July 7, 2016

In my first post, a few weeks ago, I wrote about how I’ve been reading through the Bible with the One Year Bible.

In addition to reading through the entire Bible, I am devoting myself this year to learning to pray more effectively.

James 5:16 says “The earnest prayer of a righteous person has great power and wonderful results.”  (The Living Bible)

praying hands on bible

As long as I can remember, I have been afraid and embarrassed to pray out loud in front of other people, so I’ve been studying prayer and practicing so that I can pray with and for others freely.  I have found that it helps to view prayer more as a conversation with my Father and less like a flowery speech that has to sound perfect.  Praying scripture has truly helped me with this endeavor.

When I pray directly from the Word of God, the words flow more easily and I don’t feel so much like I have to “come up with something” profound. As I read the daily passages in the One Year Bible, I often underline scriptures that speak directly to me and write them in a notebook, which I use as a springboard for my prayer time.  (More on that in a future post!)

I’ve been praying for my kids for using Stormie Omartian’s The Power of a Praying Parent for almost a year now, and it has helped immensely. Before, my prayers were “generic” and not very directed.  I knew I should be praying for my kids, but didn’t really know how to pray or what to pray about.  By reading her book and praying scriptures over my kids to address specific issues, I feel that my prayers have become much more powerful and effective.  God has shown me specific things, through His Spirit, that I would never have known to pray about.

I have also been praying specific scriptural payers over my husband using a book by Sharon Jaynes, Praying for Your Husband from Head to Toe.  That book has helped me in a similar way – I’m able to pray specifically for each part of my husband’s body and being, allowing me to become more aware of being submissive to my husband and being the wife he needs.

2 prayer books

Through reading those books and praying scripture, God is teaching me to communicate with Him more effectively and I’ve seen many answers to prayer in these past months.  I know I have a long way to go, but I am believing in faith for even more answers to prayer in the future!

If you feel put on the spot when you’re asked to pray out loud in front of others, I encourage you to start branching out with your own prayer time.  When you’re alone, try praying aloud directly from the Bible.  The Psalms are a great place to begin – they are poems and songs written to praise God and to request His leading and protection.  Just start praying them in your own words.  Even if you only whisper, or speak very quietly, you’ll start to grow accustomed to hearing your voice in prayer.

As you become more confident, you’ll be able to pray more loudly and eventually you’ll find yourself praying in front of others with the same confidence that you have when you’re alone with the Lord.  I think you will find, as I did, that hearing yourself pray audibly is different than praying in your head.

I would love to hear about books on prayer that you’ve found helpful, as well as your testimony of how God is working in your prayer life!

God loves us and He loves to converse with us in prayer.  As you study and practice, He will honor your intention to become a more powerful and effective prayer warrior!

 


 

Lord, thank you for your Word.  Thank you for speaking to me through it.  Thank you that the earnest prayers of a righteous person have great power and wonderful results.  Please help me to become more effective in my prayers as I converse with you.  Show me how to pray in ways that are powerful so that I can bless others by praying with them and for them.  Thank you that your love for me never ends and that your mercies are new every morning!  

 

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June 29, 2016

Remember the Disney animated movie Aladdin from way back in 1992?  The theme song of the movie goes something like this: “A whole new world, a dazzling place I never knew.  When I’m way up here, it’s crystal clear, that now I’m in a whole new world with you.

A whole new world, a hundred thousand things to see, I’m like a shooting star, I’ve come so far, I can’t go back to where I used to be.”

night sky

A whole new world.  That’s your life when Jesus is living in your heart.

“When anyone is in Christ, it is a whole new world.  The old things are gone; suddenly, everything is new!”  2 Corinthians 5:17 (ERV)

I don’t want to admit how many times the devil whispers in my ear and tells me that I am a failure, that I will never get it right.  That because I’ve made mistakes in the past, I am not worthy of God’s blessings and forgiveness.

But God has something much different to say to us, through the words of David:

You see, God takes all our crimes—our seemingly inexhaustible sins—and removes them.
    As far as east is from the west, He removes them from us.”  Psalm 103: 12 (The Voice)

And again, our loving Father speaks to us through the prophet Isaiah:

“I, yes, I alone am he who blots away your sins for my own sake and will never think of them again.”  Isaiah 43:25 (The Living Bible)

You may have noticed that God says that He takes away our sins for His sake (not for ours).  He’s saying that He does not want to carry around our sins and remember all of the ways we’ve rebelled against Him; He forgets our sins so He is not burdened with them.  The forgetting is  not for us, but for Him!

Did you see that He takes our sins away as far as the east is from the west?  Have you ever stopped to consider that?  Why does God say “from the east to the west?”  Why not from the north to the south?  I think it’s because there is a North Pole and a South Pole – specific places that are only a certain distance apart.  Granted, it is a LONG distance, but not in comparison to how far east is removed from west.

If you start walking east, you will walk all the way around the world and you will come back to the same point, eventually, but you will never reach “the west!”  God takes our sins so far away that there is no way to measure the distance, and He forgets them for His own benefit!

So….I can listen to the lies of Satan, telling me that I will never be good enough, or I can choose to believe and receive God’s forgiveness, which is promised over and over again in the Bible. (There’s plenty more I want to say about forgiveness, but I’ll save that for another day!  🙂

When I’ve been born again into Christ everything is new.  The old is GONE.  God doesn’t remember any of those incredibly stupid things I’ve done because I have asked for His forgiveness.

I can go forward in a whole new world, where there are a hundred thousand things to see, and where I can never go back to where I used to be!

