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Expressions from the Heart

Sweet Hour of Prayer: to bless or to curse?

Sweet Hour of Prayer: to bless or to curse? by Julie McAllen

blue blessing and curse

 

Jeremiah’s Prayer

You who know, O Lord,
Remember me, take notice of me,
And take vengeance for me on my persecutors.
Do not, in view of Your patience, take me away;
Know that for Your sake I endure reproach.
Your words were found and I ate them,
And Your words became for me a joy and the delight of my heart;
For I have been called by Your name,
O Lord God of hosts.
I did not sit in the circle of merrymakers,
Nor did I exult.
Because of Your hand upon me I sat alone,
For You filled me with indignation.
Why has my pain been perpetual
And my wound incurable, refusing to be healed?
Will You indeed be to me like a deceptive stream
With water that is unreliable? (Jeremiah 15:15-18)

I love the prophet Jeremiah, the poor guy.

“Take vengeance for me on my persecutors” says the weeping prophet. Have you ever cursed someone in prayer? Doesn’t it seem wrong since we are taught to forgive and pursue peace? But even Jesus didn’t hesitate to denounce some people. He didn’t labor in prayer to bless them or spend all His time counseling those readily recognized as sons of their father the devil. Jesus knew exactly when to curse a sinner and when to bless another. Of course, none of us want to be guilty of denouncing people for whom God wants us to pray or show compassion, but at the same time if we’re called to speak the hard truth we can’t afford to quench the fire of the Spirit.  The discernment we need is to do only what we see our father doing. The perfect son of God had this insight, but Jeremiah, like us, had to learn it through his trials.

When Jeremiah was called at a young age, he basically doubted it. Ya know, “God, I’m not your man.” But God assured him that He would be with Jeremiah and give him words to say in his mission territory which was the people of Judah. Tall task.

Why does God have prophets? Because even as He observes our sins, He loves us and seeks to bring us to Him. Jeremiah was called as a prophet and therefore filled with God’s thoughts toward Judah. The first call to order was to confront their sin. Yes, confront their sin, not pray. Jeremiah is told what to say to them and naturally is not well received. Think about that. God calls this young man to represent Him and continually must reassure him to “have no fear for I am with you” but basically throws him to the lions. He has no friends, no family and no respect from the religious community to whom he is sent. God didn’t just comfort Jeremiah in the absence of finding a wife, He expressly told Jeremiah not to look for one! God WANTED Jeremiah lonely. It kinda makes God look like a big meanie if you ask me. But what would’ve happened to Jeremiah if he had the support of family and community? Perhaps the fiery gift of justice in this prophet would have been quenched by the balance of a close relationship. Imagine Jeremiah about to go out the door to pronounce judgments against Judah and a sweet wife pleading with him to “calm down and be nice.” She might even use the standard blessing verse so many love to quote and tell Jeremiah that God has “plans for welfare and not for calamity to give you a future and a hope ” (Jeremiah 29:11).  It’s rather amusing how often people single out this one verse from the book of Jeremiah to bless a friend when Jeremiah himself did not even have a pleasant life as a favored man of God. The plans God had for Jeremiah brought forth a prayer to curse the people to whom he was sent. Do you ever look at a guy like that and think to yourself, “Dear God, please don’t ever put me in that position. Can I please just have a normal life and I promise I will praise you all my days.” I know I have.

So here is Jeremiah, filled with God’s Holy Spirit and compassion toward Judah. And what happens? The reality check of it hits the prophet first with tears. He weeps and mourns for Judah. Their sin becomes his own sin. Have you ever noticed that among the prophets? They always plead something like Jeremiah’s words at Jeremiah 14:7, “our iniquities testify against us, O Lord, act for Your name’s sake!” The prophet is caught up in God’s concern for Judah at this point. He feels the love of God and His desire for them to return to Him. He is interceding in their behalf with an earnest prayer of repentance as he carries their sin as his own. Wouldn’t God delight in this? You’d think so wouldn’t you? But notice God’s reaction to Jeremiah who was led by God’s Spirit to pray in the first place.

