5 Ways to Wreck Fear

Fear has left its mark on me.

Fear has left its mark on me.

It was how I did life. Most of my decisions were based on fear—not fear of God— but fear of everything. Will anyone be upset if I do this? Will so-and-so be mad at me if I do that? What will my neighbors/friends/relatives think if I do this? Worse yet, what will THEY think? THEY is a very powerful group. THEY have been making life miserable for the rest of us for many years. We need to vote THEY out of power. Why? Because THEY will  keep us from following HIM.

Peter did it.

He finally beat THEY and took back his power.

I’ve been thinking about Peter.

How did he go from a three-Pete denier to the man who stood and preached like his heart was a-fire? Poured-out, filled-up, all-in man of God. I want that.

Let’s look at what happened to Peter in the book of Acts.

Jesus and Peter are having a conversation. Peter declares he is ready to go the mat for Jesus, but Jesus knows better.

31 “Simon, Simon, behold, Satan demanded to have you, that he might sift you like wheat, 32 but I have prayed for you that your faith may not fail. And when you have turned again, strengthen your brothers.” 33 Peter said to him, “Lord, I am ready to go with you both to prison and to death.” 34 Jesus said, “I tell you, Peter, the rooster will not crow this day, until you deny three times that you know me. […]

58 And a little later someone else saw him and said, “You also are one of them.” But Peter said, “Man, I am not.” 59 And after an interval of about an hour still another insisted, saying, “Certainly this man also was with him, for he too is a Galilean.” 60 But Peter said, “Man, I do not know what you are talking about.” And immediately, while he was still speaking, the rooster crowed. 61 And the Lord turned and looked at Peter. And Peter remembered the saying of the Lord, how he had said to him, “Before the rooster crows today, you will deny me three times.” 62 And he went out and wept bitterly. Luke 22

Peter was all talk and no walk. He couldn’t deliver. I have been Peter—fired up at the conference and fast burn on the drive home. But, Peter changed.

How did it happen? How did God wreck fear?

Let’s look at God’s Peter Transformation Plan: From Fearful to Fearless

  1. Spend time weeping. Go back and read Acts 3:62. Just admit it and be done with it. Tell God you have failed, and you need Him to break your heart and put it back together again so it beats only for Him. Ask Him to do whatever it takes so you will fear only Him.
  2. Spend time with Jesus. A lot of time. Peter spent 3 years doing daily life with Jesus. How many hours do we spend each day with Jesus? Perhaps the more accurate question is, How many minutes do we spend each day with Jesus?  If you are serious about change, you’ll be spending serious time with Jesus. Luke 5:11
  3. Spend time in prayer. In the time between the Ascension and Pentecost, Peter and the rest of Jesus’ disciples spent their time in the Upper Room in prayer. God used extended prayer to change Peter’s heart. Acts 1:14, Acts 4:31
  4. Spend time in fellowship.  Peter did not become fearless by hunkering down by himself in his house.  Effective outspoken Christians are not loners. We need others to encourage, confront and hold us accountable as we walk with Jesus. Acts 1:14, Acts 4:31
  5. Spend time in Scripture. Start at Acts 2:14 and read Peter’s speech to the crowd. How did he know what to say? Hours in the word of God. An Acts 2:14 kind of witness requires time, effort, perseverance and faith.

I have added one more element to this list: fasting. For this Lenten season, I have given up my favorite: Jason’s Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter Cups. Yep. It hurts. But God honors my sacrifice. By the way, I don’t expect to not ever feel fear again. I want to act in faith despite the fear. That’s what I’m talking about.

There we have it. The perfect recipe to wreck fear: prayer, repentance, scripture, fellowship and Jesus. Join me on this journey to wreck fear. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.

Leave me a comment on our Facebook page about your journey of faith. I’d love to chat with you.

Mary Kane

Read more from Mary at: onlybyprayer.com

all rights reserved. copyright 2017

Start Living For God Today

We should stop pretending to love Jesus while inwardly craving other desires.

