Monday, August 31, 2009

Prayers Not Being Answered?

Last Friday, I wrote about Daniel's answer to prayer. My mother reminded me of another instance of Daniel needing the answer to prayer alittle further down.

In Daniel 10, Daniel was having another burdensome dream. This dream was so disturbing, he didn't eat or drink for three weeks! On the 24th day, he was standing on the banks of the Tigris River when he was met by the angel (the scripture doesn't name the angel, but one gets the indication it was Gabriel again). Seeing the angel before him was apparently a frightening sight because the other two friends with Daniel were terrorized and they ran away.

The angel tells Daniel in verse 12, "...your words were heard and I came in response to them. But the prince of the Persian kingdom resisted me twenty-one days. Then Michael, one of the chief princes, came to help me, because I was detained there with the king of Persia."

Gabriel was being hindered by a stubborn Persian ruler who was either demonic or human. Remember, angels aren't all-powerful, like God, but they were fighting this battle for Daniel. It was so bad, the angel Michael came to help fight it. Personally, I believe this was a spiritual fight in which a demon assigned to Persia was trying to keep Gabriel from getting his message (or answer to his vision) to Daniel. It took Gabriel 21 days (or 3 weeks) to get to Daniel!

It took me a long time to realize the battles I encounter on this earth are spiritual in nature. Some of the simplest things (battle to lose weight, battle to think positive about someone, battle to forgive, battle to say 'no' when my plate is already full of obligations, the battle to respond kindly when viewers make ugly comments about me), are battles in the spiritual realm. And sometimes our prayers aren't answered because they are being held back by demonic forces. But oh, friend, that's when God steps in deals the final blow to those things that are holding our answers back. Ephesians 6:12 puts it like this, "For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms." What are the 'spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms'? Satan and his co-horts of demons.

I don't think this is the reason why all prayers are not answered, but I do believe it is a reason why some aren't. So if there is an answer to prayer you've been looking for, pray that God would not allow it to be hindered any longer

Friday, August 28, 2009

Answers To Prayer

I had a fabulous time speaking to the women at First Baptist Church of Brandon's women's ministry dinner Monday night---all 350 of them! I talked about finding your place in ministry, among other things. Those women were on fire and ready. And....they laughed at my jokes so thanks, girls!

Just this week, I overheard someone say "I've been praying about it and now I'm just waiting on God to answer my prayer." That comment got me thinking, in particular about Daniel's story.

You remember the story of Daniel in the lions den. What we tend to focus on is Daniel's courage in the face of death and God shutting the mouths of the lions. But if you go further into the story of Daniel, you'll see more.

In Daniel 9, he began to get deeper into the scripture and prophecy of Jeremiah and began to pray. The 70 years of the Babylonian captivity Jeremiah had talked about was coming to a close and Daniel was praying to God, confessing his sins. He was prone to visions and had another one which he didn't understand. So Daniel prayed to God for an answer, for clarity. The angel Gabriel came to Daniel 'in swift flight' (verse 21). In verse 23, Gabriel tells Daniel "As soon as you began to pray, an answer was given..."

Did you see that? "As soon as you began to pray"! When we are asking God for wisdom over an issue, asking Him for a solution to our problem or praying for something dear to our heart, He has given you the answer! Does it sometimes take alittle while, even years, before we get the answer? Sure, but God has already answered your prayer!

I don't know about you, but for the requests I've been lifting to God today, I know He has already given His answer, "as soon as" I began to pray. That, my friends, will set you free!

Monday, August 24, 2009

The Legal Jail Break

Gracie has been asking questions lately about the purpose for jail. I've explained to her why people go to jail and how each one stays for a certain period of time. And when someone is in jail, they are referred to as a 'prisoner'. This reminded me of Jesus' first sermon.

In Luke 4:18, Jesus said He would "preach deliverance to the captives". Jesus isn't talking about his jail ministry here. But there are alot of people who are prisoners who are not in the county jail. There are many people held captive who are not behind bars of steel but they are still behind real bars.

And only Jesus can bring deliverance from negative thoughts, gossip, a toxic relationship, insecurity, mental illness, financial issues and anything else we may feel we are being held captive by. And our release from prison has already been accomplished through a price that Jesus paid on our behalf. In other words, this is not an illegal jail break because your redemption from all of these things was legally purchased through the blood of Jesus. This means the prison doors that Satan uses to trap people have been blown open and the prisoner doesn't have to sneak out! He can walk out in the daylight because of this legal release to freedom. 1 Peter 1:18-19 says it best, "You were not redeemed with silver and gold..but with the precious blood of Christ."

