A Surprising Response from a Retiring Pastor

I had somewhat of a shocking conversation with a friend who had led a successful church for over 3 decades. I had not communicated with him for a long time and it was good to see him.  He is a wonderful, well-respected pastor both by his church and the community. His ministry and church situation is everything many younger leaders would aspire to.  It is a great church with good programs, a nice building, influential people and a wonderful staff.  I hadn’t seen him in quite a while and when I greeted him he said something very unexpected, “You may not have heard it yet but I am officially and really retiring now.”  The next words that came out of his mouth shocked me, “I’m tired of feeding fat lazy Christians.   I want to get on and do something significant in the next phase of my life.”

“I am really retiring now.  I am tired of feeding fat lazy Christians. I want to get on and do something significant in the next phase of my life.” Retiring Pastor 

It was unexpected because this man was one of the kindest well-respected leaders I know.  He is known for his gentle approach to pastoring.  My response to him was a little surprising to me and somewhat prophetic,  “I hear ya!  If we see our role as building a church to please and attract consumer Christians then we will become spiritual chaplains of people’s narcissism.”  He agreed wholeheartedly.

This interaction made me think of a satirical Christian website’s post about the absurdity of how consumer Christians approach leaving a church titled, “Babylon Bee Signs You Should Find A New Church Home.” 

Consumer Christianity is the polar opposite of the implications Jesus described in following Him, “Lay your life down…lose your life for My sake…serve others…take up your cross…forsake all and follow Me.”  May this realization of consumer Christianity stir something of the zeal of God in us to fulfill the reason Jesus laid down His life. He didn’t lay His life down to have a people zealous for their own interest (consumer Christianity) but His.  Titus 2:13-14  looking for the blessed hope, and the appearance of the glory of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ,  (14)  who gave Himself for us that He might redeem us from all iniquity and purify to Himself a special people, zealous of good works.

Babylon Bee Signs You Should Find A New Church

December 21, 2016

“How do I know if I should leave my church?”

It’s a question everyone wonders from time to time—and not one to take lightly. Transitioning between churches can be a messy time in the life of the Christian and his or her family and church body.

So how do you know if it’s time to say “adiós”? The Babylon Bee is here to help, with five meticulously researched and peer-reviewed signs that you should leave your church behind.

  • The full-service cafe discontinues your favorite seasonal drink. If winter rolls around and the coffee shop in the foyer decides not to run its usual peppermint mocha promotional, it’s time to start Googling “good churches in my area.” It’s a sure sign that the church has abandoned the faith once delivered to the saints. (This should go without saying, but if your church doesn’t have a full-service coffee shop, its lampstand has been removed long ago).
  • The church fails to immediately respond to your weekly helpful comment card feedback. When you say “jump,” your church should say “how high?” You pay their salaries after all—meaning they work for you. Pastors that don’t immediately make major changes to the worship experience, their preaching style, the decor of the building, or the genres of music on offer based on the fifteen helpful comment cards you turn in each week are not expressing love for the brethren, which may indicate they’re not saved at all.
  • Someone expresses concern that you missed the last eighteen services. A church that shows interest in regular church membership is like a creepy ex-girlfriend that can’t let go. Can you say “red flag?” Run, don’t walk, away from this aberrant and apostate congregation.
  • The men’s retreat features fewer than twenty fully automatic rifles. There’s nothing more disappointing than gearing up for your church’s annual men’s retreat only to discover it’s nothing more than a couple days of Bible teaching, prayer, and fellowship. In fact, Jesus Himself rebuked the church at Laodicea for being lukewarm, which scholars believe indicates their men’s ministry never once went on a week-long hunting expedition in the Yukon. (Women, substitute “fully automatic rifles” with “crafting tables.”)
  • The pastor faithfully preaches the Bible on a weekly basis. Pastors who keep sticking to the same faithful presentation of the Word of God each week lack imagination, honestly. How can your church be a fun, exciting place with engaging programs and appealing special events if the pastor guy keeps rambling on about sin, repentance, and new life in Christ, while systematically preaching and teaching the Scriptures? Think about it.

