Separating TRUTH from FICTION.

What the Bible Really Says!

Who is JESUS?

Learning to Live like HIM.

Did CALVARY Matter?

Where would we be if He was as motivated as we are?

What does Worship Mean?

Love without limits.

How Do WE Treat Others?

For God so loved the world that He gave.. what do we do?

May 19, 2013

Living On A Prayer


There is a popular song made famous by the singer called Bon Jovi that I borrowed the title from this morning.

Part of the lyrics are as follows.

Whooah, we're half way there
Livin on a prayer
Take my hand and we'll make it - I swear
Livin on a prayer

Now I do not normally listen to what we might call ‘worldly music’, but there is an  app for the iPad called Song Pop which I play with some of my online friends quite frequently and this song is a part of that game. You only hear a small bit of the song before you have to guess, and so I have heard the chorus as it is written above.

However, last night I woke up with the phrase ‘living on a prayer’ running through my mind. I haven’t played the game this week, so I thought it a bit odd of a song in my mind until I began to think on it more.

There is a powerful meaning in those words and it likely affects us all. In fact, if we are willing to admit it, most of us actually do live on a prayer.


If we grew up in any kind of Christian home, we probably learned from an early age to say our prayers before we went to bed, and maybe to pray over our dinner as well. Today that small moment of time we give to God has all but disappeared in the lives of most people. And while at the time it was a cute, repetitive action to get us to acknowledge God or perhaps to ask for a blessing, it was in fact genuine for many.

The version most of us are aware of says,

Now I lay me down to sleep,
I pray the Lord my soul to keep,
If I should die before I wake,
I pray the Lord my soul to take. Amen.

But did you know the words were slightly different in an earlier version published in 1711?

When I lay me down to Sleep,
I recommend my self to his care;
when I awake, I give myself up to his Direction.

If we did give ourselves up to his direction, we would probably live a better life and not just be living on a prayer.

Living On A Prayer?

So, what does it really mean to be living on a prayer?

For most of us,  is means we are barely getting by. It might be because of health issues, or family stresses, but its likely that many of us think of living on a prayer as living paycheck to paycheck, nothing left over at the end of the week.

Perhaps it is due to a lack of a budget, or we don’t make an account of what we are spending,  and so if we see something we just by it. But it is also possible that we are getting by because the job we have doesn’t really support us financially.

I met a single mother yesterday while she was working in a local store. I do not recall how it all came up, but  she remarked how she was working seven days a week to take care of her small children.  I wondered if she even gets to see her kids, or how much she has to pay a babysitter to be able to work two jobs.

It is possible that a mother or family friend might watch the kids while she works since they realize that she is just getting by. But when it comes down to it, any bigger issue related to health or housing would devastate any sort of savings she might have. It is probably not a choice, but it has become a lifestyle due to need.

A lot of us are in the same boat; living on a prayer, hoping to just get by. It isn’t easy to live that way but many times we have no other choice it seems. Or do we?

Unanswered Prayers

Many times it seems that no matter how much we pray we do not see the answers.  If you have been praying for a situation for a long time and don’t see anything happening, do not feel alone. We all go through the same thing many times.

It can be very discouraging not seeing prayers answered and sometimes we have no idea why. We might blame ourselves, or perhaps think God is not interested in what we have to say, or some would say it just wasn’t meant to be.

Sometimes it might just be life, or perhaps it could even be a trial of our faith. However, I find myself asking is some of it because the only time we pray is when we are in need?

Prayers Answered

In James 5:16, the Bible says, ‘the effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.’

Part of the problem with most of us praying is that we rest the power of prayer on ourselves rather than God. If we do not see results, we think we did not pray hard enough, or perhaps we are asking for the impossible. It doesn’t depend our methods or our ability but rather in Christ. It isn’t us that makes prayers happen. When we leave it in His hands and trust His timing, things will work out much better.

So what does fervent mean in this passage? It means do not give up on believing when we do not see the results expected or at the moment we thought we needed it.

In John chapter 11, we can read the story of the raising of Lazurus, one of Jesus’s friends from the dead. He grew sick and his sister Martha sent word to Jesus that if He would come and pray Lazurus would get better. It took four days for Jesus to get there and by the time He showed up Lazurus was dead.

Martha told Jesus, ‘if you had been here sooner, my brother would not have died.’  Her faith had been diminished because she thought that the answer was in just being there, when God had a better way to do it.  We can read the story and find out that Lazurus died so that the glory of God might be revealed. Again this goes back to believing in our own ability rather than in our prayers.

