Archive | December 2012

2012 Blog stats in review

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2012 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

600 people reached the top of Mt. Everest in 2012. This blog got about 2,100 views in 2012. If every person who reached the top of Mt. Everest viewed this blog, it would have taken 4 years to get that many views.

Click here to see the complete report.

Merry CHRISTmas!

Luke 2:11 NIV 11 Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; He is the Messiah, the Lord.

Luke 2:11 NIV 11 Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; He is the Messiah, the Lord.

Isaiah 9:6,7 NIV For to us a child is born,to us a son is given,and the government will be on His shoulders.And He will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God,Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.Of the greatness of His government and peace there will be no end He will reign on David’s throne and over His kingdom, establishing and upholding it with justice and righteousness from that time on and forever. The zeal of the Lord Almighty will accomplish this.

Matthew 1:18-25 NIV 18 This is how the birth of Jesus the Messiah came about: His mother Mary was pledged to be married to Joseph, but before they came together, she was found to be pregnant through the Holy Spirit. 19 Because Joseph her husband was faithful to the law, and yet did not want to expose her to public disgrace, he had in mind to divorce her quietly.20 But after he had considered this, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, “Joseph son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary home as your wife, because what is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. 21 She will give birth to a son, and you are to give Him the name Jesus,because He will save His people from their sins.”22 All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had said through the prophet: 23 “The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and they will call him Emmanuel” (which means “God with us”).24 When Joseph woke up, he did what the angel of the Lord had commanded him and took Mary home as his wife. 25 But he did not consummate their marriage until she gave birth to a son. And he gave Him the name Jesus.

Hallelujah!!

 

Wishing everyone a very Merry Christmas and Happy New Year! Praying that each of us will grow closer to the “reason for the season” in the coming year!

Blessings,

Lorraine

Dare to pray specifically

John 14:13,14 NIV 13 And whatsoever ye shall ask in my name, that will I do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son.14 If ye shall ask any thing in my name, I will do it.

John 14:13,14 NIV 13 And whatsoever ye shall ask in my name, that will I do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son.14 If ye shall ask any thing in my name, I will do it.

I am seeing so many prayers answered lately. I am a little overwhelmed from time to time with just how incredibly loving and faithful God is when we pray according to His will. As I have committed myself to walking closer to Christ, my prayers have changed. In the past I would often pray with selfish motives. I need, I want etc. etc… Now I find myself praying more for others and in the process God has been taking care of all my needs. The word of God says in James 4:3 NIV When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures. That verse sums of a great deal of my past prayers. Does it mean God does not want us to bring our needs to Him? NO, He desires that we bring our needs before Him. Phillippians 4:6 NIVDo not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. As we grow in our faith and intimacy with Christ, we find ourselves giving things over to Him much faster and easier than we used to. This frees us up to pray and interceed for others!  The focus is no longer on our own needs and wants but on the needs of others around us.

One of the things that I have begun to do different in my prayer life is to pray specifically. I used to pray general prayers, perhaps because I would often pray with unbelief and if I wasn’t too specific than I wouldn’t really get disappointed if I didn’t see results. However, spending more time  in God’s word and prayer has given me a boldness to pray specifically. I trust God to hear and answer my prayers because it goes against His very nature to ignore His children. When we are walking in His will and we come to Him in the name of His precious Son, He cannot ignore us. There are too many scriptures to list them all but here are but a few to illustrate this.. John 14:13-14 NIV 13 And I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son. 14 You may ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it.

Hebrews 4:16 NIV 16 Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.

Matthew 7:7 NIV “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you.

Matthew 18:19 NIV 19 “Again, truly I tell you that if two of you on earth agree about anything they ask for, it will be done for them by my Father in heaven.

We serve a mighty God that hears the prayers of His children and delights in answering those prayers. If there are areas of your life that are keeping you from walking in that intimacy with Him, confess them and be washed clean in the blood of Christ. It enables you to come before your Father.  Don’t let sin or an ongoing pattern of behavior keep you away from the lover of your soul. The word says in Psalm 37:4 NIV Take delight in the Lord, and He will give you the desires of your heart.  He longs to hear and answer our prayers as we yield our lives to Him and walk in His ways.

I now have the confidence to come before the throne praying specifically without fear of disappointment! As I delight myself in Him, He does give me the desires of my heart!  Does this confidence come from my “righteousness or goodness” thankfully NO because on my own merit I fail miserably in both. This confidence comes from understanding who Christ is and what He has done for each and every one of us. The high price He paid on the cross enables us to have fellowship with the Creator of the Universe and all the privileges that come along with that!   What is available to me is available to everyone who accepts Christ into their life! Acts 10:34-35 KJV 34 Then Peter opened his mouth, and said, Of a truth I perceive that God is no respecter of persons:35 But in every nation he that fears Him, and works righteousness, is accepted with Him.  

