No! Don’t Pray For Patience!

I can remember in the 80’s being a part of an amazing small group ministry and one of the jokes was: you never pray for patience. The thought was that if you did, you were asking for trouble. I can remember times praying in a circle and someone would mention the P word and everyone would start saying, “NO! Don’t pray for patience. Anything but patience.!” We would all laugh and then go back into the seriousness of our prayer time totally avoiding that word at all costs.

Looking back on those times and the prayers of today, I think we do a disservice to those we don’t pray for patience for and ourselves. The definition of patience is the capacity to accept or tolerate delay, trouble, or suffering without getting angry or upset.

We’ve been looking at this all wrong. We aren’t exactly asking for troubles or trials to come or even for God to test us, we are preparing ourselves to be overcomers before they come. The scriptures are very clear that we are going to have trials and tribulations. We are preparing our hearts to accept the lessons we will be learning in the School of Hard Times. And we are asking God to help us accept these things without getting angry and upset. Could you imagine what being in traffic would look like if we applied this prayer to our life?

I don’t know about you but almost every time, and I am not kidding, that I go shopping, I pick the slowest line to stand in. I always tell those I am with that they might want to go stand in a different line because no matter where I go someone has a problem ahead of me. Getting angry doesn’t change things. It would just make me look like the foolish one. So I bring my phone and play a game in line lol. I have learned the art of patience at the School of Line Standing!

James 1:2-4Amplified Bible (AMP)

Consider it nothing but joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you fall into various trials. Be assured that the testing of your faith [through experience] produces endurance [leading to spiritual maturity, and inner peace]. And let endurance have its perfect result and do a thorough work, so that you may be perfect and completely developed [in your faith], lacking in nothing.

I’m reading this book called 31 Days of Healing and the author says, “You see, tests and trials don’t perfect you. It what’s you do with them that counts.”

Maybe we need to rethink this a bit. If patience is going to mature me, give me peace and completely develop my faith, shouldn’t we be saying, “And you’re doing this why Lord?” The word says in other versions to count it all joy…..did you catch the word ALL? That one kind of hurts a little bit. The Lord knows we are going to have pain and sorrow but this scripture is telling us to look ahead and not to stay stuck in the pain.

One of the meanings of the word joy is calm delight. So we don’t have to jump up and down when we are experiencing hard times. But we can calmly delight in the fact that God’s plans are not to harm us but prosper us, to give us hope and a future. (Jer 29:11)

So the next time you hear someone say, “Don’t pray for patience!” Ask them if they would like to be angry and mad or calmly delighting in their next trial.

The Dream

The very first morning of my fast, I had a dream. This dream was so intense for me that I woke up with a stiff neck and migraine. This happens quite often when I have those dreams that really stand out and I know it’s from the Lord, not the pain lol the dream.

The Dream: There was a battle going on between Christians and the world. I was looking at this mansion-like white house where people were being brought who had been injured in the world. Everything was white! The Christians were in white clothing and there was an injured person on a white stretcher in the middle of the floor and the injured person had a white sheet over them. The people in white were gathered around and helping this person. I knew that this place was set up to help the wounded.

I don’t remember going into the house but I found myself on a different level of that house. I was observing everything going on around me and all I could think of is why weren’t these people protecting themselves. It was like they were so busy taking in the wounded that they couldn’t see the open doors and windows they had left open. I was really disturbed by it. The house was completely open. As I was standing there a person in dark (I think it was brown with plaid) street clothes walked in and I knew immediately he was evil but he was just standing there and I was standing there staring at him and thinking: this is what I mean: this place is not protected and then I woke up.

I had forgotten the dream because the migraine had my full attention and like I said in the previous blog, I fell asleep and slept half my day away. It wasn’t until Greg and I were talking about life that I remembered this dream. And now it just sticks with me. Kind of like my dogs: stuck to me like glue. The only puzzling aspects of this dream was the brown and plaid. I usually see evil in my dreams as dark and wearing black.  So this was different. He reminded me of a mafia man.

I have no idea why the man was there but he had no weapon that I could see. The house I’m not sure of where this house is located but I think the dream speaks for itself. And that is where I have focused the praying part of this fasting and praying!!

