Monday, March 23, 2009

Prayer Breakfast or Breakfast Social?

A question was raised on Twitter last week regarding Prayer Breakfasts and why we call them by that name. Over the years I have been to many which consists of many elements:
  • Fellowship and socializing
  • Food: either buffet or served
  • Special speaker
  • Offering
  • Door prizes
  • Prayer
If you're like me, I like to get together with folks and have a fellowship and eat good food. It is necessary for our society as a whole but I question why we call these events Prayer Breakfast when prayer is the last on the list of things to do, and only a few minutes overall is spent in this portion of the program.

Several of us went to a breakfast this past weekend. It was a lovely fellowship which turned into a fund raiser without notification. But for the most part, these social events are called "Prayer" breakfast and the fact that more time is spent in food and sermons than prayer, suggest that the names be changed to fellowship breakfasts.

This weekend, we had a wonderful word that the sisters gathered to think about the region, the cities we each represented. The tone was set, fellowship, great food and table talk, and then the speaker took a direction that left no time for prayer at all. We left feeling we had not completed the mission. We had not prayed even for each other. At most of these events, we end up praying for fifteen minutes out of three hours.

The question I raise today is this: Should the name be changed to Fellowship Breakfasts? Should prayer be the first on the agenda before breakfast is served or at least the first thing after breakfast? Should prayer be the most important thing before a speaker?

Please feel free to leave a comment below. Let's dialogue. God inhabits our praise, our prayers are a part of praise ... have you ever gone to a prayer breakfast and left feeling you didn't complete the reason for going?

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Fellowship or Empire

"Praise be to the Lord, to God our Savior, who daily bears our burdens, Selah."
Psalm 68:19

Let me ask a question, is your "church" constructing a loving fellowship or an empire?

The number of people around the world with the same story is alarming. People start out with the right intention to bring people together in a loving and nurturing environment. People come and feel the warmth and joy of the Lord in the fellowship, the Word of God convicts and brings people to the altar for repentance and restoration. So what happens after a few years when a new person can come in and nobody notices that they are new to the fellowship?

Recently a friend took a new believer to a woman's group that she used to attend. Interestingly, she was greeted but the new woman was overlooked with nothing more than a "hi". We were so glad that she didn't go by herself, she would not have felt welcomed to go back. At the end of the meeting, my friend stood up and reminded the group that they have forgotten what it was like to be new, to be desirous for new people to come, and now that there are more than a few people, do not truly welcome and encourage new people.

In another situation, a husband and wife assisted a new pastor to build a congregation, the building itself, and their family along with others had been real encourager for everybody who came through the door. Their particular building is in a drug infested area. Drunks came regularly during services to see what they could get from the church. They received salvation, got off drugs and alcohol and welcomed into the body of Christ. Before this couple left the area, it was noted that when a drunk came in on the new carpets and beautiful foyer, the ushers were looking for some way to escort them from their property. Word soon got around, drunks and hurting people were no longer welcomed at the church where so many had met God for the first time.

In the several groups of ministers and pastors that I belong throughout the city and on the internet, my heart sinks each time someone asks how do we monetize what we do with the people in the church? How do we sell our ministries for funding? God should never be put on the auction block.

Be encouraged to ask yourself today, is the place I go each week a place where anybody would be welcomed? Would you allow an alcoholic to sit next to you? Perhaps someone who doesn't have the clothes and clean smell you have?

We cannot save the lost and forgotten until we have a conscience and love for them. Is someone in your congregation in need of extra love and attention, a helping hand, or just a phone call saying somebody actually cares about them?

We are watching people divorce, kids going to jail, turning to anything that will take away the pain--and these are people in the congregations because nobody really cares.

Galations 6:2 NIV "Carry each other's burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ."

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

My Five Addictions

I was glad that when I received this award Julie told me I only had to admit to five addictions, which is the easy part, and then award five other sisters the same award. That is such a cool idea. Thanks Julie! If I had been asked to write this, err, admit this list a few weeks ago, coffee would have been in the number one spot, but I have weaned myself from coffee and in fact, most of the cola drinks as well.

