Pursuing Life

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Pursuit of life.  All that entails. Rewarding. Awesome. Yet never exclusive of trials, pain. All good and what “seems bad”. Experiencing now.

Excited for Life. Going higher. Blessings of coming through storms, evident. Feeling free.

Pursuing Him. Growth. Forward motion. Working into a jog. Steadfastly pressing in. His will. His plan. Use me, Lord. Obey. Reach. He leads. I follow.

His plan. My destiny. His calling. My answer. I am in. Desire transforming. Lining up with His. Going all out. It’s all or nothing now. I run. I run. Advancing. Progressing. Eyes on the prize.

Out of no where, it hits, not lightly. Knocked to the ground by the enemy of the soul. Satan, the liar, who fears forward momentum. Fears destination. Fears His plan, this pursuit. Knows exactly where I am most vulnerable, to strike with his hardest blow.

The initial impact, hurts. I know truth. He is not. I speak truth. He bellows lies. The mind, the mouth rebuke him. He reiterates deception louder, harder. Seems to pierce the heart. Faith shield goes up. Sword-Truth slashes lies. I speak Truth. Remind faith what I believe. The heart is strengthened. Lunge back The Defense. Jesus, The Name. Higher than any other. Name at which demons tremble, bow. Strongholds broken. Every high thing comes down. Under. The Name.

Not impervious to pain. Fear exists. Must be shut out. Hard. Trying. At times breaking. In all, Glory to God! His Word hidden in the heart. Defenseless, I am not. Satan, a victor, never!

Today, a new level reached. An old devil impeached. Much growth accompanies much opposition, trials, pain. Storms never cease to surprise. Through pain, growth. Joy the product. The blessing, the reward after every storm.

Standing. Standing. Standing still. Against the liar. In Jesus name. Victory.

Infinitely, pursuing. Future storms imminent. Exercising authority. Utilizing weapons. Each storm, growth, stronger. Transforming. More like me, the me, He intended, the me He created. The process, Blessings. Increase. Life. Freedom. Abundant Life. Mine. Constantly. Pressing. Pursuing Life. Awaiting the glorious return.

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Beautiful Diversity- Laura Townsend

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Last month, I spent the weekend with the love of my life, composing my first book proposal in a beautiful downtown hotel. Our 25th wedding anniversary, truly memorable…

As we park the car in the parking garage and walk into the hotel lobby, God begins to talk to me about diversity and the need to stretch outside my comfort zone and love His people for who we are.

It’s a beautiful summer day, our 25th anniversary. I feel a bit intimidated in the hotel lobby upon check in. I find myself in a collage of people from different backgrounds, different walks of life, different heritages. Some are quiet and reserved, others celebrate more obtrusively and loud. There are business men and women, a wedding party, a couple speaking a language I don’t recognize, obviously from an country far away. A girlfriends weekend getaway, an elderly couple in town for a doctor visit, a whole conference of Microsoft employees, a same sex couple wanting to be accepted in some way. I hear voices and accents all different, bodies shapes and sizes varied, skin colors, hair, eyes: diversity, yet we are all gathered here this weekend in this hotel to meet the common need for shelter and sustenance. When you get right down to it, how diverse are we?

I am uncomfortable. I stretch. My mind, thoughts, feelings, judgements…. Who am I? Does my discomfort line up with the Jesus in me? Do I love His creation, the diversity? Or does it terrify me and make me want to hide in my own little corner with only those who are like me? I DO want to embrace diversity! How? How do I do it? What can I do to break down the walls that separate? I want to love, learn, accept, make a difference.

How do I set aside the fear of our differences. I want to learn from diversity. Our differences make the world beautiful. Can I learn from you? Can I love what makes you different from me? Even when I disagree with your beliefs? Do I love you because you too are His creation and my fellow man?

We step outside the hotel lobby in downtown Houston. I take a deep breath, thinking I am walking away from the discomfort, diversity. It’s a beautiful day to take a walk, maybe look for a restaurant with some flare, something a little out of the ordinary, for our anniversary dinner. I am okay with diversity in that.

Before I reach the edge of the block, I am stopped by a man asking for help. Just released from prison, jobless, homeless, hopeless? On the streets of downtown Houston, how can I really help? I offer a $5 bill in his direction. Before he can even see what it is that I offer, he asks me to please just listen to his cause before I drop my money in his hand and escape his plight.

He wants more help than I can give, a job, a place to stay, just listen to his story, (or his excuse, I wonder)? I am not sure what to do. He tells me of a place he can stay for $12 a night, but how can he get there, it is not located downtown? I listen. I inquire of his belief in God and a personal relationship with Jesus? He tells me he has already tried all that and “he has his relationship with God”, as he speaks with a negative connotation.

