The President has declared a National Day of Prayer

Today has been declared a National Day of Prayer. I am thankful for a president who recognizes the need for our nation to pray, “for such a time as this.” When we don’t know what to do or are unclear on the path that we must take, it is time to pray and ask the Lord to order our steps in his will. Some circumstances we may not fully understand, and maybe we don’t always agree with each other on the political side of things, but there is one area that we can be certain of at all times:

Our need to pray for guidance. The bible promises in Isaiah 54:17 that “No weapon that is formed against thee shall prosper; and every tongue that shall rise against thee in judgment thou shalt condemn. This is the heritage of the servants of the Lord, and their righteousness is of me, saith the Lord.”

Why art thou cast down, O my soul? and why art thou disquieted within me? hope thou in God: for I shall yet praise him, who is the health of my countenance, and my God” (Isaiah 42:11).

For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind” (2 Timothy 1:7). 

I don’t know what tomorrow may bring, but I do know that as long as we are trusting the Lord to work out all things for our good, we can surrender our lives to Christ and he will take care of us.

In this week’s Lattereign, we are encouraged to never give up on God. Follow the link by clicking on it, and it will open up in a new window. Don’t Give Up on God.

On March 15, 1995, the first Lattereign was distributed to Sunday School teachers at the Pentecostals of Greenville, NC, so today is our 25th anniversary. Thank you for reading the Lattereign. 

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Take us Back to the Potter’s Wheel

If the Lord knows the plans that he has for me, then, why would I be anxious about them? It’s in the bible that he wants to give me hope and a future, and to do that, it may require me to trust him and lean not to my own understanding. I want to fix everything, without even giving what God wants a second thought. I guess it’s only natural for me to be a fixer of broken things, or at the least attempt to be a fixer of broken things.

Some things are best left alone. At some point in our lives we must realize that the things that are broken in our lives may not even be good for us. We invest a lot of energy trying to fix things that we need to let go of, because they may be things that are keeping us from moving forward in the Lord. Let the Lord reveal to you those things that may need to be swept out of your life, and the other things that are worth restoration.

I’ve never even thought about this before, but how often do we keep gathering fragments of our broken pasts, trying to make them fit together?  As the song goes, “Have thine own way, Lord, have thine own way. Thou art the potter, I am the clay. Mold me and make me after thy will, while I am waiting, yielded and still.” I need God. He is the only one who can take marred clay and make it a vessel of honor.

We are in the Lord’s hand and we have nothing to be anxious about, if we will allow him to shape us into his image. In Jeremiah, the Lord teaches a lesson:

The word which came to Jeremiah from the Lord, saying,

Arise, and go down to the potter’s house, and there I will cause thee to hear my words.

Then I went down to the potter’s house, and, behold, he wrought a work on the wheels.

And the vessel that he made of clay was marred in the hand of the potter: so he made it again another vessel, as seemed good to the potter to make it.

Then the word of the Lord came to me, saying,

O house of Israel, cannot I do with you as this potter? saith the Lord. Behold, as the clay is in the potter’s hand, so are ye in mine hand, O house of Israel. (Jeremiah 18:1-6).

Lord, may I always be in your hand. In this week’s Lattereign, we learn about the value of time. Is There Ever Enough Time?

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Help Me, Lord, When Life Doesn’t make Sense

I know that you say all things work together for our good, Lord, but sometimes I don’t see it. Why do you allow the enemy to come in like a flood? Children who are innocent, need to have a childhood. Play. Not be cut out of life through suicide.

Have mercy on us Lord when we miss those opportunities to show kindness. I remember when the most complicated situation I had to face at school was whether or not I wanted to bring a lunch or buy the school lunch. The school lunches were not so bad before everything became prepackaged.

School lasagna could have been served in a fine restaurant, and the yeast rolls and Southern Fried chicken, would be the top of everyone’s list. There was no waste. I remember being so upset one time when I was small, because I had to leave school before lunch and I knew that the dessert for the day was chocolate cake. Really?! Couldn’t I at least get a tray to go?

