Are You Praying?

A friend of mine recently gave me a wonderful book on prayer. When I first picked it up, I scanned the table of contents. I saw chapters referring to sin and prayerlessness. This seemed intriguing, so I kept reading. Since I have written the foreword to my books and experienced how difficult this can be, I make it a point to read them in books. I’m so glad I read this one because it truly set the tone for the whole book. If you would like the name of the book, please let me know and I’ll be glad to refer you.
God has been dealing with a few things within me for a while now. I have begun digging into His Word more than ever before. I am journaling, which is a GREAT tool for me. Not only does it allow me to decompress at the end of the day, it also allows me a wonderful time with the Lord, giving thanks and pouring out my heart to Him. In a way, it’s my additional prayer and thanksgiving time, aside from studying and praying. If you have thought about journaling but have never gone through with it, I encourage you to start today. Just reach over, grab a pen and a piece of paper and start writing. It’s truly that simple.
How much time do you spend in prayer with God? Would you say you spend at least an hour each day? How about 30 minutes? 15 minutes maybe? 5 minutes?
As believers, we have access to the Holy Spirit within us. Many of us fail to activate it. Sad isn’t it? God is disappointed when we don’t come to Him. It saddens Him. He longs for us to want to spend time with Him. That’s why He created us. He didn’t need us. He wants a relationship with us. When we spend 5 minutes a day, or fifteen minutes a day, we are basically saying we don’t have time for Him. I mean, if we are truthful about it, we spend way more than 15 minutes a day watching tv, texting, playing games on our phones or a hobby we enjoy. Many of us pray every day but we are not truly spending time with Him. We tell Him all we think we need, or want. We ask Him for things and then end it. That’s not a relationship. That’s being spoiled, isn’t it?
If you are not praying every day, deepening your relationship with Christ, is that showing how much you still live in the flesh every day and not in the Spirit? You have a choice, as a Christian. You can either live in the flesh or in the Spirit. These two cannot go together. We tend to think we can accept Christ, be filled with the Holy Spirit and then continue to live as the world lives and expect God to be OK with it. Check out Galatians, specifically 3:1-3. Ouch, right? When you live in the flesh, you are impacting your service to God. This leads to a bad place.
Are you part of a church that seems stagnant? Is prayer an important part of the people in the church or is it just something the Pastor does at the beginning and end of service? Are folks in your church family praying for one another? I mean truly praying for one another, not just saying they will pray. You will experience miracles when folks pray for one another.
Satan knows that he can influence your impact to God’s kingdom if he can keep you from praying, activating the Holy Spirit. He can’t read your mind, so he watches you and does things to keep you from praying. Have you ever been praying and your mind wanders off? Have you tried praying and you are met with one distraction after another? I mean, you can do all things through Christ who strengthens you. You can bet satan knows what will effectively render you useless for God and wants to keep you from overcoming it. You may have been praying about something for a long time and you begin to have doubt or unbelief that God will answer you. You may begin feeling hopeless. That’s exactly where satan wants you. Don’t let him win. Call on the power of the Holy Spirit. Ask God to change your unbelief into belief. Ask God to change your “want to”. Brothers and Sisters in Christ, I want all of us to experience the power of God that is inside each of us. Let’s not settle for living or surviving. Let’s call on the power of Jesus to give us the abundant life that God so wants each of us to have on this earth. To help each of us, myself included, I have listed a few steps each of us can begin taking today. Let’s do this with God!
Grab a pen and paper and start journaling – thank God for his blessings and faithfulness to you.
Ask God to give you time in your day so He can be your priority. Be obedient when He is faithful.
Ask God to change your “want to” so He can be your priority. Be obedient when He is faithful.
Pray for at least one person at this very moment. What miracle would you like to see God perform so you can tell others of His awesomeness?
Call on the Holy Spirit to reveal areas you need His help with so He can be glorified. Embrace them when He is faithful.

Are You Resolved?