I pray with him and give him a $50 bill, hoping he can get to a place to stay and find work. I don’t have a job or place for him to stay…. what else can I do?

I don’t know how, so I do what I can, to try.

This diversity thing, I struggle. I want a comfortable fit. I don’t like the feelings I experience. I don’t know how to embrace diversity.

Greg and I turn around. In front of the 4 star hotel, we walk past a prostitute, diversity. I am too uncomfortable to look her in the eyes. I know she needs what I have. Why do I pass her by. Still uncomfortable from my last confrontation with diversity. How can I overcome this? What can I do?

Back into our hotel room, sandwiches instead of dinner out. $50 to make a difference, a gift to fight my tendency to avoid diversity, originally money for our anniversary dinner. I do not regret the gift or the sandwich. I want to make a difference. I gladly eat a sandwich for our 25th anniversary. It is memorable, beautiful even.

I feel empowered, a little. Now on the rooftop beside the pool, a warm breeze blows as the sun sets on a panoramic view of our city. I defy the arguing inside my head that wants me to live small. I engage with the diversity around me. I strike up conversations outside my comfort zone. Amazingly, we can find something to talk about.

And what if different makes us compatible? What if differences could bring us together? I observe and process the differences, my thoughts, my feelings.

God’s creation is diverse. It is time for the body of Christ to rise up and embrace diversity. We are called to love one another, truly love one another, embrace the differences and use the differences as strength to reach the world for Christ.

There is a true beauty in the diversity God has created in the human race. We are a people of variety. Personalities, ethnicities, traditions, religions, beliefs. Colors of skin from darkest chocolate black to purest ivory white. Darkest, smiling, beautiful slanted eyes. Big round bluest sky. Eyes that resemble a window to the world. Slimmest lips of pink and red. Plumpest lips of darkest brown. Hands so fragile, hands so strong. Beauty is slender or in voluptuous curves. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder.

You created all things beautifully. Humans like flowers in the garden. We range in colors, shapes and size. We blossom and bloom in our own time and yet side by side intermingled we show off most gloriously.

Hearts that love You. One and the same. Hearts that don’t know You, yet beat to the same rhythm. A God to each of us, You show no favor. God of humanity diversity savors.
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Step Up to the Plate -Laura Townsend

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I have a stack of journals, the pages inside filled with my thoughts on God, and the beauty of the relationship He continues to nourish inside my heart. Today, as I looked at the stack of pretty, spiral bound books, I was drawn to one in particular.  Just looking at the cover I knew its contents as I do each of them. I know exactly which time frame of my life that they represent. This one though, is a stand alone from a particularly difficult period of time in my life. It is the only journal I have to span that period, the 10 years after the breaking.

For almost 10 years, I sat on the sidelines of my spiritual life. I did not engage in anything of spiritual significance. Early this morning as I opened the pages, I remembered the one memorable entry inside this journal. It is one that I will never forget. In my mind, I can describe much of the contents of each of these journals, based upon the memories of the times and seasons and the wonderful ways that God has spoken to my heart. This one, however, contains one of the most powerful entries in the whole stack. As I reread it this morning, there was fresh revelation and I realized that there was a season that God had allowed me to mourn. Then there came a day when He knew that I was ready and He spoke to me to reengage myself spiritually. The time that lapsed after that and before I chose to step into His calling, those years were years I could have been used for His purpose, but I chose not to.

Other entries in this journal and the fact that a journal exist in the time frame of my life signify that God was prompting me and there was movement spiritually speaking for me. There are children’s ministry messages and lesson plans inside this journal. There are prayer lists for my children on the inside cover. But I know the history that followed this journal from the year 2002 of my life, 2 years after the breaking, no other journals followed… Not until the flame was fanned and momentum returned another 8 years later.

Saddened my heart is to think of how God had wanted to use me, of the relationships I squandered by being of little or no significance, void of power, bold less for God. I know of people in my life during these days that needed the power that only God can offer. I do believe that God redeems the days lost and that every day of our lives He fits into His purpose but also that it does not mean that everything we choose to do is His ideal for us.

Joyful my heart is to recognize that despite my disobedience, God took the mistakes of my life and is reworking it all into something beautiful for His glory. I know that even during those 10 years, He used me, just not in the full potential that He desired for me.

Could God being speaking these words to you today?

The journal entry from 2002- edited… (This was during the years my daughter Chelsea played softball and I enjoyed life as a softball mom)

You are a mighty woman of God. You had come through a rough storm and I have allowed you to just coast for the past few years by your choice, because you wanted it. You felt stretched to your limit and you wanted the break. But now it’s time to step up to the plate.