Remember, this isn’t an exhaustive list—there are hundreds of thousands of legitimate reasons for leaving a church, especially if the pastor isn’t making a concerted effort to appease your every whim and earn your business. But if your church lines up with any of the above points, there’s a really good chance it is time for you to move on.

Enter the text or HTML code here


Prayer For Mission and Prayer On Mission

Prayer on Mission is like breathing. We inhale God’s presence as we pray, and we exhale His presence as we pray for others.

Every one of God’s people is called to His family mission to “be fruitful, multiply, and fill the earth” (Gen 1:26-28, Jn 17:18, 20:21, Eph 1:22-23, 3:10-11).  God’s mission is not for a few “special Christians” with a “special call.”  Missions is everyone, everywhere, all the time, across the street, as well as across the ocean.

In our calling to engage in God’s mission we must remember that we can’t save anyone by our own efforts.  We are not called to save but to sow.  We are to sow seeds of God’s Kingdom.

A key to mission that seems too good to be true

What if there was a master key that would enable us to do the following?

  • Go straight to someone’s heart in an instant bypassing all the mental reasonings in a split second.
  • Communication Jesus to someone without people’s interruptions or deflective questions
  • Avoid the arguments of “my belief versus yours” while communicating Jesus
  • Hold the higher ground of influence above people’s resistance.
  • Giving “seeds” of God’s word with prophetic words, words of wisdom, knowledge, and discernment communicated (with wisdom) uninterrupted by the people you are giving them to.
  • Communicating and impacting people from other religious backgrounds.
  • See the power of God released upon people without resistance.

Is there a way to do these things or does it sound too good to be true?  Prayer for people is an often neglected key that will enable the previous things mentioned to happen.  In the accounts of Jesus sending the 12 and 70 on mission (Mt 9-11, Lk 9-10) His first order of business was to “pray to the Lord of the harvest”.  Then they were to pray for people as they, “give a blessing, heal the sick, and cast out demons?”

When you pray people yield their agenda and become somewhat passive.  As you pray you get free access to their hearts.  Most of the time offering to pray for someone about something is inoffensive and communicates care.

Of all the times I have offered to pray for someone both inside and outside the church only once have I been turned down.  I even offered to pray at a public intersection for an atheist who was protesting and holding a sign touting the great virtues of atheism.  I ask her if she would mind if I offered a prayer to the God that she doesn’t believe exist.  After all what harm would it do since she didn’t think anything was there.  To my amazement, she said she wouldn’t mind so I took her up on the offer right there on the street, in front of all her atheist friends.

God’s Spiritual Bee Sting

When we pray for people there is an instant connection to God, His presence, and His resources.  There is an immediate impact of God.  Prayer in this way is like getting stung by a bee.  You often know it is buzzing around but can’t see where it is until it stings you.  When you pray for someone you go directly past all their reluctance and like a bee sting it will make an impact.

As we are inquiring and entering into conversations with people about their family, health, work, or circumstances we will find out something we can pray for.  In that moment we can say, “would you mind if I pray for you about that?”   Then as we pray we bring them into direct contact with the all-powerful God of the universe.  It is an instant connection with God.

Prayer is a key, a door, and a bridge over which God’s power flows.  I remember an evangelist giving the following observations to encourage us to pray for people.   There is nothing that can’t be prayed for.

  • When you don’t know what to do, pray for them.
  • When you can’t speak the language prayer for them.
  • When you don’t have the time to speak a lot, pray for them.
  • When you know the issue is too big for you, pray for them
  • When you might not see them again, pray for them. 

As we go on mission in our everyday life we need to have confidence that we can lead people into an encounter with God.  We fear that people will just watch us pray for them instead of entering into God with us.  We can ask them to participate like close you eyes, bow your head, or extend your hands like you are receiving etc. Sometimes outward/natural steps can lead to an inward spiritual reality (1  Cor 15:46 “first the natural then the spiritual).

Most of the time prayer is a matter of calling people to focus their attention on Him.  You can also ask God to open their senses.  Paul prayed this way in Ephesians, “open the eyes of their heart to His great power towards us…the same power He exercised when He raised Jesus from the dead” (Eph 1:18-20).