“Do not pray for the welfare of this people” (Jeremiah 14:11)

Huh? I was just as perplexed as Jeremiah who argued with God and defended their waywardness based on the false prophets which misled them. I thought how this relates to my own prayers for those who are misled by false prophets. In prayer I cry the tears of Jesus remembering my own blindness as I ask for his mercy. I cry out that it’s not really their fault, they are in darkness and therefore I intercede. Jeremiah is basically arguing this same point with God. And God remains firm telling Jeremiah to give up these prayers and pronounce judgment not just on the leaders but all the people. I feel Jeremiah at this point. I wonder if Jeremiah saw God as heartless as I did when He said,

“Even though Moses and Samuel were to stand before Me, My heart would not be with this people; send them away from My presence and let them go! And it shall be that when they say to you, ‘Where should we go?’ then you are to tell them, ‘Thus says the Lord:
“Those destined for death, to death;
And those destined for the sword, to the sword;
And those destined for famine, to famine;
And those destined for captivity, to captivity.”’
I will appoint over them four kinds of doom,” declares the Lord: “the sword to slay, the dogs to drag off, and the birds of the sky and the beasts of the earth to devour and destroy. (Jeremiah 15:1-3)

Ouch! God is pitiless toward Judah yet He has called a weeping man to confront them! God’s already appointing them to doom. Does He even desire repentance? It’s almost as if Jeremiah has more love toward Judah than God at this point. What a quandary for the prophet. It could have caused him to see himself as being wiser and more compassionate than God. I’ve no doubt this is what brought him to despair wondering about this God who called him. His own faith was being tested in this awful commission as evidenced in his remorse and regret at ever having been born!

Woe to me, my mother, that you have borne me
As a man of strife and a man of contention to all the land!
I have not lent, nor have men lent money to me,
Yet everyone curses me. (Jeremiah 15:10)

Jeremiah got a taste of what it is to be called by God. He knows what it feels like to be His spokesman and intercessor. And he just wants to die. It’s no fun, it’s causing him such personal pain that he is even willing to give up his relationship with the one who called him. But from the depths of his soul, he remembers how God’s word filled him and gave him joy. He’s not ready to give up on that, but he questions the hand that commissioned him to this indignation and now asks “will you indeed be to me like a deceptive stream with water that is unreliable?” (Jeremiah 15:18)

Whoa.

Can’t you just hear Jeremiah’s bi-polar prayer, “God, I love you so much, I am willing. Send me….. But God… I’m beginning to doubt the words I received. Yes, I ate them with joy, but maybe they are unreliable? How can I possibly be your spokesman when I see only this rotten fruit from my efforts and now you’re even telling me to stop praying for them? I give up.

The prophet was going through the refining fire. The compassion inside this man was now turning to hatred. Jeremiah’s heart became entangled with too much compassion toward a people needing discipline. Where was Jeremiah’s focus? On God or on these people? And this is where God had to step in and remind Jeremiah of his commission as a spokesman.

Therefore, thus says the Lord,
“If you return, then I will restore you—
Before Me you will stand;
And if you extract the precious from the worthless,
You will become My spokesman.
They for their part may turn to you,
But as for you, you must not turn to them.
“Then I will make you to this people
A fortified wall of bronze;
And though they fight against you,
They will not prevail over you;
For I am with you to save you
And deliver you,” declares the Lord.
“So I will deliver you from the hand of the wicked,
And I will redeem you from the grasp of the violent.” (Jeremiah 15:19-21)

God needed a spokesman not a man on his knees crying for himself or a wayward people. So Jeremiah was strengthened for the task and further set apart as a fortified wall of bronze by focusing his attention on the will of God instead of the reaction of those to whom he was sent. And so, after his pity party, Jeremiah again goes out boldly with the word of the Lord. And something new happens.

Do you remember how Jeremiah repented on behalf of his people when he was first sent but God told him to stop praying for them? Jeremiah questioned it but now he is being aligned with God because after his repeated attempts to get Judah to repent, he’s sick of them too. They’ve made their hate of God known as they seek to kill His prophet. And like any human being under such stress, Jeremiah has hit his breaking point and begins his appeal to God, not to save them this time, but to bring His wrath upon them!

