Breakthrough Prayer by Jim Cymbala

Breakthroughs. Something we all want. In our lives, in the lives of those we love, in our neighborhoods, our churches, our cities. We long to see changed, transformed lives.

Jim Cymbala has influenced my prayers for years, starting with Fresh Wind, Fresh Fire; Fresh Power; Fresh Faith; When God’s People Pray and also Breakthrough Prayer.

As always, reviewing the quotes I highlighted in the book brings awesome reminders. First and foremost is absolute necessity of intimacy with my Father. Without it, are my prayers anything more than throwing wishes into the wind? With it, I’m grounded in his promises, aware of his will, and filled with strength and wisdom for his purposes. In this place, I can experience the breakthroughs I desperately want to see.

Quotes:

  • God’s blessing is invincible against all the powers of earth and hell.
  • …we are to ask in prayer for an outpouring of God’s favor.
  • …effective praying often involves more than just saying the right words.  Seeking God with our whole heart is the kind of Bible praying that secures not just answers but the blessing of God that we all need.
  • A tremendous blessing awaits each of us every day in the Word of God!  When we read with a sincere desire to hear God and take his truth to heart by faith, we will receive favor from him.
  • God’s blessing is reserved for those who long with all their would to walk in his light and holiness.
  • God is waiting for us to obey by faith the leadings and promptings he so often gives us.  As we obey, untold divine resources and grace will be provided.
  • Compassion and concern for the downtrodden, then, is not merely part of a “liberal agenda,” but is rooted in the very heart of our Creator.
  • …most of us still live with only the slightest understanding of the most ancient, dynamic source of power there is – the power that comes from prayer.
  • Prayer for conversion is important and it is true that only God can save a soul.  But unless his servants boldly proclaim the gospel, how will the kingdom of God be extended.
  • But when the Lord’s method for accomplishing his purpose includes you and me, then it is both a wonderful privilege and a sacred responsibility for us to respond with faith.
  • Don’t be afraid to ask God for great things.
  • …this who seldom ask receive in proportion to their little faith.
  • Our struggle is to slow down long enough to spend time with God to do two things: ask and listen.
  • The world has yet to see a Christlike, victorious, and fruitful, believer who was not a person of considerable prayer.
  • How often do we spin our wheels, talking and worrying, while the Lord of the universe waits to be invited into the fray?
  • Though we acknowledge that God has plans for us and that his promises reflect his grace and mercy, we don’t realize that he wants us to petition him for the very things he promised.
  • Purpose, promise, prayer
  • We need to realize that the promises that overflow our Bibles will overflow into our own lives only as we appropriate them through prayers.
  • Instead, we are told that prayer brings us before the throne of grace as children seeking the help of their heavenly Father.
  • First… humbling… Second… believe… Third… pure heart… Fourth… assurance.
  • It’s easy to ask God for the things we want and need.  But it’s not so simple to adjust our hearts and lives to his Word.
  • Of course it’s important to hear sound Bible teaching, but the real truth about God should lead people to a life of asking and receiving.
  • But rather than allowing our mountains, however massive, to become obstacles to prayer, we can turn them into opportunities to learn valuable lessons about our level of spiritual maturity and our need to go deeper with God in prayer.
  • Sound doctrine that yields faithless living and no prayer is no doctrine at all.
  • … he is always ready to help those who call out to him in believing prayer.
  • The only indisputable proof that God’s grace is at work in us is the spiritual fruit we produce.
  • Without love, every form of religious observance is worthless.
  • The sign of God’s presence is always love.
  • The greatest deception of all… is the idea that we can represent and preach Christ while being strangers to his heart of love.
  • After we pray or step out in obedience, things may get worse before they get better!
  • Often, standing on God’s promises involves more than we bargained for.
  • We act on his promise, and the testing begins.
  • When we hold on to God’s word, we will always witness a day when the Lord says, “Now you will see what I will do!”
  • … how beautiful they can become as Jesus begins his work in them.
  • Only the Holy Spirit can inspire us to pray effectually and he uses various means to accomplish his purpose.
  • … serious prayer is born out of a sense of need, out of the knowledge that we must ask God to intervene.
  • This is the process the Lord often uses – working out his plans through weak human beings who feel compelled by their need to pray.
  • Follow the Spirit’s leading and ignore everything that discourages you from trusting the Lord.
  • These are some of the mysteries of prayer that God never fully explains.  Still he gives spiritual insight to those who spend time with him at the throne of grace.
  • We should pray for spiritual renewal across the land not so much for the blessings it will bring us, but so that God’s name may be exalted.
  • Lack of prayer translates into lack of peace no matter how knowledgeable we are about the Bible.
  • …regular praying costs something, but the cost of not praying is much higher.
  • Just because God loves the world doesn’t mean he has lost his holy hatred of sin.  Let’s pray for a spiritual revival that will clean the church of unholy practices!
  • Isn’t it a solemn matter to consider that what some call “tolerance” God judges to be high treason!
  • …the great majority of God’s promises have conditions attached to them.
  • …the fulfillment of God’s promises often depends on our walking before him in sincerity and truth.
  • An attentive, willing heart is the great need of the hour.
  • The enemy knows that the best way to breach your spiritual immune system is by attacking your faith.  Once your faith is undermined, you become an easy target for a variety of spiritual maladies.
  • We constantly hear about the need for solid teaching and proper leadership in a church, but when was the last time the “gift of encouraging” received its proper due?
  • …it is a real  blessing to have fellowship with believers whose faith is so vibrant that it rubs off on me.
  • “What has the Lord given you lately from his Word?”
  • When sermons, teaching,s and exhortations don’t build up people’s faith, they are not from God, no matter how many Bible verses are quoted.
  • …intercessory prayer touches God with one hand while reaching out to those being prayed for with the other.
  • Encouraging others through prayer is both a privilege and a responsibility.
  • We have an abundance of teachers, singers, musicians, worship leaders and administrators, but a critical shortage of those who will devote themselves to this sacred calling.
  • Folks who have little appetite to be with other believers have, in fact, little appetite for Christ.
  • …fear and timidity are never God’s will forms people.
  • Not only can God protect us from danger, but he can also rescue us from the nagging fear of what might happen to us.
  • “Trying harder” to do the right thing is not what’s needed. Instead, we must have faith in what God can and will do for us.
  • When it comes to being led by the Lord, there are no simple formulas that apply to every situation.
  • If we are going to break through into new power in prayer and service to others, we must make a deeper acquaintance with the Holy Spirit of God.
  • Without being Spirit-led, we cannot possibly live victoriously for Christ.
  • …nothing produces spiritual results like being led by the Spirit.
  • When is the last time you heard someone pray, “lord, fill me with the joy you promised me”?
  • Many people plod through their days with a sour, irritable spirit that is corrosive to themselves and others.
  • Real joy is not mere “happiness,” a feeling that fluctuates with our circumstances. Rather, it is a deep inner delight in God that only the Holy Spirit can produce.
  • If we are going to walk victoriously by faith, we must maintain a daily spirit of joy in the Lord.
  • …those who live closest to God are the most joyful people on the planet.
  • When we are full of God’s joy, eery ordinary day becomes a happy celebration of his goodness.
  • …we must rejoice in the Lord in everything we put our hands to.
  • As you open your heart to compassion and mercy, God will do exceedingly beyond what you can ever ask or think.
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Re: Remove

