Help! My Prayer Life Is Stuck!

Prayer Life

Is There Trouble with Your Prayer Life?

Ever have times when your prayer life was stuck? I know that I have felt this way more often than I would like to admit. There is a dear friend of mine whose prayer life seems dry. Hence, I thought I would write some words of encouragement about this problem.

First, this is often an attack because Satan wants me to be ineffective. And the best way to do this is to keep me from praying. Prayer is vital to the health of a believer. When I stop communicating with my heavenly Father, there becomes a problem in the relationship. The same thing happens when I fail to keep in touch with my parents and/or friends.

My heavenly Father desires a love relationship with me. 1 Peter 5:6-8 clearly states that He cares for me and wants me to cast all my cares on Him. How can I cast my cares on Him if I am not praying? I need to be in communion with Him for His steadfast loves will never fail me.

Furthermore, when God feels far away, it is I who have moved. For God is constant and never-changing. His love for me is too vast to fully comprehend. In life, there have been many let downs by others or betrayals that can make it hard to accept God’s amazing love. But He is faithful and will accept me time and time again if only I turn to Him. His love is like none other.

Here’s Help to Get Unstuck!

Therefore, let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need. Even when we don’t feel like praying, just offer up a simple prayer. Ask a friend to pray with/for you. Iron sharpens iron. Use scripture as a basis for your plea.  The Psalms are a good place for petitions. I especially like Psalm 16.

Psalm 16

Preserve me, O God, for in you I take refuge.
I say to the Lord, “You are my Lord;
I have no good apart from you.”

The Lord is my chosen portion and my cup;
you hold my lot.
The lines have fallen for me in pleasant places;
indeed, I have a beautiful inheritance.

I bless the Lord who gives me counsel;
in the night also my heart instructs me.
I have set the Lord always before me;
because he is at my right hand, I shall not be shaken.

 

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Tell of The Goodness of the Lord!

Tell, Remember, Declare, Ascribe

Tell, Remember, Declare, and Ascribe!

I started reading 1 Chronicles 16:8-36 today. King David sang a song of thanks in which he gives many directions to give God glory. First instruction, I read is to tell of all His wondrous works! Second, remember the wondrous works that He has done. Third and fourth, I am reminded to tell of His salvation from day to day and declare His glory among the nations. The fifth is to ascribe to the Lord glory due His name. Last but not least is to give Him thanks.

So here, I will tell of the wondrous works of the Lord. And why not? For the Lord is good and worthy to be praised. God has restored broken relationships in my life. He gives me strength when I am weak and grace when I need it. He gives me wisdom when I ask. I will declare His glory to the world.

In remembering, I find hope when times are rough. When I remember the times that God has carried me through many hardships, I know that He is faithful to see me through another one. When I am in need I remember the times that God supplied all my needs and He will do so again. Take time to remember what God has done in your life.

I am instructed to tell of His salvation from day to day! Oops, I have dropped the ball on this one. I had better get back to telling of His salvation. Jesus is the way, the truth, and the life.

Furthermore, I am to ascribe. Ascribe? What does this mean? To ascribe means to credit or assign, as to a cause or source; attribute; impute. Therefore, I am to credit or assign glory to God. I cannot ascribe it to myself.

Finally, I give thanks to God for He is good and His steadfast love endure forever!

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Encouragement: What does it mean?

Words of Encouragement

We often hear the word encouragement several times from our Pastors and teachers of the Bible. So what does it mean? Encouragement is the act of inspiring courage, spirit, or confidence. The apostle Paul was a great example of an encourager. In the book of Philemon, for example, Paul inspired courage in Philemon to receive Onesimus as he would Paul.

When Paul appealed to Philemon, Paul spoke to him as a beloved friend and told Philemon that Philmon’s love and faith toward Jesus and others warmed his heart. I hope that I am thought of this way by others who know me. I want to be able to recognize these qualities in others. Paul also had great faith in Philemon that he would do the right thing when it came to accepting Onesimus’ return. Onesimus had a great friend in Paul.

Another thing, Paul was tactful in his approach to Philemon. He was not demanding of Philemon to release Onesimus. He inspired courage in Philemon to rise above the cultural norms. After all, there were others in the area that would see how Philemon treated a fellow believer who was once his slave.  Paul was also hoping to visit with him once he was freed.

