Get in The Closet!

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Whatever happened to the prayer closet? If you’ve never heard of one, it’s simply a private place to spend time with the Lord. It can literally be a closet, a private room, or even a chair in the corner of your bedroom. Mine is a stuffed chair in my home office. It’s a place to get alone with the Lord in prayer.

Scripture records the Lord Jesus getting away for solitary prayer, “Before daybreak the next morning, Jesus got up and went out to an isolated place to pray” (Mark 1:35 NLT). This is so important that Jesus tells us, “But thou, when thou prayest, enter into thy closet, and when thou hast shut thy door, pray to thy Father which is in secret; and thy Father which seeth in secret shall reward thee openly” (Matthew 6:6 KJV).

Then three verses later He teaches us how to pray in our prayer closet, “After this manner therefore pray ye: Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil: For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, forever. Amen” (Matthew 6:9-13 KJV).

We call this the Lord’s Prayer, which describes a daily intimate personal relationship with our Father. As you enter your prayer closet, seek the Lord and allow Him to speak to your heart. This will become a habit that you’ll love, and your relationship with God will become personal and powerful. This will quickly become the best part of your day.

Now don’t just go into your prayer closet and ask for this and that. Many of us have made our prayer closet a supply closet. We only go in there for things. We don’t go in there for a relationship with God. Instead of seeking Him, we seek things! We have built shelves in our prayer closets, making it difficult to get inside. So we simply reach in and get what we want. It’s time that we believers take the shelving out of our supply closets and make them our prayer closets again.

We should make it a place where we go in, put our body down and fellowship in the Spirit with the Lord. In the prayer closet we should give ourselves to Him and learn to enjoy the presence of the Lord. This is what He wants. This pleases our Father. “But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you” (Matthew 6:33 KJV). When we seek His presence, He sees our need and gives us His presents.

Our Father knows what we need before we even ask, even if we don’t ask. But what does He need? Us! Don’t miss out on the best part of spiritual life, which is being with the Lord. So make a little time, move those shelves, and get in the closet!

 

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Two Deer on the Range

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The other day I made one of my regular pilgrimages out to the range, God’s beauty of nature nestled in the woods by a lake. It was late in the afternoon and I wondered what I could do before sundown. But with an afternoon this beautiful, I simply couldn’t pass up this brief opportunity.

So with my gear in hand, my driver and I headed down a path through the woods. Soon I found myself out on the open range looking square into the eyes of two beautiful deer. I quietly set my gear down and very slowly sat on a wooden leaning rail, carefully observing the deer. They watched me for a few moments, and then continued grazing. They kept picking at the short grass, satisfying themselves.

I looked at my driver, leaning against the rail, and asked, “Do you think we can hit them from here?” No response. I mean, it wasn’t like I was going to kill the deer. I decided not to shoot because they are only about 150 yards out and I’m pretty accurate at that distance. I’ll just watch for now.

Sitting in silence studying the deer, I realized how unaware they are of the nearby danger. Anyone could easily harm them, yet they’re living their lives as God made them, like deer have done since time began. Their world appears one way to them, yet the reality is completely different. Encroachments around them have reduced and changed their habitat.

But for a few moments, it was as if the modern world disappeared and I experienced the peaceful, serene life of the two deer on the range. A Psalm came to mind, “As the deer longs for streams of water, so I long for you, O God” (Psalm 42:1 NLT). In my heart I thought, “Oh, to have peace like this in a world filled with the clanging cacophony of cluttered chaos.”

Just then, the Lord spoke to my heart and replied, “Son, I have always had a remnant of peace in My kingdom, and people who live in My peace that passes understanding. This peace I give to you and all my children. Fix your thoughts on me. Meditate on my word, soak in my presence, and the peace you seek, the peace you need, shall be yours. I enable my people to rest and breathe the peaceful air of heaven, as they trust in Me and place their cares at My feet. Though you are moving quickly through a world of strife, I will make a place for you where peace exists from the Ancient of Days.”

Lost in these thoughts and revelations, I didn’t notice that the deer had moved further away. Naturally my driver didn’t warn me, so I said, “Let’s give it a fair shot.” Preparing for my first shot, I looked down the shaft, which was painted gun barrel blue, and took careful aim. The sound of the shot cracked and echoed across the range and bounced off the surrounding woods.

Although my shot rang straight and sure, the deer were more than 250 yards away by now, and in no danger from me. Suddenly I heard the sound of a small vehicle behind me and wondered if the marshal was coming to advise me to leave, as it was getting dark. It wasn’t him so I took a few more shots, while the deer pranced safely into the distant woods.

Breathing in the pure fragrance of nature, I stood there pondering the words of the Lord as His peace flooded my soul. Things aren’t always as they appear. We can have peace in the midst of a restless and chaotic culture.

Feeling peaceful and rejuvenated by the Lord, I decided to leave. So I carefully cleaned my driver with a towel…placed it in my golf bag…and left the driving range for the putting green.

“You will keep in perfect peace all who trust in you, all whose thoughts are fixed on you” Isaiah 26:3 NLT

Lord Over the Flood

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 I was watching the CBN News coverage of the flooding in the mid-west and was stunned by the devastation. Like many of you, my heart grieves for our neighbors who have suffered such great losses. The rising waters have submerged whole towns, and as the camera shows us the neighborhoods, it seems like only the mailboxes perched on posts have remained unscathed.
A disaster such as this affects people in different ways. Most shall recover when the water recedes. Some have only suffered a minor inconvenience, while others have lost everything they own, homes and business washed away.

But there’s another kind of flood going on in our nation. People are living through disasters all around us. A mother struggles to support and feed her children while her husband serves a jail sentence. A devoted father and husband find himself in the hospital with cancer, and his wife struggles to pay the bills. Ultimately, their home of forty years and all their retirement savings are washed away in their own personal flood.

Good people are devastated and cry out to God. “All the floods compassed me about: all thy billows and waves passed over me. Then I said, I am cast out of thy sight, yet I will look again toward thy holy temple” (Jonah 2:3-4 KJV)

Don’t give up! Whether you have experienced a flood of water, or a flood of bad circumstances, know that God cares. Don’t blame Him. Look again to His temple.

We live in a world of trouble and turmoil in which the righteous and the unrighteous are affected alike. God is not singling out you or your community. The world is a dangerous place. Know that God cares, and He will help you. “The Lord sits enthroned over the flood; the Lord is enthroned as King forever” (Psalm 29:10 NIV)

He is our source in times of trouble. He will give you strength to stand, wisdom to find a way, joy to sustain your soul, and peace to rest.

As Operation Blessing rises to action, helping those most hurt by these floods, so we who are unaffected must do likewise. But in addition to those whose only remaining possession is a mailbox on a post, we must aid the hurting neighbors all around us who are trying to survive a myriad of personal disasters, some who even lost the mailbox. With God’s help we can make it.

“When the enemy shall come in like a flood, the Spirit of the Lord shall raise a standard against him” (Isaiah 59:19 KJV)

Become part of the standard that God raises for such a time as this. You may ask what you can do. Support disaster relief. Look at the mailboxes sticking up all around you in your own neighborhood or church. Many times your neighbor suffers silently and will not ask for help. Show them you care. Get involved. And for those who are hurting, the Lord over the flood sees you. Help is on the way!

Angels Study God

IMG_0087Angels in heaven worship God continually. They sometimes focus their worship on the different attributes of God. Once an attribute of God is studied, they model it through their own person. How much more should we, His children, study His attributes and try our best to model ourselves after God and His ways.