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This site is for the "Compassion" devotionals written by Jacky Hughes. The aim is to write a daily devotional around the theme of healing, including that of mind, spirit and emotions.

A new devotional will be written from Monday to Friday.

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PLE

So you think you can't pray for an hour?



Introduction



Does anyone else have the same trouble as me? I can pray standing up and doing just about anything. I can pray driving, and I can pray washing up, but actually sitting still and listening and concentrating on talking to Jesus seems a whole lot harder some days. This is to help those of us with butterfly minds to rest a while on the leaf of prayer and stay still!


Scriptures this week are taken from the Amplified Bible (AMP)Copyright 1954, 1958, 1962, 1964, 1965, 1987 by The Lockman Foundation


MONDAY

Matthew 26:40
And He came to the disciples and found them sleeping, and He said to Peter, What! Are you so utterly unable to stay awake and keep watch with Me for one hour?


Here at least is proof we are fallible and human! Even in Jesus greatest hour of need, then the disciples fell asleep. Jesus needed their prayers but they just could not stay awake. Isn't that sometimes just like us? We mean to get up and pray when the Lord wakes us, but find ourselves still in bed later that morning. I can imagine the disciples in the time before the resurrection thinking, or even saying to one another, "I wish we had stayed awake with Him." It was perhaps their wake up call to be found so wanting. I think we all do this at some point, stay asleep when the prayer need is great, and finding out later that we really did blow it is hard - yet these disciples, who seem in this moment to be such prayer failures still went on to be those who became men of prayer. We can give up in these moments, or we can determine to do better next time. The choice is ours to determine to pray or to give up and sleep.


TUESDAY


Romans 8:26
So too the [Holy] Spirit comes to our aid and bears us up in our weakness; for we do not know what prayer to offer nor how to offer it worthily as we ought, but the Spirit Himself goes to meet our supplication and pleads in our behalf with unspeakable yearnings and groanings too deep for utterance.


I think a lot of the time, the reason we don't pray as much as we ought is because we get too tied up in thinking what we ought to say. We start to doubt the words coming out of our mouths. We forget we are talking to our Heavenly Dad and sometimes children say stuff wrong. Our Heavenly Dad understands and delights simply to hear the voice of His children speaking. The Holy Spirit is there for us, and speaking on our behalf. We can run out of words, but in an attitude of prayer, the Holy Spirit acts like an adult interpreting our childish speech. He is able to say all the things we can't. All we are required to do is to be obedient children and speak when we are spoken to by Dad!


WEDNESDAY

Ephesians 6:18
Pray at all times (on every occasion, in every season) in the Spirit, with all [manner of] prayer and entreaty. To that end keep alert and watch with strong purpose and perseverance, interceding in behalf of all the saints (God's consecrated people).


Keeping a heart attitude of prayer and a continual dialogue up with Jesus is something that should become second nature to us. The trouble is, we so often fall asleep. The secret is to persevere. Prayer can be habit forming once we get into it! I know one man who began to pray at all times at the age of 16: now he is being used as an intercessor, and you can sense that God is taking him places. You are never too old to begin to pray, and if we pray for all the saints we know - all the Christians who come accross our path and the unsaved people we know God is calling, then that is going to take up some time - praying all the time becomes much easier once we start looking out for the needs of other people!

Part of the difficulty some people have in praying is they think there must be some special format they have to follow to please God. God made us all very different, and some will find one way of praying brings them closer to God and some another. If it makes you feel closer to God standing on your head, well why would God mind? He made you, and he made you the person you are. Just get talking....talk from your bed, on the bus, in a crowd, and in the secret place on your knees (or head). Your Heavenly Father delights to hear from you!

THURSDAY

Luke 21:36
Keep awake then and watch at all times [be discreet, attentive, and ready], praying that you may have the full strength and ability and be accounted worthy to escape all these things [taken together] that will take place, and to stand in the presence of the Son of Man.


The end times seem to consist of all sorts of frightening things, and with all the things going on in the world today it is hard to believe that we are not in them. However, the truth is that we can't tell and we don't know the day or hour of Jesus' return. This means we can't afford to be asleep. We need to keep ready at all times because when the bad things in life happen, we often can't get our prayers so readily together. We need to know we will enter any crisis already prayed up and ready for battle. Praying at all times is about keeping yourself at full strength for the way ahead.