There is a great song about this story on YouTube. 


Timing is everything.  He is always on time.

Living On A Prayer

Noted theologian, Oswald Chambers said, ‘Prayer does not equip you for greater work;  it is the greater work.’

Many times we tend to think that our ability  or our righteousness is what brings the miracles. However, Jesus said if we have faith the size of a mustard seed mountains can be removed.

So what we really should be doing is living on  a prayer, but not in the way most people think.

We are commanded to pray. Not just to bring needs to God, but to have a constant communication with Him. If the only time we talked to our loved ones was when we needed something it would be a very one sided and selfish attitude.  It doesn’t bring us a smile when someone is all about themselves, or like a child throwing a tantrum when they don’t get their way, and in a way, that is the same thing with Christ.

Not saying that He punishes us by withholding prayers, but that He needs us as much as we need Him. He isn’t a free candy store. I know I am simplifying the situation considerably but hopefully you can understand what I mean.

In Matthew 6:9-13, Jesus gave us an example of how to pray.  While most consider this the Lord’s prayer, if we break it down and use our own words, it is an outline of how to get our prayers and needs answered.

Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name.

Before we even begin to ask, give Him the glory. Take time to let God know how much you appreciate Him being in your life. Show some love and some humbleness.

Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven.

In a nutshell, this part is saying. God have your way in my life and in every situation. Give Him the control of everything.

Give us this day our daily bread.

This is where we let Him know what we need. Ask what you have need of.  Matthew 7:7

And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors.

Asking forgiveness of what we have done wrong and also forgiving those who have done things that hurt or upset us as well. It is important that forgiveness goes both ways.

And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil:

Keep us from messing up. Please give us protection. Do not let us fall into traps that cause ourselves or others harm.

For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever.

Again,  give Him the glory, the praise, bless His name. Tell Him you love Him. Not just for what He has done but simply because He is.


It is finished. That is my prayer God. Amen is like putting a stamp on a letter and mailing it. Or pushing send on a text or email.  It sends the blessings and the requests to God.

So What Does It Take?

Living on a prayer takes several elements to see results. But it is always worth it.

  • A Need

  • Consistency

  • Faith & Trust

  • Patience

  • Praising

  • A Thankful Heart

And then you will truly be Living on a Prayer.

Apr 28, 2013

Is It Well With Your Soul?

isitwellI woke up thinking about a very popular  Christian hymn a few days ago and it has caused me to reflect on areas in my own life and to ask myself the topic of this message. ‘Is it well with my soul?’


The first stanza of this hymn is as follows:


When peace like a river, attendeth my way,
When sorrows like sea billows roll;
Whatever my lot, Thou hast taught me to say,
It is well, it is well, with my soul.


Trials and tests are going to come in all of our lives. It is a given that not everything is going to work out the way we hoped or planned. There will be bumps in the road. There will be winds blowing trees down in our yard. There will be circumstances that will get all out of control and will leave us wondering, ‘how can this happen?’ The lightning will crash around us, the rain and hail will pound at our dwelling place; it is a fact, there will be storms.


But most of what happens is just wind and noise. It is not meant for our destruction but rather for changing the atmosphere.


We can attempt to protect every part of our lives but we cannot control the storms or when they take place. It is simply a part of this journey through life.


How Do You See The Battle?


The giant had come to terrorize the Children of the Most High.  He led the Philistines against the Israelites  with the intent of causing as much fear and carnage as he could.  And he was succeeding. Not because he had a better army or he was so big that he could not be beaten but because of the fear that gripped the minds of the Israelite army. Even their own leader who was said to stand head and shoulders about everyone else,  was afraid to stand up to the giant.


He was too big. He would take everything. He would play games with us and feed us to the dogs. It was too big of  a battle, so instead of taking on the giant, they cowered in fear. The battle was just too big.


But then a little shepherd boy enters the scene. He has already fought some other adversaries and won a few battles. When he was out there tending to the sheep, he faced off with a lion and a bear to keep the sheep safe. He knew that most enemies were only as big as their bark. And when he came to visit his brothers in the Israelite camp, he could not comprehend what kind of battle could make the mighty army hide in fear. Instead of running away with them, or hiding because of the situation, he decided it was worth taking on the battle.