Obstacles. They stand in our way. Thwart our plans. Cause us to stumble. Change our course.

Sometimes the obstacles are good. Detours the Lord wants us to take. Investments he wants us to make. Lives he wants us to touch.

Sometimes the obstacles are distractions from what we should be doing. Diversions that keep us from being disciplined. Interruptions that pull our attention from where it needs to be.

Sometimes the obstacles seem like mountains.

Looming over us. Between us and our goal.

Do we go over them? Or under them? Or do we tell them to move?

The idea brings to mind the scene in The Lord of the Rings, The Fellowship of the Ring when the Fellowship must cross the Mountains of Moria. The mountain, Caradhras, thwarts the Fellowship’s attempts to go over and forces them to go under, through the Mines, where they encounter further danger from the mountain.

But in the end, they make it to the other side.

We may not have to fight snowstorms and avalanches or orcs and the balrog, but there are plenty of mountains in our life.

So I call out to God, reminding him of his promises.

“And I will make my mountains into level paths for them.
    The highways will be raised above the valleys.” Isaiah 49:11

Thank you, Father, for the things you remove in my life that keep me from following you and doing what you’ve call me to do.

…let us strip off every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily trips us up. And let us run with endurance the race God has set before us. Hebrews 12:1

Thank you, Father, for showing me what needs to go, what’s tripping me, what’s slowing me down.

