Prayer

How many of you have ever felt like you were too “bad” to pray? I have. This subject is close to me because there was a time in my life where I thought I had sinned too much to ask anything or the Father. I told myself that after everything I had done, I do not deserve anything and how could I pray for anyone else when I couldn’t even get myself together. In my 20’s, I had no idea how to pray because I allowed the enemy to cause me to feel less than what I was worth. I struggled with low self esteem and told myself it was easier to not pray at all than to continue to pray in vain.
When we become consumed by our shortcomings, we failed to understand the power of intercession. Romans 8:26 reminds us that it is the Spirit who intercedes for us. So many of us think that we don’t know what to say when we pray but the Spirit intercedes for us to say those words we long to express but cannot. The spirit intercedes in the midst of our fears and insecurities. When we are discouraged by sin, we have the Holy Spirit to stand in our place. I thank God that when I was deep in depression and anxiety, the Holy Spirit stood in the gap for me and interceded for me.

In Ephesians 3, Paul calls himself the least of all saints. Little did he know the impact he would have on all Christianity. Have you ever felt to be the least? When you do, continue reading this passage in Ephesians. Paul, despite feeling as though he was the least, had confidence in the power of grace. He knew that by grace he was being used by God to share the gospel.  And by faith, we can boldly access the Father. Not only do we have access, we also can intercede for others. Doesn’t matter who we are, what we have done, what we look like. By faith, we have access. Paul continues in the scripture to pray for the Ephesians, and we get to this well known scripture that says Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us Ephesians 3:20.Are you also discounting God through your lack of confidence? Do you discredit His ability to use you? Do you believe that He will do as He has said and hears your prayers? Have you made Him lesser because you feel unworthy?

1 John 4:4-6says Greater is He that is in me. Do you believe that He is within you? Do you believe you have overcame them? “Them” can be anything you are facing right now. You have overcome idolatry, sexual sin, a foul mouth, gossip. You have overcome anxiety, depression, PTSD, cancer, diabetes. You have overcome if you would just believe. And when you overcome you exude confidence and boldness in God. He is the lifter of our heads. We were not meant to walk around slumped to the ground. We were not meant to be so self-conscious and insecure that we don’t even try to pray. Prayer is the answer. In prayer we become strong and we are reminded of how loved we are. We are reminded of God’s strength and His purpose for us. In prayer we intercede for our brothers and sisters. In prayer is healing from whatever is still hurting you from your past. Prayer is the answer and we must boldly, confidently pray. Not by our works but by our faith will things begin to change through Kingdom Prayer.

Awe and Wonder

The sun is rising Clouds form in mysterious ways

The canvas is painted

How amazing it is that God granted us feet to stand in awe and wonder of his marvelous works.

There's a scent to every season

A taste to every memory

A sound to each moment

Being ever present in the glory of all that is around me

The past is gone, today is here

The world is vast, bigger than me

The future is a guiding star to my destiny

Look up, taste and see the endless sky full of mysteries the mind cannot even comprehend

I stop and wait

Shooting stars across the sky

Cool breeze on my face

Pausing in the midst of the chaos to appreciate what is taken granted

Oh God I am in awe and wonder

Let me not forget to enjoy your presence

Every chance I get

In the coolness of the morning, the stillness of the day, and quietness of the night

When will God fail me?

My car has side view mirrors with small safety (or blind spot) mirrors in the corners. I found myself asking myself today as I drove, I wonder when these mirrors will fail me. Isn't that a silly thought? In all the time I have had my car, I have never had to look over my shoulder and looked in my mirrors to see if my path was clear. The times I chose to look for myself instead of trusting my mirrors, I almost got into an accident. I had the nerve to ask WHEN they were going to fail, like it was an option for them to not work as they are meant to. The only error would be user induced. Can you see where I am going with this analogy? I call these my Peter moments. Let's recall the story of Peter walking on water in Matthew 12:22-33. Peter was brave and daring. He trusted Jesus enough to step out of the boat but when he saw the wind and the waves he became afraid. As believers, when trials come we find our courage in scriptures, prayer, and affirmations but the longer time goes by sometimes fear and doubt sets in. We step out trusting God like Peter did but then eventually we look to the left and to the right and notice the unpaid bills, the tragic death of a family member, the depression you've been dealing with for so long, the unexpected doctor's report, the defiant child and we begin to sink.