God’s kingdom isn’t just a lot of words. It is power. 1 Cor 4:20

We must remember that God’s “Kingdom isn’t just words but power” (1 Cor 4:20).  We want to connect people with God’s supernatural power as they connect with the supernatural God.

I had the great privilege of watching this as an observer when I walked up behind my wife as she was asking a lady if she could pray for her.  The lady responded in a pleasantly surprised way, “I have never had anyone ask me that before…I guess so.”  I was looking over my wife’s shoulder into the lady’s face.  At first, she didn’t know what to do and her eyes started to blink then she shut them and her head went down.  When my wife was done with the short prayer the lady’s eyes opened with tears in them and she said, “that was great…I felt an amazing peace.”  Then to our surprise, she said, “That felt so wonderful I think people should have people pray for them more often.”  This opened a door to speak more about Jesus.

Don’t forget to use an important key that works in any situation…prayer!

Enter the text or HTML code here


Prayer is Communication with the Author of the Book

Think about being given a book that contained a story about an author along with his design for living that would lead to the most incredible life anyone could live on this earth. A life full of freedom, joy, fulfillment, contentment, successful marriages and families, and successful relationships.  How about not just being given this incredible book, but having the author, who is the greatest person who has ever lived, willing to walk with you every day to show you how what he instructed in the book applies to various things in your daily life?   Sounds like it would be a great deal and a great privilege.  Who would refuse that?  This is the amazing design God has provided for His people.

I had the great privilege of meeting with a famous veteran of the Charismatic Renewal. He has spoken to great crowds throughout the world, helped provide a magazine for several years that impacted millions of people from all denominations, and worked with many famous leaders giving instruction and counsel.

There were about 14 of us around a table for several hours and I felt like the stories I had read in Eusieubus’ Early Church History about the Apostle John’s final days at Ephesus.  They would carry him out and sit him among groups of disciples and he would instruct them.

When our friend and hero began to talk we all pulled out our cell phones to catch the wisdom that was flowing from his lips.  He quickly began to cry and with passion in his voice he began to say, “It’s all relational.  The Kingdom, the church, Christianity is relational walking with Jesus and hearing His word.”

He went on to say that “we must have the ‘Word’ (Greek Logos which is what God has said and revealed through all of Scripture, Jn 1:1-14, Ps 119:89, 1 Pet 1:25), but also the ‘Word’ (Greek Rhema which is what He continues to say in speech and ongoing communication Mt 4:4, Lk 4:4).  If we only have Logos without Rhema it will lead to dead religion.  Logos can’t trump Rhema and Rhema can’t trump Logos.”

Back to what I said earlier, we must have the book and walk with the Author of the book who out of a living relationship will speak His specific word towards specific issues.  If we only walk with the Bible and not the Author of the Bible we can commit “Bible idolatry.”  This is what the religious leaders did and Jesus rebuked them for it.

John 5:38-40 “You do not have His word abiding in you, for you do not believe Him whom He sent. (39) “You search the Scriptures because you think that in them you have eternal life; it is these that testify about Me; (40) and you are unwilling to come to Me so that you may have life.

“We must allow the Word of God to confront us, to disturb our security, to undermine our complacency and to overthrow our patterns of thought and behavior.” John Stott

Prayer, Logos, and Rhema

Prayer is essential to walk in the ongoing dialogue with Jesus where He speaks His Word to us.  Most of the time God speaks (Rhema) to us things from His Word (Logos) specifically directed towards our life and circumstances.

It works like learning a foreign language.  You learn words so you can enter into dialogue with people because the dialogue comes through the language you learned. God has “forever settled His word” (Logos Ps 119:89).  He continues to speak to us (Rhema) from His word in everyday life.  If the language isn’t in us we will have a hard time determining what He is saying.  This is why we must read and study His word.  We learn the language of God.

One of my friends used to say, “when you open the Bible you look into the face of Jesus.”  When we communicate with Him in prayer we hear His voice (Rhema) as He speaks from His word (Logos).

His voice is discerned from His word. If we don’t have the language from His word (Logos) we will tend to hear things that may not be Him.  They can be our emotions, fantasies, or preferences.  A good rule of thumb is “If what His is saying contradicts what He has said then it isn’t Him who is saying it.”  His Rhema word will never contradict His Logos word.

