“Persistently Pray!”

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It is so easy to give up when discouragement blows our way, but Jesus encourages us not to. He told the parable of a man who “persistently” came to his friend to ask bread. He knocked and knocked and refused to be turned away. The Bible tells us to, “Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you,” Matthew 7:7.
 
In other words, don’t give up and don’t give in. “If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask Him!” – Luke 11:13.
 
Persistently pray and don’t quit now!

Emergency Reminder:

“Which of you shall have a friend, and go to him at midnight and say to him, ‘Friend, lend me three loaves; for a friend of mine has come to me on his journey, and I have nothing to set before him’; and he will answer from within and say, ‘Do not trouble me; the door is now shut, and my children are with me in bed; I cannot rise and give to you’?  I say to you, though he will not rise and give to him because he is his friend, yet because of his persistence he will rise and give him as many as he needs.

So I say to you, ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you.  For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened.

If a son asks for bread from any father among you, will he give him a stone?  Or if he asks for a fish, will he give him a serpent instead of a fish?  Or if he asks for an egg, will he offer him a scorpion?

If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask Him!”

Luke 11:5-13, NKJV

Keep praying – Never give up!

Photo: Wallpaper4god.com

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“Today, I Want to Be Me!”

 

“I will praise thee; for I am fearfully and wonderfully made: marvelous are thy works; and that my soul knoweth right well,” Psalm 139:14

Oh, the creative power that took place for you to be here today.  From the moment of conception, and from the time cells began to divide within themselves, you were and are a product of beautiful design.  Uniquely you, you are made just the way God intended.  And, since we know that He doesn’t make any mistakes, whatever we view as shortcomings in our lives may be there for a much higher purpose.  Our so-called defaults are part of the plan that God has laid out in your life.

What would happen if every Christian really armed themselves with this beautiful truth?  How would that personally make us feel?  How would it affect the way we live, the way we walk and talk?  More importantly, how would it affect the way we move in our Christian walk?  How much more would we be apt to express our faith knowing the value He places in each and every one of us?

I believe if Christians really got a hold of this truth they would turn the world upside down.  They would step out with a newfound faith knowing that they are something really special before God; knowing that their worth is not in how the world sees them; rather, how God sees them.  What does He think about me?

Let me tell you what He thinks about you. Jesus said in Luke 12:6-7, “Are not five sparrows sold for two farthings, and not one of them is forgotten before God?  But even the very hairs of your head are all numbered.  Fear not therefore: ye are of more value than many sparrows.”  “Ye are of more value!”  Humanity is the apex of all His creation.  He made sure everything that was created was put in proper place and proper order for us.  We are the only part of creation where God claimed Himself, “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion . . .” (Gen. 1:26).  Not only created, but we created in “His image.”  Not only in “His image,” but we are also created to have “dominion;” authority over all the earth including the thoughts that come to make us feel less than anything He said of me!

Today, I want to be me.  I want to walk like I walk.  Express me like only I can.  I want to relish in the wonderful thought that when no one else is taking notice of me, He is.  Because He designed me this way and I know the care that went into this design, I can rest and enjoy me.  I can love me some me.  Even when it seems no one else does, I can love me because He loves me.

If He says I’m good just like this then all I have to do is learn to work in what He gave me and just be me.  “Marvelous are thy works; and that my soul knoweth right well.”  Does your soul know that you are a marvelous work of God?  Can you believe that today so that you can just enjoy being you?  You are so incredibly special.  Let no one rob you of the precious way that God sees you.

“Know ye that the Lord He is God: it is He that hath made us and not we ourselves. . .” (Ps. 100:3).  I’m so glad I didn’t do this myself.  As they would say in social media circles: “LOL (Laugh Out Loud)!”  It is a laughable notion because there is so much that goes into this that we will never figure it out.  Then again, I don’t have to because He already did.  He stepped back and looked at creation and said, “It was very good,” (Gen.1:31).

I am good!  From the time that He has “covered me in my mother’s womb,” (Ps. 139:13), I am just the way He wants me to be.  So, today, I can be me!  Now, that’s something to 🙂 about!

“Dear Bruised Reed…”

Dear Bruised Reed, God’s got you.  Some days may be harder than others, but He’s here for you.  You may stand in need of restoration; that’s okay.  He is able to provide that too.  If peace has moved away from you, He is able to call it back into your life.  If love has sidestepped you, He Himself is love, and has satisfied all the requirements of love, and is able to make it reign in your life again.  He can turn all the hurt and disappointment you are feeling into joy.  Everything may not always work out the way we want it to, but it will work out for our good (Romans 8:28).