Jesus said in John 8:32 "You shall know the truth and the truth shall make you free." But the truth won't get you out of a spiritual stronghold if you don't know it.

I'll share more in depth on spiritual strongholds in my book.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Friday Fun Videos

If you watch WLBT, you will notice some new commercials running as most people have geared up for the new school year.

One issue close to my heart is organ donation. I've been a registered organ donor for 13 years now and have friends who have received life-saving organ transplants from people they will never know. So, I recruited some of my WLBT co-workers to help promote this worthy cause with the Mississippi Organ & Recovery Agency (MORA). Here is the commercial we created which is now running on WLBT.

And with football season upon us, it's time for me to go 'on the field' with my forecasts on Friday nights. Here is our new First Alert Football Forecast commercial. Oh, and I had ALOT of fun making this one, as you can probably tell!

Have a "sunny" weekend!

Monday, August 17, 2009

Ever Seen The Glory?

Last Friday, I shared with you what I discovered in the meaning of the old hymn, Rock of Ages, and the reason behind the words.

If you look in Exodus 33:18, Moses expressed his prayer, "Now show me your glory." God responded with this in verse 19, "I will cause all of my glory to pass in front of you." What is the glory of God? It is His goodness.

What would happen if all of God's goodness passed in front of you? But that is exactly what happened for Moses. The glory of God overwhelmed Moses and he had an experience with the glory of God. From that day forward, Moses was changed. Even Paul says in Romans 2:4 that God's goodness leads us to repentance.

But the only limit to the goodness of God is our capacity to receive it. God told Moses, "I will show you my glory....there is a place by me." When we take our place in Christ, we are properly positioned to see God's glory. But just like Moses did, we must ask God to see His glory!

Friday, August 14, 2009

Finding Your Place

Growing up in the church, we were always singing hymns. For goodness sake, all three of my children were named after old hymns, so that lets you in on a little of my past!

The other day, "Rock of Ages" was going through my head and I couldn't get that song off my mind. Rock of Ages, cleft for me, let me hide myself in thee. So I went back in the Bible and looked at the story which prompted that song. It was the story of Moses and his desire to see God and to know His will.

Exodus 33:20-23 says, "And God said, 'Thou canst see my face: for there shall no man see me, and live. Behold, there is a place by me, and thou shalt stand upon a rock. And it shall come to pass, while my glory passeth by, that I will put thee in a cleft of the rock, and I will cover thee with my hand while I pass by: And I will take away mine hand, and thou shalt see my back parts: by my face shall not be seen.'"

Moses was getting in on the secret of God's plan of redemption--that man belongs at the right hand of God, meaning in His presence. Ephesians 2:5-6 says it best, "Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ. And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus."

But Moses wasn't just going to stand on a rock. God carved out a niche for him in the rock and put Moses inside of the rock. That way, Moses could see God's glory, His goodness and understand who God is. Who is that rock? Jesus.

Think deeper about this story. God had a specific plan for Moses and loads of blessings and victory ahead for him. God has the same for you and me. God has a place reserved for us in His Kingdom. Find that place and get in it! There is deliverance, healing, prosperity, victory and blessing in that place. He's already carved it out for you!

Monday, August 10, 2009

On A Trip To No Where?

Growing up in the country, there were many roads that led to no where. If you lived down one of those roads, that road obviously went somewhere! But for those who had not traveled down it before, it wasn't a place you needed to be traveling down late at night.

I was reading in Genesis 22 about the test God gave to Abraham in sacrificing Abraham's son, Isaac. God told Abraham in verse 2 to "go to the region of Moriah. Sacrifice him there as a burnt offering on one of the mountains I will tell you about." Notice, God didn't tell Abraham which mountain to go to; He only told him the region. Abraham got ready for the journey and in verse 4 it says, "On the third day..." Abraham had been traveling for three, long days! Ever felt like you were on a road to no where? You know God is prompting you to make a change. You feel in your spirit God has something else better for you. You have no doubt God is wanting you to put your trust in Him, but you feel like you're traveling in a dense fog.

The Bible clearly states Abraham's journey and the command to sacrifice his son was a test by God. So does God have to test us to find out what's in our heart?

No, but tests of faith are not to enlighten God. Tests of faith are to teach us. When God tests me, it helps to uncover my real motive for doing something. Tests help to clarify my loyalty and to nurture genuine faith.

