Sunday, December 30, 2012

Watch for the Lord's Coming

As the New Year begins, I asked the Lord what Christians should focus on in 2013. He responded with a message that is as powerful as it is simple. "Watch for My coming." The signs that the Lord gave us to watch for are coming together even as I write this article. The Lord cautions us to "be aware." We should be the watchmen on the wall, warning and reminding each other that His coming is near -- even at the door. 

During these times, satan will try to take our spiritual awareness from us, making us dull of heart. We must always rebuke and resist satan. If it is hard to rebuke and resist, as the Lord for help. Focus always on the Lord. Churches in New York City hold services virtually around the clock at 10, 12, 2, 5, 7, and 9, and all services have lines of people waiting to get into the service. Others report that Iran is experiencing the greatest Christian revival in the world. Revival is also happening in South America, China, and part of Asia and Africa. There is a hunger for the Lord in diverse places. Let us be part of the revival. 

Between now and then, we should be doing exactly what the Lord has given us to do. In Mark 13, the Lord says, 

"But concerning that day or that hour, no one know, not even the angels in heaven, not the Son, but only the Father. Be on guard, keep awake. For you do not know when the time will come. It is like a man going on a journey, when he leaves home and puts his servants in charge, each with his work, and commands the doorkeeper to stay awake. Therefore stay awake--for you do not know when the mast of the house will come, in the evening, or at midnight, or when the rooster crows, or in the morning--lest he come suddenly and find you asleep. And what I say to you I say to all: Stay awake." (Mark 13:32-37 ESV)

In the meantime, pray that the Lord will come quickly. Pray for the unsaved. And pray faithfully for our brothers and sisters in Christ around the world. 

And in the words of Christ, "Who then is the faithful and wise servant, whom his master has set over his household, to give them their food at the proper time? Blessed is that servant whom his master will find so doing when he comes. Truly, I say to you, he will set him over all his possessions." (Matthew 24: 45-47 ESV)

I wish you all a blessed New Year. 

Thursday, December 20, 2012

A Most Blessed Season

May your Christmas be filled to overflowing with the love and joy of this blessed season.

Christmas is the season of love, the season of joy, and the season of hope. Our joy and our hope is in Christ Jesus, our Lord. And whether you live in India, China, America, Europe, Africa, or somewhere else in the world, we are all brothers and sisters in Christ.  

The Apostle John's words emphasize the work of the Lord Jesus in His coming. "In him was life, and the life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it." John continues, "But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God, who were born not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God. And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth…And from his fullness we have all received, grace upon grace." (John 1:4, 5, 12-14, 16 ESV)

So to all of my brothers and sisters in Christ, I wish you a Christmas filled with an outpouring of His grace. I wish you the abiding, supernatural joy that comes only from God. I wish you blessings here on earth, but most of all, blessings that are eternal.

I pray for your safety and strength, especially for our brothers and sisters in Christ who suffer persecution. I pray that together we will carry the light of Christ into the darkness. 

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Encouraging Your Creativity

By Charlotte Lowrie

Some of the most popular posts on this Web site are those that focus on creativity. That’s not surprising to me because creativity is one of our natural connections with God. He is, after all, the Master Creator, and he instilled within us the need and desire to be creative. Thus, creativity is really an awakening of what God instilled within us.

Our work is not only to encourage and express our creativity, but also to avoid blocking creativity. There are many ways to block creativity, and some of the ways are inherent in the very process of being creative.

fall trees shade a pathway
A pathway shaded by splendid fall maple trees. 
The primary creativity block is the desire to follow the crowd, as I mentioned in an earlier article. But this block deserves a second mention. When we follow the crowd, we seek the approval of the crowd rather than seeking the approval of the Lord. And the Lord’s approval is the only approval that matters. If you have worked with the Spirit of the Lord guiding your work, then you likely know the moments when the Lord provides an idea or technique. It's those moments when you know immediately that what He has given you is “just perfect.” Those are the blessed creative moments that we seek in all of our work.

Ultimately, regardless of what our creative work is, we can only imitate what God first created. But as the Lord reminded me, “Through imitation, you learn of Me.”

In whatever we create, we must be certain that it it is 'alive.' This seems like a strange statement, and it’s best explained by thinking of doing something over and over again. For example, updating a base-level book multiple times eventually becomes a life-less task. When we recognize the lifelessness of the task, it is a sure sign that it’s time to do something new—something that is alive. The Lord reminded me that “Nothing is dead and lifeless in the heavenlies. It is all alive.”

