The Danger of Asking for Favor

Christine Caine

“Our favor is for God’s purpose, not for status.” Christine Caine

As I listened to well-known author, speaker and warrior against human sex trafficking, Christine Caine yesterday, I chewed on her words about “calling,” especially the part about pride.

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Coming out of a media background I’ve struggled with the “P” word. You know one of the things God says he hates. “The LORD detests all the proud of heart” (Proverbs 16:5).

In those twenty years of television, it was all about promoting yourself because you wanted people to watch your sportscast. Bad research and low ratings didn’t usually result in a renewed contract.

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But ministry is different. It’s not about me. It’s about God.

So, when is it too much publicizing about an event?

Am I posting too many photos of myself?

What does it look like to promote the One who deserves promotion?

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Caine also said, “Humility is not making yourself out to be a worm. We know we are not able. He is great.”

But I feel that I did start out as a worm-like creature. The lowest of lowest. Fatherless with a mentally ill mother. Poor in a wealthy environment and ostracized because of those circumstances. Downright ugly. Overweight with coke bottle thick eyeglasses. Only God could lift me out of that pit and I am eternally grateful.

But I’ve still had to get to a point where I am content with where the Lord has led me in ministry work.

Are you content with where he has you right now?

I used to want to be like well known speaker and Bible study author Beth Moore, reaching millions. “Give me favor, Lord.” But who was that prayer about? Me or God? Praying for favor can be dangerous with the wrong motives.

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Instead, the Lord has me consistently speaking to a hundred or less. A more intimate group. I have found there is more emotional healing in smaller numbers.

The prayer needs to be: “Lord, enable me to best exalt you.”

I also had to come to the point with my book manuscript about the fatherless (The Only Father I Ever Knew) that this is not about being a best-selling Christian author. It is a book for God, about God and dedicated to God.  It’s not about me. Before this book could be finished there had to be a heart change. When I ask for favor, it’s about helping as many people as possible to overcome their father wounds and know the perfect Father. It’s not about making the Best Seller List.

So where do you stand on all this? Do you struggle with pride?

Do you find yourself focused more inward than outward? Sometimes dwelling on our problems can be prideful as well.

Ask God to clean out any prideful ways in you. Realize that your calling is about Him, not about status. Then walk confidently in who He created you to be.

Looking for Light in the Darkness by Martha Leeper

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Our guest blogger today is Martha Leeper. Martha is a retired stewardess/flight attendant that became an accidental artist.

She often dreamed of painting so on her journey of retirement she took a painting class at the community college within walking distance from her house and there she began this journey at 65 years of age.  In the beginning she painted from photos; however the last two years she ventured into the art world of abstract.

Martha begins a painting with color in mind and the inspiration comes through her. Her hope is that her paintings will speak to the inspiration in you and take you to special place in your heart that brings you peace and joy.

Martha is the mother of one daughter and a grandmother to three grandsons. She lives in Farmers Branch, TX with her husband Will, who is the biggest fan of her art.  

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It begins with a thought, turns into a feeling and results in an action, so says the experts who study the brain.  As I am aware of the loss of life in so many disasters and human tragedy going on around me, near me and and miles away from me.  I tried to put those feelings of darkness away and used the colors in this painting to take my thoughts to a place of awe.  Looking up to the wonder of this planet created by the master artist God…….there is always light.

Just how in the world can I be light or even see the light seemingly overshadowed by so much darkness………….

Then ever so unexpected the canvas reveals the faces, the figure of one looking into the dark and seeing light.

Listening to Whitney Houston on youtube……I Look to You…https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5Pze_mdbOK8. took over my thoughts and reminded me to look to the only thing that is everlasting my faith and relationship with God.  The beautiful talented Whitney you still inspire me with your voice.  Thankful that I still have eyes that can see the light and ears that can hear the music.

Take care of your thoughts and let them be full of grace, love and hope sending them out to others who have lost their way, grieving so much loss and broken hearts that knock the breathe out of their lungs…….

Clinging to the gratitude of the light within and seeking to be more light on this journey as I walk more in giving instead of thoughts of wanting……. even thoughts of trying to understand…….for that shall most likely never be here in the physical…….yet the spirit brings light through the small and big cracks….

I challenge us all …..Do not miss it.

Blessed I am yet still knowing that it does not mean all is well in this world…..only well with my soul…….may it be so with you…….

Thinking about those who are suffering unbearable loss and sending them love…..

Martha

Pruned for a Purpose

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Our small backyard was like a jungle. The greenery behind the pool was out of control and I didn’t dare venture into the sea of trees and bushes. I had no idea what critters were roaming in there. So, while I was away on a ministry trip this week, the landscapers came and trimmed it all back.

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When I returned, the result of the pruning was so dramatic I didn’t like it. It appeared bare; not lush like it did before. “Did they say this would fill in again?” “Absolutely,” my husband replied. “Will it be as beautiful as before?” “Yes, even more beautiful.”