The best thing about this story is that Jesus did not let Peter drown, he saved him. Even when we become of little faith and doubt, God is merciful to save us. Peter had to go through it though. It wasn't a story about Peter walked safely and happily to Christ. It was a story of the human journey. Glory to glory and faith to faith has so much in between.

I can't count on my side view mirrors as much as I can trust God but the truth is that God will NEVER fail us. He will never let us drown. It may take some time and it may be painful. You will get tired and your faith may become small. You may become distracted by the storm and lose your sight of Christ. The great thing about grace is that despite the human condition, God will not stop caring for you and bringing you through. I have come to the understanding that EVERYTHING has a purpose and that purpose is not about me, it's about God and his glory. In Matthew 12:33 those in the boat worshipped God and acknowledged that Jesus was truly the Son of God. Everything Peter went through ended with the glory of God.  So that I may be able to say the HE did it and it was not by my will that I have been delivered.

I Cried.

I cried myself to sleep last night and that's okay. Our society has plagued our minds to think that only the weak cry, only the weak feel anxious and overwhelmed, only the weak feel sadness. This is not true at all. Why do we try to regulate our feelings to the point where there is no balance. Balance comes with good and bad, yin and yang as they say. We are going to feel negative feelings and emotions (I won't get technical into the differences between feelings and emotions, that's a whole other subject). The more we bottle them up, suppress them, and ignore them, the worse the outcome will be. This is what we have been taught to do thought. Being strong and courageous does not involve only good days with sunshine, rainbows, and unicorns. In order to be courageous, there has to be an act of courage and an act of courage involves some adversity. Adversity involves heartache, disappointment, unexpected events, etc. Why wouldn't you feel some negative feelings with adversity? I have learned this simple mantra: "I acknowledge this feeling and I allow myself to experience it in it's fullness." Man, does it feel  good to cry sometimes. The key here is to acknowledge and experience it but not to act on it or linger in it. Be 100% honest with how you are feeling but don't allow the feeling to define you or the situation.

When I was going through depression, the biggest thing I did was hate myself for being depressed and hate the way I felt. That did not help my situation at all. It was a never ending cycle of feeling depressed and then feeling anger because I was depressed, and then feeling more depressed because I didn't want to feel anger. Sounds unreasonable right? But this is what we do in some way. Embrace yourself. Embrace how you feel. Embrace your emotions. You will have sadness in your life, you will cry yourself to sleep at some point. I hear to tell you, it's okay. We are not superhuman.

Here's the light at the end of the tunnel. God understands. God uniquely made us and created us as complex beings that have a variety of feelings and emotions. The key is to delight yourself in Him knowing that when you do cry yourself to sleep, He will lift up your head and remind you of His goodness and mercy. When you are angry and overwhelmed, He will give you peace that surpasses all understanding and remind you that the battle is not yours but His and victory is inevitable. The balance comes in when we acknowledge our feelings and acknowledge who God is. He gives us joy for sadness, strength for weakness, He takes our burdens and lightens our load. The truth of His promises carries us and lifts us up. It tells us its okay to feel this moment of sadness because He has promised me gladness. Remind yourself in a temporary state of negativity that you are not perfect and you're going to feel bad sometimes, but God is greater than any feeling and He will always lift me up out of darkness if I would just look to Him.

I will end with this. In 2 Corinthians 12:9-10 (ESV), Paul says "But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong."

Compromise

Daniel's Fast day 8 I had a sugar binge. I couldn't take it anymore. I was so hungry and I thought to myself "It's okay, I'll just start again tomorrow". Let me be completely transparent, I ate cookies, candy, donuts, etc. Full out orgy of glucose. That sounds a lot like how we live our lives. A life full of compromise and taking advantage of grace and mercy. Will God strike me down and send me to the pit because I gave into a moment of weakness, not at all but the fact still remains that I continued to eat more and more sugary treats even though I knew I should not. Life continuously offers us cakes, donuts, and pies to satisfy our flesh and they seem so delicious until we wake up with a tummy ache. God was trying to protect me from the tummy ache but I gave in to momentary pleasures. Was it worth it? Not at all. We play Russian Roulette with our holiness and gamble with out lives with things that are not even worth the bet. Romans 6:1-2 (KJV) says "What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound? God forbid. How shall we, that are dead to sin, live any longer therein?"