“May an outcry be heard from their houses,
When You suddenly bring raiders upon them;
For they have dug a pit to capture me
And hidden snares for my feet.
Yet You, O Lord, know
All their deadly designs against me;
Do not forgive their iniquity
Or blot out their sin from Your sight.
But may they be overthrown before You;
Deal with them in the time of Your anger!” (Jer 18:22-23)

Uh-oh, is Jeremiah sinning by calling down these curses? The Lord does not rebuke Jeremiah in this prayer. Instead, He encourages him to buy an earthenware vessel and smash it before their eyes as a physical illustration for them to see what God is about to do to them. God confirms Jeremiah’s alignment with His will. Jeremiah is now seeing what his father in heaven is doing.

The lesson for us is contained within the model prayer, “let your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.”  We’re here to announce God’s will and not our own. It’s a pleasure to pray blessings over those whom God has asked us to bless, but from the first calling of Jeremiah, God had in mind a curse toward Judah. His will to curse was set in heaven, but He was looking for someone on earth to proclaim it with authority. God was fed up with Judah and took the time to align soft-hearted Jeremiah with His will. Perhaps evil runs rampant because we all too often resist the Holy Spirit in this area. It’s uncomfortable to confront someone with their sin, but by assigning Jeremiah a stiff-necked people to reach, the faithful prophet came to know the joy, the love, the compassion and also the pain of His God. God held back nothing and Jeremiah came to know his God more intimately because of it.

Sweet hour of prayer: to bless or to curse?

Keep yourselves in Gods’ love, Julie

May 16, 2014 Posted by | According to Scripture, Expressions | , , | Comments Off on Sweet Hour of Prayer: to bless or to curse?

Lost and Found

Lost and Found by Julie McAllen

As 2013 comes to a close, I am reflecting on the highlights of the year. One that stands out was my trip to Pennsylvania to attend the 35th annual Witnesses Now For Jesus Conference. You are welcome to read about that adventure here: http://4witness.org/put-me-on-a-trip-the-35th-annual-witnesses-now-for-jesus-conference/

Luke 15:10 tells us there is JOY in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner who repents, and that is why going to this conference for FORMER Jehovah’s Witnesses is the highlight of my year. To hear the testimonies of those whom God calls out of darkness and into the light of His kingdom is pure joy.

Why do I rejoice with those angels over each sinner who repents? Because a new creation is now set free to do the work prepared in advance for them (Ephesians 2:8-10). Like a parent of a newborn baby anticipating what that child might become, I love to watch what gifts will be revealed in each new creation of God. The Watchtower has not just lost another slave, the world has gained another gift from above in every newborn child of God. I am thankful for that. 

It was at that conference where I met Sharon, a former member of the Watchtower Society now set free by God’s grace. I liked her right away. I came to know her sense of humor and was thankful there was another kook in the crowd who could appreciate lost dentures and doggie doo doo, but I didn’t know she had the heart of a writer until recently when I read her Christmas memory posted on Facebook. I suggested she get a blog and she replied “what’s a blog?”  Oh dear, she’s been lost selling someone else’s magazines too long, but now she’s found.

With her permission, and my great joy, may I introduce to you my friend and first time blogger, Sharon Maguire Leasure.

Lost by Sharon Maguire Leasure

It was the Christmas of 1967, I was eight years old. I was a huge fan of “Family Affair” where there was a single father raising three chilldren, twins, Buffy and Jody along with their older sister nicknamed Sissy. They had a tough exterior male maid named Mr. French who adored the children even when his patience was running thin. Buffy had a doll who was a grandmother type, with gray hair and granny glasses. Her name was Mrs. Beasley, oh how I wanted that doll! This was the Christmas I got my very own Mrs. Beasley doll. I was so excited it was all that I wanted. By the time all the presents were opened and the wrapping paper was stuffed in trash bags I let out a shrieking scream that only an eight year old girl could make. My dad came running into the room to see me clutching my doll and crying non-stop. I looked up at him and cried, “Mrs. Beasley’s glasses are gone!” BeasleyWell my dad being the loving and caring father that he was immediately took to looking for them. He looks around the room to no avail. Then he glanced over to the six bags of trash, took a deep sigh and then dug in. He took every piece of paper out of the bag and flattened it to make sure those small glasses where not hiding. No glasses. He went on to the next bag and the next until he emptied the sixth bag and there were my dolls glasses. My dad became my hero that day. His actions showed just what a fathers love really means. He didn’t brush it off or scold me; instead he showed patience and grace to a broken hearted little girl that he cherished so very much. Now I am all grown up and as a Christian I look to my heavenly Father who also shows patience and grace to me now. I showed up lost and crying, I brought with me my bags of trash. I brought to Him the bag of insecurities, a bag of doubt, and a bag of worthlessness. I even brought Him a bag of hate and distrust. I had a bag with all these tiny pieces in it that once made up my heart. I gave it to Him, “here you go take it and see what you can find. I know I am in there but I am so lost I may never be found.” Oh what a loving Father. He took each of the bags I gave Him and went through each one as if it were so very fragile. He lifted each piece inside the bag with gentleness as if every piece had value. Then something wonderful happened. Amongst all that trash that He so lovingly took care of was a tiny little bag, it was hidden from sight as if it was never meant to be bothered with. On the bag was a label that read, MY CHILD. Inside the bag was me, He picked me up like a porcelain doll and placed me in the palm of His hands. He said “For there is no one in heaven or on earth that will snatch you from the palm of my hand. You will never again be lost.” John 10:28-29 I give them eternal life, and they will never perish. No one can snatch them away from me, for my Father has given them to me, and He is more powerful than anyone else. No one can snatch them from the Father’s hand.