Times have changed. Schools have changed. Expectations have changed, but one thing has not changed: God has not changed. Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever. When the world is uncertain, you can always know that the Lord offers you a firm foundation. People may fail you, disappoint you, persecute you, even, but the Lord promises that he will never leave you or forsake you.

I hold to his word and promise tonight as I think about the events of the past week. my God, we are always asking, why? It will take a while to let this one go, but I am going to put my trust in you and let it go. It’s too big for me to process, but I know that you will always be faithful to help us to understand it by and by.

Lord, help my unbelief when I want  to cry out and cast blame. As pastor said today, “lead me to the rock.”

My hope is built on nothing less, than Jesus blood and righteousness. On Christ the solid rock I stand, all other ground is sinking sand, all other ground is sinking sand.

In this week’s Lattereign, we have a message from Chris Cochran, a middle-school assistant principal, on the subject of student safely and cell phone usage: Warning-Public Education Rant to Parents

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Make Prayer a First Option not a Last Resort

How many times have I faced situations where I did not know what direction I needed to take in order to solve the problem? More times than I want to say. I am the independent one who never asks for help even when to do so would be a blessing. When I look back over the years, I see so many times that I struggled needlessly because I refused to ask for help. I have always been this way; it was ingrained in me from childhood to do my best. What I didn’t learn was how to know when it was okay to ask for help.

Asking God for help carries no shame. He invites us to ask him and even goes on to give us this promise in John 14:13-14:

And whatsoever ye shall ask in my name, that will I do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son.

If ye shall ask any thing in my name, I will do it.

This promise holds the key to open the doors of opportunity wide.

It is one thing to not ask for help, but quite another to fail to ask God for help. It’s a choice to be confused, hopeless, or paralyzed with fear, so I have learned that if I want peace, I must ask for it, and then receive it when it is offered.

There are times when our hearts are overwhelmed to the point that we don’t know how to pray. It is then that we allow the Lord Jesus to pray and intercede for us. We must get into his presence.

The bible tells us to  “Be still, and know that I am God: I will be exalted among the heathen, I will be exalted in the earth” (Psalm 46:10).

In the midst of the storms of life, with torrential problems falling all around me, I still can reach out to the Lord and just, be still.

“So shall they fear the name of the Lord from the west, and his glory from the rising of the sun. When the enemy shall come in like a flood, the Spirit of the Lord shall lift up a standard against him” (Psalm 59: 19).

If you are tired of the fight, and frustrated with the lack of peace in your life, it is probably because you are trying to fight alone. Isn’t it time to let the Lord fight your battles, while you trust in him?

Trust in him at all times; ye people, pour out your heart before him: God is a refuge for us. Selah. (Psalm 62:8).

We have to allow the Lord to intervene in our lives if we want to be successful, and trust him to work out all things for our good. In this week’s Lattereign we are reminded that prayer is a privilege that we have. Click on the link below to access the Lattereign. It opens in a new window. The Privilege of Prayer

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Grow Up! We are Running out of Time! Jesus is Coming.

We have heard it all of our lives, that Jesus is coming soon, so much in fact, that unfortunately, it doesn’t excite us like it used to. But I can hear my Spirit screaming at me to Grow Up, because we are running out of time to do what the Lord has called us to do. Yes, we are all given twenty-four hours a day; yes, we all lead busy lives and sometimes pack what seems like more than twenty-four hours of work into our allotted time.

It is time for us to take a look at where and how we use our time. Yes, we have to work, and people are depending on us for so many reasons, but that doesn’t give us an excuse to stop doing the will of God. What it does tell me, is that my priority must first and foremost be my relationship with Jesus Christ. If I haven’t committed to putting him first, then, there will never be enough time to finish all of the responsibilities that I have.