Moreover, what I have learned from reading Philemon is that I am to be one that will speak words of encouragement to anyone in need. I am also to speak tactfully when speaking on the behalf of someone. Kind and thoughtful words will go further than harsh and demanding ones. Before I speak, I hope that I would stop and pray asking the Lord for the right words.

I thank my God for you when I remember you in my prayers because I hear of your love and of the faith you have towards the Lord Jesus and for all the saints. Philemon 4-5

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Culturally Disobedient In Today’s World

Culturally Disobedient

A Call to Be Culturally Disobedient

The time is now for all Christians to stand and to take a stand. If we say that we are Christians then our lives out to show it. Yet, in today’s world society wants Christians to shut up and sit down. Take action and be culturally disobedient.

What is Cultural Disobedience? It is to resist the culture when it tries to soften the Christian faith. Therefore, one should not be afraid to act as a Christian is called to act in all areas of one’s life. For example, to pray in public, speaking up when Christianity is belittled, and not letting the society dictate how you are to live out your faith.

What Does It Look Like?

One of my favorite sayings is if it walks like a duck and quacks like a duck then it must be a duck. Therefore, if I say that I am a Christian then my life should reflect it regardless of what society would have me do. How I treat others ought to reflect Jesus in my life by my compassion and generosity. When I say a prayer of thanks for my meal out it is because I am grateful. It is wrong of me to refrain from doing so because of what others might think. Yet, my attitude should be in check also. I desire to be humble in my attitude not to think of myself as better than others.

Another way that I can be culturally disobedient is speaking up when someone speaks against Christianity. I am to be prepared to give an answer for the hope that is in me according to 1 Peter 3:15. If I acknowledge Jesus before men, He will acknowledge me before His Father in Heaven. I can trust that God will give me the words to say. He can also help me to be able to do so in truth and in love.

Then again, we as Christians have allowed the world to dictate to us as to how we can or cannot live out our faith. Yet, we are called to be influencers and not to be influenced by the world. Let our actions speak louder than our words. Be Jesus with skin on to a hurting world. Thus, we can begin to truly influence the world for Jesus.

Summary

All things considered, I hope to live out my faith in a manner that is pleasing to God and draws others to Jesus. I pray that you will also be encouraged to do likewise.

Hope is Found in Jesus!

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The Good Life is Found in Jesus!

Good life

The Good Life!

In church on Sunday, July 31,2016, the title of the sermon was “The Good Life.” The scripture for the message came from Ecclesiastes 2: 2; 12-14; 2:18-20. Yet, the message was not only in the sermon but also in the hymns that we sang.

Our opening hymn was “Speak, O Lord,” which we learned sometime last year. I, especially like, the first verse of this hymn. The melody is rich and beautiful. Here is the first verse.

Speak, O Lord, as we come to You
To receive the food of your holy word.
Take Your truth, plant it deep in us;
Shape and fashion us in Your likeness,
That the light of Christ might be seen today
In our acts of love and our deeds of faith.
Speak, O Lord, and fulfill in us
All Your purposes, for Your glory
.

In this verse, I find, in order, to experience the good life, I need God’s truth planted deep inside me.  If I allow God to use His word to shape and fashion me into the likeness of Christ, my acts of love and my deeds of faith will be for His glory. Certainly, God alone has the power to fulfill His purpose in me.

The second hymn that spoke to the message was “What Is the World to Me.” This hymn tells of the importance Jesus is to me. From verse 1, I read that Jesus alone is my treasure and my soul’s delight. Jesus is what I truly prize above all things in the second verse. Though the world seeks after wealth and is never satisfied, I am content because my Jesus is my wealth in the third. Therefore, Jesus is my all in all; what is the world to me.

The Message

Furthermore, the sermon spoke of chasing after wealth and things apart from God is vanity. It is unjust to toil and labor and then to leave it behind to those who did not toil for it. Yet, Jesus gave it all away for us. One cannot find the good life apart from Him.

Overall, The service left me wanting more of Jesus and my worship was richly blessed. Hence, I shall seek Him first.

Related Link Hope is Found in Jesus

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Conversation Between Jesus & Samaritan Woman

Conversation

Let’s Explore One Conversation Jesus Had.

Let’s explore the conversation Jesus had with the Samaritan woman at the well in John chapter 4. But first let’s take a look at history between Samaria and Judea at the time of Christ. It is important to understand the conflict between the two groups of people.

