Entry 38 Every problem is a Prayer Problem
Faith involves praying and saying God’s word when faced with a problem. Without faith it is impossible to please God. Faith comes by hearing, and hearing the word of God continually, so that we can get a solution. It involves taking God inspired actions. Problems have and always will be part of our human, earthly experience. Jesus had a specific method for solving problems. This can be seen in His methodology of solving the problem of feeding the over 5000 hungry people that came to hear Him. Patterning ourselves after Jesus will guarantee positive results. We first have to define the problem; is the issue insufficient time, inconvenient place, inadequate resources, or an impossible situation. Then we have to determine the possibilities. This involves deciding on the approach to the situation; is it a callous, calculating, or compassionate approach. Thirdly we need to discover the potential. The step involves developing a plan, organizing the people involved, consecrating the plan in prayer in faith without a double mind, administering the program, and evaluating the progress. The evaluation should answer these questions: were the people involved satisfied, and was God glorified. The more we give the more we will have to give. If we hunger and thirst after righteousness we shall be filled. If we seek for answers, we will find them. God doesn’t need us to do His work on the earth. He chooses to use us so we can benefit from the ministry of service to His people. For He knows the first shall be last and the last first, and if we want to be great, we have to be a servant of humanity. God rewards us with greater wealth when we help solve the bigger problems in our society. So instead of praying for financial breakthrough, we can ask God to provide us with an opportunity to solve a big problem in our community. Because when we ask for a tree, God gives us a seed. For ever problem there is a solution that God had in mind before the world began. So praying about issues is asking God to teach us how to be a problem solver on the earth.
Entry 37 Praying to Face the Unknown Without Fear
No one knows what the future holds, but we know who holds the future. Sometimes God sends us through things on purpose to break down in order to build us up. The keys to facing uncertainty are to focus on God’s omni-presence and unconditional love, to trust and believe His Word, to walk in obedience keeping our minds on Him, and to start each day asking God for His guidance. If we do justly, love mercy and walk humbly with our God we can face uncertainty without fear. Being reminded that we are not saved by works, but by His grace through faith, we can look to the cross to face whatever comes our way. For by God’s grace we are sanctified, justified in order to be glorified by God in the end. The hardness of our lives is met with God’s love and mercy which makes His yoke easy and His burden light. God’s embrace is instant, complete and sacrificial. He multiplies what we are thankful for, so being discontented dishonors Him. Perfect love casts out all fear, and fear brings torment. Satan wants us to be condemned by our past, discontented with our present, and fearful of our future. We can interrupt his plans for us with the prayer of petition, intercession, commitment, praise and thanksgiving, agreement, and congregational unity. This will create peace in the earth realm and violence in the spirit world, so that we can face the unknown without fear.
Entry 36 Praying to the Lifter Up of our Heads
God is a shield about us; He is our glory and the lifter up of our head. We may sin because we are casted down, and we lost our vision, hope and purpose. We become frustrated and depressed because of constant disappointments, or the consistent realization of our worst fears. When we are in trials and tribulations over time, our well meaning friends can come off like Job’s friends did; accusatory and condescending. Not rightly dividing the word of truth, they speak from experience, tradition, or legalism. While they have a place in certain situations, these things may have nothing to do with why we are suffering or why our heads are bowed down in the first place. Difficult as it may be, we have to believe in God’s love for us through the trials to experience His grace, mercy, joy, hope and freedom in them. One day, everyone will bow down to acknowledge Jesus as Lord. We will either bow down to Him now in honor and humility, or in the end, by force. But we can lift our own bowed down head that has been crushed by life by encouraging ourselves, reviewing our past achievements, and doing what we love and what gives us pleasure. Sometimes however, only God can lift our heads. We can pause and get quiet before God so that we can clearly hear from Him, and so He can minister to us. We can ask for God’s guidance and help. We can open His word, and recall His deliverance in previous situations. When God lifts our head, He transforms our mind. He challenges us to do what Satan says we cannot do. He gives us the freedom to forgive those that hurt us, and to trust in His unconditional love for everything. As He lifts our heads, God empowers us to believe beyond what we see and feel, and to trust in Him to heal our brokenness.