If God really is who He says He is and heaven and hell actually exist, would you live any differently? Would any of your priorities get rearranged? Would you start seeing this world from a different lens? Would you tell others about Jesus…instead of hemming and hawing around? I often contemplate such questions as I struggle to pull myself from my comfortable, safe, little world.

We should stop pretending to love Jesus while inwardly craving other desires.

Religion apart from God is dead; it is merely an effort to clean our outer shell. Possibly without realization, we are trying to make ourselves look good and fit in with the crowd. Possibly without personal reckoning, we are hoping to feel good about who we are.

God sees through the superfluous and cuts right through to our heart. He is not concerned about fancy new toys or the Who’s Who List of your city.

God is after you.

During the time of Jesus, there were some superficial believers…their names are the Pharisees and Sadducees. They spent their time combating Jesus and playing games as “Goody Two Shoers.” They thought they had all the right answers, convincingly laying down arguments. Jesus sees right through their camaraderie and points out their issue with pride.

This sect of the Jews seemingly were seeking after God, but in reality were self-seeking. They didn’t see their problem with sin, and likewise, didn’t admit their need for a Savior. They thought they knew God because they could rattle off facts. They were full to the brim with head knowledge. We must be careful not to fall

We must be careful not to fall into the same trap…God wants to transform us completely.

A stern warning is given to those who dilly-dally with God. Those who talk the talk, but don’t come close to walking the walk. Those who say they love God, but their lives don’t come close to showing it. In Isaiah 29:13, God says, “This people draw near with their mouth and honor me with their lips, while their hearts are far from me.”

Church, I think it is time for us to stop pretending.

And church, I think it is time for us to really know God.

“Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for he who promised is faithful.” Hebrews 10:23

Abraham was “fully convinced that God was able to do what he had promised.” Romans 4:21

To live a surrendered life requires obedience.

To live by faith and fixate our eyes on the heavenly realm requires prayer.  To live this way, I must ___________________________ (fill in the blank). Ask yourself, are you willing to pray, “Father, glorify your name” (John 12:28)?

Start afresh today by making your relationship with God your top priority. Place Him at the center of your life. Honor Him in all that you do. Allow Him to mold and shape you. Living for God means putting ourselves in the passenger seat and allowing God full access to our lives.

Sue Allen

Leave your comments on our Facebook page

And read more from Sue at: https://sueaallen.com/

Pondering before Expressing: “Cross-Trained” before Cultured Trained

Jesus' death requires a personal response and there has to be depth beyond social media.

If you visit social media any time soon, you will be met with scenes of the cross, memes of Jesus’ death on that cross, Scripture verses, church sermons and more … I’m thankful for these times I can log on to social media to be met with posts filled up with Truth, aren’t you?

“He died.” This reality of Jesus’ death as a human being keeps playing in my mind. It is a thought I can not seem to pause so instead I continue to ponder. My pondering leads me down a road of personal experiences with death and how instinctive it is to grieve when death becomes the face of someone we love.

Though everyone grieves differently there seems to be some components of it we all share; the taunting and gut wrenching agony of losing the one we loved, the haunting darkness that encompasses that season of life, the knowing the trajectory of our life will never be what it once was. We grieve in this way because we loved them deeply. This type of grief naturally causes the grieving one to ponder up, in their hearts, the significance of that relationship.

Jesus was a human being, a person. We often talk on his love for us and our love for him. Have we pondered up, in our hearts, his death? “Jesus died on the cross to take away the sins of this world” is a truth painted all throughout the Gospels, but do we feel something about it? His death requires a personal response and there has to be depth beyond social media.

Our intimacy with our Savior has to be more than a Facebook status producing a number of “likes”. This man is the Savior and a relationship with him has to pierce our souls to produce everlasting fruit (John 15). It is like being handed a glass of water when you are parched. Instead of taking the water and gulping it down to quench your thirst, you instead walk around showing everyone you have a glass of water. All the while people are looking at you curious and confused, wondering why on earth you aren’t drinking it then!

