Thursday, April 29, 2010

More on Prayer

I'm building on the last post regarding prayer and how we treat it. Lately, God has been little by little changing the heart of my prayers to him. For a long time, I struggled praying period because I felt way too selfish in my motives to even lift anything up to God about whatever was on my heart. I was always praying in a way that seemed pointless and really not in line with how God would have me pray them. My husband then was introduced recently to a beautiful prayer that had a complete heart of surrender to it. I've been actively praying it nearly every day. It really has opened my eyes to how skewed my prayers had become because many times they were always based on my wants, my desires, my motives, etc that were simply self-serving. I mean I knew that I did that before, but didn't really know how to pray sincerely with a pure heart and then expect pure results from Him or what to look for...and accept the answers or lack of answers given.

Well, Jesus says in Matthew 6 clearly that we are to keep our prayers simple but also in a position of giving over control and manipulation to get God to do what we want Him to do. We can ask for His daily provisions, for answers, to protect us from temptations and the enemy, but in the end admit to Him in our hearts that all the we are and all that we have belong to Him and it is about His will and His purpose in the end. So in that, as I'm learning to pray more in this way, I'm also finding that a surrendered prayer definitely  is the most freeing way to go...and one that will open my eyes to see God in ways I couldn't before.

Jesus says in Matthew 6: 9-13, Pray, then, in this way:
         'Our Father who is in heaven,
         Hallowed be Your name.
    10'Your kingdom come
         Your will be done,
         On earth as it is in heaven.
    11Give us this day our daily bread.
    12'And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors.
    13'And do not lead us into temptation, but deliver us from evil. For Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen.

Simple but pointed but recognizing God as the head of it all.

But then you see the ultimate surrender prayer from Christ before His crucifixion:

Matthew 26:39 And He went a little beyond them, and fell on His face and prayed, saying, "My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from Me; yet not as I will, but as You will."

How often are we able to have this heart that Christ has...and how can we have it? I'm finding that as much as we don't like to admit it, it is through the impossible circumstances and when we are at the end of ourselves, that we tend to be most likely to surrender everything. So sometimes when we ask to have the pain and suffering removed, we are asking for Him to remove our surrendered hearts as well...and ultimately we will miss the joy and freedom of what He might do with that surrendered heart despite our circumstances. So I have been taking on the challenge of praying with surrender and being in awe of God and His mighty plan that is so much bigger than my wants, desires, and pleas for relief from difficulties. It is then that I believe we will see our true desires and wants met...because God doesn't ignore the true heart that He gave us.
I may be off some in my thinking, I don't know. But that is just what I have come to discover in this part of  my journey. Surrender is hard, but necessary for a liberating life in Christ.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

A Word on How We View Prayer

Another great reminder from Wilkerson on how we view praying and what we see as answered or unanswered prayers. This really spoke to me. I've been struggling lately on how to pray the things I want to see happen vs. surrendering it all to God's's without a doubt a pure journey of faith!


I believe in Holy Ghost timing. In God’s own time, all our prayers will be answered—one way or another—but the trouble is, we are afraid to submit our prayers to Holy Ghost scrutiny. Some of our prayers need to be purged because often our faith is misspent on requests that are not mature. We do not know how to pray, “Thy will be done.” We don’t want his will as much as those things permitted by his will.

Abraham exercised his faith to keep reminding himself he was a stranger on this earth. His blessing pact produced only a tent to dwell in, because he put all his faith in that city whose builder and maker is God.

Were some of these faith warriors not living in faith? Did God refuse to answer some of their prayers? After all, not all of them were delivered and not all lived to see answers to their payers. Not all were spared pain, suffering and even death. Some were tortured; others were torn asunder, wandering about destitute, afflicted, and tormented (Hebrews 11:36-38).

Some who had a reputation for having great faith “received not the promise”

(Hebrews 11:39). Those who did “obtain promises” used their faith to work righteousness, to gain strength in times of weakness, and to put the enemy to flight.

Don’t worry about whether God is saying “Yes” or “No” to your request. Don’t be downcast when the answer is not in sight and, please, quit concentrating on faith formulas and methods. Just commit every prayer to Jesus and go about your business with confidence. He will not be one moment early or late in answering, and if the answer you seek is not forthcoming, say to your heart, “He is all I need. If I need more, he will not withhold it. He will answer in his time and in his way. And if he does not fulfill my request, he must have a perfect reason for not doing so. No matter what happens, I will always have faith in his faithfulness.”

God forgive us if we are more concerned about getting prayers answered than in learning total submission to Christ himself. We do not learn obedience by the things we obtain but by the things we suffer. Are you willing to learn by suffering a little longer with what appears to be an unanswered prayer? Will you rest in his love while patiently waiting for the promise?

