Does He Hear?
Recently I read that when author and theologian Russell Moore visited the Russian orphanage where he adopted his boys, he noticed an eerie silence. He learned the babies had stopped crying because no one responded to their needs. Doesn’t that break your heart?
But I wonder, do you sometimes feel like those infants – that God doesn’t hear or respond to your cries, that He doesn’t care? Satan will try to tell you that’s the case. But it couldn’t be further from the truth. Here are some Scriptures which tell us God does hear and answer prayer.
When we pray in the Name of Jesus and for the Father’s glory, He will hear and answer.
To pray in the Name of Jesus is to pray in accordance with the will of God. 1 John 5:14 NIV says, “This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us. And if we know that he hears us - whatever we ask - we know that we have what we asked of him."
2. “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened” (Matthew 7:7-8 NIV).
Ask… seek… knock. In these verses, the intensity is increasing, going from asking to seeking to knocking. Jesus wants us to have passion, intensity, and persistence in prayer.
3. “Whenever you cry out to me, I’ll answer. I’ll be with you in troubling times. I’ll save you and glorify you” (Psalm 91:15 CEB).
We are to cry out to God in sincerity. He bears us up when we are in trouble and works things for our good.
To receive powerful things from God, we must believe He is able to perform them, and
know His response will be capable as well as loving. His answer might not be what we were expecting, but we can know it is good, because God is good.
Just one more verse before I close.
4. “Those who look to him for help will be radiant with joy; no shadow of shame will darken their faces” (Psalm 34:5 NLT).
When we look to the Lord, our faces will be covered with joy, not blushes.
So dear friend, as Winston Churchill once said, “Never give up, never give up, never give
up…” Don’t stop praying. God does hear and answer our prayers. He is faithful to His promises. He keeps His Word.
March is fast approaching, and the days are getting longer. There are more hours of daylight and I feel better. This made me think about light and its application to our lives, both physically and spiritually.
Scientists define light as a form of energy made of photons. It behaves as both a particle and a wave. Light moves at the fastest speed of the universe. In a vacuum, it travels at 186, 282 miles per second. It regulates the cycles of the oceans, the magnetic fields around the planet, warmth, and the weather. The sun’s light initiates the life-sustaining process of photosynthesis.
Light regulates our sleep/wake cycles, and it boosts Vitamin D in humans, which is important in the development of bones and teeth and can improve our resistance to certain diseases. Light fights off seasonal depression and helps us to focus.
Light was the initial step in the creation of the world. “…and God saith, 'Let light be;' and light is” (YLT). God IS light. “And this is the message which we have heard from him and proclaim to you: God is light, and there is no darkness in him — none!” (1 John 1:5 CJB).
God dwells in unapproachable light. “He alone has immortality, living in unapproachable light, whom no one has seen, nor can see. To Him be honor and everlasting power. Amen” (1 Timothy 6:16 MEV).
God is marvelous light. “However, you are chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, people who belong to God. You were chosen to tell about the excellent qualities of God, who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light” (1 Peter 2:9 NOG).
Jesus is the light that gives light to every person. “The true light, coming into the world, gives light to every man” (John 1:9 TLV). Jesus called Himself the light of the world. “Then Jesus spoke again unto them, saying, I AM the light of the world; he that follows me shall not walk in darkness but shall have the light of life” (John 8:12 JUB). “…I have come into the world as a light, so that no one who believes in me should stay in darkness” (John 12:46).
As the Messiah, Jesus is a light for the Gentiles. “He says…I will make you a light to the Gentiles, and you will bring my salvation to the ends of the earth” (Isaiah 49:6 NLT).
Light and life go together. “The Lord is my lightening, and mine health; whom shall I dread? The Lord is defender of my life; for whom shall I tremble [for whom shall I quake]? (Psalm 27:1 WYC). “His breath filled all things with a living, breathing light—” (John 1:4 VOICE). See also John 8:12 above.
How does God’s marvelous light apply to us today? Whatever we’re facing, we need to let the light of His word, His presence, and His love shine into our situation. If we walk in God’s light, we won’t stumble and fall. Jesus said, “Anyone who walks in the daytime will not stumble, for they see by this world’s light. It is when a person walks at night that they stumble, for they have no light” (John 11:9-10 NIV).
“For God, who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,” has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ” 2 Corinthians 4:6 ESV).
Dear Lord Jesus, today, help me to look into the light of Your beautiful face. You are the answer for my every need.
I recently read there are two times when the devil attacks us – when we’re doing everything wrong and when we’re doing everything right.
