Posted on February 12, 2021
Prayer is personal. God hears our voice as distinctly as we call out to Him. 1 John 5:14 says,“This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us.” But more important than what we say, is the frequency in which we pray that matters to God.
Paul explicitly tells us that continual prayer is part of God’s will for us (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18). That’s because continual, committed communication with God is vital for our spiritual growth.
How often do you pray? Is prayer a spiritual discipline you want to grow in? The following fifteen questions touch on four specific aspects of prayer. Use them to take stock of your own prayer life and what you can be doing to strengthen your communication with God.
Posted on January 18, 2021
Doubt is an inevitable part of our humanity. It can steal our victories before we’ve had time to enjoy them, and rob our sense of self-worth. Doubt can attack us even on our best days, and pummel us into a dark corner on the bad ones. But Christ wants us to walk confidently through life, not be paralyzed by doubt.
He is our strength when we are weak.
He is our rock when we feel the avalanche of worry and anxiety in our lives.
The world is pushing in on us from all directions, with every kind of threat. But our great God is more powerful than your doubt! When we submit our doubts to Him, we remind ourselves who he is and who we are in him. And through the power of the Holy Spirit, we become unstoppable in accomplishing God’s will for our lives. The journey will not be easy, or pain-free… but it is possible to kick doubt out.
Posted on September 3, 2019
“The world is chaotic and out of control, because people refuse to trust God.” Ray Comfort, “Faith is for Weak People.”
Ray Comfort tackles 20 of the biggest objections to the Gospel in his book, “Faith is for Weak People, Responding to the Top 20 Objections to the Gospel.” Prefaced by an introduction and reflective commentary on fear and apologetics, Comfort then tackles each issue one at a time, dedicating a chapter to each with study questions throughout. The study questions beg readers to ensure they’ve digested the factual answer, and then digs at the soul for a status update.
“Those who look for dirt will find it,” Comfort boldly states, “God gives the proud just enough soil to bury themselves.” Many are too timid to answer these popular questions to faith in such confidence. I appreciated the direct approach as a “how to” guide, and the encouragement not to shy away from tough conversations. Comfort’s personal experience and real life conversations provide good ground for readers to stand firm in a society often offended by those who so boldly defend their faith.
“When people say that Christians aren’t better than anyone else, what they’re revealing is that they don’t have an understanding of salvation. You need to tell them that salvation isn’t what you do, it’s who you place your trust in. That’s what makes Christians different from all other people in the world.” Ray Comfort, “Faith is for Weak People, Responding to the Top 20 Objections to the Gospel.”
I highly recommend this book to all Christians, and anyone wondering what Christianity is. If you’re wondering what faith is, this book is for you. If we all took one giant leap forward to understand each other, it would make a world of difference. Without giving up an inch of ground, Comfort is able to ask good questions that spark brilliant conversations.
(I received a copy of this book in exchanged for my honest review.)
Click here to purchase your copy of “Fhttps://amzn.to/2ZEc94Caith is for Weak People.”
Posted on February 21, 2018
King David wrote Psalm 56 when the Philistines captured him in Gath (Lucado Life Lessons).
The strength to live authentically comes from God, alone. King David’s encouragement is centered on the confidence source of our courage. Living our full truth out loud comes from bravely walking within our God-placed purpose. Comparing our lives to those around us, and the mold of societal acceptance, chokes our ability to live uninhibited. But life exposed to the Light sets us free.
When I first earned the freedom to drive, I began to exit the highway early on the way to my family’s favorite summer hangout. Windows down and Alanis turned up, I dreamt of what it would be like to swap the suburban hustle for a sleepy lake-town life. Little did I know at 16, that roughly fifteen years later God would move our family onto a piece of land that my ’86 Nova passed by hundreds of times.
We unwrapped and repacked Christmas the year that we moved from our beloved starter home. The tree was reassembled and each ornamental reminder was placed back on it’s branches, and everyone in that sleepy little lake town noticed. Â Suddenly the plethora of windows we choose to fit our house with, along the only busy road in town, seemed like a questionable idea.
“When I’m afraid …”
Charles F. Stanely points out that “the psalmist does not say, ‘if I am afraid,’ he says, ‘when I am afraid.'”