So for the list:
  1. Teaching and Mentoring--and yes, I have put them as one item because to be a good mentor, you must also like to teach. My love and addiction started as a child, telling stories that I either made up or rehearsed from other sources, to the kids younger than me. It grew over time to writing and biblical teaching, as well as a number of other subjects
  2. Reading--my favorites are suspense/thrillers, historical fiction, biographies, just good books with a great moral value. I am not a fan of chick lit or romance.
  3. Cherry Ice Cream with warm French Chocolate topping and fresh whipped cream--Condrell's here in our village make their own ice cream and it is delicious.
  4. News--I must admit as most of my friends know, my addiction to news both national and international
  5. Writing--several blogs, columns, stories, working on novels, and of course, Twitter [does that count as writing?]
Okay, those are my five that I can think of at the moment. Now to pass this prestigious award to five other sisters who are deserving but that's the hard part choosing. So many friends and only five slots. But here goes:
  1. Lynn Mosher at Heading Home
  2. Terri at Terri Tiffany Inspirational Writer
  3. Peggy at Embracing Life
  4. Lindy-Lou at Lindy-Lou
  5. Karla at Empowering Christian Women
I'm now laughing so bad, as I realized that God has indeed nudged me towards a great group of friends, some Christian, some not, some I'm not sure--but everybody has given me something to smile about, think about, and consider. Thanks everybody!

Thanks sistahs for playing along and posting your five addictions and then choosing five other sistahs to give the award to.

A Fiery Minister In His Service
Susan Storm Smith

Friday, February 20, 2009

This Little Light of Mine Or Oops?

"And at midnight there was a cry made, Behold, the bridegroom comes; go ye out to meet him."
Matthew 26:6

I started out looking for another scripture, but got the chapter and verse reversed, but was spot on for what the Lord was placing in my heart. Have you ever done things like that?

This parable is about the ten virgins that went to the bridal party, all very excited to be in attendance. Then five of them began to run out of oil for their lamps and had to leave, thereby missing the bridegroom's entrance. That meant they couldn't gain re-entry into the party. My friends, that just sounds like life sometimes, doesn't it.

It reminds me of those who get dressed and go to church on Sunday, but run out of spiritual energy to really listen and get the flame of God illuminating their heart and mind. Sometimes it is like going to work not really expecting anything to happen, and it doesn't because our lamps are not prepared to see anything of value.

Lanterns are taken with the expectation that when it gets dark, and the way is not clear, that there will be a light that lights the path or room so that understanding and participation can be enjoyed by all. Is your lantern available today for that time when it might get dark and there is nothing but you and others without a light of any sort.

Will you be able to light the lantern that God has wanted to put in your hands fully filled with His light to make a difference to others? If not, take a few moments and spend some time at His filling station, offer up a prayer seeking His fullness. Be a light through Christ for someone else.
But make sure you have entrance into the ultimate party in heaven--not just a light of some sort on earth.

Love ya!

A Fiery Flame For His Service,
Susan Storm Smith

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Have You Considered?

"And the Lord said, 'Who then is that faithful and wise steward, whom his lord shall make ruler over his household to give them their portion of mean in dur season? Blessed is that servant, whom his lord when he comes shall find so doing." Luke 12:42-43 KJV

As I was reading this particular passage of scripture, verses 34-44, jmy heart leapt causing me to pause and consider my ways. Hopefully it will give you the same reaction in activity.

Jesus is speaking about the overseer of the house, not knowing which hour of the day or night that the thief would come to steal from him, but takes care to be on guard. Each of us have been given abundance from the Lord. Are we being good overseers over that portion that is ours to guard?

We think of the love we receive, perhaps this weekend will be a good time to reflect how we demonstrate our love and care over the things that He gives out of his bounties. We watch the news and what the government, banks, and other people are doing to our world governments, economies, and so forth, ...