Dear Bruised Reed, I’m not promising you there won’t be days of tears and that everything will always be alright for Jesus Himself said in the world you will have trouble (John 16:33).  But, what I can promise you is that when you are God’s child, you can still have hope in the midst of whatever it is you are facing.  You are not forgotten.  He sees everything.  And, you are so incredibly loved through it all.  Restoration is always in His hand for the heart that will turn to Him for healing today.

Dear Bruised Reed, whatever it is, take it to the Lord and let Him in on what’s going on (1 Peter 5:7).  Pour out your heart before our Savior who cares.  He loves you and wants to see you walk in the victory He has secured for your life through our Lord Jesus Christ.  As quick as it is to worry and complain, with the same quickness we can unload the burdens of the heart and be free.

Dear Bruised Reed, trust in His judgment today.  He has never failed a case, and He won’t start now.  Nothing escapes His notice and it is His truth, His will, and His way that will always win out in the end.  Never lose hope in what God can do in your life.  His mercies and compassions fail not (Lamentations 3:22).  We are here today because of God.  We are loved in God.  We are covered by God.  And, God is the one that will see us through when we rest our lives in His grace.

Dear Bruised Reed, Jesus Christ is waiting to be your ultimate source of true peace today (John 16:33).  Turn to Him.  Trust in Him.

“A bruised reed shall he not break, and the smoking flax shall he not quench: he shall bring forth judgment unto truth.” Isaiah 42:3

But when Jesus knew it, he withdrew himself from thence: and great multitudes followed him, and he healed them all; And charged them that they should not make him known: That it might be fulfilled which was spoken by Esaias the prophet, saying, Behold my servant, whom I have chosen; my beloved, in whom my soul is well pleased: I will put my spirit upon him, and he shall shew judgment to the Gentiles.  He shall not strive, nor cry; neither shall any man hear his voice in the streets.  A bruised reed shall he not break, and smoking flax shall he not quench, till he send forth judgment unto victory.  And in his name shall the Gentiles trust.” Matthew 12:15-21

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“Jesus Knows!”

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“We do not have a High Priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses,” Hebrews 4:15a

Jesus knows what living in the flesh feels like.  Walking up and down the shores of Galilee, He didn’t let His holiness withhold Himself from our infirmities.  He hungered as we did.  He wept when sadness invaded His heart.  He justifiably angered at the thoughtlessness of men.  He knows.

Jesus knows.  He knows suffering.  He knows the temptation of life.  He knows what it is to care when no one else does.

He knows what it is to be chased, used and despised.  His ears have felt the sting of gossip and have heard the song of ridicule.  He’s heard the taunting of the nay-sayers and the tsk- tsk- tsk- of the unapproving.

Aching limbs, sore feet, and a thirsty tongue – He knows.  Jesus knows disappointment at the carelessness of others.  He knows desperation over the plight of the lost soul.  He knows of the crown of thorns His life is leading Him to.

Jesus knows everything because He is divine.  Jesus has experienced everything because of His humanity.

Isn’t it nice to know that not only do we NOT carry our burdens alone, but we have a Savior that knows what those burdens feel like?  Out of the depths of sorrow and pain – He knows.  Through the roads of striving and the paths of hatred – He knows.  During the darkness of nights, He already knows.  Our weaknesses have become His; He knows them, has lived through them and has borne them.  Jesus knows!

“DREAM!” | Word For Life Says

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Those moments when in a daze and your imagination captures you.  You begin to wander around a new world of possibilities; traipsing through fields overgrown with hope and aspiration.  A mind laden with dreams is a wonderful place to be.

Oh, to dream.  To let the fanciful travel beyond the eyes of reality breathes freshness in the stagnation of life.  It’s reaching into the realm of “Why not?”

Why not you?  Why not now?  Why not dream?

This makes me wonder about one of our most familiar Bible “dream” stories.  Did Joseph’s brothers ever have a dream?  I’m not talking about visions like Joseph himself experienced, but did they hope for something beyond their reality?  Did their hopes mixed with Joseph’s ability to dream and see more incite their jealousy and bitterness? Hmmm…

It’s hard to see others reaching for more when you can’t see yourself doing the same.  “Hope deferred makes the heart sick,” (Proverbs 13:12a, NASB).  When the heart longs for something that doesn’t ever seem to grow and come to fruition, it can leave a feeling of brokenness on the inside.  When that hurt takes over it can shadow one’s thinking, distorting the truth, relationships, and life.

