Tag Archives: Prayer

Peace In The Void

24 Jul

Have you ever had to walk only by faith in God’s promises because you can’t see or feel Him? Worse yet, a time when you need God most and He chooses to step His presence away?

C. S. Lewis stated “during one of the most painful times of my life, I cried out to God and got… a door slammed in [my] face, and a sound of bolting and double bolting on the inside. After that, silence. You may as well turn away. The longer you wait, the more emphatic the silence will become.”    He wrestled with his faith, this man that gave us a glimpse of light in his words.

He added: “There are no lights in the windows. It might be an empty house. Was it ever inhabited? It seemed so once… Why is God so present a commander in our time of prosperity and so very absent a help in time of need

Walking through such a time myself, I praise God for writers that share their testimony or the bible with stories of Joseph, and David. The sharing of testimonies help us relate and help us walk this life, including heartbreaking times in our journey where He simply doesn’t feel present.

I recently walked through a time feeling the void where God had been steady. I really had to dig deep in my faith and examine what I really believe.

He calls us to constantly grow in knowledge and strength of faith so we are better equipped to do His calling on our life. Our faith is not by sight and our faith will be tested and stretched fully. This time of void, where I can’t feel Him or find Him has been the greatest, hardest lesson of all for me.

He chose for me a time when I was already experiencing aloneness physically, and the loneliness of my divorce.  He decided to use this time to step back His presence. This void felt so devastating, cruel even. Yet, even as I could not find Him, I knew He was there, as if behind the door. I had to strain to find grace, strain to remain in His mercy. I had to work through deep anger at this abandonment, fear of rejection by Him.  I had to really stretch to draw nearer to Him and understand the blessings of grace even in this moment of empty.  I had to know His love remains. Grace is grace. It isn’t dependent upon our circumstances nor our sin.

Grace and God remain steady regardless of our feelings.

Learning to trust that He is still there because He says He is, I held tight to His word in my heart. I began to see Him everywhere, though I still didn’t “feel” Him. He was there in the sunrise and sunset.

I cannot find adequate words to describe this time. It was so lonely, so powerful in that I longed for Him in a way I never have and yet even in that longing, I was confident that He was there.

This was His great purpose for teaching me; Growing and developing my confidence in Him so I can be better prepared to fulfill His purpose for my life.  His refinement of my past, my belief of my worthiness for this journey, removal of all works based religion and the lies of the enemy.

This time. ‘A time such as this’,  there is a sense of peace from this growth. He promises us that joy comes after pain. He reminds us in His word, that hope lives on. We are here but a moment of time, like the wind. He remains. He is always there is the midst of darkness and trial as much as He is there in the mundane. He always has been and always will be.

This journey of life will bring times of abundance and times of lack.  King Solomon summed it up best when He said nothing matters but God.  God remains the same regardless of our circumstances or sin. Whether this world loves us, leaves us alone, recognizes us or ignores us;  God never loses sight of us. We are always within His hands.

What immense peace it is to know that I can sit in the center of His amazing love, feeling the fullness of the hurts and sorrows, joys and triumphs of this life, knowing with all that I am, nothing compares to just simply being in His presence.

Jeremiah 23:23-24 tells us: “”Am I a God who is only close at hand?” says the Lord, “No, I am far away at the same time. Can anyone hide from me in a secret place? Am I not everywhere in all the heavens  and the earth?”says the Lord. “

 

My Christmas Wish

20 Nov

 

 The generous will prosper; those who refresh others will themselves be refreshed. Proverbs‬ ‭11:25‬ ‭NLT‬‬

 



In my lifetime, like most, I have walked through pain and heartbreak. I have known pain that took my breath away; the kind of hurt that hurt so bad I couldn’t breathe. Fortunately for me, it was in the darkest moments of my life that I found my lighthouse, my compass, my hope in God.

My Bible tells me that God loved us so much that he sacrificed his own son for us. When I think of my children, this humbles me; This is truly a love beyond anything I can imagine. His grace and mercy are as vast as the oceans.