Take the apostle Paul for instance. In Acts 27, as a prisoner, he was getting a free boat ride to Rome to stand before the emperor, courtesy of the Roman government. At a place called Fair Havens, he told the Roman officer over him it wasn’t a good idea to leave port at that time because it wasn’t safe. The captain of the ship didn’t care what Paul thought and sailed for open water.
You know the story. They ran into a hurricane force storm, were shipwrecked, and landed on the island of Malta. All 276 on the ship made it safely to shore. Just when it seemed everything was going well, while helping to build a fire, a snake bit Paul. Talk about having a bad day.
What did Paul do? He shook the viper off. Everyone watched to see what would happen to him. They thought he was a criminal who had escaped the sea, only to be punished by God through a snake bite. They were amazed when he didn’t swell up and die. They quickly changed their tune and said that rather than being a criminal, he must be a god (verse 6).
Be assured, dear friend, that when Satan bites you, people are watching. Will you swell up and die, or will you shake it off? Thoughts will swirl through your head. What am I going to do now? How will I survive? It’s what you do with those thoughts that’s important. Will you listen to the lies of Satan or stand on the Word of God?
Paul knew he served a God Who raises the dead. In 2 Corinthians he wrote, “In fact, we expected to die. But as a result, we stopped relying on ourselves and learned to rely only on God, who raises the dead” (2 Corinthians 1:9 NLT).
Don’t forget, the battle with Satan is fought in our minds. His goal is to silence us, wear us out, render us useless. BUT, “we are like common clay jars that carry this glorious treasure within, so that the extraordinary overflow of power will be seen as God’s, not ours” (2 Corinthians 4:7 TPT).
Did you catch that? As born-again believers, God has deposited in us an “overflow of power” to be seen in our marriages, finances, homes, and relationships. Jesus has put His resources inside of us.
Don’t let Satan have his way in your life. When under attack, double up on the Word of God. Scuba divers have to equalize the pressure in their heads to counteract the pressure of the water when they go to different depths. We have to counteract the pressure of the devil by increasing the Word of God that’s inside us.
Paul wrote, “We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed” (2 Corinthians 4:8-9 NIV).
So, when Satan sends a snake to bite you, stand on the Word of God. Continue to believe its truth when everything and everyone tells you you’re finished. Rise up in faith. Let God’s Word ascend within you to overcome Satan’s pressure. Don’t quit.
(Thank you to Dennis Burke of Dennis Burke Ministries in Arlington, Texas for ideas regarding this blog in his article, “Shake It Off!” in The Believer’s Voice of Victory, February, 2023 magazine, pages 22-24.)
Recently, while listening to a church worship team sing one of my favourite praise songs, they stopped after a segment, and the leader started praising the Lord. As I listened, my spirit soared as the man declared Jesus is:
What is praise? Simply put, praise is giving God the recognition He deserves. It is exalting Him and His Name. Why is praise important in the life of a believer? The following are some of the benefits of praise.
Praise gives us access to God.
“Go into His gates giving thanks and into His holy place with praise. Give thanks to Him. Honor His name” (Psalm 100:4 NLV). The Message translation puts it this way: “Enter with the password: “Thank you!” Make yourselves at home, talking praise. Thank him. Worship him” (Psalm 100:4 MSG).
Praise brings the presence of God.
"…for you are holy. The praises of our fathers surrounded your throne; they trusted you and you delivered them” (Psalm 22:3).
Praise chases away despair.
“He has sent me to provide for all those who grieve in Zion, to give them crowns instead of ashes, the oil of joy instead of tears of grief, and clothes of praise instead of a spirit of weakness” (Isaiah 61:3, NOG).
Praise gives God a gift and an offering.
"So we no longer offer up a steady stream of blood sacrifices, but through Jesus, we will offer up to God a steady stream of praise sacrifices—these are “the lambs” we offer from our lips that celebrate his name!” (Hebrews 13:15 TPT).
Praise provides protection.“
"But let all who take refuge in you rejoice; let them sing joyful praises forever. Spread your protection over them, that all who love your name may be filled with joy" (Psalm 5:11, NLT).
Praise is a weapon against Satan.
Satan hates praise. As Lucifer, before sin was found in him and he became Satan, He was God’s praise leader (see Isaiah 14). Praise reminds him of what he gave up because of his rebellion and can never regain.
Praise brings deliverance and victory.
“After consulting the people, Jehoshaphat appointed men to sing to the Lord and to praise him for the splendor of his holiness as they went out at the head of the army, saying: “Give thanks to the Lord, for his love endures forever.” As they began to sing and praise, the Lord set ambushes against the men of Ammon and Moab and Mount Seir who were invading Judah, and they were defeated” (2 Chronicles 20:21-22 NIV).
