Sunday, June 8, 2014

From the Moment You Were Conceived

It's interesting that a lot of us think that one thing makes us a sinner (or others think that one thing makes us a sinner); something like, because I am a prostitute, I am a sinner.  Because I am alcoholic, I am a sinner.  Because I am an adulterer, I am a sinner.  Because I am a liar I am a sinner.  Because you are gay, you are a sinner.  According to the Bible, all of these things are sin in and of  themselves, but they are not what makes you a sinner.  (Friends, please don't comment or email me because I called these things sin.  I didn't decide it; God, in His Word, did. I have an alcoholic husband, a gay daughter, I committed adultery and I have a rebellious teenager.  I love all people and it is my desire for all people to be reconciled to God.)

What?  Am I committing blasphemy? Give me a second, I don't think so.  It came to me in church this morning as our Pastor preached on Paul in the book of Acts preaching to the Corinthians and how He shared the gospel with them.

First, let me say, I accepted Christ as God's Savior of Mankind when I was a child, and reaffirmed that commitment as a teenager.  My faith has bent and swayed with the times of my life.  I have sinned since that time.  Because we accept Christ's gift of salvation does not mean that we will never sin, but that we have power living within us in the form of God's holy spirit that will help us overcome sin.  The Bible says that we are always slaves to something....slaves to sin, slaves to God, slaves to booze, slaves to sex, slaves to homosexuality, slaves to pornography, etc.  When you look at that list, what one pops out at you as the best one to be enslaved?  Personally, I'd rather be a slave to my Creator, the one who is totally good, loving and always works in my best interest.  (I didn't say He always gives me what I want but that He always works in my best interest.)

Each and every human being on the face of the earth (with the exception of one) are sinners the moment they are conceived.  The fact that we all are compelled to serve our own selfish desires from the first breath is indicative of that.  Does anyone teach a two year old to be selfish or self-centered and to always be concerned with what is "mine"?

However, there is also within each one of us a longing, a desire to know unconditional love, like the love of a father and/or mother is supposed to be, but because of our sinful nature, can't be known from a human being.   God can give us that kind of unconditional love.  He can fill that longing; that need.

BUT God is holy and completely good.  The Bible says He cannot and will not even be around sin or evil. This is the problem:  How does one bring together sinful man who is longing for unconditional love and acceptance of God with holy a God who cannot and will not reside in the same space as anything sinful, sin or evil?  Enter in Jesus Christ, born of a virgin (overshadowed by the Holy Spirit), fully God and fully man - God's child born of a woman!

He lived as we do, was tempted and tried in every way that we are, but you know what?  He was able to do to walk day after day His whole life and not commit any sin of any type or kind.   How?  Well, first because He is God, and second because He had an unbelievably intimate relationship with God and also because God's spirit lived in Him. He had all the power of heaven to overcome sin and evil.  He never gave into ANY temptation.  Being tempted is not sin, but acting on that temptation is.  He was tempted and tried in EVERY way.    Temptation to drink, to lie, to love a woman, but He NEVER GAVE IN TO IT.  Tried with people who hated him, tried with illness, tried with problems, but HE NEVER GAVE IN TO THEM.

How and what does He have to do with us?  He came to earth; He willingly gave up everything that made Him God, all his power, His knowledge, His Majesty, His Honor in order to bridge the gap between God and man.  He willingly died for us, and during His death, He took all of the sins of every person ever born and put them on himself.  The Bible puts it this way:  2 Cor 5:21

For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.

Do you get that?  He didn't know any sin but He became sin for us so  that WE might be MADE the righteousness of God IN HIM.

Unfortunately, today most people think the gospel has everything to do with "I", "Me", Myself" and very little to do with God.  The truth is, the gospel has very little to do with I, Me or Myself, and EVERYTHING to do with Jesus Christ.  The gospel a lot of people are hearing and teaching today is a gospel SUITABLE for I, Me, or Myself.    That means it has been turned around, tossed about and fluffed up until it suits the needs of the individual.  We make God out to be Santa Claus.  If I can be good enough, He'll give me this or that; if I take out this scripture (because it doesn't suit my life style), I can let Him be in my life.   If I give money to this individual or that organization, God will bless me, etc.

