Turning Bad News into a Positive Move for Change

12:30 AM Shonell Bacon 0 Comments

I received some news today.

The stage was set for it three weeks ago, and today confirmed it.

I have diabetes.

Out of all illnesses you can get, diabetes has been #1 on my Please, Dear God, not that list my whole life. I've had great aunts and uncles that had it and saw some of the more extreme effects of it, and wanted nothing to do with it, ever.

Three weeks ago, blood work results came back. Sugar was pretty high. My doctor decided to schedule more blood work within a two to three-week span of time.

I had that done this past Friday.

Today, after smiling and talking with my bestie about my good talk with my dissertation chair, after declaring the completion of my dissertation, after excitedly telling bestie of new writing project; the call came.

About the norm in a roller coaster life in which at 1:59 you can be on Cloudy Infinity and at 1:59:10, you can hear the thud and the crack of bones as you fall back to earth.

Doctor told me the number was lower, but that didn't negate the fact that I had diabetes. She told me she was putting in a prescription... and that I would need to start monitoring my blood sugar and we'd talk more about that this week.

Three weeks ago, when I learned my sugar was high, as soon as the doctor informed me and then stepped out the room to get something, I cried and got depressed. I've been lamenting over this ever since. So, I've had my time for the pity party.

Today, I wasn't crying. I wasn't depressed. After telling my mom, then venting and laughing with her, I told her, "You know, I think this is the last argument for change." When she asked me what I meant, I told her that for years God has told me I needed to change. I needed a Change Overhaul, if you will. I'd been wanting to focus on my own writing for the longest, but never made the change. I had wanted to add a component to the work I do as editor, but never made the change. I had wanted to exercise more, but never fully made the change. I had wanted to eat less, but I'm an emotional eater and found food, my entire life, to be my #1 comfort, so I never made the change. I could keep going; there is a list of things I should have been changed, but for whatever reasons I managed to fashion in this head of mine, I never did them.

And now... this news has given me a wake-up call.

So many necessary changes will come, hell, have started already, and all of them will lead to a better, healthier, happier me.

Instead of focusing on the illness and having weekly pity parties about it, I choose to roll up my sleeves and dig in to this thing I call my life and restructure, restrengthen, and renew it so that I'm here for the very long haul.


Day 8 - The School of Intercession

12:05 AM Shonell Bacon 0 Comments

In Day 8 of Murray's book, The Secret of Intercession, he seems ready to take us to school on what we need to give if we are to be the partners of Christ on earth in intercession.

What are we to give? He shows us what Jesus gave up by quoting Isaiah 53:10-12: "When thou shalt make his soul an offering for sin, he shall see his seed....He shall see of the travail of his soul....Therefore will I divide him a portion with the great...because he hath poured out his soul unto death."

In this passage, we see soul mentioned three times. This is important to note because for Murray, "the pouring out of the soul -- that is the divine meaning of intercession" (33), and because Jesus gave "Himself over to live and die that He might save the perishing was a revelation of the spirit that has power to prevail with God" (34).

Because Jesus is the example for us, and he poured out his soul, gave of himself for others, as intercessors, this is what we are to do as well.

If we as helps and fellow laborers with the Lord Jesus are to share His power of intercession, there will need to be with us as well the travail of soul that there was with Him, the giving up of our lives and their pleasures for the one supreme work of interceding for our fellowmen. (34)
For Murray, those that come to intercession should not do so if they see it as a hobby, as a mere interest. There needs to be an intense desire, above all other things, to live this way: "it is a life of consecration and self-sacrifice that will indeed give power for intercession" (34).

Murray concludes the day with the following question: What is the cost of being an intercessor, and what are its rewards?

The cost, as Murray points out and repeats in this short section, is our souls, our burning desire to intercede for others. It costs our time. It costs our hearts. It costs our minds. It costs our breaths. And I list these things, and it's unnecessary to do so because just to say "we give up our souls" is more than enough.

Intercession becomes almost a habit to us because it is so ingrained into who we are. We see hurt, we see trouble, we see the warnings... as those watchmen from Day 7's post... and we are called into action to intercede. We don't sit and think about why we're doing it or if we really want to do it; we just do it.

I think about times in the past when I would be in bed in a deep sleep and out of nowhere, a call to pray would be dropped into my spirit, and I would wake up, crusty eyes and all, and kneel beside my bed and pray, with the words needed to pray coming out my mouth. There'd be times where I would be sitting, reading or studying or writing and an overwhelming feeling would touch my heart in such a way that I felt the trouble and or pain or another, and I would have to stop what I was doing and pray. Sometimes, I'd be made aware of who I was praying for, but many times, I wasn't. In the last couple of years, these moments have waned, and I'm working hard in my prayer life, in my talks with Daddy, to get myself back aligned to be that prayer warrior.