I imagine as He watches us (nothing goes unnoticed) His heart must break. His pain and heartbreak must be constant. We have imagined that we are somehow so incredibly important. As if WE run the show. We are thoughtless and unkind, we are opinionated, we are selfish, we are hypocrites and yes, that is a blanket statement that actually applies.

We are here for such a short minute; some do great things, most just do their best. We matter for a blink of an eye, to only a few. Just a few generations actually will know us or remember us. But God will remember us always. He is and was and always will be. Satan will seek to keep you from Him and he is deceptive.

Ecclesiastes say “to everything there is a purpose under heaven”. What if we sought to learn and gain wisdom from one another rather than fight ? What if we stopped looking outward and started to look inward. Just because many agree on a matter, doesn’t mean it’s a good thing.

Here is truth-and logic- when you have extreme positioning, the truth has been lost.
When I sit back and I think about what God says in Genesis, that he created us in his image, you have to pause and humble yourself for a minute and let that sink in.This means that all of us no matter our homeland, what we look like, whether we are born “different”, rich or poor, we were all made in his image. By design; In His own image.

I love my fellow mankind. I love those that have different beliefs than I. I love those that have different shades of skin tones. I love those that have different customs than I. I love those that hate and even those that hate while calling others hateful (they challenge me most). I can ONLY love when I lift my heart up to lightness rather than darkness. When I do that, everything is brighter, clearer, better.

We are the light-bearers or we should be. We are so blessed in this country. We have miles to go before we are perfect ( as individuals and as a collective whole) but that doesn’t mean we aren’t incredibly blessed. We have gotten so distracted by our discontent.

For me , I have divine peace and my hope is for heaven. When I get out of my way and allow God to press that on my heart, my whole world is bright and full of peace. Peace! We have to start with being quiet, being peaceful, start by inspiring hope in even one person.
If you want change: surrender and Do! In all due regards, Facebook posts do not change the world. Not this one – not any. We are just not that powerful.

This has been a draining year. We have our amazing season of hope and peace, Christmas.

Take time to pause, to consider, where does your peace come from. Find out what you truly believe in that and be that, from peace. When you know where your hope and peace come from, nothing in this world can change that. You become that.

I encourage you to find a cause: the vulnerable children adults and pets, poverty, immigrant needs, homelessness, sexual trafficking, addiction… whatever pulls your heart strings, and do that! You will become a better person, you will grow in ways you had no idea you could.

Let God break your heart for what breaks His heart and follow that call.Maybe we will stop breaking His heart so much. Maybe we truly can be the peacemakers, the peacekeepers.

““You are the light of the world—like a city on a hilltop that cannot be hidden. No one lights a lamp and then puts it under a basket. Instead, a lamp is placed on a stand, where it gives light to everyone in the house.”

‭‭Matthew‬ ‭5:14-15‬ ‭NLT‬‬

“The one who blesses others is abundantly blessed; those who help others are helped.” 

Proverbs‬ ‭11:25‬ ‭MSG‬‬

What Guilt Could Not Do

3 Apr

Why are you striving these days?
Why are you trying to earn grace?
Why are you crying?
Let me lift up your face, just don’t turn away

~Tenth Avenue North – By Your Side

Easter has always been my favorite time of year. It symbolizes the transformation from winter to spring, with the promise of summer. The days are longer, the sun shines brighter and the coats get put away.

I have always felt this newness to everything.

As I have grown in my faith, I realize that the hope and newness was exactly what Easter is about. I just didn’t quite grasp the full measure…yet.

My catholic upbringing made me aware of God and Jesus. I loved and accepted Jesus my whole life. But the religion of it clouded what He taught and what his death meant for me, what Grace was and that hope of salvation for me.

I learned guilt and shame in my faith walk. I learned that I was never going to be good enough for heaven and probably would just barely make purgatory. I couldn’t stop sinning. No matter how hard I tried to be perfect, I could not be. When I would be judged, it went very deep within my shame.