I know how this plays out in our lives. We get so stressed out doing this and that, when, our greatest treasures are at risk of falling to the wayside while we struggle to breathe life into those things that will not make a difference later in our lives.

It’s like I can’t focus on any one challenge or project that I have, because to do so would mean that I might actually complete something, and heaven forbid that I would have accomplished something that could be of value. Instead, I have learned the art of juggling. Unfortunately, I’ve come to the conclusion, of late, that my juggling routine needs work. I have failed to be successful at everything I want to accomplish. Not so much that it is wrong; it’s that in my zeal to do a work for the Lord, I sometimes forget that to do so, will require time to water the seeds that I have already planted. To neglect to water the seeds will surely end in the death and burial of dreams.

Once we have planted seeds, we must give them time to grow. How will we know that they are thriving? When the seeds begin to be established enough to look beyond what we can see with our eyes, and catch a glimpse of where the Lord wants to take us.

Does this mean that we are only successful when we are doing a work for the Lord, or is it when we are mature enough to see potential in others and we are responsible to help others grow? Success in ministry doesn’t happen overnight. If it did, would we pray as much?

In this week’s Lattereign, we feature Sister Amber Tucker’s Saturday night devotional on an important topic.  Spiritual Growth (Click on the link to Spiritual Growth. It will open in a new window.)

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Finding Our Way Through the Time of Waiting

Every branch in me that beareth not fruit he taketh away: and every branch that beareth fruit, he purgeth it, that it may bring forth more fruit.” (John 15:2)

I am blessed. Knowing that I have everything that I need gives a peace that passes all understanding.  Unfortunately, not everyone will be able to reach that peace without much prayer. Over the years, I have learned that if I get too complacent and comfortable in the routine of it all, something will always come up that will cause me to be restless in my spirit.

It’s like a calm before a storm: no lightening or thunder is heard, but slowly the winds pick up and the sky darkens. You know that it’s on the way, only you don’t know when.

I can’t seem to wrap my mind around the ordeal of pruning, yet I know that after it is done, I begin to see new growth.

When we go through those seasons, it is time to pray. It is hard to let go, but sometimes the Lord is asking: “lovest thou me more than these?”

I know early on in my walk with God I was testing so many ideas about how I could find my place to serve, and it seem that the more I searched, the more frustrated I became, because it was important but not really what the Lord was leading me to. I opened so many doors of “opportunity” thinking that this must be the one which will be a good fit for me, and every time this happened, someone else seemed to swoop down and grab it, because maybe they were more qualified, younger, older, had seniority, knew the right people, or whatever else made them the best choice to fulfill MY vision.

Rather than allow myself to get discouraged, I resolved to just be the best at starting projects, and before I could experience the satisfaction of having completed something worthwhile and contributing: the project would be reassigned to someone else. I was a pioneer of sorts.

I worked at a place that still used a typewriter for most of their documents, and there was one computer that I considered basically obsolete. We’re talking about having to load up the hard drive using floppy disks. It wasn’t friendly, at all, but I had to use it. So to make the best of the situation, and learn enough of the IBM (yes, way back in time) to complete my work, I decided that the best way to practice learning the archaic programs I had to use, was to start a newsletter on my lunch break; thus the first Lattereign was written.

Every day, I prayed that the Lord would heal my temperamental computer, and it seemed that the more I prayed for a healing, the sicker that computer became, until one day, bless the Lord, the computer finally died. What a blessing that turned out to be, because it had to be replaced with a more up to date computer. I tried to control my sadness on that one. The power of prayer changed my circumstance, again.

When I made a lateral move to another position; the place that I left had to hire one and a half people to replace me. Was I doing too much? Maybe, but at the time, working enough for one and a half people was natural to me.

If the Lord had not opened doors, I would have missed out on the next step in my journey to reach my full potential in him. It isn’t easy to let go, but when we learn to do so, the Lord takes us to a place where we can be fruitful. If I had been content, I would have never started the Lattereign, and my ministry would not have been brought to life.

