Tag: prayer

Grateful for 2020 Vision!

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I have a LOT to be thankful to God for from 2019.  And I wonder if you do too?

 

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I want to be sure to start this year off on the right foot.  And I believe that foot should be in the humble position of kneeling before the throne of God to voice my thanks.

 

The lyric to a song God gave me long ago echoes in my mind.  It was

“Thank You, Lord, for being there for me every time I knew I had a need of Thee.
And thank you Lord, for being there for me when I did not know there was need.”

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There were many times this past year when I definitely felt a need that I brought to the Lord.  Often, only after I had wrestled with the problem alone; and found myself unable to resolve it.

Even in the midst of serious health issues, relationship missteps, family squabbles, the consequential results of a horrible accident, more serious health issues, discouragement, feeling overwhelmed, the burial of a beloved family member, and the realization of the loss of ability and opportunity with aging; God met me where I was and led me out into a space where I could be grateful for the blessings He had provided.

You have probably survived 2019 with a similar list of trials and challenges you faced.  From the 20/20 perspective of this New Year, are you seeing some things clearer?

Can you thank God for being with you through the challenges you faced?  Can you see any positive outcomes from the struggle?

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I have 3 prayer partners who meet regularly to pray for each other and for our children.  Our group grew out of and is based on Moms In Prayer International.  Google that organization to find a model for your prayer time, and maybe connect with others who pray in your area.  We write down things we pray for and scriptures we pray over our children.  When I began looking over the notes from 2019, I had so many things to thank God for.

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That made a good start.  But then the next line in the song grabbed me and I began seeing things that we didn’t pray for, but that God protected us or our children from. Injuries and illnesses that didn’t happen!  Accidents that didn’t occur!  Temptations they didn’t fall into.  All the times we traveled and arrived safely at our destinations.  Family events that went smoothly.  Relationships that flowed evenly without misunderstandings or arguments arising.

And the thanks and praises flowed!

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Before this month is over, let me encourage you to set aside a time of review and thanks.  If you don’t have prayers you prayed jotted down, look at a calendar to think and remember your way through the year.

Or light a candle, breathe in the aroma, close your eyes and ask God to bring to mind things you are grateful for:  family, jobs, friends, home, sanity, health, support, mobility, breath.  He will show you.

Or start a thankfulness page.  Think back as far as you can remember and list the ways you can see God had a hand on your life and used people and circumstances to bring you to a saving knowledge of Him.  Or start with today and make entries as you think of things to be grateful for.

I am praying for you – that this will be a year of 20/20 Vision for you to be able to see God’s blessings and His activity in your life; from the time you were very young, throughout your lifetime, over this last year, today, and in all your tomorrows.

So you can sing with me:

Chorus – Thank You Lord for being there for me
Every time I knew I had a need of Thee
And thank You Lord for being there for me
When I did not know there was need

Verse 1 – It’s so easy to thank You Lord for what we see
Like healing an illness or an injury
Or when You circumvent certain tragedy
It’s so easy to thank You Lord

Verse 2 – I want to thank You for all the things I cannot see
For all the trouble You have kept from me
And for Your angels watching over me
I want to thank You Lord

Chorus

Verse 3 – It’s so easy when I think I have the perfect plan
And think I have the situation well in hand
And then the rug is pulled from under me and down I land
And I need to thank You Lord

Bridge – For my life could have been a lot worse, been a lot harder
But I have felt You there
Managing the pain, helping me in sorrow
You kept it at a level I could bear – – I know You were there

Chorus a capella

God’s Gifts on your Christmas Tree

I don’t know the author of this poem.  My oldest son, who is 40 now, came home with it from Pre-school 37 years ago.  And it has been a part of our Christmas ever since.

No other comments or pictures.  It is my prayer for you all.

I
pray
that you
will always see
God’s gifts
upon your Christmas tree.
You cannot touch them
with your hand
still they are there at you command.
They’re joy and faith
and hope renewed
with laughter for a happy mood.
And gratitude for each new day
with time to think and time to pray.
May the infant born
this Holy night
give grace to make your pathway bright
and grant that you will
always
see
God’s gifts
Upon your
Christmas tree.

Where is your Hope?

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I have some friends who are going through some really hard times right now.  Serious illnesses, death of a loved one, prison, financial hardship – almost to the point of becoming homeless.

Some of them are dealing with the stress okay and getting through the challenges with their faith intact.  But a couple are feeling so discouraged, frustrated, and helpless; they are losing hope.  I wonder if you know someone who is losing hope?