...but do we take the same consideration over what God has given to us? And what will be our reward from the owner of the goods?

Today is a day that we should perhaps consider our ways that our deeds will be in right standing with the Lord, so that we will show ourselves as one on watch.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

When Weeping Is Okay

"This is what the Lord Almighty says, "Consider now! Call for the wailing women to come; send for the most skillful of them." Jeremiah 9:17 NIV

I wonder what changes would be made around the world if the people of Almighty God would actually want to just come together in prayer? A friend of mine was asked to attend an all-night prayer vigil, much like Jeremiah was requesting in the above scripture. She was about to attend but thought to ask more about it.

She asked what they planned to do and if there was a theme or major concern that they were coming together to pray over. The woman who was inviting my friend was very enthusiastic in giving the details of how to get to the church, who had agreed to attend, and ... who was cooking all the food. When asked why they were serving food at a prayer vigil, the reply was astounding. "Well, you know, being up all night and praying makes you hungry, so we want to have something available for the sisters to eat, keep them going."

The food being served was not just cheese and crackers, juice and water. The menu was fried chicken, greens, all kinds of deserts, ribs and so many other buffet items. The women then could get up off their "wailing" knees and make themselves a plate. This is not what Jeremiah is calling us to do.

Jeremiah is calling for skilled women, those who know that it isn't about eating and dressing for the occasion. He is calling for men and women to come as you are, with a burden to get before the Lord over particular issues and challenges. People skilled in the ability to pray the Bible, to get rid of distractions, leave the cell phones and pagers off, and submit before the throne of God for as long as it takes for the burden to be removed. I have been in those meetings that have lasted all night and far into the next day. The benefits have been phenomenal.

Jesus gave instruction for the disciples to stay together in one place for one purpose. Peter and the apostles, then Paul all understood the need and breakthrough that comes with corporate prayer, a solemn assembly of like hearted people who were willing to pour out their hearts before the Lord.

I submit to you my friends, that we are in an hour and time of challenges this world has not seen. We can and do activate heaven on our behalf through effective fervent prayer. I challenge you to call your congregations, friends, group together for "wailing prayer" over your city, your region, your nation. Then add your government leaders on every level, and all Christian leadership. Let us take the collapse of the world system and seek the face of God, turning from it and seeking the face of God for real. [2 Chronicles 7:14; Jeremiah 35:15; Ezekiel 3:19 NIV]

Looking forward to hearing your plans and your reports!

A Fiery Flame For His Service
Susan Storm Smith

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Love Is Everything

"Love the Lord your God with all of your heart, and with all of your soul and with all of your strength, and with all of your mind ..." Luke 10:27 NIV

How many times do we tell ourselves and God that we love Him with all that we have, yet we are holding on to some secrets deep inside? I was reading a wonderful book called "I Do Again" by Cheryl and Jeff Scruggs. While reading about their challenges, divorce and the secret that tore them apart, I thought of our individual and corporate relationship with Christ.

Have you become comfortable that God surely is here with me but not sure? Do you believe that He is the lover of your soul and loves you no matter what? Do you take it for granted without putting anything into the relationship? We tend to treat our relationship with God the way we tend to our physical relationships. It takes work to make them be good.

In a marriage that turns sour, how many times has one of the spouses cried out, "but look at all the things I have given and done for you." The other spouse, not impressed by the cries and rehearsal of all that the other has done is like those who will go before the Lord. "But Jesus, have I not preached, healed, prophesied, and done all kinds of stuff in your awesome and reverent name?" The Bible says, he will look at those and say, "I know you not."

Are you in a relationship with God where there is mutual agreement, or are you headed for a divorce? He never leaves us nor forsakes us--make sure as the bride of Christ, you are able to wear the garments and sit at the marriage feast. Please don't be on the other side wishing for another chance.

It is our love for God, the peace that comes and intimacy through prayer and study that makes a dark day bright, the challenges of life tolerable, and the promises something awesome to expect.
If you're not sure where you are, take time today and say I do again to God. If you're sure you are in His presence take time to tell him how much you love and appreciate him.