You are a mighty woman of God. You have already put in the practice. You have done the training. Look at yourself, in high school, full of the Word- You were a witness even then, even without the full knowledge of My Power. See yourself – alone at the church anointing the pews, on your face on the floor, (praying for revival). I have used you since you were a child teaching My Word to the other children.

You are a mighty woman of God. The time for me to allow you to coast is over. It is time to step up to the plate. As you do you will find it will come easy. Home-run after home-run. You put in your time and now will begin to reap the benefits as you step up to your call.

What used to take much to pray through, will now be just a swing of the bat and I will help you put it over the fence.

I am giving you a great opportunity, the answers to all the prayers that have gone up. You are there. I am ready to place you, where your whole life, I have been preparing you for. So step up to the plate and bat.

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The Blessing After The Breaking- by Laura Townsend

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It was a beautiful, hot Texas day just a few weeks ago.  I was driving the back roads on my way home from a trip to Wal Mart.  Matt Redman, Brighten (my 5 year old) and I were singing at the top of our lungs, “Bless the Lord O my soul!!”  Then skip forward, “Never once did we ever walk alone.  Never once did you leave us on our own, You are faithful, God you are faithful!”  Then in my head a little conversation/ thought transaction took place between me and God.  I felt a huge sense of gratefulness as I felt His presence wash over me, then there was this strong knowing in my spirit that gratefulness had moved into that place, the place that at one time was a huge gaping wound, that wound that He so lovingly cares for as I go through the healing process.

At some point along the way the outer wound had healed over and a scar had formed.  The scar, over time had become stronger than that area had ever been before the injury and I knew that much healing had taken place.  I am not sure that we are ever completely healed from such brokenness.  I believe that healing is something God is constantly working in us up until the day that we leave this world and enter the glorious place that He has prepared for us.  On that day we will be completely healed and whole.  But on this day I can say that I am grateful that God allowed my marriage to journey through the depths of devastation and despair.  I am glad that my life and marriage were broken into a million little pieces, so many pieces that only God could take the pieces of my life and make it functional again.  Even more so, I am also grateful that He doesn’t just leave me as functional but is continually working on me, to make my life into something beautiful.

In that moment I knew that I had grown into a place of gratefulness.  God had allowed me years before to go through a trial in my marriage.  The days during that time were the most difficult days of my life thus far.  The pain I had experienced during that time was so intense that I had an overwhelming urge to check myself into a hospital and I don’t mean a hospital for mental issues.  I felt like I actually needed care for my physical body due to the extremity of the emotional pain in my body.  After God restored my marriage and the healing began, that hurt lingered in various strengths for many years.  Yet on this day, I discovered a recognition of a beautiful sense of gratefulness for what had taken place.

I never dreamed 13 years ago of the life that I live today.  I could have never imagined the beauty of the life that God desired for me to have and I know that today is just a glimpse of what He has planned for me.  Today I am grateful, God, I am thankful for what I experienced in that breaking process.  I can’t believe that I am saying this but, ” God I am grateful to you for allowing me to hurt.  Had You not allowed me to be broken in just this way, I could have never achieved what You are doing in my life today.  Thank you for your omniscience, for your sovereignty in my life!  Thank you for allowing me to be broken in the right place, in just the right way, at the right time so that today I can experience the life that you have for me and can be forever grateful for having been broken.

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Introduction to the Small Group Study- Aligning My Life For His Purpose- by Laura Townsend

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It is my belief that God has a special purpose for each of our lives.  Throughout the Bible and in our lives today God calls us as women to be an active part of His ministry.  Some of the most powerful stories in the Bible are about women that God used in a mighty way.  Esther saved her entire race from annihilation. Mary willingly gave birth as a virgin and risked huge ridicule, judgment and even being disowned by her fiance’ or father for being pregnant outside of marriage.  God purposes for each of us to be a part of His story.  He has a higher purpose for your life as part of His plan, for His glory, to further His kingdom.  You are significant in His plan.  He wants to help you “align your life” so that you can fulfill His higher purpose in and through you.

We will begin our study by working in our minds to “align” our thoughts with His Word.  By choosing to think positive and believe what God’s Word says about us, we can change our whole perspective on life. Next we will deal with the words that come out of our mouths.  Our words have power.  We decide what kind of power they will have.  Power for good and life or for evil and death.  Life and death is in the power of the tongue. After we get our thoughts and mouths to line up with the truth of God’s Word we will deal with our emotions and resulting actions. We are emotional beings.  We cannot stop having emotions.  We will always have emotions but how we choose to deal with them is up to us.  You can feel one way and choose to act another way entirely.  “You can want to do the wrong thing but choose to do what is right.”, Joyce Meyer.  Once we get our mind, mouth and emotions under control, we will be ready to step into the higher purpose that He has for us.

