Big Prayer = Big Peace

Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus (Philippians 4:6–7, ESV).

Throughout the day we need little arrow prayers—quick prayers in the car, in the office, in the kitchen. When we “pray without ceasing” (1 Thessalonians 5:17), we are connected to the Lord. But these quick-fire prayers, though important, don’t yield the deepest peace.

Nor does ritual praying. Mindless repetition is unbiblical and won’t bring you peace. Little prayers yield little peace; Big prayers yield big peace.

If you want peace, you must pray biblically. Here’s a practical checklist: fervent prayer, by yourself, out loud, kneeling down, with a list. If you pray like that for five or ten minutes, a river of peace will rush down. Peace is coming like a flood to a person praying fervently to the Lord.

The enemy of your peace is anxiety. And if you are living crippled by anxiety, that suggests your prayer life could use some focused improvement. Review the past month of your life. Have you been fretting over some things? Fearful? Anxious? Worried? Those feelings most likely increased as you moved further and further from your last, fervent prayer time with God.

On a scale of one to ten, how would you rate your prayerfulness over the past month? A score of ten means you are rocking your world several times per day with faith-filled, awesome prayer. Zero means . . . zero. A prayer vacuum in your life. Perhaps you can’t even recall the last time you knelt down and prayed out loud fervently with a list.

On the same scale of one to ten, rate your anxiety level. Zero means you are calm. Nothing deeply divides you. Though bad things happen to you, they don’t rob you of peace. Ten equates to frequently freaking out, crippled by cares, and no peace.

Now notice the correlation. The lower your score in prayer—the higher your score in anxiety. The higher your score in prayer—the lower your score in anxiety. Where fervent prayer abounds, peace abounds.

If you want to lower your score in anxiety, the solution is to raise your score in prayer. This isn’t a mystery. It’s not a function of personality, as if some people are natural pray-ers and others missed out on that gene. Philippians 4:6 clearly links anxiety and prayer. “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.” When anxiety goes up, you must pray it back down.

Whose Slave Are You?

But thanks be to God, that you who were once slaves of sin have become obedient from the heart to the standard of teaching to which you were committed, and, having been set free from sin, have become slaves of righteousness. I am speaking in human terms, because of your natural limitations. For just as you once presented your members as slaves to impurity and to lawlessness leading to more lawlessness, so now present your members as slaves to righteousness leading to sanctification (Romans 6:17–19, ESV).

If you do whatever your boss says, without hesitation or question, then for all intents and purposes you are your boss’s slave. If you do whatever your spouse wants without evaluating or considering if that is really best, you’re a slave to your spouse. And if you do whatever your sinful nature says, without resisting or discerning the wisdom in that choice, you are a slave to your sinful nature.

We can be enslaved to countless sins. To illustrate, let’s visit the sin Rolodex, flip to the letter “S,” and survey just a few of the sins we find there:

  • Stuff. Some are slaves to stuff: more money, newer car, nicer clothes, bigger house, more, more, more. Consumed with acquisition, they are slaves to things.
  • Sexuality. Some focus almost exclusively on sex. Sexuality is a gift from God but has been perverted in their thinking. They’re slaves to the sin of immoral sexual thoughts and actions.
  • Substances. Some seem to be powerless against substances: alcohol, tobacco, legal and illegal drugs, caffeine, sugar. Addicted and unable to say no, they’re slaves to a substance.
  • Someone. Sometimes people wield undue influence, even outright control, over others. The slave is controlled by and addicted to securing the approval of another. A slave is willing to do whatever is wanted, and this is another form of bondage.

Ironically, Christianity is often viewed as too restrictive. Because they do not know God, they view His rules as bondage. On the contrary, his boundaries are designed to protect us, and can’t compare to the bondage of being a slave to sin. Which brings us to the reality of our options: to be “slaves of sin” (6:17) or “slaves of righteousness” (6:18), with the consuming desire to do what God the Master wants.