And by all means, if your marriage, relationships with friends and family are on shaky ground, take time to do some mending.

A Fiery Flame For His Service
Susan Storm Smith

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

In The Eyes Of The World

"Listen, my dear brothers: Has not God chosen those who are poor in the eyes of the world to be rich in faith and to inherit the kingdom he promised those who love him?" James 2:5 NIV

This verse struck a chord within my heart this morning as I was listening to the audio Bible. The Holy Spirit had given me a Word many months ago to go to the "unloved" and tell them that Jesus knows them and loves them.

So often we think of the "unloved" as the homeless, the street people, or those who are just have fallen on hard times. Perhaps the definition might be those who are hard to get along with and so society pushes them aside. But this morning I am reconsidering that the "unloved" could even be those within our congregations every Sunday morning.

Consider this: Are there people in your congregation that people just navigate away from, not wanting to touch or speak with? Do people make an honest effort to reach out to others? If not, why not? Would you then consider them to be unloved?

And yet, even in their desperation of loneliness and being unwanted have within them a kernel of joy and love unspeakable that keeps them coming back for more of the Word they hear. They are not basing their joining in fellowship with the hands of welcome, they know are not there; but rather, they come out of the need for more of what God has to offer and a hope in the promise to those who love Him.

This is February, the month when we have become accustomed to hearts, love and flowers; good will and relationships. Reach out today to one you know is "unloved" sharing the heart of Christ and really mean it.

A Fiery Flame For His Service
Susan Storm Smith

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Define Happiness and Joy

"I thought in my heart, "Come now, I will test you with pleasure to find out what is good." But that also was proved to be meaningless." Eccles 2:1 NIV

"Though you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy." 1 Peter 1:8 NIV

So many people think of joy and happiness as the same thing, but they are not. Joy is that expression of God that brings us peace in the middle of spiritual warfare. It is that which gives us peace undefinable. It is that emotion that does not depend upon the outward appearance and experience of the flesh. Joy is an attribute, a fruit of the Spirit of God that comes through His love and fruit for our eternal well being.

Happiness is an emotion that is expressed through the flesh. We find ourselves happy when things go right. When we get a raise, or an expression of love and good will towards us or others that we are close to. But the flesh will die and all those things that attributed to it. Happiness is not a fruit of the Spirit.

The world can understand happiness and sorrow; it cannot comprehend the joy of the Lord.

Today O Lord, we thank you for the joy which comes from you, for which the world has no understanding but that keeps us mobilized and trusting even in the events of collapse around the world. You are our Peace and through joy we receive spiritual strength to endure. Thank you Lord. Amen

A Fiery Flame For His Service
Susan Storm Smith

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Vision Has Two Faces

"Where there is no revelation, the people cast off restraint..."
Proverbs 29:18 NIV
Have you ever met people who seemingly have no vision, no thoughts about their future? It is a very sad situation to watch. People who are content with today and just getting by with virtually nothing. Or they say, let us eat, drink and be merry for tomorrow we might just die. And so life goes on without accomplishing anything really. But is that the way of God?

Through biblical teachings we have taught that God will give us a vision showing the purpose of our life, and that we should do everything we can to accomplish it. I submit to you that the same principles work in the occult or dark side. Let us not forget that satan and his angels were once submitted and worked for God instead of against Him and his creation.

The last three months on our early morning prayer line, we have given the encouragement to have a personal relationship with God through prayer, Bible study, and meditating upon the Word [not the same as contemplative prayer, which we feel is not biblical]

How can we tell the difference of where the vision comes from? Let me give you an example:

When I was operating in the occult--Kabbalah and New Age the prayers and relationship with what I thought to be a form of God worked very effectively. Demons do not present themselves to you as demons as they truly are, but are transformed into what you would be comfortable talking with or being around. You get visions of what to do, how to take care of issues in your life. Does that sound like God Almighty?