This is a 13 week study.  We will spend the first 9 weeks on the mind, the mouth and emotions.  The next 4 weeks on finding and fulfilling the higher purpose that He has for you.

In order to fully embrace this study and grow in your relationship with God, to align our lives and follow after His greater purpose, I want to stress the importance of a daily quiet time with God.  He created us as human beings to desire intimacy but all the more so as women we long for and even crave intimacy in relationships.  That is exactly what He desires of us as well.  He is asking us to be intimate in our relationship with Him.  He wants us to slow down and quiet all the craziness of the world around us and just be with Him.  As we spend time with Him, He will begin to ask us to trust Him.  He wants us to recognize His sovereignty.  When we recognize that His perspective is sovereign, we can know that we can trust Him with our lives, our days, our time and our plans.  We can surrender it all to His coordination.  He wants us to live and move and have our being “in Him”.  He wants us to allow our thoughts, words, emotions, attitudes and actions to be His.  That is where I am praying that this study will take us.

Spending time alone with God is your fuel for life.  As you mature in your relationship with Him, you will desire and need more time with Him each day.  Don’t judge what you are needing or doing in your time with God by what anyone else is doing.  For some of you, young in your relationship with Christ, 5 minutes a day will suffice, for others half and hour and for others an hour or more.  It all depends where you are on your walk with God.  If you are young in Christ and spend 5 minutes a day praying and reading the Word, it can be a glorious time!  Don’t allow someone that has been a Christian for 20 years who spends an hour and a half a day praying make you feel bad for spending your glorious 5 minutes.  God will fill the time you spend with Him.  As you mature you will sense yourself getting full in your quiet times.  When you sit down to read or pray or worship, allow Him to guide you.  You will get to where you know when you have done enough.  You will feel satisfied, just like if you had eaten a big steak dinner.  During your quiet time I urge you to pray, read the Word, worship and journal.  You don’t have to do all of that everyday but do some of it every day and all of those things are important in intimacy with Him.  Listening is part of intimacy too.  Take time to just be quiet in His presence.  Sometimes journaling helps me to allow Him to speak to me, sometimes reading the Word and definitely praying in English and in the spirit.  Make your quiet time a time of worship.

Today we are going to take a look at a passage from the book of Luke.  It is a beautiful passage in Mary’s divine appointment with God, here she receives the calling of God on her life for His higher purpose in her.  Mary received a very obvious calling on her life directly from an angel of the Lord.  As you read this passage listen with your heart and I believe in the underlying tone you may hear our great God speaking to and calling you to His higher purpose for you.  I have come to recognize that the Word of God is Holy Spirit inspired, alive, active and powerful in my life today and in every life that chooses to hear God calling them to His purpose. So here it is, listen with your heart and hear God almighty speak to you.

“In the sixth month of Elizabeth’s pregnancy, God sent the angel Gabriel to Nazareth, a village in Galilee,  to a virgin named Mary. She was engaged to be married to a man named Joseph, a descendant of King David.  Gabriel appeared to her and said, “Greetings, favored woman! The Lord is with you! ” Confused and disturbed, Mary tried to think what the angel could mean.  “Don’t be afraid, Mary,” the angel told her, “for you have found favor with God!  You will conceive and give birth to a son, and you will name him Jesus.  He will be very great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his ancestor David.  And he will reign over Israel  forever; his Kingdom will never end!” Mary asked the angel, “But how can this happen? I am a virgin.” The angel replied, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. So the baby to be born will be holy, and he will be called the Son of God.  What’s more, your relative Elizabeth has become pregnant in her old age! People used to say she was barren, but she has conceived a son and is now in her sixth month.  For nothing is impossible with God. ” Mary responded, “I am the Lord’s servant. May everything you have said about me come true.” And then the angel left her.” (Luke 1:26-38 NLT)

I hear this passage speaking to me in the highlighted portions in particular.  I am a woman of favor.  The Lord God is with me in all that I do.  I have the favor of God on my life.  I live in the shadow of the almighty and have the power of the Holy Spirit in operation in my life.  I know that nothing is impossible with God.  I believe that He desires to use me for His purpose and that if I will obey and fall in line with His will then He will accomplish great things in and through me.

I don’t know about you but I am relieved that God is not going to call us to give birth to His son!  Praise The Lord, Mary already took care of that for us.  But He is calling us to do something “greater” with our lives.  Not greater than Mary did but greater than we could do without Him.

“I tell you the truth, anyone who believes in me will do the same works I have done, and even greater works, because I am going to be with the Father.” (John 14:12 NLT)

I believe that what He is saying is that with His spirit in us we will do things that we could not do without His spirit in us.  He is calling us to allow His spirit in us to do greater things through us.

