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Archive for the ‘Prayer’ Category

I found this really great devotional app called 21 Days of Obsession: An Invitation to 21 Days of Obsession in His Presence. Each days you get four ways to seek and experience God. I have really been enjoying it and getting good ideas.

One of the things they give you each day is a link to a really awesome Christian music group, usually someone I have never heard if before. Usually the music is very deep and worshipful.

Today’s song is from Bethel Music Without Words called God I Look to You. The devotion says, “Today’s media link has no lyrics on purpose. Find a quiet space, and invite Jesus to meet you in your imagination. Where does He take you?”

So I closed my eyes and listened to the song and found myself easily talking to God, whereas normally it may be a struggle to stay focused. I realized thus would be a great quiet-time aid, to listen to this song and others like it. It is about five minutes long, so it would give you a whole five uninterrupted minutes in Gods presence to focus on Him and pray about your day.

I’m really excited about this new approach, and I’m thinking of checking out the whole Without Words album. I really enjoyed their music. So listen to your favorite music and take five minutes to just be still and talk to God today!

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I was feeling frustrated about some things today and I felt led to go for a walk in my neighborhood.  We have this great trail that connects our neighborhood to a nearby park.  It is cool today and raining lightly, but I decided to put on my rain jacket and go anyway.  It was somehow very refreshing to be out in the cool air and the rain.  I could pour out my frustrations to God as I pounded the pavement.  It felt good to walk in the rain and not let it stop me, not let it scare me away.

While I was out I was blessed with the most amazing little finds, such as gorgeous flowering pear trees and little wild pansies covering the grass.  All of these little flowers are lavender or dark purple with a yellow center, at the park, in my back yard, everywhere.  But there is one spot in the park in a drainage ditch that has a patch of only yellow and white flowers.  I’ve never seen them anywhere else.  They were so different, and it is really cool how God can create genetic variations when he feels like making something new and unique.

I’m really glad I went out and talked out my frustrations with God.  It made me feel better, both spiritually and physically.  And I had a good time connecting with God during my rainy day walk.

Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition and with thanksgiving, present your requests to God and the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.  Phil. 4:6-7

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If anyone would come after Me, he must deny himself, take up his cross and follow Me.  Luke 9:23

We are doing a new Bible study at church, Not a Fan, by Kyle Idleman.  At first this guy really gets under your skin because he’s pretty blunt about giving up your life for God.  Of course, I know we are supposed to do that, but I prefer the more gentle approach! lol  We are also using the Follower’s Journal which has something for you to do with God each day, that I am actually really starting to like because it leads you to intimate fellowship with God.

The first day we were to take five minutes to close our eyes, picture Jesus saying the above quote to us,over and over, and then write our reaction to His invitation.  I was really annoyed by this assignment because this verse is so in your face.  I have always tried to avoid it!  lol  But I begrudgingly did it.  Eventually God made me aware of the end of the verse: “follow Me”. I realize this is what God has already been leading me to do.  Stop trying to live for myself, but instead follow Him.

I have been struggling with anxiety, feeling like things are always wrong.  God has been showing me that what I needed to do is choose to live only for Him.  Get my eyes off myself and onto Him.  He wants me to follow Him with tunnel vision, to look only to Him for His approval and not try to human approval.  He wants me to look only do His will each day, for my only goal to be to follow Him, not to try to make my own plans work out.   If I do that then everything is not wrong in my life because I am seeking to do God’s will and follow His plan for each day.  Then no matter if I succeed or fail from an earthly standpoint, I have automatically succeeded from God’s standpoint and His is the only view that matters.

So when I go throughout my day and I find myself wandering down into the negative pit,.  I may be thinking something didn’t work out the way I thought it was supposed to or that I am doing something wrong.  I wander farther and farther into negative thinking about all the problems in my life.  I need to stop myself and purposely redirect my thinking to choose to look at God and what He wants me to do.  I need to remember that if I am following Him then everything works out the way He wants it to.  So nothing is wrong.  If I can learn to think this way on a regular basis, develop a new habit of it, then I become a conqueror in Jesus.  I can live above the ups and downs of circumstances and emotions. I can be free, flying above it all with Jesus.  So God help me to do that because You know I can’t do it without You.  But I can do all things through You who gives me strength.  Help me to fly with You.