As I became a mother, I was keenly aware of God. He kept me safe and strong in times of need. I sought Him constantly. Trying so hard to find Him in my life. What I still did not understand was His love for me, His desire for me.

I was in awe of His creation and His Holiness, I just could never seem to connect the dots, to “get it”. I was trying so hard to be good, to be perfect, to earn my way. I worked so hard at being a “good person”, to be a “good christian”.

In the blink of an eye, everything came crashing down at once. I was humbled by the sheer loss of it all; Beautifully shattered.

From that place of humility and rawness, God slowly showed me what Grace was. He taught me so methodically, it is only in the hindsight that I see His plan unveiled.

What guilt could not do, complete failure and sorrow did. Suddenly, at the end of me, from my dark and hopeless place…I gave up on me; I quit. In that moment of I can’t do this anymore, there was nothing left. I had no fight, no pride, no ego, no hope left.
Finally, I was able to look up and be saved. I was the veil that stood between me and Grace.

In my moment of despair, I surrendered.

The peace that settled on my heart that day is the joy and light in me that people comment on all the time.

The lyrics to the song (above) remind me…Heaven has been won, not by me, but by Jesus. I can’t earn it.

Grace and Mercy are ours for the asking. Being saved is the beginning of a journey. Easter is now about new life, new hope. I am in awe of the sacrifice for me and how much He Loves me to suffer so greatly for me. When you truly surrender, you allow God to guide your life, transform your thoughts and you begin to see your purpose here and to love people from His eyes. The best feeling in the world is looking at you and loving the you He created.

His Mercy, His Love and His unending Grace…are ours for the asking.

If you want to know that love and grace…If you understand that you are a sinner and long to know hope…accept Him. Pray this prayer and ask Jesus into your heart.

“God, I know that I am a sinner. I know that I deserve the consequences of my sin. However, I am trusting in Jesus Christ as my Savior”.

Then let Him guide your heart. (A bible based church is so helpful and important in sustaining that journey)

This is what Paul said about religion vs. faith:

Galatians 2:17-21 MSG

17-18 Have some of you noticed that we are not yet perfect? (No great surprise, right?) And are you ready to make the accusation that since people like me, who go through Christ in order to get things right with God, aren’t perfectly virtuous, Christ must therefore be an accessory to sin? The accusation is frivolous. If I was “trying to be good,” I would be rebuilding the same old barn that I tore down. I would be acting as a charlatan.

19-21 What actually took place is this: I tried keeping rules and working my head off to please God, and it didn’t work. So I quit being a “law man” so that I could be God’s man. Christ’s life showed me how, and enabled me to do it. I identified myself completely with him. Indeed, I have been crucified with Christ. My ego is no longer central. It is no longer important that I appear righteous before you or have your good opinion, and I am no longer driven to impress God. Christ lives in me. The life you see me living is not “mine,” but it is lived by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. I am not going to go back on that.

Is it not clear to you that to go back to that old rule-keeping, peer-pleasing religion would be an abandonment of everything personal and free in my relationship with God? I refuse to do that, to repudiate God’s grace. If a living relationship with God could come by rule-keeping, then Christ died unnecessarily.

Amen.

More Than Love

29 Jan

Deciding whether to commit to or to end a relationship is a serious, but important question that anyone that has ever been in a relationship has to ask. This can be so difficult and honestly, requires many decisions, not just a broad question of do I love Him/Her.

Not asking the hard questions is not only irresponsible, it is dangerous. You may love someone, but commitment is far more than love. There are certain things to consider that may help in making the best decision.

When someone hurts us, we naturally want to share our hurt with someone but be choosy and think long and hard before you overshare your concerns with those that love you most. While you may get over what someone does, they may not. This can be unwise as it may slant any future decision making advice you may need from those that know you best.