Surrounded by a vast enemy army, King Jehoshaphat did not send out warriors first, but men to praise, and God gave them a mighty victory.
“About midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the other prisoners were listening to them. Suddenly there was such a violent earthquake that the foundations of the prison were shaken. At once all the prison doors flew open, and everyone’s chains came loose” (Acts 16:25-26 NIV).
The praise of Paul and Silas, chained in that prison brought on the “suddenly” of God’s deliverance.
In closing, my prayer is this: “Lord, when Satan has us between a rock and a hard place, help us to remember to praise You, because You are worthy. Praise Your Name forever!”
Approximately thirty-five hundred years ago, God was arranging to rescue His people from Egyptian slavery. Exodus chapter 12 gives the account of the last plague inflicted on the Egyptians - the death of the firstborn son of every Egyptian family, including Pharaoh, as well as of the animals. “On that same night I will pass through Egypt and strike down every firstborn of both people and animals, and I will bring judgment on all the gods of Egypt. I am the Lord” (Exodus 12:12 NIV). After this occurred, Pharaoh told the Israelites to leave the country.
Afraid they would all die, the Egyptians urged the children of Israel to leave quickly. Moses instructed the people to ask them for articles of silver, gold, and clothing. “The Lord had made the Egyptians favorably disposed toward the people, and they gave them what they asked for; so they plundered the Egyptians” (Exodus 12:36 NIV).
In the above narrative, a divine transfer took place. Proverbs 13:22 CJB says, "A good man leaves an inheritance to his grandchildren, but the wealth of a sinner is stored up for the righteous." The wealth of the Egyptians was transferred to the Israelites. It was wealth earned on the backs of Israelite slaves and God was giving it back to His people. The wealth provided provision for their journey, as well as the materials to build the Tabernacle in the wilderness.
There are other examples in the Bible of divine transfer. In the book of Nehemiah, we learn Nehemiah was cupbearer to the king (Artaxerxes 1 of Persia), living in exile. People arrived from Judah and told him the wall of Jerusalem, Nehemiah’s home city, was broken down and its gates burned.
Nehemiah mourned over what he heard and wanted to go back and rebuild the walls. But it seemed impossible. He didn’t have the funds, materials, or expertise. However, nothing is impossible with God (Luke 1:37). God used a pagan king to provide Nehemiah with what he needed. The king allowed him to return home and wrote letters guaranteeing him safe passage and requesting the people of the land to provide the required materials. It should have taken Nehemiah years to rebuild the walls, but he did it in fifty-two days! I call that divine transfer – transfer of funds, favour, materials, and influence.
Then there’s the example of Ruth. In the book of her name, we read how she and her mother-in-law, Naomi, returned from Moab to Bethlehem in the land of Judah, widowed and poverty-stricken. Things looked pretty dismal. Naomi even told everyone not to call her by her given name, which means pleasantness, but by Mara, which means bitter.
But our God is the God of the impossible (Matthew 19:26). God provided a kinsman-redeemer in the person of Boaz, who not only provided for Ruth and Naomi, but married Ruth, and put her in the genealogy of Jesus, the Messiah.
And when the children of Israel went into the Promised Land, God gave them “…cities you did not build, houses filled with all kinds of good things you did not provide, wells you did not dig, and vineyards and olive groves you did not plant…” (Deuteronomy 6:10-11 NIV). Another example of divine transfer.
Why have I given you these examples? Because I want to encourage you. To remind you we serve a God Who owns the cattle on a thousand hills (Psalm 50:10), treasures of darkness, and hidden riches of secret places (Isaiah 45:3). There is nothing we require He cannot get to us. He’s promised to provide everything we need (Philippians 4:19). My prayer for 2023 is that we learn to trust Him for EVERYTHING.
More Than Enough
This year, Jewish people will commemorate Hanukkah from December 18 to December 26. I recently read about Hanukkah and would like to share what I learned with you.
In a time of war and occupation in the 2nd century BC, after three years of fighting with Syrian forces led by Antiochus lll, the Maccabees, Jewish fighters, regained control of the Temple Mount.
The Maccabees cleansed the Temple, dismantled the defiled altar, and constructed a new one. They held a dedication (Hanukkah) of the Temple with proper sacrifice and the rekindling of the golden menorah. For eight days they praised God that proper Jewish worship had been re-established.