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

The Great Escapist Victim

I'm sure many can relate to this, but I tend to be the type who is really quick to want to escape from reality of my responsibilities. This is where addictions happen really. I know my husband and kids can attest, the computer is the number one thing I run to as a source of escape.
But I'm also the type who is very aware of the wrong choices I am making each moment I make them. So I'm not completely ignorant to what I'm doing. Actually, I am aware so much that I am really good at beating myself up about it, self-loathing in my own pit of my own yuck really well until I finally tell myself to buck up and get over it. But that isn't fixing the problem obviously. It's still just avoiding it only to see it happen over and over.
As I've been reading through a book called True-Faced, which is about taking off our masks that we think are covering our sin, and trusting God and others with who you REALLY are, I have been made aware, as recent as yesterday, that I really don't let God tend to me in my sin areas like I should, hence my escapist tendencies. That's a mask really. I know the sins are there, but if I can just escape from the things that bring it out, then I can pretend they aren't there and not have to feel bad about myself and maybe no one else will see it either. Because that's about as far as I've gotten when I face my sin areas, just feeling bad about it. So I escape into things that enjoy to make myself feel better. Ugh! This is the world's way of doing things. And we know where that gets you. Right into more sin and the hands of the enemy!
So today I finally got real with God on a whole new level. It didn't feel good but I had to do it. Granted He knew it already, but I had to get real with myself and confess it to Him so we could work on this TOGETHER once and for all. I finally faced something that hurt really bad to have to say but knew it had to be dealt with. And that is the fact that I don't really enjoy spending time with God. Oh I am quick to run to Him when I need Him, but just enjoying His presence at any given time? I'm still not there. Because if I was, my actions would show it. Really, He is usually never the first thing I run to. It's usually the computer, or getting out of the house to escape from the reality of my responsibilities, being with friends, eating out, or spending money I shouldn't...blah, blah, blah. God is usually my last resort....ouch! But there it is...out in the light. And guess what, I didn't get struck by lightening?
But I also had to confess that I don't enjoy spending time with my kids like I should. To many, that may seem proposterous to not want to be with them. Or maybe you can relate. But in reality, who can quickly bring out our sin nature more than our own kids? See, our kids mirror us when you think about it. So if we are sinning in some areas, they ultimately will follow. Truthfully, I never lost my temper until I had children. It completely threw me for a loop. I didn't know I was capable of such thing. And I never really dealt with it the right way by letting God take a hold of that part of me when I was aware. I just kept letting it happen hoping God would forgive me each time and ultimately and unkowingly was blaming my kids for my temper. Now THAT is proposterous. So now 11 years and 2 more children later, I'm good to make it through a day without lashing out at one of them for some rediculous reason.
And this is where I had to confess that for the same reason the "escapist" comes out, I have also put the "victim" mask on. The temper flies out when I feel wronged in some way. It happens in my marriage too. So that victim mentality is one more thing that ultimately keeps me from facing my own sin. It makes others look like the sinner, not me. I've been wearing that mask for way too long but this one I didn't even realize it was a mask. I just thought being hurt was being hurt and it was rightly there. But when you think about it, who really wants to walk around feeling hurt all the time? And on another level, does God want me to walk around like this?
So the good news is, WE are made in GOD'S image, so we can come boldly into God's arms, so He can lovingly care for our hearts the way they need to be cared for, and walk us through the sins that want to keep us in bondage.  And if we say we can't go there yet, confess it, face it, and let God help you deal with the lack of trust you feel toward Him. God is just waiting for us to come to Him JUST AS WE ARE so He can reveal Himself to us and transform us into His likeness.
For me, I need to stop escaping from him, but to Him, start trusting Him with my own sin and stop playing the victim all the time and just face the fact that I am a broken, sinful person, who needs Him as much as anyone else in every moment of every day. I can say it all day, but will my actions reveal that I truly believe it? I hope one day they willl. He wants to help me face every part that is broken and work on it with me, not to overwhelm me and condemn me, but to heal and renew the real me and ultimately help me find freedom and joy in every part of my life.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Pure Deception

I feel I haven't posted in ages. But I guess it hasn't been as long as it feels. The past month feels like a year truthfully. You know that song "I get knocked down, but I get up again, nothing's ever gonna keep me down"? Well, I'm in the process of picking myself back up again from a pretty heavy blow I've taken recently....known as the blow of deception. And it's knocked the wind out of my sails quite a bit.

