Around Christmastime last year, I received a phone call from the daughter of a lady I met while volunteering at a local nursing home. She had a multitude of health issues and as she recounted them, my heart went out to her. She was particularly upset that her medical problems and upcoming treatments would inhibit her ability to travel to Florida to see her Mom for the holidays. As she spoke, God whispered in my ear “Can you pray on demand?” I thought to myself what is praying on demand? How do I process this? This woman felt her prayers to God were unheard and that she was alone in this process she was experiencing. After pondering this thought for a bit, Continue reading “Pray On Demand”
It’s that time of year again. The spring season will be kicked off by Easter or Resurrection Day as some refer to it and I went to see a new movie about the life of Christ. There is nothing new there; millions of us seem to become more spiritual at this time of year as it is hailed the MOST HOLY season. It’s considered a holier time of year than Christmas for many. What was most poignant for me during this film was that my heart focused on something new. Like most people, I usually focus on Christs’ death and resurrection, but not this time. Continue reading “The Blessing of a Judas”
What happens when we pray for something and God doesn’t seem to respond? It’s an interesting question. Should we say that God is punishing us or He’s not listening to our heart’s desire? In reading Mark 11:24 (KJV), it says “What things so ever ye desire, when ye pray, believe that ye receive them and ye shall have them”. No convoluted message there. All we have to do is believe it and we’ll have it. If this is true, why are so many of us seemly in a blessing drought? Continue reading “No Blessing for YOU!”
Last night, my husband and I enjoyed the symphony with friends. As we watched, I was mesmerized by the melodious sounds resonating from the stage. Each musician was precise, accurate and totally engaged in their work. Every ounce of their discipline was evident as their offering of harmony delivered to our audience one perfected piece after another. In our lives we can see a mirrored scenario. We each harbor the potential to offer beauty in any endeavor we pursue. God offers us success, but after our journey in Christ commences we have to grow spiritually in order to wisely manage it. Without maturation we become a stagnant, useless carcass unable to fully manifest His glory among men in the earth. There are many zealous believers that desire to be used mightily of the Lord but in order for this to occur, there is a process of preparedness that has to be completed. In Genesis 22, Abraham was in the process of being re-constructed. He was on the cusp of being spiritually challenged in a way he never expected. In this look at Abraham, most believe God only wanted him to offer his son Isaac as a test of loyalty. The passage illustrates obedience to God in the midst of what human discerning may deem illogical direction. While this is definitely one perspective, God revealed something deeper concerning this conundrum to me.
In order to remain in a place of spiritual flexibility, we need to regularly be made uncomfortable! The reality that God places us in such situations may not be popular but is indeed a fact. Abraham fell into a place many of us find ourselves amidst. He was complacent. He served God, observed the holy days and offered the appropriate sacrifices when he was required to do so. He trusted his “safe” spiritual place yet his routine actually worked against him. Oh how we are more like him than we realize! We attend the worship service, pay the tithe, hear the sermon, wonder what restaurant has a dinner special and repeat the process the following week. Our God is a God of progressive change yet believers desire an ordinary seasonal predictability that offers false security. When God directed Abraham to offer his son Isaac for the sacrifice, he was shaken from his place of comfort and catapulted to an area he’d never known. Extreme faith! Abraham knew that the law of Moses offered him only judgment if he didn’t obey. However his blind obedience didn’t challenge his faith. Committing scripture to memory didn’t’ do it either. He needed something more. More than ritual, he needed a relationship with the Lamb.
Genesis 22 presents us with the ideal that the body of Christ has to endure a periodic agitation. If we are looking for the miraculous in our daily lives, we have to submit to an abrupt, sudden and permanent change in our spiritual thinking which is orchestrated by the Father. Our “Unknowing” will lead us as it did Abraham to a place of abundant faith. Abraham moved in his extreme faith when he said in verse five that he and the lad will go worship then return. He didn’t know if God would resurrect Isaac or continue to require his son to remain the sacrifice. All he could comprehend was that his humanity which is representative of wood is fallible. He knew somehow, someway that God would not let him down in relation to his son which he now perceived as the sacrifice. His child was the perfect offering before the Lord at that moment. This type represented Jesus’ death for all of humanities sins. Even more perfect than Isaac’s child. Isaac, in his quest to find the spiritual perfecting he needed, he had to give God his Isaac so he could discover the Lamb.
In verse six the question arose, “Where is the Lamb?” If we desire God’s perfect will we have to surrender our Isaac and find the Lamb. Just as the musicians who performed for me sought perfection through repetition, we too must repeatedly seek God in the realm of massive, unwavering faith. This will only come through allowing Him to place us in uncomfortable situations so that we can believe for more than we ever dreamed possible. This can only occur for us once we’ve attained grace from God through His Lamb.
If the church is to make a broader impact in the world and persuade the lost, we need to be ready to give up our safe places that offer us monotony. These are our Isaac’s. It encompasses those spiritual hiding places of hindrances or feat that challenge our growth. We can not continue to forsake the initiation of intimacy if we desire mammoth faith in Jesus. Any other misplaced confidence in our ability only encourages us to depend on ourselves instead of God.
As the symphony drew to a close the question again resonated within me. What is your Isaac? What is that sure thing, that carnal connection which I always know will come through for me? What do I always depend on that is not Christ? The body of Christ needs to realize a new dispensation is here just as Abraham had. The miraculous will not happen with believers hiding in the shadows with the fear they will offend someone with their salvation. It will not happen if we keep pacifying ourselves with church work nor will it happen through pretending to be full of wisdom. Our goal as believers is to show the world a more radical place of belief; not hide in the pews. We should be able to illustrate to the unbeliever that we have all power on earth to fulfill our prophetic assignment. Just as the musicians, we must be precise, strategic and totally engaged in the work of the Lord for the perfecting of the saints. Every ounce of our disciplined living should be evident in all the areas of our lives offering harmony to those around us.
What is your Isaac? If you yearn for more out of your relationship with God, let Him exacerbate your circumstances to propel you to a broader place of faith. Give Him your Isaac and watch God use you in a mighty way in the body of Christ.
Be encouraged child of the most high God~!
Dr. Denise Joyce Williams lives in Florida with her husband who is a career soldier. Her articles have been featured in CALLED and WOW magazine. Her book entitled, “The Healing Of A Broken Vessel” was released by Publish America in March 2009. The book can be found: http://www.publishamerica.com. She can be reached via her ministry website http://www.thebrokenvessel.com. She’s currently penning her next book entitled “The Chambers Of The Heart”.
- Devotions for Lent – The Names of Christ (teresasthoughtsfortoday.wordpress.com)