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This kind of pruning is what our Divine Gardener does in our lives. In John 15:1–2, Jesus says, “I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener. He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit; while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes so that it will be even more fruitful.”

Have you ever been pruned by God?

God has trimmed away jobs, friends, and material possessions in my life. What about you?

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At first it didn’t look pretty. It was hard, and I still miss some of the people from my past. There was a void in my life at first, but in the end this pruning took me to another place both physically and spiritually. The fruit in my life eventually multiplied.

Pruning is never easy, but it is necessary if we want to grow in our faith. Often times, without pruning, our spiritual life grows stagnant and we carry around a lot of dead branches. They are things that should have been trimmed off a long time ago, but we hold onto them because we like routine and are afraid to let go.

What needs to be pruned in your life?

Don’t be afraid to lay yourself in God’s greenhouse and ask him to remove anything that hinders your spiritual growth. It may be difficult at first. You may feel bare. But the pruning has a purpose, and in the end, you will become even more beautiful than before. (LBW)

 

We’re all Gold Miners

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My husband and I saw the movie Gold last night. It’s about a man, who, in a last ditch effort to save his mining company, sells all he has to chase a dream of finding gold in Indonesia.

While I didn’t like his over-drinking, disheveled character, there was something admirable about a person who gives up all material things and risks his life to chase his dream.

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Isn’t that what the Bible says about the kingdom of heaven? It is like a “merchant looking for fine pearls. When he found one of great value, he went away and sold everything he had and bought it” (Matthew 13:45-46).

At one time in my life I chased a worldly dream. What about you?

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My dream was to be a television sportscaster. Nothing could stop me from the quest to reach the top of my field, and I made it. But God used a tumble from the pinnacle to transform my passion. Instead of chasing the dream to be a national sportscaster, now I pursue a dual dream of helping women overcome past dysfunction and to reach the world for Christ.

In current times, what does it look like to sell everything we have to buy the finest of pearls?

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I think it means to use our money to reach those who need to hear the Gospel message. We might support someone financially. We give at least ten percent of our income to the church.

We should loosen our grip on money because it all belongs to God anyway.

Pray about how he wants you to advance the kingdom of heaven.

In my own life, God has transformed the old materialistic Lisa into a woman who wants to use her resources for the Lord.

In the past year, we’ve downsized to a less expensive house to free up cash.

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I’ve gone back to work part-time to help a ministry near and dear to my heart, but also to finance Pearls of Promise.

God has flipped my priorities. I spend more on ministry expenses than I do on clothes or items for our home.

I’m currently planning a women’s conference for October and willing to put my own resources into it so the women who attend have the best experience possible.

I support a seminary student.

I’m giving away everything I have for the kingdom of heaven. It’s an eternal investment.

What about you?

We’re all gold miners but are you mining for spiritual gold?

The chase for material possessions pales in comparison to making a difference for the kingdom of God.

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There is incredible joy in giving rather than consuming.

What dream are you chasing? What is your gold mine?

“For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also” (Matthew 6:21).

Three Powerful Ways to Pray (Part 3)

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Donald Trump’s been criticized for his Twitter fascination but I can’t condemn the president elect because I am a regular Twitter user as well. I like the social medium because it’s a great way to connect with the world.  Take @speedprayers for example. It is one of the 2000 plus I follow on this Social Media platform and I’ve noticed them over others because they tweet or retweet prayers in 140 characters or less. It catches my attention.

While I like the speedy prayer, I don’t think it’s the way God works. Prayer is our way of communication with our Father in Heaven and he prefers that we dwell in his presence. 140 characters should be the minimum, not the maximum.

We find victory in the courts of the Lord. That’s where God does his best work in our lives. It’s where the breakthrough resides.

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Psalm 92:12-13 says, “The righteous will flourish like a palm tree, they will grow like a cedar of Lebanon, planted in the house of the LORD, they will flourish in the courts of our God.”

The cedar of Lebanon is a slow-growing tree, living up to 1000 years. Likewise, the palm tree is one of the oldest trees around and can survive up to 700 years. The Word is saying if we plant ourselves in God’s presence for great lengths of time, rather than the hurried “speed prayers” we submit to him, we will flourish in the courts.

This is the third powerful way to pray: patiently.

We should not treat Almighty God like a tollbooth operator, throwing our prayers in as we pass through. He wants us to pull over and park for a while. He desires undivided attention.

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When we slow down and have a conversation with God, there are powerful results.

Psalm 84:10 says, “Better is one day in your courts than a thousand elsewhere.” If that’s the case, why don’t we spend more days in God’s courts?

Today, try carving out more time for your loving Father. He wants to hear how you are faring. He desires to know your concerns and he wants to help out your friends and family. We have to realize we draw power from God in his presence; in his courts.

Slow prayers are what he prefers.

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