Folks that is not the way it works.  We are ALL separated from God because we are all sinners, and the only thing that can make us right is to be reconciled to God through Jesus Christ.  The Bible says that we must be born again.  Well, how can one be born again?  As Nicodemus asked Jesus, does one have to go back inside their mother to be born again?  No, when you accept the gift of salvation from Jesus Christ, his holy spirit comes and lives inside you and you are a new creation - not in terms of age, but in terms of quality.  You are then reconciled to God, and when you stand before Him, He doesn't see you and all your sin, He sees Christ and Jesus'  imputed righteousness that you received when you believed that He was God's son sent to save the world from going to hell in a hand basket!

What then is a Christian?  A Christian is a person who has been reconciled to God through believing in Jesus Christ's death, burial and resurrection as God's means of saving the world.  A Christian is also a person who helps others to be reconciled to God.

Do you wish to be reconciled to God?  Believe in the Lord Jesus Christ, and you shall be saved.  It's that simple.   But now that it's that simple, you are called to live a life worthy of Christ, forsaking sin and helping others to be reconciled to God, and it is just that complicated.  But that's a story for another day.

Lord Jesus, Thank you!   Thank you so much that you didn't  think the fact that you were God should prevent you from humbling yourself and taking on the form of a man and that you would die for the rest of mankind  in order to restore our relationship to the Father!  Your selflessness is unknown to the world today because we are all about me, myself and I.  Thank you for loving us enough to go to these lengths to save us. I want to be reconciled to you and to help reconcile others to you.  Help me to be gentle, kind and accepting of all people simply because we are all alike.  We all need you.  We all want the love of the Father.  Help us to see sin as He sees it.  Help us to turn from it and toward you.   Keep us close, Lord, it's so evil out  there and temptations are very great, slick and the evil one is so formidable.  Fortunately for us, Lord, you have defeated sin and death and the same very great power that resurrected you is at work in us.  Praise your name, Jesus.  I pray in that one and only, unmatched name.  Amen.

Monday, June 2, 2014

One Year Later...

The 365 days that I have lived since last June 3, have gone by even more quickly than normal.  Last June 3, at 8:30 a.m. I was scheduled to have Deep Brain Stimulation surgery at the University of Cincinnati, through the Mayfield Clinic with Dr. George Mandybur as my surgeon.  I arrived at the hospital at 7:30 a.m. anticipating the 8:30 surgery.  For various reasons, such as Dr. Mandybur was in a surgery already and was delayed, the first CT-scan was improperly done and insufficient for the surgery (this is a vital part of the surgery because the CT-scan is used to map the brain as the doctor performs the surgery), and who knows what other reasons, but the day dragged on and on and on.  I don't think I actually went in to surgery until around 3:30 p.m.  I know that in my anticipation of the surgery, the one thing I really wasn't looking forward to was the screwing on (literally) of the "halo".  The halo is what keeps the head still during the surgery by being screwed down to the surgical bed.  Here I am in the halo:

One of my not so admirable personality traits is that I am impatient, and it certainly showed itself in the days subsequent to the surgery.  I wanted immediate results; my doctor and his staff kept telling me "four to six months, Kim"  "give it four to six months".

The first four months were very difficult.  I am told that I am particularly sensitive to the stimulator, and my changes were very minute, but I was changing the setting every two weeks.   I'd see moments of promise, and then I'd be a diskenetic mess.  On my son's birthday at the end of September, my family and I all went our for dinner with some friends, and I had to have my best girlfriend cut my steak for me.  It was very humbling, and yet, when I went to the doctor in October, I scored a "4" on my neurological exams, and was told that the closer to "0" you get, the more normal you are.  I tested a 26 in July, a 13 in August and then the 4 in October.  I scored a 4 in December as well.

Right around December, I really began noticing a huge difference in my dystonia and my diskenesia.  It was remarkably reduced.  I no longer sat around waiting for my meds to "kick in".  Prior to my surgery, I was taking 21-24 tablets of Carbadopa/Levadopa 100 (Sinemet).   Today, I take about six tablets per day.