Thank you to Sharon Maguire Leasure for permission to share this. Thank you to our readers for your encouragement throughout 2013. Thank you and praise to Jesus Christ our reigning Lord, Savior and King who sets hearts free!

Keep yourself in God’s love, Julie

December 9, 2013 Posted by | According to Scripture, Expressions, Uncategorized, Watchtower Society | , , , , , | 2 Comments

Of Fish and Crosses

Of Fish and Crosses by Julie McAllen

And He got into one of the boats, which was Simon’s, and asked him to put out a little way from the land. And He sat down and began teaching the people from the boat. 4 When He had finished speaking, He said to Simon, “Put out into the deep water and let down your nets for a catch.” 5 Simon answered and said, “Master, we worked hard all night and caught nothing, but I will do as You say and let down the nets.” 6 When they had done this, they enclosed a great quantity of fish, and their nets began to break; 7 so they signaled to their partners in the other boat for them to come and help them. And they came and filled both of the boats, so that they began to sink. 8 But when Simon Peter saw that, he fell down at Jesus’ feet, saying, “Go away from me Lord, for I am a sinful man!” 9 For amazement had seized him and all his companions because of the catch of fish which they had taken; 10 and so also were James and John, sons of Zebedee, who were partners with Simon. And Jesus said to Simon, “Do not fear, from now on you will be catching men.” 11 When they had brought their boats to land, they left everything and followed Him. (Luke 5:3-11)

Mormon fishers of menSimon Peter calls Jesus “Master.” Even though he’s exhausted from working all night at his fishing trade, as an obedient follower of Christ he goes the extra mile to toss in his net one more time just because ‘Jesus said so.’ Can you relate to this? I was thinking about congregational settings when I read this. Like, how the words of Jesus may be read and obedient people who consider Him to be their Head, Master, or Lord will do the thing commanded.

We hear “go and make disciples” and obediently throw in our nets. We hear a message on Matthew 25 and obediently feed the hungry, clothe the poor and visit those in prison. Those who respect the Bible and trust that the words of Jesus are recorded in it are prone to do these things simply because “Jesus said so.” In this, we are being like Simon Peter who called Jesus “Master” and threw in his net.

But today as I was reading, in addition to Simon Peter’s obedience, I also noticed his reaction. The account showed his ability to follow direction from the Master, but I’m not so sure Simon was prepared for the blessing. I don’t think he cast his net thinking something like “if I obey Jesus and do what He says, I’ll get my reward,” he simply followed orders from the Master and was surprised at the outcome. When this reward of fish filled his net, he didn’t attribute it to his own obedience either. To the contrary, Simon Peter was more aware of his SEPARATENESS from God in the blessing rather than his CONNECTION to God. When the haul of fish came in, he realized the power behind it and fell down at the feet of his Master acknowledging his sin! What a lesson in humility when we’re being abundantly blessed!