Elizabeth did a great thing in mentoring Mary.  Had she not been pregnant alongside Mary, Mary might have faced her circumstances alone.  God used Elizabeth to be a companion, friend, a mentor even to Mary during their pregnancies.

Esther saved her race.  Ruth left her people to support her mother in law.  Mary and Martha were small group hostesses.  🙂  The woman with the alabaster box, that anointed Jesus before his death and burial, spent a years wages pouring oil onto Jesus head.  She anointed Him to face the toughest time in His life.  God used these women to do something greater.

God wants to use you for greater things too.  In every area of your life and in this study group.  He wants to meet your needs through our group and He wants to use you to meet others needs in our group.  He has shown me some of the obvious ways He will use people in our group, such as our worship leader, who will lead us into His presence in worship.  By using her gift she will help you prepare your hearts to hear what God is saying to you and prepare me for Him to speak through me as well as hear what He is saying to me.  As our hostess opens her home to us, she is making a place for us to meet with Him and with one another, to develop relationships and grow in Him.  Our babysitters bless us with the care they give for our children so that we can have this time.  What is your part?  Did you consider the taking on any of the Bible Study Group Coordinator positions?  Is there a woman in our group that God is calling you to befriend?  What are your needs that you hope to fulfill through this small group?

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The Sisterhood of Faith- Oaks of Righteousness

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The Sisterhood of Faith- Oaks of Righteousness

Word about Oak Trees- April 27, 2012

by: Laura Townsend

In April of 2012, I attended a Women’s Retreat.  The theme of the ladies retreat was about gardens, and being planted by God under the Son, how we are like beautiful oaks, strong and graceful and planted for God’s glory.

Underneath the shade of the oak trees in this picture is where God spoke these words to me.

I went out beside the lake under these trees and was just spending some time talking and listening to God. At some point I realized I was standing under a group of oak trees. He began to speak to my heart about these oak trees.  I realized standing under these oaks and with oaks being the theme of the weekend, I was not standing here amidst the trees by chance. So I said,  “Okay God, what do you want to say to me about these trees?”

I looked at each of them and counted them and looked at their various sizes, ages and levels of maturity. He began to talk to me about the women that he has planted in my life and to look at each tree and think about whom each tree might represent in my life. These 9 oak tress are beautifully planted together by the lake of God’s presence.

The water represents the way His presence washes over us, floods us, and supplies what we need. His presence is beautiful and peaceful and refreshing like this lake beside the trees.

When you see an oak tree standing alone in a field it is a beautiful thing, but how much more beautiful when a group of oaks are planted together. He said, “The women I have planted in your life are there to support you. Together you are stronger and more beautiful. Together you provide vast shade from the heat of the day (life). Together you can stand through drought, flood, and storms.”  When women will come together and bask in God’s presence and stand firm in the ground He has planted us in, we are beautiful, we are strong.

He spoke to me about how we need to embrace where he has planted us and not look at the hole that He has planted us in, as a pit but a select location divinely chosen by God. A place where He can strengthen us and shape us and grow us so that He can use us to support and strengthen the others planted nearby.

Then a refreshing powerful wind blew from behind me. With a whoosh!! It blew through me. The leaves rustled with a beautiful sound. And He said to me, “There is a glorious and peaceful sound as we allow the wind of His spirit to blow through us.”

We are positioned (beside this lake) to view the glory, the beauty of who God is and to help others to view His glory. We offer a place of quiet rest under our branches for those searching for their place, their choice location, where God wants to plant and use them, a place of comfort and protection as they wait on God.

I encourage you today to stand under a group of trees and ask God to speak to you about where he has planted you. Who He has placed in your life and who are yoursupporting oak tree sisters? What does He want to do through you and through those around you and in the place where He has planted you?

 

“Oh, the joys of those who do not follow the advice of the wicked, or stand around with sinners, or join in with mockers.  But they delight in the law of the Lord, meditating on it day and night. They are like trees planted along the riverbank, bearing fruit each season. Their leaves never wither, and they prosper in all they do. (Psalm 1:1-3 NLT)

 

The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord  is upon me, for the Lord  has anointed me to bring good news to the poor. He has sent me to comfort the brokenhearted and to proclaim that captives will be released and prisoners will be freed. He has sent me to tell those who mourn that the time of the Lord ‘s favor has come, and with it, the day of God’s anger against their enemies. To all who mourn in Israel, he will give a crown of beauty for ashes, a joyous blessing instead of mourning, festive praise instead of despair. In their righteousness, they will be like great oaks that the Lord has planted for his own glory. They will rebuild the ancient ruins, repairing cities destroyed long ago. They will revive them, though they have been deserted for many generations.

