Waiting & Promises (Part 2)

“But they who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint.” Isaiah 40:31 ESV

The promise: refreshing, strength, and endurance.

Wait.  Yesterday I said a lot about waiting and what to do while waiting.

I thought I should get further into a very important thing we should be doing. Praying.
Prayer is our opportunity to speak with the Creator, Himself, and develop a personal, interactive relationship with Him. If you struggle with prayer, keep reading and I hope you’ll be encouraged in the Lord – He see you and knows about that struggle and wants to help you pray. And if you already pray… keep reading because this post is for you! I will address the struggle first – but there is a gem in here for everyone, I promise!

I say it all the time but it is worth repeating:
If you are married, and you woke up in the morning and did not say anything to your spouse, then went about your day and never spoke to, called, texted, messages or otherwise communicated with your spouse, and if you ended your day, went to sleep, and still never even acknowledged your spouse – how long will your marriage last?  What if your spouse, desperate to communicate with you and have a relationship with you, wrote you letters – ones reminding you of all the things s/he does for you, and promises s/he has fulfilled, and how much s/he loves you (and even long letters asking for intimacy) – and you don’t even read those?! So your spouse, still desperate to reach you send his son in, to you, to talk with you, and you do not even speak to or acknowledge the son.
How can you even say you are in a relationship? Haven’t you then cut off the relationship and just enjoy the tax breaks and the blessings of someone else doing some of the things that need to be done?  How long must your spouse extend grace to you??? How long will it last? Might you even forget that you are married and wander off?

Open our eyes to see and our ears to hear; please open the understanding of our hearts Lord!


It is critical. It is life changing. And we who confess to believe in Christ do not have the luxury any longer to make excuses. We have no excuse – we must pray.

In Matthew 6, Jesus said not to pray all fancy and showing off like the hypocrites. So you do not need to know how to pray like other people, nor should you – just be you when you talk with God. I could, and many have, wrote books on how to pray based on scriptures. And again, maybe we just like to make things much more complicated than they need to be.  The Bible describes people as the brides and Christ as the bride-groom, therefore, shouldn’t we just speak to Him as we do to our spouse??
I may not be married – but it doesn’t take a genius to realize how key communication is in relationships. And it only takes listening to a child pray a simple prayer to realize it is our heart and intention that counts. 

What was the strongest most powerful prayer you have ever prayed? For me, it was when I was deep in the bondage of sin and hurt and broken and at wits end and I cried, “I know you are real, but if you are real please help.” Instantly I was comforted and transformed. It took a good 6 months, of sins falling off me and God working, before anyone else could see the signs of the transformation. It happened deep within and moved outward.  (If you are praying for a prodigal, like I was, have hope if you do not see the signs. It is happening deep within.)

And we wait. Yep, everything these days is waiting.  You even had to wait an extra day for this second part of the waiting post.  Just to read “pray”. And some of you are on the prayer team and are prayer warriors with war-rooms, and have read every book and every Bible verse on prayer – and you are thinking what can be said that hasn’t been said before. Meh, maybe nothing. Maybe we just need to be reminded to pray in agreement with others, regardless of anything.

Today is special!!! Today is the 31st day of the month of May in the year 2020. The day of Pentecost has arrived. This is the 1,987th anniversary of the birth of the church. The church was born out of prayer while they waited. Are you seeing the connection?

Pray While Waiting

“And while staying with them he ordered them not to depart from Jerusalem, but to wait for the promise of the Father, which, he said, “you heard from me; for John baptized with water, but you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now.” Acts 1:4-5 ESV

Jesus – in the risen flesh – the same flesh where Thomas was able to put his fingers into the holes in His wrists – says to His disciples and followers: wait.

Don’t leave. Don’t do anything. Just lock yourselves in side. Sounds a lot like us lately. Inside. Waiting. Not leaving. Yes, I know things are opening and this message seems a little late – but spiritually we are still in the “wait”. So listen carefully.
“it will surely come; it will not delay.” Habakkuk 2:3 ESV
It will not be delayed much longer! And what is “it” in relation to then, in relation to now, and in relation to the future? As we know, God is outside of our understanding and time constraints. And “it” represents each and ever promise of God – all of the together as well as each one individually. (Sorry for being a little abstract – I pray that you understand, though – as this is so necessary.)

“When the day of Pentecost arrived” – That was then. That is right now – TODAY! Both.

“When the day of Pentecost arrived, they were all together in one place. And suddenly there came from heaven a sound like a mighty rushing wind, and it filled the entire house where they were sitting. And divided tongues as of fire appeared to them and rested on each one of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit gave them utterance.” Acts 2:1-4 ESV

While we wait, we cannot gather in one place.  Some places in our nation are now having parking lot services. Some can even assemble in a building together, in more open States. I am in New York State and the rules are still – no more than 10 people WITH social distancing AND masks, which are only required when not able to social distance (and apparently when social distancing in groups of ten, but not). (Its ok if you are confused by the rules, we all are as well.)

Even with social distancing – we can agree in the spirit.  Even if we pray with a prerecorded prayer on the internet and agree, then in the spirit we are there and in one accord.  Remember the spirit world (and God himself) is outside of time. He doesn’t have the same restrictions.  So today, on Pentecost, if we are alone in our house, or in a church parking lot, or inside a church – if we are in the year 2020 or in the year 33 (the year Jesus died, rose again, and the events of the book of Acts chapter 2 happened), then we can still be in agreement and pray together while we wait.  You read that correctly – you can pray in agreement with our brothers and sisters in Christ who were at the birth of the church.  The same wind sound can come to you. The same divided tongues of fire can sit on you. The same Holy Spirit can fill you in the same way!
And just as “they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit gave them utterance” – the same can be with you! Why not? The Lord is the same yesterday, today and forever. It can all be as it was and as it will be.

The Lords promises are for some people and not for others – we are all His creation and He loves us all equally. His promises are ALL gifts for us. There is no place in the Bible that says otherwise. So regardless of what people say and churches say – look at what the Bible says. It is the definitive decision on it. It says it. I believe it. I have experienced it. That settles it. (As a Pastor I grew up under used to say: A man with an experience is NEVER at the mercy of a man with an argument.)

While they waited – they prayed. While we wait – pray.

“When they saw the courage of Peter and John and realized that they were unschooled, ordinary men, they were astonished and they took note that these men had been with Jesus.” Acts 4:13 NIV

The Holy Spirt bring boldness and confidence. The Holy Spirit is needed to complete your transformation and equip you for the path ahead. When the time of waiting is finished – you will need ‘the comforter’. 
When the priests, the captain of the temple guard and the Sadducees saw this boldness they contributed it to the fact that Jesus taught them.  But look how Peter and John behaved when they were with Jesus. They were zealous and ambitious followers, who clumsily fell on their faces and tripped all over themselves learning the lessons. they never behaved like well educated men, wise and empowered by their educations. And then look at how they are changed, empowered, and well-spoken after they are baptized with the Holy Spirit!

The promise: when we pray and wait we are filled with the Holy Spirit! Along with it comes boldness and empowerment!

Confession: Today, I will pray, in agreement with my brothers and sisters in Christ who are praying today, as well as those throughout history – praying for the power of the Holy Spirit in our lives and in our nations. Come Holy Spirit, on the sound of a rushing wind! Fill us! And for those of us who are filled; please refresh us, refill us and empower us!

Maranatha ~ Come Lord Jesus!

~Grace be with you ~
~Thank you for reading ~ Be healthy and blessed ~
~ Watch and Pray ~

Waiting & Promises (Part 1)

“But they who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint.” Isaiah 40:31 ESV

The promise: refreshing, strength, and endurance.
Wait.  Yesterday I said something down the lines of ‘we aren’t there yet’. I think maybe I should clarify. Individually many are moving in the spirit, working in their appointed gifts, and busy doing the work of the Lord. As a people we aren’t there yet.