FRIDAY

Isaiah 62:6
I have set watchmen upon your walls, O Jerusalem, who will never hold their peace day or night; you who [are His servants and by your prayers] put the Lord in remembrance [of His promises], keep not silence,


We are the watchmen. It is not the person across the aisle in church you think is more spiritual, it is each one of us who is called to pray. We can live in the peace of God when we give him no peace by walking in an attitude of constant prayer! God had promised us many things but He needs us to pray to Him constantly and claim the treasure troves of Heaven he wants to pour out.

IF YOU SCROLL PAST THE ADVERTS THEN YOU WILL FIND DEVOTIONALS FROM PREVIOUS WEEKS.



LAST WEEK

SUBMISSION AND CONTROL CONTINUED



Introduction


I decided to take two weeks with this subject as there is so much to say. We do so much harm to ourselves when we put ourselves under false leaders, and there are sheep in wolf's clothing out there ready to devour any one of us they can. Understanding what is submission, what is control, and what the qualities of the the leaders we follow should be is vital. We all need covering, but none of us needs to be controlled, except by the Holy Spirit.

Amplified Bible (AMP)
Copyright 1954, 1958, 1962, 1964, 1965, 1987 by The Lockman Foundation

MONDAY

1 Timothy 3:2-3 (Amplified Bible)

2 Now a bishop (superintendent, overseer) must give no grounds for accusation but must be above reproach, the husband of one wife, circumspect and temperate and self-controlled; [he must be] sensible and well behaved and dignified and lead an orderly (disciplined) life; [he must be] hospitable [showing love for and being a friend to the believers, especially strangers or foreigners, and be] a capable and qualified teacher,

3 Not given to wine, not combative but gentle and considerate, not quarrelsome but forbearing and peaceable, and not a lover of money [insatiable for wealth and ready to obtain it by questionable means].


If the Bible says this, then surely it means we are meant to look at the lives of our leaders. If those at the top do not match up to the life that is described here, then why are we following them? I don't mean that the moment a man of God (sorry ladies but here I do believe that the ultimate authority, the person at the very top of the church has to be male,) becomes unfit because they have the odd 'human' moment, but if there is a consistent failure of these principles, then to me, that would render the authority of that man null and void unless they repented and showed a consistent walking with God. Those in authority don't lose their ministries, but they do lose their anointing and favour with God when they consistently walk outside of these principles. They can do enormous damage when they do so, and we should not follow them out of a false sense of loyalty.

TUESDAY

1 Corinthians 15:27-29 (Amplified Bible)

27 For He [the Father] has put all things in subjection under His [Christ's] feet. But when it says, All things are put in subjection [under Him], it is evident that He [Himself] is excepted Who does the subjecting of all things to Him.(A)

28 However, when everything is subjected to Him, then the Son Himself will also subject Himself to [the Father] Who put all things under Him, so that God may be all in all [be everything to everyone, supreme, the indwelling and controlling factor of life].


Can you see that we submit to Godly order? Submission is not about control, but about accountability. Those over you should be concerned about submitting their own life in every part to Jesus. So should you, and you should only submit if they can give you the example you need.


Submission is saying: " I will follow you because what I can learn from you leads me right to the heart of the Father because it helps me become more like Jesus."

Jesus is drawing together all those He will be able to present to His Father as obedient. If they obey Him, they will be within the perfect will of God. No spiritual leader has the right to do anything that interferes or makes your walk with Jesus harder.

The only permission to lead we have as leaders of another into the Kingdom of Heaven, is to lead those we lead into a greater obedience and submission to the will of God. The only desire we can have legitimately is to want those who follow us to know more of the love of Jesus. Imposing our own will on those who follow us puts us outside of our authority.

Never ever follow a leader just because you like them, or feel obligated to them because of some kind act. Follow Jesus in them, and only Jesus. If they don't bring you nearer to Jesus, and you feel heavy and oppressed while knowing you are not walking in sin, you may be following and getting help from the wrong person.

WEDNESDAY


2 Corinthians 13:10 (Amplified Bible)


10 So I write these things while I am absent from you, that when I come to you, I may not have to deal sharply in my use of the authority which the Lord has given me [to be employed, however] for building [you] up and not for tearing [you] down.


If the Lord gives someone authority over us spiritually, then they will be those who will sometimes need to tell us what is wrong, but the heart they have will be to build us up, and not to tear us down.

The focus of anyone given authority to use in the Kingdom of God should be to build up individuals and build them into the church in such a way that they can find and fulfill all the destiny God has planned for them. Any other kind of authority is control.