Foreigners will be your servants. They will feed your flocks and plow your fields and tend your vineyards. You will be called priests of the Lord, ministers of our God. You will feed on the treasures of the nations and boast in their riches. Instead of shame and dishonor, you will enjoy a double share of honor. You will possess a double portion of prosperity in your land, and everlasting joy will be yours. “For I, the Lord , love justice. I hate robbery and wrongdoing.

I will faithfully reward my people for their suffering and make an everlasting covenant with them.

Their descendants will be recognized and honored among the nations. Everyone will realize that they are a people the Lord has blessed.” I am overwhelmed with joy in the Lord my God! For he has dressed me with the clothing of salvation and draped me in a robe of righteousness. I am like a bridegroom in his wedding suit or a bride with her jewels. The Sovereign Lord will show his justice to the nations of the world. Everyone will praise him! His righteousness will be like a garden in early spring, with plants springing up everywhere.

Isaiah 61:1-11

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Power of Speaking God’s Word

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Power in Praying God’s Word- A Devotion For Prayer Warriors- by Laura Townsend

Have you ever realized the power that is available to you? You have access to God’s power when you pray His Word.

Mighty Women of God, You have power when you speak God’s Word out of your mouth!!

For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds, casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ, (II Corinthians 10:4, 5 NKJV)

Confess to one another therefore your faults (your slips, your false steps, your offenses, your sins) and pray [also] for one another, that you may be healed and restored [to a spiritual tone of mind and heart]. The earnest (heartfelt, continued) prayer of a righteous man makes tremendous power available [dynamic in its working]. (James 5:16 AMP)

For truly I say to you, if you have faith [that is living] like a grain of mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, Move from here to yonder place, and it will move; and nothing will be impossible to you. (Matthew 17:20 AMP)

Though one may be overpowered by another, two can withstand him. And a threefold cord is not quickly broken. (Ecclesiastes 4:12 NKJV) We have power when we stand together on the Word in prayer!!

Death and life are in the power of the tongue, and they who indulge in it shall eat the fruit of it [for death or life]. (Proverbs 18:21 AMP)

I call heaven and earth to witness this day against you that I have set before you life and death, the blessings and the curses; therefore choose life, that you and your descendants may live (Deuteronomy 30:19 AMP)

God’s Word says that we have weapons. Our weapons are the Word of God, prayer and worship. When we access those weapons and activate that power, satan is shaking in his ugly pointy boots! The Word says that strongholds shall be broken! A stronghold is anything in life that keeps you bound from the freedom that Jesus died for you to have. It could be alcohol, food, negativity, cigarettes, prescription drugs, caffeine, raging, complaining, emotional pain, battles in your mind and many other things. But the Word says, that those strongholds can be pulled down when we speak the Word of God out of our mouths. It also says that every high thing must come down. A high thing is anything that tries to exalt itself above the name of Jesus. Pride, selfishness, vanity, fear, depression, wrong priorities, greed, also any of the addictions or issues that are strongholds can be a thing that tries to exalt itself above the name of Jesus. We can declare that these strongholds and high things must come down and be broken and fall under the obedience of Christ when we pray and speak the Word with power.

If you are a believer, you can be a prayer warrior. As a sister warrior, I wanted to remind you or maybe some of you have never heard it before, but I want to declare to you that, you are a mighty woman of God, full of the Word of God and you have access to immeasurable power when you speak God’s Word out of your mouth.

Darlene Zschech has recently released a new album, titled Revealing Jesus. I want to share from her song, Victor’s Crown. I watched a youtube video where she is talking about the making of this song and how beautiful and worshipful the song starts out. Then it begins to talk about how Jesus wore the victor’s crown. She says that when a crown of thorns (also called a victor’s crown in some translations) was placed upon Jesus head, that they were claiming victory over Him and making fun of Him for saying that He is the King of Kings. However by wearing the “victor’s crown”, we have the VICTORY because Jesus defeated death, hell and the grave!! He defeated sickness, depression, mental illness, addiction, all strongholds and every high thing!! The very crown that they used to claim victory over Christ, is a symbol of the VICTORY that He achieved through the CROSS! The song begins to build and it becomes almost a war cry for demanding every high thing to come down and every stronghold to be broken.

I encourage you to look up this song on youtube and listen to it. I urge you to step into the boldness that God’s Word empowers you with and worship and declare what His Word says. You can just worship right where you are. Also when you are in a group setting, I know it can be a little awkward to boldly worship amongst others but don’t let that keep you from the power that God wants to impart to you through speaking out His Word over your life and the lives of the ones you are praying for. After you listen to the song I want to talk to you a little bit more specifically about speaking God’s Word in your life.