A Pastor, a counselor, a couple you respect, with no emotional tie to you, would be a great place to start when seeking advise about concerns you may have, any fears or issues that may keep you from taking the next step towards or away from your partner.

Pray, Pray, Pray!

Do NOT skip this step. Talk to God. He is the most objective listener. Lay your heart and your future at His feet and sleep on it for a while. Give God your time. Spend time in the word. Pour your thoughts out to Him. Pray for discernment and wisdom, (HIS), then be quiet and allow Him to answer you. Do not be impatient. Let Him work on your heart or let him guide your wisdom. He will.

Take time to do your lists. Like prayer, do NOT skip this step.

First be general and just start writing down anything you love, like, dislike, or feel may be a red flag. Then rate them as a pro, con, good quality or area of concern.
Then, go deeper…Dig deep and be completely transparent and honest with yourself. Take everything into consideration. Does he/she bring positive or negative consequences or concerns in the areas of career, finances, faith, personality,are they positive or negative, if you are raising children, what are the concerns and consequences of behaviors or personalities with your children: How will this affect your lifestyle, your hobbies, community involvements, alone time. What are the potential lifestyle changes, will they add to or detract from your life. *note: do this when you are not upset, and not when you are high in love. Do this when you are able to truly be open and objective with yourself.

You should have a clear idea forming of what your concerns are and what you can let go of. I feel I must clarify this here. If you have been in abusive or unhealthy relationships in the past, take your list to a professional. Make sure you are not making choices out of habit, overlooking or not ranking a red flag, a red flag. Sadly, when we make those mistakes over and over, we have to take the bull by the horn and seek a professional to advocate for us until we are strong and sure of our own ability to advocate for ourselves.

Where there are behaviors that are red flags, and you choose to move forward, then you must write out clear and concise rules of engagement, a clear boundary of behavior that is acceptable and behavior that is not and concise consequences for behavior that is not healthy.

Behaviors that suggest a need for a clear and defined boundary/consequence are abuse of any kind, cheating, drugs,alcohol, gambling, porn. Set the boundary, and if they cannot abide by the contract, you cannot overlook or make exceptions. You must decide to end the relationship and put that in writing as the consequence. Then you BOTH need to abide by the rules.

Finally, Let go of what doesn’t matter. The best part about making a deep list is that you seek wisdom, discernment, with open and objective analysis. Make a logical decision that just may go against your emotion or your feelings for someone. If you find the good far outweighs the bad, then you have your answer. If you find the bad outweighs the good, then you have your answer. If you find it is somewhere in between, you have to explore, ask questions, set boundaries and seek help to make your decision.

Love is not enough and love will not sustain a poorly thought out, bad relationship. The level of success in your relationships depends greatly on your willingness to be honest and thoughtful about who you choose to commit yourself to.

Till Death Is A Very Long Time

6 Jan

I have found the one whom my soul loves. Solomon 3:4

There are many ways in life that God will use to guide us, to direct our steps. He will show His desire for our lives and even speak to us in a nudge or thought.

When we spend time in our prayer life, asking God to direct our steps, when we submit our longing and the outcome to each obedient step, the road will be full of God-incidences or shall I say, confirmation that God’s will is being done. He is evident.

Being prayerful and spending time in scripture, there is a connection to the Almighty, MOST of the time, that sort of just supernaturally guides our steps, with scriptural confirmation of the truth. There are times we are left alone, to strengthen our faith, to learn some tools we will need.

But God…God always remains near, even when He is quiet.

When it comes to our journey, but more specifically, relationship(s), present or future, God has spoken. There are scriptural answers to our lives. I find myself prayerfully asking God, is my relationship Your plan for my life, is this the one You intend for me?
Scripturally, He has spelled out His plan in that area. He says, He is more than enough for me. He is the husband to my singleness. He is my provider. God doesn’t need me to marry. He said it wasn’t good for Adam to be alone, but also shows us He is near to the broken hearted.

