"I Have the Power"
W2S is celebrating its 10th anniversary by featuring ten different writers over the coming year. Written works are a reflection of the Master’s heart, with leadership in mind. In this update our featured writer is Jody R Goode. Like our previously featured writer, Jody and her husband, of 33 years, Bruce, have also been blessed with two children (a son and a daughter). On the Featured Writer's page are samples of Jody's articles and poems, to encourage, motivate and inspire you. You can find out more about the heart behind these articles by visiting Jody'sFaithwriter's page as well as via her personal website: Evangelical Poetry.
My mother gifted me a treasured possession of hers on my wedding day - a strand of pearls her parents had given her as a child. They were so lovely and I cared for them as the treasure they were.
Imagine my horror when my newborn son grabbed the strand from my neck breaking it sending the pearls flying! I was able to find all but one of the pearls and brought them to a jeweler to re-string. ***Note to Self: Along with keeping the hair short and wearing no dangling earrings, do not wear the pearls when holding the baby or bad things can happen. In other words, stash them until the baby is out of your arms and toddling on his own.
Fast forward a couple years to a second child now toddling on her own and I finally get to wear my cherished pearls with more frequency. Unfortunately that led to another re-stringing for all the extra wear and tear. I really loved my pearls so nothing was going to stand in the way of my proper care of them.
This time when I dropped them off for repair the jeweler questioned their authenticity to which I most assuredly confirmed. But alas, he later called to inform me that though they were a really good fake, my cherished pearls were not pearls at all but actually faux - not real - simply costume jewelry. I was stunned and maybe a bit embarrassed that I hadn't noticed the pearly coating flaking off some of the smaller plastic beads, but they were my beloved pearls and I just didn't have eyes to see it. Though my mother had never said one way or the other and I had never asked, the evidence was always there; would parents give a child such a valuable piece of jewelry? Probably not. To the child, though, that strand was beautiful and worthy of cherishing as my mother had and I know she never meant to mislead me, but the disillusionment for me
Knowing my deep disappointment, my husband gifted me with a true strand of pearls complete with a certificate of authenticity. To see them side-by-side it wasn't too difficult to see the differences that set them apart but until then I had nothing to compare.
Scripture tells us that the Kingdom of Heaven is like a treasure hidden in a field that when found it is worth selling all we have to buy the field. But what if what we find is not the real treasure but instead just a bill of goods? No amount of faith in or proper care of a fake will turn it into a masterpiece original worthy of our utmost devotion. Remember, Scripture also warns that our number one enemy is prowling about like a
roaring lion seeking to devour, but easily disguises himself as a wolf in sheep's clothing to appear like the real McCoy, only to draw us in and lead us away from the truth all the while going undetected as the liar he is.
Had I only asked, my eyes would have been opened to the truth about my strand of look-alike pearls. So if there is anything I learned from my experience is that to know the real truth due diligence is required to uncover it. One must dig up the entire field uncovering all the chaff until the true treasure is found and then and only then is it worth selling all one has to possess, cherish and properly care for it.
The Lord is calling each of us by name to seek Him with wholehearted determination promising that if we do He will be found by us. Oh the joy that comes from the discovery of the Lord who loves beyond measure and has poured out His amazing grace upon us in His Son, our Savior, Jesus Christ who comes to us with a verified certificate of authenticity (aka the empty tomb) as the way, truth and life. There is no
possession on earth that can ever compare to the treasure of our Lord!
Matthew 13:44 (NASB) - "The kingdom of heaven is like a treasure hidden in the field, which a man found and hid again; and from joy over it he goes and sells all that he has and buys that field.”
5/4/2014 SERMON MESSAGE: Intercessory Prayer ... "I Have the Power!"
Scripture: Gospels of Luke 22:40-46 | John 16:32b-17:26
When Daryl asked me last week to fill the pulpit in his absence this week, with such short notice he suggested I speak on an subject of personal spiritual growth and before he could take a breath, the Holy Spirit made it clear I should speak on "Intercessory Prayer". This is a subject I have been mightily challenged in as God has called me to intercede for close friends and family as they've struggled through various trials.
I found this definition of Intercessory Prayer:
Intercession is prayer that pleads with God for your needs and the needs of others. But it is also much more than that. Intercession involves taking hold of God's will and refusing to let go until His will comes to pass.
I was looking over a collage of family photos the other day and one made me really smile ... it was one of my son at the age of 5 or so and he was straddling his almost life-size stuffed animal lion we had picked up for him at a yard sale and wielding his nerf power sword proclaiming with confident boldness, "I have the power!", just like Prince Adam did to transform himself and his pet tiger, Cringer, into He-Man and Battle Cat as they went off to battle evil together in protection of his home planet, Eternia. I loved it.
As I've journeyed down my spiritual walk with Christ, just like the disciples, I pondered and questioned the Lord - what really is prayer? I want You to teach me to pray. I want to wield my power sword of Your Word with boldness and confident access to You as I battle the evil in this world to lead others into Your Presence where I have personally found such refuge and peace - even amid all the chaos, despair, violence, destruction, persecution that sin has wrought in this world. Whatever it takes, Lord, I want You to make me into a mighty prayer warrior!