So we have people who are receiving the "goodies of the world" who don't know God, and believers in the True God who are not. It could be because we pray amiss as described in James 4:3 "You ask and receive not, because you ask amiss...that you may consume [use] if upon your lusts." Christians don't receive because prayers are often requesting lustful objects or attributes. [I will speak more about this later]

Holiness is seeking the heart and living the life of Christ to the best of our knowledge, receiving wisdom and gaining understanding. We grow day-to-day, casting off the old man or the lusts of our flesh. We are transformed into the mind of Christ [Romans 12:1-2] and receive vision or insight into our purpose that serves God bringing him glory and being a yielded vessel for His service; that would also bring an attitude of service to others.

Summary: Who gets glory from the vision outcome? Does it serve mankind? Does it line up with the Word of God?

How do we discern the differene? It is through the Holy Spirit alive in us, walking with God daily, knowing His voice and no other will we follow.

If you have any questions about this, leave a message, or email me at this address. This is such an important subject in our daily walk with the Lord.

May you receive the vision for your life that God has designed just for you. Don't accept a counterfeit.

A Fiery Flame For His Service
Susan Storm Smith

Refineries Are Dirty Places

"But who can withstand the day of his coming? Who can stand when he appears? For he will be like a refiner's fire or a launderer's soap."
Malachi 3:2

Have you ever thought about what a refinery really looks like? The other day as I was reading my Bible and pondering what the process was like of taking gold or even clay and making a vessel usable. We expect the beginning process to have some dirt and mess associated with it, but have you ever imagined that even at the end of the exacting process there are still some messes made?

In 8th grade art class we had a teacher that really enjoyed his job and his artistic abilities. He desired to teach us to explore and expand our love of the different textures, mediums, and color. One of my favorite projects was with the use of copper. We were instructed to draw or trace a picture onto the flat shiny copper. Then we placed it in an acid tray which turned the shiny copper coal black. This is the same process we find ourselves in the day-to-day experiences of life. Starting out shiny and new, etched by the sands of time into a character and personality. But life has a way of getting us dirty and out of focus.

In the art class we took the dark and ugly piece of cooper, and with steel wool started to lightly scrape the black off the areas we desired the shiny light copper to be exposed. What a great experience when the first hint of this process actually working. Because we were not to put a lot of pressure on the copper with the scouring material, the layers were taken off. How good it is to know that our Lord will not put too much pressure on us as he scours the rust and decay from our lives as we submit to his artistic skill in developing us.

And when we look at the table and floor of our cleansing, we find the same condition of an earthly refinery, dirt and scrapings that are discarded no longer part of the yielded and refined vessel.

Lord, thank you for taking off the darkness from my life in layers so that I am not bruised and harmed, but loved and appreciated for the creation you have etched in your forever eye and heart for me to become. I submit to you to become the light and beauty of your created purpose.

A Fiery Flame For His Service,
Susan Storm Smith

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Power To Reap

"I have given you authority to trample on snakes and scorpions, and to overcome all the power of the enemy; nothing shall harm you."
Luke 10:19 NIV

The word authority literally means delegated authority, delegated power to speak in the name of Jesus Christ. Then we are told that the authority gives us the ability to overcome anything that is thrown at us by the enemy, satan. In my own life this lesson is taking on a new meaning.

Speaking to that thing, taking authority over the attack of the enemy is just like a physical battle with a real army. All engagements of the enemy are not won in a day. Intended victory has no timetable. The Word of God further instructs us in Galatians 6:9 "Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up."

And that is the place so many of us get--tired, weary, and asking the Lord if we haven't suffered enough. My friends, let me tell you from the words of my testimony, we when you desire to really be a submitted and useful vessel for your intended purpose the fine finishing takes time.

Satan desires to destroy our vision of purpose for the Lord at every step, but never so much as when we have fought and struggled, stomped on the snakes and scorpions, and then make it almost to the end. We are taught about the refining process, but what about when the vessel is made? Then comes the finishing and decorations ... do not grow weary in the process of being made beautiful for the service of the Lord.