“If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.” 2 Chronicles 7:14 KJV
As a people we need repentance, change and transformation!
I have seen many people posting this verse on social media and claiming it during this pandemic and I keep saying that is not quite the right verse for us. The biblical principal is sound, though. And if we humble ourselves, pray and seek, turn from our wicked ways – yes, God will extend this promise to us, the gentile nation of the United States.
If you look at the current affairs in Israel – this verse is desperately the verse! (As the Bible says to pray for Israel – please pray for Israel!) Dear heavenly Father, Save your people and save your land!
Both in the U.S.A. and in Israel (and all over the world) we have all shared to some degree this same feeling like we are waiting for something to break in all of this chaos and hope for God to swoop in and fix it all. But this verse (although there is nothing wrong with praying it and hoping for a great restoration) is not quite the right verse for us. (Again, it is good – I am just saying there is something better to look into here.)

We are waiting.

Since before this pandemic started I have been busy. Throughout this I have been busy – I have been ministering and preaching (in a more one on one via the phone method). I have been praying and gathering via technology with my brothers and sisters in Christ. I have been so busy, actually – that I almost missed it. I almost missed this universal “wait” that is happening all over the globe.  Even New York State called their official pandemic protocol a “PAUSE”. We are waiting. And even as things are beginning to open back up across the nation, we are still waiting (to see if and how bad a second wave will be of the pandemic) and waiting (to see how the nation handles the Midwest as racism rears its ugly head again and injustice and evil run ramped) and waiting (more than half way through and election year that has the nation divided and hateful).  

I suppose then – the important thing is: to know the correct way to wait. What should we be doing while waiting?

Expectantly Wait

“I wait for the Lord, I expectantly wait, and in His Word do I hope.” Psalm 130:5 AMPC

When we open our eyes in the morning and say that first prayer of the day: “morning God!” Do we expect a response?  When we have our prayer time, do we expect to commune with Him? Do we expect He will come “walk in the garden with us”, so to speak?   When we read the Bible, do we expect to get a word from the Lord every single time?
Speaking of “Word”, as I have shared the verses before with you, let us recall the verses about Jesus is the Word! Here is Psalm written before the birth of Christ pointing us to the full restorative work of the cross – and in that we may have confident expectation!   
Expectantly wait on Jesus – and as the New Testament says – our blessed hope of the rapture and our heavenly promise!

The promise: When we expect God to show up, He does!

Seek Him

“The Lord is good to those who wait for him, to the soul who seeks him.” Lamentations 3:25 ESV

Humanity complicates everything. We need to strip this back to its bare simplicity. Seek God.
Matthew 6:33 says to seek Him first. Seek.
God is good – do not worry about the rest. Just seek Him!
I see people posting on social media that our country needs to stay focused.  The Bible DOES say to stay focused – on God.
“Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.” Hebrews 12:1-3 NIV

The promise: goodness poured out on you and all the things you are praying for shall be added unto you (see Matthew chapter 6 for the fine print on this) 😉


“Make me to know your ways, O Lord; teach me your paths. Lead me in your truth and teach me, for you are the God of my salvation; for you I wait all the day long.” Psalm 25:4-5 ESV

Studying the Bible is a great way to seek Him! Where else will you learn His truths first hand?!  Spend time reading, studying, and even grab a verse and think about it all day and let it sink in. Memorizing verses is not just for children – as adults are we keeping our mind sound and sharp by trying to memorize the work of God?

The promise: While learning God and His love is amazing within itself, the ultimate promise is salvation, restoration and eternal inheritance with Christ Jesus!

Patiently Farm

“Be patient, therefore, brothers, until the coming of the Lord. See how the farmer waits for the precious fruit of the earth, being patient about it, until it receives the early and the late rains. You also, be patient. Establish your hearts, for the coming of the Lord is at hand.” James 5:7-8 ESV

Think about this and the parable of the sower (Matthew 13, Mark 4, and Luke 8). Think about this and the passages about pruning (John 15). AND think about this and bearing fruit (Matt 3:8, Matt 7:15-20, Luke 3:8-9, John 15:16, Romans 7-8, Galatians 5, etc.).
The farmer doesn’t plant then sleep until harvest. There are other things to be done while they wait like weeding, watering, adding supports, pruning, grafting, fertilizing and even sometimes a farmer will pull out the plant change the soil completely (either re-potting or transplanting to a better location). Yes, lots of work to do while you wait.  So much actual that many farmers do not even notice they are waiting for harvest – they are just focused and busy doing the work.

The promise: harvest (of souls and of you bearing fruit), your heart established and the coming of the Lord! The rapture!

Watch and Pray

“I will take my stand at my watchpost and station myself on the tower, and look out to see what he will say to me, and what I will answer concerning my complaint. And the Lord answered me: “Write the vision; make it plain on tablets, so he may run who reads it. For still the vision awaits its appointed time; it hastens to the end—it will not lie. If it seems slow, wait for it; it will surely come; it will not delay.” Habakkuk 2:1-3 ESV

Read my previous posts about watching and praying. Doesn’t this tie in with expecting?? But what I want to tune into this time is: “will not delay”.  Will not!  We are human and our clocks and understanding of time is finite. God is outside of time. It is written: “It is finished.”  God has already accomplished what he has set out to do. Our prayers are answered – our salvation is won. We are victorious. So I suppose, in this sense I should be saying we should praise him while we wait, as David did in the Psalms as he waited on the Lord to save him from the threat of death.
“Therefore the Lord waits to be gracious to you, and therefore he exalts himself to show mercy to you. For the Lord is a God of justice; blessed are all those who wait for him.” Isaiah 30:18 ESV
The Lord waits to pour out His grace on us (yes, the glorious grace)!  This Old Testament verse again pointing to the grace of the cross! Why does it always come back to the cross? Because the work of the cross leads to Heaven which is the final promise and blessing from God. All of it is for our salvation.  Remember He is trying to focus us.
The word “watch” and the term “watch and pray” is used in the Bible to point to 2 events:
One is the work of the cross (wherein Christ Himself reminds us it is for the eternal hope of the rapture). And two is the rapture. 
We (even Jesus himself) have been saying we are in the end times. How long shall the Lord tarry? (Tarry is another work for wait.) Just as we wait on God for our needs, wants, prayer requests, victories, and salvation of our love ones – He is waiting for the moment when He can pour out the grace and mercy of the next step in His blessed plan!
“The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. Instead he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.” 2 Peter 3:9 NIV

The promise: “it will surely come; it will not delay”.  Our answered prayers, the salvation of the people we are praying for, and the rapture.  Jesus Christ, Himself is coming!  Are you ready? Are you looking up?

“Now when these things begin to happen, look up and lift up your heads, because your redemption draws near.” Luke 21:28 NKJV

Maranatha ~ Come Lord Jesus!

~Grace be with you ~
~Thank you for reading ~ Be healthy and blessed ~
~ Watch and Pray ~

The Armor – multiple devotionals

“but those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.” Isaiah 40:31 NIV

The following are multiple devotionals released by my Pastor onto social media. I thought that collecting them in one place would make it easy to review on those days when you need a refresher. Refresh and renewed! Like the verse above.

No bible study from me today. I read more of Romans and I read more of Hebrews. And all I have for this blog is that we aren’t there yet! We need to humble ourselves and let God set fire to our hearts. We fight the battles – but God created Angels to fight – we are to just pray. In our zeal to be on fire for Christ we get knocked around and beat up but that isn’t God’s plan for us. In Romans the word “Mercy” appears so many times – and I feel I need less fight and more love in my prayers and in my life.

Lets remember the full armor of God! Let’s read and reread until it is in us and it is on us! Through Christ we ARE more than conquerors. At some point you and I will get this right – through mercy and grace – THROUGH Jesus – not our own work or energy or trying.

Please enjoy these devotionals:


By Pastor Tom Feola

Ephesians 6:10-18 (NKJV) Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might. 11 Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. 12 For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places. 13 Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. 14 Stand therefore, having girded your waist with truth, having put on the breastplate of righteousness, 15 and having shod your feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace; 16 above all, taking the shield of faith with which you will be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked one. 17 And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God; 18 praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, being watchful to this end with all perseverance and supplication for all the saints.

For the next few days, let us look at the armor of God. The Bible tells us in these verses to put on this armor so that we can defeat the different demonic powers and have victory in our lives. It does not say that we have it on, but that we need to put it on daily. This comes through an understanding of what this armor is, how we get it, and how we use it.

One thing that we have to remember is that Jesus had this armor on, and He defeated satan and all of his hosts. So if we put it on, and use it, we will also defeat the enemy when he comes against us.