I am remarkably better.   I am playing golf again.  I am traveling again (by myself).  I am not afraid to go somewhere and think what if I can't get back home.   It is a miracle that I give God the credit for.  I would never have done it without Him.  I asked Him to close the door for me if I were not to have the surgery.  I sailed through all the tests.  I never had anything that would cause me to regret having the surgery, and I pray that God will continue to protect my brain and allow me not to have to have to experience the surgery or any of its counterparts again.

I still have Parkinsons's Disease, and I know that my condition will continue to progress.  There is no cure at this time.  How and when it will make itself known in my life is only known to God.  I know that He is with me in everything that life throws at me.  I praise Him for this reprieve.

Friday, April 25, 2014

Priests in the Service of God

As a follower, believer and disciple of Jesus Christ, I am made a priest in the service of God (1 Peter 2:9).

Interesting, huh?  What do you envision when you think of a  priest?  I know what I think of, and it's not good.  God has a vision of good when He enrolls us in  His school of theology, so let's put that vision out of minds and look with fresh eyes at what His Word tell us.

God's word gives us guidelines for being His priests, and these fruits should be evident in our lives:

1.     Thankfulness

2.      Having a broken spirit and a broken and contrite  heart

3.      Singing songs of joy and thanksgiving to Him

4.      Filled with faith and sharing it with others

5.      Sharing our financial gifts with those who are in service to Him

6.      Praising His name

7.      Doing good

8.      Sharing what we have with others for the glory of God

9.      Sacrificing of the body, the mind, and the will to Him and what He desires in all situations and at all                times.

This is quite a list, is it not?  If all who declared they were followers of Jesus were living priestly lives like we're supposed to be doing, wouldn't the world really look differently?

As I ran through the list, asking myself how well I was allowing God to work through me as his priest, I came up with a lot of poor performance on my part.  Thank God that my salvation is ALL about what Jesus has done for me, and not based on what I have done for Him.  However, that being said, I believe our Lord does expect us to adhere to His expectations along the way of the road we are traveling during our time on this planet.  We are to expected to work for the Lord with all due diligence.  Our works are the proof of our faith, and according to Brother James, faith without works is dead.

Go through the list, give yourself a "+" or a "-" depending on which you think you are and see if you come out on the plus side or the minus side.    If you came out with more "minus" signs than "plus" signs (like me), what then must we be doing to put ourselves and our faith into action as God's priest here on earth and in the age to come as we reign with Him?

It struck me, as I read 1 Peter 2 that "I" am a part of the chosen race, royal priesthood and holy nation that belongs to God because HE called me out of darkness into HIS marvelous light.  I no longer belong to myself.  I am bought and paid for by the precious blood of Christ.  I am to proclaim (no matter who doesn't want to hear it) the excellencies of Him to chose and called me.

Therefore, I need to realize that:

I am special to God; I was chosen long, long ago, before the foundations of time.

I am a priest in the service of God.

As God is holy, I am to be holy.

I am a part of a large body of people who are also chosen and called by God; His body, His church and
some day soon, His bride.

God owns me, for His purposes.  He owns my heart, mind, body and soul, and when anyone of those want to go against what God wants and do what it wants, I need to use the power of the holy spirit within me to be in control of my self and my flesh and exercise His will.

God, I am far from perfect, you know that.  But Lord, you know that my desire is to be wholly, completely yours.  I want to be obedient and to serve you as well as I  know how.  I rely on your Holy Spirit to teach me and lead me.  I ask that you would build my faith, and give me a true, fresh desire to serve give you my very best in everything I do.   You have brought me this far, Lord Jesus.  I trust you to complete what you have begun in me.  Have your way in my life and help me to be thankful to you for ALL things.  I ask this in accordance to your will and in your name.

Sunday, April 20, 2014

The Giver of All Good and Perfect Gifts

That's our Father!  Yes, He is the giver of ALL good and perfect gifts, and never a more perfect gift was given than Jesus Christ for our sins.

Think about this today:  the same power that caused Christ to rise from the dead (caused all the bodily systems to restart after completely quitting and there being no life in them) is at work in us!!  Think about what we can do through Him and His power!!

While you think on those things today, enjoy a listen  to this:

Yes, I know it's the Mormon Tabernacle Choir, and no I don't believe as they believe.  I just think they make beautiful music.