I realize that through the years that the Lord has taken so many ambitions from me, only to allow me to thrive where he wants me to be. I couldn’t see it at the time, I’m still learning to let go. The word says in John 3:30, “He must increase, but I must decrease.” It also says, that he knows the plans that he has for me, that I might prosper and be in good health.” I must learn to trust him.

In this week’s Lattereign, we are invited to Receive From the Lord.

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No Weapon Formed Against Me Shall Prosper

My mind is filled with ideas about what I could say to encourage you, reminding you that you are not alone, for one. For every tear that you have cried over a burden you have had to carry, the Lord has captured your tears in a bottle to save. Think about that for a minute. You do matter to the Lord.

So often I’ve thought that the Lord could have just forgotten me, because after all, I had made so many mistakes on my journey to serve him. For the situations I have had to face, I accept responsibility, because there are always consequences to our actions. I still do not always understand why the Lord allowed me to go through it. Was it to just teach me to trust him? or maybe by going through the situation, I could later on have compassion for someone else? I may never know the why.

The longer I serve the Lord, the more I want to just focus on doing his will. He has a purpose for my life. I may not know all of the details as of yet, but I have hope that his plan will unfold in his will in my life.

Living for the Lord has brought both joy and peace. When I am weary I know that the Lord promises that the Joy of the Lord is my strength, and where do we get this joy? by praying in the Holy Ghost. He desires our worship and praise. I admit that sometimes it is a sacrifice of praise that I offer the Lord, but that doesn’t matter because it is the best I can give at that time.

We aren’t promised that everything we go through in life after we begin to serve the Lord will be easy, but we do have the promise that the Lord will never leave us nor forsake us.

Just knowing that I have an advocate who is right there with me, brings peace that passes all understanding. You see, Satan desires to sift us as wheat. He doesn’t want us to prosper or have good health, so he does everything in his power to keep us from reaching our full potential in Christ. What Satan doesn’t understand is that I was bought with a price. I am the Lord’s treasure, and for every time he tries to bring discouragement in my life, Jesus is with me, and no weapon formed against me shall prosper.

I am truly blessed. In this week’s Lattereign, we recognize how blessed we are, and the steps we must take to hold on to that blessing   A Time of Prayer

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It’s Time to Take Back our Joy in the Lord.

I try to put my full confidence and trust in the Lord; but sometimes the battles seem so overwhelming that I struggle with it. I go to my prayer closet and pray fervently about a situation or a challenge, then, I leave the closet and before I can make it to the door, fear attacks me and I am thinking about the hows, and whens, and what ifs, and uncertainty sets in to my steps. It doesn’t take long for the empowerment to leave me. I am my greatest hindrance to walking in faith.

There, I admit that I am just about as normal a person as I can be. In my own flesh I can do nothing. I am meek and hesitant to stand up against the onslaught of the enemy when he comes in like a flood–but alas, I think about what the bible says, “For God has not given us the spirit of fear, but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind” (2 Timothy 1:7). He already knows the plans that he has for us and the Lord is telling me that it is okay to be fearful, but if you are fearful, you don’t have to receive it because it is not of God.

Why would I allow Satan to overtake my life with fear, when I know that the Lord has already defeated the enemy? Yet, sometimes we do get weary in well-doing and we say or do things that are contrary to what we should be doing. Not terrible, awful things, but something that could be just as detrimental to our spiritual health: we lose our joy and confidence in the Lord.

Maybe he hasn’t answered a prayer for you, and you are discouraged because it seems that everyone on the planet has it so much better than you do. Doesn’t God even care about all of the sacrifices you have made? or the time or money you have invested in the ministry? We can allow the enemy to tangle us up in so much bitterness that it becomes anger. This day, I bind the spirit of fear and bitterness and release a Spirit of Thankfulness. I am a firm believer that if I learn to focus on being thankful, that it heals all of the times that I felt that I had nothing to be thankful for.