Prayer is the place where we learn to hear His word (Rhema) from His language (Logos).   It is where we get to learn and hear the voice from the Author of the book. Prayer is above all else communication with God and His word is to be in it.  There is a problem with people who don’t pray in order to hear His voice from His word, as well as those who don’t know His word which is the language by which He speaks.

Two extremes we must avoid.

  • Prayer and attempting to hear from God without His word (Logos) = Crazy Charismatic subjective hearers who are driven by their own fantasies or desires. This is inner subjectivism clothed in spirituality.
  • Having His word (Logos/Bible) without prayer and hearing His voice (Rhema) = Dry and dead intellectuals who twist and use the Bible to their own ends.  They use the Bible for themselves.  This is when the Bible becomes idolatry.  It is using His word without Him.



Enter the text or HTML code here


What about Delayed or Unanswered Prayers?

Every person who has ever served God wrestles with the issue of delayed or unanswered prayer.  The Bible tells us in many places that we are to specifically ask for things in prayer.  It also promises that we will receive them.  At the same time, we all have had experiences of prayers that were not answered.  This dilemma can rob us of the Biblical motivation of faith in prayer.  Heb 11:6 And without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is and that He is a rewarder of those who seek Him

Biblical reasons for unanswered prayer

Considering the different scriptural possibilities of unanswered prayer can be perplexing.  Here are some of them.

  • There is the problem of a lack of faith.

James 1:6-7 But he must ask in faith without any doubting, for the one who doubts is like the surf of the sea, driven and tossed by the wind. (7) For that man ought not to expect that he will receive anything from the Lord.

Mark 11:22-24  “Have faith in God…(24)  “Therefore I say to you, all things for which you pray and ask, believe that you have received them, and they will be granted you.

At the same time, there are many examples in Scripture of anxious, ambivalent people receiving things from God they ask for.

  • There can be the reason of bad motives or praying outside of His will.

James 4:3  you ask and do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, so that you may spend it on your pleasures. 

1 John 5:14-15  This is the confidence which we have before Him, that, if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us.  (15)  And if we know that He hears us in whatever we ask, we know that we have the requests which we have asked from Him.

  • Other times it could be a lack of persistence.

Luke 11:9 Amp  So I say to you, Ask and keep on asking and it shall be given you; seek and keep on seeking and you shall find; knock and keep on knocking and the door shall be opened to you.

We must broaden our perspective on prayer

God is always “working in us” based on where He is taking us, not where we are at now.

There can be broader explanations for delayed or unanswered prayer.  We don’t know our future, only God does. God knows that what we desire right now we will probably not desire five years from now.   Things that we think are good for us right now may not ultimately be good for us over the course of a lifetime.  The thing we desired a few years ago (the opportunity, etc.) that didn’t happen may have taken us away from His purpose for our lives.  If God would have answered some of our prayers we prayed for in the past we may not have have experienced “this present result” as Joseph said in Genesis.

Genesis 45:5-8  “Now do not be grieved or angry with yourselves, because you sold me here, for God sent me before you to preserve life… (8)  “Now, therefore, it was not you who sent me here, but God..

Genesis 50:20  “As for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good in order to bring about this present result, to preserve many people alive.

Joseph probably prayed many times about his trial but only after 17 years had passed did he finally realized that God was actually bringing about something good through the delay.

Some unanswered prayers are only because God doesn’t want to do something for us. He wants to do something through us. Bill Johnson

There is at times an element of not granting our desires that God simply understands things better than we do.  In realizing this it will help us keep from losing heart when prayers seem to go unheeded.  When we keep praying over time about certain things most of the time our desires become clarified.  Some grow stronger and others fade away.

It is also important to remember our walk with God is the most important thing about consistent prayer.  We serve a God who is eternal.  He is without beginning or end.  He stands outside of time a space and sees all things at once.  He sees years ahead of us right now.  He not only sees what has happened but what will happen. Over the course of time as we walk with Him we are adjusted, strengthened, receive revelation, and we overcome by His strength and ability.  We grow and develop through a consistent walk with Him.