“But desire fulfilled is a tree of life,” (Proverbs 13:12b, NASB).  When that thing that is hoped for comes to pass it lifts the soul to the higher, bringing forth healing.  But, if hope is given up on; if dreams are vanquished so goes with it that genuine aspiration to see life for more beyond the here and now.

Don’t be content to just sit on the sidelines and watch others dream!  That’s no life when God designed you for more!  You have it in you to do the same!

Don’t give up on dreaming!  Don’t give up on hope! Let it breathe in you and through you.  Let it grow until it produces the fruit of what the seed inside you aspires for.  Nurture it that it does not die off.

It doesn’t matter if you can’t see it in the natural right this minute.  Romans 8:24 reminds us, “Hope that is seen is not hope.”  If you keep nurturing your dreams,  you will keep moving closer and closer to the goal you are stretching out for.

You have to keep climbing for it until you reach your summit.  You have to keep dreaming.  Don’t end up in bitterness and jealousy, with no life like Joseph’s brothers.  They ended up wanting to get rid of he who did dream.  That’s no life.  That’s not a way to live.

God designed us for so much more.  We are made to be overcomers.  We are built to be conquerors.  We have hopes and dreams on the inside that’s waiting to be manifested.  The world is waiting for that special thing God planted in you!

Hope for it.  Dream about it! Don’t give up on it!

Be blessed because it feels good to dream 🙂 !

“Singing in the Rain!”

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Today, like most days here lately, it’s rainy, dreary and of the dismal sort.  It’s the kind of cold, wet rain that settles down in your bones which you can’t seem to warm up from.  It makes you want to crawl back under the covers and wait for a better day.

But real life is here with a call each and every day that must be answered, compelling us to rise and get going no matter what the weather is outside.  Answering that call on a  morning such as this, I remember one day when I drove across the highway to take my daughter to her college campus.  On the way home I saw something that put a smile on my face.  A man was walking in the rain with a bright orange raincoat.  He was literally bouncing along with happiness in his steps.  His mouth was moving and he appeared to be singing.  It was as if he was dictating his day; as if he was telling the rain he was not going to let the dreariness get him down.

Oh, how true does that ring out in life?  How many dreary situations have kept us from enjoying the day; from enjoying each and every moment God has given us above ground?  Unfortunately, as life goes on we find that every day is not peaches and cream.  Times of trouble and hardship can arouse the rainy day blues in anybody.

Psalm 137:4 asks, “How shall we sing the LORD’S song in a strange land?”  How many times have we felt it hard to work up the happiness inside when going through difficult times?  But Psalm 43:5 declares, “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.”

In other words, Sing in the Rain!  

I feel like getting on board with the attitude of the guy in the orange raincoat.  There you can catch me Singing in the Rain today, too.  After all, we still have a reason to praise God no matter what.  My hope for this day and every day is in Him.  

God Bless!

“Honor God!”

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“For those who honor Me I will honor,” 1 Samuel 2:30

One day, some years ago, I remember when my son accompanied me to the grocery store to do some shopping. He was wearing his military uniform at that time and when people saw him they kept stopping him to shake his hand, to talk to him, or to tell him to keep up the good work. They were proud of him. They honored him for his service.

You know, as a mom, how I felt. I really thought it was something special for people to recognize him and his service to our country in that way. As much as I love the many fields in which one can be honored (military, teachers, firefighters, police officers, and many, many others), no one deserves our respect and adoration more than God. It is customary to stand to our feet when a judge enters a courtroom and there is a hush in the crowd when they bang that gavel. What about God?

Too many go through their day without ever considering the fact that hey, He is God, and He should be before all others. With that realization in hand, I want my life to reflect that great truth. I want every word, every action and every thought to magnify the greatness of who He is and all of His glory. When I go about my day I want people to see Him in me. Do I make mistakes? Oh, yeah! But, I have a goal. I aspire to do better and to be better every day. God has been so good and wonderful to me, and I feel that as His child the least I can do is showing Him the honor due Him.

“Give unto the Lord, O ye mighty, give unto the Lord glory and strength. Give unto the Lord the glory due unto his name; worship the Lord in the beauty of holiness,” (Ps. 29:1-2). These two verses have been among favorites of mine for many years now. When you think of “giving to the Lord” one realizes just how futile our efforts can be because of His vast greatness. But, something that each of us can give is honor. Not only can we gift it to Him, but it is a gift that He in turns honors.

