3 Min Stories and Insights about God and Faith. Climb the Mountain with us!
Part II- 2 Powerful Questions- What to do!
Our verse: Eze 22:30 “So I looked for a man among them who would make a wall, and stand in the gap before me..”
In this verse,God is looking for a person who will pray for others: others in need, others in trouble. The same is true in 2019.. God is looking for people who will pray.
Let's get down to the nitty gritty of learning this prayer skill! You have gained the courage to ask the question! “Can I pray for you?” or “Can I say a prayer for you?”
The server in the restaurant says, “Yeah, I'd like you to pray.” Now what you do?!
Some people will naturally be able to pray. Others will struggle wondering “how do I pray in public?”
Here are a few tips:
Realize that God has brought this person to you! This will give you confidence to pray. You are now the intercessor! What's that? That's a person who stands between God and one of His creatures. That's us! God is right there with you and the server in the restaurant. Some people's connection with God is damaged or completely severed. He sends you and me to help reestablish the God/creature connection. You use your connection, your faith in God, to help your new friend get reconnected to God! We have an example of this in the Old Testament book of Job. He cried out- “Oh that someone would hear me!” Job wished for an intercessor!
In our last episode, we talked about listening to and watching the people we meet. As you listen and watch you will know what to say. The Holy Spirit, God's invisible everywhere presence, will guide you to the right words.
Here's how it might go. First, be sensitive to the situation. If the person is working, be careful not to get them in trouble. Your prayer may be short and sweet. Maybe something like this:
“Lord, thank you for my new friend Aaron (or Meghan) Help him with... (put here what he asked you to pray for- work, health, finances relationships) God, be close to Aaron and help him come close to You, in Jesus' name, Amen.
It doesn't have to be a complicated or formal prayer. Relax and talk to God for your new friend! The best part of all this? You get better and better the more you practice. Start today. Give it a try. Ask the next person that crosses your path one of our 2 questions- Can I pray for you? or Can I say a prayer for you?
You, like our other Mountain friends, will be amazed at the results. You step out in faith and God shows up! As you practice and improve your technique, you will have great stories! Go to the Mountain link above- Click “Ask a Question” under the More tab and let us know what happened. We will share your stories right here on the Mountain.
Here's our prayer for you- Lord, bless our Mountain friends with courage and wisdom as they meet new friends and bring them to You in prayer. Amen!
Extra Resource Verses about intercession:
Isa 59:16 And he saw that there was no man,
and wondered that there was no intercessor:
therefore his arm brought salvation unto him;
and his righteousness, it sustained him.
Job 31:35 Oh that one would hear me! behold, my desire is, that the Almighty would answer me
Ezekiel 22:30 So I sought for a man among them who would make a wall, and stand in the gap before me on behalf of the land, that I should not destroy it; but I found no one.”
And the best Bible verse about intercession:
Heb 7:25 (Jesus) is able to save completely those who come to God through Him, because he always lives to intercede for them.
God bless you as you pray for precious souls! The Mountain Team
2 Powerful Questions
Our Verse: Romans 12:12 Rejoice in our confident hope. Be patient in trouble, and keep on praying.
What if you had an almost magical device to help people wherever you went? You could change people and nations.
Here's a statistic to explain this unique social device:
A Mountain Podcast friend has been doing an experiment for over 15 years. The results will surprise you.
Here's the experiment:
Ask any person, no matter where they are, no matter who they are- one of these two questions:
“Can I pray for you?” or “Can I say a prayer for you?”
Over the years our friend has a 98% positive response! People just say Yes! Almost everyone wants to pray.
If few say “No” to prayer, we have an amazing opportunity. We can bring a huge number of people to God for His help. He listens regardless of the spiritual state of the person you're asking to pray.
So the BIG Question is- why isn't EVERYONE asking those around them to pray? Sadly it's fear and uncertainty. Most of us fear rejection! Happily it's a fear you can overcome!
So... let's find the path to overcoming that fear so you can start asking!
First, see the needs of the people around you. Look at and listen to those you meet. Be observant. You will see people full of fear and uncertainty. You'll see it in their eyes and hear it in their words. Us Jesus followers should be professional observers of human behavior. This is the meaning of empathy, feeling what others feel and responding with kindness.
Second, recognize the willingness of people to talk to God with a little help! You have a target rich prayer environment everywhere you go.
Third and most important is Practice! Just strike up a conversation and ask! Here are the two questions again:
“Can I pray for you?” or “Can I say a prayer for you?