Whose slave are you? Here’s how you can tell whether you’re a slave to righteousness:

  • You are acutely aware of unrighteousness in you. When you sin, you feel conviction. Your heart grieves and you feel badly for breaking God’s standard. When you set your eyes on something inappropriate, say cruel or filthy words, or make a wrong choice, you feel specific conviction.
  • You can’t ignore personal sin and have to make it right. When the Holy Spirit convicts you of a specific sin, you feel the need to ask God to forgive you and those you have offended or injured: “I’ve sinned against you, and I’m truly sorry. Please forgive me.”
  • You want to please Jesus. Can you honestly say you think of Christ a lot—not every moment, but every day? Real slaves of righteousness have the Holy Spirit inside them prompting, Would this choice be pleasing to Jesus? Is this what He wants me to do?

So whose slave are you? Do you resonate more with the description of bondage to sin—enslaved to stuff or sexuality or substance or someone or [fill in the blank]? Or are you a slave to righteousness?

Paul calls us to: “Examine yourselves, to see whether you are in the faith. Test yourselves” (2 Corinthians 13:5). If you aren’t bearing the fruit of righteousness—not perfectly, but increasingly—then you must question whether you have ever been “set free from sin [to] become slaves of righteousness” (Romans 6:18). You can’t have it both ways: you can’t be a slave to sin and a slave to God.

You were created to communicate with God


Philippians 4:6-7 – Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.


The Bible teaches that God created us. We aren’t the result of atoms and molecules randomly running into each other. We aren’t arbitrary. We’ve been deliberately designed. There’s forethought, there’s a plan, there’s intelligence, and there’s logic behind what and who we are.

Why is it so important for us to know this? Because where there’s design there’s also direction. Where there’s a purpose there’s also a program. When God created us, He created us with something in mind; to be and to live a certain way. What we are dictates what we should do. Essence drives activity. Construction determines function.

Here’s what we need to note next: God created us to be social beings. We see this illustrated by the fact that the first thing God made after He created the first human was another human! He didn’t leave man alone for very long because man wasn’t designed to exist in complete solitude or total isolation.

All of us were designed to interact, to commune, to communicate. Communication is God’s direction and program for us. It’s what He designed us to do…and we instinctively do it. Just look at the surge we’ve seen in cell phones, text messaging, and websites. What’s the underlying impulse that draws young and old, from Pole to Pole, to these things? It’s our embedded impulse to communicate, to converse, and to connect.

The Mystery of God’s Will by Charles Swindoll


Several decades ago, I read a book entitled The Mystery of God’s Will by Charles Swindoll. The book made an incredible impression on me and I took notes like crazy! I’ve carried those notes with me ever since, in order to remind me of where I can always improve my walk with God. I’ve listed those notes (at a high level) here; I hope and pray that these brief notes will drive you to this book and that it inspires you as much as it did me.

God’s Way

We can never fully comprehend God’s ways with our finite minds. He’s the potter and we are the clay. True faith is obedience without any fear or hesitation. God’s decreed will is running its course precisely. We cannot know this decreed will ahead of time; only after it occurs. God’s decreed will is absolute, unchangeable, unconditional, and always in His plan (and it’s always best). God’s permissive will is allowing things to occur; and it is definitely the will of God.

To do things God’s way requires obedience. Some things God says not to do (i.e., ten commandments). Some things God says all Christians must do: Obey parents, Marry a Christian, Work an occupation, Support your family, Give to The Lord’s work and to the poor, Rear your children by God’s standards, Meditate on scriptures, Pray, Have a joyful attitude, Assemble for worship, Proclaim Christ, Set proper values, Have a spirit of gratitude, Display love, Accept all people, and Follow God’s Word.

God’s Leading

God leads through His written word, by prompting of the Holy Spirit, through counsel of the wise, and through inner assurance of peace. Faith requires action on our part: Sometimes we need a major change of direction, not necessarily because we’re going in an evil direction but it’s just not the direction God wants for us. God doesn’t want us to substitute good for the very best.