Anyway that was my dream.

Day two of my fast. It seems that the Lord is inputting things into me in the wee hours of the morning. I read and pray all day but it’s not til like 1am that He gives me these amazing nuggets to think about. I’m reading a book called Adamant and it’s been hard to get into and several times I have just wanted to put it down and forget it but God kept prompting me to finish what I started. That’s a whole other story. I finally got to chapter five and the nuggets have been very thought-provoking. Let me leave you with one from the book:

Discernment begins with first tending the soil of our hearts. When we speak, we need to ask ourselves some hard questions, “Am I speaking out of a place of love, or do I want to be seen and heard?” Lisa Bevere

21 Day Fast: Day 11

Sometimes when I read scripture, I’m always looking for the deeper meaning or something I missed the first 100 times I read it. There is absolutely nothing wrong with that unless you miss what’s right in front of your face.

I’ve done this with John 4:21 Jesus said to her, “Woman, believe me, the hour is coming when neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem will you worship the Father. 22 You worship what you do not know; we worship what we know, for salvation is from the Jews. 23 But the hour is coming, and is now here, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for the Father is seeking such people to worship him. 24 God is spirit, and those who worship him must worship in spirit and truth.”

As I was reading it yesterday I realized I never truly read this in the context that it was written. I just focused on …” true worshippers will worship the Father in spirit and truth.” Yesterday I saw the whole context. the woman at the well was talking about a place to worship but Jesus was talking about who and how we worship.

How did I miss something so simple and right in front of my face? When we totally understand the truth of why we worship which is our salvation and the author of it, there is absolutely no place that can’t become sacred.

When we understand what the Father did for us through Jesus, how can we not become passionate people loving a passionate God? How can we not fully engage our hearts in that worship of Him? He is the truth and the purpose of our worship.

If we worship without truth and pour our emotions into it then it’s almost like a drug high lasting but for a moment. What happens when we come down off of that high? I think there are times that I have got caught up in the emotions and not the man. Does that make sense?

But there are other times when I am totally engrossed in what was done on the cross and that’s is when I find my worship real and spiritual. Am I the only person that has got caught up in the hype? This is really making me think about my worship. There’s no doubt I put my whole heart into it. I love to worship. I love music. Combine those two and it’s like a food frenzy. I think too easy though we forget to invite Jesus to that frenzy even though we sing about HIm. Just being real here.

The more we know about God, the more we enjoy Him. The more we enjoy Him, the more profound our worship becomes. The more profound our worship, the more God is glorified. It should be the “truth” that guides our emotions in our worship. We need to be careful not to always be chasing the high.

Really if you think about it, if we are worshiping in spirit and truth, that high can be in your car on the way to work. it can be in that special place on the floor in your living room, in the kitchen while you’re doing dishes, in the bathroom while you’re scrubbing the toilet, and in your workplace at your computer.

I wonder what would happen to our corporate worship and our prayer meetings if we stopped looking at the “mountain” or “Jerusalem” as the place to worship.

About 20 some years ago I started leading worship. We were combining a traditional church with a contemporary church. I can remember really trying hard to get our congregation to focus on the person we were worshipping not the style of music. I would talk about it all the time. It’s not an easy transition when you are new to leading and combining two different styles of worship.

So an opportunity arose for me to take a couple of people with me to a Worship Together conference in southern California. It was an amazing conference. Matt Redman, Tim Hughes was there and few other newcomers to the scene and this really odd looking weirdly dressed worship leader was there. Haha, I’ll get to him later.

So I am loving Matt Redman and Tim Hughes and we go on break. when we come back this weird looking guy with dark-rimmed glasses steps up to lead worship. His music was a bit different. Not what I was used to and I can remember having a hard time getting into it. (You see where I am going with this?). So I’m telling the Lord. “Lord I really don’t like this guy’s style of music and bam! Everything I had been preaching just slapped me hard and I mean hard in the face. The Lord began speaking to my heart and said, “Diane, you need to read the words.” (The same thing I was trying to convey to our congregation).