Another way to block creativity is by rejecting what our imagination creates. The imagination is our inborn creative channel. We tend to be harsh judges, especially of ideas that are much different from the earthly norm. Plus when we censor and reject ideas, we are judging by earthly standards. Instead, remember that we have the DNA of God within us, and what we reject, He may recognize as being worthwhile. When we reject our imaginative ideas, we close the door to our creative channel.

Every day, your life is a blank canvas waiting for you to create what is good and pleasing to the Lord. Nothing is impossible with God, so you can create whatever you can dream. Your only limits are self-imposed. 

Dream God-worthy dreams and trust Him to supply all that you need. His arm is not too short. 

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Billy Graham's Letter Hits Responsive Chord

In America, television channels are filled with political advertisements, debates, as well as arguments and attacks. This is a high-stakes election, but the stakes go beyond electing the president, senators, representatives, and judges. In many states voters will decide on issues that go to the moral fabric of America. For example, on the Washington state ballot, there is a referendum for voters to retain or overturn the legalization of gay marriage—a measure passed by the Washington-state legislature months ago. In other states, voters will decide whether or not to legalize the use of marijuana. At every turn, America’s longstanding moral and ethical cornerstones seem to be crumbling. The upcoming election simply shines a spotlight on continuing economic corruption and uncontrolled spending, immorality, secular humanism, and attacks on religious freedom.

My Heart Aches for America

Billy Graham, the great evangelist, wrote a letter July (2012) decrying the downward spiral of America. The letter titled, My Heart Aches for America, compares modern-day America with Sodom and Gomorrah and Nineveh. Dr. Graham says, “Yet the farther we get from God, the more the world spirals out of control."

Dr. Graham continues by writing, "My heart aches for American and its deceived people. The wonderful news is that our Lord is a God of mercy, and He responds to repentance. In Jonah’s day, Nineveh was the lone world superpower—wealthy, unconcerned, and self-centered. When the Prophet Jonah finally traveled to Nineveh and proclaimed God’s warning, people heard it and repented.

"I believe the same thing can happen once again, this time in our nation."

Dr. Graham, his son Franklin Graham, and the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association (BGEA), have launched prayer and witnessing outreach programs that are currently underway. Dubbed My Hope with Billy Graham, this grass-roots initiative begins with prayer and training so that by November 2013, Christians across the United States and Canada are prepared to help bring the unsaved to Christ. 

For those who sign up to participate, they identify and begin praying for friends and family. Then the friends and family are invited into homes where they watch a special program with messages from Dr. Graham. The hosts share how they found Jesus Christ and how He changed their life. And finally, friends and family are invited to accept Jesus as their Savior. The timeline for the initiative is detailed on the My Hope Web site. You can sign up as an individual, or churches can sign up. Participants are trained and have access to resources. The initiative culminates the week of Nov. 7, 2013, to coincide with Dr. Graham’s 95th birthday. 

Pray for Our Nation 

In the shorter term, BGEA and other organizations have called Christians to nationwide prayer in advance of the upcoming elections. This call to prayer rests on the promise in 2 Chronicles 7:14 (NIV), "If my people who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land."

To join in prayer for healing of America, go to the Pray for Our Nation in 2012 Web site.

Let's Join Together Across the World in Prayer

America is not alone in facing moral decline. Now is the time for prayer regardless of where you live. Although the Billy Graham initiative focuses on America, you can get together with your brothers and sisters in Christ and pray for your country. Together, let’s pray for worldwide revival.

Right now, satan must be a happy man. The very principles that guided America to greatness are in danger of being discarded as antiquated thinking. But God is the God of yesterday, today, and tomorrow. His thinking, His commands will never be antiquated. When men and women of the world choose to ignore Him and what He has already judged to be sinful and abominable, then we can expect the blessing of the Lord to be lifted from us.

As for me, I pray that this nation and the nations of the world will repent and turn or return to the Lord. Please join me in that prayer.

Additional article: Billy Graham’s ‘Judgment’ Letter Sparks Charismatic Commotion 

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Evaluating the Escalating Middle East Protests

Posted by Charlotte Lowrie

The recent killing of four Americans, including the U. S. Libyan Ambassador, Chris Stevens, in Benghazi may seem like just one of many headlines coming out of the Middle East, an area that seems to be in perpetual unrest. But as Christians watching for the return of our Lord Jesus Christ, this incident and the subsequent protests must be examined from a prophetic point of view. The question is whether the killings and protests are part of ongoing unrest in the region, or are they part of the fulfillment of end times Biblical prophecies?