THURSDAY

1 JOHN 3:9-12(Amplified Bible)

9 I have written briefly to the church; but Diotrephes, who likes to take the lead among them and put himself first, does not acknowledge my authority and refuses to accept my suggestions or to listen to me.

10 So when I arrive, I will call attention to what he is doing, his boiling over and casting malicious reflections upon us with insinuating language. And not satisfied with that, he refuses to receive and welcome the [missionary] brethren himself, and also interferes with and forbids those who would welcome them, and tries to expel (excommunicate) them from the church.

11 Beloved, do not imitate evil, but imitate good. He who does good is of God; he who does evil has not seen (discerned or experienced) God [has enjoyed no vision of Him and does not know Him at all].


12 Demetrius has warm commendation from everyone--and from the Truth itself; we add our testimony also, and you know that our testimony is true.


Who would you rather follow? Diotrephes or Demetrius?

Diotrephes has the gift of leadership but he has taken power for himself. True leaders are always themselves in submission to someone else. Never follow a leader who assumes complete control and has nobody they are following themselves.

You can always identify a real man or woman of God by their willingness to look to others for their own leadership. They will never say they know more than everyone else, they will serve the church in humility, and not be taken over by the potential power and authority they have. Leaders may point out the danger of a person they believe to be leading the flock astray, but when leaders start to say everyone else is wrong, then we know they themselves have gone wrong. Control of this kind is never of God and we should never submit to a person who is saying their version of how to run the church is the only right way, and that every other leader is wrong. They are always willing to submit their own judgment to others.

FRIDAY

2 Corinthians 13:9-11 (Amplified Bible)

9 For we are glad when we are weak ([a]unapproved) and you are really strong. And this we also pray for: your all-round strengthening and perfecting of soul.


The real test of true leadership is to find those you taught growing past you and worthy of following; to create those who will do greater things and not hold others back out of a fear of taking the lower place. In this kind of person there is no desire to control, and if you find them, they are worth submitting to.

Last Week

SUBMISSION AND CONTROL



Introduction


This week's devotionals need to be read with care, and a heart to be sure that if you are in a place where submission is difficult, then you act only with God's will for your life at the centre. This week is not an invitation to rebellion against something that we find hard, but an attempt to clarify the boundaries that are included in Biblical submission. It will not be an invitation to 'do your own thing!'

Many people get hooked into ungodly situations because they don't understand what submission is about. If the person demanding submission has overstepped the mark and become controlling to a point where you can no longer follow God, and the demand is that you change your thinking to be like theirs, then my advice is to get out. They are trying to BE God, and look where that got the devil. If you know that the person generally wants the very best for those who they cover, then stay in. The secret is in the heart of worship. You cannot worship a man or a woman and stay right with God.

Jesus told people the truth, but He never demanded or forced them to do what He said, if they couldn't follow Him, he was willing to let go. He never locked them in a room till they agreed with Him, or forced them to do anything. He said; "Follow ME," But if they didn't want to, he didn't argue, but left them to God to deal with. Following Jesus is meant to be something we do out of love and obedience is something that follows because we are in love.

MONDAY

Ephesians 2:1-3(Amplified Bible)

1 AND YOU [He made alive], when you were dead (slain) by [your] trespasses and sins

2 In which at one time you walked [habitually]. You were following the course and fashion of this world [were under the sway of the tendency of this present age], following the prince of the power of the air. [You were obedient to and under the control of] the [demon] spirit that still constantly works in the sons of disobedience [the careless, the rebellious, and the unbelieving, who go against the purposes of God].


The children of God are not meant to put themselves back under the demon spirits that controlled their lives before they were set free. If someone in authority over you is walking in disobedience, then they have already agreed with the 'demon spirit' that is at work in the sons of disobedience. A careless, rebellious person, is not in a position to demand that you submit to them. It is not submission, for example, for a husband to demand his wife watches pornography with him, or for one half of a couple to demand the other doesn't go to church any more just because they don't want to. The Bible tells us clearly that we need to meet with other Christians. The church is not individuals, but a group of believers forming a body, and how can anyone play a part if they are kept at home?

If anyone demands that you stop thinking your own thoughts about God, going to church, or do something wrong, and claims that you have to do it because they are in authority over you, don't listen. You do not need to put yourself under their control or that of the demons! Tell them that Christ set you free.

TUESDAY

EPHESIANS 5:21

21 Be subject to one another out of reverence for Christ (the Messiah, the Anointed One).


Jesus loved His Father, and was in submission to Him. He only did what he heard and saw his Father do. That is total surrender to the will of God. It meant that rather than taking the higher place, he was willing to serve. He didn't serve because someone had rank or position, he served because His whole life was focused on doing what would best show people what His Father was like.