David was afraid of Saul. He was on the run, and hoping to be considered insane, so he could continue to run further away from who he was. “He pretended to be insane in their presence; and while he was in their hands he acted like a madman, making marks on the doors of the gate and letting saliva run down his beard.” 1 Samuel 21:12-13 (NIV)
Is this seriously the King David that killed Goliath? Fear is a slippery slope. They bought his act, and he continued to run.
We all face something in life that makes us want to close all the blinds and hide from the world. God promises never to leave us, and forgive our sins when we confess them. Fear causes us to assume we are alone and unforgivable, re-confessing and running from sin that He has already forgiven.
In an attempt to stretch farther than I could reach, a vase teetered and came crashing to the ground in pieces. I picked up the pieces, but the tiny shards were too small to be glued back together.
“I put my trust in you.”
The MacArthur Study Bible states that “Confidence in the Lord is a purposeful decision, replacing an emotional reaction to one’s circumstances.”
David was definitely having an emotional reaction as he ran from King Saul, but he eventually remembered what the Lord had said. God’s Truth can snap us out of temporary insanity. Hiding with his men in the back of a cave, King Saul entered to ‘relieve himself.’ David snuck up and cut off a piece of Saul’s robe, and then has an attack of conscience. (2 Samuel 24: 1-5)
Labels can be leveling, especially the ones that we are hesitant to claim. There are certain thing we don’t post on social media, or bring in up in casual conversation, because it’s hard to believe they belong to us. We’d rather close the blinds.
The redemptive power of Christ pieces every tiny shard back together. He rolls on grace like gorilla glue. We don’t have to stop living life or hide our progress. The journey back to who He says we’ve always been is a testimony to His great love. Don’t draw the blinds on that.
Charles F. Stanley says in his Life Principles Bible Notes, “God does not tell us to ignore our anxieties, but to bring them to Him and realize that He can overcome any terror we ever have to face.”
My husband and I didn’t think about the ramifications of everyone being able to peer into our lives through the windows, because we were attracted to the beauty of natural light. Living in fear of what others might see draws the blinds. We hide from exposure. That’s not the life God gave us to live. That’s not the life Jesus died to grant us. “I came so that you may have life, and have it to the full,” Jesus said in John 10:10
“God, whose word I praise …”
When Saul was finished relieving himself, David followed him out of that cave. “My lord the king!” He bowed as Saul turned around. (1 Samuel 24:8) He stepped out from the dark cave and into the light, exposing his truth, and the pieces were put back into place.
Living our lives exposed to the light grants us freedom. When we turn up the volume on other voices, opinions, worries, shame, and regret, we become self-focused and selfish in protecting what we fear are unforgivable mistakes and missteps.
Authentically living for Christ begins with a real relationship with Him, in prayer and Scripture. David walked out of that cave to face Saul, reaffirmed by remembering who God said he was. Our stories, labels, and lives, exist so that others may experience the love of Christ.
“When struck by fear, I let go, depending securely upon You alone. In God- whose word I praise- in God I place my trust. I shall not let fear come in, for what can measly men do to me?” Psalm 56:3-4 (VOICE)
Father, Praise You for this day, and Your purpose for it. Thank You for the blessings we woke up today, and those that will riddle our minutes and we walk throughout it. Forgive us for hiding the parts of our lives that are hard to face. We want to fully trust in You, God. Give us hearts like Jesus’. Help us to live authentically because we trust in You. Make us aware, as we travel through daily conversations, of those that we are meant to encourage by sharing parts of our struggles. Bless all those who hide in the darkness, ashamed and scared. May be a bright light of encouragement to every person You purposely place in our lives. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Posted on January 25, 2016
Joy cracks conformity.
“Mom,” my seven-year old wept as she slunked against the cold window on the way home from school, “it happened again.”
A chill stemmed from my heart to the heated steering wheel as I swiped the volume down.
“Same person?” I pressed.
“One stopped, but there’s still one more.”
Kids are funny about what they share, aren’t’ they? Brianne unravels the truth as she needs mine to apply to it. Perfect, because I can’t handle the whole story at once emotionally, anymore than she can digest the entirety of my reaction/advice.
“I thought it was only one person doing it…” I said in a fake, I’m-not-angry-about-it-at-all tone.