Seek his will in all you do, and he will show you which path to take. Proverbs 3:6

Thank you, Father, for guiding me and showing me the way.

 

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He Loves Me by Wayne Jacobsen

He Loves Me

I read He Loves Me for a bible study a few years ago and it provided another step in understanding the relationship my heavenly Father desires to have with me. Which is an amazing concept. In the years since, God has continued me on this journey and drawn me from a Creator – Created, King – subject, God – worshiper experience to a Father – beloved daughter relationship. It is a beautiful place to be. And it’s a place I want to invite others.

One thing I have come to realize, fear may motivate but love captivates. And I am captivated by the God who loves me.

There are so many great quotes and I’ve included a few. He Loves Me! culminates in the fact that once we receive the love God has for us and live in it, trusting him in all things, that out of that place of abundance our love can flow toward others. Suddenly, we are no longer operating out of a place of needing from, expecting, or judging others. Instead, receiving all we need from our Father, we can extend love and grace. Because we’re living loved.

Quotes:

  • …incredibly few believers live each day as if the God of the universe has great affection for them.
  • The pull of religion can be far stronger than the freedom of relationship.
  • I have observed all over the world that those who discover the depth of the Father’s affection for them and learn to live in it find greater passion for Jesus and freedom from sin and are more engaged with the world than anyone driven by religious obligation.
  • Nothing fulfills his purpose more than when his love overwhelms you, then transforms you, and then leads you through the rest of your life as a reflection of his glory in the earth.
  • Truly God has never acted toward us in any way other than with a depth of love that defies human understanding.
  • …perception is not necessarily reality.  If we define God only in our limited interpretation of our own circumstances, we will never discover who he really is.
  • He does love you more deeply than you’ve ever imagined; he has done so throughout your entire life.
  • Learning to trust him like that is not something any of us can resolve in an instant; it’s something we’ll grow to discover for the whole of our lives.
  • – the freedom to be honest, to laugh, to ask the seemingly stupid question, and to relax in one another’s presence.
  • I understand why he had to take on a disguise to have the relationship with people he had always desired.
  • For the first time since he walked the Garden with Adam and Eve, God was among people the way he had always wanted to be.
  • Having just told them that he and the Father were one because the Father was in him, he then invited them into that same relationship.
  • The friendship Jesus shared with his disciples was the model for the relationship he extends to you.
  • How can mere humans enjoy such a friendship with the almighty God who created with a word all we see?
  • What we have not so critically examined is whether or not threatening people with hell engages them in the relationship God has always wanted with them.
  • If you are in this kingdom only because you fear the alternative, you’ve missed the greatest part of what it means to know God.
  • How can we feel safe with a God who is seemingly anxious to dangle us over the flames of hell?
  • He fully reflected the Father’s glory so we might know him as he really is and no longer be victims of our own misinterpretations.
  • His wrath against sin was not his rejection of us in anger, but only a reflection of the depth of his love that cannot look away unconcerned as sin destroys us.
  • Instead of desiring to walk in friendship with him, we are only preoccupied with securing his goodies.  It’s his blessing we want, not him!  How painful that must be for him.
  • There is no one God does not love with all that he is.
  • (About the Father of the Prodigal son) The father’s actions make no sense at all, unless he wanted something more for his son than mere responsible behavior.
  • (Same) He didn’t want his sons’ obedience, but their hearts.
  • In the long run it doesn’t matter whether rebellion or religion keeps you from a vibrant relationship with the Father; the result is still the same.  He is cheated out of the relationship he wants with you, and you never come to know how he feels about you.
  • We so easily miss the point of his words when we mistakenly relegate them to the distant future involving a second coming and mansions in heaven.
  • The cross stands as the pivotal event in opening the door for us to dwell in the Father’s love.
  • It may take a while, but God can help us define his fatherhood based not on the failed record of broken humanity, but on what it really is to be loved by the most awesome Father in the universe.
  • What is the favor line?  It’s the invisible line that tells us whether or not we’ve met enough of someone’s expectations to merit approval.
  • I never knew that God was simply delighted with me as his child.
  • I now know that the key to God’s favor doesn’t rest on what I give him but on what he already has given me.
  • (About Jesus and the Rich Young Ruler) He only wanted him to discover what his attempts to keep the Law already should have – that he didn’t have enough in himself to meet any standard of qualification for God’s life.
  • He simply put all of his confidence in the mercy of the man from God.
  • Anytime we set ourselves above others, we only demonstrate how little we understand God’s mercy.