We are not meant to be controlled by those we serve. The choice to serve is ours. Jesus wanted to serve His Father, but the choice whether he was 'obedient to the death' was His alone to make. God gives us choices, and one of those ways to serve others is the right one, and the other is disobedience, but He never forces us to do things unless we are willing. (Though he may allow things to happen to show us the right way was better).

The choice to submit needs to come not from a fear of man because we are told to do it; even if people claim some kind of scriptural authority. Demanding submission from others is control, and not of God; but we submit to each other because we want to do whatever will best profit the other person and help them be what they are meant to be in the Kingdom of God.

Submission should always be given from a heart that has Jesus as Lord. That way we are unlikely to give ourselves to those who are not really brethren. More of that tomorrow.

WEDNESDAY

Hebrews 13:17
Obey your spiritual leaders and submit to them [continually recognizing their authority over you], for they are constantly keeping watch over your souls and guarding your spiritual welfare, as men who will have to render an account [of their trust]. [Do your part to] let them do this with gladness and not with sighing and groaning, for that would not be profitable to you [either].


I think this is one of the most difficult areas to talk about. We need to be sure, before we submit, that those who we place ourselves under are truly men and women of God, and that they are walking right with God. We need to be able to trust them because of what we see for ourselves, and should never simply place ourselves under the authority of someone because they tell us that they have that right. Look for the lifestyle, the care and commitment that God demands in a leader before you get into that position. Make sure they are those who will guard your spiritual welfare. If you are able to trust them, then even when they get you wrong, then submission is possible as you will also want to build them up.

You do not have to submit to the stupid or the ridiculous. I once had a pastor who sanctioned his entire and very large church going a way of poverty that involved eating white cabbage ( because it was cheap) as the only main vegetable! I now realise that that was just putting me under a law! Eventually, other laws came into place that were absolutely ridiculous. That was control.

We need to understand that controlling spirits can take hold of a church and try to destroy it. I do want to say that the same church changed and repented before the Lord at a later time.

That kind of spiritual leadership, wasn't about building me up as a Christian. If your leadership tears you down, then you are probably in the wrong place.

However, more recently, I stayed for a long time under someone's leadership for a long time where I knew they had misinterpreted my heart. I stayed because I knew they really were trying to put my best spiritual interests at heart. Eventuallly God moved me on, and I really believe current blessings are a result of my willingness to submit. There were times I would go to God and say 'please get me out of this,' and God would say, 'No" I am training you."

The situation did not resolve itself which was a shame, but I do know before God that I stayed until He told me to move.

We need to understand that blanket control by leaders is not of God. A true leader acts in what they see as the other person's best interest.

THURSDAY

Galatians 2:4-6 (Amplified Bible)

4 [My precaution was] because of false brethren who had been secretly smuggled in [to the Christian brotherhood]; they had slipped in to spy on our liberty and the freedom which we have in Christ Jesus, that they might again bring us into bondage [under the Law of Moses].

5 To them we did not yield submission even for a moment, that the truth of the Gospel might continue to be [preserved] for you [in its purity].


It is important to be watchful. Just because someone CLAIMS to be a leader, that does not make it mandatory to submit to them. There are wolves in sheeps' clothing who want to get into the church and destroy it.

Often, these people do not know what they are doing. This is why we need not only to listen to those we know and trust to be spiritual, but also know the word of God for ourselves. A true leader will be someone you want to follow because of example, and because their life matches up with the Word of God. You do not have to twist your thinking to follow a man or woman of God, because what they ask you to do will be clear. They won't say 'follow me because I am right," they will say "follow me if and only if you see Christ in me."

If you feel oppressed by anyone in leadership, or you have a check in your spirit it is good to ask God whether you are following the right person, however, be careful, rebellion can cause people to think a leader is wrong when they are not. Check your heart motive carefully, but if you still feel the leader is suspect, then place yourself under someone else's authority.

FRIDAY

Leviticus 26:1-3 (Amplified Bible)

1 YOU SHALL make for yourselves no idols nor shall you erect a graven image, pillar, or obelisk, nor shall you place any figured stone in your land to which or on which to bow down; for I am the Lord your God.


We need to be careful who we submit to. The Lord must always be at the centre and the top of the list in our lives. If we are submitting to man out of fear, doing things just because they say so, then we have made that person into an idol. True leadership does not demand submission, it shows the way and says 'follow me." It can be trusted because the life of JESUS is manifest in the leader's life. This is only possible when Jesus is Lord of your life, as from that position, all the rest becomes clear.

