Posted on October 8, 2019
“Be patient. Establish your hearts, for the coming of the Lord is at hand.” – James 5:8 (ESV)
What is Patience?
Patience is the capacity for us to tolerate delay, trouble or suffering without getting angry or upset. And the Bible has a LOT to say about learning how to be patience – it is a fruit of the Spirit that God strongly desires his children to grow in.
Patience requires endurance. When we are severely pressed, this gift of the Holy Spirit (Galatians 5:22) is a product of our cooperative submission to His authority. Hearts established in God’s Truth grant us the grace it takes to be patient. James 5:8 connects the idea of an established heart and patience when it says, “Be patient. Establish your hearts, for the coming of the Lord is at hand.”
How to Strengthen Your Heart and Build Patience in the Process
The NASB version of James 5:8 says to “strengthen your hearts.” The Greek word for strengthen is sterizo, meaning to make stable or place firmly. The heart is the center of our being. God’s Word should be the firm foundation of the heart of our souls. When it is, are prone perspective allows us to be patient. A habitual commitment to read Scripture is the highest priority to achieve healthy spiritual functionality.
Posted on September 26, 2019
“The thief approaches with malicious intent, looking to steal, slaughter, and destroy; I came to give life with joy and abundance.” (John 10:10 VOICE)
Suicide is the 10th leading cause of death in the United States. We’re surrounded by celebrity suicides, and those that shock our local communities. A common thread weaving through these tragic losses is silence. So many of us suffer quietly. John 10:10 empowers us to swap loss for restoration. Every life has an immeasurable value to the Father who crafted each with specific purpose, in His own image.
The statistics are scary, but that means there’s probably another soul within arm’s reach that truly feels our pain. The story of Queen Esther often comes to my mind, as I take stock of my placement in another’s life, as well. Perhaps, “for such a time as this,” (Esther 4:14) that cup of coffee brings enough camaraderie to soothe a soul. God is not a God of coincidence. He’s purposeful and loves us perfectly.
Posted on September 23, 2019
“Pray Big Things,” by Julia Jeffress Sadler promises “the surprising life God has for you when you’re bold enough to ask.” Prayer is powerful. Most of us have heard that statement before, noticed it on bumper stickers and scrolled across many beautifully constructed images proclaiming the truth. Prayer IS powerful. Sadler unlocks the art of asking God for big things. Jesus sacrificed His life in order to unlock and throw open wide the opportunity to communicate with our Almighty God. And He is faithful to hear and answer His beloved.
“God dares us to pray big things,” Sadler writes, “I dare you to pray big things!”
“Pray Big Things,” consists of ten easy-to-read chapters, packed with answers to Biblical questions about what prayer is and how it works. Scripture is referenced throughout the book, rooting it first and foremost on the truth of God’s word. In Chapter Eight, Sadler addresses unanswered prayer, “When God says ‘no,’ it provides unique opportunities for us to say yes to trusting Him like never before.”
Prayer is a rich and deep experience with our relational God. Sadler does a great job resisting the urge to over simplify it. “God will give you everything you want,” she writes, when everything you want is Him.”
I recommend this book to all who are looking to enrich their prayer life, and relationship with God.
(I received a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.)
Posted on August 13, 2019
Why do we let waves of fear swamp our lives, instead of dropping to our knees in prayer? Why does anxiety continue to crush us, when all we have to do is look up? Jesus has already cleared a path for us to talk to God, but we often continue to struggle within our own minds for solutions to life’s problems. Weave prayer into the natural inclination to solve problems by surrendering what ails us to our God. He promises to hear us, defend us, and loves us… through it all. It’s that simple.
1. Open yourself up to worship with music.
“Let them sing joyful praises forever.” (Psalm 5:11)
Because of Jesus’ victory, we can sing praise at all times. Prayer doesn’t have to be hard. Sometimes, it starts with a song. Music can quickly take over the melody of our hearts and the frame of our minds. Listen to the Christian station or singing a favorite old church hymn or song. God works through those melodies to connect us to Him. Music has always been a way to express emotion we cannot put into words, and it’s an excellent way to reflect in prayer.
2. Look for evidence of God working in your life.
“Remember what I have told you.” (Matthew 28:7)
This verse was part of the frantic realization that Jesus had risen from the dead. In remembering the instructions they were given, their minds and hearts must have been flooded with the statements Jesus had uttered as they walk alongside Him during His ministry on this earth. Looking back to remember, they began to see Him more clearly.
Posted on August 6, 2019
It’s much easier to tell our children to say their prayers than to guide them through the process. Praying out loud is a bold expression of faith. Though many of us feel comfortable praying out loud in a group, it’s hard for others to muster the courage to verbalize prayer even to our own children.
Even when we are brave enough, we often let the opportunity to pray with our kids pass by in the rush of the day’s routine. Carving out time to pray with our children blazes a trail for them to cope with life the way God created us to – in conversation with Him.
Deuteronomy 11:20 tell us to “Teach these things to your children. Talk about them when you’re sitting together in your home and when you’re walking together down the road. Make them the last thing you talk about before you go to bed and the first thing you talk about the next morning.” When it seems daunting to break down faith to our children, let us pray to the Lord for strength to pass down His truth in prayer with the little lives He’s entrusted us with on this earth.