He grabbed a few rocks, picked up a slingshot, and went to do battle against the giant. He knew that he could succeed because he was not controlled by his circumstance. We all know the story.  He spoke to his battle, aimed a stone, and took out the giant. When the rest of the crowd saw what happened they all of  a sudden became emboldened to fight off the rest of the enemy. The enemy never even knew what hit them. And the battle was won. The difference was not that the battle became easier, but that they saw it through a new vision.



Who Is In Charge?


A lot of people will just go with the flow. Nothing seems to bother them. It looks like they are the smartest ones, because regardless of what happens, they seem unfazed.  Wherever the river takes them is where they are going to end up. Some people will hesitate to step into the water at all because the idea of the waves and the rocks, and the corners seem to be out of control. It is scary and too big of a task to take on. And then there are those who pick up a paddle, chart a direction, and despite the rapids, the rocks, the water coming over the bow, they determine where they are headed.


We have a choice. We can either let circumstance dictate how life goes for us and react when we face situations, or we can take charge and be determined and let our lives control the way we react to the battle.  It is not that some have bigger battles, or that others are so much stronger but rather the way we react and the way we adjust to the things that life throws at us.


Sure it is easy to go with the flow, but you always have to adapt to where life and circumstance takes you. You can keep from making the hard decisions because it just seems too hard, or you can figure out what you want and plot a course to get you there.  Why settle for something less than what you want, when a little patience and you will get what you desired. 


I had a situation like that myself this week. I have been wanting a new couch. I checked sources online and locally. I knew what I wanted.  And then I went into a local store and a big sale sign caught my eye. I checked out the couch that was on sale even though it wasn’t totally what I had in mind.  The salesperson measured it for me, told me they could make me a good deal. I thought about it, walked away, but then came back later that day to get it. I thought  I had found  something I could live with. It wasn’t what I wanted but it was good enough. It had potential.


However, when it was delivered and set up, it was too big for the room. I could not maneuver around it. I couldn’t figure out a way to move my other furniture around to make it work.  I had paid cash, so I was stuck with something that didn’t fit my needs, and if I had only waited a few more days, I might have found exactly what was right for me. I let my impatience, and desire for something to fill the void sway me.



Possibilities, Turns, and Destination


If we are afraid to trust it becomes impossible for us to reach our goal.  If we just go along with whatever life throws at us we will come to a destination, but its not likely to be where we expected or wanted.  We need to plan what we want to happen and move toward that goal to end up where we want. We will for sure have twists and turns along the way. We may get knocked down and the waves may crash over us, but we will get there. It will happen. We just have to trust that it is all going to be okay.


That is what faith is all about.


We cannot let circumstance or trials and test control us. Sure we cannot plan for everything that will come along but we can be prepared to accept what we cannot change and stand  firm in our goal until we reach it. If God has promised, it will come to pass.  He will not hold back  the blessings He has promised. But there are moments we have to shield ourselves or use our own abilities to control the direction we are headed in. Yes, God is in control but he still gives us free will in what we choose to do. ‘He is faithful that has promised.’ Hebrews 10:23


But we have to remember if what we want does not seem to be happening when we want, we will have another chance.

In life we get many chances to chart a new course, change direction, and be restored if we have been knocked off our course. Get back up; dust yourself off; try again.  However, when it comes to our soul we only get one chance.



Is It Well With Your Soul?


The bible says, ‘behold I come quickly and my reward is with me.’  While our lives can have many ups and downs and change directions many times, our soul has only one opportunity to reach its destination. There are other final destinations it can reach but wherever it ends up, it stays. There is no other chance to change course. So I ask again, ‘Is it well with your soul?’


If you take a look at your life and the things that you hold dear; if you recall the way you have treated others; or those moments in life where we all do not make the right choices or say the right thing; the people we have hurt either intentionally or unintended and never even so much as said sorry? Is it well with your soul?


Maybe there are areas in our life we wish we could have a do over, or a mulligan and we have failed to take a moment to talk to those who might have been hurt by our insensitivity  or at least repent. Have we done what we should.  Now I realize not all of us ‘sin’ the big sins, but the one that is most overlooked is self righteousness.  It seems we gloss over the neglecting of the elderly and the infirm, the poor and the lost. We all have areas in our lives where we can do better, change course before it is too late. Make it well with your soul. One chance is all we get.

Mar 17, 2013

Waiting On God

waitingonGodSome days are more of  a struggle than others. Things we expect to happen don’t always work out the way we plan. Many times unexpected events take place in our lives that alter our idea of what our destiny is.