Our souls are parched and the quenching happens when this grand narrative of Scripture makes a personal collide with our souls. How is this collide going to start kicking up some dust if we are not taking back our right to ponder things up in our hearts before we express them over social media? Furthermore, how do we even know what to express before we have pondered?

Christians dont worship the Bible by any means, but we believe there is tremendous power in it. We believe it is the revelation of God. We read the Bible because we need an encounter with God; we need to hear His words. These days we are always reading words-scrolling Twitter, reading emails, text messages, and the pretty Instagram quotes. We want quick inspiration. Reading Scripture, however, is slower, quieter work. It takes time, patience, and attention, but if were looking to nourish our souls, nothing can compete with it. (Melissa Moore, Entrusted Bible Study by Beth Moore)

If you don’t mind, I’d like to leave you with a charge. Pondering up Scripture is your right, privilege and responsibility as a Christian. You are entrusted with this right to ponder up Jesus’ death on the cross and I can’t help but ask, have you?

I’m going to borrow a term Beth Moore likes to use here  and that’s being “cross-trained”. As Christians, we have to be cross-trained every time we are culture trained. Culture is training us up to share our thoughts long before we have pondered them up, so what does “cross-training” look like for you this Easter season?

Ponder: to weigh in the mind :  appraise. pondered their chances of success, to think about :  reflect on pondered the events of the day, to think or consider especially quietly, soberly, and deeply

 

pondering with you,

Maria Bowersock

Leave your comments on our Facebook page

You can read more from Maria at: www.awomannamedfree.com

Waiting in Harmony

f there is one thing we all have in common, it’s that we hate waiting. We despise it. In our fast-paced digital world, waiting is a monotonous waste of time.

If there is one thing we all have in common, it’s that we hate waiting. We despise it. In our fast-paced digital world, waiting is a monotonous waste of time.

And yet right before Jesus ascended to heaven, He told the disciples to stay in town and wait on the Holy Spirit. (See Luke 24:49.) He didn’t tell them exactly where to stay, how long they would be there, or what they should do with their time. Nor did He explain what it would be like when the Holy Spirit came.

He just told them to wait. And then He left His followers behind.

The Waiting

Fifty days. That’s the amount of time between Acts 1 and Acts 2. It doesn’t seem like a long time, but it must have felt like forever to the 120 people who put their lives on hold to wait for the Holy Spirit.

But they didn’t wait passively. During those seven weeks, they

  • prayed continuously
  • ministered to one another
  • shared what they had with those in need
  • loved and prayed for one another
  • told stories of Jesus’ life
  • mourned Jesus’ death and
  • celebrated Jesus’ resurrection.

The Harmony

“These all with one mind were continually devoting themselves to prayer…” (Acts 1:14 NAS). The KJV states, “These all continued with one accord in prayer and supplication….”

That’s 120 people repeatedly gathering in one room for 50 days. Not fighting. Not panicking. Not seeking their own interests.

They were waiting in “one accord.” The Greek word for this phrase means “with one mind, one accord, one passion.” The expression combines two thoughts, “to rush along” and “in unison.” This creates a musical image, reminding us that a number of different notes must be combined to create a unique harmony.

All of Jesus’ followers were regular people. They had their own backgrounds, emotions, and beliefs about what God was doing. They didn’t check their individuality at the door when they walked into the upper room. But through prayer, they surrendered their own desires and wills to that of Jesus. As they submitted to Him, they were able to live and worship together, in true harmony.

The Results

“And when the day of Pentecost was fully come, they were all with one accord in one place” (Acts 2:1 KJV).

When the big day came….when God showed up in full force…when thousands were gathered together outside… Jesus’ followers were ready! Because a small group of believers chose to be obedient and wait on the Lord, three thousand people were saved that day. And thus the gospel began to spread across the world.