And because Abraham set out on the journey in faith, God showed him the mountain Abraham had been searching for. You know the rest of the story of Abraham and Isaac and how God doesn't require human sacrifices. God does require a heart sacrifice. An obedient heart is willing to do what He asks, even if it seems like we are on a road to no where.

(I will be sharing more about Abraham's trip of faith and the influence it had in my life in my book, which will be released in April 2010.)

Friday, August 7, 2009

The Fair Report

I was away all last week enjoying time at the Neshoba County Fair in our cabin. The Fair Times newspaper did articles on former townspeople coming back home to the fair. They highlighted my husband as one of those former citizens of Philadelphia.

On a side note, I give the forecast every morning on the front steps of our cabin. I call it the "faircast". Without television and radios there, we are often left to wonder what the forecast is for the day, but that is no longer the case. So behind us, you'll see a portion of the "faircast". I thought I'd share the article with you along with the family snapshot they took of us.
Since 3 months of age, William Bassett has attended 42 consecutive Fairs and has shared the tradition of going to the Fair with his own children.

"My oldest child Gracie was just 3 weeks old, Will was 7 months and Lilly Faith was 3 months old when they first went to the Fair," William said. "I guess we have sort of a family tradition of breaking the new ones in early. I will always treasure the memories of my mom watching Will and Gracie taking in their first Fairs."

The Bassetts have enjoyed the Fair over the years at Cabin 220 in Happy Hollow. It was built in 1956 by William's grandparents, while his father was in high school.

"It's a wonderful location, because it's close to the square, midway and racetrack, but far enough away that it's a little quieter," he said.

According to Bassett, working with his father on the cabin each year has provided a wealth of memories and knowledge. "I think I learned everything I know about carpentry, painting, plumbing, and wiring from weekends spent working with my dad on the Fair cabin."

One of the more memorable Fair moments for Bassett was when his grandmother and mother cooked tons of wonderful food, cakes and snacks to take to the Fair. "Come July, their houses always smelled so good because there was some serious Fair cooking going on," he said. "I have tried to keep a few of their cooking traditions alive but I've got a long way to go before I reach their level of culinary expertise."

These are also the 2 women that William misses the most during Fair week. His grandmother died in 2001, and his mother, in 2007.

"I miss getting to spend time with them the most," he said. "Granny would sit on the porch for hours visiting with people and watching the people pass by, never hesitating to reprimand a youngster for an errant throw of a ball or Frisbee or water balloon that passed too close to her head. Mom would sit for hours discussing politics and the philosophies of life with various friends until the wee hours of the morning."

Since leaving Philadelphia, William has married who he describes as "the most amazing and beautiful woman," Barbie Bassett, originally from Marks.

This year at the Fair, Bassett plans to slow down and unplug from the rest of the world. He also plans to spend time visiting with family and friends and enjoy lots of good food.

Monday, August 3, 2009

Being A Spiritual Pioneer

I've been ordering the curriculum for Gracie's homeschool. In looking at the different subjects she will take, I noticed the history portion. It brought back memories of learning about the pioneers and settlers when I was in school. A pioneer is someone who ventures into unclaimed or unknown territory; they prepare the way for others.

Before the Civil War, there was alot of pioneering going on. People were told to "go west" with stories of gold in the hills and unclaimed land. These stories kept people moving forward. But they had to load their families in wagons with everything they owned to do it. Their horses and mules pulled the covered wagons. But they had to know what to take with them and what to leave behind. Only necessary things were allowed. Many times the trails were littered with things people had to leave behind in order to make it across the deserts or over the mountains. They had to keep moving. The pioneers had an expectation about what was ahead.

I believe God is looking for pioneers--people who won't settle for less than God's best. When you have a spirit of faith, you aren't afraid to leave things behind. We hold on to things that weigh us down and hold us back from making it over the next mountain. Its hard to put away some treasured item or some way of thinking, but the rewards of obeying God keep us moving.

Hebrews 11:27 says, "By faith, Moses forsook Egypt." But Moses did it by faith. In Genesis 11:31, we read how Abraham overcame Ur of the Chaldees when he was 75 years old! It takes faith to follow and faith to forget the past.

It takes faith to forsake the ways of this world and walk in the ways of God. It takes faith to walk away from the pleasures and temptations of this world. If you keep looking back, you can't go forward.

Think of yourself as a spiritual pioneer. Have great expetations for what God has in store for you!