Choose today to listen and hear his voice, to open your eyes and see His world, His love and His redemption for you, and open your heart to His call!

God bless you and may you know the love the Father, Son and Holy Spirit this Resurrection Sunday.

Friday, April 11, 2014

As We Approach Holy Week

I think it is a good thing to ponder these scriptures and to mediate of just what exactly Jesus did for us on that  Good Friday and Resurrection Sunday 2,000 years ago.    This is is a post I put up a couple of years ago, and it still speaks to my heart.  May God richly bless you with His presence during this Holy Week.

JOHN 19:1 So Pilate then took Jesus, and flogged him.

19:2 The soldiers twisted thorns into a crown, and put it on his head, and dressed him in a purple garment.

19:3 They kept saying, "Hail, King of the Jews!" and they kept slapping him.

19:4 Then Pilate went out again, and said to them, "Behold, I bring him out to you, that you may know that I find no basis for a charge against him."

19:5 Jesus therefore came out, wearing the crown of thorns and the purple garment. Pilate said to them, "Behold, the man!"

19:6 When therefore the chief priests and the officers saw him, they shouted, saying, "Crucify! Crucify!" Pilate said to them, "Take him yourselves, and crucify him, for I find no basis for a charge against him."

19:7 The Jews answered him, "We have a law, and by our law he ought to die, because he made himself the Son of God."

19:8 When therefore Pilate heard this saying, he was more afraid.

19:9 He entered into the Praetorium again, and said to Jesus, "Where are you from?" But Jesus gave him no answer.

19:10 Pilate therefore said to him, "Aren't you speaking to me? Don't you know that I have power to release you, and have power to crucify you?"

19:11 Jesus answered, "You would have no power at all against me, unless it were given to you from above. Therefore he who delivered me to you has greater sin."

19:12 At this, Pilate was seeking to release him, but the Jews cried out, saying, "If you release this man, you aren't Caesar's friend! Everyone who makes himself a king speaks against Caesar!"

19:13 When Pilate therefore heard these words, he brought Jesus out, and sat down on the judgment seat at a place called "The Pavement," but in Hebrew, "Gabbatha."

19:14 Now it was the Preparation Day of the Passover, at about the sixth hour. He said to the Jews, "Behold, your King!"

19:15 They cried out, "Away with him! Away with him! Crucify him!" Pilate said to them, "Shall I crucify your King?" The chief priests answered, "We have no king but Caesar!"

19:16 So then he delivered him to them to be crucified. So they took Jesus and led him away.

19:17 He went out, bearing his cross, to the place called "The Place of a Skull," which is called in Hebrew, "Golgotha,"

19:18 where they crucified him, and with him two others, on either side one, and Jesus in the middle.

19:19 Pilate wrote a title also, and put it on the cross. There was written, "JESUS OF NAZARETH, THE KING OF THE JEWS."

19:20 Therefore many of the Jews read this title, for the place where Jesus was crucified was near the city; and it was written in Hebrew, in Latin, and in Greek.

19:21 The chief priests of the Jews therefore said to Pilate, "Don't write, 'The King of the Jews,' but, 'he said, I am King of the Jews.'"

19:22 Pilate answered, "What I have written, I have written."

19:23 Then the soldiers, when they had crucified Jesus, took his garments and made four parts, to every soldier a part; and also the coat. Now the coat was without seam, woven from the top throughout.

19:24 Then they said to one another, "Let's not tear it, but cast lots for it to decide whose it will be," that the Scripture might be fulfilled, which says, "They parted my garments among them. For my cloak they cast lots." Therefore the soldiers did these things.

19:25 But there were standing by the cross of Jesus his mother, and his mother's sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary Magdalene.

19:26 Therefore when Jesus saw his mother, and the disciple whom he loved standing there, he said to his mother, "Woman, behold your son!"

19:27 Then he said to the disciple, "Behold, your mother!" From that hour, the disciple took her to his own home.

19:28 After this, Jesus, seeing that all things were now finished, that the Scripture might be fulfilled, said, "I am thirsty."