The account raises some questions to ponder. If we call Jesus our Master and obediently follow the things written, is it because we think we’ll gain heaven? Is it because we think He’ll fill our nets with new disciples/fish? Are we fishing for a reward or just doing it because ‘Jesus said so?’ And what happens when we receive the things for which we pray? How do we react when suddenly the net is filled? Do we immediately brag up ourselves or give the glory to the Church or organization we belong to with a false sense of security that we must be in the “right one” since the reward is in our hands? Or do we hit the deck in amazement as Simon Peter did knowing we’re in the presence of The Almighty immediately recognizing how insignificant we really are? Glory to God if even one fish swims into our net today. Jesus did not end His command to fish with “…and if you obey, you will catch,” rather, He already GRANTED it to them saying, “Do not fear, from now on you will be catching men.”

And catch they did! And of course, an argument over which of them was the greatest was the natural result of such favor being shown. One was catching more than the other, so they argued over who was doing it right. And it’s still going on today among His disciples — we’re only human — but “my church is better than your church.” We may not be so bold as to give glory to ourselves, but how many times do we give credit to the boat we’re in because of some favor upon which it’s afloat? The fish are coming in and so we “think” it’s due to our efforts, but in reality Jesus just lead us to where He already determined the fish would fall into the net. And when that favor comes, what is the reaction? Humility or the pride that asks which one among us is the greatest?

The Holy Spirit laid a lesson on me as I read this account about “fishers of men.” Am I amazed at the feet of Jesus recognizing my sin that I might point others to the only one great enough to bare them or am I so busy pointing everyone to the fish I’ve caught in my great net that no one else can see the real power behind such favor?

In giving a witness, It’s not the net full of fish that we’re to lift up, no one sees their sin and separation there. We’re to lift up Jesus and let men see their separation at His cross.

“And I, if I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all men to Myself.” (John 12:32)

When Simon Peter recognized who filled his net, his shame and separation moved him to say,  “Go away from me Lord, for I am a sinful man!” But the purpose in getting us to recognize our separateness is not to widen the gap, God’s promise is to draw us closer to Him and prepare us to receive more blessings, “Do not fear, from now on you will be catching men.” He will draw men to Himself through the nets we cast upon the waters in which He’s directed us to fish, but don’t look too long at the net, keep your eyes on Him.

The Holy Spirit is a Wonderful Teacher. May you be blessed today as you encounter Him in the pages of your Bible, for God’s Word is Truth.

Keep yourself in God’s love, Julie

July 31, 2013 Posted by | According to Scripture, Expressions, Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Of Fish and Crosses

A Woman Ought To Know Her Place

A Woman Ought To Know Her Place by Julie McAllen

When you think of those whom God called to deliver His people, who comes to mind? Perhaps Moses or prophets such as Jeremiah or Isaiah? Have you ever considered that even during old covenant days, Jehovah had raised up a WOMAN to deliver His people?

When the man Haman was appointed to a noble position during the reign of king Ahasuerus in Persia, he persuaded the king to agree to his scheme of killing the Jews, and it was a woman, Queen Esther, who’d been put in position to say something about it.

Female warriorBoth Haman and Esther were considered to have some authority in the Persian kingdom over which Ahasuerus ruled. Haman had been promoted by man to his position and thus sought the glory from man, but Esther had been appointed by God for the glory of God. When king Ahasuerus commanded all subjects to bow to Haman and Mordecai refused to fall at his feet, Haman decided to do away with the Jews because he knew it was their dedication to Jehovah God that prohibited Mordecai from rendering worship to man (Ps 146:3). Haman, thus became known as “the enemy of the Jews” at that time (Est 3:10). But Esther had been promoted by God to have influence in the kingdom for “such a time as this” when she learned through her uncle Mordecai that her people were in danger.

“Do not think that because you are in the king’s house you alone of all the Jews will escape. 14 For if you remain silent at this time, relief and deliverance for the Jews will arise from another place, but you and your father’s family will perish. And who knows but that you have come to your royal position for such a time as this?” (Est 4:13)

Like Haman, Esther had great privileges within the kingdom and her royal position as Queen. What would she do? Would she protect her privileged position and seek the glory of men or recognize her calling for the glory of God?

The reaction of these two people placed in authority over a worldly kingdom teaches us about our own position in the kingdoms over which we’ve been appointed.