Our Turn

As Christians, we still wait on the Lord. Individually, we wait for Him to give us guidance, for healing, and for loved ones to be saved. As a Church body, we wait for fresh movements, revival, and for the second coming of our King.

The great news is that we now have the unlimited power of the Holy Spirit within us! If we will allow Him to move in our lives and within the Church, He will direct us to Jesus—with one mind, in one accord, and in complete harmony.

If 120 people could start the Christian movement, imagine what the Church can do today!

Holy Spirit, help us to focus on Jesus. As we set our sights on Him, help us to live in harmony with You and with one another.

Ashley L. Jones of BigSisterKnows.com

Leave your comments for Ashley on our Facebook page

 

A Great Resource

If this topic interests you, I highly recommend the The Centurion’s Wife. This is an excellent fiction book set within the fifty days that occurred between Jesus’ resurrection and the day of Pentecost. It’s the first in the Acts of Faith series by Janette Oke and Davis Bunn.

Making Monday Matter

After all the holiday traditions and celebrations have ceased, will the Resurrection continue into the “Monday after” or will it be put up on the Easter shelf in the attic to collect dust until next year?

Over the last 40 days leading up to Easter, we journeyed and labored towards the Cross with Jesus, looking deep within the dark caverns of our soul, begging the Lord to painstakingly search us for every sin stained thought, word and action; constantly reminding ourselves of our desperate need for a Savior. The emotional rollercoaster of Lent prepared our hearts and minds for the spiritual high and victorious triumph that we would finally experience on Easter Sunday when Jesus would conquer sin and death for good! Truly, it is FINISHED!

Hard to beat that kind of emotional experience, right?

Now that the sun has set on Easter Sunday, what will Monday morning bring?

All the Easter eggs have been colored, Easter baskets have been emptied, the egg hunts have ended, the loot has been counted and the candy comas have ensued; while the last of the Easter grass has been swept up and thrown away.  After all the holiday traditions and celebrations have ceased, will the Resurrection continue into the “Monday after” or will it be put up on the Easter shelf in the attic to collect dust until next year?

In our world today, it seems like we can talk about catastrophes and atrocities for hours on end, we can debate politics and slander leaders for countless hours on our Facebook feeds and we can celebrate our national championships with fist bumps and victory dances all day long, without tiring.  But, when it comes to the Easter miracle that would literally save humanity from eternal damnation, we are quick to put the conversation to bed after the last Peep has been enjoyed.

As Believers in Christ’s death and resurrection, “the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead is living in you”(Romans 8:11, NIV). I don’t know about you but I think that is definitely something to celebrate and continue the conversation about! We idolize celebrities and professional athletes for their “super power” capabilities yet we forget and all too often marginalize the fact that we have the gift of the Holy Spirit dwelling inside of us and that the living Christ has infused us with the same Resurrection power that emptied the tomb on Easter Sunday! I’m not sure there are enough “hearts,” emoticons, “likes,” tweets or shares to do this truth justice.

In 1 Peter it is written, “Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy, he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the death, and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade.” This inheritance is kept in heaven for you, who through faith are shielded by God’s power until the coming of the salvation that is ready to be revealed in the last time” (1 Peter 1:3-5, NIV).

We have the responsibility as Christ’s church to go far beyond confessing with our mouths that we believe.  It is not enough to give the saving power, transformative nature and hope of the Gospel, lip service.  As followers and ambassadors of Jesus Christ, we are required to put feet to our faith and live in the fullness of Christ’s resurrection!

Resurrection, Rebirth, Rejuvenation, Restoration, Transformation, HOPE!

These words are not limited to Lent and Easter Sunday.  These themes should penetrate every fabric of our being, they should flood every circumstance we face and should determine every decision we have to make.

Christ’s victory on Easter Sunday does NOT end at sunset on Sunday.  Jesus defeated death! Jesus conquered the grave!  Forever. Period. Amen!