For this particular Hanukkah, a miracle had occurred. After searching the Temple from top to bottom, they only found a small jar of oil for the menorah. There was barely enough to light the candelabra for one day, let alone eight. Miraculously, the oil lasted for the entire celebration.
There are examples in both the Old and New Testaments where God provided miraculously or multiplied resources. Abraham comes to mind. God provided a ram, caught in a thicket by its horns, for a sacrifice instead of his son, Isaac. Throughout their whole wilderness journey, God supplied manna supernaturally for His people to eat. And for the widow of Zarephath living in a famine, "...the jar of flour was not used up and the jug of oil did not run dry, in keeping with the word of the Lord spoken by Elijah" (1 Kings 17:16 NIV).
In the New Testament, Jesus fed the 5000 with five loaves and two fish, and 4000 with seven loaves and a few small fish. And after a day of preaching from a boat, Jesus told his disciple Peter to go out into deeper water for a huge catch of fish. Reluctantly, Peter agreed. The haul was so big, the nets threatened to break.
We should not be surprised at these examples. One of the Hebrew names for God is El Shaddai - God Almighty, the All-Sufficient One, the God of more than enough. Some scholars believe Shaddai is derived from the word shad, meaning breast. This refers to God as One Who is nourishing, satisfying, and supplying the needs of His people, such as a mother would do for her child.
At this Christmas season, we celebrate the provision of salvation God provided through His Son, Jesus. When we accept Him as our Savior and Lord, we have the hope of spending eternity in Heaven with Him. While we are here on earth, He has promised to supply our needs, whether they be physical, financial, emotional, or relational. "Know this: my God will also fill every need you have according to His glorious riches in Jesus the Anointed, our Liberating King (Philippians 4:19 VOICE).
Today and everyday, be encouraged! You can trust God to take care of you. His provision is part of His Name.
Come Home To Hope
Christmas is just around the corner, and many will be returning home to spend time with family and friends. This year, no matter what your circumstances are, no matter what you are facing, whether it be a bad report from the doctor, botched relationships, a wayward child, or financial lack, I invite you to come home to hope.
The hope I’m talking about is not the world’s kind of hope. The wishing for something without any expectation that the hope will be fulfilled. No, what I’m talking about is Biblical hope - the confident expectation and certainty that what God has promised in His Word will come to pass. It’s having one’s neck outstretched in anticipation of the answer that’s on its way.
There are three aspects of hope I’d like to briefly examine.
Sometimes, when God’s promises are not coming to pass in my life as soon as I would like them to, I remind myself (and God) that He has promised I will NEVER be ashamed for trusting in Him.
So, my dear friend, no matter what you are facing today, plant your feet firmly on the promises of God. “Then I saw heaven standing open, and there before me was a white horse. And its rider is called Faithful and True…” (italics mine Revelation 19:11 BSB). The God we serve is faithful and true. His promises will come to pass in your life.
Who Am I?
Recently, I have been undergoing an identity crisis. Let me explain.
On September 25, 2022, my husband of fifty-one years passed away, leaving a huge hole in my heart. I have always seen myself as a married woman, as a wife. Now, who am I? I am single. I am a widow. My status has changed immeasurably. But despite my status change here on earth, I am still a citizen of the kingdom of Heaven. That hasn’t changed. “But we are citizens of heaven, where the Lord Jesus Christ lives…” (Philippians 3:20 NLT). I do not go by my earthly status. I go by the Word of God. His Word defines me. His Word tells me who I am in Christ Jesus.
The first chapter of Ephesians is rich in informing us of who we are in Christ. “Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ” (Ephesians 1:3 NIV). In Jesus, I am blessed with every spiritual blessing. What are some of those blessings?
“Even before he made the world, God loved us and chose us in Christ to be holy and without fault in his eyes” (Ephesians 1:4 NLT). God says I am chosen, accepted, and beloved, even when I don’t feel like it.
Sin sold me into slavery, living apart from God. But because of the death and resurrection of Jesus, and my trust in Him as my Saviour, I have been adopted into God’s family, an heir of God and a joint heir with Jesus. “And if we are children, then we are heirs: heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ” (Romans 8:17 BSB). Jesus is my elder Brother.
And being adopted into God’s family means I have been transferred from the kingdom of darkness to the kingdom of light. “He has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of His beloved Son…” (Colossians 1:13 BSB).
I have also been redeemed and forgiven. “He is so rich in kindness and grace that he purchased our freedom with the blood of his Son and forgave our sins” (Ephesians 1:7 NLT). Jesus redeemed me from the slave market of sin. “As far as the east is from the west, So far has He removed our wrongdoings from us” (Psalm 103:12 NASB). My sin has been cast into the depths of the sea (Micah 7:19).