This is not to suggest that we should not be bold and specific in prayer or expect to receive specifically what we ask.  Scripture commands this in many places.  Yet we must also keep in mind that long-term persistence in prayer is not only encouraged but expected and God is always at work for good as we pray (Romans 8:28).

In the parable of the widow (Lk 18:1-8) Jesus told us that we should always pray and not lose heart; then He gives us a story as an example.  Clearly, He was showing us that we should not give up praying about specific, personal concerns, no matter how long it takes to receive an answer.  In the persistence, over the long haul, God is at work doing things in us as well as others beyond what we understand.  It is a little like what the great hockey player Wayne Gretsky said when asked about the secret of his ability, “I never skate where the puck is, I always head to where it is going.” God is always dealing with us based on where He is taking us.

I remember reading a story about staying persistent in prayer and the positive effects God works in us as we do.

There once was a man who was asleep one night in his cabin when suddenly his room filled with light and the Saviour appeared to him.

The Lord told him He had a work for him to do, and showed him a large rock explaining that he was to push against the rock with all his might. This the man did, and for many days he toiled from sunup to sundown; his shoulder set squarely against the cold massive surface of the rock, pushing with all his might. Each night the man returned to his cabin sore and worn out, feeling his whole day had been spent in vain.

Seeing that the man showed signs of discouragement, Satan decided to enter the picture – placing thoughts in the man’s mind, such as “Why kill yourself over this?, you’re never going to move it!” or “Boy, you’ve been at it a long time and you haven’t even scratched the surface!” etc. giving the man the impression the task was impossible and the man was an unworthy servant because he wasn’t moving the massive stone.

These thoughts discouraged and disheartened the man and he started to ease up in his efforts. “Why kill myself?” he thought. “I’ll just put in my time putting forth just the minimum of effort and that will be good enough.” And this he did or at least planned on doing until, one day, he decided to take his troubles to the Lord.

“Lord,” he said, “I have labored hard and long in Your service, putting forth all my strength to do that which You have asked of me. Yet after all this time, I have not even budged that rock even half a millimeter. What is wrong? Why am I failing?”

To this the Lord responded compassionately, “My friend, when long ago I asked you to serve Me and you accepted, I told you to push against the rock with all your strength and that you have done. But never once did I mention to you that I expected you to move it. At least not by yourself. Your task was to push. And now you come to Me, your strength spent, thinking that you have failed, ready to quit. But is this really so? Look at yourself. Your arms are strong and muscled; your back sinewed and brown. Your hands are calloused from constant pressure and your legs have become massive and hard. Through opposition you have grown much and your ability now far surpasses that which you used to have. Yet still, you haven’t succeeded in moving the rock; and you come to Me now with a heavy heart and your strength spent. I, my friend will move the rock. Your calling was to be obedient and push, and to exercise your faith and trust in My wisdom, and this you have done.”

Enter the text or HTML code here


The Secret Place and Secret Reward of God

Prayer is the most important thing in the Christian life.  Prayer is our soul’s traffic way through which God speaks to us and we speak to Him. Jesus spoke about the importance of our ongoing relationship with Him through prayer, “Abide in the vine…He who abides in Me and I in him bears much fruit, for apart from Me you can do nothing…if you abide in Me you ask what you want and it will be done for you” (Joh 15:1-7).  Prayer is about both a relationship with God and laboring together with Him as He accomplishes His will.

Prayer has a much bigger role in our life than simply asking God for things. There are effects that happen in prayer that go way beyond simply presenting a shopping list to God.  Your prayer life denotes how much you depend on your own ability or move in God’s ability.

The more self- confidence you have, the less you pray. The less self-confidence you have, the more you have to pray. Lars Widerberg.

In His famous teaching called “The Sermon on the Mount” Jesus contrasted a living relationship with God with the dead religion most people were living in during that time. One feature that He strongly emphasized was personal connectedness with God through prayer.

Mat 6:1-18 “Beware of practicing your righteousness before men to be noticed by them; otherwise you have no reward with your Father who is in heaven… 5  “When you pray, you are not to be like the hypocrites…6  “But you, when you pray, go into your inner room, close your door and pray to your Father who is in secret, and your Father who sees what is done in secret will reward you.