When we are doing everything we know to do and we do not see results frustration can set in. Waiting on God is not an easy task.

Wait on the Lord: be of good courage, and he shall strengthen thine heart: wait, I say, on the Lord. Psalm 27:14

I know. The scripture can seem as a slam almost.  It can hurt even. Does God know what I am going through? Does anyone care?

We have all been there at one time or other.

But God said…

Maybe it was a dream you had where God showed you something amazing or perhaps someone prophesied over you in a revival meeting and we just knew good things were about to happen.

We have prayed, fasted, did our very best to trust in God, and yet the results we wanted did not happen. We think to ourselves ‘what did we do wrong?’ It must be someone’s fault somehow. God answers prayer right?

Impatience & Disappointment

One of our biggest hurdles in trusting God is learning to deal with our own impatience and being disappointed that things did not happen the way we expected.  We analyze and try and fix it. Maybe if we did it another way. Maybe we need to pray more. Maybe we need to move. We become driven to do something rather than just waiting on the Lord.  The problem we have becomes so big in our mind that in time we cannot see beyond it. Our problem begins to define who we are and defeat becomes our address.

We lose sight of the promises God has already given us, and our complexion, our attitude, our lives show it. We begin to blame others as well as ourselves.


So, the last few days have been like this for me. Yes, I am still recovering from surgery a couple weeks ago. Doctors are very encouraged that they got all the tumor out of my body, and that I am recovering well. You would think I would be happy and more content than I have been in a while, right? Nope.

I have been discouraged because a couple of things I have been really needing were no longer available now that I have the money to buy it. And then it was service day today and I went excited ready with a  message on ‘Trusting God’ and guess what? No one showed up. No one! There is always at least a few show up at each service, but today when I was all prepared and looking past my disappointment from the last few days, nobody shows up to hear what I prayed about and prepared.

So, after waiting the allotted time, just in case some were late, or perhaps overslept, I started thinking about the promises God has given me and began to wonder if it was all me? Did I do something to mess it up?  Was it just my imagination?  Maybe God really doesn’t want to use me after all. I am trying to do the will of God.

So why is it so hard?  I came home feeling defeat as I changed clothes.  I had forgotten that most of the time when we face difficulties when we are in the process of trying to do what we feel God has called us to do that trouble is going to show up.

Delay Is NOT Denial

There are a multitude of passages of scripture where prayer was given by the prophets and nothing happened. There were delays in reaching the promise land. Even Jesus had to pray a couple of times more than once for someone to be healed.  We focus on the have-not instead of what we do have.  Our eyes get off the promise. Consider Abraham. God promised. Abraham got impatient, he compromised, the promise still came, and become of the compromise those two tribes from one family have been fighting for thousands of years.

So why do we stress about it? Its simple. We are afraid. We look at our abilities and realize that the promises of God are not in our control.

The delay or the slowing of progress does not mean He isn’t going to come through. It isn’t a punishment or discipline, although being raised on the pew we tend to think so, delay can actually be a gift.

How many times do we say we don’t have enough time? How many times do we wish we had more than two hands? We need a break?

But most of us really do not want that. We think hurrying through life, being busy, getting it done soon so we can move on to the next project. We think we have to be busy or it cannot happen.

Slow Down

We get afraid if things slow down then the promise won’t happen. We are afraid of what God might say in that slower moment; we are afraid of what He might ask of us; we are afraid of what we might see happening;  and we are afraid of how we will react to a change in the situation.  When sometimes all we need is to take a breath and realize that we are not the ones in charge.

We get afraid because we don’t trust God. Ironic isn’t it. Here I was going to preaching about trusting God, and I am faced with my own dilemmas about trusting Him.

Waiting on God

Did you ever stop to think that waiting on God might be the most important part? Not getting in such a hurry that we mess it up?  If God said… doesn’t that mean it is going to take place? Or is God a liar? If He said it, it will happen.

So I came home in my defeat and discouragement and got online and in moments came across a message.

Let Your Disaster Move You To Your Deliverance – Jeff Arnold


See the thing is we get so busy worrying, trying to do something to make it happen, we miss out on those quiet messages from God that move us toward our destiny.  Elijah kept looking for God in the fire, the earthquake,  and the wind, but God was in the stillness, in the quiet, in the waiting.

So next time it looks like the answer isn’t coming, or the promise has been denied, take a few moments with God and just wait patiently in Him.