What I have shared with the Holy Spirit, in my singleness,proved His promise and His provision. He fulfilled my desire for my helpmate, my companion, my leader, my guide. So, no. God didn’t bring you a spouse, a soul mate.

What Scripture will tell you, if you cant remain pure, it is better to marry; to remain Holy. If I am choosing to become part of a relationship, then yes, marriage should best be the focus of that journey. Sin is too great a risk. When we choose to date, we begin a bit of a self-fulfilling path.

God will not remove someone we keep close at hand, He will allow us our free will. He also would never tell us to marry someone. This is why we need to be wise. We need to seek His wisdom for our decisions.

If whom we marry is our own free will, our own choice, you must realize you alone are choosing. Choose wisely, as this person will become a part of your journey with God.

Choose wisely with careful consideration.

Guard your heart and mind.

When you choose to begin to date, be very cautious. Move ever so slowly. Don’t marry too quickly. Seek to know a person. Women, do not submit to man that is not your husband. You have The Father to be obedient to. Let that man find you there.

As your relationship grows, it is imperative to keep God at the center. It is with God that you will remain strong in determining whom is fit to journey with you. God at the center will allow you to walk away from a love that will detract from your relationship with Christ, not lift it higher. Never fear being alone. God is enough. He always has been. Fulfillment comes from us reciprocating that relationship.

Being alone can be awful at times, do not let loneliness drive you or love can become your idol. God is enough.

Love is a verb. God wants us, equips us, instructs us and encourages us to love others. Not self-seeking but to give, not to just one to but to all.

First and foremost, be equally yoked. Choose a Christian.

Without that shared belief, your marriage will struggle for success.

Keep your eyes wide open for yellow or red-flags: Does your potential spouse have an anger issue, do they lie, do they drink too much, spend money too freely,too frugal, are they controlling or gamble, do they pray with you, do they leave you wanting, do they lift you or bring you down?

Always remember, we will never change anyone. God will never change someone for us. He will pursue them, but He won’t perform magic acts. If someone is giving you pause now, this will not get better with marriage. Your prayer for them will not change them, it may inspire them to change but it will not change them.

Listen to that wisdom in your gut, that is the truth, that is God. Don’t ask God to show you or to nudge you in the right direction. What you are needing is wisdom, you need to seek the wisdom of scripture, of what God has laid out for your journey.

Seek God for strength to follow His leadings, to listen to His wisdom, to not fear being alone. Stay close to Him.

Spend time in prayer and in the Word.

Sometimes we know the truth, yet, because we love, we cling to “signs” that we are convinced God is giving us, the signs that He wants us to move forward. What God won’t do, is tell you whom to marry. He will tell you HOW to be married, but He won’t tell you.. “this is the one”.

Contrary to what people will say,aside from the sin of premarital sex, there is great wisdom of remaining pure in a relationship. Without purity, you attach. With attachment comes double thinking. The longing of your heart for this relationship to align your heart with God will make you do all sorts of manipulations to make it look “right”. We will convince ourselves, this relationship is right for us. First though we have to ignore the concerns and simply just focus on the love. When you are not pure, it isn’t the sin that separates you, it is the result that separates you. You cloud the path with mixed desire. You will overlook red flags, for the sake of not losing the love.

God has many beautiful things in store for our lives. Some may include what we seek here, some may not, but the promise for the future is amazing.

Pray, seek biblical truth, trust your instincts, be brave, surround yourself with wise people, and talk to God. All the time.

Forever is a very long time to spend with someone. God will not and has not told you this is the one. You are telling God, this is the one my heart loves… and you lay it at the Cross and ask Him to bless your choice. There is a very big difference.

