Is America’s “Resurrection” Delayed?
     Have you ever heard, “Don’t rush the making of a masterpiece?" I am sure you have, but you probably never heard, "Don't rush a resurrection."
Growing up I watched boxing regularly on television it was something my family looked forward to with anticipation. It was the early 70’s and Mohammed Ali was the World Champion of boxing. It seemed the whole world watched boxing on television in those days. I remember it like it was yesterday. The boxing matches were unbelievable. Many adopted his familiar phrase: “I float like a butterfly, sting like a bee.” As their own mantra.
My mother was amused by my enthusiasm. My older sister’s husbands would come over and I would watch the matches with them. I would place bets and gamble like a pro. I loved when they came over because they took me seriously. I was just a little girl, in the thick of a “man’s sport.” But one thing for sure, I was well versed, I knew the names of all the boxers—all month long I would save my change so I could place my bets, often winning. Oddly enough, it was only a season, I moved on in my teen years, my interests change, and my desire to watch boxing came to its end, I haven’t watched a boxing match in decades. But as I think about those years, I think about what I learned—you see, the most remarkable thing about someone like Mohammed Ali, was his “you can't hurt me" fa├žade. He had the world convinced of his bravery.
His familiar phrase: “I float like a butterfly, sting like a bee,” was what defined him.
I would watch as his flattened opponents, try to scramble to their feet. Often way too quickly, and rather than taking the nine-count, or using the time to recover their equilibrium, they often attempted a quick bounce-back. Struggling to convince themselves, the crowd, and their opponent they weren't really hurt. This hurried rising often left them wobbling, staggering, and open prey for a quick kill at the hand of this “sting like a bee” competitor.
What was most incredible about these fights, was when the tables turned and the fighter flattened was Ali. It seemed to be at the end, and then, on the 8 and 9 counts suddenly it was as though infused with power and energy, in a blink, he would shoot straight up off the ground, empowered, and ready to swing with grit and determination and face his opponent. The crowd would roar in amazement and to the surprise and wonder of everyone, with one swing he would prevail over his opponent and the championship would be obtained.
As I read and consider the passage in Matthew 26:53-54, This memory of boxing comes to my mind.
Do you think I cannot call on my Father and he will at once put at my disposal more than twelve legions of angels? But how then would the scriptures be fulfilled that say it must happen in this way?
If Jesus could have called for angels to spare Him the suffering of the Cross, He certainly could have called for an early deliverance from death.
The message of His submission to the Father's timing as well as the Father's plan is not only profound but enormous in its application for our lives.
When we encounter circumstantial "knock-downs" it is natural human nature to attempt a humanly energized "bounce-back" but not God. No, God has His own kind of "mandatory nine-count"
In tragic circumstances like the one our nation is facing today with the COVID-19 plague, the third day rising seems like a fairy tale- a “fake news” of sorts that is, for everyone who is waiting for that great moment of miracle deliverance.
How to wait and trust—the longing of every human heart it’s the 65-million-dollar dilemma. Jesus, don’t take so long. Jesus? Why are you taking so long? Jesus? Please hurry.
Yes, I know we have waited way longer than three days, three weeks, or three months. People are dying, dropping like flies. Where’s the resurrection?
The sorrow and pain of sickness and loss for many has been more than anyone would want to bear, the longing and wishing that God would hurry up with an answer to all the prayers—The fear that taunts in the back of our minds, what if he doesn't show up? What if He won’t come? What if resurrection doesn’t happen? — — very real questions.
But there is one well-established principle the Scriptures promise, and it is dramatically demonstrated in Jesus' experience and it is this truth: He didn’t rush His resurrection.
Matthew's Gospel records 3 times where Jesus clearly prophesied, He would be killed by His adversaries and He would rise again (16:21, 17:23, 20:19).
He not only stated precisely that it would be the third day, but He predicted His resurrection upon an Old Testament type: the third-day deliverance of Jonah from the belly of the great fish. (Matthew 12:40) We have this written. forever recorded written by eyewitnesses on paper that can never be destroyed.
This foretelling of and documented results of Jesus' death and resurrection are forceful arguments against the COVID-19 pandemic you say, “what’s the connection? What does this have to do with what is happening right now? And the fact that so many are dying, and nothing can be done to stop it.
I tell you my friend, Jesus' sense of purpose and power will be known in our land.
The truth of His Resurrection will never be conquered by anything. As a nation and people, we may be down, it may seem that all is over. I assure you friend; we are not out.
Jesus will surely come to us like the rain, and He will get us up again, it will be, on the count of His number three. You can ring the bell on that knowledge!
The message is this: As surely as Jesus rose on time, our triumph as a nation will be on schedule also. Just as he rose from the dead, “…the Son of Righteousness will rise with healing in His wings. And we will go free, leaping with joy like calves let out to pasture.”
(paraphrased Malachi 4:2)
Lazarus' schedule also seemed a day late. To the world, the non-believing, the unsaved, the unknowing, we are crazy to believe, to pray, to stand, to hold strong and yet, we do. We steady our equilibrium and resist the panic that threatens to flood us at the thought of a potential bell ringing declaring, it’s the end of the round!
May you be encouraged and reawakened with this truth, that the entire matter is sealed and delivered, in Jesus’ resurrection. Our resurrection is NOT delayed!!
Mark 10:49--Be of Good cheer. Rise! He is calling you! Jesus is our referee, and it is He who calls out Rise up, it is his call, and friend, He sees us. He stops for us; He is confronting this virus, this plague, and every negative voice— everything that is trying to stagnate and paralyzes us.
The Rise up command is upon His lips and declared over us as His children and over our Nation!
May this Easter, 2020 bring everyone a fresh sense of God’s presence and power at work in their lives! Amen!