These verses also tell us to be strong in the Lord. In other words, Jesus will never leave us or forsake us, so we can rest assured that if we do it God’s way, we will be victorious. So let us go on this journey for the next few days and see how we can get this armor, and use it to live a victorious life!

CONFESSION: I thank you Father, for giving me the armor that Jesus had. As He defeated the enemy, so will I, through You!


By Pastor Tom Feola

Ephesians 6:13-14(NKJV) Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. 14 Stand therefore, having girded your waist with truth, having put on the breastplate of righteousness.

God wants us to put on His armor so that we are able to stand in the evil day. When is the evil day? Well, I would say it is today! So let us get started by getting this armor on. There is an interesting statement here when it says, “Having done all, to stand. Stand therefore…” This is an old military phrase which means that after you have won a battle, be ready to go into battle again. In other words, never let your guard down. Always be ready for the enemy to come at you.

The first piece of the armor that He talks about is to have our waist girded with truth. To do this, I need to know what truth is, and the Bible makes that very clear. Jesus said in John 17:17 “Sanctify them by Your truth. Your Word is truth.” The Word of God is truth, so to have on this piece of the armor, I need to get His Word within me.

Each day as I wake up and get dressed, I need to get spiritually dressed also. The way I do this is to get His Word in my heart. I can do this in so many ways. I could read His Word or meditate on it. I can listen to it as I am driving, or let it roll in my mind while I am still in bed. Whichever way works best for you, do it, and let it become real within you.

As you do this, the truth of God’s Word will be on you to protect you. Here it says that it girds your waist. It holds the other pieces of the armor together and protects you from the arrows of the enemy. So today, get into the Word, in whichever way is best for you, and see His protection.

CONFESSION: Today, I have taken time to get His Word within me, and I know that I have girded my waist with His truth. I am holding all of my armor together with His Word, deep in my heart.


By Pastor Tom Feola

Ephesians 6:13-14 (NKJV) Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. 14 Stand therefore, having girded your waist with truth, having put on the breastplate of righteousness.

Yesterday, we looked at our waist being girded with truth. Today, let us look at the next piece of our armor, which is the breastplate of righteousness. The breastplate was the piece of armor that protected all of the vital organs. This piece of the armor protected the soldier’s heart, lungs, stomach, liver, etc. Without this piece of armor, the soldier was open to a quick hit by a sword, arrow, or stone, but with his breastplate on, when the enemy brought an attack to his chest area, it would bounce off.

For us as Christians, when we have our breastplate on, we are protected from the enemy’s attack. So what is this piece of armor for us? It is the righteousness of Jesus. The Scripture states in 1 Corinthians 1:30, “But of Him you are in Christ Jesus, who became for us wisdom from God–and righteousness and sanctification and redemption.”

We know that once we ask Jesus into our heart, we have this righteousness. God made Jesus sin for me so that I can be made righteous in Him. 2 Corinthians 5:21 says, “For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.”

Righteousness is the ability to stand in the presence of a Holy God, and be accepted as if we have never sinned. Now, remember, we have to put on our armor. Today, say out loud, “Jesus you are my righteousness! Because of Your blood that was shed on the cross of Calvary, and because of Your death and resurrection, I am the righteousness of God in You!”

When the enemy comes attacking your heart and mind, fight him with what the truth of the Word declares. I am accepted by God and I am loved by God, all because of what Jesus did for me. What a great Savior we serve!

CONFESSION: Jesus has become my righteousness. Today, I have the breastplate of righteousness on. Thank you, Jesus, for providing this piece of armor.


By Pastor Tom Feola

Ephesians 6:15 (NKJV) And having shod your feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace.

Our next piece of armor is for our feet. This verse says to have our feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace. The Gospel is GOOD NEWS. We are to proclaim this good news that Jesus gave us to share. Again, it is the Word of God that is good news.

Jesus said in Luke 4:18-19, “The Spirit of the LORD is upon Me, because He has anointed Me to preach the gospel to the poor; He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to set at liberty those who are oppressed; 19 to proclaim the acceptable year of the LORD.”

Jesus brought out that the gospel was to heal the sick, help the poor, bring liberty to the captive, and to proclaim God’s “Year of Jubilee.” The true Gospel of Jesus Christ must be a Gospel of good news. In this great Gospel, we are to pray for the sick, preach God’s goodness to all mankind, and tell others that Jesus is coming back.

Here in this verse, it states that our feet are protected by having the Gospel of peace. That is exactly what the message to the world is. “Hey world! God’s not mad at us anymore. He has sent a Savior, and His name is Jesus!” As we remind ourselves that God has forgiven us and accepts us, it causes us to live a life of peace.

In Romans 5:1 it says, “Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.” Do you see it? We have peace with God because of what Jesus did for us. His sacrifice on the cross has taken the wrath of God from every person that will accept this free gift.

So today, get those marching boots on! Proclaim the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Proclaim that He is risen, and that He has come to set us free. When you do, you will see this peace that He promises us.

CONFESSION: Jesus is my peace. He has taken down the wall that separated me from the Father. I have peace with God today, because of Jesus!


By Pastor Tom Feola

Ephesians 6:16 (NKJV) …above all, taking the shield of faith with which you will be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked one.

Our next piece of the armor of God is our shield of faith. This is such an important piece of armor that we need each and every day. You see, the enemy is coming at us with fiery darts, and if we do not have our shield held up, they will get through, and can cause problems in our lives.

So what is this shield? The shield that God wants us to have each day is our strong faith. We see in Romans 10:17 that faith comes by hearing and hearing by the Word of God. Our faith is such a major part of our Christian life. Over and over we see in the gospels that Jesus said it was faith that brought forth miracles.

Now that we see where faith comes from, we need to be in the Word and keep our shield held high with the power of God. When the enemy comes against us with thought-bombs like, “You are no good,” and “Nobody loves you,” you can hold your shield up high and say, “Greater is He that is in me than he that is in the world!” When a thought-bomb comes at you that says, “God does not accept you,” you can come right back with your shield lifted high and say, “I am accepted in the Beloved!”

When sickness comes against you, you can hold your shield up high and quench that fiery dart of the enemy and say, “By the stripes of Jesus, I am healed.” This is why it is so important to get the Word of God in us. Your shield that comes through faith comes by the Word of God.

So today, go ahead and get your shield out. Make sure it is ready for battle by putting God’s Word on. Go ahead and say it. Confess it over yourself, and watch those fiery darts go out as they hit your shield.

CONFESSION: Today, I have the shield of faith, and it quenches all of the fiery darts of the wicked one. Today, I keep my faith sharp by reading the Word of God.


By Pastor Tom Feola

Ephesians 6:17 (NKJV) And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God.

“Get your head covered, it is cold outside!” How many remember your mom or dad saying that to you? Well, it is the same here. We need to get our heads covered. The enemy is always looking to get a thought-bomb into our mind. He wants to bring doubt and unbelief. He knows that if he can get us to doubt God’s Word, he can defeat us.

In this verse, it tells us to take the “helmet of salvation.” Our salvation is the most powerful of all gifts that God has given to us. We are saved because of what Jesus did on the cross. When Jesus’ disciples came back from preaching the Gospel, they were all excited because of all the miracles that they had witnessed, yet Jesus gets them right on track again. He said in Luke 10:20, “Nevertheless do not rejoice in this, that the spirits are subject to you, but rather rejoice because your names are written in heaven.”

Salvation is a gift from God, and it comes to us by believing that Jesus died on the cross for our sins. Salvation does not come through works or being good. It is freely given to anyone that will receive it. Ephesians 2:8-9 says, “For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, 9 not of works, lest anyone should boast.”

As you get spiritually dressed today, look to Jesus and thank Him for this great salvation that He has given to you. Thank Him that you are heaven-bound, and that you will never go to hell because of all that He did on the cross. As you do this, remember the work of Calvary, and His resurrection, and let the helmet of salvation get on your head and protect you from the thought bombs of the enemy. When they do come, cast them down in Jesus’ name, and receive the victory through Him.

CONFESSION: The work of the cross is a great work, and I believe it with all of my heart and mind. Today, I put on the helmet of salvation, and I cast down every thought and make it obey the Word of God.