I began to read the words and I died inside that day. I was so humbled, broken and drowning in my tears. I was so sorry. I was recognizing the hypocrite that was living inside of me. I wanted to just fall to the floor and die. I remember the Lord telling me to stretch out my hands and I could feel His love all over me. As I stretched out my hands I had a vision of Christ and me on the cross and I was in Him and He was in me. It was the first time I understood that concept. I mean I really got it that day.

After worship was over we broke into classes and wouldn’t you know the class I went to broke down the Jesus in me: me in Jesus concept, God was reinforcing what had happened in worship. My worship and my life were changed that day.

Oh, the weird guy with the dark-rimmed glasses and weird hair…………no other than David Crowder who I have loved from that day forward.

So yesterday was my fruits, veggies and nuts day. I think I like those days the best. I woke up with a stiff neck and back, think I pulled something and put some essential oils on it and this morning I felt great! My stomach is still a bit whacked but nothing debilitating. I love the things God is showing me. He’s really provoking my thought life. I’m looking forward to more as I continue to dive into the book of John.

21 Day Fast: Day 10

Sunday in our new Knowing God class the question was asked, ” What does being an heir of Christ mean to you.?” I listened as we went around the room to the different thoughts and all I could matter of factly say when it got to me was, “Everything Jesus has is mine.

And then I thought of the scripture that says 12 “Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever believes in me will also do the works that I do; and greater works than these will he do, because I am going to the Father.13 Whatever you ask in my name, this I will do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. 14 If you ask me anything in my name, I will do it. ( John 14)

I don’t feel like I have done greater works. Three amazing people that I know in the last couple of months have gone on to be with the Lord. I look at their lives and think: when I die what legacy will I have left behind?

I’m not out taking care of the homeless although I have helped when we were pastoring another church. I haven’t been out in the world protecting people from harm and although I pastored with my husband for 17 years, I was pretty much in the background. Not sitting on my butt and doing nothing, as I am always doing something but most of what I do is behind the scenes making everyone else look great.

I love that part of my life because I love helping people become who they were meant to be. I’m not a person that needs to be famous although I do love a praise or two for the work I do sometimes. I mean I am human after all.

I love standing in front of a group of people and sharing my experiences with them for the sole purpose of encouraging (my #1 spiritual gift) them in their relationships with the Lord but if I walk in a room full of strangers and I’m not the speaker or in charge, I’m your typical wallflower. Well…….unless you talk to me. Then I will talk your head off.

I did write a book but it’s about fasting but (really?) who reads a lot of books about fasting by an unknown author? I have given out more books then I sold. Of course, we didn’t do much to publish it cause we were saving that work for my next book. And at the rate I am going, I may die before I publish that one.

But what about the “greater things”? I can’t pinpoint any of those things in my life. I don’t think I lack the faith to accomplish them. One of my top spiritual gifts is faith. I have a very introvert but wanna be extrovert type of personality so I’m not much of an initiator UNLESS I’m put in charge of something. Then I initiate like crazy.

I have a lot of faith. I believe when everyone else wants to give up. Often I can see the end result but then again often I’m way ahead in my dreams and visions and they get put on the shelf until someone else comes along and puts them in place or makes it happen hahahahha. You know what? It really doesn’t matter who makes it happen just as long as it happens.

So during this fast, I’m asking God to show me if I am supposed to be doing “greater works” then what I am doing. I just don’t want to miss out or not help someone with something when I should. Jesus was all about changing people’s lives. When I attended the “Celebration of Life” services for these people, I’m amazed at how many people these people have been touched or had their lives changed because those who passed on were doing the “Greater Works”.

Don’t get me wrong, I don’t have guilt feelings because everything I do do I put 100% effort into it. But am I doing enough? Am I loving enough? Am I encouraging enough?

The scripture says to love our neighbors as we love ourself. Heck, I don’t even know my neighbors. Ok, I know the word neighbors is a broad territory. It’s not that I don’t want to know them but it’s sure not the world I grew up in anymore. People are so busy that they don’t even have time to do things together anymore or perhaps it’s just because they don’t make the time. And I certainly don’t try to ignore my neighbors. I try to catch their eye just to smile or say, “Hi”. I even tried to help one of my neighbors find their missing dog. And I entertained three of my other neighbor’s dogs when they came through a hole under the fence until she got back. Ok so I am a dog lover: guilty!