What to Do in Difficult and Trying Times


Some of the most impactful spiritual lessons I have ever learned when I’ve faced challenging and difficult times is when I have continually and consistently applied, these five simple truths listed here. I have found that these truth lessons about who Jesus is really do win the argument in the negative situations I may be facing. I have also found that most, if not all, challenges I face have an underlying goal—to skew my perception of God’s righteousness, faithfulness, and love. But when I practice what I have learned, I find strength and renewed hope. And I believe it is this power that will carry me to the end.
We all have been told that reading the Scriptures and applying due diligence to the study and application of God’s Word in our everyday lives will move us into joy and fulfillment. I bet if I asked you if you could be like the Apostle Paul as he described himself in his letter to Timothy, you would agree that yes, that would be amazing. We all would. What did he write? Glad you asked. He wrote,
“I was appointed a herald and an apostle and a teacher. That is why I am suffering as I am. Yet this is no cause for shame, because I know whom I have believed, and am convinced that He is able to guard what I have entrusted to Him until that day.” (2 Timothy 1:11–12 NIV)
When we love and serve God, it is natural to desire to be anointed and appointed to herald His message—the message of a God who causes us to triumph over all. But then, at the first sign of trouble, for most of us, our faith often trembles, our focus gets diverted, and the issues we face start to overtake us. We try but typically fail at heralding triumph.I confess that I have been quick to forget who I am in Christ, what He says about Himself, His faithfulness, and His power to rescue me. Yes, failed (and miserably) at that. But as I grow in my spiritual walk, I find a go-to remedy—a balm of truths to remember when I face trials and difficulty. And it has made all the difference.
These five simple truth-filled lessons have changed my perspective of the problems I may be facing, aided me in how to pray when my faith is challenged, shaped my faith, and solidified my walk during hard and difficult seasons. I have come to know in whom I have believed in a new and powerful way. And yes, I am learning to say as Paul said, convincingly, that God “is able to guard what I have entrusted to Him.”
Before you glance down and assume you have read all this before, before you tap the delete button or, as in some social media cases, swipe left to remove this blog from your screen, I urge you take a moment to read and ponder. Allow the Holy Spirit to breathe life upon what you might otherwise consider “just another blog full of insipid platitudes.” I promise this is in no way a trite A-B-C or 1-2-3 method or solution. I realize that some of you who are reading this may be struggling with extremely difficult or painful situations. And this is in no way intending to minimize sorrow or pain. These suggestions or lessons listed here may not solve your problems or make them disappear; they will, if allowed, anchor you to the God of hope. And hope does not disappoint (Romans 5:5).
Lesson 1
YOU ARE NEVER ALONE
Have you ever wondered why the Lord says, “I will never leave you or forsake you” (Hebrews 13:5) but does also say, “You will seek Me and find Me when you search for Me with all your heart” (Jeremiah 29:13)? I have.
If He will never leave me, why must I seek Him—especially in a difficult and trying time when I need Him most? Scriptures say He is a very present help in time of trouble (Psalm 46:1). I have asked what does “present help” look like. Here is what I have learned and applied in my prayer life and has made the difference: He promises to be near to the brokenhearted and the one crushed in spirit. God completely understands our prayers of desperation, our cries for relief. He hears, and He feels compassion towards us—”for we do not have a High Priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses” (Hebrews 4:15).
However, I’d like to suggest that in our trials and difficult seasons perhaps there is an opportunity for us to seek Him and ask: “Lord, how are You revealing Yourself to me in this situation I’m facing? How are You being glorified in this trial?” I’d like to also suggest considering Jeremiah 29:13 in context, with the before and after scriptures. Verse 11 says, “For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope.” He has thoughts about each and every one of us, our situations, our future. And they are good, full of peace, and intended to give us hope. When we cannot see during our difficult challenges is when we most need God to share His purposes with us. Verses 12–14 continue, “Then you will call upon Me and go and pray to Me, and I will listen to you.  And you will seek Me and find Me, when you search for Me with all your heart. And I will be found by you, says the Lord.” We have this promise of “finding Him” right in those moments when we can’t see how He could possibly be glorified in what we are facing.
Many would say, “But I am seeking Him; I am praying for a miracle, for deliverance, for provision, for healing, etc.” I say to continue to do so but in addition to try these aforementioned questions. You will find Him in a way that will encourage, strengthen, and empower you to move forward.
Lesson 2
REMEMBER WHAT YOU KNOW
Psalm 77 portrays precisely the conflict of the psalmist’s heart as he faced trial and tribulation. When his circumstances threaten to convince him that God has forgotten him, the psalmist articulates exactly what each one of us do in our propensity to forget God’s goodness and miracles. It’s as though the Psalm conveys that the real battle is to obliterate God’s righteous goodness from our memory forever.