Have you made your resolutions for this year? Isaiah 43:19 is our focus today but let’s back up to verse 18. Take a moment to read those two verses. Verse 19 is the scripture I chose for the scripture memory challenge I am beginning this year. These verses remind me to not dwell on my past. God is ready to “do” something new and something even better than He’s already done in your life. “Do” in this instance means an activity with a purpose. God can do something better than He has done for you in the past. If you have accepted Christ as your Savior, He is longing to do something greater for you today. Will you allow Him? Have you resolved to allow God to change your life? If what you have been doing on your own hasn’t been working, why not try something new? As for me, I’m choosing to get out of the boat and trust the Lord to keep me afloat while He does great things in and through me. I don’t know what He will ask me to do, but I trust Him.
If you have not accepted Christ, I hope you will check out John 1:43-51. If this scripture spoke to you, I hope you will take a moment to have a talk with Jesus. That might sound scary, but it’s really not. Just close your eyes and begin to talk to Him. Tell Him what’s on your mind. Tell Him how you are feeling today. He will be faithful. He loves you. He will meet you right where you are. If what you have been doing on your own hasn’t been working, why not try something new?
o Begin a conversation with God, telling Him how you feel.
o Listen to God as He speaks to you.
o Commit to God you will take the first step He is asking you to take.

Mega Size It!

Have you ever attended a large ‘mega church’? The guy delivering the message is great at speaking. Some might call this person a great motivational speaker. You might even hear folks say things like “Wow, he’s very inspiring!” You also notice the music is done by professionals and you feel like you’re at a concert rather than church? The stage has great lighting, great flowers and trees. It’s very pleasing to the eye? I’m really not knocking mega churches because I believe they have a purpose. They get people into church that wouldn’t ordinarily venture inside. Once they are inside, God begins to work in them. God is great at taking situations and bringing good out of them. He’s not interested in everything being perfect, although, we should offer our best to Him.
We are called to worship in Spirit and in truth. In John 4, Jesus is talking to the woman at the well.
John 4:21 – 24 “Woman,” Jesus replied, “believe me, a time is coming when you will worship the Father neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem. You Samaritans worship what you do not know; we worship what we do know, for salvation is from the Jews. Yet a time is coming and has now come when the true worshipers will worship the Father in the Spirit and in truth, for they are the kind of worshipers the Father seeks. God is spirit, and his worshipers must worship in the Spirit and in truth.”
We tend to look at people worshipping from the outside. Some sit because other sit. Some stand because others stand. Some raise their hands. Some sing the same songs just because that’s how it’s always been done in their church. God looks at our hearts. He wants each of us to worship Him from our heart. As believers, we have the Spirit within us. That’s what allows us to worship in Spirit, as we surrender our hearts to God.
Hebrews 10:16 says “This is the covenant I will make with them after that time, says the Lord.
I will put my laws in their hearts, and I will write them on their minds.”
To worship in Spirit and in Truth, we must worship through Christ. Christ is Truth – the Bible says in John 14:6 – “Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.”
Worship that is Christ-centered is true worship. Worship that comes from your heart, filled with Jesus is true worship.
Worship is our response to Who God is in our lives and what He has done for us through His Son. God doesn’t care if the church building is shiny and new with all the conveniences you could ever hope for. He is interested in a surrendered heart.
All of this is possible through the grace of God. Grace is extended to us because of His love for us. God is love and His love never changes. This Sunday, start a new beginning with your worship time. Align your heart with God, surrender your heart to God and express your thankfulness to Him. The Holy Spirit will invite you to worship in Spirit and truth. Accept that invitation and do as the Spirit leads you.

Happy Birthday Jesus!

Are you ready to celebrate?
Are you ready for a party?
Do you have a gift?
Take a few minutes to read through Matthew 1:18-25. This was foretold in Isaiah 7:14, so you might want to go check that out too.
Being pledged in those days meant the families agreed to the union and they made a public announcement. It’s sort of like our engagements today, only it was more binding. Being with a child before you were married, especially not from the one whom you were pledged, was serious business. Mary could have been divorced, and worse, she could have been stoned to death. I’m sure glad Joseph listened to the Lord and stayed with Mary, aren’t you? Jesus’ birth was free from sinful nature, while still human. Jesus is both man and divine. Why is this so important? So He could come into the world without sin, and be with us. He knows our hard times. He knows sadness. He knows happiness. He can save you from eternal separation from God. He can give you peace in the midst of a difficult time or situation. He is offering you the gift of salvation. Will you accept it? Your heart and life could be your gift to Him this Christmas, or should I say for His birthday. Your worship blesses God.
Are you ready for a celebration?
Are you ready for a party?
Will you give your gift to Jesus?
Happy Birthday, Jesus!

Prepare For the Good News

Our hope is in God and in his son Jesus Christ. Our peace is found when we trust in Him.
John 14:27 says Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.