Samaritans were a blend of Israelites left behind when Israel was exiled by the King of Assyria circa 722 B.C. and Assyrians that the King sent into the area. (2 kings 17). They believed in the God of Israel, acknowledged Moses as His prophet, and accepted the Pentateuch as scripture. They, however, did not accept the any Old Testament writings beyond the Pentateuch as canonical. The Samaritans considered the Judeans to be apostates following the sanctuary leaving Shechem. They worshiped God on Mount Gerizim and not in Jerusalem. They, too, were looking for a Messiah to come.

Similarly, the Judeans considered the Samaritans to be apostates. They opposed the Samaritans because of the intermarriage with the Assyrians. The Judeans considered them to be idolaters because intermarriage merged idol worship with the worship of Yahweh. The Samaritans had also caused trouble when the Jews were seeking to reestablish themselves and their temple (Ezra 4).  Therefore, there was a great deal of tension between Judea and Samaria even in the time of Jesus’ ministry.

The Samaritan Woman at the Well

Being that Samaria was to the south of Galilee and north of Judea, Jesus had to go through Samaria to get to Jerusalem. Typically, Jews avoided going through Samaria when traveling between Galilee and Judea. Yet, Jesus did not. He purposefully traveled to Samaria. He stopped at a well about the noon hour and waited.

As a woman came to the well to draw water, Jesus intentionally drew her into a conversation with Him by asking her for a drink. He was well aware of the fact that Jews did not associate with Samaritans yet alone a woman. This is where Jesus first got my attention. He set aside social norms to reach out to her and those living in Samaria. For the custom was that a Jew was considered unclean if he used a drinking vessel handled by a Samaritan. Still Jesus asked her for a drink.

In addition, Jesus continues His conversation with her in spite of all the social customs. He tells her of living water yet one can tell that she is focused on the physical whereas Jesus is speaking spiritually. She questions his ability to draw water and if He is greater than Jacob. The woman is obviously without a clue as to whom she is conversing with.

Therefore, Jesus takes it one step further by revealing to her sin. He does not do it blatantly. He asks her to call her husband and thus she points it out that she does not have a husband. Then Jesus gently makes her see that He knows everything about her. This is what broke through to her heart. It was being known by Him. Therefore, she went to draw others to Him.

What I Have Learned from this Conversation

Jesus was not held sway by social norms. He reached across them to bring His message of salvation. I need to think like Jesus and not be held to the customs of this world. Jesus wants me to think outside the box. Like the woman at the well, I, too, can get focused on the wrong thing and not see with the eyes of Jesus. I want to draw others to Jesus who knows me better than I know myself.

I pray: Dear Lord Jesus, help me to see the world as You do. Cause me to brave the social barriers and reach out to bring the good news to others that need You. Amen.

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Relationship with Christ? Truth and Meaning!

Relationship

What Does It Mean to Have a Relationship with Christ?

I have a dear friend of mine who wants to know more about what it means to have a relationship with Christ. I think that a key word here is being in rather than having one. First, let’s look at the word relationship and its definition.

One definition of relationship is a connection, association, or involvement.

How does one have or make a connection or association with Christ? I would say much like it would be with anyone else. It takes time and effort in getting to know Him. This is different for each person because God has wired each person differently. It will also take some thinking outside the box, too, because people can get caught up in “doing” and not in being in a relationship. For example, if you are inclined towards ‘getting it right,’ you might get caught up in going through the motions of a scheduled quiet time. Yet, God wants you to focus on Him. Step outside of your routine, go outside and talk to Him as you would a friend and journal your thought and prayers. With Christ there is no right way to have a relationship. Draw near to Him and He will draw near to you.

Another definition of relationship is an emotional or other connection between people.

How does one make an emotional connection to Christ? This comes through spending time in His word and reading His love letter to you. Here again, it is different for each person. For the individual who is drawn to ‘getting it right’ the gospel of Matthew is a good starting point. I believe that reading through the Proverbs is also helpful. Memorizing verses that speak of His great love for us is a good practice. After all, there is nothing one can do to add or take away from God’s love for us. God accepts as He created us and sent Jesus to die while we were still sinners. Therefore, we don’t have to ‘get it right.’ Jesus already did that for us. We have a right standing before God.

So to my friend, I will say, do a new thing and begin to journal your thoughts and prayers with Him. Choose a new place to spend time alone with Him and read His love letter to you. Ask Him to speak directly to your heart how much He loves you. Tell Him that you want a deeper relationship with Him and then be amazed at what He does.

Here are some key verses that speak on drawing near to God/Christ. Hebrews 7:24-26, 11:5-7; James 4:7-9

Related link. Letter to My Beloved.