Jesus said whatever we ask in His name He would do so that the Father would be glorified. That’s my prayer: what “greater works” can I do so that my Father will be glorified. Those are the things I truly want to ask Jesus for. Now if I could just get these thoughts to quit spinning in my brain………………Maybe they will now since I’ve just written them out.

So the last couple days of the fast have been a bit rough for me physically. My stomach is not happy and yesterday as I was writing this blog I fell asleep for two hours. Not sure if the fast is messing with my stomach or some kind of virus keeps trying to attach itself to me. I’ve been battling it for months. Could be allergies. I just don’t know. But in the midst of it all, I press onward looking forward to what the Lord has to say to me today!

21 Day Fast: Day Six

After many months in Luke, I  am finally saying hello to John. Reading Luke very slow was very enlightening this time. Saw some things I never saw before. Nothing highly profound just some little nuggets: nuggets piled upon nuggets. I might have to go back and read it as a whole now. We’ll see.

So my last day in Luke I was touched by the stories of the two men on the Emmaus Road after Jesus’ resurrection. After talking for a while and with their hearts burning inside, Jesus breaks bread with them, their eyes were opened and they see Him.

Have you ever had those feelings deep inside that something was about to happen? We say things like …”I just have this gut feeling” or “somethings telling me….” And then all of a sudden your eyes are open and you “see” Jesus in the situation. He was there the whole time having a conversation with you, whispering…guiding…loving.

Interesting how long He let them go on before He opened their eyes. But even so, they had this sense that there was something about Him and the way He opened up the scriptures to Him.

When they first encountered Him, all they talked about was what had happened totally missing what was happening now. I think sometimes that’s us: we live in the past missing what is happening in the present, missing opportunities that Jesus wants to show us now.

Later Jesus shows up to the disciples and  He opened their minds to understand the scriptures. He was getting ready to do something really big and He told them to stay in the city until they were clothed with power from on high.

They had to first understand the Word so that they would do what was to come next. My prayer is that God would open our eyes to see Him and open our mind to understand Him and then we will do what He says so He can get us to where we need to be to be clothed with the power of God to accomplish the work of God.

Day five was one meal for the day. Still enjoying the hunger pangs as they remind me why I am doing this fast. Had a great time in my extended time of worship, even tho my dogs were distracting the heck out of me. And of course, loving the things the Lord is showing me in His word. Blessings!

 

 

 

 

 

 

21 Day Fast: Day Five

Isn’t it kind of funny that when the Lord gives us a glimpse and sometimes a warning of what’s going to be taking place on the road ahead,  all we remember is the part about the trial but not the outcome He promises?

20 years or so ago, I was in a situation where I was overseeing and putting together a women’s retreat. I was so excited about it but hit a lot of obstacles two weeks before the event. The 2nd day into the retreat, I was attacked by one of my best friends for not doing what she wanted me to do.

We had all agreed to allow the Holy Spirit to work and not to be so scheduled that we would miss opportunities. The first night and second morning we didn’t do what she wanted to do because women were up at the altar and there were a lot of them and she was angry with me.

The first night I had gathered in a room with my former pastor’s wife, speaker, and prayer intercessor that she had brought with her to pray. As they were praying for me, my former Pastor’s wife said, “Diane, an ancient nation is going to rise up against you. You need to stay strong.” They prayed for me and I can’t for the life of me tell you what they prayed. I just heard trouble was coming and it was going to be rough.

The very next day my former best friend, another friend and a group of 12 ladies literally rose up against me. When the retreat was over, I was dealing with so much stress and so much pain from the betrayal that I just told the Lord I was done with the women, the women’s ministry, church and finally Him.

All I was paying attention to was the forwarning and the trial coming, forgetting that the Lord was going to bring me through it. Honestly telling Him I was done with Him only lasted 3 seconds because He ever so gently and lovingly said, “Where will you go?” I realized my stupidity and said, ‘Nowhere Lord. There is nowhere else for me to go except to you.”

I put on my big girl panties and decided to stay strong and God began showing me more outcome. He was asking me to love Him and trust him and I told Him whatever I needed to learn from this, I would be His willing student. And I have had to tell Him that many times since.  It’s a pretty amazing story and long so maybe I’ll share it again another time. It was one of those places in my life that I built an altar of remembrance to and have never forgotten.