When things are going well, it’s easy to show and share your faith.  But when they’re not, it’s easy to wonder where God is.  And as a friend it’s hard to know what to say or do.

Sometimes standing with them and saying “I just don’t know what to say but I’m glad to be here with you” is enough.  Sometimes crying with them, or praying with them, or helping them with whatever small thing you can do is enough.  Or making sure they are connected with whatever professional resources are available can help.

But whatever we can do, we are not the ones they can hang their hope on.  And neither are professional resources able to solve every problem with a happy ending.

Of the friends who are doing okay, and have their faith and hope intact, I have noticed some similarities.

girl-1186895_640.jpgThey pray

They read God’s Word, the Bible

They have acknowledged their need to a small group of friends

They accept fellowship and support from this small group

They continue to focus on trusting God with the outcomes

Of the ones who are not doing as well, I have also noticed some similarities.

They go it alone

They deny their need

They have stopped reading the Bible and praying

They focus on the anger and frustration they feel

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If you have friends or loved ones who are in a hardship or challenge that is too much for them, do whatever you can to be the support they will accept.  When you can’t do any more, or if they refuse your help, pray for them.  Pray for them to turn to the One who has the will and the power to have a positive impact on their lives and circumstances.

Holding on to that faith during a hard season, I wrote this song as God encouraged me to hold on and not give up hope.  Put Your Hope in Jesus

When all seems dark and hopeless Your Word becomes a light

A calming reassurance that dawn will follow night

When your only hope is Jesus, then your hope is strong and true

For He’s the One who is able to care for and carry you

Put your hope in Jesus

You can trust the man on the cross who died for you

Put your hope in Jesus

He’s the One who is able to carry you

When all of life around you is so out of control

There is just One you can turn to

There is just one hand to hold

So take the hand of Jesus and cling with all your might

He’s the One with the power to brighten your darkest night!

kneelcrossPut your hope in Jesus

You can trust the man on the cross who died for you

Put your hope in Jesus

He’s the One who is able to carry you

The Battle of Jericho

Is there a blessing you believe God wants to give you: one that you cannot achieve or get on your own? A “Jericho”?

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Though Joshua was unable to get it for himself, God delivered the blessing of the city of Jericho into Joshua’s hand when he was obedient to do what God asked him to do. Your obedience to God could bring the wall down so you too can “go up and take possession” of your blessing!

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At a prayer retreat I was directed to Joshua 6:1-20 for a quiet time of meditating on God’s Word. The directions were to read it through one time to understand the events and people, and then a second time to ask for God’s personal message.

As I read about the events of the conquest of Jericho, I believe the Lord was also speaking to me about my own life. Telling me there are things in my life that He wants to give me, blessings He wants me to have, that I have not been able to take possession of.

These are “Jerichos” in my life. And God was telling me He was ready to break down the walls keeping me from these blessings, if I would be obedient.

ring-179693_1920Think about your own life. Is there something God wants you to have, a blessing that you can’t make happen on your own? Is God wanting to bless your marriage and make it all it could be, all that He meant marriage to be? Is something standing in the way of the happiness and unity God wants to give you; something that you can’t remove on your own?

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Is there a child who has wandered away from God, and try as you might, there is a wall that stops your words and actions from getting through to them? Is there a broken relationship that God wants to mend and bless, but something stands in the way of reconciliation?

Is there a job, a goal, a ministry, something you feel God has shown you and is calling you to be a part of, but you have no idea how to make it happen? And there are obstacles that seem insurmountable in the way?

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Maybe there is something you have been praying for, and you believe God is saying “Yes,” but you don’t have the knowledge or skills yet.  And you can’t imagine how it will actually happen.

There are many ways God desires to bless our lives that come with challenges or obstacles that we are not capable of removing in our own strength. This is when we’re to call out to God, our Father, who can and will act on our behalf. He can and will move heaven and earth, for nothing is too difficult for Him.

So I ask again:  Do you have a Jericho?

*Read Joshua 6:1-20 twice. The first time, get a clear picture in your mind of what is happening in the passage. Before reading it a second time, ask God to speak to you, to teach you, to show you what He has for you in this passage. Is there a Jericho, a blessing, a gift He wants you to have? How do you need to be obedient, trusting Him to bring the obstacle down? Are you prepared to go straight up and take hold of it?

*If there is something He shows you, ask where you should walk. What can you walk around that is the equivalent of taking the ground that He is giving you? For me it was a nearby lake.  It might be a neighborhood, a house, a school.

*Make a decision to be obedient, and begin walking! Don’t put it off for long.