By Pastor Tom Feola

Ephesians 6:17 (NKJV) And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God

Now, here we are with our offensive weapon. You see, every piece of the armor that we have put on so far has been defensive. They have protected each part of us. Now we are given a sword: The sword of the Spirit. The Bible tells us that this weapon is the Word of God.

As we get the Word into our heart and speak it with our mouth, as we take God’s Word and make it sharp within us, it causes the enemy to flee. Look at how it states it in Hebrews 4:12-13, “For the Word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart. 13 And there is no creature hidden from His sight, but all things are naked and open to the eyes of Him to whom we must give account.”

God’s Word on our lips in faith will destroy the works of the enemy in our lives, and the lives of the people that we are praying for. God’s Word does not return void, it always accomplishes what it was set out to do. When we pick up this powerful weapon, the Word, we need to believe it in our hearts and say it with our mouths, and we will see the manifestation of what we are saying.

This is the way we got saved. Look with me at Romans 10:8-10, “But what does it say? ‘The Word is near you, in your mouth and in your heart ‘ (that is, the word of faith which we preach): that if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.”

So today, get His Word within you, and then release it with your mouth. You will see the devil, and his demons, flee as you use your sword in a powerful way.

CONFESSION: Today, I speak God’s Word and I watch as the devil flees. God’s Word never returns without doing what it set out to do, when I speak it by faith.


By Pastor Tom Feola

Ephesians 6:18 (NKJV) Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, being watchful to this end with all perseverance and supplication for all the saints.

The last part of this great armor that the Lord has given to us is our prayer life. As we take time to pray each day, it is a protection in our lives. It might not be one specifically mentioned as a piece of armor, but it is still so important!

Here it says to pray always. In 1 Thessalonians 5:17 it says, “Pray without ceasing.” “Well,” you might say, “how in the world do I do that? How do I go to work, and all the other things I have to do in the course of a day, and pray without stopping?” What I believe these verses are saying is to have an attitude of prayer. There are so many types and ways to pray, and we can use them throughout the day. Let me give you a few.

There is the prayer of praise and worship, the prayer of petition and supplication, the prayer of faith, and the prayer of intercession. There is the prayer of agreement, and the prayer of commitment (or casting our cares on the Lord.) There is the prayer of praying in tongues, and the prayer of dedication. These are just a few, but you can see that there are so many ways to pray.

During the day, you can say within you, “Father, I love You and I am so glad I am saved and on my way to heaven.” You can also have a time where the Holy Spirit will put someone on your heart, and you can lift them up under your breath. You see, prayer does not have to be only when we are alone and on our knees. We can use walks to pray, or even when you are driving. (Please keep your eyes open when you are driving!)

So today, look for different ways, and times, that you can lift up different things to the Lord. Just watch! By the end of the day, you will see how much time you spent in prayer.

CONFESSION: Today, I make a decision to pray without ceasing. As the Holy Spirit directs me during the course of this day, I will lift up many things to my Heavenly Father in Jesus’ name.


“I speak the truth in Christ—I am not lying, my conscience confirms it through the Holy Spirit— I have great sorrow and unceasing anguish in my heart. For I could wish that I myself were cursed and cut off from Christ for the sake of my people, those of my own race, the people of Israel. Theirs is the adoption to sonship; theirs the divine glory, the covenants, the receiving of the law, the temple worship and the promises. Theirs are the patriarchs, and from them is traced the human ancestry of the Messiah, who is God over all, forever praised! Amen.” Romans 9:1-5 NIV

Paul is clearly devastated by his people’s lack of faith.  He wants them to have the fullness of God’s promise and yet they turn away from Christ.  We all know people in our lives like this – the prodigals, our co-workers, our boss, our friends, etc.  It is easy to get caught up with the worldly concerns and not think about the souls we love and care for who aren’t saved. Does this give any conviction to care more about them?  Paul is a great example of love – love them so much you hurt for their spiritual well-being.   

Paul’s writing continues, he doesn’t stop with just admitting he hurts for his friends.

“It is not as though God’s word had failed. For not all who are descended from Israel are Israel. Nor because they are his descendants are they all Abraham’s children. On the contrary, “It is through Isaac that your offspring will be reckoned.”  8 In other words, it is not the children by physical descent who are God’s children, but it is the children of the promise who are regarded as Abraham’s offspring. For this was how the promise was stated: “At the appointed time I will return, and Sarah will have a son. 10 Not only that, but Rebekah’s children were conceived at the same time by our father Isaac. 11 Yet, before the twins were born or had done anything good or bad—in order that God’s purpose in election might stand: 12 not by works but by him who calls—she was told, “The older will serve the younger.” 13 Just as it is written: “Jacob I loved, but Esau I hated.” 14 What then shall we say? Is God unjust? Not at all! 15 For he says to Moses, “I will have mercy on whom I have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I have compassion.” Romans 9:6-15 NIV

First off – “It is NOT as though God’s word had failed” – we know the word of God never returns void.
“so shall My word be that goeth forth out of My mouth: It shall not return unto Me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it.” Isaiah 55:11 KJV

Interestingly enough he uses the word of God to explain himself.  The lives of the people named here were examples of humans failing on their own but God had mercy and blessed them – but because of their works or their attempts to do things themselves. God grants mercy on whomever he wants.

Mercy is an interesting thing which is all wrapped up or entangled with grace. It is quite difficult to have one without the other.  We all know I ramble on and on about the blessed grace that saved me – yet mercy has been right there with it all along.

“It does not, therefore, depend on human desire or effort, but on God’s mercy.” Romans 9:16 NIV 
Mercy – it has nothing to do with us or anything we can do for ourselves.  We should just pray for a better understanding of grace and mercy and pray. (Yes, I know, that is my go to answer: grace, mercy and prayer. But it does solve many things.)

“For Scripture says to Pharaoh: “I raised you up for this very purpose, that I might display my power in you and that my name might be proclaimed in all the earth.” 18 Therefore God has mercy on whom he wants to have mercy, and he hardens whom he wants to harden.” Romans 9:17-18 NIV

So Paul starts this chapter with his heart breaking for his people, and now, through quoting scriptures, he is revealing the way he prays for them. Paul is ever logical with his approach – “Therefore”. This is the logical conclusion of all these bible passages: “God has mercy on whom he wants to have mercy, and he hardens whom he wants to harden” and so the only logical conclusion for us is to pray for mercy on and softening of those who we are praying for. As I have quoted the verses before – a righteous man can change God’s mind away from wrath to mercy went we are also praying God’s will (which is love and mercy).

Sadly, not everyone will be saved, but that should not thwart us from sharing Jesus and praying for others – actually it should compel you. I stumbled into this passage through seeking God for how I need to pray for my sweet friend and my son (and others).  It leads to me thinking much more intentionally about my prayers.

For example – I think about the prodigal son passage. If the prodigal was blessed and covered in mercies (as we often think of mercies) then would he have had to come to his senses and return? If my sweet friend hurt me in one huge and very not sweet gesture of betrayal, maybe I would pray more mercifully for him – maybe?  But it was mercy and blessings as the Lord sees fit that did draw the prodigal home. And it will be blessings and mercy as the Lord sees fit (with the softening of his heart) that will bring my sweet friend home.   

“The LORD has appeared of old to me, saying: “Yes, I have loved you with an everlasting love; Therefore with lovingkindness I have drawn you.” Jeremiah 31:3 NKJ

The prodigal went home because of the goodness, kindness, and love. It is God’s goodness that draws men to Him. It is pure love – the forgiveness kind of love – the acceptance kind of love – the GOD kind of love!!! And that is mercy – given when I did not deserve it, when you did not deserve it – and when these people I pray for do not deserve it.

Are you feeling led to be more merciful? To love mercy?
Lord help us see people the way you see them. Please help us to extend mercy in our actions and in our prayers.  Help us to pray in the harvest and go into the field and gather as you direct. In Jesus name – Amen.

Maranatha ~ Come Lord Jesus!

~Grace be with you ~
~Thank you for reading ~ Be healthy and blessed ~
~ Watch and Pray ~

Keep on Praying

“Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever.” Hebrews 13:8 NKJV

Jesus is the same.  We have changed, but Jesus has not. The Bible says it, I believe it and that settles it.  This means He can still heal the sick, blind, deaf and lame. He can still forgive sins. He can still transform people. He can still protect and provide.