But wait! There’s more. The Psalmist makes a choice in verse 11: “I will remember the deeds of the Lord; yes, I will remember Your miracles of long ago” (NIV). And by the time he finishes writing, not only has he encouraged himself through remembrance of the Lord’s great goodness but he is now exalting the magnificent power of our God!
Another example of this is found in the book of Exodus chapters 14–16. In just a few chapters, we see the Israelites delivered from slavery, brought through the Red Sea, and before you know it, they are grumbling about not having food to eat! The Israelites used to build altars of memorial. We write it down. Yes, the best way of remembering God’s faithfulness is to record it, write it down, refer to it, and share it with others.
Let us not forget. May we be people who fight against every difficulty with the God-given gift of remembering.
My friend, we have to figuratively park in the camp of past memorials where the goodness of God was manifested on our behalf—how He healed, provided for, kept, and sustained us. In trying and testing times it can be easy for our attentions and focus to be removed off of God and unto the problem we face. We can be overcome by the distractions of the issues. I’ll admit I am likely first in line when it comes to being completely centered on Jesus but in challenging times. However, I hold on to this truth. I force myself, strain if need be, to see that my mind and heart remember Him. And it works!
Lesson 3
CHOOSE GRATITUDE
It has been said (tweeted and posted) that to be thankful is to be grateful, and to be grateful is to be happy. But I submit to you that the Scriptures foretold this truth long ago. Because it is just that. Truth. “All the days of the afflicted are bad, but a cheerful heart has a continual feast” is what we read in Proverbs 15:15 (NASB). Consider the value of this scripture. It plainly lays out the difference between a miserable life and a wonderful life. We can choose the negative, bad feelings and live afflicted by them, or we can consider that a continual feast is an option, one that is within the reach of every believer.
When the Scriptures say in Psalm 23:5, “You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies,” I believe it talks about God imparting to us the thankful, grateful, and cheerful attributes of His own nature. You see, when we choose gratefulness and express it in our worship, the happiness and kindness of our happy God is measured to us and becomes our portion. We can have as many helpings as we desire.
And this joyful feast satisfies us and sustains us in hardship. It is served right before the eyes of our enemy, and he can do nothing about it—except hate it and retreat far away for it renders him useless and of no effect in our lives.
Lesson 4
PRAY FOR OTHERS
There is an excellent example in Scriptures of what we often call “intercessory prayer”—praying for someone other than ourselves. We find this example in the life of Job when the Lord restores the fortunes of Job after he prays for his friends (see Job 42:7–10 RSV).
One thing we see in that passage is the example of a man interceding on behalf of his friends and God taking it very seriously. But the most significant of all is that Job was not yet healed nor restored when he prayed. This passage is helpful in understanding the power of intercession for others and is setting an example for us to take during our own hardships.
I have experienced times when I have been under tremendous pressure, depressed, overwhelmed, exhausted and someone prayed for me. This steadied me, strengthened me, upheld me, and enabled me. Likewise, there have been times when I have been privileged to pray for others who were in need. And when I have done this, I have found it to be like a medicine for my own soul, because praying for others has been an effectual tool that has kept me from being focused on myself.
What could transpire if we all took the same posture as Job? Job’s actions of praying for his friends in this story are remarkable—to not only be able to take his focus off of himself but to do it in humility, willingly, and obediently is a tried and true lesson for all of us indeed.
Lesson 5
PROCLAIM IT ON THE ROOF TOPS
I don’t know much, but one thing I do know: I was blind and now I see (John 9:25, paraphrased). In other words, I don’t care what you think, I don’t care what you believe, this is the irrefutable truth: I was blind and now I see, and Jesus Christ the Son of God is responsible for it! This man was facing the rage of the leaders of that day. He knew not what would ensue, yet he was sure of one thing: the way the miracle-working power of God had affected his life.
Talk about the Lord’s goodness with others. Share His Word, His promises, His miracles; the ones He has done for you, the ones you read about, the ones He has done for others, and the ones you are believing Him for! Talk about them, write about them, sing about them, shout them aloud—but whatever you do, make them known (Deuteronomy 11:18–20, paraphrased).
And lastly, because we overcome “by the blood of the Lamb and the word of [our] testimony” (Revelation 12:11), I believe the greatest battle we face in difficult and trying times is trying to avoid accusing God and living offended. Accusation and offense draw us away from Him. Perhaps practicing these simple steps in prayer and conversation might help us find our safe place hidden in God, under the shadow of His wings.
Hold on. Stay steady. Don’t quit. God is for you. May you find His grace to help in your time of trouble (Hebrews 4:16). May you experience God granting you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with power through His Spirit in your inner man (Ephesians 3:16).