 


 

Thank you, Lord, for your unending forgiveness.  Thank you that since I’ve asked Jesus to live in my heart, the whole world is a new place for me.  Thank you that you forget all of my sins, all of the ways I have hurt you, and that you never think of them again!  Please help me to go forward in your grace and to live the way You want me to live.  Open my ears to hear your voice and please give me the courage to follow your leading, today and every day!

June 22, 2016

God often touches my heart through worship music.  This past Sunday, we were worshiping with a beautiful Big Daddy Weave song called The Lion and the Lamb.

“Our God is a lion, the Lion of Judah, He’s roaring with power, and fighting our battles, and every knee will bow before Him.  Who can stop the Lord Almighty?  Who can stop the Lord?”

Lion of Judah with words

As I sang, I was overwhelmed by how mighty and powerful our God is, yet He cares for us so tenderly.  At any given moment, He knows the number of hairs on your head!   His love is incomprehensible!

Psalm 139: 17-18 reminds us, “How precious are your thoughts about me, O God.  They cannot be numbered.  I can’t even count them; they outnumber the grains of sand!”  (NLT)

God is thinking about you all the time.  In every moment!  He never leaves you or forgets about you, and at the same time, He is all-powerful and every knee must bow to Him!   Amazing!!

“You saw me before I was born.  Every day of my life was recorded in your book.  Every moment was laid out before a single day had passed.”  (Psalm 139:16, NLT)

God had every moment of your life planned before you were even born.  I often have difficulty planning my week, let alone the next month or year.  Thinking about ten or twenty years down the road seems totally overwhelming.  But God has at ALL planned!

Our society pushes us to be in control, to make our plans and not to allow anyone to dictate how we will live our lives.  But God’s voice whispers to us to give up control to Him.

“We humans keep brainstorming options and plans, but God’s purpose prevails.”  (Proverbs 19:21, The Message)

When it seems like everything is falling apart and you can’t hold it together anymore, remember that our Heavenly Father is thinking about you and taking care of you.  The Lion of Judah has a perfect plan for your life.  He knows your thoughts, your fears, your hopes and your dreams, and He holds them all in His hands.

 


 

Heavenly Father, thank you for loving me so much that you always know my every thought and my every need.  Thank you that you are the all-powerful Lion of Judah and you fight my battles.  Thank you for your tender care and for all of the blessings you pour out on my life!  I trust the plans that you have for me and I surrender to you.  Please help me to listen for your still, small voice in the midst of this loud world, and give me the courage to follow your leading.

 


 

I hope that I can encourage you as you go through the inevitable struggles and pain that life brings.  I hope that God will use my words to bring you closer to Him.  I know that I’ll be encouraged by the words you share with me, too!

God loves you!

God has put on my heart to create a blog to share my journey and my discoveries as I walk with Him daily.

I don’t claim to be a theological expert.  I’m just an imperfect child of God, saved by His blood and promised eternal life!  I’m growing in my faith daily as I commit my life to Him.


 

Just a little background on me……I was raised in the Christian Reformed Church and in a Christian home.  God called out to me when I was ten years old, at summer camp, and I accepted His forgiveness and asked Jesus into my heart.  At sixteen, I stood up in church and made profession of faith – I publicly stated that I am a believer and that I’m committed to living my life for Jesus Christ.  A few years later, I was introduced to the Vineyard Church, which was much more charismatic than the church I was raised in.  Shortly after that, I received the baptism of the Holy Spirit and I felt like I had been awakened from a long sleep!  I began to listen to God’s voice and walk in His ways more and more.

Since then I have had bountiful times and dry times in my walk with Christ.  Several years ago, after my first marriage ended, I quit going to church for a few years and my communion with God all but stopped.  Sure, I still prayed when I got in a tight spot or when I was really sad about something in my life, but God was not a fundamental part of my daily existence.

A couple of years ago, just before I was remarried, God started calling me back to Him.  I felt His conviction for staying too far away from Him for too long and I started praying and reading the Bible again, and our family joined an incredible church.  Since then I’ve really begun to study the Bible passionately for the first time in years.  I began by disciplining myself to read the Bible every morning, and now I can’t wait to get up and open the Word!  If I start my day without it, I feel like I’ve skipped breakfast!  God has made me hungry for His Word, and I long to understand it more and live the way He wants me to.

God is reminding me, as He has drawn me back to Him, that He is so faithful.  His love never fails and His faithfulness lasts forever. (Psalm 89:5-8).

Even if run away from Him, He still loves me!   “If we have no faith, He will still be faithful to us, for He cannot go against what He is.”  (2 Timothy 2:13 – NLV)

Have you found yourself further from God than you’d like to be lately?  He made you, He loves you and He wants you to be close to Him.  No matter how we act or how far we run, God is always faithful.  Faithfulness is His very character!

All you have to do is start talking to Him and pick up your Bible.  I highly recommend the New Living Translation One Year Bible.  The NLT is a version that is easy to read and understand, and it allows you to read through the entire Bible in one year.  Each day you’ll read from the Old Testament, the New Testament, Psalms and Proverbs.  As you can see from the photo, mine is getting dog-eared from excessive use!  LOL

NLT One Year Bible


 

Lord, I pray that you will help me encourage my friends with my words.  Thank you for bringing me close to you again and putting a desire in me to read and understand your Word.  Thank you that no matter what I do, You will always be faithful.  Thank you that your love for me never fails!


 

I hope that I can encourage you as you go through the inevitable struggles and pain that life brings.  I hope that God will use my words to bring you closer to Him.  I know that I’ll be encouraged by the words you share with me, too!