It is written: Jesus hasn’t changed.

This is powerful. Thinking about the miracles people experienced in the Bible and those same things are available to us through Christ Jesus.
If Jesus was walking the earth today, and you had ‘meet-n-greet tickets to see him and you were told you could only ask for one thing – what would be the most important thing you would ask of him? What is the thing highest on your list? 

Salvation for my love ones?  Healing for myself or my friends? The provision of the car repair and/or the house repairs?  A solution for the troubles at work?  A maid so I can spend more time in Bible study and prayer and less time cleaning? – seriously though, what is the highest on our list?

I think I would ask to be one of His disciples.  Then I could learn all the things, and have my needs met; when worried He would be right there with me.

The Bible says that many are called.  I am called – you are probably called too (if you are reading this).  Therefore all we have to do is say: here I am Lord, use me!  Thankfully we are not limited to asking for 1 thing – we can ask for it all! As well as being able to still follow him, learn all the scriptural and spiritual things, have our every need met, and most importantly He is right here with us – He will never leave us nor forsake us.

He shall transform us into His image – into what He intended for our lives. His intentions are for GOOD. The Lord is a good, good father and gives good things. But He does stipulate that we should ask.

“Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you: For every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened.”  Matthew 7:7-8 KJV

IT SHALL.  Ask, seek, knock and it shall! There is our answer. So we ask – we seek the biblical verses to know what to ask for and then we knock (and knock, and knock, and knock, etc.).  Who here is persistent in prayer. Some days struggling asking God: why? 

“Before they call I will answer; while they are still speaking I will hear.” Isaiah 65:24 NIV

God is outside of our time constraints. He answers before we ask – and hears us while we pray. This means there is already healing for myself and my friends. This means there is already a way for those needed repairs for my car and house – just like the miracle of someone paying for one of the needed repairs, God has made a way for the rest of them. There is a solution or resolution for the troubles at my office.  AND most importantly, there is a salvation transformation for my love ones. Now, I just have to knock and knock and knock…

“This poor man called, and the Lord heard him; He saved him out of all his troubles.” Psalm 34:6 NIV

It is written, so many times in the Bible, that the Lord hears our prayers and answers them all!  If you are praying the will of God (seeking the scriptures for the verse and promise) then usually His answer is YES! However, sometime He does say no. Sometimes He says yes, but not at this moment so keep praying.

He is capable. He is able. He can!

“‘If you can’?” said Jesus. “Everything is possible for one who believes.” Immediately the boy’s father exclaimed, “I do believe; help me overcome my unbelief!” Mark 9:23-24 NIV

Persistent prayer teaches endurance, obedience and strengthens our faith.  I do believe God is working and Jesus is working in these situations, needs, and people. But as I am tempted, I can say, Lord help any unbelief! 

“In his defense Jesus said to them, “My Father is always at his work to this very day, and I too am working.” John 5:17 NIV

Lord! Please show me a sign! Please show me that you are working!! I pray and pray and yet…

“Jesus replied, “You do not realize now what I am doing, but later you will understand.” John 13:7 NIV

Ok. I sit here. I will keep praying. I will understand later. Whenever later is.
It took me many years to finally hand myself over to God. Many years until I got here. God waited for me, with a broken heart over my sin and choices; I can sit and wait for my love ones.
I can wait on my needs – they will be met when it is His time.

To be honest, I do get discouraged. I came back to God with a list of prayers that have continued to be answered with a “later”.  I know it’s a lesson in persistence and yet sometimes it is discouraging. And as these go unanswered, my unbelieving love ones also get discouraged – as they hope to see God do miracles and big mighty shows to help them believe. But God is the still small voice, working on softening the heart from the inside and not the big circus show to entertain us.
And as these things are yet to be seen – more troubles come up, more trials happen, more things break in this old house and other needs arise. Life and troubles do not stop because I am waiting on the first thing – and they do not stop as this global pandemic ‘shut down’ doesn’t stop in New York.

“But as for you, you meant evil against me; but God meant it for good, in order to bring it about as it is this day, to save many people alive.” Genesis 50:20 NKJV

I encourage myself in the Lord. When He does move and answer my prayers it will be in such a way that no one can say it wasn’t God.  Take for example the home repair that recently happened by gift from a friend. They had a bill which was waived because of the pandemic. They had a little extra money. They could have spent it on themselves. Instead, they got a quote on my repair and it was the same amount. Tell me that isn’t God. The same amount they had extra was the same amount of my need.  See – when God does it – HE gets the glory! I get a testimony! I get to testify! That encourages others in the faith and in their persistence of prayer!  That brings eternal gifts with the earthly needs met.

“For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.” 2 Corinthians 4:17-18 NIV

What is unseen? I cannot see how or when my prayers will be answered. If only we could see! What we would see is not what we think; but we would see the army of angels battling on our behalf. Doing the will of God.

“So he answered, “Do not fear, for those who are with us are more than those who are with them.” 2 Kings 6:16 NKJV

As if having an all-powerful God on our side isn’t enough – He provided an unseen army to help with the unseen things coming up against us.

“What, then, shall we say in response to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us?” Romans 8:31 NIV

So, be encouraged. Let my heart be encourage and let your heart be encourage.

“The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. Instead he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.” 2 Peter 3:9 NIV

All of the promises and needs being met are for the purpose of leading other to Christ and/or back to Christ.  God is working.  Just keep knocking.

And for those praying for prodigals – It is written: ‘When they come to their senses’.  So, Dear Father God, we pray together for them to come to their senses!
It is written: ‘They will set out and go back’. So, Father, press them – cause them to set out – bring them back! In the name of Jesus!

“When he came to his senses, he said, ‘How many of my father’s hired servants have food to spare, and here I am starving to death! I will set out and go back to my father and say to him: Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you.” Like 15:17-18 NIV

And Father, as we see here – cause the true spirit of repentance – that they will acknowledge their sins and let you transform them into your beautiful master pieces!
Lord, let me again ask for my needs to be met and meet the needs of anyone reading this, healing for myself, my friends, and my readers. And Jesus, please save our prodigal friends and the ones who have yet to accept you! In Jesus name we pray!

Maranatha ~ Come Lord Jesus!

~Grace be with you ~
~Thank you for reading ~ Be healthy and blessed ~
~ Watch and Pray ~

Look to the Hills

I will lift up my eyes to the hills—From whence comes my help?
My help comes from the Lord, Who made heaven and earth.
He will not allow your foot to be moved; He who keeps you will not slumber.
Behold, He who keeps Israel Shall neither slumber nor sleep.
The Lord is your keeper; The Lord is your shade at your right hand.
The sun shall not strike you by day, Nor the moon by night.
The Lord shall preserve you from all evil; He shall preserve your soul.
The Lord shall preserve your going out and your coming in From this time forth, and even forevermore.

Psalm 121

Today was such a beautiful day.  I ran to the store for a few essentials.  After the first store, I was planning on running to the grocery store – but as I walked to my car I thought, no, I should go for a drive to the country and enjoy this beautiful day.

My sweet friend (the one I am praying fervently for) had messaged that he wanted to see me, maybe.  So I messaged him back and said, let’s go for a drive – windows down, sun shining, and see where it takes us.  (I have backed away from him. I seldom respond to his messages and I am giving him space to seek God on his own and space for God to move.  This leave me often wondering is God moving? Is my sweet friend softening his heart towards God?  Is he seeking God? I ask God and feel, it isn’t mine to know. What is mine is to pray that my friend turns from his sin towards God and let’s God transform him.)

Inviting him along for the ride… was this wrong?

We drove into the country to an area where I grew up. Rolling hills overlooking a valley. Lush green farmland and protected State Forests all mixed in.  I thought about this psalm – I will left up my eyes to the hills!  The rolling hills were so beautiful. Mind you these hills have peak elevations of 1,500 to 2,000 feet – they aren’t small hills.  