My IHOPKC Experience: 


 “Keep trying. Not good enough.” These were the words that had woven themselves into the core of my belief system. I begin here with my story because these were the very words the Lord would serve at the table He prepared in the presence of my enemy. These words would be the enemy’s bread.

When I was asked to write about my journey and experience at IHOPKC, I didn’t see it as anything anyone would want to read about, and as such felt ill-equipped to write. So, I’ll do my best. This is my story.
When I first came to IHOPKC, I would often sit in amazement as I would listen over and over again to the countless supernatural stories of how people had been drawn to Kansas City to come to be a part of what the Lord was doing at the International House of Prayer. Some testimonies were more dramatic than others, but nearly all were pretty supernatural.
And then, there was my story. Truth be told, I came to IHOPKC because I didn’t see any other option for my life, and that’s so mediocre and certainly not supernatural, and well . . . who cares, right? You see, there were no series of miraculous events—no angel encounters, no prophetic thus-sayeth-the-Lord-get-thee-to-Kansas-City instructions. For me it was more like: Why not? You have nothing to lose and everything to gain.
I knew absolutely nothing about the global end-time prayer movement nor about the purpose of the praying community I was going to join (which exists to partner in the Great Commission of Matthew 28 by advancing 24/7 prayer with worship and proclaiming the beauty of Jesus and His glorious return). I also knew nothing about the harp and bowl model—a model the singers and musicians use when praying and singing, that helps to sustain them for prolonged periods of time in the place of prayer; it is a term taken from the pattern of heavenly worship seen in the book of Revelation. The “harp” speaks of worshiping God with musical instruments, and the “bowl” speaks of the intercessory prayers of the Church. And I certainly did not know anything eschatological (the study of the end of the age and the return of Christ). At IHOPKC it is often referred to as the “forerunner message.”
While I did not have a supernatural experience that ended with my moving to Kansas City to be involved with the house of prayer, my years here have been nothing short of supernatural—but probably not in the way you may think.
You see, I believed, albeit unknowingly, that God was mostly a disappointed and stern being. Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines “stern” as a) having a definite hardness or severity of nature or manner and b) expressive of severe displeasure. It defines “disappointed” as defeated in expectation or hope. Think about that with me for just a moment. I viewed God as being hard in nature and felt He was severely displeased with me and that He may not have any hope in me; but I could just “keep trying” because, well, I was not “good enough.” I know, it’s sad. I would soon learn that there were so many others who had this same belief system.
I have worked hard serving God and His people nearly all my life, and I have often cried in His presence telling Him how much I love Him. But I had never considered for a minute that He really delighted in me, much less that He rejoiced over me.
There is a saying that we view God through the lens of how we viewed or view our parents. And that we relate to God through the lens of how we were or have been treated. I wish I knew who said that; but no matter, this happened to be my case. I was raised in a home where my love and devotion were measured by how much I did, and it was “never enough.” I was angry, offended, and bitter. I just wanted to serve God so that He would be pleased with me, and I unknowingly believed that devoting myself to service and work might one day be “enough.”
I remember several months prior to learning that I was accepted into the Intro to IHOPKC internship, I had been battling discouragement, and I could not feel the nearness of the Lord—He seemed so far away. I had had recently experienced some very troubling, difficult times—situations my church had helped me to believe had disqualified me from ever being able to serve God free from the “scarlet letter” I felt I was now wearing.
One afternoon, as I was walking out of a grocery store, I began a conversation with the Lord about my being discredited and disqualified. I began to cry aloud right there in the middle of the public parking lot. It became an emotional and demonstrative “scene.” I slammed the grocery store cart up and down as I held it with clenched fists and screamed out, “God, all I ever wanted to do was to serve You. Now what?”