A Fiery Flame For His Service,
Susan Storm Smith

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Increased Recognition

"But although the world was made through him, the world didn't recognize him when he came."
John 1:10 NLT [New Living Translation]

This is one of those quiet scriptures that when we really get the upper view can make a big impact on how we go about our daily live and ministry. Think about this for a moment; God made the world, the universe, and every single thing in it. We see God in this picture as awesome, supernatural, above anything we could comprehend or imagine. It would, therefore, make sense that when we got to see God face-to-face we would recognize Him. Right?

He chose to come into the world to bring salvation and understanding to His word as a baby. He chose to start at the very beginning of how He had created mankind to take shape, developing in the day to day scenarios. Yet, "the world didn't recognize him when he came."

Be encouraged today to look around, look inside of yourself, peruse the world you live in--body, mind and spirit. Do you recognize God in all of these things? If not, why not? There is nothing we do, think, or anticipate that our loving and perfect Father does not have his hand print on.

Let us not be among those who say, "I missed him when I had the chance." Give Him praise with every breath, glorify Him in every thing you do, and recognize that He is the creator, and we can be in His perfect will--by choice.

A Firey Flame For His Service
Susan Storm Smith

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Order To My Steps

"Order my steps in Your Word; and let not any iniquity have dominion over me."
Psalms 119:133

This is a scripture we used in today's Bible study, and one I learned as a young Christian. So many times we want to submit to the Lord but simply put, don't know how. Leaders and teachers tell us "just submit to God". That was easier said that done!

When we ask God to order our steps AND don't let any evil dominate my life we come to a big WOW, and change in how things progress daily. At first it might seem like we have more negative than positive going on. That's just the enemy wanting his territory back. What is the territory? You!

When we accept Jesus as Lord and Savior, Satan wills to do everything he can to put stumbling blocks in the path, to try and darken the lit path, and to whisper lies to frustrate the walk of righteousness.

Today, if you're having problems or challenges that seem to large, ask God to order your steps and keep the enemy away from you. Cut off the things that are doing harm to your body, mind, and spirit. It is His good pleasure to be with us every step of the way.

Have a great journey!

A Fiery Flam For His Service,
Susan Storm Smith

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Purging Is A Daily Defense

"Therefore purge out the old leaven, that you may be a new lump, since you truly are unleavened. For indeed Christ, our Passover, was sacrificed for us." 1 Corinthians 5:7
The past few weeks I have felt like there was something I just needed to purge from my body. As I prayed and asked the Lord, He kept speaking about blood. Thinking perhaps that my body needed a good multiple vitamin with iron, internally I knew that wasn't what God was speaking about. Getting into that quiet place and waiting for the whole answer, I waited. After a couple of days, I knew I needed to purge my blood of impurities that I had accumulated while living in East Africa.

Towards the end of my stay we had run out of well water and the rivers were drying up; a severe drought was taking place. The water had always been a bit "red" from the dirt that got into the storage barrels but during the drought it was sometimes yellow or red, or mixtures. I drank a lot of Coca-Cola during those days! The water we used for tea, washing our hands and bodies, as well as clothes, however, all came from the colored water. We boiled each pot for at least 25 minutes. There were always the heavy particles of "whatever" at the bottom, which we tried our best not to allow into the good water.

In the spiritual sense, we also allow impurities to get into our walk with Christ. We don't always do that on purpose. Sometimes it is something we watch, hear, gossip about, a number of things that can tempt us from the past--but they are equivalent to impurities in our physical blood and bodies. We need to purge!

Daily prayer, intercession, Bible study, fellowship with others who are of a like mind in Christ--these "habits" help keep the spiritual life healthy and free from impurities. May 2009 be the year of Daily Defense, the start of something good for the total man.

A Fiery Flame For His Service,
Susan Storm Smith

Monday, January 5, 2009

What Part Got Rejected?