There is something essential about our personal prayer life before God who “sees in secret.” There is also a unique “reward” that Jesus promises.  While our walk with God isn’t private (we walk with the people of God and live before an unbelieving world) it must be personal.   The core of our life is lived personally in the sight of God.  We connect personally with Him and He with us.   Without this personal foundation, it simply won’t work.

Living before an audience of One (noticed by God)

I remember during my football days how special it was for my dad to be at my games. He wasn’t able to attend many of my High School games due to his work schedule but later was able to make most of my college games.  There could be thousands of people in the stands but I always knew where my dad was sitting.  I wanted him to be proud of me and his perspective meant more than all the other people watching.  When I made a good play I would look his direction for eye contact.  When he gave an indication that he was happy with the way I was playing it was more rewarding than any of the other cheers or opinions. His look of approval and pride was its own unique reward.

The same was true when I was in other settings with my dad.  When things got out of hand or I was saying or doing something stupid just one look from my dad was motivation to change.  Like the old song, “just one look was all it took.”

There is a reward that comes out of living noticed by God.  Being noticed by God is that place in which you are looking at Him and you are aware He is looking at you.  This is the secret source of all Spiritual strength, direction, correction, and everything that has to do with living the Christian life successfully.

Three essentials that come from connecting with God in the secret place.

  • It is the source of all adjustments that lead to bearing fruit.  Joh 15:1-5 “I am the true vine, and My Father is the vinedresser.  2  “Every branch in Me that does not bear fruit, He takes away; and every branch that bears fruit, He prunes it so that it may bear more fruit…5  “I am the vine, you are the branches; he who abides in Me and I in him, he bears much fruit, for apart from Me you can do nothing.
  • It is where we personally hear God’s voice in order to be lead by Him.  Mat 4:4 But He answered and said, “It is written, ‘MAN SHALL NOT LIVE ON BREAD ALONE, BUT ON EVERY WORD THAT PROCEEDS OUT OF THE MOUTH OF GOD.’”
  • It is that source of all Godly change.  2Co 3:3-18…Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty.  18  But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as from the Lord, the Spirit.

Developing the secret life before Him

The only way to develop a life in which you become more aware of being noticed by God is to consistently have a personal prayer life with Him.   There is no magic pill that will do it for you.  Prayer is both a discipline as well as a delight 1 Timothy 4:7 discipline yourself for the purpose of godliness. Sometimes the discipline comes before the delight.  I know from personal experience that many times I come before Him out of discipline at first but never fail to end up being delighted in Him that I did.

Never be satisfied with trying to fit prayer into your day but instead schedule your day around prayer.

If you aren’t doing it start now!  Set a time (even if you begin with a small amount) and don’t miss it.  One thought that has guided me over the years and helped me with consistency is, never be satisfied with trying to fit prayer into your day but instead schedule your day around prayer.   That means set the time, don’t miss it, and adjust everything else around it.  This is an important way to consistently walk in the “secret reward” of God which is essential to the Christian life.

Read more http://www.covenant-harvest.org/blog/category/prayer/page/3/

Enter the text or HTML code here


Climbing in prayer to the snake free zone

Give me a beautiful mountain trail, a backpack, some water bottles, and a several mile hike and I am a happy man!  I love the mountains and vacation in Colorado almost every year.

People ask me, “what do you do all the time out there in the wilderness?” My reply, which often gets strange looks is “I walk around a look at God’s creation.”   The strange looks reinforce that the mountains aren’t everyone’s cup of tea, but there is something magnificent about them.

There are also some very Biblical things you can learn from them.  The Bible speaks much about the mountains.  As a matter of fact, God’s dwelling place is described as a mountain.

  • Isa 57:15  For thus says the high and exalted One…, “I dwell on a high and holy place.
  • Psa 48:1 Great is the LORD, and greatly to be praised, In the city of our God, His holy mountain.
  • When we draw near to God in prayer it is seen as ascending His mountain.  Ps 24:3  Who may ascend into the hill of the LORD? And who may stand in His holy place?
  • When people find Him they are seen as going up to His Mountain to learn from Him.  Isa 2:3  And many peoples will come and say, “Come, let us go up to the mountain of the LORD, To the house of the God of Jacob; That He may teach us concerning His ways And that we may walk in His paths.” For the law will go forth from Zion And the word of the LORD from Jerusalem.