I came to a complete stop. Weeping, I stood there paralyzed, unaware of potential onlookers. Then suddenly, in the kindest and gentlest voice, I heard deep inside me, “I didn’t come to be served; I came to serve and to give My life a ransom for you. That ransom is My love. I love you, and you can love Me right back. But it’s not the way you think. Allow Me to show you.”
I managed to collect myself, gathered my groceries, jumped in the car, and drove away. With windows down and the hot summer air blowing my tears into the wind, I drove in silence, thinking, How? How will God show me this?
I suppose in hindsight, that was pretty supernatural. (My theatrics, that is.) I did not know that following that incident the journey into the joyful love of God would begin for me and that it would begin with a beautiful, furious vengeance . . .
Fast-forward, I move to Kansas City and begin my internship. During the internship, I heard for the first time Mike Bickle say, “God is mostly glad.” It was as if he was speaking another language. Months went by, and I continued to struggle to wrap my mind around those words.
One day during a morning worship with the Word set those early weeks at IHOPKC, I glanced over where Mike Bickle was seated, like he always would. My eyes caught a glimpse of the shoes he had on. They were slippers! I wasn’t sure exactly what to think in that moment, mostly due to my surprise. This man was so comfortable in the Lord’s presence, he was sitting before Him with his slippers on.
I know this may sound silly or even ridiculous, but anyone who knows me knows how much I love my slippers! I especially enjoy coming home after a long day slipping them on and relaxing. To just be is important to me. I felt as though the Lord was saying, “I have my slippers on, and I want to relax and just be with you.” This tender scene turned the key and unlocked a door in my heart—my understanding was opened to the simplicity of God’s gentle and joyful nature.
There have been so many beautiful things I have learned in my 12 years here at IHOPKC. I have countless testimonies of things that have happened to me in this magnificent place—financial provision, miraculous healings (both physically and emotionally), an understanding of the Scriptures and of prayer as such as I have never known. But this one tiny, unassuming act is the one that marked me in a specific way. It was the start of understanding the Glad God.
As I sat in the Global Prayer Room that morning so many years ago, listening and engaging with the prayer leader, singers, and musicians as they were praying and singing, I began to understand just “how” God would do it—He would show me His gladness; He would use words and prayers to break chains of misunderstanding and wrong perspective; with His cords of kindness and bands of love, He would draw me to Himself (Hosea 11:4).
I am unsure of what everyone else was doing—praying, busy journaling, singing, all amazing things. Not me. I would sit in the fifth row on the left from the front for hours, taking dictation and handwriting the prayers Allen Hood, Mike Bickle, David Sliker, and so many others would pray. (I was a stenographer by trade, so I could take dictation rather quickly.) And God used every word, every prayer, and He drew me further unto Himself. The well-known song saying, “I will rejoice for He has made me glad,” became my anthem.
God tenderly watched over His own words that He spoke to me that day in the grocery store parking lot. He began to allow me to experience how He took delight in me and made me glad as He is. He surrounded me with His songs of deliverance (Psalm 32:7). Gladness and joy were the new portions served to me. And I have looked on watching as God laughed at my enemy and fed him the very lies the enemy had been serving me all my life.
Mike would often say that a lover will outlast a worker any day. And I wrote those words a thousand times on hundreds of sheets of paper. God needed to write them on my heart only once.
Imparting this portion of Himself to me—of who He is and how He feels—was paramount for me and continues to be as I sit for hours in the prayer room “just being,” and as I embrace the forerunner message and gain knowledge of the end times. It is helping me to live unoffended before Him, without accusation, and to pray and cry out for the Lord’s return. And well, yes, sometimes I bring my slippers.
In His wisdom, God knew I could never and would never be able to stay the course in crying out for His return unless He first healed me and imputed to me a right understanding of His nature and heart. He will do it for you also. For me, it just happened to be at IHOPKC.
How can you grow in your understanding of God’s heart? 