Breathing without assistance is such a blessing, but we take for granted the very breath the Lord allows for us to take. On the other hand, if you do need breathing assistance, you still can be thankful that there is the technology available that will help you to breathe.

No matter what circumstances you may find yourself in, during a season of life, finding something to be thankful for and proclaiming it will keep you in line with God’s purpose for your life, and it will also shield you from the attacks of the enemy.

Ecclesiastes 3

To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven:

A time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up that which is planted;

A time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up;

A time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance;

A time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together; a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing;

A time to get, and a time to lose; a time to keep, and a time to cast away;

A time to rend, and a time to sew; a time to keep silence, and a time to speak;

A time to love, and a time to hate; a time of war, and a time of peace.

It is time that we take back the gift of God, the good of all our labour (Ecclesiastes 3:13).

In this week’s Lattereign, we learn how to keep Trusting in Quiet Confidence.

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Fret Not: Learn to Trust God!

No matter what we are facing at this point in our lives, we have God’s promise that he will be with us. The bible instructs us in Psalm 37 to not worry about “evildoers.” Instead, he shows us a plan to finding God’s favor:

Fret not thyself because of evildoers, neither be thou envious against the workers of iniquity.

For they shall soon be cut down like the grass, and wither as the green herb.

Trust in the Lord, and do good; so shalt thou dwell in the land, and verily thou shalt be fed.

Delight thyself also in the Lord: and he shall give thee the desires of thine heart.

Commit thy way unto the Lord; trust also in him; and he shall bring it to pass.

And he shall bring forth thy righteousness as the light, and thy judgment as the noonday.

Rest in the Lord, and wait patiently for him: fret not thyself because of him who prospereth in his way, because of the man who bringeth wicked devices to pass.

Cease from anger, and forsake wrath: fret not thyself in any wise to do evil.

For evildoers shall be cut off: but those that wait upon the Lord, they shall inherit the earth.

First, he gives us guidance, and then he tells us what will happen if we obey. Every answer you need can be found in the word of God, so it’s important to read it. I know. My life gets overwhelmingly busy, too, but this year I am really trying to focus on getting my priorities straight. It’s true that we have a tendency to try to work everything out on our own, but sometimes, our independent selves, forgets that to have success in navigating the course of life, we need a compass! That compass is the word of God. Prayer ushers us into his presence, where we can give our petitions, but reading the word helps us to know what to do.

Have you ever had a conversation with someone who never listens? They talk and talk and talk and when you try to speak, they are still having their own conversation, or they may even get distracted and walk off to talk to someone else who will listen. It can be frustrating, but isn’t there times when we treat prayer this way? Always whining and complaining to the Lord, but never just spending time in his presence and listening.

Sometimes the Lord whispers our name. It’s time that we learn to shut out all of the voices that say we are worthless, going to fail, never succeed, mess up, get sick, go broke, and anything else negative; and start to open up our spiritual ears to listen to what the spirit of the Lord has to say about us:

Isaiah 61 The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me; because the Lord hath anointed me to preach good tidings unto the meek; he hath sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to them that are bound;

To proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord, and the day of vengeance of our God; to comfort all that mourn;

To appoint unto them that mourn in Zion, to give unto them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness; that they might be called trees of righteousness, the planting of the Lord, that he might be glorified.

And they shall build the old wastes, they shall raise up the former desolations, and they shall repair the waste cities, the desolations of many generations.

And strangers shall stand and feed your flocks, and the sons of the alien shall be your plowmen and your vinedressers.

But ye shall be named the Priests of the Lord: men shall call you the Ministers of our God: ye shall eat the riches of the Gentiles, and in their glory shall ye boast yourselves.

For your shame ye shall have double; and for confusion they shall rejoice in their portion: therefore in their land they shall possess the double: everlasting joy shall be unto them.