19:29 Now a vessel full of vinegar was set there; so they put a sponge full of the vinegar on hyssop, and held it at his mouth.

19:30 When Jesus therefore had received the vinegar, he said, "It is finished." He bowed his head, and gave up his spirit.

19:31 Therefore the Jews, because it was the Preparation Day, so that the bodies wouldn't remain on the cross on the Sabbath (for that Sabbath was a special one), asked of Pilate that their legs might be broken, and that they might be taken away.

19:32 Therefore the soldiers came, and broke the legs of the first, and of the other who was crucified with him;

19:33 but when they came to Jesus, and saw that he was already dead, they didn't break his legs.

19:34 However one of the soldiers pierced his side with a spear, and immediately blood and water came out.

19:35 He who has seen has testified, and his testimony is true. He knows that he tells the truth, that you may believe.

19:36 For these things happened, that the Scripture might be fulfilled, "A bone of him will not be broken."

19:37 Again another Scripture says, "They will look on him whom they pierced."

19:38 After these things, Joseph of Arimathaea, being a disciple of Jesus, but secretly for fear of the Jews, asked of Pilate that he might take away Jesus' body. Pilate gave him permission. He came therefore and took away his body.

19:39 Nicodemus, who at first came to Jesus by night, also came bringing a mixture of myrrh and aloes, about a hundred pounds.

19:40 So they took Jesus' body, and bound it in linen cloths with the spices, as the custom of the Jews is to bury.

19:41 Now in the place where he was crucified there was a garden. In the garden a new tomb in which no man had ever yet been laid.

19:42 Then because of the Jews' Preparation Day (for the tomb was near at hand) they laid Jesus there.

I am the thorn in your crown; I am the sweat from your brow; I am the nail in your wrist; I am Judas' kiss; I am the man who yelled out from the crowd for your blood to be spilled on this earth shaking ground....BUT YOU LOVE ME ANYWAY!!

For this reason you came:   But you love me anyway.

ISAIAH 53:1 Who has believed what he has heard from us? [1]
And to whom has the arm of the Lord been revealed?
2 For he grew up before him like a young plant,
and like a root out of dry ground;
he had no form or majesty that we should look at him,
and no beauty that we should desire him.
3 He was despised and rejected [2] by men;
a man of sorrows, [3] and acquainted with [4] grief; [5]
and as one from whom men hide their faces [6]
he was despised, and we esteemed him not.

4 Surely he has borne our griefs
and carried our sorrows;
yet we esteemed him stricken,
smitten by God, and afflicted.
5 But he was wounded for our transgressions;
he was crushed for our iniquities;
upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace,
and with his stripes we are healed.
6 All we like sheep have gone astray;
we have turned—every one—to his own way;
and the Lord has laid on him
the iniquity of us all.

7 He was oppressed, and he was afflicted,
yet he opened not his mouth;
like a lamb that is led to the slaughter,
and like a sheep that before its shearers is silent,
so he opened not his mouth.
8 By oppression and judgment he was taken away;
and as for his generation, who considered
that he was cut off out of the land of the living,
stricken for the transgression of my people?
9 And they made his grave with the wicked
and with a rich man in his death,
although he had done no violence,
and there was no deceit in his mouth.

10 Yet it was the will of the Lord to crush him;
he has put him to grief; [7]
when his soul makes [8] an offering for guilt,
he shall see his offspring; he shall prolong his days;
the will of the Lord shall prosper in his hand.
11 Out of the anguish of his soul he shall see [9] and be satisfied;
by his knowledge shall the righteous one, my servant,
make many to be accounted righteous,
and he shall bear their iniquities.
12 Therefore I will divide him a portion with the many, [10]
and he shall divide the spoil with the strong, [11]
because he poured out his soul to death
and was numbered with the transgressors;
yet he bore the sin of many,
and makes intercession for the transgressors.

He was CRUSHED for us. He BORE our sins. He DEFEATED death. He LIVES even now in heaven. He is STILL working on our behalf as our INTERCESSOR.

Praise Jesus Christ, He is risen. We serve a RISEN savior!! May His name be praised forever!