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No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us. (Rom 8:37 NIV84)

I struggle with feelings of defeat, as if everything in my life is wrong and everything I do is wrong. Logically I know this is not true, and I am very blessed. I know that it is satan attacking me, trying to incapacitate me by putting my focus in myself and my weaknesses. It’s really awful when this happens. I can get stuck in this pit and have a really hard time trying to remember how to get out or even have the will to get out.

A couple of nights ago my God Calling devotional (ed. by A.J. Russell) really helped me. It said:

Joy is the sovereign balm for all the ills of the world, the spirit-cure for every ailment. There is nothing that Joy and Love cannot do…Aim at conquering…the world around you. Just say, “Jesus conquers” — “Jesus saves” — in the face of every doubt, every sin, every evil, every fear…Do this to every ill and it will vanish, as night when the sun arises.

So the night I couldn’t sleep, I read this devotional and prayed over and over, “Jesus saves. Jesus conquers. Jesus heals.” Immediately I felt my fear leave me. I felt God calming me and I fell right to sleep.

I have wondered why saying this has such an effect on me. I know it has power because it is truth from the Bible. It also gets my focus off of myself and puts my eyes on God and all the amazing things that He can do. I see Him as my Great Savior from all sin and defeat. I see Him as my Conqueror who can do all things through me, conquer any pain or fear. And He is the Great Healer who has the power to heal all that is broken in me.

In God’s hands, I really can do anything. I can chose to reject fear and spiritual attack because He is so powerful, and I belong to Him. Satan has no real power over a son or daughter of the Great King! Because of God’s power, I am more than a conqueror. So…

Jesus saves.
Jesus conquers.
Jesus heals.

Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me. (Psalms 23:4 NIV84)

The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is on me, [Jesus] because the Lord has anointed me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim freedom for the captives and release from darkness for the prisoners, (Isaiah 61:1 NIV84)

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Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, (Rom. 8:1 NIV84)

When I was sick last week, God had me stop…and look at Him. Even when I wasn’t sure if I was doing something wrong – especially then.

It felt good to be open with Him, not trying to hide anything, and to find no condemnation but just acceptance, peace and rest.

I haven’t done that on a long while. Such intimacy. It requires boldness, bravery and risk! Because I’m not sure how He will react.

And the acceptance is that much sweeter in the face of risk and deserved condemnation. And then I am left with a sweet memory of my intimate time with Him.

Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need. (Hebrews 4:16 NIV84)

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You open your hand and satisfy the desires of every living thing.  Psalm 145:16

We have this really awesome subscription to Netflix on the internet.  It doesn’t cost that much, and it streams tv shows and movies from the internet through our Wii pretty much seamlessly.  It’s very easy to use and gives you access to a very large selection of tv shows and movies.  You could play it 24 hours a day if you wanted to.  There is nothing to stop you, unless you happen to reach the end of their selection, which would probably be impossible!

I find myself drawn to the Discovery Channel reality shows such as those about chasing tornadoes and surviving in the wilderness (which was one of the things that led me to want to hike the Appalachian Trail this summer with my Dad).  My latest interest is Swamp Loggers.  lol   Who would have thought that I would find an interest in this subject!  The rest of my family just kind of looks at me funny, like why do you like that stuff??  I just think it is so interesting the giant, powerful machinery they use to cut down these huge trees, in a swamp no less!  What used to take much, much longer with an axe or a chainsaw can be done with a feller-buncher in seconds.  It has a giant blade that is attached to a huge arm, turns sideways, and cuts straight through the bottom of a giant tree, grabs hold of the tree,  and gently pushes it the direction it wants it to fall.  It does all this in seconds!  Then they have giant machinery to drag the logs out of the swamp with wheels the size of my car and other machines to pinch together several logs at once and lift them into the trucks to be hauled to the mill.