“For those who honor Me I will honor.” Our God is an appreciative God and He believes in rewarding them that diligently seek Him (Heb. 11:6). If you don’t like the returns you have been getting in life examine what you have given. And let me make myself really clear at this point. I DO NOT want you to see the above statement as to how you can get something from God. These things will happen because it’s what the Bible promises.  It’s a residual effect of obedience.  Instead, I want you to just focus on God because He is God and not what you can get from Him.  Just honor God because He is WORTHY!

“Deliverance is of the Lord!”

Self-sufficiency is a statement of pride.  It’s the belief that whatever is going on and whatever we are facing or are trying to do is going to happen because of us.  It says that I am more than enough by myself and, “I’ve got this.”

While self-sufficiency is a mark of pride, I see it also as a teller of fear.  The fear to let go.  The fear to give up control.  The fear to not let another in your world to help you along the way because nobody can do it like you can and it’s hard to invest the word “trust” into someone else.

But, as a child of God, all that we have in our relationship with Him, is based on trust.  That’s why it’s considered a walk of faith.  Faith doesn’t know all the answers for today, better yet tomorrow.  Faith can’t really grasp exactly how this is all going to turn out, but faith just presses on.  Even though it doesn’t know all the ins and outs of everything, faith just continues to believe.

It believes in the One in whom the trust is deposited more than anything else.  It is sure that somehow, someway, God is going to turn this thing around and make “all things work together for good,” (Romans 8:28).  This faith is so confident that it knows that we can prepare for and learn about how to win in the day of battle; we can go through all the steps and check off the lists to each one that will secure our victory – but, ultimately it all means nothing because our “deliverance is of the LORD,” (Proverbs 21:31, NKJV).

It’s good to be proactive in life and want to get things done, for God has never been a promoter of the lazy and lackadaisical.  But in our pursuit to “do,” we have to make sure we “don’t.”  Don’t give pride a foothold and don’t believe more in self, than God.  For only in Him and with Him can our true deliverance be found.

“SHINE!”

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“But the path of the just is as the shining light, that shineth more and
more unto the perfect day,” Proverbs 4:18

Some days are glorious and some days are not.  Some days you need an umbrella and some days sunscreen.  Some days call for winter scarves and gloves, and some call for shorts and gear for swimming.  Some days are bright and beautiful, while some days never seem like they come out of the dreary season.

I would venture to say that this world is in a dreary season no matter what the temperature is outside. But you and I, we bring a taste of something better in the midst of all the gloominess. We are like the sun breaking through the clouds giving people a glimpse of hope. Our lives are as a “shining light” showing people a better way to live.

Turn on the local news in any city and most likely it is riddled with violence, tragedy, and suffering. Very rarely are there any good deeds or acts of kindness spotlighted. It seems the longer the world remains the tougher times get. The epidemic of sinfulness that began in the Garden of Eden keeps spreading and infecting men and women everywhere.

Oh, but the “just.” Those who are made right in the eyes of God we don’t walk the way of the world. We glow differently! We sport in our being the essence of the ultimate light, our Lord Jesus Christ. “I am the light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life,” (John 8:12). We have the “light of life” and we shine!

Proverbs 4:18 goes on to tell us that we shine “more and more unto the perfect day.” While we are in Christ we are getting better and better, and as a result, our light should be shining brighter and brighter. How else would this world ever get a break from always viewing the dreariness of life if we don’t shine?

Our “paths” make a difference. The things we do and the things we say show people something wonderful that they’re not used to seeing. The way we carry ourselves and our dispositions make people wonder, “What’s gotten into you?”

The light of Christ, that’s what! I can’t help but shine!

When we shine people become attracted to us like a magnetic pull. The more they see the more they may want to know what makes you glow. Then, they, in turn, may want to learn how to glow, too.

No matter what the thermometer says or what the temperatures are predicted to be.  No matter if we have sun or not, warm or cold temperatures, you can still be that ray of light shining in someone’s life today.

SHINE ON!

 

“Dealing with Contentions in the Midst of Blessings”

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“And Abimelech said unto Issac, Go from us; for thou art much mightier than we,” Genesis 26:16

Oh, how wonderful we feel when God opens the windows of heaven and pours out blessings into our lives, Micah 3:10. It feels good! And, it doesn’t matter if the blessing is material, physical, spiritual or emotional, if there is something that God wants to do that is special for us, we take joy in receiving from the goodness of our heavenly Father.