*While you walk in silence, pray. Ask God to speak to you during your walk. This is a time for communing with God, for listening, not just talking.

*Write down whatever He tells you. What God says is important. You don’t want to forget it.

*On the seventh day, it’s not about speed or personal accomplishment. It’s about spending time with God, and rejoicing in His power and His blessing. Revel in that when you give a shout!

*The wall has come down! Ask God how to go up and take your blessing. Follow through on what He has told you. Rejoice in your victory!

In the next post I will share about my Jericho walk and what I learned.

Googling God part 2

How does hearing from God work?

Physical ears

Outer ear collects sources of sound – the sound waves.  For us to “hear”:

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It has to be within our range of hearing

It has to be loud enough

It has to be clear enough

 

hearing-106483_640Middle ear directs the sound to the ear drum where the sound is transferred from the vibrations of the ear drum to 3 little bones that conduct the sound through the cochlea where the sound is turned into nerve impulses and sent to the brain to interpret and understand what we hear.

We’ll look at 3 reasons we miss out hearing that have a spiritual similarity:

  1. we don’t hear because we aren’t listening –our ears are not pointed towards where the sound is coming from
  2. there is so much noise that the signal gets muffled or confused
  3. there is infection that needs to be cleaned out to restore our ability to hear clearly

Spiritual ears 

Our spirit hears everything our physical ears hear and our brain processes.  But there is another level of understanding that we can access with our spirit that allows us to filter messages that have a deeper spiritual meaning.

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So we need to engage our spirit and focus it on listening, interpreting and understanding those meaningful messages.

 

  1. As with our physical ears, we need to point our spiritual ears where God is speaking.  We need to tune our spirit into God’s frequencies.

What are His frequencies?

HearGod from

The previous blog asked some specific questions and gave ideas to help you identify how to listen in some of these areas.

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So the first question is: Are you tuned in and exposing yourself to the sources God is broadcasting on?

solution-2480514_640Listen to Christian sermons and podcasts.  Read the Bible.  Spend time in prayer.  Become aware of God’s Creation around you.  Examine your circumstances for what is bringing you blessing, confusion, pain.  Ask God to make you aware of how He is speaking to you and spend time in that area.

  1. Like our physical ears, the message we are trying to receive won’t be heard if there is too much other noise surrounding and masking it

chairulfajar_-655482-unsplash (1)So many things compete for our attention every day: books to read, movies to see, music to listen to, places to go where there is noise and busyness.  Advertising tries to convince you that their product is exactly what you need to solve all your problems and meet all your needs. Whether it’s insurance, a new car, or the latest tech, we are overwhelmed with media and input and our minds flooded with so many options and choices that they block out the messages God is speaking to us.

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And that’s just the outside noise.  What about the inner voices you speak to yourself every day?  We are usually much more critical of ourselves and those negative voices have an impact on our ability to hear from God as well.

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The next question is: Are you tuning out the world and the other voices that are clamoring for your attention so you can focus on hearing God?

solution-2480514_640There’s a simple solution.

prayer-888757_1920Before you pray, or read scripture, listen to a sermon or podcast, take a nature walk, or search your life circumstances, invite the Holy Spirit to silence all ungodly voices and distractions.  Ask that confusion, preconceived ideas, biases, and misconceptions be sent away.  And ask the Holy Spirit to reveal truth, clarify meaning, and show application to your life.

  1. The infection that needs to be treated to restore our spiritual hearing is sin.

Sin is like an infection blocking our ability to communicate with God effectively. Sometimes there is sin we are aware of that needs to be dealt with. Being willing to turn from it and ask for forgiveness is the way to remove that block to your hearing God. If you are unsure of any sin, invite God to search you and show you where sin may be causing a hearing problem, and remove it.

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The question is: Have you cleaned out your spiritual ears lately?

 

solution-2480514_640Thankfully, God has prepared a way for our sin to be forgiven and be removed as far as the east is from the west. 

I John 1:9-10 tells us:  “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

If it would help to have a guide for personal reflection on possible sin issues, see “When Hearing is Blocked” on my main menu.

listening-3079065_640When you are ready to tune into God’s frequency, and invited the Holy Spirit to silence other noise and lead you into hearing; be prepared to be blown away!

I believe God is speaking to us any time we are willing to listen.  And I believe when He says something, it’s important enough to write it down.  Keep some kind of record of how and when you hear from God.

But don’t run off with some word you think you heard without checking it out. Hold it up against what the Bible says.  And maybe even ask other believers what they think for some confirmation.

Next time I’ll share a simple way to know if what you heard is from God.