Monday, April 7, 2014

How to Conduct Yourself Under Persecution

Yes, my friend, you are highly favored of God.  He has an incredible inheritance that is awaiting you in heaven.  You may have to go through hell to take possession of it, but be assured that it will be worth it. The Bible tells us that "eye has not seen; nor ear heard; nor mind imagined the things that God has planned for the people who love Him" (paraphrase, mine 1 Cor. 2:9)!

I am currently studying the book of 1 Peter. This book was written by Peter to the scattered Christians throughout the Roman empire just prior to the intensification of persecution under Nero.

I cried when I first read through this book; although I have read it many times before.   It hit me this time that Peter was anticipating his own death, and this book was written to encourage the believers in how to stand firm in the true grace of God (which is salvation) under persecution.

I know you've all read accounts of the atrocities that occurred during this period of history...i.e., using people as human torches to light up their barbecues and cook-outs, boiling people in oil, tearing off their is not for the fainthearted!

And so, beloved Peter, tells them (us) these things to help them stand firm in their (our) salvation under persecution. You say, so why should we know  these things, we are not under persecution.  One only has to read the news or articles in any publication to see that things are setting up where almost anything can and will be held against Christians, and with the knowledge that men have now, who knows what levels of torture people will be put through.

I have read many things about experimentation on the brain, and as a person with a brain anomaly, I can think of nothing worse than mind control or some sort of brain torture.

That being said, here is Peter's advice:

1)   Put away all malice, deceit, hypocrisy, envy and slander.  It doesn't matter what they do to you, just keep your eyes on Jesus; focus on how HE went through His torture and death and ask Him (in the words of  Kay Arthur) to stamp eternity on your eyelids.  Ask Him to help you see everything (through eyes that are eternal) what is eternal - not temporal!

2)  Like little babies, long for pure spiritual milk so that you may grow up into what God has intended for you when you take ownership of the inheritance that is being held for you in heaven.  You don't want to be like an immature person who is handed great wealth upon the death of a family member and just goes out and wastes it.   You want to know how to live within that inheritance; how to make use of it wisely.

3)  Remember, Jesus is a living stone and He was rejected by men, too, but He was and is precious and chosen by God.  You, too, are a living stone, being built into a home for Christ, in order that you may be a part of His priesthood, offering spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus, and you are precious and have been chosen by God. Now how important is that in the plan of God?  Very.  You are important to God.  Stand firm.

4)  You, thank God, are a part of a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation and a people who belong to God.  When you recognize that, you cannot help but proclaim how excellent He is that called you out of darkness into His light is!!!  How can you not stand firm when you realize His GREAT purposes and intent for you in eternity?

5)  At one time, you were a no one, without mercy and heading for eternal death.  Now, thanks be to God, you have obtained mercy and are a child of the most high God!!!

6)  DO NOT, I repeat, do not, allow the passions and desires of your flesh take you back to where you were.  Be self-controlled, and stand firm.

7)  No matter what is going on around you, behave honorably so that when others speak against you as having no honor, people will say "no way!  that one wouldn't do that"!

8)  Remember, your good deeds (prepared for you to do by God before the foundation of the world - see Ephesians 2:10) will bring glory and honor to God on the day of His appearance!

9)  Give proper respect to the authorities!  Yes, this means all authorities, "good" authority and "bad" authority, for it is put in place by God himself.  The thing you don't do is:    don't break God's laws.

10) Live free, doing good to all.

11) Give honor to everyone.  Especially love those that love Christ.

12)  Endure graciously.   If you are punished for doing bad things and endure graciously, what credit does that give you?  But if you endure graciously when being punished for doing good things, this gives you great credit in God's eyes.

13) These are the things to which we, as believers in and followers of Christ, have been called.  He suffered; we suffer.  He committed no sin, no deceit, He did not revile or threaten, but He continually entrusted Himself to God who judges justly, and we are to do the same.

Lord, God, Father of All, it is my prayer today that whatever I say and do, it will bring you glory and honor.  I pray that this writing comes from you and not me.  I pray that the one that you want to reads it would come and be brought to enlightenment about you.  Open the eyes of their  heart, Lord, that they may know what is the hope to which you have called them, that they may know what the riches of your glorious inheritance, and the immeasurable greatness of your power is toward us who believe, and to know that the GREAT power that you used in raising Jesus Christ from the dead is at work in us who believe.  I pray this in Jesus' mighty, powerful name.  Amen

Monday, February 17, 2014

Will Jesus Find Faith on Earth When He Returns?