How did I get into this mess? Well, I got myself into it thinking all the right intentions were there, following my BIG dreams of fulfilling my purpose, thinking this would be part of my path to fulfilling my heart's desire, and in the middle of my vulnerability of it all, an individual was introduced to me from a trusting friend. And it appeared that this individual was just what God brought me to come alongside me and help me along after a sincere prayer I prayed to Him. It all looked great and exciting at first. Our purpose seemed in line with each other. She was giving me great insight, knowledge into my own heart, and even prayed some powerful prayers over me. But then a red flag would pop up here and there, but no one's perfect, right? So I'd let go. Then another one, but we don't want to judge and she's human so maybe God is working on her with that. Then the red flags started getting too hard to ignore, and suddenly it was revealed to me and ultimately through my husband that this individual of good intentions is walking in pure deception and taking others with her through this ministry that she is trying to get underway in this area. Scary, huh? Great intentions, and a good heart, doesn't always lead to truth. Because this lady has a good heart and I believe loves the Lord. And it scares me to death now to think of how many people like this are walking around leading others astray with what looks right. I am just so thankful that God was taking care of me all along, and opened mine and my husband's eyes before things got out of hand. I also think God allowed me to take this path as a learning experience and word of warning! So I don't believe it was a mistake that this happened. There's a purpose for everything.

Get this. A few weeks ago, God actually gave me a great word picture of what happens when our eyes go astray, and try to look to others or even our own understanding to stay on the right track with God. He gave me this before I even met this individual that I've been speaking of. You tell me if this isn't timely:
I take a dance/exercise class each week. And one thing that God showed me is what happens if I try to look at myself in the mirror or the other individuals in the class to get my moves right and not the instructor. Everyone has their own version of what all the dance steps are. But the instructor is the one who leads with all the right, original moves. If I start looking to someone on my right or to my left, suddenly I find myself doing it my own way or how someone else does it....then before I know it, I'm off track...and ultimately will get lost in the dance. But as soon as I look at my instructor again, I get back on track.
I'm sure you see where I'm going with this. I like to think of God as the instructor. God wrote the original Word, therefore we have to wholeheartedly keep our eyes on Him for Truth..and to keep in the step with His Spirit. Not to say He doesn't use others to help us along and I have many amazing friends who have helped me stay the course, but I know now more than ever that God's word will always keep me going in the right path...and hopefully I can ultimately bring others in that path that ultimately leads to Him and His truth!

So what did I learn from this whole experience? Get into God's word daily!! Test the spirits from those that come in your path that are teaching what they claim to be His word. In the end times, the enemy will come as an angel of light. Really, as far as this lady is concerned, her heart is in the right place, she loves the Lord, but her :truth" is a bit twisted. It's actually not truth at all! And we have to be on watch for that whenever people speak into your life. So I guess take this post as a word of warning. Not to bring fear but to bring an awareness and hopefully a new motivation to dig into God's word more, to seek Him in all that you do, and test the spirits that come in your path. And last but not least, put on that armor that God has so freely given!

The Armor of God

Eph. 6: 10-18
"Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. 11Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil's schemes. 12For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. 13Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. 14Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, 15and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. 16In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. 17Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. 18And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the saints."

Monday, April 12, 2010

A Word of Hope

This is a beautiful word of encouragement for those who have lost hope in whatever circumstance you are in. I receive an email 'gem' each day from this author, David Wilkerson. I hope this blesses someone today:


I have known of great Christians who have experienced a trial so dark and deep that life itself seemed almost not worth living. In his very darkest hour, Jeremiah discovered a glorious truth that brought new hope and assurance to his mind. It was something he already knew about God, but it didn't touch his soul until he came to the end of himself. He discovered that at the very bottom, God was there! The farther down he went, the more God was to be discovered. God was not to be discovered up there in some blissful soaring into untroubled skies, but in the shadows of grief and despair. When Jeremiah hit bottom, he bumped into God! He fell hard against the faithfulness of a compassionate God. Listen to his discovery:

"God is a God of compassion...his compassions for me cannot fail.... They are new every morning...great is his faithfulness..." (Lamentations 3:22-23).

Little by little, Jeremiah came to realize great truths that can only be discovered by those who are down.

1. When I am at the very lowest point; when troubles flow over my heart like water, and I say, "I am cut off," God draws near and whispers, "Do not fear!"(Lamentations 3:54-57).

2. When God seems to have "covered himself with a cloud, so that my prayers could not pass through," he will still see my oppression and will “judge my case” (Lamentations 3:44, 59).

3. If the Lord allows grief and sorrow, he will at the same time uphold me with abundant compassion and love (Lamentations 3:32).

4. God is not against me, trying to crush me under his foot when I'm down like a prisoner in trouble (Lamentations 3:34).

5. God is not trying to sabotage any of my plans; he is not causing my confusion; he is not working against me (Lamentations 3:35-36).

6. Even in my despair and bitterness, when I hated to face a new day, his compassion failed not. His mercies were waiting for me, new each morning (Lamentations 3:22-23).

7. Because God is always faithful, he will not cast me off. He will do right by me and save me (Lamentations 3:25-26).

8. When I am at my lowest, I have nowhere to turn but to God, so I will lift up my heart and my hands, and thank him for his faithfulness! (Lamentations 3:40-41).

9. Being down has spent my strength and hope. I am left empty and humbled, so now I depend totally on his mercies! (Lamentations 3:18, 20-22).