But besides being amazed by the big machinery, they also let you get to know the people who work for this small logging company and be involved in their struggles and successes.  The owner of the family run company even talks about his faith in pretty much every episode.  He will mention how, even when everything seems to be going wrong, he is trusting God to make it work out.  He will talk about how he prays for a hurting employee or how his wife of 25 years is a good compliment to him and that he is thankful for all that God has given him.  So you become attached to these people and interested in their lives.  It’s almost like you know them.  Of course I’m sure you can’t really know someone through a reality show, and they certainly don’t know me!

So Netflix is awesome and you can really watch some interesting stuff on it.  However, I tend to want to watch it all day!  After all, who will stop me…exept that nagging little voice of the Holy Spirit, whispering that maybe this isn’t the best use of my time.  I mean, one or two is ok, but not continuously.  I notice that when I keep the tv on, I have this connection with the tv.  I am probably not watching it exclusively, but doing other things at the same time.  But I am listening to it and I realize I am connected to the tv show.  My constant background thought is on the show and what is going on with the characters and what is going to happen next.  What my thoughts aren’t on is God, or at least not very much.  It’s hard to keep my mind focused on God and carrying on a running conversation with Him throughout the day when instead I am streaming tv into my brain instead.  There is no more room for Him.  And then at the end of the day, I wonder why I feel distanced from Him.

What I want to be connected to is God not the tv.  TV is ok once in a while, for a little bit.  But it should not be my main source of spiritual sustenance.  Instead I should be waiting and seeking the more subtle connection with God to sustain and satisfy me.  After all that is real, substantial food, where as tv is just a junk food snack, not suitable for real nourishment and growth.  And in fact, it can make me fat and weak (spiritually, that is) just like junk food.

So God, please help me to give up my dependence on tv.  Help me to look to you as my main source of satisfaction.  Help me to make my constant connection to you, the Source of Life, and not the tv.  It is super hard because the tv is so enticing and easy.  But help me to choose you instead.  Help to me connect myself to You.  I love you dearly.  In Jesus Name, amen.

The Lord will guide you always; he will satisfy your needs in a sun-scorched land and will strengthen your frame.  You will be like a well-watered garden, like a spring whose waters never fail.  Isaiah 58:11

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Recently I have been making more of an effort to seek God.  I had become complacent in my relationship with Him and so have been trying to spend more time with Him.  Sometimes when I do this, I am rewarded and find Him quickly.  But other times, like now, it seems that all my effort is for nothing.  I don’t seem to make a connection or feel any closer to Him and wonder if it’s even worth it.  But today in God Calling devotional (ed. by A.J. Russell), it said:

“Walk with Me; I will teach you.  Listen to Me and I will speak.  Continue to meet Me in spite of all opposition and every obstacle, in spite of the days when you may hear no voice and there may be no intimate heart-to-heart telling.  As you persist in this, make a life-ling habit of it, in many marvelous ways I will reveal My will to you…”

God seemed to be directly answering my doubt.  I have to remember that my relationship with Him should not be based on feelings, and I need to believe what the Bible tells me:

“The Lord is good to those whose hope is in Him, to the one who seeks Him; it is good to wait quietly for the salvation of the Lord.”  (Lam. 3:2)

“you will call upon Me and come and pray to me and I will listen to you.  You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.  I will be found by you.”  (Jer. 29:12-13)

So I think God wants me to persevere in seeking Him, and I will find Him.  Things will get better.  I just have to wait.  Of course satan would love for me to give up now, perhaps just short of whatever new amazing adventure God is about to take me on.  So, God, help me to persevere and to trust that You are here, listening, and ready to respond when it is the right time.  We love You dearly, Sweet Jesus.  In Your Name, amen.

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