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Letter to My Beloved from God the Father

God’s Letter to His Beloved.

I have a dear friend who struggles to find her worth in what she does. I have tried to tell her that her worth does not come from what she does but from whom she belongs to as a believer in Christ. And her value also comes from His great love for her. Therefore, God has put it on my heart comprise His love letter to my friend and anyone else who struggles as a believer to find their self worth in what they do. There are several verses that I have found that to comprise this letter.

This is how I imagine God would write His letter to her.

Love LetterMy Dearest Child,

You are my beloved and chosen. I gave My Son, Jesus, because I love you so much that I would rather die than live without you. You are mine through the blood of My Son and I rejoice over you with singing. I love you with an everlasting love therefore I have drawn you to Me.

Yet, I have loved you even while in you were still in your sins thus I sent My Son to die in your place that you may have life more abundantly and have everlasting life. It is a free gift of faith to you. You cannot earn it. Though I, being rich in mercy and great love, have done this for you. Therefore, I now call you My child. Relax, let go, and know that I am God.  Furthermore, there is nothing that you can do to add or take away from my great love for you. My love for you will never fade or die away. 

Hence, you don’t have to prove yourself and stop trying to be someone else. Be who I created you to be. Just breathe!

Come and abide in me. You are loved.

Signed, God, the Father

(Zephaniah 3:17: Jeremiah 31:3; Psalm 46:10; John 3:16; Colossians 3:12; Ephesians 2:4-5, 1 John 3:1, 4:9,16)

Check this post regarding God’s Message Back to Me.

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When I am Troubled I Turn My Eyes To Jesus

There is No Better Place to Turn My Eyes

My dear mom reminded me to turn my eyes to Jesus today. Through the past weekend and into Monday, I was greatly troubled with negative and disturbing thoughts. I was one step away from seeking help on a professional level. There were a couple of my go to verses that helped me. Isaiah 26:3, You keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on You, because he trusts in You (ESV). Here I am told that God will keep me in perfect peace when my mind is stayed on Him because I trust Him.

James 4:7, Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. In the Amplified , it reads that So submit to [the authority of] God. Resist the devil [stand firm against him] and he will flee from you (AMP). By first keeping my mind on God then I am to submit to His authority and stand against the devil and he will flee.

Eyes to Jesus

My mom told me that when she is troubled with such thoughts she sings Turn Your Eye Upon Jesus and she reads the 23rd Psalm. This is reassuring because when I do turn my eyes on Jesus my thoughts are restored and my strength is renewed. I do have to admit though that turning to Jesus was not my first reaction to what troubled me. I began to look elsewhere for help.

Forgive me, Heavenly Father for not first turning to You.

Thanks be to God that He does not fail and I have had another opportunity to experience His divine grace and renewed thinking. After all, God’s grace is sufficient for me just as it was for the Apostle Paul in 2 Corinthians 12:9. Jesus is the author and perfecter of my faith. Committing scripture to memory has helped me to renew my mind and to focus on Jesus. To God be the glory!

How has turning your eyes to Jesus helped you?

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Count It All Joy When Facing Trials!

Joy

Joy in All of My Trials, Seriously?

My Conversation with God

 I am not sure about this, God. Let me get this right. You want me to count it as joy when I meet trials of various kinds. This remains a mystery to me. I don’t think it means to be happy about the trials but to be joyful in that the trials serve a purpose, right? Forgive me when I forget to count it as joy and I whine about it instead. Reading a bit further, I see that the trials that I face aim to perfect my faith to be complete and lacking nothing. Lord, help me to see things in a different light and come to understand Your mercy and grace. After all, Your word tells me that You discipline those You love. You also tell me that pruning is necessary. I must admit that I am not so welcoming of the pruning, however, knowing You more I know that You can be trusted. It is well with my soul when I surrender to Your good, pleasing, and perfect will. Lord God, hear my plea that I will do my best to consider it joy as trials come my way. Alleluia, Amen. 
James 1:2-3 is the scripture reference. Trials serve a purpose to smooth out the rough edges in us and grow us to be more like Jesus. God does have my best interest in mind and will not give me more than I can handle. He will enable me to withstand the toughest of trials. The testing of my faith produces steadfastness. Therefore, with God’s help I will strive to count it joy in the face of my trails. His grace is sufficient.
There is a hymn that comes to my mind, It Is Well With My Soul.
Related Link: God’s Message Back
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