If we evaluate the incidents by following the popular press and government officials, then the protests seem to be an escalation of existing unrest provoked by an anti-Islam film trailer posted on the Internet. An American reporter asked a Libyan protester why they were protesting. The impassioned protester replied that the U.S. government should have immediately censored the anti-Islamic film. Whether the film triggered the protests or served as a convenient excuse to attack the American embassy in Libya and kill Americans may never be known. What is certain is that a contingent of protesters was armed with sophisticated weapons that were not available to the average street-level Libyan protester. Some believe the embassy attack was premeditated, with well-positioned assassins seizing what was for their purposes a perfect moment.

Less than a year earlier, the average Libyan protester was fighting for freedom and democracy. But clearly, the protester interviewed did not understand what freedom of speech and freedom of religion mean and how these freedoms play out in everyday democratic life. This protester and others don't understand that freedom of speech and religion means that the government does not censor the content of movies regardless of its religious content. From a Western perspective, it then becomes easy to pigeonhole the protests as cultural misunderstandings. And then it's easy to wax philosophical about how freedom of speech and religion play out on an ever-widening global stage.

But as I mediated, the Lord made it clear that these protests have nothing to do with political systems and democratic freedoms. Rather, the protests have everything to do with the ageless battle between good and evil--a battle that is being fought on earth as well as in the unseen realms. The Lord was clear that these protests are a sign of the times--the end times. And protests, violence, and unrest will increase and become more widespread. All are part of the fulfillment of end times prophecies and must happen before the Lord returns.

The Lord cautioned, "Watch and be ready for My coming, for it is near." Knowing that these and other events point to the nearness of the Lord's return, what are our tasks--what part do we play during these times.

First it is important that we listen only to His voice and His word and not be deceived by what we hear from the media, politicians, and governments. As believers, we are to fight for what is right and good on all levels of our lives and in our spheres of influence.

Then we must:

  • Pray for worldwide revival
  • Spread the Gospel as He commanded us
  • Not falter in being His witnesses in the world

The Lord cautions, "There are not many days remaining. Do My work while there is time. Look neither left or right, but stay on the path of righteousness. Be My witness where you are and beyond. Tell others before it is too late. I will help you. Be not afraid. Spread the Gospel as I commanded. Live according to My commands. Do not be afraid for I am with you."

Important Note: As the tensions in the Middle East continue, pray for the safety of our brothers and sisters in Christ who often take the brunt of the hostilities. Both homes and churches have been burned. Some who were evacuated from their homes to safe houses cannot return to their homes because the landlords do not want Christians living in their properties. One way to help persecuted Christians is by supporting the Voice of Martyrs, an organization that provides safe houses and other support for Christians who are persecuted around the world.

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Embracing Change

By Charlotte Lowrie

The saying goes, “Change is a only constant in life.” And in many cases, change is the one thing we dread and resist most. Unless the current situation is uncomfortable and painful, many people would rather maintain the status quo than face the uncertainty of change.

But change is the single thing that keeps life fresh and alive. As the Lord told me, "Without change, you would wither and die. With change, you move forward and breathe new air."

I learned the effect of change recently. The change meant the loss of the work -- work that I've had for the past half-dozen years, and work that I wanted to keep. But it wasn't to be.

It took some talks with the Lord to realize that I should welcome change rather than dwell on what I'd lost and resist the change. I quickly realized that I had been praying to get more work, and, of course, the Lord already knew that I need more work. I really needed to welcome the change as a new and exciting opportunity. Now I pray that I will learn all that the Lord has for me to learn during this change. The Lord reminded me, "Change is only hard because you resist it." And I would add that wherever the change leads us, we know that the Lord will never lead us astray.

So if we examine the change that comes our way, and if we determine that is come from the Lord, then we should, as the Lord suggested, welcome change, and embrace what He has for us next, even if we cannot see it yet.

Monday, July 2, 2012

How to Treat Others

By Charlotte Lowrie

Walking through life with the Lord is like having a wise, old, and trusted friend available at every moment. Every day, I realize afresh that He knows me better than I know myself, and that His love is incomprehensibly wide and deep. The walk is rich and satisfying even during hard times when jobs disappear, when struggling with a persistent sin, and during times of grief as well as joy. Regardless of what I do, and regardless of what happens, the Lord treats me with such love and kind regard that even the worst circumstances are made doable.

As I reflect on the years spent with the Lord, I’m amazed at how peaceful (conflict-free) our relationship is. I know myself well enough to know that I can be contrary, stubborn, and willful. Yet the Lord leads me so that none of those characteristics interfere with our daily progress. In my years of walking with the Lord, I have never felt pushed or coerced. I’ve always and only felt His complete love in all that we do.