For I the Lord love judgment, I hate robbery for burnt offering; and I will direct their work in truth, and I will make an everlasting covenant with them.

And their seed shall be known among the Gentiles, and their offspring among the people: all that see them shall acknowledge them, that they are the seed which the Lord hath blessed.

10 I will greatly rejoice in the Lord, my soul shall be joyful in my God; for he hath clothed me with the garments of salvation, he hath covered me with the robe of righteousness, as a bridegroom decketh himself with ornaments, and as a bride adorneth herself with her jewels.

11 For as the earth bringeth forth her bud, and as the garden causeth the things that are sown in it to spring forth; so the Lord God will cause righteousness and praise to spring forth before all the nations.

Can you hear the hope in these verses of scripture? Yet, we allow the enemy to try to steal our joy when we should be putting him under our feet. The Lord is offering us peace, today, and not only peace but a “peace that passes all understanding.” The question is, are you willing to lay aside every weight, and pick up your sword (the word of God) and defend yourself? You have no need to fear, because The Lord has already won the battle. He needs for us to trust him.

This week’s Lattereign, shows us how and why we need to Wait on God’s Promises to Unfold.

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The Lord Will Make a Way out of No Way.

“I will bless the Lord at all times, his praise shall continually be in my mouth.” What other choice do we have if we want to live life more abundantly? Today, survival is all about making the right choices in life. It’s not always the easiest choices, or the ones that will cause the least amount of controversy. Living in a family that doesn’t understand why we go to church “all the time” can cause conflicts.

When I was growing up, it was a given that on Friday night, my Daddy would come home and already decide that I was not going to go to Sunday school. It could be the last thing on my mind, but he knew that he wanted to make sure that I stayed home to help my mother with housework. Only she didn’t do housework on Sundays, and the only reason she stayed at home was because she was hesitant about leaving Daddy home alone, fearing that he might fall asleep and burn the house down, accidentally.

Every few hours, he reminded me that there was no need to get dressed for Sunday school, because I was needed at home. I always said, “yes, sir,” but inside, another part of my heart would break off because I needed to go. I was hungry to find peace and joy and whatever else I was missing. I was only a preteen then, and naturally, my parents knew what was best.

Then, Sunday came, and I got up and mom would tell me to get dressed and not to worry about what Daddy had said. So, I got up and dressed and there I was waiting and praying that somehow Daddy would have forgotten what he had said, so I could go. Mr. Simpson, drove the church van, and he took the time to get to know Daddy. Every chance he got he would speak to him and invite him to church. Daddy always politely said, no, but it never dissuaded him from trying. For years, he tried.

I remember walking outside on the screened in porch, and wondering if I would make it to the van alive, because daddy had found his shot gun, and he was threatening to stop the van. One time, he had the gun out and when we came back home, Daddy was passed out on the porch steps with the loaded gun laying across his chest.

I stepped over him to get into the house, and mama, carefully took the gun out of his hands, unloaded it and hid it. When he woke up, all he ever asked for was dinner. He had forgotten all about it: but for the longest time, I couldn’t forget. I relied on prayer and the bible to show me what to do. After I was old enough to leave home, mama started going back to a Pentecostal church. She prayed for Daddy, and later he did repent and get baptized.

Waiting on God is worth all of the heartache, the tears, the sleepless nights spent praying, because the Lord is working all things for our good, even when we don’t realize that he is working.

I wonder what would have happened, if I had given up hope? To this day, I still remember the past, but it wasn’t always dreadful, because with the bad, the Lord filled our home with love. Prayer and hope saturated our home to fight against the spirits that would try to take our joy. Like the song goes, “Little is much when God is in it! Labor not for wealth or fame: There’s a crown, and you can win it, if you go in Jesus’ Name.”

In this week’s Lattereign, we explore the importance of waiting on the Lord. The Wait and the Win

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