"And God is able to abound all grace toward you; that you always having all sufficiency in all things, may abound to every good work."
2 Corinthians 9:8
We keep repeating, "God is able". Yes, He is able to do all things, nothing impossible but it is in the past few months that I just need to ask, "what do we do or say that keeps all grace and sufficiency from getting to us?

Over the years ministering, I have found that the right message brought, but often reject the messenger. When we reject God's messenger, we reject Him. So it often is not the case of God not hearing our prayers, not sending the help necessary but more likely that we have rejected the package of the messenger.

Perhaps we don't like hearing things from a particular gender. Maybe the mesage is a bit off from what we're used to hearing, but we don't take the step to check it with biblical proof. Either way we miss the door that God has tried to open for us.

God is truly able to do all things, and use anything to have grace abound toward us--but are you in a character position to receive through discernment His message?

I received an email from an old colleague a few days before Christmas asking for spiritual help because he realized too late that he had shut the door on a blessing, teachings and insights that would have gotten him out of a situation he is still locked in, because he rejected the messenger.

Lord, we all make mistakes and poor choices, touch our hearts today and everyday that you send us a messenger to help us, when you send grace through the efforts of others, don't let us shut the door. Help us to recognize Your work in progress for our greater good that we can then also be used for your glory. Amen

A Fiery Flame For His Service
Susan Storm Smith

Friday, January 2, 2009

Do You Pray Amiss

"You ask, and receive not, because you ask amiss, that you may consume it upon your lusts."
James 4:3
People are always asking why their prayers are not answered. There could be many reasons, but for this short message, James gives a great explanation. The word amiss in the Greek literally means to pray evil prayers. What could be so evil in what we ask of God to give to us? (Well, unless you're asking God to kill somebody or do harm).

Amiss is defined as diseased, grievous, and sick in the eyes of God.

In my Christian infancy, my guilt would be great in praying amiss--asking for the things of the world to be placed in my hands, thinking that those were the things that God really wanted to "lovingly" give to me. As I grew in maturity and study of the scriptures, I realized that God has a perfect plan for my life. It made sense then to ask God what it is I should be praying.

The closer the relationship in really seeking God's will in my life, the less I thought about the worldly attributes that had seemed so important. Another truth I found, my needs and desires are or could be very different from other people, even those close to me. That's okay. God's plan is individualized to accommodate the Kingdom which includes everybody.

Today if your prayers are not being answered (and you're sure they're not being answered), be encouraged to have a heart talk with God about your circumstances. Ask Him what His perfect plan is for your life, if there are things that need to be changed and how to do it. Take a step in the direction of success according to God's plan. It's worth the investment of your time and heart.

Need help or have questions, email me at all information is kept confidential.

Remember everything starts with one word and one step, point yours in the direction for success.

A Fiery Flame For His Service
Susan Storm Smith

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Not of Two Minds

"For since the creation of the world God's invisible qualities--his eternal power and divine nature--have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse."
Romans 1:20

There was an article this morning that grabbed my attention stating that the new year is being faced with trepidation and with hope. My answer: "Without God there is no hope; With God there is no fear." Therefore, there is no trepidation.

This is the substance of faith and trust. How can I have trepidation, fear, worrisome attitude and character if in my heart I have the assurance that God is protecting me, meeting my needs, and sheltering me from the fiery darts of the enemy?

We are taught in the Bible not to be unaware of how the enemy operates. We watch, pray, and remain connected with God through His Word and Prayer--our daily vitamins of strength.

As Christians, we must come to the place of not being double minded. Either God is our protector and supply, or the world politics and economy is our source. We cannot trust both. For me I will believe the report and Word of the Lord. [James 1:8]

May you continue to draw closer to Him who made and supplies all things, believing and trusting. The present situations of life will go and others come in, the world as we know it will change and other things take their place. BUT THE GOD of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob; the GOD of the New Testament shall never change.

Remember: Everything begins with one word and one step; point yours in the direction of success!

A Fiery Flame For His Service,
Susan Storm Smith