“Well, there were more, but now there’s just one …and she keeps erasing my mascot.” The tears were now visible in the rear view mirror, and I could barely drive I wanted to hug her so bad.
“Your mascot?” My own tears blocked the road.
“Yes, Happy Heart…my mascot,” she explained.
“Well that’s-not very-nice and I’m-so sorry,” I blurted in a cracked tone.
“The thing I don’t get is that she’s my friend…”
Now she was full on crying, and so was I…and so was little sis Lo.
Some friend. I had to pull back from the conversation and revert to comforting mode before I let my anger drive my mouth and call the kid’s parents. Later on, I yearned to define what a true friend was to my daughter…so I Googled it. Dictionary.com says a friend is:
No where in that list of definitions does it require one friend to conform to another, yet we have mixed reactions to differences in qualifying and ranking our friendships, don’t we? Let’s face it, sometimes Emo Joe is a ‘ way cooler’ mascot than Happy Heart. The challenge to define and find friendship requires a look inward at how to be a good friend.
“In all this you greatly rejoice, though. Now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. These have come so that the proven genuineness of your faith of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fireman result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed.” 1Peter1:6-7
I think a little bit of Jesus Christ is revealed right in these two verses, shedding light on the definition of friendship in two ways:
A good friend is genuine, a trait revealed by trials.
Jesus is genuine. He was tested and put through trials, leaving no doubt of His faith, glory, and honor. Strong’s Concordance says the word genuineness in Greek is adolos, meaning “free from fraud.” Jesus knew fraud. He experienced it. Upon His arrest, all twelve apostles fled. They failed that friend test. Imagine the betrayal Jesus felt, when just hours earlier they were all hanging out with Him, appalled at innuendos of betrayal within their circle. Jesus died for them anyway, forgiving them long before they knew to apologize. He did not let it affect who He was or what He was called to do. Aim to apply the forgiveness of failure to your friendships, and allow them to stick around long enough to travel through trials.
Erase the mistakes. Put the good back up.
Forgive and forget or forgo friendship. Jesus gets erased, but He doesn’t give up. He is repeatedly being removed by an increasingly secular society. Merium Webster’s definition of secular is: “of, relating to or controlled by the government rather than the church.” I personally don’t want to be ruled by either.
“The LORD is my strength…I WILL praise Him.”- Exodus 15:2 (emphasis added.)
“Draw the Happy Heart,” I told Brianne, “Keep putting it back up.”
It’s hard to rescind the urge to hide my child from hurt, but it’s important to pray through the appropriate times to let go and let them be lights. Though the darker side of life will attempt to snuff them out, light cannot be erased.
The joy eluded to in the verse above doesn’t just appear immediately in our hearts. We have to find it and fight for it.
“In 1Thes 5:16–18 Paul turns from instructions covering attitudes and actions toward fellow believers and other human beings to instructions dealing with attitudes toward God.” -NIV Application Commentary
What is our attitude toward God? Do we think of Him in fulfillment of those definitions of friendship above? It should be the first place our minds drift, because even secular socialites will admit the fault in humanity to execute those definitions to perfection. But Jesus did…and can…and does.
God tells us to “be joyful” not “be lemmings.” You’re stomach’s going to drop every time the heart is erased.
It’ll never feel right because we are not of this world.
You are a crack in the ice.
Humans are human. Don’t get mad at “the eraser.” Don’t let the sound of footsteps scattering break your spirit. Don’t hold any one person accountable for one Savior’s job. Don’t be naive, but your friends off the hook of perfection.
“Did you put the Happy Heart back up?” I asked one night over spaghetti and meatballs.
“Yep!” she smiled, blue eyes especially sparkling, “And he’s holding up a sign that says J.A.M.!!”
J.A.M. for Jesus And Me…She’s the proudest new member of the kids praise and worship team at church. Erase her mascot, but can’t get to her heart.
At all times, and especially in adversity. The light will fight it’s way through…the ice will crack. You needn’t look any further for the best friend you’ll ever find. It’s Jesus’ joy that cracks conformity. It’s through Him alone that we tap into the light of His Father. Lean into Him when you’re being squeezed.
In a world freezing fast…seek Him…the crack in the ice.