For my devotional time this year, I bought the book, "Streams in the Desert".  Today's devotional is on praying in faith. You may have an earnest desire or hope for something, but that is NOT faith.
Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen. (NAS)
 Faith is the confidence that what we hope for will actually happen; it gives us assurance about things we cannot see.  (NLT)

Jesus tells us in Mark 11:24
I tell you, you can pray for anything, AND IF YOU BELIEVE THAT YOU HAVE RECEIVED  IT, it will be yours.
 It struck me like lightning this morning, quick and out of the blue - that this is what is wrong with my prayer life.  I do not pray in faith.  The book of James tells us that if when we ask God for something (wisdom, or whatever), if I do not ask in faith that He will do it, I am like a double minded woman and should not expect that He should do anything for me (James 1:7-8).

So, I spent time meditating on that and that alone.  I must ask in faith.  Then the Holy Spirit nudged me to think about the fact that God's will must be taken into consideration when I ask Him for anything.  You see, He has a will and a purpose and a plan for each and every person, place and thing that He creates.   So we must ask that whatever we want is in accordance with God's will and perfect plan for life.

For example, if we are praying for the salvation of a loved one, God's Word tells us in 2 Peter 3:9 that:

The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is long suffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.

We can, therefore, take comfort in knowing that God's will is not that any man should perish but that all should come to repentance, and we can pray for people's salvation in faith.

But then, once again the Holy Spirit nudged me and reminded me of a verse in John 14:13:

And whatsoever ye shall ask in my name, that will I do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son.

We must, therefore, include in our prayers and petitions, the name of Jesus Christ.   If we ask in faith, in accordance with God's will and in Jesus' name, we can ask in full assurance that it will  be done!  Knowing that this is so, we must also include our thanksgiving to God for His hearing our prayers, and for His response. 

Maybe this is so simple to some of you reading this.  Maybe it hits you like it hit me.   I have been struggling in prayer.  I have asked for some things over and over and over again, but as I look back and reflect, I don't ever really remember asking in this way.  I immediately asked the Lord to forgive me; for my lack of faith, lack of asking accordance to His will and plan and for not giving Him the thanks and glory that is due to Him.

The Holy Spirit then nudged me one more time in the direction of thanksgiving.  Do you ever have a hard time thinking of things to thank God for besides family, friends, health and home?  I do, but the Lord showed me today that when we see Him as He is:  the giver of all life, the sustainer of all life and that He holds everything in place by the power of His will, and that He is the redeemer of all that should believe on His Holy Name, then we will think to thank Him for EVERYTHING:  the color red, the soft summer rains, the beautiful flower growing in my yard or on my window sill, any and everyTHING.  We can look at people who are in our  lives and realize that there are no coincidences with God;  He is in charge and always working according to  His plan, and then we can see that He uses all people to work in our lives, and we can thank him for everyONE.  He places us in locations at times in which we have little to do with it for His purpose and plan, so we can thank him for everyWHERE we are located.  

Needless to say, my worship this morning was transformed simply by looking at God for who He is, what He says, what He's doing and for what He is going to do.   I hope this helps just one other person to worship God in spirit and truth today.

Lord, Thank you for your word, for your Holy Spirit who teaches us all things, and for your great creation, ability and desire to  hold it together.  Thank you that you who have such power would think to notice one who is such as me.  I have no goodness, no righteousness, nothing that would make you notice me, but in  your wisdom, before the world was created, you knew me and called me, and in Jesus, you  made me your child.  How can I ever say thank you for that?  For in that you thought I was worthy for such love and sacrifice, you showed me that I have value and purpose in this life.  I, therefore, in knowing this and applying it directly to you, have no recourse but to give you my life, whatever is left of it, to use as you see fit.

I ask that you would bless the reader of this, and if by some mistake of mine, I have misrepresented you, that your Holy Spirit would bring clarity and truth and understanding.  I ask these things in the mighty, matchless name of Jesus, my savior.  Amen.