Have you ever sensed God grinning? When I committed to being His student in this and life itself, I promise you, I saw Him grinning from ear-to-ear! Okay, God is grinning...I'm pretty sure I wondered what exactly it was I was getting myself into...
When you want to join the army, you don't go right onto the battlefield. No, for your own safety you have to follow all the stages of training before you're ever deployed into combat. Well, Prayer Warrior School has been just the same. Basic training first. Then on from there.
What's the basic training? I'm glad you asked! God said, you need to trust Me wholly and completely or we can stop right now. And to trust Me, you need to know My heart, to know My heart is to know what the enemy's heart is not. ... Okay, Lord, I'm in this for the long haul - let's get to know each other. Teach me how to trust You that way.
He said, I sent Jesus to be you're example in everything. By searching scriptures, you are searching Him. He is the Word made flesh to show you the way to all righteousness...
Scripture calls Jesus the Son of Man and the Son of God - 100% human while by mystery and miracle also 100% Eternal God. Our Gospel today told us that the Son of Man went to the Father, whom He obviously intimately knew and loved, in agonizing prayer asking for any other way for Him to do what He came to earth to do than to suffer the type of death that lie before Him. Any sane human would want to avoid tortuous death if it were possible. So how could it have been anything but utter trust in the Father to do what He had promised, to accomplish the goal of salvation for us all through Jesus' death by raising Him from that death into resurrection life that lead Him to say, "yet not My will, but Yours be done" and then to carry through with it as He faithfully did?
So, God, what You're saying is, trust You, no matter how our circumstances appear? "You got it kid." And there went that grin again...
He says to me, "Look, I know it's never easy to trust anyone on sight - so spend time with Me. Get to know Me - really know Me. I know who I am. I know that I love you without condition and only have the eternal best in mind for you. But you need to know that for yourself. My guarantee You will not be disappointed was the empty tomb on that first Easter morning.
Searching scripture told me things like...
> "Though it tarries, wait for it"
> "Draw near to God and He will draw near to you."
> "In all your ways acknowledge Him, And He will make your paths straight."
> “‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.’
> "This is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent."
> Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
> Pray without ceasing
> "If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you."
> "Delight yourself in the Lord; And He will give you the desires of your heart."
> Therefore, confess your sins to one another, and pray for one another so that you may be healed. The effective prayer of a righteous man can accomplish much.
> Behold, I have given you authority to tread on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy, and nothing will injure you. Nevertheless do not rejoice in this, that the spirits are subject to you, but rejoice that your names are recorded in heaven.”
> Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of His might. Put on the full armor of God, so that you will be able to stand firm against the schemes of the devil. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places. ...
So, Lord, it sounds to me that prayer is all about my relationship with You not about something I do or say in this way or that.
With that revelation, and the fact that God's grin spread even wider, I knew I had graduated from basic prayer training and was ready to go on to advanced intercessory prayer training ...
One of my favorite books is Oswald Chambers' 365-day devotional "My Utmost for His Highest". I knew there were devotions specific to Intercessory Prayer and I went looking. So, yeah, I found them on the devotions for May 3rd and 4th. Besides perfect timing, confirmation is an awesome tool God uses to let us know we're on the right track and if I wasn't sure I had heard correctly about what today's message should be I sure was when I opened this book, written in 1935, to find my resources dated for this very day. Well, now it was my turn to grin right back!
Here's a quick synopsis of these devotions...
> Whenever we step back from our close identification with God’s interest and concern for others and step into having emotional sympathy with them, the vital connection with God is gone. ... It is sympathy with ourselves or with others that makes us say, “I will not allow that thing to happen.” And instantly we are out of that vital connection with God. ... (In) Vital intercession ... You are completely and entirely identified with God’s interests and concerns in other lives. God gives us discernment in the lives of others to call us to intercession for them ...
> Our ability to approach God is due entirely to the vicarious, or substitutionary, identification of our Lord with sin. We have “boldness to enter the Holiest by the blood of Jesus.” ... Vicarious intercession means that we deliberately substitute God’s interests in others for our natural sympathy with them. ... Am I stubborn or substituted? Am I spoiled or complete in my relationship to God? Am I irritable or spiritual? Am I determined to have my own way or determined to be identified with Him?
> As an intercessor, Our work is to be in such close contact with God that we may have His mind about everything, but we shirk that responsibility by substituting doing for interceding. And yet intercession is the only thing that has no drawbacks, because it keeps our relationship completely open with God. What we must avoid in intercession is praying for someone to be simply “patched up.” We must pray that person completely through into contact with the very life of God. Think of the number of people God has brought across our path, only to see us drop them! When we pray on the basis of redemption, God creates something He can create in no other way than through intercessory prayer.
God inspired the following poem in 1995 as an expression of my heart's understanding of and desire to serve Him in intercession...
The above article is from a series of Devotions by Jody. This is Devotion 102
Will the Real McCoy Please Stand Up