We made small talk, talked about my childhood out there, and the times he had been out there. And of course we talked about God. Then, as we stopped at the bottom of a sharp descent – we noticed smoke coming from my front brakes.  There was no place to pull over or stop for about a quarter mile down the road – so I proceeded slowly until we got there.  Sure enough – my front drivers brake was shot.  (Back brakes were just done a few months ago – so we were ok to drive as long as I went slowly and no hard braking.)
I was in the parking lot of my favorite greenhouse. I was hoping to pick up some pretty plants to fill in my garden. But now I am feeling the woe of financial pressures – and unexpected car repair.  Thankfully my friend went to the restroom and I had a moment. I thought through the rest of this Psalm.

“From whence comes my help? My help comes from the Lord”  Yes, and AMEN! I then recalled the morning devotional I did – which spoke about peace. The glorious peace of Jesus.  I took a deep breath and I handed it over to God. 

I was not foolish and did not buy any plants as I will need a repair – but God will make a way.

For the ride home, we took a route with less declines – just to be safer.  I would have rather spent the day out there (covered bridges, nature walks, lookout points, etc).  Instead we headed back.

The wheel started to squeak, probably the warning noise or whatever mechanics call it. I stopped again to make sure it wasn’t something else (as best as I could see without taking it apart on the side of the road).  I said to my friend – I am not going to lie, this concerns me. He said he is always surprised at how calmly I handle things.  

“He will not allow your foot to be moved” – AMEN! I was standing on the promise that God will provide for my needs and right then I needed safety, peace and a car repair!
“He who keeps you will not slumber.” – and again – AMEN!  I was protected on my way out there.
God knew my brakes would fail, yet he kept me – “Behold, He who keeps Israel Shall neither slumber nor sleep. The Lord is your keeper; The Lord is your shade at your right hand. The sun shall not strike you by day, Nor the moon by night.”

We got back to his place to drop him off and he said he wanted me to follow him to my house so if the brakes go – I would hit him and not someone else. OK.
“The Lord shall preserve your going out and your coming in From this time forth, and even forevermore.”  AND the Lord did preserve me – going out there and coming back!  He is my help, even when I didn’t know I had a need.

Back at my house, my friend asked if I want to go back to his house to watch a movie. (Hmmm, no. Not without my car so I could leave at any time. Not without someone around so I could be tempted and not held accountable. No.)  My son was home so I invited him in. We can watch a movie and be held accountable.

“The Lord shall preserve you from all evil; He shall preserve your soul.”  He makes a way out of temptation – he shall keep us from evil.

We watched a movie that I had seen before and I was able to spend the time praying for him quietly in my head. I laid my hands on his arm and just prayed.

Then, as it was time to leave – he gave me a hug. I reminded him that I love him and I am still praying for him. He said he prayed and asked God if I still loved him – and me spending the day with him was an answer to his prayers.
I reminded him I can love the sinner and hate the sin. I Love him – but I have subjected myself to God’s will and I am constrained by that right now.

Now I sit here praising the Lord for such a day!
I have so many expensive needs and such a small income – and prices are going up. But Look how God planned out this day. I may need brakes now – but God already knew. And God has made a way. (I don’t know what way that is – but He has it in his hands)

I am still thinking Lord HELP ME! Help me with the car, Help me with my friend, Help me by working in my friend’s life, Help me, help me, help me…
But I praise him for all that He did today! He never leaves us nor forsakes us – Ooooo How I love that verse. Let’s read it in the Amplified Bible:

“Let your character or moral disposition be free from love of money [including greed, avarice, lust, and craving for earthly possessions] and be satisfied with your present [circumstances and with what you have]; for He [God] Himself has said, I will not in any way fail you nor give you up nor leave you without support. [I will] not, [I will] not, [I will] not in any degree leave you helpless nor forsake nor let [you] down (relax My hold on you)! [Assuredly not!]” Hebrews 13:5 AMP

He will not, will not, will not! In anyway leave me helpless! <– see that word? Wasn’t I just asking for help!  So Good!
Look to the hills!

Maranatha ~ Come Lord Jesus!

~Grace be with you ~
~Thank you for reading ~ Be healthy and blessed ~
~ Watch and Pray ~


“But blessed is the one who trusts in the LORD, whose confidence is in him. They will be like a tree planted by the water that sends out its roots by the stream. It does not fear when heat comes; its leaves are always green. It has no worries in a year of drought and never fails to bear fruit.” Jeremiah 17:7-8 NIV

Thank you, Lord, for all our blessings! All of the wonderful promises you have in store for us.  Let me pray them down from heaven over myself and my sisters and brothers in Christ! Father, you have told us to put our trust in you and some days it is more difficult than others. Some days I look at what has yet to be done (sins uprooted, bondage broken, healing and restoration – and that is just for me).  I am still holding on tight! I believe, help any unbelief in me! 

Lord I want to be the tree planted by the waters – troubles comes, storms and winds, and/or droughts.  Help my roots grow deep – past the stream to the spring of the living waters!  When those struggles come, extend the grace so that my first word shall be: Dear Jesus!

“Out of his fullness we have all received grace in place of grace already given.” John 1:16 NIV

Thank you Lord Jesus, that in this place of grace, you are pouring out more grace and mercy. I need your fullness! Now more than ever. I am emptying more each day and each day there is more room for you. Thank you. I praise you.

When the struggles come and through those troubles which are already here, I know you will preserve me and help me as it is written throughout your word. In this confidence, I ask you to meet my need according to your riches and I thank you that you have gone before me and made a way.

“And my God will meet all your needs according to the riches of his glory in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:19 NIV

“My God, my God” !!! Yes! You alone are my Adonai!  And you meet all my needs – the broken heart that needs mending, the food, clothing and repairs to the house. You have blessed me with some and I know you will bless me with the rest. I ask for those blessings and thank you for them as your word says you are providing them.  Let me now stand fast in belief and focus on the work you have laid out for me. 

“Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.” Luke 6:38 NIV

I give you my time and I see how you stretch it, and my tithe and I see how my bills are still paid. I give help when I can and I see how you bless it. I give my work and watch as you open doors for me to witness. I have little yet I try to use it for your glory. Let all that I have and all that I can give glorify you and bear witness to your goodness and mercy – and grace! Oh Lord Jesus – such sweet grace!

“May God bless us still, so that all the ends of the earth will fear him.” Psalm 67:7 NIV

Oh Father – what a wonderful thing will be, when I say “I’ll pray” in relation to anything and People respond, that now they know it will happen.  They will come to revere and respect you.  They will become followers of you just because they know you answer prayers.   I know you answer prayers! You are a MIGHTY GOD!

I want the world to know you are the healer, provider, and blesser – that all good things come from you!

“Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.” James 1:17 NIV

Thank you Father – For you are good! Thank you Lord Jesus for your work of the cross. Thank you that you do not change, so if it is written in the Bible then it is so.  It is written that I am blessed to be a blessing and you are a working God – always working on our behalf.  I pray in the precious name of Jesus!

Dear readers – if you are still reading this strangely written post I also pray for you…

“The LORD bless you and keep you; the LORD make his face shine on you and be gracious to you” Numbers 6:24-25 NIV

I pray that you are also blessed – and have a very real experience with my living and loving God. May he transform you into what you were meant to be and that he be glorified in you. ~amen

Maranatha ~ Come Lord Jesus!

~Grace be with you ~
~Thank you for reading ~ Be healthy and blessed ~
~ Happy Memorial Day ~

My God and my life

“The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want. 2He makes me lie down in green pastures. He leads me beside still waters. 3He restores my soul. He leads me in paths of righteousness for his name’s sake. 4Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me. 5You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; you anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows. 6Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life, and I shall dwell in the house of the Lord forever.” Psalm 23:1-6 ESV

My pastor once said, sometimes you have to look back, see all the things God has done in order to move forward.  He gave examples of Jewish holidays that make us look back at what God has done.  God is good.

I still cannot shake this strange feeling I have been having – wrestling with God? Needing a breakthrough? A full counterforce stop.  I continue to pray. I continue to read and have fantastic study time. Yet something I cannot explain is in front of me and I feel stuck.

So let’s look back to the beginning. We overcome with our testimony after all.
“And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony, and they did not love their lives to the death.” Revelations 12:11 ESV

When I returned to Christ after shamefully wandering away – I was in a dark broken place. I was defeated and I said I can’t handle any more. I was empty and my needs and troubles outweighed the stars in the sky. And the verse that played over and over in my head was the Psalm written above.