Without question, this is the best relationship that I’ve ever had. Many times, I’ve tried to analyze what the Lord does to work with me so perfectly. And I’ve often thought that if I could imitate Him, then my interactions with my family, friends, and co-workers would be much richer and happier.

So I asked the Lord for his secret. What can I do to treat other people in the same way that you treat me? The Lord answered, "Treat people as they are, not as you want them to be. That is how I treat you."

The wisdom of his answer is, of course, perfect. So often I want others to change or to see things my way. I believe the desire to persuade or change people is present in almost all interactions even if it’s on a subconscious level. And as long as is self-interest is involved, I believe that we never truly see the other person as he or she is. And if we don’t see them as they are, then we see only a distortion of our own making.

The Lord added, "It's a matter of respecting the person's nature and working with it." A key word in this advice is, respect. Respect means to admire someone deeply, such as admiring his or her abilities, qualities, or achievements. Synonyms for respect provide more insight and they include: esteem, honor, regard, and consideration. In fact, these definitions and synonyms describe how the Lord makes me feel in our relationship. And as a result, He makes it easy for me to follow Him. And it makes it easy for me to change—to change my ways, my course, or whatever else needs changing.

As I thought about this perfect relationship that the Lord creates with us, Jesus’ words in Matthew 22:35-41 came to mind. When an expert in Jewish law asked Jesus was the greatest commandment was, the Lord replied, "'Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.' This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: 'Love your neighbor as yourself.' All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments." (Matthew 22:35-41 NIV).

The way the Lord treats us every day is a perfect example of love. It is an example that we can imitate as we love God and our neighbors.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Thoughts to Ponder

By Charlotte Lowrie

This week, I'll share some of the thoughts, questions, and insights from recent prayers and studies.
  • What have you done with what the Lord has given you?
  • Creativity is the awakening of what God instilled within us.
  • "Snow is silent because the weight has been lifted."
  • When I think I'm not learning fast enough, the Lord tells me to, "Be patient. Make peace with waiting."
  • We are never defeated. Times of trouble are the times to claim His victory; to restrain Satan by the authority in and of the name of Jesus.
  • "It isn't a matter of you trying. It's a matter of you believing in My power to carry you through all things, and that those things will work to My glory."
  • "You think that life centers within the mind. But the heart is where you hold your passionately held beliefs. The heart holds what is dear to man, not the mind. So it's the heart that must be cleaned. It's the heart that makes the judgment of what the mind knows and remembers."
May your Easter season be filled with His peace and joy.
I pray for my brothers and sisters in Christ around the world who are suffering persecution for His name's sake.

Monday, February 27, 2012

Praying Transformative Prayers

By Charlotte Lowrie

If you feel that your prayers hit the ceiling and go no farther, consider what you're praying for and the spirit of your prayers. Too often our prayers are like pulling up to the divine drive-through to order up what needs to be fixed, added to, or subtracted from our lives. We pray for quick fixes to prop up temporary problems in our lives. We lose site of the larger context of our part in God's divine plan.

If you want your prayers to be transformative, then I suggest two things. First, pray from the heart. To pray from the heart, you have to know what's on your heart. Usually what's on your heart is a lot more than a list of what you want the Lord to fix in your life. So before you say, "Our Father in heaven," ask yourself what's on your heart right now. Then pray from that space--the heart space. It makes all the difference.

The second thing to transform your prayer is to pray in agreement with God's will. Many Christians pray wanting to persuade God to do their will rather than them doing His will. But when we pray to do his will in our lives, that's when prayers get divine power. I personally think of this as a parallel to Matthew 6:33, when Jesus said to, "first seek his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be be given to you as well." The parallel is that if I pray to do the will of God in my life, then I know that He will take care of the rest of my needs.

Jesus knew how to pray in agreement with God's will. As he faced the cross, Jesus could have prayed for an avenging army of angels, but instead he prayed that he would glorify the Father. And He prayed for His disciples and the believers who would build the church on the foundation He laid. Jesus could have asked for anything, but he prayed in agreement with the will of God. Our prayers will be transformed when we also pray in agreement with God's will.

What is God's will? His will is always that His kingdom be advanced. The work of the kingdom is our work as believers and as the church. Our work is living lives where we share the Lord Jesus with others, where we serve others as our Lord served, and where we do the work of the church. It is His will that we use the talents and gifts that He has generously blessed us with for His glory.

With your next prayer, first know what's in your heart, and hold that thought. Begin your prayer with praise and thanksgiving. And then ask, "Lord what can I do for You today?"