We read in Luke 22: 31-34 about Peter being warned he was going to be sifted and would deny Jesus three times and that a rooster would crow after the third time. But Jesus was praying for him and that he would return and he was to strengthen his brothers. So when it actually happens how does Peter respond?

Luke 22: 61 And the Lord turned and looked at Peter. And Peter remembered the saying of the Lord, how he had said to him, “Before the rooster crows today, you will deny me three times.”

Peter was heartbroken and all he could see is what he had done wrong. Peter ran away and wept bitterly after that. He was only seeing the trial and not remembering that the Lord said, “When you return…” and that He had prayed for him and that He was going to use him to strengthen his brothers. He showed him what was to come and then what would happen afterward.

Ok, I’m not hardhearted at all but I actually kind of chuckled at that and said. “Yup, we all have a little Peter in us.”

Peter did recover and went on to do great things for God and so many people were saved through his ministry. I was listening to Graham Cooke talking about how we need to listen to the whole message when we have an encounter with the Lord, not just the beginning. There is a beginning and there is an end and we need to remember to not get stuck in the middle.

Day four of fasting was a bit rough physically. My stomach was not happy. But our prayer service was amazing!  I made it through and am ready to see what day five has for me. Blessings!

21 Day Fast: Day Four

I spent probably 30 plus years dealing with depression. I studied it, I took classes, and I sought to counsel but I could never seem to get free of it. 20 years ago my teacher/ counselor told me that the expectation I had for what a person was supposed to be in my life was never going to happen and could I just forgive and love him/her for the person they were? He told me it was ok to grieve my loss of my expectation but then I needed to move on. Best advise I ever got and it became the beginning of a process of healing in my life.

I chose to forgive and love the person for who they were and accept the role they played in my life and I’m able to do that now more with others who have hurt me and to love and accept the person they are: not what I wanted them to be

Then I had a major crisis in my life that tested my faith in ways I had never been tested before but I chose not to let the enemy destroy me or the plans that God had for me in the future. As I moved through the healing process and with many prayers………….one day I woke up and I just felt this heavy burden lifted off of me, I felt light and pure joy. I was supernaturally healed and I knew it.

I have hard days but I never fall backward anymore. It may take a couple of days to recover but I just keep pressing onward. I’ve learned to just let things roll off my back now and just stay tight with the Lord and let Him deal with the circumstances.

Luke 22:32 says but I have prayed for you that your faith may not fail. And when you have turned again strengthen your brothers.”

Jesus was letting Peter know that Satan was going to sift him like wheat but that he was going to recover and to use what he had been through to help others.

Jesus is always interceding for us.

Roman’s 8:34 Who is to condemn? Christ Jesus is the one who died—more than that, who was raised—who is at the right hand of God, who indeed is interceding for us.

In John 17 We can read Jesus’ prayer for us….that His joy in us would be fulfilled, God would keep us from evil, and  He would sanctify us in His truth. He knew we would go through trials but He also knows we are going to come out of them. We just need to believe it.

When my marriage was about to end, I heard the Lord tell me to stay and to trust Him and that I would rise up. He even had a woman sing a song in the darkest hour of my life about rising up. And when she sang it, I felt like I was the only person in the room and God himself was singing that over me. God knew I was going to rise up and He also knew that my experience would strengthen others.

He has used my husband and myself to be a testimony and to come alongside others and support them in their pain because we know how it feels but we also know how to defeat what the enemy designed to destroy us and let what God use it to perfect us.

When Jesus went to the Mount of Olives he took the disciples with him and told them to pray that they would not enter into temptation. While He moved away to pray the disciples fell asleep in their sorrow. They were depressed and didn’t want to deal with it. Then Jesus comes to them and says, “Why are you sleeping? Rise and pray that you may not enter into temptation.”

The temptations I faced were quitting, wanting to die, wanting to hurt someone, and wanting to run away and hide. But hearing God tell me to rise up, I knew I had to do the opposite and let Him work in me and through me. And He was and is always faithful!