We cannot crawl back into our own tombs; enslaved by fear, shackled to complacency and married to the bondage of this world! We serve a living God who has called us to be vessels of a LIVING HOPE, conduits to a broken world who so desperately needs to know of our LIVING SAVIOR whose body was broken on a rugged cross, whose precious blood was shed to cover all of our sins, past, present and future, who breathed his last to unlock our tombs that would allow us to live freely and fearlessly as a result of his resurrection power over eternal death.

Jesus’ last breath on the cross was our first breath into a newly resurrected life in Christ.

So, how can we make Monday matter?

My prayer for you and for me as we begin our post Easter journeys on this Monday morning.

“Heavenly Father, keep the precious blood of your son’s broken body on the cross, fresh in our minds and raw on our hearts; allowing it to permeate into every part of our lives and to drench our souls.  Lord, help us to fully embrace our newly resurrected lives in Christ and make us bold ambassadors of the Gospel, in thought, word and deed.  Precious Jesus, strengthen us with your resurrection power, use our lives for Kingdom work and let our callings be fresh and our purposes be renewed with each new breath.  We pray Father that our Lenten transformations will take flight beyond the temporary of this world.  We pray that our hearts will remain on fire for you and that we will share the Good News with all that we come in contact with and set their souls ablaze for you and your Kingdom. 

Risen Jesus, wake us up!  Do not allow Monday to lull our spirits to sleep! Keep us alert, refresh our weary souls with your living Word and infuse our spirits with the power of your resurrection so we can minister to those in this world who desperately need to experience reconciliation and resurrection.  Father, we are called to take up our cross daily and by dying to self, we will gain our lives in You.  Please give us more of you and less of ourselves.  Help us live in reckless obedience to our Father in Heaven and live a fully reconciled and resurrected life in submission to your Son Jesus.  Make our next steps be all about you Jesus and your Father’s Kingdom work. 

Help us make Monday matter.

Precious blood of Jesus, continue to crucify our sinful nature so we may live cruciformed in your name each and every day.  Saturate our days with Resurrection and show us how to take Easter off of the attic shelf and incorporate its TRUTH into the very air we breathe.  We love you Jesus, we thank you for saving our wretched, unworthy souls and covering us in your grace and showering us with your unending mercies.  It is in your Son’s most precious name Jesus, we pray”

AMEN.

LeRyiah Arant

Leave your comments for LeRyiah on our Facebook page

Does the Resurrection really matter?

Does the resurrection really matter?

Trust me, this isn’t a lecture about why you should attend church on Easter Sunday or why you should attend church the other 51 days during the year.

The question is: why does the resurrection matter in your regular life? Does it make any difference in your every day, drag-yourself-to-work kind of day that involves paying bills, eating, fighting colds, and visiting the in-laws?

This is the question that will change the destiny of your life, in the temporal sense, as well as the eternal. So let’s get the eternal out of the way right now. That’s easy. Easter is coming, and you’ve got eggs to dye and bunny cookies to make.

The discussion of the resurrection begins with the person who marks the end of B.C. (“before Christ”) and the onset of A.D. Anno Domini (“in the year of our Lord”).

History itself revolves around Jesus, the only human to cheat death of his own free will and power. This is the resurrection everyone must confront at some point in his life–the historical data that there lived a perfect man (who was God’s Son), who died and raised himself to life and returned to heaven.

Mohammed, Ghandi, Mother Teresa, Pope John Paul III, Martin Luther, and Martin Luther King Jr. were all spiritual leaders. But they are all dead. They have tombs where their bodies are rotting, and they have remained powerless to stop the process. Jesus’ tomb, however, sits empty. His resurrection power gives resurrection power to everything else in my life (yes, even in my normal non-Easter life).

Belief in Jesus’ resurrection spearheads all other possible resurrections in our temporal life. You do believe in those, even if you don’t believe in Him. Let me explain.

The sun comes up every morning, inspiring us to productivity, yet sets every night, under the equally important light of the moon, which ushers rest into our hurried lives. We couldn’t stop the power of our solar system, even if we tried. We count on it.