Haman, knowing his favored position expected all in the kingdom to bow to him. He was not concerned with any other will than his own. And every time he saw that Jew Mordecai subjecting himself to God by the action of not bowing down to a man, it aggravated him to no end. He had it all, but the one thing he didn’t have was Mordecai’s act of worship. How did he respond to this?

9 Haman went out that day happy and in high spirits. But when he saw Mordecai at the king’s gate and observed that he neither rose nor showed fear in his presence, he was filled with rage against Mordecai. 10 Nevertheless, Haman restrained himself and went home.
Calling together his friends and Zeresh, his wife, 11 Haman boasted to them about his vast wealth, his many sons, and all the ways the king had honored him and how he had elevated him above the other nobles and officials. 12 “And that’s not all,” Haman added. “I’m the only person Queen Esther invited to accompany the king to the banquet she gave. And she has invited me along with the king tomorrow.
(Est 5:9-12)

This reminded me of oppressive rulers who seek glory for themselves and not God. When anyone doubts or questions their authority, they are compelled to promote themselves more and God less in an effort to protect their own empire like Haman who was appointed by man to receive honor by men. But not all bow to them when they say “kneel.”

13 But all this gives me no satisfaction as long as I see that Jew Mordecai sitting at the king’s gate.” (Est 5:13)

So what is their course? In the case of the religion I was once under, the Watchtower Society, it is to haul those who disagree with them into a judicial hearing, and if they refuse to obey them as the ultimate authority, they remove them from fellowship. And they don’t stop there, they also instill a fear of former members by calling them “mentally diseased” (7/15/11 Watchtower magazine) and feed the remaining enslaved flock with messages designed to keep them fearful and to “beware of apostates.” They are much like Haman who so desired the worship of Mordecai to be shifted from the true God Jehovah to himself that he would rather see an opponent dead than not bowing to him. Nothing delights a man more than that his enemies be put to death.

14 His wife Zeresh and all his friends said to him, “Have a pole set up, reaching to a height of fifty cubits, and ask the king in the morning to have Mordecai impaled on it. Then go with the king to the banquet and enjoy yourself.” This suggestion delighted Haman, and he had the pole set up. (Est 5:14)

How different the Spirit of God is from this, for He does not seek to kill those who do not bow to Him, rather He lays down His own life for them (Ro 5:6-11). This is how you can tell who is operating under the authority given by man or who has been promoted by God to a position of authority. God’s Spirit moved Esther to use her royal position in a different manner than Haman. When Mordecai sent word to Esther about the danger of God’s people, she did not protect her cushy position by remaining silent and allow her people to perish. She knew her time had come and therefore relied upon her God for strength in the dangerous assignment of confronting the worldly king knowing it could lead to her own death. Her first resource to be sought was prayer.

15 Then Esther sent this reply to Mordecai: 16 “Go, gather together all the Jews who are in Susa, and fast for me. Do not eat or drink for three days, night or day. I and my attendants will fast as you do. When this is done, I will go to the king, even though it is against the law. And if I perish, I perish.” (Est 4:15-16)

The faithful and discreet among them fasted and prayed trusting that a deliverer was being raised up while the followers of man supported the killing of God’s people. I thought about those among Jehovah’s Witnesses sitting in Kingdom Halls and Assemblies today who by their silence agree with policies that support unnecessary and harmful separation from friends and family and even death by not allowing blood in obedience to the Watchtower’s command. They do not trust the God they claim to follow enough to protect them in any confrontation with those they know to be wrong. They remain in a comfort zone thinking they are securing their place in the kingdom. In contrast, the followers of Jesus Christ are to be salt and light not hidden and trampled on by men. God’s people are called out to be as Mordecai who openly defied men who demanded worship for themselves (Matt 5:12-16).

The men of oppressive rule love it when their members tremble in fear before them, but neither Mordecai or Esther gave concern for their own lives in the face of ungodly worship directed at men. Though some who’ve been hurt by  the religion of the Watchtower Society may have silently faded away, that’s not what bothers the leaders there. It’s the one’s who in plain view worship the God of the universe and proclaim His reign instead of giving such an organization the praise that they are targeting. The men at the top of the Watchtower have trained their trembling and obedient flock to not only hate and fear such vocal apostates, but also to condemn and curse the spirit-born church who have been worshiping Jesus since He first made Himself known–which was long before any Bible students or Watchtower Bible and Tract Society appeared. While the Watchtower continues to brag up themselves to draw men to their religion, Christians lift up Jesus Christ to draw men to HIM (John 12:32) for He was the one who in humility gave up His royal position and laid down His life to become our Great Deliverer. Esther displayed this same Spirit in stepping out of her royal robes on behalf of her people. If we’ve been so privileged to be clothed in the royal garment of Christ, then we ought to know our place and proclaim by word and demonstration that we will not bow to oppressive, man-made religions either, for who knows, we may have attained royalty for such a time as this!

