April 27, 2009

Anxiety is not my friend

Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication (to humbly and earnestly petition God), with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus. (Philippians 4: 6&7)

This verse is massively monumental to me right now. I've found myself praying and seeking God like never before, but as my prayer life increases I have also witnessed an increase of the enemies attacks on both myself and my family. In the past 10 days, God has challenged me to start every morning by spending time in committed prayer with Him. Not hollow or empty prayer but the kind of prayer that starts relocating some mountains. The prayer that believes the promise of Matthew 7:8 - "For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened." It wasn't until this weekend (where I spent a couple of days with my friends in Ascend the Hill, The Ember Days and Preson Phillips in Tampa, FL) that I really realized what was going on. As I was talking to a friend it dawned on me that I was seriously worrying (being anxious) about how in the world God was going to take care of my financial situation as this month (May) would be the first month where I did not know how I would pay my bills. As much as I was going to God in prayer, I was still finding myself extremely anxious. Even to the point where I began to question God. Began to question how real He really was, because I wasn't "feeling" His realness. Questioned the work He had called me to, even though I know beyond a doubt that it was Him calling me to it. The first time I noticed my own insecurities, doubts, unbelief was when I put David, my near four-year old, in bed one night and was praying over him. As I was praying my heart was in despair. Right then and there a light went off in my head. I instantly began rebuking the devil and commanded him in Jesus' name to be gone. I invited the blood of Jesus to cover me, fresh and new. Within seconds I felt a peace come over me and realized that all my doubting/despair/mistrust was a work of the enemy to get me to pull away from total reliance on the Lord.

I was worshiping with The Ember Days during church this past Sunday and started weeping as I cried out to God. My cry was something along the lines of "God, I can't even provide for my own family! I can't even provide for my own kids! Your word tells me that the man that doesn't provide for his family is worse off than a sinner (1 Tim. 5:8), but I know you've called me to this work." I was so frustrated because for the past seven years I've always provided for my family. This was the first time in years where God began force-stretching me like crazy (yes, I asked to be stretched so it wasn't truly forced). I've been learning to DEPEND on God for my daily bread, and it is honestly one of the best (to my spirit) and worst (to my flesh) feelings in the world.

The Lord did some amazing things during the worship time at church. For the first time ever, I was able to share the vision behind Come&Live! in a corporate church setting. God's presence was very strong during the service and one thing God has been teaching me is to value the time in His presence more than anything else. We, as Americans, have the hardest time placing value on time with God as we are so easily distracted by some of the most shallow of excuses. Not only do we struggle with getting quality time with Him but it is so hard-wired in us that church should be no more than a 90 minute session, all perfectly laid out and predictable. On the other hand, I realize how hard it can be to keep children happy for an extended period of time/etc. All of this is simply to say, the service was long but God was so obviously in our midst.

As the service came to a close, we had several people walk over to us and tell us how excited they were for what God was doing in us. One lady had tears in her eyes and handed us a check. Another offered to pray for us and another offered his business services. Yet another lady hugged us and told us to keep going. Right as this lady walked out the door I felt the still small voice of the Lord prompt me to go after her, hand her a business card and ask her to remember Come&Live! as I believed she was a real woman of prayer. She stopped and started praying over me. It was beautiful and God spoke some incredibly powerful prophetic words through her to me. Then she stopped and asked me a question. She said, "what have you been praying for the most lately?". Without even skipping a beat, I responded with, "financial breakthrough". She said, "that's what I thought". She then reached into her purse, pulled out a white envelope and handed it to me. With a "God bless you", she turned and walked away. All said, by the end of the service we walked out with nearly 2,000 dollars! Enough to cover quite a few bills for the month and a huge boost of confidence that a company relying on God's generosity through His body is not nearly as crazy as some might think.

It's easy to praise God when things go as we hope they will but this should serve as a reminder that we are told never to be anxious, even when things aren't going as we hope, but to always go before the Lord with our requests, knowing that His peace will guard our hearts and minds through Jesus.

Will you set time aside each day to come into the presence of God, regardless of how busy you might be? If you are depending on God for a breakthrough in your life then I don't believe you have a choice but to get serious time making your requests known to Him. Lord, please teach us how to pray and how to spend time with You.


Jimmy Ryan said...

I would like to get with you soon, God seems to be moving my friend.

Levi The Poet said...

Thanks Chad. Speaking of the Lord answering prayer - this just answered some of mine.

Love ya brother. I hope to see you again soon.

Anonymous said...

Ah man, I'm really struggling with praying at the moment. When you have a hard time it is so easy to put God aside and get on with the trials of life. But instead the opposite should be true!

This is really encouraging.

Thank you.

BrandiJeane said...

What's amazing is that He wanted your participation in all of this and through your obedience you did participate in another amazing miracle of God! so good

Anonymous said...

So.. every time I visit your site I am IMMENSELY encouraged :) thank you for sharing how real God is in your life and reminding me how real He is! i'm pretty flippin glad we worship that same God!

Robert Eilers said...

Why is it so hard to pray? I have been going through a lot of external stuff (finances and parenting) and that is causing a lot of internal issues (failure at parenting, failure to provide adequately for family, etc). I know I need to pray. I know I need to get closer to God. But I just keep on listening to those stupid voices in my head that are telling me that there's no point. That I'm fooling myself thinking God would help me. Why would God help a failure like me? What good am I?

How do you break that wall down? I've heard all the usual stuff that people tell those who are depressed but I just shrug it off as "that's not what I need".

Why can't I break through the wall? I don't like feeling this way about me. Why won't God just take this helplessness away?