  • When you are tempted to stake your relationship with God on your own goodness or your sacrifice, don’t even try.  Picture the bar so high that you’ll never find away to clear it.
  • Abandoning our own attempts to establish our won worthiness is central to the power of the gospel.
  • Fear is so powerful that almost all of our human institutions use various forms of it to keep people under control.
  • In a fallen world, fear is the only way to hold society in check.
  • He invited those around him to a God who loved them completely and to a kingdom more valuable than anything they had ever known.  He didn’t use their fears because he knew that fear was part of the problem, even their fear of God.  Though it might be easily manipulated to secure a temporal response, it would never be enough to bring them to the fullness of his Father’s glory.
  • Love lies at the very core of God’s nature.
  • when that love touches you, you will discover there is nothing more powerful in the entire universe.
  • this Father doesn’t just seek your obedience, he desires your affection. He can have your obedience without your love, but he knows where he has your love he will also have your obedience.
  • But fear isn’t in God’s nature. He fears nothing. Thus his own holiness is produced not by his fear, but by his love. In fact, fear cannot produce the holiness God wants to share with us. It is incapable of doing so. For God to transfer us to be like him, he must expel our fear and teach us the wonder of living in his love.
  • …it is so critical to understand Jesus’ death on the cross as an act of love for you. .. If you see it only as God satisfying his justice, then you unwittingly empty the cross of its power.
  • But God knew their disobedience was only a symptom of something he cared about far more deeply.
  • Their unity flows from the fact that they absolutely love and trust one another.
  • God knew that love could flourish only where trust does.
  • …he gave them the greatest of all possible gifts-the potential to enter into a free and loving relationship with the God of the universe.
  • God didn’t plant that tree to spell out our demise, but to allow us the freedom that would make relationship with him meaningful.
  • God sees something redemptive even in letting us fail. He seems less concerned about our mistakes than how we respond to them.
  • Only by learning to trust him would they experience the deepest longing of their hearts.
  • For his plan was not to satisfy some need in himself at his Son’s expense, but rather to satisfy a need in us at his own expense.
  • He could no longer be the Friend who walked with them in the Garden because their own sense of shame would cause them to cower whenever he approached.
  • The friendship he desired with his creation was thwarted. Instead of seeking his friendship, people thought only to appease him-doing enough good to somehow convince themselves that they were worthy of his favor.
  • It would not be the act of appeasement to an angry God by any sacrifice we could give, but an act of a loving God to sacrifice himself for those who were held captive in sin.
  • Shame craves covering.
  • There is only one covering that will save us from ourselves, and it is Jesus himself.
  • When difficulties press in around us, we are most likely to doubt God’s motives toward us.
  • The cross alone could not kill Jesus.
  • God has never run from sinful humanity…It is not that God cannot bear to look on sin, but that we in our sin can’t bear to look on God.
  • (Jesus) didn’t just deal with our sins, but with the ver nature of sin itself (that self-preferring, self-trusting nature that puts itself above God).
  • Jesus became sin for us precisely because we were powerless to deal with it ourselves.
  • …God’s perspective doesn’t focus on our sins as much as it focuses on the power of sin itself.
  • No, the cross was not primarily about exacting punishment, it was about prevailing over sin’s power.
  • (God) sees the evil that mars his creation and destroys the people he loves, and he must rid us of it. His wrath consumes evil and wickedness and as such does not exist as the opposite of his love, but as an expression of that love. He must protect and set free the object of his affection.
  • It’s not people God seeks to destroy bu the sin that destroy his people.
  • Even in giving us the freedom to trust him or trust ourselves, God already knew that he would suffer most for our choice. Show to him, the glory of fellowship with his created ones outweighed the price he would pat to set things right.
  • In the utter despair and loneliness of the gut-wrenching agony y of the cross, Jesus did what Adam and Eve could not do while living in the most pristine and beautiful of gardens. He trusted his Father.
  • No longer do we need to hesitate to trust this incredible Father and his intentions toward us, especially when we lose sight of what God is doing in our lives or question his seeming in activity.
  • God never wanted us to trust others. He wanted us to love others but to trust him alone.
  • We don’t enter into his kingdom by a singer’s prayer, going forward at a religious gathering, or reciting an orthodox creed, but by learning to trust who he is and by living in that trust no matter what life hurls at us.
  • Religion offers us the illusion of earning acceptance, but it is only a cheap substitute for the reality of life in him.
  • Our only choice is whether or not to live loved.
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Re: Remind

How good it is to be reminded how much we are loved. Loved by a heavenly Father who went further than the ends of the earth, to the depths of hell to save us. And why? Because he loves us. He delights in us. He wants us to be in relationship with him.

