Go ahead and ask

Sometimes the simplest actions are the ones we neglect to do.

 Take prayer for example. So often we fail to ask God first about a situation we are struggling with. We aren’t sure what to do and our efforts aren’t having any positive effect.

 Listen to what James instructs:

 But if any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all generously and without reproach, and it will be given to him.” James 1:5 NASB

 The New Living Translation says it this way:

If you need wisdom, ask our generous God, and he will give it to you. He will not rebuke you for asking.”

 However, I really like the way the Amplified Bible expands the meaning of this verse:

 “If any of you is deficient in wisdom, let him ask of the giving God [Who gives] to everyone liberally and ungrudgingly, without reproaching or faultfinding, and it will be given him.” James 1:5

God isn’t bothered when we go to Him with our problems. He already knows we don’t know what to do and He is ready to shower us with wisdom. He won’t tell us that we are stupid. He won’t say, “Hey- I have better things to do than deal with your petty issues.” He doesn’t say, “You again? Didn’t I help you last week?” or “You’ve already used up your allotment of wisdom. Come back a couple of years from now.”

 God is generous! He is merciful and compassionate. He sees you, He loves you and is always ready to help you. All you have to do is ask.

 Blessings!

Parent holding child's hand 2

Your Prayers Count

Take a step of faith today and pray.

Pray for your family, your friends and your neighbors.

 Pray for your boss, your employees and your coworkers.

Ask for God’s will to be done in your city, state and country.

Reject the lie that tempts you to remain complacent or apathetic. Resist any feelings of hopelessness that would cause you to doubt God’s willingness to intervene.

He hears you (Psalm 34:15), and your prayers do count:

 “…The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much.” James 5:16b NKJV

pray without ceasing

 One praying person can make a difference.

God is listening and ready to respond with power to our heartfelt cry of “Lord, your will be done here on earth as it is in heaven!” (Luke 11:2)

Instead of becoming overwhelmed by events unfolding in the earth, take a stand, keep your eyes open and lift up your voice to God.

 Have a prayer-full day!

In Christ Alone

“Grace and peace be multiplied to you in the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord” 2 Peter 1:2 NASB

 As we spend time with God, we come to know Him. As we learn from the Lord and walk with Him, we come to trust Him. In trusting Him, we find our peace.

 Our security is based on the promise that God loves us and cares for us. He takes care of us (Matthew 6:26-34). We are His, so we should not be afraid.

 These simple words were written by a man with first-hand knowledge of Jesus’ teachings and His ways. Peter had come to know the Lord in intimate detail through friendship & discipleship. He walked with Jesus, ministered alongside of Him, listened, studied, prayed & obeyed. Peter learned God’s ways through trial, error, correction, forgiveness and repentance. He went from walking on water at Jesus’ command to denying any association with the Lord when he became fearful for his life. In the end, Peter became a powerful witness of the love & mercy of Christ.

 This is the kind of relationship we should be seeking with the Lord. It’s the product of prayer, worship and time spent in His word. It’s formed in times of quiet reflection, in difficult circumstances, through trials and tests, in the face of temptations and through God-given victories. He has blessed us with His Holy Spirit to breathe life into the scriptures and to come along side of us and help us every single day of our lives. What a privilege, what an honor and joy to be so connected to our Creator- the lover of our souls.

 When all illusion of strength and material security is stripped away, all we have left is that which is hidden, that which is intangible. For the Christian, it is Christ, and He is more than enough.

 Rest in the peace that is found in God alone. Resist the temptation to be afraid– Your Heavenly Father loves you and He has your back.

 Blessings!

 “And now just as you trusted Christ to save you, trust him, too, for each day’s problems; live in vital union with him.  Let your roots grow down into him and draw up nourishment from him. See that you go on growing in the Lord, and become strong and vigorous in the truth you were taught. Let your lives overflow with joy and thanksgiving for all he has done.

“Don’t let others spoil your faith and joy with their philosophies, their wrong and shallow answers built on men’s thoughts and ideas, instead of on what Christ has said.  For in Christ there is all of God in a human body; so you have everything when you have Christ, and you are filled with God through your union with Christ. He is the highest Ruler, with authority over every other power.” Colossians 2:6-10 The Living Bible

Parent holding child's hand

Some Days Are Harder Than Others…

I have a job that requires a great deal of public interaction. I meet people of different ages, with diverse backgrounds, professions, income levels and education levels. I find the interaction enjoyable for the most part. I listen a lot, talk some and seek to be a Godly witness in all I say and do.

That doesn’t mean that I preach and talk about Jesus all the time. It means that I strive to be a representative of Christ wherever I am: at work, at home, at the store, at my children’s schools, at restaurants, around family and friends or while driving in my car (I’m still working on this one). I want to be professional, helpful, considerate, kind, diligent, faithful, loving, merciful & positive.

I know that’s a long list but these characteristics are just a portion of who Jesus is. Since I’ve been created in His image, He’s the One I want people to see and come to know. And can I tell you something? It’s very difficult at times.

Take yesterday for example. I was not really in the mood to be at work. I had been battling a stomach bug for days and was just starting to feel better. I reluctantly went in and the first person I helped started in with small talk…relentless, endlessly negative small talk.

Whenever I attempted to redirect the conversation toward a positive viewpoint, this woman was ready with a negative response. She wasn’t in a bad mood, believe it or not- she just could not make something positive come out of her mouth. I had only been around her for 5 to 10 minutes and I was feeling exhausted, irritable and drained of joy. I finally stopped putting forth the effort to sway the conversation my way and just smiled, nodded and finished our transaction as quickly as possible.

The words forming in my mind were not nice or positive as she walked away. In fact, I felt justified in the way I was starting to feel. I didn’t want to be here, I didn’t need this *blank* and that woman had been total joy-suck. I started to feel myself spiraling down toward a long night of gloominess and despair. (That last description may be a tad dramatic, but I wasn’t feeling 100% so bear with me 😉 )

Anyhoo- thank God for the constant help of the Holy Spirit! I was quickly reminded of a friend’s recent words to me. She told me not to allow other people’s hateful, ugly words drain me of my joy. She then posted Philippians 4:8 as a reminder to me:

“Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable–if anything is excellent or praiseworthy–think about such things.”

I knew she was correct and the scripture she had referenced was the right directive to put into action at this time– I was just having trouble doing it. Again– thank God for the Holy Spirit! All I have to do is admit my weakness and ask for help– which I did. Within a short period of time I was able to shake off the negative influence of my last conversation and move on to the next one, a little stronger than before due to His empowering grace.

Sometimes it seems like a constant battle to stay above the muck and mire of everyday life, but the results are well worth the effort. I have no intention of going back to the dark view I used to have of the world. I love God’s peace, joy and hope too much to let them go so easily:

“Watch over your heart with all diligence, for from it flow the springs of life.” Proverbs 4:23 New American Standard Bible

Or, for a more contemporary translation:

“Guard your heart above all else, for it determines the course of your life.” Proverbs 4:23 New Living Translation

 Blessings and have a great rest of the week!

Heart Shaped Garden

Encouraging Word

Some encouraging words from Psalm 91 today:

“For the Lord says, “Because he loves me, I will rescue him; I will make him great because he trusts in my name.  When he calls on me, I will answer; I will be with him in trouble and rescue him and honor him. 

I will satisfy him with a full life and give him my salvation.” ~ Psalm 91:14-16 Living Bible

God is true to His word!

Blessings!

Dove in Flight - Copy