Seeds die so new life can grow. Each spring, flowers burst forth anew, trees re-bud and bear fruit, year after year. The food cycle continues, the animal kingdom functions, all in tandem, all in natural rejuvenation. Nature renews itself without our help.

In every family, the elderly pass away, and the young bring new babies into the world, all pink and innocent and full of wonder. Incredibly, new life follows on the heels of death.

Tragedy brings tears, yet laughter brings joy; even midst heartache, a laugh or a smile can chase away pain. How does this phenomenon work?

And let’s not forget the resurrection of the human spirit–the daring challenge of starting over when all seems lost:  the battered wife who breaks free, the broken marriage that repairs itself, the addict who accepts accountability, the slave who escapes, the abused who disarms the power of the abuser. These are resurrections, and they are the resurrections that defeat God’s enemy, just as His resurrection defeated his enemy 2,000 years ago.

A lifestyle of resurrection chooses change when the status quo would be easier. It believes in the unexplainable without embarrassment because it has lived the transformation. It gives when it feels empty. It loves when it feels hated. It confesses when it sins. It believes when life seems hopeless.

This is the power of the resurrection, every day, from now till eternity. And then it begins again.

John 11:25 “Jesus said to her, ‘I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me will live, even though he dies; and whoever lives and believes in me will never die. Do you believe this?'”

Sue Schlesman

Read more from Sue @www.susanwalleyschlesman.com

Leave your comments for Sue on our Facebook page

Will You Leave Your Comfortable Pew?

The resurrection of Jesus changes the face of death for all His people. Death is no longer a prison, but a passage into God’s presence. Easter says you can put truth in a grave, but it won’t stay there.

“Though he was God, he did not think of equality with God as something to cling to. Instead, he gave up his divine privileges; he took the humble position of a slave and was born as a human being. When he appeared in human form, he humbled himself in obedience to God and died a criminal’s death on a cross. “Philippians 2:6-8(NLT).

 

I can recall the day as if were just yesterday. It’s been more than 15 years when an emptiness I couldn’t explain began chipping away at my heart. I was in my late 40s. I was lost and even if I didn’t know it, God did. He wouldn’t give up on me.

On a sunny October afternoon, I prayed aloud for the very first time. My simple prayer was, “God, help me. I need some direction in my life.”

Since that day, I have been on a journey, a quest you might say, to know my Savior and Lord more deeply, to understand God’s will for my life and to use my gifts for His glory. I never dreamed He would lead me, more than 12 years ago, to begin writing my weekly column, which eventually led to speaking engagements across the state.

Trying to fully comprehend the sacrifice Christ made for mankind is mind-boggling, sometimes even for those who believe. Still more breath-taking is what happened three days after his cruel death on the cross.

For those who doubt, I wonder where or in whom they place their hope. Christian apologist Ravi Zacharias says, “Outside of the cross of Jesus Christ, there is no hope in this world. That cross and resurrection at the core of the Gospel is the only hope for humanity.”

Hope and a desire to spread the Good News of His resurrection is what drove the disciples. Even facing hardships, they didn’t give up.

Christian author Erling C. Olsen once wrote, “Whoever reads the New Testament seriously, or gives thought to the impact which the apostles made upon their generation, must acknowledge that one outstanding historic event alone spurred that small band of 11 ordinary men to an amazing task of evangelization in their generation. Defying every obstacle, loss of home, persecution, even death itself, they evidenced the supreme relevance in their ministry of the resurrection of Jesus Christ.”

How many Christians today are willing to face the obstacles, losses, persecution and eventually death that these men embraced on their mission to make disciples for Jesus? I would hazard a guess that not many of us who live in America and sit in our comfortable pews on Sunday mornings would be willing to die for our faith.

However, Jesus has called us to leave the church building. And, just like the disciples, He asks us to drop what we’re doing to share the Easter news.