NEXT WEEK: SUBMISSION AND CONTROL CONTINUED.

LAST WEEK

THE SPIRITUAL BATTLE FOR THE NEWLY BORN AGAIN AND THE REST OF US: GETTING DRESSED



Scripture quotations taken from the Amplified Bible." Amplified Bible

Introduction

This week we will look at how to be really dressed for battle with all the armour on. This is the impregnable armour of God. It can be dented, and sometimes we get stunned by the force of a blow from the enemy, but the only way an arrow can ever pierce it, is if we take it off.

This armour is too strong to allow you to be fatally injured in any way. Keep it on, and all will be well.

MONDAY

Romans 13:12 (Amplified Bible)

12 The night is far gone and the day is almost here. Let us then drop (fling away) the works and deeds of darkness and put on the [full] armor of light.


Most of us had something of a 'night' before we found the Lord. Lots of things will have happened in our lives that were a result of living without Jesus as Lord.

God intends to do a full healing work in us all. He can only do it if we will allow him to undress us by exposing all the things that stand in the way of a victorious and fulfilled Christian walk. If there are things in our lives that will hold us back, then we need, literally, to fling them away.

The process of putting on the armour begins with a willingness to give up everything for Jesus, and follow Him unreservedly.

The armour has to fit. It will only fit when we agree with God as to how he wants us to live our lives. That makes us the right shape for the armour of light.

Here is an inventory of the armour we will examine over the rest of the week.

Ephesians 6:13-18

14 Stand therefore [hold your ground], having tightened the belt of truth around your loins and having put on the breastplate of integrity and of moral rectitude and right standing with God,

15 And having shod your feet in preparation [to face the enemy with the firm-footed stability, the promptness, and the readiness [b]produced by the good news] of the Gospel of peace.

16 Lift up over all the [covering] shield of saving faith, upon which you can quench all the flaming missiles of the wicked [one].

17 And take the helmet of salvation and the sword that the Spirit [wields, which is the Word of God.


TUESDAY

Ephesians 6:14

14 Stand therefore [hold your ground], having tightened the belt of truth around your loins and having put on the breastplate of integrity and of moral rectitude and right standing with God,


The truth is that you are a born again child of the Living God, and that you have a right to inherit everything in the Kingdom of God that is yours. You are of noble birth, and as such, you can use the Word of God ( the scriptures in the Bible) to fight the battle. What you speak out counts because your Father is the KING.

So long as you keep your life right with God, then you can't be defeated. The arrows ( the things that the devil throws at you, often using other people) can't hurt you if you hold the sheild up and keep referring to the Word of God for the truth about who you are.

Reading the Bible and getting to know God's word really well will keep your spiritual armour on if you follow and believe what it says, and will help you determine when the enemy is about to attack.

Arrows might get shot at you, but the truth of the matter is that only the King has the right to determine what happens to you in His kingdom.

WEDNESDAY

Ephesians 6:15

15 And having shod your feet in preparation [to face the enemy with the firm-footed stability, the promptness, and the readiness [b]produced by the good news] of the Gospel of peace.


Keep your spiritual shoes on. You can't be a Sunday Christan, because they don't exist. You have to be part of the family you are born into all the time, and live as if you are a part of it.

If you behave as a Christian on every day of the week, then the enemy won't be able to draw you away into other things. You won't get led astray by the devil into things and places that you shouldn't go, or doing things you shouldn't do if you remember that our Heavenly Dad prefers you not to spoil your shoes!

With the right shoes on, you will always be dressed for war. That is what will keep you constant and on the right side of the fight.

THURSDAY

Ephesians 6:16

16 Lift up over all the [covering] shield of saving faith, upon which you can quench all the flaming missiles of the wicked [one].


You are saved. That is your shield against the enemy. There is nothing, so long as you are following Christ, that the devil can do about it. He will throw darts but your shield is your belief that you are truly saved, and that the enemy no longer has any right to interfere in your life.

The devil will throw the darts at your weakest point, so keep reminding yourself that you have the blood of Jesus to cover you and protect you from all unrighteousness. You are forgiven and cleansed (so long as you repent of anything the Lord brings to your attention, and your faith in what Jesus did on the cross is an impregnable shield.

The missiles might look like fire; but if your shield is up, the fiery darts will glance off of it as you remind the devil of where you stand. You are hidden behind your shield, and nothing can penetrate


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