My third day of fasting was bread and water only. I couldn’t wait to put that bread in my mouth and I was highly disappointed hahahaha. It was like no big deal. My thoughts were highly overrated.

Making my way through day four..Blessings!

Day Three: 21 Day Fast

I love fasting. It’s hard though because everything I fast, I find myself wanting really bad those first three or four days. This year I prayed and asked God what HE wanted me to fast this time. I embarrassed to say, I should have always asked that but if I’m honest, I chose what wanted. And every fast has been amazing even though I chose but this time I just wanted Him to direct me. So for every day I just prayed and believed He directed and put together a fasting Calendar. And on the second day, I could feel it! And it’s a good feeling.

I found the worst fast in the world for me to do is the Daniel Fast because sure I’m sacrificing certain foods and trust me: it’s a sacrifice cause I love meat and sugar, but I was still eating all day. And most of my time was spent in the kitchen cooking approved Daniel Fast Meals which took me away from my time in the word and just sitting and listening. Not that I won’t ever do that one again, it’s a great fast, but next time I will be wiser. Another thing is I don’t feel the Daniel Fast.

This time I truly wanted to feel this fast. I wanted to feel the hunger pangs and the headaches to remind me why I am doing this and Who’s connection and revelation I am seeking.

Now don’t get me wrong cause I am always in extended times in the Word when I fast, but there’s just something about that hunger pang that keeps me there and thinking about Him all day. It reminds me constantly why I am doing this and that I am expecting to have things downloaded into my spirit and words and promises for the future. He has never let me down. It reminds me that He talks to me in my pain and He will be for me “the bread of life”.

Yesterday He spoke to me about two things…(it always takes me a whole day to write it out haha)

1. Not to run tapes through my head about what I’m going to say but to trust Him to give me a  mouth and wisdom. ‘

And

2. To stay awake, praying.

Luke 21:14-15 13 This will be your opportunity to bear witness. 14 Settle it therefore in your minds not to meditate beforehand how to answer, 15 for I will give you a mouth and wisdom, which none of your adversaries will be able to withstand or contradict.

Jesus is foretelling about the wars and persecution to come and how to handle it and it just hit me that this is great advice for living. How many times do we go through the tapes in our mind, rehearsing what we’re going to say, mostly in our anger, hurt or pain? What if through the trials, we just prayed and asked God what to say and waited for His wisdom to speak through our mouths.

I recently went through this and had to stop myself several times from rehearsing what I was going to say to a person who hurt me. I never realized just how hard that is to do. Every time a thought (or a few ) came to mind I would stop and pray and ask God for a mouth and wisdom. One thing I discovered is that if we quit rehearsing and running tapes, the problem isn’t as big as we thought it was and our words cause less damage if no damage at all because we are speaking with His wisdom, not our anger. That’s why we’re told to be slow to anger.

Proverbs 14:29 Whoever is slow to anger has great understanding, but he who has a hasty temper exalts folly.

The Lord promises that our adversaries (or those who hurt or come against us) won’t be able to withstand or contradict us. and this will be an opportunity to bear witness to the truth, love, and good news of our Lord. This is huge!

The second little nugget He gave me is found

Luke 21:36  (ESV) 36 But stay awake at all times, praying that you may have strength to escape all these things that are going to take place, and to stand before the Son of Man.”

Prayer isn’t’ just for when we go through hard times. We are told to stay awake. To me, this means: look for opportunities to pray. Be aware of what’s going on around you. We need to walk in His strength, not our fear. We need to “see it coming’ and not be caught off guard.

In this chapter, Jesus is telling them to see that they are not lead astray…He’s telling them to look for the signs. and not to be afraid. I think this is true of everyday life. He’s constantly showing us things, or speaking through other people, or whispering in our ear, “This is the way, walk in it,” when you turn to the right or when you turn to the left.

The scripture tells us the devil wants to kill and destroy us. His greatest weapon is deception and if he can catch us napping, he gains a foothold. We don’t have to see him around every corner but if we stay alert and pray we will have the strength to get through every trial and temptation and have the abundant life God has promised us!

John 10: 10 The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.
Ephesians 3: 20 Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us, 21 to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever. Amen.

Onward to day three………….Many Blessings!!