One of my favorite verses that keeps me in check and reminds me of just how awesome He is in this area is Matthew 7:9-11. In the verses before these Jesus is teaching His disciples a few of life’s lessons. He just assured them of the “ask, seek, and knock” principle of prayer. Then, to make sure they understood how much the heavenly Father cares He further explains, “Or what man of you, whom if his son ask bread, will he give him a stone? Or if he ask a fish, will he give him a serpent? If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children, how much more shall your Father which is in heaven give good things to them that ask him?”

God knows how to give good gifts! The problem with that is everybody is not going to like you for it. Everyone is not going to be on your side. There will be one, if not more, that will be standing in the corner, grimacing every time God decides to shower you with some of His goodness. It’s sad but true!

Human nature can get almost primal in this area. If you throw a bone to a pack of hungry dogs, what will happen? Only one dog will actually catch the bone, but the others will be on a continual mission to take it from him because they want it for themselves. They’re hungry for it. They want to be fed, too. It’s not fair that the one got the blessing and the rest didn’t. And so, another dog will try to latch onto it to yank and pull it away from the original owner. Another also steps in and tries to get it from the previous two. And on, and on it goes. Until one is successful to lie hold of it and run to safety.

I’ve seen this play out with seagulls also. You throw a piece of bread out for one and suddenly there are what seem to be a hundred gulls thinking they can all survive off of that one piece. They swoop down to grab the bread and try to fly away with the prize, only another has his eye on it and does the same. It becomes a never-ending circle of desire and wants that moves to the contentions of, “If I can’t have it, neither can you.” Swoop! It’s mine!

The same scenario played out for Isaac. God was keeping His promise that He made to Abraham and his son was reaping the rewards of it. God had truly blessed Isaac. “Then Isaac sowed in the land and received in the same year an hundredfold: and the LORD blessed him. And the man waxed great, and went forward, and grew until he became very great: For he had possession of flocks, and possession of herds, and great store of servants…” (Genesis 26:12-14).

He was blessed! But, the remainder of verse 14 clearly states that not everyone was happy about it. It says, “And the Philistines envied him.” They then put into motion a plan to try to hold down his blessings. “For all the wells which his father’s servants had digged in the days of Abraham his father, the Philistines had stopped them, and filled them with earth,” (Genesis 26:15). As they stopped up the wells their hope was to stop the blessings.

Afterwards, the king of the Philistines, Abimelech, just out and out told him, “We don’t want you here anymore – get out!” If they can’t stop the blessings then they don’t want to be around you while God is blessing. Why? Because it hurts to see some receive and some don’t. Humanity doesn’t like it like that, unless, of course, they are the ones on the receiving end of it.

It’s a hard pill to swallow. I’ve been on both sides of this fence: the side of being blessed and the side of watching others get blessed. Oftentimes, I didn’t always understand, but that’s just the way it was. Like it or not, I have to believe in God’s sovereignty over it all. Did it always register right away? Um, no. For I am human also and don’t always see things as God does. (If I’m going to write about it, I have to be totally honest about it.)

So, it shouldn’t surprise us that as God moves on our behalf to elevate us and bless us, that contentions can arise. What do we do then? First and foremost, is to trust God. After being kicked out, Isaac went from one well to another, there was always a fight with someone about it. Isaac could’ve gotten ticked off, but he kept trying to find where God was leading. Just because you are blessed by God doesn’t mean you can settle anywhere. You have to be where God wants you in order to continue to grow in Him. That requires trust.

Eventually, Genesis 26:22 tells us, “And he removed from thence, and digged another well; and for that they strove not…  For now the LORD hath made room for us, and we shall be fruitful in the land.” If one keeps following the leading of God, God, in turn, will put you in a place where the gifts and blessings He has given you will thrive. You are not going to just flourish anywhere. You have to be where He can ensure your growth.

If that weren’t enough, God made those that hated Isaac to be at peace with him. “We saw certainly that the LORD was with thee… let us make a covenant with thee,” (Genesis 26:28). They came to him. They sought him out to seek reconciliation. How did it all end? Very good, I might say. “And he made them a feast, and they did eat and drink. And they rose up betimes in the morning, and sware one to another: and Isaac sent them away, and they departed from him in peace,” (Genesis 26:30-31). All grudges and animosity were gone and peace entered in.

The Bible says, “the same day, that Isaac’s servants came, and told him concerning the well which they had digged, and said unto him, We have found water,” (Genesis 26:32). This was refreshment for the body and soul after dealing with such contentions. I think that means he was finally where God wanted him to be, in mind, body and spirit. The water didn’t come until the covenant for peace was made.

When God blesses there will sometimes be contentions to deal with from others. But, we too, have a responsibility in the midst to try to go as God leads us and to still keep the peace.