Speak Lord, for Your Servant Is Listening


     This January our city experienced a huge winter storm, a blizzard that dumped eleven or so inches on our ground, leaving thousands of homes without power for several days. During that time everything seemed so still—silent. It was as though the accumulated snow was a blanket that God had woven and made to cover the earth; made to act as a sound absorber. Schools and businesses shut down, even church services were canceled. Everything stopped.

     I felt like the snow was making a statement, beckoning us—or better stated, prophesying to us, “Will you stop a moment and rest from all your activity? Consider the silence.” When I was a kid, I learned in science class that seasonal snow is an important part of the earth’s climate system, because the snow cover would help to regulate the earth’s temperature and provide long-term refreshment for the land. I gazed through the window, watching the snow flurries fall to the earth at heaven’s command—dancing to a music I could not hear. It made me long to hear the intangible.

     I thought about what I had learned in science all those years ago. I would turn and walk away, returning on the half hour, continuing in amazement as the ground and surrounding trees were blanketed in pure white stillness.
     
     My thoughts raced again. What if the Lord really was prophesying through the snow? What if He was inviting us to take a rest from all the things that make us weary, ministry and work included? “Slow down; come listen in the quiet; allow Me to refresh, reset, and regulate the temperature of your life.”

     Ecclesiastes 3:1–8 (NLT) says that “for everything, there is a season, a time for every activity under heaven. . . . A time to be quiet and a time to speak.” I know, maybe you thought the Beatles wrote that! But really, one fascinating thing about seasons is that we don’t get to choose them—they change with or without our permission or approval. And, we never know what they hold—below freezing temperatures or intense heat?

     I would never allow my children to stand at a bus stop in below-freezing temperatures without first preparing and providing for them to do it in a way that would help them stand against the harshness of the season. And I bet you wouldn’t either. No, we would be sure to give instruction: wear your coat, keep your gloves on, wrap your scarf around your neck and mouth, put your boots on, etc. And we would follow it up with: “Did you hear me? Are you listening?” As a parent, I recall the satisfaction I felt when my own child would respond with, “Yes, I am listening.” All good parents try as best they can and want to be sure they have prepared their children on how to make themselves ready in any season.

     There is a story in the Bible where we can read about a spiritual season, a time when things change dramatically in the life of a young boy. We read how he is given instruction on how to prepare himself for the season, a season where he shifts from not knowing God to knowing His voice and walking with Him. I think it is so for all of us—every season we face, we have an opportunity to listen, grow, learn, and change; to posture ourselves to hear the Lord’s voice, receive instruction, and walk closely with Him.