We were created with a void that only God can fill with his peaceful presence. Think of peace as Jesus’ gift to you for His birthday, this Christmas season. It’s someone else’s birthday celebration and YOU get the gift. Not a bad deal is it? It sounds pretty easy in fact. If it’s so easy, why is it so hard to do? Oh that’s right. We still live in the fallen world on this side of eternity.

If you have accepted the gift of peace that passes all understanding, and you have felt grace poured out to you, have you shared the good news with anyone so they too can have hope? God gives us these things along the way in our lives to help prepare us to share with others.

Are you preparing for the Good News? Remember that without Christmas, we wouldn’t have Easter.

God Is Beautiful

On this first Sunday of advent, we are reminded of the coming of Jesus into the world. This is when we turn our focus on the real meaning of Christmas.

God can take all our blemishes and make us beautiful.

God can take all our sins and make us beautiful.

God can take what’s rotten in us and make us beautiful.

God can work all things for His glory for all who believe in Him and follow His ways.

Will you accept God’s gift of eternal life this Christmas season? You can do NOTHING to earn it – it’s a gift.

Matthew 1:23-25 tells of the conception of Jesus.

If you have received God’s great gift of Jesus, will you share Him with others this season?

Are you thinking you want to share the great news of Jesus with others but feel like you “can’t”? I encourage you to read these two passages to begin your journey with God this Christmas season. Oh what joy shall fill my heart!

Philippians 2:13
Philippians 4:13

So He Can Be Glorified

Wow, it’s been a while since I last sat down to write you and I’ve missed it so much!

When you think about your life today, would you say it is good? Would you say it is bad? How about indifferent? Maybe think back this past week or month. Think back over this past year. How would you describe it now? Now think back to when you were born. If you’re like me, you don’t remember that day even though you were there. J We don’t remember it, but it was an awesome day! God formed you and me in His likeness. He created us and breathed life into us. Check out Genesis 2. You are so special to God that He gave you breath. He gives you breath every day. When He gives you breath for today, that means He still has plans for you. How are you using your time?

Psalm 27:1 says The Lord is my light and my salvation; Whom shall I fear? The Lord is the defense of my life; Whom shall I dread?

I have a friend who is so faithful in reminding me that fear is not of the Lord. Fear is a huge battle for me. I know it’s not the Lord instilling this fear in me. I know the Lord wants to grow me and to prosper me so He can be glorified. I sometimes need that reminder when I know God is on the verge of doing something great through me and I stop and think about it. That’s when fear sets in for me. If I would just focus on God and on the task He has for me at that moment, I would be a lot better off. My tendency is to “contingency plan”. I think “what if this, what if that”. Good grief. How can I follow through and show joy in the Lord when I am fearful? God answers prayers that are in line with His heart and His ways, why? So He can be glorified. So, if I pray about something, but I’m fearful the whole time, how can I glorify God with my joy? Are you sharing your joy with others to give glory to God? When God answers your prayers, do you tell others so He can be glorified?

John 10:10 tells us the thief comes to steal and kill and destroy. I have to remind myself of this – or talk to godly friends who remind me.

God wants me to have life more abundantly and I can only experience that if I trust Him. Will you trust Him today? Will you thank Him for His breath and faithfulness he gives to you?

Deuteronomy 31:8 says – The Lord is the one who goes ahead of you; He will be with you. He will not fail you or forsake you. Do not fear or be dismayed.

OK, am I the only one that thinks of the Hymn “God Will Take Care of You” after reading that scripture?

Be not dismayed whate’er betide, God will take care of you; Beneath His wings of love abide, God will take care of you. God will take care of you, Thro’ every day, o’er all the way; He will take care of you, God will take care of you.

Thank You

In many churches this weekend, there was a scripture shared that is very appropriate for today.

John 15:13 – Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends.

Today we honor those who went before us and showed us the greatest love – they laid down their lives for us – for people they didn’t even know – so that we would have freedom.

Doesn’t that sound like Jesus’ love for you? He laid down his life for you – and He knows you so well, He knows the hairs on your head. He is exited when you come to Him with your life – with your cares – with whatever is on your mind. Please take a little time today to talk to God, thanking Him for your freedom – by the hands of our veterans here on earth, and by His hands for eternity.

Deuteronomy 31:8 – The Lord Himself goes before you and will be with you; He will never leave you nor forsake you.

Thank you Jesus.

Rest Is the Best!