Why? I think this is where the rewards come in. Some might see "the giving up of our lives and their pleasures" as a "Whoa, hold on just one minute" issue. After all, why am I giving up me and my pleasures for others? Murray calls interceding for others "the one supreme work." Supreme means superior to all others. For me, one reward is knowing that I'm standing right alongside my Lord and Savior in doing the most important work I can do. Jesus gave up his life for me, and through him, I can do all things. Not only did he give up his life for me, but he gave me more than just my life? He gave me the ability to do all things through him because he strengthens me. How could I not want to follow him and do as he does, too? So, part of the reward for me is giving back because so much was giving to me through Jesus.

Another reward is that by interceding and seeing those prayers fulfilled, we strengthen the body of the church, we strengthen our communities, states, countries, the entire world.

Another reward for me derives from Galatians 6:7: "Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, that he will also reap." If we sow petitions to God for our fellowmen in the hope that these prayers are fulfilled, then won't we reap fulfilled prayers as well. When someone's in need, and I pray or I give, I'm not thinking, Ooh, I can't wait to get a reward from God, but it's not a coincidence that when we help someone in despair, when we fervently pray for others, when we give despite that meaning we might not have enough for ourselves, God always comes through to make sure we have more than enough.

For me, intercession feels like a win-megawin situation. I win because I get to partner with Jesus for my fellow men and women, and I megawin because through my work, my life is sustained and my blessings overflow.

Other Posts in The Secret of Intercession series
  1. "Kickstarting Intercession"
  2. "Day 1 - Intercession"
  3. "Day 2 - The Opening of the Eyes"
  4. "Day 3 - Man's Place in God's Plan"
  5. "Day 4 - Intercession in the Plan of Redemption"
  6. "Day 5 - God Seeks Intercessors"
  7. "Day 6 - Christ as Intercessor"
  8. Day 7 - The Intercessors God Seeks


Day 7 - The Intercessors God Seeks

2:26 PM Shonell Bacon 0 Comments

In Day 7 of Murray's book, The Secret of Intercession, he compares watchmen to intercessors.

The watchmen warn men of impending danger... and call to God when they need his help with a threatening enemy. In tying the watchmen to the intercessor, he says, "The great mark of the intercessors is that they are not to hold their peace day or night, are to take no rest, and are to give God no rest, until the deliverance comes" (29).

"Shall not God avenge his own elect, which cry day and night unto him" (Luke 18:7).

After a short commentary about the need for more intercessors, the need to have a united, fervent community of intercessors to ignite the power of the Holy Spirit, Murray asks, "Will you not, dear reader, offer yourself to God for this blessed work of intercession and learn to count it as the highest privilege of your life to be a channel through whose prayers God's blessing can be brought down to earth?" (30)

With every "day," Murray concludes with a question to journal on. This day's question is How is being an intercessor similar to being a watchman?

Watchmen, day and night, watch over their appointed city and warn of danger and seek God's help when danger approaches.

Intercessors do the same. They are forever diligent and on watch to warn others of dangers and to seek God when danger approaches. Murray states, "Watchmen are ordinarily placed on the walls of a city to give notice to the rulers of coming danger" (29). Notice, it doesn't say these watchmen are placed outside their own homes. No, they are at the walls of the city, a city occupied by many people, so they are not only looking out for their own welfare but also the welfare of the city's people.

This is how intercessory works, too. Intercessors are on the lookout for danger that affects people, not just self. They lift their voices to God to aid in helping people when danger approaches them. They do this without ceasing. They do this with the same passion, conviction that they would do if the danger was approaching them.

And in a way, the danger is approaching them: their blood, the blood of one of God's children, one of their brothers... or sisters.

They say it takes a village to raise a child. I believe it takes a village of fervent, dedicated prayer warriors, staunched in their faith, to raise ALL OF US to the supernatural blessings and gifts that the Father has for us.

And these are the types of intercessors God seeks.

Other Posts in The Secret of Intercession series

  1. "Kickstarting Intercession"
  2. "Day 1 - Intercession"
  3. "Day 2 - The Opening of the Eyes"
  4. "Day 3 - Man's Place in God's Plan"
  5. "Day 4 - Intercession in the Plan of Redemption"
  6. "Day 5 - God Seeks Intercessors"
  7. "Day 6 - Christ as Intercessor"


Day 6 - Christ as Intercessor

5:42 PM Shonell Bacon 0 Comments

Some time ago, I began posting on Andrew Murray's book, The Secret of Intercession (you can click the cover to learn more about the book).