Listen to “Victor’s Crown” by Darlene Zschech

That was great! If you spoke those words in worship you are confessing that those strongholds will be broken and every high thing must come down! Did you feel the boldness rise up on the inside of you? That is a part of God’s process of development that will strengthen your faith. Hear, Speak and Act! First you have to hear the word. Second you must speak God’s Word out of your mouth. Finally as you step out in faith and act on the Word, your faith is activated.

Let’s talk a little about preparation in the spiritual realm. As women we often have a morning routine where we prepare ourselves for the day. It may involve various steps to get our clothing, hair, and makeup ready to face the world around us. On date night even more so, you may take extra time to make your hair, makeup and out fit look just right. Just as we have a morning routine to prepare our bodies, I want to show you a ministry or spiritual preparation routine that you can do every morning of your life. Your life is after all, your ministry and particularly as you stand in faith and in prayer for those in your life, on your job, as a mom, as a wife, as a friend, as a mentor. I would encourage you to make a spiritual preparation routine for your life, your ministry. This will allow you to zone in, to focus your mind on God, to engage your spirit, to set your heart before you start your day and before you open your mouth to speak or pray God’s Word over others. We want to make sure before we pray over someone or speak and before we start our day, that we are in the right place. When we are praying over another person, we are after all speaking to God on behalf of others and at home to our families, at work to our co-workers. We are a representatives of Christ.

So one thing that I have done for years is to anoint myself with oil and pray the word of God over my life. A year or so ago I saw a teaching by Steven Furtick where he talks about his routine which he calls his pre-game ritual, before he goes out to minister. That is actually where I got a portion of this teaching. But he specifically anoints and prays like this over himself each time before he preaches…

A prayer of anointing over yourself (adapted from an example from Steven Furtick)
My feet-
Thank you God that my feet are shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace. Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord.

My belly-
Thank you God that you have not given me a spirit of fear but of power, love and a sound mind.

My heart-
Thank you God that from my heart flow the issues of life, so purify my heart and give me your motives as I go about my day.

My mouth-
As the rain falls down from the heavens and waters the earth, so shall Your Word be. It will not return to You void but will accomplish what You sent it to do. Lord speak Your words through me today.

My eyes-
Thank you God that you give me eyes to see and that you will enable me to see with Your vision. I don’t want to miss any opportunity that you set before me.

My ears-
Thank you God for giving me ears to hear your voice today and the voice of a stranger I will not follow.

My mind-
Thank you God that I have the mind of Christ and I hold the thoughts, feelings and purposes of your heart. That your ways are higher than my ways and your thoughts are higher than my thoughts. May I think your thoughts today.

My hands-
With my hands upraised- I lift my eyes to the hills where my help comes from. My help comes from you Lord, maker of heaven and earth.

Thank you Lord that your anointing rest with me today.

Isn’t that good stuff?

Let’s talk a little about the anointing. The anointing is the power of God available to work in and through us. The Bible tells us that the anointing breaks the yoke. The yoke represents something that holds you captive. We receive the anointing on the inside of us when we receive God’s son, Jesus Christ, we also receive God’s spirit, the Holy Spirit. Christ means anointed one. Oil represents the Holy Spirit or the person of God that lives inside of us.

You can anoint yourself with oil as you pray over yourself. It is a physical act of the spiritual concept of allowing His Spirit to operate in and through you.

It shall come to pass in that day that this burden will be taken away from your shoulder, And his yoke from your neck, And the yoke will be destroyed because of the anointing oil. (Isaiah 10:27 NKJV)

By the time you speak those words out of your mouth, you will feel boldness rising up on the inside of you. This is a part of the activation of faith in you. Speaking God’s Word activates something in the spirit realm and now you will be ready and aligned to go and do what God has called you to do.

So just as speaking the Word activates our faith to pray for and minister to those that God brings across our path. Now let’s think about how you could apply this to your everyday life. What if you were this spiritually extreme in your every day life, as you take care of your children, grocery shop, go to work, cook dinner, clean your house, minister to your husband? I encourage you to speak God’s Word over your circumstances. I believe that we need God’s intervention in every area of our lives but focus on the specific areas where you need victory, where you need a miracle, where you need His support, His strength, where you need an extra dose of the favour of God. Begin to speak God’s word over those areas of your life. Get a journal and write your own confessions for your specific circumstances.

As you begin to write out what your confessions will be over these areas in your life, post them on index cards around your house, in your pocket, in your purse. As you go throughout your day, speak the Word of God out loud, throughout your day. Any time you are feeling weak or defeated, burdened or frustrated, remind yourself what God’s Word says. Begin to align your mouth with God’s Word. When you begin to speak what God has said, you begin to see it as truth. Your faith has been activated and you are able to rise up to the level of what God says about your circumstances in His Word.

