I Don’t Dig Devotionals Much

The following is from an email I sent to some of my younger siblings in Christ whom I dearly love.

A powerful reminder to us who are in Christ:

“His divine power has given us everything required for life and godliness through the knowledge of Him who called us by His own glory and goodness. By these He has given us very great and precious promises, so that through them you may share in the divine nature, escaping the corruption that is in the world because of evil desires. For this very reason, make every effort to supplement your faith with goodness, goodness with knowledge, knowledge with self-control, self-control with endurance, endurance with godliness, godliness with brotherly affection, and brotherly affection with love. For if these qualities are yours and are increasing, they will keep you from being useless or unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.” (2 Peter 1:3-8 HCSB)

Family I beg you, do not neglect the Word of God. I’m going to boldly say if your “quiet time” only consists of a devotional, you’re becoming religious rather than relational.

I’m not saying devotionals are evil, but I am saying they are very limiting and potentially dangerous for the believer who replaces the Word with a devotional.

Many devotionals give you a snippet of Scripture and a thought and/or prayer to consider. There’s three problems with this set-up:

1.) A snippet of Scripture is baby food.

This may be okay for a lunch break at work or school, but for your quality time with God?

2.) The author is interpreting Scripture for you, but what if their take is wrong, or rather shallow?

There may be much more layers to that passage (there usually are), but now you’re only getting a taste of the revelation they were shown by the Holy Spirit. But what if you prayed and studied the passages on your own, asking the Holy Spirit to teach you and speak to you? Don’t you think you might get more out of this time than the devotional?

3.) They are giving you a prayer to recite so now your prayer is a quick two sentences that isn’t being personally led by the Holy Spirit, or at least quenches the Spirit, because you say it and then move on with your day

Prayer is intimate. Prayer is insanely powerful. When we base our times in prayer on whatever our devotional tells us to pray, we are totally missing out, and God is missing us.

Imagine every time you spoke to your best friend, it was a two minute (if that) conversation. Basically, these devotional prayers are like the quick, unintentional, chit-chat conversations we have with people we don’t know very well.

When we go deeper in prayer, it’s like the long, intense conversations we have with our close friends that give us revelation and deeper insight into who both of us are, and there’s usually something accomplished in those longer, intentional conversations; whether it be a greater understanding about a personal issue, guidance as to what we should do, a greater love and compassion for each other, getting help with math homework, or a acquiring a new beta reader, something is accomplished in those deeper conversations, things are revealed.

This is what happens in intentional prayer where you make time for God and ask the Holy Spirit to give you the words.

Jesus didn’t talk about the persistent widow who kept pestering the unjust judge for justice for no reason. The bible doesn’t mention Christ spending hours in prayer for no reason. It doesn’t say the “fervent” prayer of the righteous accomplishes much for no reason.

So, my beloved siblings in Christ, my challenge for you is to go deeper in your Bible time and prayer time. Draw near to God, and then He will draw near to you.

Love you guys! Praying for you.

Natasha

I’m A Christian Who Often Gets Messed Up Dreams

The proud have forged a lie against me, But I will keep Your precepts with my whole heart. (Psalms 119:69 NKJV)

Do you ever get nightmares, Christian? Do you often get dreams where you do sinful things that you know you would not do in real life? Do you wake up after the fact feeling guilty and asking God for forgiveness?

I do.

The enemy loves attacking me while I sleep. 98% of the time when I dream, it’s always an attack, a lie, an assault on my subconscious. There’s usually a struggle, like I’m not really engaging it, or if I’m about to I stop and speak truth, reality. Then the demons take their masks off and I start rebuking.

But when these dreams occur, I usually fast after waking up and then it stops for maybe two weeks and then the demons are back. Since it’s so frequent, I may have to begin this routine:

“I rise before the dawning of the morning, And cry for help; I hope in Your word. My eyes are awake through the night watches, That I may meditate on Your word.” (Psalms 119:147, 148 NKJV)

Our God is so faithful to speak to us when we read His Word. I make it a point now to read His Word while I’m in bed after I’m awake. Then I’ll read more. So yesterday and today, I decided to read Psalms 119. And all these verses jump off the page and speak to my heart regarding the messed up dreams I had throughout the early morning:

“The wicked have laid a snare for me, Yet I have not strayed from Your precepts. Your testimonies I have taken as a heritage forever, For they are the rejoicing of my heart. I have inclined my heart to perform Your statutes Forever, to the very end. You are my hiding place and my shield; I hope in Your word. Depart from me, you evildoers, For I will keep the commandments of my God!” (Psalms 119:110-112, 114, 115 NKJV)

So if you get attacked with demonic dreams, suggestive or sinful dreams, may you pray these Scriptures and fast.

Don’t buy into the lies the enemy feeds you about yourself subconsciously. Since he can’t get you to do it in reality, I guess he tries to sell you on the ideas through dreams.