Every time you ask... you get bolder. In time, it will be natural to ask, and the results will surprise and amaze you. People will open their lives to you. You will shake your head as you walk away. This is the Holy Spirit opening needy hearts right before your eyes! You'll smile!
You'll note we suggest 2 different questions as your tools. Why not just one?
Some you meet come from a more formal tradition of prayer and church life. They are used to someone reciting prayers to communicate with God. Often this is done with great respect. Most of these people are comfortable with you saying a prayer for them. You can respect their tradition and “say a prayer”.
Others have been exposed to a more informal environment with God and His people. These new friends will be more comfortable with the idea of “praying”. They are less likely to be defensive when you ask “Can I pray for you?”
The more you practice these conversations, the more you will know which question works best. Find common ground through your work, social connections or family and God will lead you to the right question.
Be an people watcher. You will feel their needs and want to help. You will naturally be more friendly!
Almost everyone WANTS prayer. Assume this when you meet people.
And finally, practice! Write down the 2 questions until you have them memorized. The more you do it the easier it gets.
God will give you courage and you will help many hurting people! Start asking today and let us know what happens- Go to the Mountain link above- Click “Ask a Question” under the More tab.
Next episode... a little advice about how and what to pray after you ask the question!
Note: Pastor Kevin Miller's link above is a 5 part sensational series on the Lord's Prayer. It will revolutionize your prayer life! Enjoy!
Heroes 3- Dark Valley of the Soul
Our verse again: Psalm 23:4 “Even when I walk through the darkest valley, I will not be afraid, You are close beside me.”
This episode is a continuation of our “Heroes” series. These concepts are echoed in an earlier episode, “Hot test”. This time we go a little deeper in discussing the dark difficult places Christians must go. We call it the “Dark Night of the Soul”.
God is training His children to do heroic works. Because He cared about a world in crisis, He prepared a worldwide rescue mission for humanity. Part one of this mission was sending Jesus into the world to die as a substitute for man's sins. Part two of the mission involves all Jesus' followers. We are prepped and sent out with the news that God is willing to forgive and restore all people to Himself. But...Part two is tough, sometimes impossible. Many are unwilling to receive, and many are angry at God.
So...God builds His messengers tough to reach a tough crowd. One of His training tools is the “Dark Night”.
The “dark night” means a time of sorrow, danger and uncertainty in your life. Great troubles can accomplish great things in us. While hard to experience, troubles deepen our trust in God, they make us stronger in hardship. Troubles allowed by God make His servants tough and obedient.
Moses is an example of this process. As an infant, he was abandoned at river's edge by his mother. She hoped he would survive. What happened was better than she could have imagined. He became a prince! Adopted into the royal family of Egypt. He experienced wealth and privilege inside the most powerful empire on earth. But... then...everything changed! He murdered a man and had to flee. From wealth and prestige to lonely fugitive in the desert. God sent Moses solitude and poverty to prepare him for great work. After forty years of this humble life, God called Moses. From that training time forward he experienced brutal tests and eventually became leader of over a million people. God toughened him, then gave him heroic work...all in God's perfect time. (Note: He was 80 years old when he became leader! Full story Exodus 1-20)
It will similar for us. We will suffer troubles as God prepares us. Some of those troubles will appear unbearable. They may seem never to end. But... be brave! Trust God in your troubles! They will be completed in God's perfect time and you will walk without doubt into your work helping people get home to their Creator. This is one of the deep meanings of Romans 8:28, “God works all things together for good to those who love Him and are called according to His purpose.”
You don't have to be a Prince to be called by God...You can be just a regular man, woman, boy or girl. Your call from God, your work, is not based on your talents, but rather on God's call. There's a sad world all around crying out for love, We are being sent to help.
Your “dark night of the soul” will become a bright light in the world. You will help many people be warmed and healed by that light. Walk strong and true. Be patient and God will bring these things to pass.
Heroes Part 1
Our Verse: 2 Chron 16:9 “God is searching everywhere for strong hearts to use!”
Ironman is down! Crushed, burnt, struggling to lift a steel girder off his chest. Is all lost? We all know what happens, even if we are watching the movie for the first time. He will draw on incredible reserves and win the day! Go Hero!
Our world desperately needs heroes. Thats why superhero movies make millions... we want heroes, determined people who face any challenge and say, “Come on! Let's do it!”
2019 is a wild scary ride. It's blasting us into an uncertain future. There are huge changes ahead for all. God is looking for courageous men and women willing to do the hardest things to help people and change the world.