Just as Christ didn’t remain in the grave, we must give up our attachment to worldly things to take up His cross. Author Clarence W. Hall says, “The resurrection of Jesus changes the face of death for all His people. Death is no longer a prison, but a passage into God’s presence. Easter says you can put truth in a grave, but it won’t stay there.”

Are you willing to leave your comfortable pew?

Carol Round

Read more from Carol at: CarolaRound.com

And leave your comments on our Facebook page

The Children of God

As children of God it is our duty to listen to His guidance. We should pray without ceasing, be silent and listen for an answer. He will work through us if we allow it to happen.

28 And now, little children, abide in Him,

that when He appears, we may have confidence

and not be ashamed before Him at His coming.

 29 If you know that He is righteous, you know

that everyone who practices righteousness is born of Him.

Through His death on the cross we are all forgiven, for all of our sins. We are now righteous, clean, and can come to the Father. This is a gift we are all given. We just have to open our hearts and minds and yes to this wonderful gift of salvation.

3 Behold what manner of love the Father

has bestowed on us, that we should be called children of God!

Therefore the world does not know us, because it did

not know Him. Beloved, now we are children of God;

and it has not yet been revealed what we shall be,

but we know that when He is revealed, we shall be like Him,

 for we shall see Him as He is. And everyone who

has this hope in Him purifies himself, just as He is pure. 

1 John 2:28-3:10

 

When God created Adam and Eve He wanted all of the people of earth to be His children. With their sin Adam and Eve’s eyes were opened to right and wrong. They had the freedom of choice. Since they disobeyed God and ate from the tree of knowledge they had to leave the Garden of Eden. They had to work hard for everything that they needed.

So, now all of the people that have been born after them have been given free choice. Sometimes we listen for directions from God and make good choices, and there are times we just do what we want. At those times we have to pay the consequences if we make a bad choice.

As children of God it is our duty to listen to His guidance. We should pray without ceasing, and be silent and listen for an answer. He will work through us if we allow it to happen.

There are different types of prayers  for different situations, below are just a few suggestions.

  • Prayers to say for guidance: While driving, ask which direction to go. I once avoided a possible accident, because I listened and went a different direction.
  •  Praying for the sick: I once prayed and anointed a little girl with oil. The doctors were having trouble diagnosing what was wrong. I could feel the love, warmth, and peace of God as I prayed. A few days later she was out of the hospital and healed through God’s love.
  • Praying for your enemies: Years ago I prayed for my ex-sister-in-law to be happy. She was bitter over the divorce and wouldn’t let us see our niece. Once she was at peace we were able to see our niece and things went well.
  • Praying for our children: When I wake up and when I go to bed I pray for our daughters, their husbands, and our grandchildren by name.
  • Praying for others: Anytime someone’s name comes to mind I pray for them. God knows what is going on and what they need.

 

This is a partial list of prayers you can pray. Please leave a comment on our Facebook page of other prayers you pray.

Jann Martin

Read more from Jann @www.jannwmartin.com

Is Your Identity in Your Calling?

Are our identities mainly in our calling?

I had a conversation with someone recently, and they said, “I’m sorry. I can’t remember your first name, but I know you as Jessa’s mom.” I laughed, told them my name, and it was fine they didn’t remember because that is how most people know me. When my daughter played T-ball and softball, I even had a shirt that had “Jessa’s Mom” on the back.

I am the substitute teacher for my Sunday school class, and the last time I taught, the lesson was about Mary. A particular statement caught my eye. It said, “Mary’s identity was in her calling.” It caused me to ponder if that is true for most of us. Are our identities mainly in our calling? It was certainly true for many of the Bible characters.

We know Abraham as the father of many nations, Noah as the ark builder, Moses as the leader of the Israelites, and David as a king. In the New Testament, we know the disciples, missionaries and Bible writers by their calling. Finally, we know Mary as the mother of Jesus. Had she not had this calling on her life, she would have been a simple, unknown village girl.