The Snake Free Zone

“Prayer plumes the wings of God’s young eaglets so that they may learn to mount above the clouds. Prayer brings inner strength to God’s warriors and sends them forth to spiritual battle with their muscles firm and their armor in place.” –Charles H. Spurgeon

There is another parallel issue seen in ascending earthly mountains. When you get up to about 7000-9000 feet something happens that I like very much.  You enter the snake free zone, hallelujah!    I hate snakes!  When I am on trails and see a snake in my path my heart always skips a beat.  It doesn’t matter if it is a small harmless snake or a large poisonous one, I can’t stand snakes!

The devil is described in Scripture as a snake (Gen 3:1-4, 15, Rev 12:9).  He comes at us like a snake, to accuse, discourage, and tempt us.  When he comes one of the best things we can do is climb to the high places in God, and prayer and worship are how we climb. They are powerful weapons against the enemy.  This is why James tells us that in the process of resisting the devil we must submit and draw near to God.

Jas 4:7-8 Submit therefore to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you.  8  Draw near to God and He will draw near to you.

The enemy and his demonic forces are relegated to darkness (Jud 1:6).  When the enemy comes to accuse and trip us up, he comes in darkness and we can fall into it. Mat 6:23…. If then the light that is in you is darkness, how great is the darkness!  

The sun shines brighter in the mountains because of the higher elevation. When we are challenged by the temptations and accusations of the enemy,  the best thing we can do is climb higher.  We climb to higher realms of light.   1Ti 6:15-16…the King of kings and Lord of lords,  (16)  who alone possesses immortality and dwells in unapproachable light.  When we come closer to God’s light the enemy can’t stand the altitude, and he must flee as James said (Jas 4:7-8).

There is often a problem, however.  Many times I don’t feel like climbing.  Especially when I have been out several days.  When I go ahead and overcome my fatigue and climb anyway I am always invigorated.  The same is true spiritually.  When I am worn out spiritually and emotionally I often don’t feel like climbing, but I can’t listen to that.

One of the best Psalms that speaks of this process is Psalms 73.  I encourage everyone to read it regularly.  David is overcome by dark thoughts that seemed to overwhelm him.  He had stupid thoughts like all of us have at times, but he didn’t stay that way.  He climbed the mountain of God until he hit the snake free zone where there was clear air.  When we climb into God’s higher zone we drag the enemy and all of our stupid thoughts into the brighter light (snake free zone).

Consider what the Scriptures say will happen when we climb higher into the presence of God

  • Enemies perish  Psa 9:2-3 I will be glad and exult in You; I will sing praise to Your name, O Most High.  (3)  When my enemies turn back, They stumble and perish before You (KJV Thy presence) 
  • Stability returns as God’s joy comes to us –  Psa 16:8-11 I have set the LORD continually before me; Because He is at my right hand, I will not be shaken.  (9)  Therefore my heart is glad and my glory rejoices; My flesh also will dwell securely…(11)  You will make known to me the path of life; In Your presence is fullness of joy; In Your right hand there are pleasures forever.
  • We are hidden from the plots and strife of men Psa 31:19-20 How great is Your goodness, Which You have stored up for those who fear You, Which You have wrought for those who take refuge in You…(20)  You hide them in the secret place of Your presence from the conspiracies of man; You keep them secretly in a shelter from the strife of tongues.
  • Determination is renewed and joy is restored –  Psa 51:10-13   Create in me a clean heart, O God, And renew a steadfast spirit within me.  (11)  Do not cast me away from Your presence And do not take Your Holy Spirit from me.  (12)  Restore to me the joy of Your salvation And sustain me with a willing spirit. 
  • Times of refreshing comeAct 3:19  “Therefore repent and return, so that your sins may be wiped away, in order that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord;
  • We see God’s glory afresh in His presence 2Co 3:18  But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as from the Lord, the Spirit.

Read more http://www.covenant-harvest.org/blog/category/prayer/page/3/

Enter the text or HTML code here