Faith is obeying The Lord when unsure of the outcome. God wants us to walk by faith, not by sight. You are not on this earth, as a child of God, to please your family members or friends. Doing God’s will may mean persecution (Noah) – don’t expect approval of others. Walking by faith may feel lonely, or futile, but God will use you in His special plan. Doing God’s will means leaving the familiar for the unknown (Abraham). Ministry that costs nothing accomplishes nothing. God alone knows our future and there is nothing better than His will.

God’s Sovereignty

If man’s opinion is too significant to us, God may not be sovereign to us. God’s clear, pristine message to us is this: I am in charge, My way is right, and I am reigning sovereignly over you.

Our God is sovereign, which means He has a total, clear perspective. He sees the end from the beginning. There is no match on earth or in heaven. He entertains no fears, has no ignorance and has no needs. He has no limitations and always knows what’s best. He never makes a mistake. He will bring everything to a purposeful conclusion and ultimate goal. He is invincible, immutable, infinite, and self-sufficient. His judgments are unsearchable and his ways unfathomable. He is able to create rather than invent, direct rather than wish, control rather than hope, guide rather than guess, and fulfill rather than dream. – God and God alone can do these things!

God’s Plans

God’s predetermined plan is fixed. We enter a world where the essential parts of our existence are already a part of God’s history. His will is always the safest, most rewarding place to live.

There are five steps to hear from God, or as Swindoll states, “read God’s lips”:

  • Accepting frame of mind, free of stress and anxiety. You must remain open, teachable, sensitive, and available.
  • Biblical investigation. God’s will is never contrary to God’s word. Use your concordance, study God’s precepts and principles, and spend time with God. You can read God’s lips much more easily if you spend sufficient time in His word.
  • Clarification and conviction from the Holy Spirit. God’s Spirit works within us like an inner compulsion. Be patient, God’s timing is perfect, and He knows His perfect plan for us. Often, the bigger the decision, the longer the wait.
  • Determine if peace is occurring. Do you have peace? If you don’t have peace, you’re not there yet.
  • Expect struggles and surprises: The will of God may mean work. Be still and have peace. This is the will of God and it is mysterious!

God’s Faithfulness

God is faithful to stay right where he is. When we compromise the truth, God doesn’t move; we do. The Lord’s loving-kindness never ceases. The Lord’s Compassions never fail. The Lord’s faithfulness never diminishes. God doesn’t call you into situations to be compared to someone else. The success that follows doing God’s will rests with God, not you.

God’s Surprises

God’s preferred method is surprise – expect it. His surprises require flexibility and adaptability; the process of internal development. Surprises have purposes. Pray, “What can I learn from this?” Surprises from God teach us to think theologically. Most of life is learning and growing, falling and getting back up, forgiving and forgetting, and accepting and moving on.

God opens and shuts doors. You may feel His leading, and invest resources, and then bang the door shuts. It’s often difficult to know why. God reveals His will only in the pages of His word. With prayer, the word, the Spirit’s dwelling within us, and wise counsel, we need nothing more than willing hearts. Once you feel God starting to lead you, immediately pray. Doors are closed, doors are opened, and lives are changed. Human understanding is very limited. Quit trying to make everything humanly logical. The will of God is that we ultimately become more like Christ. Think theologically. And be ready for the surprises of God.

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Share Jesus with Others

Mark 16:15 – [Jesus] said to them, “Go into all the world and preach the good news to all creation.” 

 SJWF pic

I have taught Share Jesus without Fear for years at FBC Kissimmee,

According to Bill Fay, it takes an average person 7.6 times of hearing the gospel before making a decision to follow Christ. One of those times could be from you!

God has not asked us to change a person’s life; WE CANNOT do so anyway, but He’s called us to plant seeds of faith in others. God is glorified when we share His plan with His creation. He created each of us to have a relationship with Him and many don’t even know they have a Creator.

Praise God and glorify Him by telling somebody about Him this week!

Try to Grasp This…


More than one million planets the size of Earth could fit inside the volume capacity of the Sun. Did you grasp that??? When we consider the vast size of our universe, we don’t even have a mental template for gauging just how big things are. The size and grandeur of God’s created universe are mind-blowing.