It is also good to be reminded how much we are loved by others. The Lord continually allows me to be a part of demonstrations of love.

Last month I had the joy of being a part of a surprise birthday party for a beautiful friend. She’s the kind of person that when you meet her, you think (at least I did), I want to know her better, I want to be her friend. And over the last couple of years, the Lord answered that quiet prayer of my heart and allowed her to become one of my dear friends. The party room was packed with family and friends who felt the same way. The evening was a beautiful expression of love.

Earlier this year, another dear friend had knee surgery and, living alone, needed some help. After her surgery, her home had a revolving door as friends brought food, spent nights, spent the days, and helped drive her back and forth to doctor appointments. As soon as she was able, she was back in her kitchen cooking and baking for everyone, her expression of love.

Another friend ended up in the hospital from a crazy, hard to even call it an accident, more of a mishap, that eventually had her fighting for her life. Prayer texts blew up our phones all weekend, with those who were in town as well as those who were away. And it was often standing room only in her hospital room as friends came and prayer over her. There’s even suspicion that a couple of angels showed up among us to lead prayer.

Recently, we’ve started sending some notes of love/encouragement to friends we haven’t seen in some time but want to remind they are loved, missed, thought about and prayed for. Because we all need reminders that we are noticed and appreciated.

Tangible acts of love that remind us how much we are loved. Because God first loved us, we can love others. And our love reminds others how much God loves them. Isn’t that a beautiful circle?

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Becoming the Answer to Our Prayers by Shane Claiborne & Jonathan Wilson-Hartgrave

I took Becoming the Answer to our Prayers off the shelf to pull out the quotes I highlighted and write a quick review. And now I want to read it again. I thought the book would be a good companion blog for my week on Rekindle, but it’s not just good, it’s great, it’s perfect. And its calling me to take another look.

Becoming the Answer explores what it means to be community, real community, the community God calls us to be. Shane and Jonathan provide a practical look at putting aside what we want and allowing the Spirit’s fire to ignite in us and spread to a world desperately needing an answer to prayers.

Quotes:

  • Prayer is not so much about convincing God to do what we want God to do as it is about convincing ourselves to do what God wants u to do.
  • The first word of the Lord’s Prayer is Our.  That’s important.  The prayer Jesus taught us is a prayer of community and reconciliation, belonging to a new kind of people who have left the land of “me.”
  • Christian community is the gift of a life that is worthy of God’s name.  Forgetting ourselves, we become the sort of joyful people who hallow God’s name by how we live with one another.
  • The kingdom that we beg God to send “on earth as it is in heaven” is a kingdom of generosity.  And it is contagious.
  • Temptation is part of the exodus adventure.  Temptation is a sign that we are still on our way to the Promised Land.  It reminds us that we have left something good for something better.
  • “Beware of the almost good, for if the devil can’t get you to do bad things, he will get you to settle for the almost good, just short of the good that God has for you.”
  • In his book Life Together, Bonhoeffer observes that the person who loves their dream of community will destroy community, but the person who loves those around them will create community.
  • We have a God who enters the world through smallness.. who values the little offering… who speaks through little people…
  • The love that keeps community alive isn’t the warm-fuzzy you feel… or the little flutter… the love that makes community is the willingness to do someone else’s dirty work.
  • “Everybody wants a revolution, but nobody wants to do the dishes…” the revolution must begin with little acts of love, like washing feet or doing dishes.
  • We are the masters of keeping people breathing, but we know every little about really being alive.
  • …being God’s people together, on mission in the world.
  • Yes, parts of the church are always dying. But what really excites us is the way our God stirs up the ruins, always eager to give new life.
  • One of the greatest witnesses of the church can be our ability to disagree well. The world has not seen many folks who can do that.
  • We are to follow in the footsteps of our rabbi so closely that we get his dust on us.
  • …we are not just called to be candles. We are called to be a fire.
  • We are to be a fire, to weave our lives together so the Spirit’s inferno of love spreads across the earth.

 

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