Could you be one of those desperately needed heroes! Are you ready to consider what it might take to become a genuine hero?
First let's define what a true hero is and what a true hero does.
A hero is a person, facing immense challenge, who suffers and even risks death to accomplish the task, the goal, no matter how difficult. Heroes can reach deeper then seems possible. They have an indefinable something inside that makes them keep going.
Are you up for it? Are you willing to face insurmountable difficulty...and try anyway? If you can say yes, or even maybe, you are a candidate to be a hero.
You say, “OK, Jim, I think maybe God would let me do heroic work. How do I start? We have those details in Part 2 of Heroes 2019!
Correction- That verse is 2 Chron. 16:9! Here it is from NLT-
“For the eyes of the Lord run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to shew himself strong (for those) whose heart is perfect toward him.”
Happy in 2018..Yes!!
Our Verse: Happy are the people whose God is the Lord. Psa 144
What could make your new year the best ever?
Most would say, and I think you would too, “I'd just like to be happy.”
News and events don't help...Politics, war, storms, family crises, money problems- all these things work against happiness. The world is full of problems large and small and/ you and I have to live with them. So, is it possible to find True Happiness... and how can you find it this year?
There are lots of opinions on what happiness is,
so we need a definition. Here it is- “Your personal life state when your head and heart are at peace and satisfied with life, the good and the bad.”
Thus the question- Can I get peace and satisfaction?
A wise man once said “..people try to invent some sort of happiness for themselves apart from God.”
The plain Truth is... we've been sold a lie, an invention. Society and digital culture tell us “things” make us happy. That's all the stuff on the outside. Stuff you do- activities... and stuff you own. None of it brings lasting happiness. The biggest coolest trophy becomes junk, and our deeds are forgotten.
So, if happiness doesn't come from activities, people and stuff, where does it come from?
The only way to true peace, satisfaction and happiness is to know the source of happiness- the Prince of Peace. God the Father describes His Son as “Wonderful Counselor... Prince of Peace. Jesus is the source of happiness!
God designed us to only find peace when connected to Him. Disconnected from God (Christian or not!) means no peace, no happiness. When we creatures connect with our Creator, peace comes, even in a world full of stress and trouble.
Jesus, the Prince of Peace said this: “I am leaving you with a gift—peace of mind and heart. And the peace I give you is a gift the world cannot give.” John 14:27
Catch Part 2- practical tips for happiness in 2018 ... On the Mountain!
Once more our verse- Happy (blessed) are people whose God is the Lord. Psa 144:15
Check out the great quotes below. Second half of 2018 can be your best time ever!
Things that don't give lasting happiness- Human relationships, fame, academics, physical stimulation, chemicals, conquest, adventures- trekking tall mountains & diving the deepest sea.
C S Lewis: “And out of that hopeless attempt (to find happiness) has come nearly all that we call human history—money, poverty, ambition, war, prostitution, classes, empires, slavery—the long terrible story of man trying to find something other than God which will make him happy. God cannot give us a happiness and peace apart from Himself, because it is not there. There is no such thing.”
Hole In The Soul Rev 2
Our Scripture: Romans 8:20 “The creation (mankind) was subjected to futility (emptiness).”
The famous philosopher and physicist Blaise Pascal (1623-1662) said, “There is a God shaped vacuum in the heart of every man which cannot be filled by any created thing, but only by God, the Creator, made known through Jesus”
Pascal was born to a life of privilege in his native France. As a brilliant mathematician in the 1600's, he defined amazing mathematical systems. He invented the first calculating device and established the first trolley system in Paris!
Even with his great intellect, he was unable to find peace. At age 31, he encountered Jesus and became a vibrant Christian and defender of the Bible. He found real fulfillment and satisfaction through knowing God.
Pascal helps us understand that something is missing inside us, what he called a “God-shaped vacuum”. People try many things to fill this empty spot in their souls. Whatever you own, wear or put inside you will eventually leave you unsatisfied and unfulfilled. This is not an accident, but a plan by our Creator to reach our hearts.
Remember our verse? “The creation was subjected to futility- emptiness.” The Creation- thats all of us, were given this empty spot in our souls for a reason. He desires, He hopes that people will reach out to Him to fill their hearts- fulFILLment. The Lord Jesus in our hearts, no more God-shaped vacuum! Our hearts will be full!
Do you feel it? An emptiness inside? No fulfillment?
Only total trust in Jesus can fill the hole in your soul!