     The complete story can be found in the first book of Samuel.
The boy Samuel ministered before the Lord under Eli. In those days the word of the Lord was rare; there were not many visions.
. . . Then the Lord called Samuel.
Samuel answered, “Here I am.” And he ran to Eli and said, “Here I am; you called me.”
But Eli said, “I did not call; go back and lie down.” So, he went and lay down.
Again, the Lord called, “Samuel!” And Samuel got up and went to Eli and said, “Here I am; you called me.”
“My son,” Eli said, “I did not call; go back and lie down.”
Now Samuel did not yet know the Lord: The word of the Lord had not yet been revealed to him.
A third time the Lord called, “Samuel!” And Samuel got up and went to Eli and said, “Here I am; you called me.”
Then Eli realized that the Lord was calling the boy. So Eli told Samuel, “Go and lie down, and if He calls you, say, ‘Speak, Lord, for Your servant is listening.'” So Samuel went and lay down in his place.
The Lord came and stood there, calling as at the other times, “Samuel! Samuel!” Then Samuel said, “Speak, for Your servant is listening.” (1 Samuel 3:1–10 NIV)
     And through his one simple act of obedience, Samuel learned what the voice of God sounded like; and he received a word from God’s heart, as God shared with him His thoughts and intentions. Samuel’s entire life shifted that night. God imparted to Samuel what was needed for the strength to go forward and to keep going.
     The season was changing for Samuel, and the Lord was inviting this young boy to participate and to partner with Him. The Lord used Eli that night to instruct young Samuel on how to posture himself before the Lord with anticipation, waiting for the Lord to speak, to initiate conversation—silently listening. Samuel had first heard his own name being called out, but it was when his listening was intentional and deliberate and when he obeyed as he had been instructed that everything changed. This obedience and correct posture set Samuel up to listen for and hear the Lord, to then understand His heart and begin speaking on behalf of the Lord to his nation. He grew in stature, and in favor both with the Lord and the people. So much so that none of Samuel’s words fell to the ground (1 Samuel 2:263:19).
     Over and over throughout the day, as I watched the snow continue to fall, the silence grew louder and louder, as my thoughts continued to trail back to the boy Samuel. I was seeing the parallel between the snow commanding silence and the voice calling to come away and listen.
     I may never get to experience having the Lord stand before me in person here in this life, as Samuel did, but one thing is for certain (and I can be sure of it), that when I choose to sit silently before the Lord, everything changes; for it is in resting in Him that we are saved and in quietness and confidence that we receive strength (Isaiah 30:15, paraphrased). This is a truth that, if allowed, will blanket and cover us in a way that can never be uncovered or removed.
     Let’s be purposeful in our silence. Let’s not just be silent, thinking that maybe we have heard something in the distance. Samuel heard his name and ran to Eli. He knew one thing for sure: if his name was being called, it was for a purpose. He just needed to learn how to respond. There is a difference between listening in silence and merely being silent. When Samuel was sleeping, he was silent, but he was not intentionally listening. He could hear with his ears but could not discern what was happening.
     Similarly, we may read or hear about God and even learn the things that please Him, just as Samuel was being trained to do. But the Scripture is clear that Samuel had not known God nor had he known His voice until his focus and attention turned to receive and to listen for what was being said. It is in knowing God’s heart that we learn His will and His ways.
     Would that we would do as the young boy Samuel—to wait upon God, purposefully expecting Him to respond when we pray, “Here we are, speak Lord, for Your servants are listening”; and that in so doing, the same would happen for us—a repositioning would take place, and we would come into a greater understanding of the call of God on our lives. Just as it was for Samuel.
     May God grant us all the kind of obedience the boy Samuel walked in, to grow in knowing undoubtedly that the Lord is with us—so that when we speak, none of our words fall to the ground.
As for me, I will wait silently before Him. I will listen. I think I heard Him call my name. Can you hear yours?