“The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want” When this passage repeated in my head he was not my Lord and I was wanting – quite frankly, needing protection, peace, healing, restoration, and help. I needed a real and mighty God who would be with me and I needed miraculous victories. I did not understand this passage on any level. So if I am going to look back and start at the beginning, I should look into this psalm.  

“The LORD is my shepherd” – He is Jehovah-Raah = The Lord, my Shepherd! What is even more interesting is that Jesus is the shepherd so this is pointing to Jesus.

“I shall not want.” – He is Jehovah-Jireh = The Lord, my Provider! He provided for the Israelites throughout the Old Testament. Jesus performed miracles of provisions in the New Testament and
“And my God will supply every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:19 ESV

I had major home repairs desperately needed. Big dollar things – each and every one.  Did I tell you how I was saving for them and the pipe broke in the basement – during this ‘shut-down’. It was hard to find a plumber, but I found one doing emergency repairs and he was a great price!  I have not yet recouped that money or earned all that I need to these repairs and this week a friend paid for one of the repairs. Workers just showed up and said they were paid for and ready to work if I just gave them permission to do it! WOW! My friend said that God told her to pay X amount towards the repair, she called a guy and he quoted her just under X for the job (there was a few extra buck when the final bill came in, but not even enough to buy a meal for the family).  It was obviously God confirming that she should do it.

All of my needs aren’t met, yet. But my God is a provider and he is working on it!!!

“He makes me lie down in green pastures. He leads me beside still waters.”  – He is Jehovah-Shalom = The Lord, my Peace! And you have no idea how badly I needed peace. My job was turned upside down – my life was upended – I was brokenhearted and my sin had broken me. I learned to hold onto that peace in my storm and then when this strange Corona Virus showed up, I was able to maintain peace. Because peace is the name of my God – Jehovah Shalom.

“He restores my soul” – He is Jehovah-Rophe = The Lord, my Healer! Healing. I had lost a baby. I had lost the relationship with that baby’s dad. The miscarriage causes other issues. I was in need of some major healing: emotional as well as physical.  It turned out I needed some spiritual healing as well. My God heals. Sometimes he heals by miracles, and sometimes by doctors, and sometimes we have to put the work in to work through the healing – actions of obedience and faith. But no matter how He heals – He is the healer!

“He leads me in paths of righteousness for his name’s sake.” – He is Jehovah-Tsidkeneau = The Lord of Righteousness! And through Christ we can become is righteousness (2 Corinthians 5:21). The redemptive work of the cross and the grace to finish the plans He has laid out for us.

“Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me” – He is Jehovah-Shama = The Lord is Present! My God is present, with me! Wow, God was trying to show me who He is and that He is with me. So comforting to know he will never leave me nor forsake me! (Hebrews 13:5 & Deuteronomy 31:6)

“Your rod and your staff, they comfort me” – He is Jehovah-Ezer = The Lord, my Help! And how I needed His help! How I still need His Help! He is an all knowing God and His help is perfect, knowing all the fact – knowing exactly what to do to help.

“You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies” – He is Jehovah-Nissi = The Lord, my Standard of Victory! His army may be unseen – but there are more with us than against us.  Besides the fact that Jesus already won the final battle – it is finished.  We just have to have faith and keep obeying Him.

“You anoint my head with oil” – He is Jehovah-InKaddesh = The Lord, my Holiness, my Sanctification! Oh the awe of Holiness!!! If we understood His holiness, we would be afraid to sin! Oh the grace of it all, that we (sinners) are loved and sanctified by a holy and loving God!

“My cup overflows.” – He is Jehovah-Manah = The Lord my Portion! Interesting word that ‘Portion’ is around the world a portion is small and exactly what you need. In the United States you usually serve up multiple portions as one and our plates are even larger! God gives us exactly what we need and then overflows! Spiritually the Holy Spirit in us can overflow and change others around us.  Physically, when we are faithful with the little things, God gives us bigger things! God blesses us so that we can be a blessing.  I am wanting in some areas, yet I still give my tithe and give my time and things I can give. I have abundance in some areas and I thank God for it and try to use the overflow for His glory! God is good!

“Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life, and I shall dwell in the house of the Lord forever.” – He is Jehovah-Cheleq = The Lord my Inheritance!
Once you begin to understand who God is, it is easy to understand that we should follow Him and have a relationship with Him regardless of the blessing and the promised eternal life – however, on the same hand it is impossible to separate out the goodness from God!  

The more I get to know God – the more determined I am to grab a hold and not let go until I am blessed! Hanging onto God! Look how marvelous this passage is and how it shows how far I have come and it reveals more of God!  Lord, I love you!

Maranatha ~ Come Lord Jesus!
~Grace be with you~
~Thank you for reading~
Be healthy and blessed!

Take Up Your Cross and Follow Jesus

“And He [Jesus] said to all, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me. Luke 9:23 ESV

I heard a lady say, “such-n-such is my cross to bear.”  I’ve heard others say similar things (one even said “Coronavirus is our cross to bear”) and I wonder – what is our cross to bear? And what does it mean, that I, as a follower of Christ, have to carry a cross?
Well, there it is in Luke – Jesus said to do it and do it daily. So, I guess I better get doing it – whatever it means.  I know this much (going into this Bible study) that this statement is so important that I found it in three of the four gospels and three times in the book of Matthew alone.

“And whoever does not take his cross and follow me is not worthy of me.” Matthew 10:38 ESV

Here we learn that not only should we be doing this daily, but if we don’t we are not worthy of Jesus. But wait – we are all unworthy and grace saved us through the work Jesus did with the cross and death and resurrection. And now unworthiness is being called out differently! Is it somehow different?

While we did not know about the grace of the cross and salvation, and while we were yet unworthy sinners, Christ died for us. However, once we know – once we believe we are transformed:
“Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things have become new.” 2 Corinthians 5:17 KJV
And after that transformation if we are disobedient we become unworthy of the grace of the cross. Listen, I am not interpreting this. I am just reading the verses.  We looked at this next verse before on this blog and I think it is very clear:
If we deliberately keep on sinning after we have received the knowledge of the truth, no sacrifice for sins is left,but only a fearful expectation of judgment and of raging fire that will consume the enemies of God.” Hebrews 10:26-27
The consequences of sin is death – the grace of the cross is only continuously extended to those who are transformed and continue to be transformed and grow in Christ – to those who take up their cross and follow him, daily. Willing obedience is the difference.

“Then Jesus told his disciples, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me.” Matthew 16:24 ESV

Let’s get back to understanding what this means.
“Come after me” and “follow me” seem simple enough – I think I am a follower of Christ. Are you?
So that leaves us with the meat: “let him deny himself and take up his cross”. And luckily Matthew really liked this concept and even elaborated:

“Then Jesus told his disciples, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it. For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world and forfeits his soul? Or what shall a man give in return for his soul?” Matthew 19:24-26 ESV

The word “life” in verse 26 is the same Greek word as the word “soul” in verse 26. Therefore we can read and re-read this interchanging these words:
“For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it. For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world and forfeits his life? Or what shall a man give in return for his life?”
Could it be that this verse is literal? – is it possible? Does Jesus want us to build a big old Roman cross and mount it in our backyards and die? Eh, I think that is too literal. What does Mark say?

“And calling the crowd to him with his disciples, he [Jesus] said to them, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake and the gospel’s will save it.” Mark 8:34-35 ESV

Mark never minces words. He keeps it short and to the point. The book of Mark jumps right into the action and doesn’t even tell us where Jesus came from or how all of the people started following him. But it still sound like we might have to erect a cross in our backyards – and we all know that isn’t the case!

So, maybe I should think about it this way:  I had a plan for my life. I was going to work in such a way, make enough money to get by and party a bit. I was going to be carefree and irresponsible and just roll with it. I was head strong and I was going to do what I was going to do and no one was going to stop me. That was my life. That is what I worked for, dreamed about, planned for, etc.
If I tried to follow Jesus and save that life – well I that life was not following Jesus and we already talked about the consequences of sin is death. Therefore If I save my life, I will lose it.
When I decided to follow Jesus, I handed my hopes and dreams over to Him. I gave up ‘my will’ for His. I lost my life and have earned eternal life through Him!
By the way – Christ was human (a very pure human, but human none the less) He must have developed hopes and dreams. Skills and hobbies He enjoyed, He gave up His life to live the life Abba Father had for him. Then, on the cross He gave up His life literally for our sins.
Are we to love not our lives even into death if needed?