How can we live a life free from sin yet still choose to sin? It is impossible. We can't make excuses and say "It's okay God knows my heart" or "Grace will cover my actions". If we know it is sin, why do we continue in it for the delight of the flesh?  Grace's purpose is to cover when we do not know any better not to cover when we chose not to do better. I chose to eat the donuts and yes they were delicious but I felt terrible spiritually afterwards because of my compromise (I will just start again tomorrow if I can just eat these cakes now) and my disobedience. I lacked perseverance and discipline in that moment. Christianity is not easy. It is not a belief where you can do whatever you want. Freedom in Christ has been misunderstood to mean freedom of choice. Freedom in Christ is the surrender of your life so that you may live free from this world, free from sin, and free from this flesh. When you surrender your life and your desires to God, the simple pleasures of the flesh become meaningless and the quest for righteousness becomes that much more important to you. Are we going to do it right every single time? No. We are born into sin, the vary nature of being human is sinful. That's why we must transcend this world (sin) and be our true, spiritual self.

Romans 7 sums things up pretty well especially verses 15-25.  I like verse 24 (KJV) when it says "O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death?" The answer is only God can deliver us from death (sin). Let's move to Romans 8:1 (KJV) "There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit." Notice that it says, who walk not after the flesh. So when we compromise and willingly sin, are we walking in the spirit? So condemnation, disapproval does apply to us when we walk after the flesh. We should feel bad. The problem comes when we live in condemnation and do not move forward into correction and repentance. God does not desire us to beat ourselves up or become depressed/ discouraged because we acted in our flesh. God is love. Love involves both correction and forgiveness. Feeling guilty means you care and that the Holy Spirit is nudging you saying you can do better. When I was in my dextrose coma, I felt terrible for maybe an hour then moved forward to understanding and repentance. From there God says "For I will be merciful to their unrighteousness, and their sins and their iniquities will I remember no more." (Hebrews 8:12 KJV)

Thank God that Jesus died on the cross for my outright sins and that I am free to start fresh in each moment. Thank God for his mercy and unrelenting forgiveness. We still have to take the initiative daily to resist sin daily meaning making a conscious effort not to compromise holiness even for a second. When we think of doing something that is pleasing to the flesh, stop and take a moment to think about it again. Is it worth my holiness? Is it only a temporary pleasure? Will I regret doing this? And when we downright know its not right, let's make the choice not to eat the cake.

I'd like to hear from you all, please comment, discuss, say hello :)

He That is Within You

I have been without a computer for a while but praise God I have it back and can post again :) 1 John 4:4 (KJV) says "Ye are of God, little children, and have overcome them: because greater is he that is in you, than he that is in the world."

Many times we forget that God dwells within us. He is omnipresent meaning He is everywhere, even inside of you. I find myself occasionally looking for someone to talk to seeking advice or comfort or encouragement. Then when no one is available I become saddened and downcast. At some point a light comes on and I look to the Father. Now what would happen if I turned to God first and knew that He was right there with me through everything. Instead of burdening someone with my issues and taking away from them (because we all know it can be exhausting), it would turn into a testimony and an encouragement for the both of us. Imagine it. "Girl I lost my job and my boyfriend in the same day but I trust God and He has heard my prayers" instead of "Girl, I don't know what to do. I lost EVERYTHING. What am I going to do????" *proceeds to cry uncontrollably*. When we don't pray and search ourselves, things seem pretty catastrophic don't they. God has given us all the tools to not only encourage ourselves but to uplift others by not burdening them. God is there to take the burden and exchange it for his peace. We are not to pass that burden from person to person to person by not sourcing the power inside of us.

We carry such a powerful force inside of us each and every day. God is so accessible thanks to the ultimate comforter, the Holy Spirit deep in our belly. When God says "greater is he that is in you, than he that it in the world", that means greater than any friend, confidant, even greater than our parents and significant others. It is necessary to trust God from within you to encourage YOURSELF. Yes, it is very important to have others you can depend on to support and encourage you but you must FIRST realize that God has already given us everything we need if we would just tap into it. You cannot do it on your own but you can do ALL things through Christ. With God, you are amazing, beautiful, intelligent, and more than capable. God has given you POWER, turn it on. Let's encourage one another, together with power, not have a relationship where we seek out other to drain their power to gain our own. Change your power source. Look to God, HE that is within you.