Just continue to set your heart on obedience to God, cleansing your mind through His Word, and chasing away the demons by fasting.

Praying for you,

Natasha

Feel Like Throwing In The Towel For That Person You’re Praying For?

If we judge the outcome of a situation based on what we see or what we’ve always known, we are judging with human wisdom, not God’s wisdom.

God looked at Gideon, in the weakest of tribes at the time, a cowardly man, and called him a mighty warrior. God didn’t judge him by even his present fearful condition. God, in His omniscience, saw Gideon for what he was to become in the future.

God looked at big-mouthed Peter before he even surrendered his life to Him and said he would be a rock that will be used to build the church.

God looked at Saul when he was an ardent persecutor of Christians, and said of him, “this man is My chosen instrument to take My name to Gentiles, kings, and the Israelites.” (Acts 9:15)

So may we not write off anyone, for God alone knows the final outcome of their life. May we instead obey God’s command to walk by faith and not by sight, and hope for things not yet seen in those we are praying for.

Someone prayed for you and didn’t give up. Such faith is pleasing to God and can move mountains.

Let us speak life over those we are praying for, no matter how much darkness they are entrenched in, believing that He who is in us is greater than he who is in the world. And our God hears prayer and He answers. He will do His part to reach that lost soul. May we do ours.

Katy Perry: Please Come Home

Dear Kate Hudson,

As I write this, tears blur my vision and fall from my eyes. I don’t know the number of hairs on your head, I’ve never even seen you in person, yet here I am, crying for you. I can’t imagine how Your Creator, the very One who fashioned you in your mother’s womb, who gave you your beautiful big blue eyes, and that incredible voice, the One who wrote every day of your life before a single one of them came to be—I can’t imagine how He must weep for you.

Do you remember the shortest verse in the Bible? “Jesus wept.”

The only way I can rationalize your turning away from so Great a Love is that you must not have truly known Him. How could it be possible to forsake the most perfect, good, amazing Being in the Universe? The Perfect Man who left His heavenly home to live on this dark earth for thirty-three long years and then be brutally beaten and die, suffering hell—eternal separation from God—for all mankind. For you.

How must He feel when He sees what has happened to your heart? How lost you must be, how blind to the fact that Satan laughs because he sees your destruction. He lifts people up only to drag them down. For he hates humans with a perfect hatred. After all, God made us in His very image, and through Christ He offers us all ever Satan wanted—the throne.

Christians are a royal priesthood. Sons and daughters of the Supreme King. He offers us a crown, and the ability to rule alongside Him. This is what Satan wanted, to be exalted, but instead, he was cast down, thrown from heaven, and his end is eternal destruction because of his rebellion.

Do you not see? You may have fame and riches here on earth, but would you truly cast yourself into eternal fire for things that can be taken from you at any second, whenever the Giver and Taker of life decides your time is up?

You must not understand what you’re doing. Satan is the father of all lies. He can be very convincing. But I pray you see the Truth. I pray you understand how God’s wrath abides on the disobedient. How Satan’s demons trembled at the presence of Christ, and how He rules over all. There is no escaping God’s judgement. Do you wish to face Him as Father, or as Sword-bearer?

I’m pleading with you on Christ’s behalf, be reconciled to your Creator. You can forsake death and destruction and be embraced by a Love worth living for.

You may never read this, but know that I am praying for you. But more importantly, know that Jesus truly does love you. And there is no one who will ever come an inch close to loving you as deeply as He does.

I pray you come back home.

Please don’t pray to saints

There are some who most times simply out of ignorance, place “the” saints on a level where they are able to answer prayers. But to you loved ones, I share one of many verses where Apostle Paul calls anyone who has trusted in Christ a saint:

“To the church of God that is in Corinth, to those sanctified in Christ Jesus, called to be saints together with all those who in every place call upon the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, both their Lord and ours: Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.” (1 Corinthians 1:2, 3)

All who trust in Jesus are called saints, but when I die, please don’t pray to me. Absolutely nowhere in Scripture does any believer ever pray to anyone except God Himself. The only thing saints who have died and gone to be with The Lord do is watch what we’re doing and possibly cheer us on. I get this notion from Hebrews:

“And what more shall I say? For time would fail me to tell of Gideon, Barak, Samson, Jephthah, of David and Samuel and the prophets— who through faith conquered kingdoms, enforced justice, obtained promises, stopped the mouths of lions, quenched the power of fire, escaped the edge of the sword, were made strong out of weakness, became mighty in war, put foreign armies to flight. Women received back their dead by resurrection. Some were tortured, refusing to accept release, so that they might rise again to a better life. Others suffered mocking and flogging, and even chains and imprisonment. They were stoned, they were sawn in two, they were killed with the sword. They went about in skins of sheep and goats, destitute, afflicted, mistreated— of whom the world was not worthy— wandering about in deserts and mountains, and in dens and caves of the earth. And all these, though commended through their faith, did not receive what was promised, since God had provided something better for us, that apart from us they should not be made perfect.
Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.” (Hebrews 11:32-12:1-2)