The book contains 31 chapters, each chapter constituting a "day." In each day, Murray highlights a facet of intercession: what it is, why it's important, and how we are to come to it, among others. I posted on days one through five previously, and those links are below.

Today, I'm talking on Day 6, "Christ as Intercessor."

In this short chapter, Christ is called the true Intercessor as "God Himself would provide the true Intercessor, in Christ His Son, of whom it had already been said, 'He bare the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors'" (Isa. 53:12; Murray 25).

Murray provides other places in the bible where Jesus intercedes for man (John 17; Luke 22:32) before concluding with the most poignant prayer from Jesus to God - "Father, forgive them" (Luke 23:34) as Jesus was on the cross (Murray 26).

With Jesus "seated at God's right hand," Murray states that Jesus is still the true Intercessor and still prays without ceasing. Now, however, we are invited to do so with him. We have that power to do the work of intercession.

They [People] would learn in faith to pray in His name. He would present their petition to the Father, and through His and their united intercession, the church would be clothed with the power of the Spirit. (26)

In all of the chapters in The Secret of Intercession, Murray concludes with a question and some space for you to journal your thoughts. He concludes Day 6 with the following question: How did Jesus model the life of an intercessor while He was here on earth?

Murray says a few things about intercession in Day 1:

"But the glory of intercession is so much greater--when a man is bold and asks from God what he desires for others" (7).

"It is the power of being used by God as instruments for His great work of making men His habitation and showing forth His glory" (8).

It is when Christians cease from looking for help in external union and aim at being bound together to the throne of God by an unceasing devotion to Jesus Christ, and an unceasing continuance in supplication for the power of God's Spirit, that the church will put on her beautiful garments and put on her strength, too, and overcome the world. (9)

So, for me, in answering the above question, I reply, as Murray states, that Jesus is the true Intercessor. In his short time on earth, he was the ultimate mediator, prayer warrior for God, petitioning to God to give us mercy and lovingkindness. Even on the cross, he prayed for God to forgive man, for "they know not what they do" (Luke 23:34).

When Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego were sent to burn because they refused to worship a gold image that Nebuchadnezzar had created, the trio did not burn. The trio showed no fear in their beliefs and convictions, and their faith in God kept them from believing that God would allow them to perish. In Daniel 3:25, it reads: "Look!" he [Nebuchadnezzar] answered, "I see four men, too, walking in the middle of the fire; and they are not hurt, and the fourth is like the Son of God." Every time I read this story and read these words, I get excited, happy, and feel blessed because this story illustrates to me God's love for us through his son. Jesus is our mediator. He petitions for our forgiveness, our mercy, our grace, our favor, our blessings.

He is not one-sided in these actions; his love transcends hate. He prayers of forgiveness for the very men who killed him illustrates this.

As I look more into intercession and its importance in my life, these reflections of Jesus' works tell me that this is what us intercessors are to do, too. We are to be equal-opportunity prayer warriors, not handpicking who to pray for, but praying for all, fervently, continuously, with our full hearts.

Other Posts in The Secret of Intercession series

  1. "Kickstarting Intercession"
  2. "Day 1 - Intercession"
  3. "Day 2 - The Opening of the Eyes"
  4. "Day 3 - Man's Place in God's Plan"
  5. "Day 4 - Intercession in the Plan of Redemption"
  6. "Day 5 - God Seeks Intercessors"


Prayer: Pruning

4:32 PM Shonell Bacon 0 Comments

Dear Lord, continue to prune me so that I can continue to grow stronger, so that I can bear sweeter fruits.

“I am the true vine, and My Father is the vinedresser. 2 Every branch in Me that does not bear fruit He takes away;[a] and every branch that bears fruit He prunes, that it may bear more fruit. 3 You are already clean because of the word which I have spoken to you. 4 Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in Me.

5 “I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing. 6 If anyone does not abide in Me, he is cast out as a branch and is withered; and they gather them and throw them into the fire, and they are burned. 7 If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, you will[b] ask what you desire, and it shall be done for you. 8 By this My Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit; so you will be My disciples (John 15:1-8, NKJV).


A Good Word: Temporary Provisions

6:00 AM Shonell Bacon 0 Comments

From Joel Osteen: Don't live off temporary provision. ... Continually be willing to make adjustments.