“Now to the unmarried and the widows I say: It is good for them to stay unmarried, as I do. But if they cannot control themselves, they should marry, for it is better to marry than to burn with passion.”I Corinthians 7:8-9

“You will be called Sought After.” Isaiah 62:12

“You are precious and honored in my sight.” Isaiah 43:4

“See, I have engraved you on the palms of my hands.” Isaiah 49:16

“Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.I Corinthians 13:4-7

Billboard Dream

2 Jan

Resolution One: I will live for God. Resolution Two: If no one else does, I still will. ~Jonathan Edwards

When you look forward to the New Year, know that I am here in this minute. When you set your sights on your goals,you move about your life without Me. Instead, bring to Me in prayerful submission, all your hearts desires. Write them and leave them. Lay your dreams at My feet with reverence for all I Am. Trust Me with a heart that is grateful for all that you have, all you have endured and all you are enduring, because I am here. Feel my Holy Presence in all you do;Let that calm you and give you hope. Look forward to My blessings, because I long to shower you with many. You are My precious child. You are bought and paid for at such a great price because I love you. See your value, that I pursued You. You are My beloved, an heiress to the richest of blessings, beyond anything you can imagine, accept that and because of that: Be wise, be frugal, be content, be kind, be patient, be prayerful, but most of all, be aware of Me in all you do.

Prayer
Matthew 7:7-8(NIV)
Ask, Seek, Knock
7 “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. 8 For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened.
Philippians 4:6(NIV)
6 Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.
Romans 8:26(NIV)
26 In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans.
Romans 8:26(AMP)
26 So too the [Holy] Spirit comes to our aid and bears us up in our weakness; for we do not know what prayer to offer nor how to offer it worthily as we ought, but the Spirit Himself goes to meet our supplication and pleads in our behalf with unspeakable yearnings and groanings too deep for utterance.

Psalm 37:5(MSG)
5-6
Open up before God, keep nothing back;
 he’ll do whatever needs to be done:
He’ll validate your life in the clear light of day
 and stamp you with approval at high noon.

Philippians 4:6(AMP)
6 Do not fret or have any anxiety about anything, but in every circumstance and in everything, by prayer and petition ([a]definite requests), with thanksgiving, continue to make your wants known to God.

Matthew 7:7-8(AMP)
7 [a]Keep on asking and it will be given you; [b] keep on seeking and you will find; [c]keep on knocking [reverently] and [the door] will be opened to you. 8 For everyone who keeps on asking receives; and he who keeps on seeking finds; and to him who keeps on knocking, [the door] will be opened.

Understanding your Inheritance and His Promise
Psalm 18:30(NIV)
30 As for God, his way is perfect:
The Lord’s word is flawless;
he shields all who take refuge in him.

Matthew 7:11(NIV)
11 If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him!

Psalm 54:4(NIV)
4 Surely God is my help; the Lord is the one who sustains me.

Psalm 16:6(NIV)
6 The boundary lines have fallen for me in pleasant places;
surely I have a delightful inheritance.

Endurance, Hope, and Trust
Isaiah 26:4(NIV)
4 Trust in the Lord forever,
 for the Lord, the Lord himself, is the Rock eternal.

Psalm 54:4(NIV)
4 Surely God is my help; the Lord is the one who sustains me.

Psalm 118:8(NIV)
8 It is better to take refuge in the Lord than to trust in humans.

Psalm 37:5(NIV)
5 Commit your way to the Lord;
trust in him and he will do this:

Psalm 62:8(NIV)
8 Trust in him at all times, you people; pour out your hearts to him,
for God is our refuge.

Gratitude:
Hebrews 13:5(NIV)
5 Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have, because God has said,“Never will I leave you;
 never will I forsake you.”

Hebrews 13:5(MSG)
5-6 Don’t be obsessed with getting more material things. Be relaxed with what you have. Since God assured us, “I’ll never let you down, never walk off and leave you,” we can boldly quote,
God is there, ready to help;
I’m fearless no matter what.
Who or what can get to me?

Colossians 3:23-24(NIV)
23 Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters, 24 since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving.

If this is to be a Happy New Year, a year of usefulness, a year in which we shall live to make this earth better, it is because God will direct our pathway. How important then, to feel our dependence upon Him! ~Matthew Simpson