Fresh Air Blog

Prayer & Angels

Prayer & Angels

“For the eyes of the Lord are on the righteous and his ears are attentive to their prayer, but the face of the Lord is against those who do evil.” 1 Peter 3:12 Stuff happens when we pray!  If we could draw back the spiritual veil, our jaws would drop to see God commissioning His angels to action for us! “Are not all angels ministering spirits sent to serve those who will inherit salvation?” Hebrews 1:14 Satan, mad at being kicked off the angelic prayer loop, resorts to age-old schemes.  Threatened by our faith-expressions, he tries to distract us from unleashing God’s power. “The smoke of incense, together with the prayers of God’s people, went up before God from the angel’s hand.” Revelation 8:4 Our prayers are sacred trusts treasured by God.  I shudder to think how easily I forget to present important requests to Creator God.  That’s why I like prayer journaling.  It keeps me focused. “Yet the news about him spread all the more, so that crowds of people came to hear him and to be healed of their sicknesses.  But Jesus often withdrew to lonely places and prayed.” Luke 5:15, 16 Jesus shows that prayer is the secret to successful ministry.  Why do we expect to get away with less? “But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen.  Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.”  Matthew 6:6 Does this mean we shouldn’t tell people we’re praying for them?  Not necessarily.  It does mean we should check our motives.  Are we telling people to encourage them or are we telling them to pat ourselves on the back? “During the days of Jesus’ life on earth, he offered up prayers and petitions with fervent cries and tears to the one who could save him from death, and he was heard because of his reverent submission.”  Hebrews 5:7,8 Jesus’ prayers were heard for the same reason they were denied: He lived and died in complete submission to the Father. “He withdrew about a stone’s throw beyond them, knelt down and prayed, ‘Father, if you are willing, take this cup from me: yet not my will, but yours be done.’ An angel from heaven appeared to him and strengthened him.”  Luke 22:41-43 A million hallelujahs that God’s flesh and blood paid the price!...

Read More

In My Distress

In My Distress

“In my distress I called to the LORD, and he answered me. From deep in the realm of the dead I called for help, and you listened to my cry.” Jonah 2:2 Jesus Whispers: Your troubles are safe in My ears.  I don’t always answer the way you expect, but I answer.  When people hurt you, don’t carry the burden of judge and jury.  That’s my job.  I’m the only who sees the heart.  Pray for your enemies, leave room for my discipline, and allow my grace to flow through you.   Freely you have received; freely give. When you’re upset because you stepped out my protective covering, repent and call me close.  I’lll set your feet on solid ground and astound you with truth. Even in the midst of sin’s consequences and my loving discipline, I work all things together for your good and my glory.  Stick close with me and you’ll see:  Mercy triumphs over judgement.  So let my peace rule your heart. How has God been there for you when you’ve been distressed?  I’ll do a drawing from the comments below, and one blessed commenter will receive a free copy of A Friend in the Storm.  :...

Read More

Relax When People Are Dying?

Relax When People Are Dying?

“The perseverance of the saints consists in ever new beginnings.”  ~ Alexander Whyte Staring like a morning zombie at the last bucket-sized mound of Minnesota snow in our backyard, I collapse on our family swing and enjoy the budding trees and chorusing birds.  Ah, yes…  Finally the semblance of spring! Why can’t every day be a bird-chirping, sit-in-the sun kind of day?  Who invented stress anyway? How’d you do it, Lord?  How did you bear the weight of the world, the sentence of shame and death, a teacher’s worst time-line (three years to turn your disciples into world-changers), without taking a stress or time-management class? Imagine His job description: Must possess the ability to remain peaceful and trusting in the midst of mocking, false-accusations, loss of loved ones, betrayal by friends, and persecution. As I absorb the sun, it strikes me that I have spiritual brothers and sisters in places like China, who, at this very moment, are being tortured for their faith.  How can I relax when I think of that?  I’m supposed to pray, aren’t I? I’m with You and I’m with them.  Worship Me first. The thought comes as loud as a train in the distance, as warm as a chorus of children at recess. Friend of this blog… perhaps you’d like to respond to the Maker with me… Lord, thank you we can worship You wherever we are, whatever is happening.  Thank you for choosing us, loving us, saving us. We need You like the air we breathe.  As we celebrate You, help us persevere with joy. To make us effective, download in us, through the power of Your Holy Spirit, Your stamina, wisdom, balance, purpose, passion, Holiness and zeal ~ but most of all, Your love, right here, right now, for today and the new beginnings ahead. Speaking of love… Lord, be with our brothers and sisters who are being persecuted.  Thank you that we’re connected to them through Your blood and through the power of prayer. Help them to stand strong as lighthouses on a rock.  Be their hope.  Be our hope…  that together, with them, we may be living, breathing, walking, talking examples of Your big-picture purpose to a lost and dying world that, without You, has every true reason for stress. In the Name of Your Son, whose powerful Name we will sing and shout forever:  The Name of Jesus Christ,...

Read More

Overly Eager for Heaven?

Overly Eager for Heaven?

“Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God.  Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things.  For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God.”  Colossians 3:1-3 “Since everything will be destroyed in this way, what kind of people ought you to be?  You ought to live holy and godly lives as you look forward to the day of God and speed its coming.”  2 Peter 3:11-12 Sounds clear enough to me: We’re supposed to be “heavenly-minded,” living to die and dying to live; but the question remains: can we be overly eager for heaven?  How can we tell if we’re off balance? I have a friend who became so depressed after losing a loved one that all he thinks about is dying and escaping the hell he feels on earth.  Although depression is a normal stage of grief, my friend has been stuck five years without showing hope of change. Although it isn’t my job to judge, I consider it my responsibility as a loving sister in Christ to gently nudge him toward getting help.  Something is off balance.  I believe he needs to ask the elders of his church to lay hands on him and pray for him (James 5:14).  I also believe he needs to seek help from a wise Christian counselor, psychologist or psychiatrist (Proverbs 12:15). To determine if we’re too anxious for heaven, we need to ask the Holy Spirit to examine our hearts and show us what mostly drives and motivates us – love or hate? “But if I live, I can do more fruitful work for Christ.  So I really don’t know which is better.  I’m torn between two desires: I long to go and be with Christ, which would be far better for me.  But for your sakes, it is better that I continue to live. Knowing this, I am convinced that I will remain alive so I can continue to help all of you grow and experience the joy of your faith.  And when I come to you again, you will have even more reason to take pride in Christ Jesus because of what he is doing through me.”  Philippians 1 22-26 (NLT) After a season of grief we need to remember there’s a reason why we’re still...

Read More

De-stressing

De-stressing

If anyone had reason to worry or panic it was holocaust survivor, Corrie ten Boom; but she held her peace because she needed it to face her impossible challenges. So do we. Life is hard, time is short, people need us.  We need peace. Worry’s tough to kick because it clings under the pretense that it’s actually doing something (other than leaching our strength.) People spend big bucks on stress management, but Jesus gives us the keys: Be eternity-minded. Adjust your perception to match Mine.  “Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me… My yoke is easy, and My burden is light.” Matthew 11:29-30 Don’t fear man.  Fear and reverence Me. Don’t get wrapped up in tomorrow. Trust Me.  Don’t lean on your own understanding. In all your ways, acknowledge Me, and I will direct your path. Proverbs...

Read More