“And they overcame him because of the blood of the Lamb and because of the word of their testimony, and they did not love their life even when faced with death.” Revelations 12:11 NAS

Well, folks – look at the end of the story!! Yes, we are to actually, literally die for him! It is how we overcome! Many will not die dramatic martyr deaths – but many will, and if you are asked to – will you?

Maybe the “Take up your cross” is to take up the cause of the work of the cross – the grace?  And to die to our own selfish will, and furthermore die physically if need be. 

Paul explains this self-death association with the cross in both Romans and Galatians.  We have had posts about the Romans chapter 6 revelation of our sin and need to die to it and chapter 7’s struggle and chapter 8’s victory over it. So let us now look at Galatians.

“I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. I do not nullify the grace of God, for if righteousness were through the law, then Christ died for no purpose.” Galatians 2:20-21 ESV

Paul picked up his cross daily and followed Jesus.  He no longer lived for himself – he lived for Christ. The life he then lived in the flesh, he live by faith!  Anyone remember the 4 posts (starting on February 25th) about how faith grows through obedience? It is true. There are 2 ways to grow faith – one is that faith comes by hearing the word of God – the other is that the act of obedience grows our faith, mostly because you need faith to be obedient – but grace provides the initial faith.  

16 But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. 17 For the desires of the flesh are against the Spirit, and the desires of the Spirit are against the flesh, for these are opposed to each other, to keep you from doing the things you want to do. 18 But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law. 19 Now the works of the flesh are evident: sexual immorality, impurity, sensuality, 20 idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, fits of anger, rivalries, dissensions, divisions, 21 envy, drunkenness, orgies, and things like these. I warn you, as I warned you before, that those who do such things will not inherit the kingdom of God. 22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. 24 And those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. 25 If we live by the Spirit, let us also keep in step with the Spirit. Galatians 5:16-25 ESV

Coronavirus is not your cross to bear. Neither are your kids nor your job. Financial hardships aren’t your cross – sin, troubles and trials are not your cross.  Through grace the laying down of self even unto death just like Christ did.  It is our ability to self-identify with the cross.

Maranatha ~ Come Lord Jesus!

~Grace be with you ~
~Thank you for reading ~ Be healthy and blessed ~
~ Pray for our nation ~ Pray Psalm 91 ~

I believe and I wrestle

21 Jesus asked the boy’s father, “How long has he been like this?”
“From childhood,” he answered. 22 “It has often thrown him into fire or water to kill him. But if you can do anything, take pity on us and help us.”
23 “‘If you can’?” said Jesus. “Everything is possible for one who believes.”
24 Immediately the boy’s father exclaimed, “I do believe; help me overcome my unbelief!”
25 When Jesus saw that a crowd was running to the scene, he rebuked the impure spirit. “You deaf and mute spirit,” he said, “I command you, come out of him and never enter him again.”
26 The spirit shrieked, convulsed him violently and came out. The boy looked so much like a corpse that many said, “He’s dead.” 27 But Jesus took him by the hand and lifted him to his feet, and he stood up.
28 After Jesus had gone indoors, his disciples asked him privately, “Why couldn’t we drive it out?”
29 He replied, “This kind can come out only by prayer [and fasting].” Mark 9:21-29 NIV

Where do I even begin with all of this? 
Lately God has seemed silent and my prayers do not seem effectual, regardless of how fervent.  I feel I have been wrestling with God – I need more – more of him! I study and learn more and grow, but it has left me wanting. Wanting more!

Last night while crying out to Him, I found myself sad that the day was over. I had to sleep and couldn’t pray any more (because I would be asleep) and I just didn’t want to let go. 
I asked “Why haven’t my prayers been answered? Why don’t I know you better? Why am I not experiencing the fullness of all that is in the Bible?”  After waiting for a moment.
I answered myself with, “but you said…” and quoted his verses back at Him…  then trailed off into waiting.
And all the while my mind, in my sleepiness, was letting small doubtful thoughts in. I immediately fought them, out loud! Finally, I said, Lord, I believe help my unbelief.

I woke up this morning and prayed – then I joined my Pastor for morning prayer, which is live streamed on a social media platform.  And as he prayed and as I agreed with him in prayer these doubts came back into my head and I was getting distracted by the day I had ahead of me.  After the prayer, I prayed a little more: “Lord, I believe help my unbelief.”  I repeated it over and over.

I wrote down “Lord, I believe help my unbelief”, to be my Bible study for today (for this blog).

Then at lunch time my other Pastor does a Bible study at noon. I try to move my lunch break so I can watch it. Today, I was able to and he read the above passage.  God is trying to help my unbelief.  I cannot even read and pray without God’s help. 

With how last week went and this week has started, you’d think I prayed, “Lord break me.” – oh wait, I did. God’s breaking is not the same as when sin breaks you. God’s breaking is a deep spiritual thing – like wrestling with the Lord. It’s a fight, but not one to win. I am fighting with God to be loosed, and to be blessed, and hanging on until the blessing comes.

22 That night Jacob got up and took his two wives, his two female servants and his eleven sons and crossed the ford of the Jabbok. 23 After he had sent them across the stream, he sent over all his possessions. 24 So Jacob was left alone, and a man wrestled with him till daybreak. 25 When the man saw that he could not overpower him, he touched the socket of Jacob’s hip so that his hip was wrenched as he wrestled with the man. 26 Then the man said, “Let me go, for it is daybreak.”
But Jacob replied, “I will not let you go unless you bless me.”
27 The man asked him, “What is your name?”
“Jacob,” he answered.
28 Then the man said, “Your name will no longer be Jacob, but Israel, because you have struggled with God and with humans and have overcome.”
29 Jacob said, “Please tell me your name.”
But he replied, “Why do you ask my name?” Then he blessed him there.
30 So Jacob called the place Peniel, saying, “It is because I saw God face to face, and yet my life was spared.”
31 The sun rose above him as he passed Peniel, and he was limping because of his hip. Genesis 32:22-31 NIV

What catches me with this passage is: “I will not let you go unless you bless me.”
Another message about persistence and persevering.  Yes, I have unanswered prayers BUT this time the persistence and persevering isn’t about an unanswered pray. This is: I want more… I want that full blessing – the efficacious promise for fullness of life. I want “all-in”.  I give all of me and God gives me ALL OF THE PROMISES! Go big or go home! Give me the profound experience of God’s fullness!
I keep saying I need a breakthrough – although I am not sure what I need to break through. I read this passage and say, well – I am in a match with God himself. We wrestle. He says, “How bad do you want it?” and I respond with, “I won’t let go!”

‘I believe – help my unbelief’ is the moment in the match when I grew tired and was grasping for anything. Maybe I should have asked for more grace – but as I struggled I asked for faith! More glorious faith. This kind of wrestling isn’t a fair sport – God used His powers to dislocate Jacob’s hip – I pray for God to give me more faith as I wrestle with him. This isn’t profession wrestling, no rings, no referees, it’s truly just a grab on and roll around fight – it isn’t pretty.

Therefore it’s not a breakthrough as much as it is a wrestling match – I hold on and won’t let go!
I do not wrestle to beat God at the match or to make Him bend to my will, but the exact opposite, I am breaking and submitting to His will and plans – I wrestle because I will not let go unless He blesses me! Because I want more of Him.

Jacob lost the wresting match with the dislocated hip and he lost his name and identity and he submitted – but he won in other ways.  He was blessed. He was transformed – his identity is now “Israel” which mean ‘God rules’.  He won God’s power and plan for his life.  He had a real, face to face relationship with God and got to know God better.  

I hope I don’t come out of this with a limp. But I am already losing my identity and gaining one in heaven. I am already submitting and through grace I am being transformed!  Not my plan. Not my will. But Thy will, oh Lord, Adonai. I want to get to know you better and I want the fullness of the blessing! I believe, help my unbelief!

Maranatha ~ Come Lord Jesus!

~Grace be with you ~
~Thank you for reading ~ Be healthy and blessed ~
~ Pray for our nation ~ Pray Psalm 91 ~