Jesus Christ created all that. And not only is Christ the one who spoke these gigantic celestial bodies into existence, galaxy after galaxy—the One “by whom all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible”—He is also the One who sustains all this vast infrastructure of creation by His wisdom and power. “In him all things hold together.”

Scientists studying individual atoms encounter the mystery and complexity of how seemingly repellent forces can remain in one piece—what has been named the “strong nuclear force.” Why, in the case of the atom, do they stay in one piece? Why doesn’t it all fly completely apart?

The bottom line—and not as simplistic an answer as it might seem like—is, “in him all things hold together.”

And what if He stopped holding everything together? In the book of 2 Peter, we learn that “the day of the Lord”—the time of the Father’s judgment, to be implemented at the Father’s direction—“will come like a thief, and then the heavens will pass away with a roar, and the heavenly bodies will be burned up and dissolved, and the earth and the works that are done on it will be exposed” (2 Peter 3:10). One day everything is coming completely unglued in an explosive, nuclear blowout, such as no apocalyptic movie could adequately depict. Christ is going to withdraw His sustaining influence in the universe, and all humankind will see what’s been holding us together all along—not a what, but a who.

How thankful are you that Christ, who is “before all things,” who needed absolutely nothing outside of His eternal relationship within the Godhead to fulfill Him, chose to create this world? And this cosmos? And you? And how thankful are you that He “upholds the universe by the word of his power” (Hebrews 1:3)?

So when He lays claim to your heart, saying “I am the Lord, and there is no other” (Isaiah 45:18), how do you respond to His authority? Does His command feel like a gift or an intrusion?

For each of us, He’s holding our lives and our world together. Let’s be honest—we can’t even brew that first cup of coffee in the morning apart from the biological and mental capacities He’s given us and the physical laws that hold our bodies and coffee mugs intact. Yet some are tempted to respond to Him with indifference, pride, arrogance, or a delusional sense of self-reliance. Don’t fall into that category.

Instead, put Him first, for He is first, preeminent in all things. He not only put you together, but He also holds you together.

For by him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things were created through him and for him. And he is before all things, and in him all things hold together -Colossians 1:16–17

God’s Will vs. the World’s Will

“Because of the proof given by this ministry they will glorify God for your obedience to your confession of the gospel of Christ.”
(2 Corinthians 9:13)

original article by Larry Burkett

It seems evident that many Christians fall victim to worldly success motivation. They have a lot of drive and ambition, but they fail to recognize God’s will for them and, thus, they submit to the world’s will.

Often they spend too much time asking someone else about God’s will for their lives, when it is God they should be asking. Ask those who are truly living God’s plan how they found it, and usually they will say “God just revealed it to me.”

Many times other people helped to point them in the right direction, but just as many tried to talk them out of doing God’s will. God will reveal His plan to those who seek him diligently.

The difficulty is that although Christians sense God’s will for them it may not agree with what they had in mind, particularly in regard to income and ego, so they rationalize their way out of it.

For a while there will be feeling of loss, but with time it passes. The next time, the direction is not quite as strong and it’s easier to ignore. Eventually, God’s call just fades away and the thorns choke out any further direction.

Once a Christian examines his or her life and discovers that the fruitfulness is gone (regardless of income), it is certain that God’s will has been bypassed and another master has become Lord. There are no quick, simple solutions to resolving this condition. Only earnest, honest prayer and petition will restore that sensitivity to the Holy Spirit’s guidance.

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Why Are You Here?

Do you know why you’re here? On earth? Have you thought much about that lately?

At this point in history, it’s easy to just skim information, watch random video clips, or amuse ourselves with whatever’s trending. The Bible, however, speaks of inescapable realities that are much more important than whatever’s streaming on your device at the moment.

Such as, Why are you here? Do you know? Because that’s what matters. And that’s what God’s Word is here to show you.

“Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds.” (James 1:2, esv) This single verse, though perhaps not a direct answer to that question, gives us clues as to why we’re here. It indicates that we are not here just for laughs, to run a successful business, to become well-known or famous, or to earn a name for ourselves. We are here for purposes that require us to go through a lifetime of challenges and tight spots—“trials of various kinds”—so that we can display the superiority of life lived in God.

Mind if I say that one more time? We are here to display the superiority of the life lived in God. That’s a really important sentence. Because as you know, trials and troubles come to all people. They’re a part of everyone’s life. But in how many people do those same trials and troubles produce . . . “joy”?

Joy is not normal. Joy is supernatural. You can’t craft it in your basement or create it through an experience of hard work or pleasure. Joy is something you can only get from God. Therefore, unlike those who don’t know Him or don’t have a genuine faith in Him, believers in Christ are the only ones supernaturally equipped to walk through “trials of various kinds,” generating “joy” in the process.

Joy—a supernatural delight in the person of God, the purposes of God, and the people of God.
—springing up from a genuine worship of His grace, perfection, beauty, love, power, and goodness.
—born of realizing that He is doing something awesome around you all the time, even when you can’t see it or feel it.

That’s why even Christians get cancer. That’s why even Christians go bankrupt. That’s why even Christians can have prodigal kids, suffer chronic back pain, receive rejection letters in the mail, and get into accidents on the freeway. God allows us to face and feel the same things that people who don’t know Him experience, so that we can put on display the joyful distinction of what it means to be His child—what it means to live with hope and eternal perspective.

So press your mind down on that. Think about it hard today. In light of what’s happening to you right now, and in light of why you’re here, what can you do in this moment to best display the superiority of life with God?

Treat Everyone the Same

Regardless of what we might say, we seldom treat all people equally. In fact, it may not even be possible, since we all have preconditioned biases and prejudices of one kind or another.
As Christians, we must treat everyone the same. If we can’t it’s because we think more highly of ourselves than we should. The apostle Peter said, “I should never think of anyone as inferior” (Acts 10:28 TLB). Everyone is of value to society and of value to the Lord Jesus Christ.
Of course, there are people we may not like to spend time with—because of their attitudes or because we enjoy doing different things. But if we avoid anyone because of a pre-established mindset, then we are bigoted.
We live in a country in which we have the freedom to worship as we please with those who believe the same as we do.
But to ignore someone or mistreat someone because that person is from a different background or skin tone, it is displeasing to God.
God does not see what shade our skin is or what nationality or denomination we are. He looks into our hearts, and it’s what’s in there that matters.
When Jesus gave the commandment to “love one another,” He didn’t add, “if everything about them pleases you.” It was an unqualified commandment.
“A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another, even as I have loved you, that you also love one another” (John 13:34).

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Prayer is anything but boring

“The earnest prayer of a righteous person has great power and produces wonderful results.”

– James 5:16 (NLT)

Prayer.  What does that word evoke in you? For many people, prayer is perceived to be boring, stale, wooden, dusty, dead, or hollow. “Pray? Why would I want to do that when I could do something fun, exciting, or interesting?”

Let’s be honest; we’ve all been there. Maybe we still are. But that isn’t the picture painted for us in the pages of God’s Word. If anything, when we compare the biblical depiction of prayer with our commonly-held opinions, we’d have to conclude that we’ve fallen victim to the most incredible deception of all time.

Perhaps those negative tags apply when it comes to counterfeit prayer, but true prayer could never be described as boring. If that were the case, then the people of prayer in the Scriptures would be boring people who led dull and tedious lives.

Would we consider Joseph or Elijah to be boring men? Was Mary’s life boring? Was Daniel’s, or Ruth’s, or Paul’s, or David’s? How about Jesus? The fact of the matter is this: These people’s biographies were among the most adventurous and action-packed that the world has ever seen. They lived out stuff that even Hollywood couldn’t dream of. Yet prayer was consistently woven throughout their lives, showing us that prayer and adventure go hand in hand.

We need to get away from the mindset that prayer is like trudging across an endless desert of Christian catch-phrases. It’s the most enthralling experience possible on earth, because it brings us into contact with the heart of God, which is anything but boring!