The Holy Spirit lives in me and is the seal or guarantee of my heavenly inheritance, secured by Jesus. “And when you believed in Christ, he identified you as his own by giving you the Holy Spirit, whom he promised long ago. The Spirit is God’s guarantee that he will give us the inheritance he promised and that he has purchased us to be his own people” (Ephesians 1:13-14 NLT).
So, when I feel downcast, I do as David did. I speak to my soul. “Why are you downcast, O my soul? Why the unease within me? Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise Him for the salvation of His presence” (Psalm 42:5 BSB). I recall who I am in Jesus. He is all I need.
Trust and Obey
In Joshua 1, Joshua and the nation of Israel stood at the border of the promised land. Previously, they had rebelled against the Lord, believed the bad report the ten spies brought back, and failed to go into the land.
Forty years later, there were still the same obstacles as before – nations with armies, walled cities, and giants. What made the difference? Why did they go in the second time?
In Joshua 1:9 NLT it says, “This is my command—be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid or discouraged. For the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.” The biggest enemies Joshua and the Israelites faced were not armies, thick walls, and giants but fear and discouragement.
This time, the children of Israel took God at His Word to be with them and went in and conquered the land. Instead of bowing to the spirits of fear and discouragement, they chose to believe Almighty God.
We can do the same. We must not allow fear and discouragement to define us. Instead, we can take hold of the Word of God like a dog with a bone, unwilling to let go. We can meditate on it until it gets down into the depths of our spirits.
The Scripture says, “Study this Book of Instruction continually. Meditate on it day and night so you will be sure to obey everything written in it. Only then will you prosper and succeed in all you do” (Joshua 1:8 NLT). We can allow God’s Word to change the way we think, so we see ourselves as victors rather than victims.
God enabled Joshua and the Israelites to take the promised land. God is no respecter of persons, “He treats everyone the same” (Romans 2:11 TLB). What He did for Joshua, He’ll do for you. Possess His promises and He’ll bring you into your promised land.
Trees and Fire
Recently, I read some interesting facts about the sequoia tree, which grows along the western slope of the Sierra Nevada mountain range. The giant tree can grow up to three hundred feet (20 to 25 stories) and weigh as much as twelve million pounds (comparable to a small ocean-going freighter). The circumference of the tree trunk at the base can be over one hundred feet (one-third the length of a football field).
The one thing I found especially interesting is that the sequoia requires fire in order to grow. The small green cones containing seeds awaiting germination grow near the crown of the trees. But if there is no fire or insects to crack open the cone, the seeds remain trapped inside. Fire dries out the cones, so that they crack open and deposit their seeds on the floor of the forest.
Fire also thins out the debris caused by the trees and shrubs which grow around the base of the sequoia. This debris is a barrier, blocking the seeds from reaching the soil. The shade from the smaller trees makes the ground too cool for the seeds to survive. Fire burns out the debris and trees and creates patches of sun and a clear forest floor, which is perfect for the germinating seeds.
Another benefit is that fire loosens the soil, allowing the seeds to fall into rich earth and to gather moisture previously taken up by the larger plants. And lastly, as the forest debris increases again, it protects the seedlings from the cold and seed-eating creatures.
As human beings, we all face fire in our lives – the heat of poor health, not enough money, broken relationships, addictions, wayward children, the loss of a loved one. But through the fire, God is saying “nothing can ever separate us from (His) love” (Romans 8:38 NLT). As born-again believers, we are protected in the fire, covered by His precious blood.
Remember Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, the three Hebrew men thrown into the fire because they wouldn’t bow down to Nebuchadnezzar’s image? The next morning when the king went to check on them, he said in amazement, “Lo, I see four men loose, walking in the midst of the fire, and they have no hurt; and the form of the fourth is like the Son of God” (Daniel 3:25 KJV). Just like Jesus stood next to those men in their fire, He’s standing next to you in the fire that burns around you.
In the fire, God reminds us that “I am the Lord who created you; from the time you were born, I have helped you. Do not be afraid; you are my servant, My chosen people whom I love” (Isaiah 44:2 GNT). As God told the Israelites when they faced the sea in front of them and the enemy behind, “…’Don’t be afraid. Just stand still and watch the Lord rescue you today…The Lord himself will fight for you. Just stay calm’” (Exodus 14:13-14 NLT).
As fire enables the sequoia tree to grow, the fires we face refine us of our impurities and allow us to see the hand of Almighty God go to work on our behalf.
In this Blog, I want to share with you some of the things I've learned from many years of following Jesus.