Keep yourself in God’s love, Julie

June 29, 2013 Posted by | According to Scripture, Expressions, Uncategorized, Watchtower Society | , , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on A Woman Ought To Know Her Place

Desert Prayers

Desert Prayers by Julie McAllen

Today is the national day of prayer. I don’t really recognize this day by doing anything different, it’s just another day of prayer as usual for me. I follow a prayer schedule for the most part and the day I pray for the nation’s leaders is Wednesday, sorry fellas, missed it by a day.

© Copyright 2010 CorbisCorporation

This morning, I was praying through my Thursday list.

Recently I asked a friend to pray for me because I was experiencing a dry season. Have you ever had one of those? A sense of disconnect with God? Duty and no intimacy? I’ve had ’em  before, and I’m sure I’ll have ’em again. This is known as “the desert.”

When this happens, my first reaction is to assume it’s me. And I ask God if I’ve sinned somewhere or if  something is out of line with us. I guess that’s a good thing to ask as David even prayed “search me” to discern if there be any wicked way in him.
(Psalm 139:23-24)

I’ve come to discover that a relationship with God can be compared with other relationships. Two people can be committed to one another in marriage and have done nothing wrong, yet just get stale as any routine can. When that happens, they usually try something different. Maybe go on a trip? I make prayer pretty much a daily habit, but still find there’s no harm in shaking up the routine so that it doesn’t become just that… mere routine.

Today, on May 2, which also happens to be the national day of prayer, I have been “dutiful” but not feeling very intimate with God. I’ve even been asking Him why and if today He could “please show up and touch me.”

I had a nice, undistracted morning of prayer, and I did sense His presence and peace with me. But later, as I was reading one of my devotionals , I was blessed to know desert prayers are honored by God. I was reading from “A Year with C.S. Lewis, daily readings from his classic works.” Today’s selection was from the Screwtape Letters and it really blessed me right where I’m at. If you’re not familiar with this book, Screwtape is a demon giving advice to a fellow demon, Wormwood, so the “enemy” being spoken of is God and the “creatures” are Christians.

May 2
…And Still Obeys
Screwtape elaborates on the Enemy’s intentions:
Merely to override a human will (as His felt presence in any but the faintest and most
mitigated degree would certainly do) would be for Him useless. He cannot ravish.
He can only woo. For His ignoble idea is to eat the cake and have it; the
creatures are to be one with Him, but yet themselves; merely to cancel them, or
assimilate them, will not serve. He is prepared to do a little overriding at the
beginning. He will set them off with communications of His presence which,
though faint, seem great to them, with emotional sweetness, and easy conquest
over temptation. But He never allows this state of affairs to last long. Sooner
or later He withdraws, if not in fact, at least from their conscious experience,
all those supports and incentives. He leaves the creature to stand up on its own
legs — to carry out from the will alone duties which have lost all relish. It
is during such trough periods, much more than during the peak periods, that it
is growing into the sort of creature He wants it to be. Hence the prayers
offered in the state of dryness are those which please Him best…. He cannot ‘tempt’
to virtue as we do to vice. He wants them to learn to walk and must therefore
take away His hand; and if only the will to walk is really there He is pleased
even with their stumbles. Do not be deceived, Wormwood. Our cause is never more
in danger than when a human, no longer desiring, but still intending, to do our
Enemy’s will, looks round upon a universe from which every trace of Him seems to
have vanished, and asks why he has been forsaken, and still obeys.
The Screwtape Letters

I really feel good about praying every day, even if I don’t “feel” God sometimes.

Keep yourself in God’s love, Julie

May 2, 2013 Posted by | According to Scripture, Expressions | , , , , , , | 2 Comments

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