So, what about us? Our first calling is to salvation, where our true identity begins. John 1:12 says, “Yet to all who did receive him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God.”  As children of God, we are each called to certain tasks and ministries. It is not always easy to let our calling be our identity. We get caught up in wanting to make a name for ourselves instead of just resting in who we are in Christ.

Since our identity is linked to our calling and our calling to God, who we are is a direct reflection of him. If we seek to honor him, then we must strive for excellence in what he has called us to do.  We also need to treat others in a way that would reflect God’s love on them. Paul puts it this way. “I urge you to live a life worthy of the calling you have received. Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace.” (Ephesians 4:1-3)

We may think our identity is not in our calling if we are not in full-time ministry. But, God has called you to use your gifts and talents to minster to others. You may be a door greeter, choir member or baby rocker. Your calling may be outside the walls of the church. You may be a hospital volunteer, a community beautifier, the neighborhood cookie baker, or somebody’s Mom. But, whatever the calling, we are to do it to the honor of the Lord.

Our identity without him is nothing. Our identity in his calling makes us valuable and worth knowing. Let our response be the same as Mary’s as we gratefully say, “My soul glorifies the Lord and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior, for he has been mindful of the humble state of his servant.” (Luke 1:46-48)

Sue Potts

Read more from Sue @www.suedavispotts.com

Leave your comments on our Facebook page

 

 

Ridiculous

“And thank you God for all the ridiculous things you do!”

Years ago, when our oldest daughter was a preschooler, she said a prayer that continues to speak to me almost two decades later. She was going through the normal list of thank yous, Thank you for this, thank you for that, thank you for . . .

When she got to the end of her list she said something that caught our attention.

“And thank you God for all the ridiculous things you do!”

At first I thought this was a cute, funny misuse of an ununderstood word by a young child, but the more I thought about it, the more it began to dawn on me that I was the one who didn’t understand.

Meriam-Webster defines ridiculous this way:

arousing or deserving ridicule: extremely silly or unreasonable: absurd, preposterous, ludicrous.

When you look at scripture, it does seem to abound with absurdities:

Paul tells the Corinthians:

For when I am weak, then I am strong. (2 Corinthians 12:10)

Since God in his wisdom saw to it that the world would never know him through human wisdom, he has used our foolish preaching to save those who believe. (1 Corinthians 1:21)

James says:

Dear brothers and sisters, when troubles of any kind come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy.

Seriously?

And what about the words of Jesus:

If you cling to your life, you will lose it, and if you let your life go, you will save it. (Luke 17:33)

When Jesus told Nicodemus he had to be “born again,” I believe Nicodemus found that to be a bit preposterous. Jesus also spoke of loving your enemies, blessing those who persecute you, but hating your father and mother. And what about the verses where he mentions gouging out eyes and cutting off hands if they cause you to sin. (John 3:1-21, Matthew 5, Luke 14:26)

Unreasonable. Ridiculous.

Jesus words often aroused ridicule among the crowd.

The time for judging this world has come, when Satan, the ruler of this world, will be cast out. And when I am lifted up from the earth, I will draw everyone to myself. He said this to indicate how he was going to die.

The crowd responded, “We understood from Scripture that the Messiah would live forever. How can you say the Son of Man will die? Just who is this Son of Man, anyway?” John 12:31-34

How can you say the Son of Man will die? Just who is this Son of Man, anyway?

Jesus

The prince who became a pauper.

The mighty who became weak.

The served who became a servant.

The worshiped who became rejected.

The sinless who became sin.

The one who died so we can live.

It’s preposterous. Absurd. Silly.

Why should I gain from his reward?

I do not have an answer.

But this I know with all my heart.

His wounds have paid my ransom.*

It defies human wisdom. It’s Ludicrous. It’s Ridiculous.

And so we pray, Thank you, God, for all the ridiculous things you do!

Tami Lowman

Read more from Tami @Lowmans on Long Island

Leave your comments on our Facebook page

 

*How Deep The Father’s Love for Us (Stuart Townend)