Matthew 11:28 – 30 says that we should go to the Lord when we are weary and need rest. It speaks of Jesus’ yoke. What does this mean? Well, a yoke is a harness that was used to attach a piece of equipment to an ox for it to pull behind him. When we take on the Lord’s yoke, He does the heavy lifting. He does the hard work, so we can rest. Why? Because sometimes we just need the rest. Our God is our refuge and our strength. He takes on our burdens for us. Sometimes we get caught up in all the ‘life’ things happening around us, we don’t even notice what has become acceptable pressure for us. How does fear surface in your daily routine? How does insecurity pop up its head? We should be on guard that the evil one is hoping we find our value in what we do, how many things we cross of our To Do list – even good things. Are you someone that feels they must tell folks around them what all you did that day to feel accomplished? Whose measuring you? Who is telling you that you didn’t measure up if you didn’t get everything done that day? Who is saying you are the sum of your list you accomplished that day? That’s not from God.

I remember when I had finished writing my first book, I felt completely empty. I thought I would feel, well, just totally wonderful afterward. I thought I would be ready to write more, talk to more people, and distribute more books. What I found was nothing. I was almost numb really. I would go to church and sort of zone out. I would sing but not feel it. I would hear the sermons, feel the love of others, but not give back. This went on for a while before I started asking questions about it. Someone said that maybe I just needed the rest. Maybe God was helping me to rest, even when I was too tired to notice I needed the rest. Once I heard this, I knew that’s what was happening. I knew my worth was from God. He’s already approved me. He is where my value comes from, not from what I do. Writing the book was meant to bring me joy while I was learning to write for Him. I took time off before starting to write my second book. I went into this one praying for peace. I prayed for the joy of the Lord to come through me as I met with people who were buying the book. I prayed relationships would be enhanced with the Lord, including mine among those who were reading the book. I have heard so many stories from folks reading my book that have given me such joy. The rest I took after the first book, and the rest I took while writing the second book allowed me to enjoy the process, while still worshipping and serving God. The pressures of our day, even with good things, should not overtake our ability to serve God, to worship God or spend less time with God in prayer. This should be a great reason for some serious, all-in kind of prayer. The kind where you cry out to God that you know you need Him to show you how to make your schedule less jam-packed. The kind where you beg God to give you rest and have peace about it (not guilt). The kind where you see why God says you should take a day to rest and worship Him, to devote your day to Him, even if nobody else in your house will go with you. Go ahead. He’s listening.

Let’s Get Serious!

I had seen the movie War Room before, however, I decided to watch it again with my church as we showed it during a “Movie Night”. We had popcorn, soft drinks and just plain fun. Of course we had the discussion as we worked in the kitchen of offering “soda vs coke” which led to the “would you like a coke? Great, what kind” conversation because I am a true Texan in that regard. 🙂

All joking aside, this movie really makes you stop and think about how serious you are with prayer in your life. I first began thinking about where my passion lies. Is my drop in passion because I’m not supposed to be doing it anymore? Is it because I’m tired? Could it possibly be because I’m doing just what I should be doing – and doing it well, which makes the enemy shutter? I was reminded of the story in 2 Kings 6:1-7 where the guy was doing just what he should be doing but the head of his ax (borrowed ax) fell into the water. He was doing just what he should be doing but encountered an obstacle. He had to approach someone to get it back – not just any someone. It took one of God’s chosen to help him get it back, through a miracle. That’s just what we should do too. We shouldn’t do a lot of worrying or running around chasing futile actions or wait on any ol’ somebody to do it for us. We should take it to God so He can get it back for us. Trust it to God. Trusting starts with obedience. That’s what I call the rubber hitting the road. Getting on your knees and start praying. Praying like you mean it. Praying expecting God to handle it. Do you remember that fire you had for God when you first accepted Him as your Savior? If you want that back, approach God. If you accepted Jesus as your Savior and never felt the “on fire for God” feeling, approach God.

Ezek 36:26 says this – And I will give you a new heart, and a new spirit I will put within you. And I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh.

If you feel you’ve lost your passion for God, take time today to get away from all the distractions. Go somewhere quiet, get on your knees, and begin an honest conversation with God. Tell God how you feel. He’s a big God. He can handle hearing whatever you say. He’s a compassionate God. He will prove faithful to you. Ask Him to deliver to you what His Word promises in Ezek 36:26. Then begin to listen to Him. Trust Him. Follow Him. Be obedient to His direction in your life.

Build bridges and allow God to change your life – You will never regret it.