.

I’d like to leave you with Philippians 4:6, 7: “Do not be care-filled about anything, but in everything, by prayer and supplication — with thanksgiving — let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which passes all understanding, will keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.”

No doing it a certain way. Just coming to our Father with our hearts full of trust that we are heard. We can then thank Him that He will take care of it. That attitude opens the door for His peace to flood us.

Let God take you back to the simple place in your prayer life — the place of depending on Him.

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intercessor training

The Intercessor Manual,
by Lee Ann Rubsam