So begin to preach God’s Word to yourself. I want us to go through these 12 confessions together so that if you haven’t done anything like this before you can begin to see what happens as you speak God’s Word. Say these out loud and with boldness and power. Think about the truth of what you are saying and how powerful and awesome it actually is. I know it is a little awkward but refuse to let that stop you from accessing the power that is available to you when you step out in faith and open your mouth to speak out the Word of God. There are 2 other daily confessions I have included below as well for you to speak over your life, one by Germaine Copeland and the other by Joyce Meyer. Take time this week to write out your own confessions that you will implement into your daily routine.

12 Faith Confessions- Steven Furtick

I am fully forgiven and free from all shame and condemnation

I act in audacious faith to change the world in my generation

I have no fear or anxiety; I trust in the Lord with all my heart

I am able to fulfill the calling God has placed on my life

I am fully funded to do everything God has called me to do

I have no insecurity, because I see myself the way God sees me

I am a faithful spouse (if you’re single, you can slip ‘future’ in there) and a godly parent – our family is blessed

I am completely whole – physically, mentally, and emotionally

I am increasing in influence and favor for the kingdom of God

I am enabled to walk in the sacrificial love of Christ

I have the wisdom of the Lord concerning every decision I make

I am protected from all harm and evil in Jesus’ name

Personal Confession from the book Prayers the Avail Much- by Germaine Copeland
Jesus is Lord over my spirit, my soul, and my body. (Phil. 2:9-11)
Jesus has been made unto me wisdom, righteousness, sanctification,
and redemption. I can do all things through Christ Who strengthens me. ( Cor. 1:30, Phil. 4:13)
The Lord is my shepherd. I do not want. My God supplies all my
need according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus. (Phil. 4-19, Ps. 23)
I do not fret or have anxiety about anything. I do not have a care.
(Phil. 4-6, I Peter 5:6-7)
I am the Body of Christ. I am redeemed from the curse because
Jesus bore my sickness and carried my diseases in His own body.
By His stripes I am Healed. I forbid any sickness or disease to
operate in my body. Every organ, every tissue of my body functions
in the perfection in which God created it to function. I honor
God and bring glory to Him in my body. (Gal. 3-13, Matt. 8:17, I Peter 2:24, I Cor. 6:20)
I have the mind of Christ and hold the thoughts, feelings and purposes of His heart.
( I Cor. 2:16)
I am a believer and not a doubter. I hold fast to my confession
of faith. I decide to walk by faith and practice faith. My faith
comes by hearing and hearing by the word of God. Jesus is the author and the developer of my faith.
(Heb. 4:14, Heb. 11:6, Heb 12:2, Rom. 10:17)
The love of God has been shed abroad in my heart by the Holy Spirit
and His love abides in me richly. I keep myself in the Kingdom
of light, in love, in the Word, and the wicked one touches me not.
(Rom. 5:, I John 4:16, I John 5:18.)
I tread upon serpents and scorpions and over all the power of the
enemy. I take my shield of faith and quench his every fiery dart.
Greater is He Who is in me than he who is in the world. (Ps. 91:13, Eph. 6:16, I John 4:4.)
I am delivered from this present evil world. I am seated with Christ
in heavenly places. I reside in the Kingdom of Gods dear Son.
The law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has made me free
from the law of sin and death. (Gal. 1:4, Eph. 2:6, Col. 1:13, Rom. 8:2.)
I fear not for God has given me a spirit of power, of love, and
of a sound mind. God is on my side. ( 2 Tim. 1:7, Rom. 8:31.)
I hear the voice of the Good Shepherd. I hear my Fathers voice,
and the voice of a stranger I will not follow. I roll my works
upon the Lord. I commit and trust them wholly to Him. He will
cause my thoughts to become agreeable to His will, and so shall
my plans be established and succeed. (John 10:27, Prov. 16:3.)
I am a world overcomer because I am born of God. I represent the
Father and Jesus well. I am a useful member in the Body of Christ.
I am His workmanship recreated in Christ Jesus. My Father God
is all the while effectually at work in me both to will and do His
good pleasure. ( I John 5:4-5, Eph. 2:10, Phil. 2:13.)

Power Thoughts- Joyce Meyer
1. I can do whatever I need to do in life through Christ.
2. God loves me unconditionally.
3. I will not live in fear.
4. I am difficult to offend and quick to forgive.
5. I love people and I enjoy helping them.
6. I trust God completely; there is no need to worry.
7. I am content and emotionally stable.
8. God meets all my needs abundantly.
9. I pursue peace with God, myself and others.
10. I live in the present and enjoy each moment.
11. I am disciplined and self-controlled.
12. I put God first in my life.

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