Entry 35 Praying to be the Highest Form of Ourselves
There are many laws and principles of nature that are in effect around us everyday. We don’t even have to believe in them or recognize them for them to work. The law of sowing and reaping works on a positive and a negative action alike. The introduction of a higher law cancels out an exiting one. What worked and was true for us in our youth may not be applicable as we age. The challenge is to walk in our present truth. Transformational thinking is changing how we thought previously about a present problem. It is processing old material in a new light. It involves investing in what is true to us now and what is in alignment with what is central to our core; not constantly looking in the rear view mirror. Becoming the highest form of ourselves involves perseverance and focus on our goals, trusting in our God-given attractions, letting go of judgment, criticism, condemnation and our false self, taking responsibility for our own lives without always blaming others, knowing clearing what we want, writing the vision and making it plain, seeing it and experiencing it in our minds eye, and letting go while trusting God to take inspired actions. We don’t have to continue hiding our heart as if it is still broken, we can trust God to live and love again. We don’t have to let our sensitivities in life ruin our opportunities to move forward. We can build according to the pattern the Holy Spirit placed inside of us in the areas of our influence without excuses and self pity. We can handle our business and investigate our God given talents and abilities. We can not allow people, places and things to give us identity, but can remain connected to our Source and stay grounded in the purpose and plan God has for us. We can get over ourselves, develop a healthy understanding of who God is, and value the gift of life that God has given us. So praying to become the highest form of ourselves is realizing that our lives have value because God created it, controls it, and changes it.
Tri-state Local Gospel Artist Spotlight #38
The Philadelphia-based group Paul Owens and APC has a polished sound, and blends traditional, contemporary and urban gospel music. Formed by Paul Owen in 1993, the A.P.C. began as a small ensemble in a Philadelphia church. The group grew to 30 members, and they began ministering in local churches, events and neighboring states. Paul Owens and APC shared the stage with many gospel greats from John P. Kee to Kirk Franklin. Their hope is that their music will reach many generations and all around the world.
Tri-State Local Gospel Artist Spotlight #37
Philadelphia natives Double Praise (Sanya and Tanya) formerly known as the Edwards Twins, recognized their music abilities as early as elementary school. They performed at the Robin Hood Dell East for their 8th grade graduation, and are alumni of the Creative and Performing Arts High School. Double Praise were featured guest soloists for the Youth and Young Adult Choir of the GMWA in 1997, and have ministered in churches all over the city of Philadelphia. They have shared the stage with many great gospel artists from Hezekiah Walker to Vickie Winans, and have appeared on radio and television in the tri-state area.
Tri-State Local Gospel Artist Spotlight #36
Philadelphia native Tim Spady of Tim Spady & Inspiration had a passion for music and playing the piano since he was a teenager. He honed his craft by pulling from a variety of sources and started his career playing for a children’s church choir. Spady studied under world renowned organist Michael Stairs at the Haverford School, and took lessons from the Gibson School of Music. He has composed many songs, recorded with and played for a variety of local artist and musical functions. Spady served as Director of Voices of Praise a choir he re-founded at Franklin and Marshall College. Considering anyone who has sang or played with him as part of the group Inspiration, Tim Spady’s musical career was further launched with the release of his first full length project “Songs from the Heart.”
Tri-State Local Gospel Artist Spotlight # 35
The Philadelphia based six voiced family group The Williams Sisters, began singing together during childhood. Their 1996 debut project “Live on the East Coast: Let Every Ear Hear” received great airplay on national gospel radio stations, and landed in the Top 10 on Billboard Magazine’s Top Gospel Albums chart. The William Sisters Renee, Janice, Juilette, Vanessa, Patricia and their mother Terry take gospel music back to its traditional roots. They continue to minister with power and authority both locally and abroad.