Inquiring of the Lord—Posturing Ourselves for Success



When we seek the counsel of God, He gives us inside information and the edge on every situation we may encounter or find ourselves in. However, how much we inquire or whether we inquire at all is our choice to make. But to inquire of Him is the best way to go if we want to be spiritually successful. It is possible to live a life of victory, satisfaction, and divine favor—a life of miracle—when we inquire of the Lord and follow Him in all we do.
When we look deeply into David’s life and writings, we find an example (a road map, if you will) on how David postured himself before God and how we also are invited to live our lives. We were created and fashioned to succeed in all we do, having been made in the likeness and image of God—who has never and will never fail, because successful is who He is.
Most people are aware of King David’s shortcomings, sins, and failures, but fewer are aware that David was known as a man after the very heart of God. In Acts 13:22 it is said of David,
“[God] raised up David to be their king, concerning whom He also testified and said, ‘I have found David the son of Jesse, a man after My heart, who will do all My will.'”
God certainly knew that David would fail, but He also knew that David would try again. He saw David’s sinning and was aware of every shortcoming (as He is for each one of us). But He also saw into David’s spirit and knew that David would run back into His arms—the arms of a loving Father—willing to do and obey all that He would command. God knew that David was a man of absolute faith and resolve in Him.
King David longed for many things, but he understood the truth of where true success and value would be found. He demonstrated it when he wrote and possibly even sang these following words as his own personal anthem.
One thing have I asked of the Lord, that will I seek, inquire for, and [insistently] require: that I may dwell in the house of the Lord [in His presence] all the days of my life, to behold and gaze upon the beauty . . . of the Lord, and to meditate, consider, and inquire in His temple. (Psalm 27:4 AMPC)
Yet as beautiful and descriptive as these words are, there is no instruction as to how David went about obtaining the answer—or is there? How do we obtain the spiritual guidance we seek? Is it just to simply pray those same words? Or is there some hidden mystery, some undisclosed truth that made David desire the presence of God all the days of his life? Exactly how did David run after the heart of God and obtain His favor? How did David gain this glorious success of beholding and gazing upon the beauty of God?
David’s example on how he went about obtaining his “one thing,” his “one request of the Lord” can be found hidden within the lines of his many Psalms. There we find a great road map, one that demonstrates David’s heart of prayer and pursuit of God in all things, sometimes despite his every emotion.
The following steps are just a few of the many golden nuggets David wrote that can be used to aid us in approaching the Lord to obtain answers and cause us to inherit a successful life in Christ.  
1.  We begin with assurance, knowing that when we, like David, call upon the Lord, He answers.
In my distress I called upon the Lord,
And cried to my God for help;
He heard my voice out of His temple,
And my cry for help before Him came into His ears. (Psalm 18:6 NASB)
2.  We live with a repentant heart.
For the sake of your name, Lord,
forgive my iniquity, though it is great. (Psalm 25:11 NIV)
3.  We embrace humility. Inviting us to step into agreement with who God says we are, humility enables us to harmoniously follow our Shepherd’s leading and to grow in wisdom as we receive His guidance.
He leads the humble in what is right,
and teaches the humble His way. (Psalm 25:9 ESV)
4.  We must choose to trust. Trust is a valued character trait the world lacks, and because of this, many find it difficult to trust an invisible God. However, when we choose to lean into God by learning of His heart and His ways, we begin to rely on Him in every circumstance and in every area of our lives. And as we learn Him, we are able to remember His faithfulness, which increases our capacity to trust Him.
Some trust in chariots, and some in horses;
But we will remember the name of the Lord our God. (Psalm 20:7)
5.  We choose to love Him. David understood that the choice to love God comes from recognizing and agreeing with the truth that God is the one who gives us the strength to do so—and God’s strength never fails and never gives up.
I will love you, O Lord, my strength. (Psalm 18:1)
6.  We practice devotion. Being devoted to something means being focused on that particular thing almost exclusively.
I have set the Lord continually before me;
Because He is at my right hand, I will not be shaken. (Psalm 16:8 NASB)
7.  We give God the recognition that belongs to Him. Praising God and giving Him the recognition due His name is best done when we wholeheartedly profess our faith and proclaim His marvelous deeds.
I will praise You, O Lord, with my whole heart;
I will tell of all Your marvelous works. (Psalm 9:1)
8.  We know that He is faithful.
Surely Your goodness and love will follow me
all the days of my life. (Psalm 23:6 NIV)
9.  We live obediently before Him.
Give me understanding, so that I may keep your law
and obey it with all my heart. (Psalm 119:34 NIV)
10.  We are intentional in our pursuit of Him. In Psalm 63, David pens the purpose for his existence—to pursue God earnestly as his one desire, his one delight, his one defense.
O God, You are my God;
Early will I seek You;
My soul thirsts for You;
My flesh longs for You. (Psalm 63:1)
When I remember You on my bed,
I meditate on You in the night watches.
Because You have been my help,
Therefore in the shadow of Your wings I will rejoice.
My soul follows close behind You;
Your right hand upholds me. (Psalm 63:6–8)
We can achieve success despite life’s obstacles and challenges when we keep our eyes on the Savior and make Him, as David did, our one thing. He is the one who holds our course steady. And He will complete His work in our lives. 1 Thessalonians 5:24 reminds us of this truth, saying of the Lord, Faithful is He who calls you, and He also will bring it to pass.
When David wrote verse four of Psalm 27, he was responding to a lifelong call and invitation from God Himself to draw near and ask of Him. God is drawing us also. When Jesus is the primary focus of our desires and our lives, we ultimately experience victory instead of defeat and spiritual growth instead of stagnation.