Please note how the writer says, “looking to Jesus.” We are never advised in Scripture to look toward angels or deceased saints. In fact, the Apostle Paul who was one of, if not the most impacting saint to ever walk the earth wrote to the Corinthians:

“I appeal to you, dear brothers and sisters, by the authority of our Lord Jesus Christ, to live in harmony with each other. Let there be no divisions in the church. Rather, be of one mind, united in thought and purpose. For some members of Chloe’s household have told me about your quarrels, my dear brothers and sisters. Some of you are saying, “I am a follower of Paul.” Others are saying, “I follow Apollos,” or “I follow Peter, ” or “I follow only Christ.” Has Christ been divided into factions? Was I, Paul, crucified for you? Were any of you baptized in the name of Paul? Of course not! I thank God that I did not baptize any of you except Crispus and Gaius, for now no one can say they were baptized in my name. (Oh yes, I also baptized the household of Stephanas, but I don’t remember baptizing anyone else.) For Christ didn’t send me to baptize, but to preach the Good News—and not with clever speech, for fear that the cross of Christ would lose its power.”(1 Corinthians 1:10-17)

“I came to you in weakness—timid and trembling. And my message and my preaching were very plain. Rather than using clever and persuasive speeches, I relied only on the power of the Holy Spirit. I did this so you would trust not in human wisdom but in the power of God.”(1 Corinthians 2:3-5)

“Dear brothers and sisters, when I was with you I couldn’t talk to you as I would to spiritual people. I had to talk as though you belonged to this world or as though you were infants in the Christian life. I had to feed you with milk, not with solid food, because you weren’t ready for anything stronger. And you still aren’t ready, for you are still controlled by your sinful nature. You are jealous of one another and quarrel with each other. Doesn’t that prove you are controlled by your sinful nature? Aren’t you living like people of the world? When one of you says, “I am a follower of Paul,” and another says, “I follow Apollos,” aren’t you acting just like people of the world? After all, who is Apollos? Who is Paul? We are only God’s servants through whom you believed the Good News. Each of us did the work the Lord gave us. I planted the seed in your hearts, and Apollos watered it, but it was God who made it grow. It’s not important who does the planting, or who does the watering. What’s important is that God makes the seed grow. The one who plants and the one who waters work together with the same purpose. And both will be rewarded for their own hard work. For we are both God’s workers. And you are God’s field. You are God’s building … Stop deceiving yourselves. If you think you are wise by this world’s standards, you need to become a fool to be truly wise. For the wisdom of this world is foolishness to God. As the Scriptures say, “He traps the wise in the snare of their own cleverness.” And again, “The Lord knows the thoughts of the wise; he knows they are worthless.” So don’t boast about following a particular human leader. For everything belongs to you— whether Paul or Apollos or Peter, or the world, or life and death, or the present and the future. Everything belongs to you, and you belong to Christ, and Christ belongs to God. (1 Corinthians 3:1-9, 18-23)

So, beloved, please do not exalt any of the saints who have passed to a place where you now make requests of them and trust them to work on your behalf. Christ died to remove the veil.
At the time Christ walked the earth, the Jewish Temple was where the Jews offered sacrifices and performed worship according to the law of Moses. In this temple there was one place called the sanctuary and a second place behind a veil or curtain called the Holiest of All–the earthly dwelling place of God’s presence. Only the High Priest, once a year, was able to enter the Holiest of All to offer sin sacrifices for himself and the people, signifying the people were separated from God because of sin, but the moment Christ died on the cross, the Bible tells us:

“And Jesus cried out again with a loud voice, and yielded up His spirit. Then, behold, the veil of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom; and the earth quaked, and the rocks were split …” (Matthew 27:50, 51)

When Christ died, He paved the way for us to enter God’s presence through trusting in His sacrifice, trusting He is the Perfect Son of God who died and rose again for that very purpose, as the book of Hebrews affirms:

“This hope is a strong and trustworthy anchor for our souls. It leads us through the curtain into God’s inner sanctuary. Jesus has already gone in there for us. He has become our eternal High Priest in the order of Melchizedek.”(Hebrews 6:19, 20)

We do not need to request anyone for anything, because of our Precious Savior, our Perfect High Priest, we can go right into God’s Holy Presence to speak to Him and make requests:

“And so, dear brothers and sisters, we can boldly enter heaven’s Most Holy Place because of the blood of Jesus. By his death, Jesus opened a new and life-giving way through the curtain into the Most Holy Place. And since we have a great High Priest who rules over God’s house, let us go right into the presence of God with sincere hearts fully trusting him. For our guilty consciences have been sprinkled with Christ’s blood to make us clean, and our bodies have been washed with pure water.”(Hebrews 10:19-22 NLT)