Delight yourself in Him and take Him at His word! Trust Him to hear and answer you as you pray specifically. He is faithful to His word!

Are you reading the manual?

I am not a techie person.  I have a blackberry but know that there are many applications it offers that I have no idea how to use. Because I have not spent time reading the  manual, I am not able to fully utilize my blackberry and all it’s applications. I get by with what I use it for but I know I am not using it to it’s full potential. In order to operate anything at it’s full potential, we need to educate ourselves on it’s capabilities, how it best functions, and the  safety requirements etc.

Our walk with Christ works much the same. In order to walk out our faith victoriously we need to spend time in the word of God. It is our manual, so to speak. The word shows us our potential in Christ, how we are to walk in the Spirit and how to avoid the spiritual snares and pitfalls along the way.

If we choose to accept Christ and then coast through life without growing in our faith, we limit what God is able to do for us and through us. Instead, He has a better plan for each and every one of us. We are to grow in our love for Him and as our faith increases, we are able to be used by Him to love and reach out to others and demonstrate Christ’s love for them.  Neither our love nor our faith will grow without spending time in our Bibles.  The Bible is full of verses emphasizing the importance of God’s word.  Let’s look at just a few of them….

John 1:1 NIV1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.    God is His word. When we study God’s word we are learning of Him!

2 Timothy 2:15 KJV 15 Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that need not be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.  We are all required to study the word of God. Through learning the scriptures we are able  discern truth and keep ourselves from falling into sin and the shame that follows.

Psalm 119:105 NIV 105 Your word is a lamp for my feet, a light on my path.  A lamp for our feet gives us illumination allowing us to see where we are at and a light on our path gives us illumination for where we are to go. This is an apt description of how reading God’s word will not only show us where we are currently at spiritually but  also gives us a clear direction to walk towards. It will keep us from stumbling around in the dark!

Hebrews 4:12 NIV 12 For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.  Wow!  I love this verse. I have found when I wander away from reading God’s word I lose my sensitivity to sin and selfishness. There is incredible power in God’s word. When we read it daily we grow closer to the author and as we grow closer to Him, we see things in our lives that He sees. Things that others may never see but things He wants to deal with. Once exposed, we are able to bring these things to Him and ask for forgiveness and healing, thereby enabling us to be free to love and be loved and used for service.

2 Timothy 3:16-17 NIV 16 All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, 17 so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.  This verse says it all. The word of God is the foundation of our faith. We can stand on it with full confidence! If we read it, apply it and walk in it we will be equipped for every good work!

If you want to fall deeper in love with Christ, grow in faith and be used by God it is vital that you study His word. Make 2013 your year to spend time daily not only in prayer, but in your Bible. It is a supernatural book and it will bring about supernatural results in your walk with Christ!

Psalm 119:16 NIV 16 I delight in your decrees; I will not neglect your word.

Psalm 119:16 NIV 16 I delight in your decrees;
I will not neglect your word.

The best Christmas gift to give

As followers of Christ, we are so blessed to live under God’s mercy and grace through Christ. We are given access to the throne of God. We are provided for and given the wonderful gifts of the Spirit to move in. We are the King’s kids. What a privilege and blessing. Nothing is too difficult or challenging for God to hear and answer on our behalf.  Do we deserve it? No, but we have been adopted into the King’s family through Jesus, thereby making us His own. We are truly blessed and highly favored!

My hope is that I will not take that for granted as I have at various times in the past. I want to remember daily, just what Christ has done for each and everyone of us willing to invite Him into our lives. He is no respecter of persons. What is available to me is available to everyone else that asks Christ into their lives.  John 3:16 NIV 16 For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.

This Christmas season I want to share the “good news” with others. There are so many hurting, broken people that are looking in all the wrong places for help to their problems. I want my life to demonstrate the love of Christ to those around me. I want to be able to help others in a tangible way but most of all I want to let them know that the same God that loves and cares for me is available to them. The only real solution for this hurting, broken world is to lead them to the One that is able to do all things. Though we can help and be a blessing, there are things we are not equipped or able to do. This is where God excels, in miracles!

Remember this Christmas season that the gospel is only good news to those that hear it! Share the love of Christ this year with those who are looking for answers. After all, He is the answer. Though He came as a baby, He now reigns as the King of Kings and  is available to all that seek Him. 1 Timothy 2:5-6 NIV For there is one God and one mediator between God and mankind, the man Christ Jesus, who gave himself as a ransom for all people. 

During all our gift giving this season, let’s not forget to share the one gift that truly keeps on giving, the gift of Christ to a dying world.

1 Timothy2:5,6 NIV 5 For there is one God and one mediator between God and mankind, the man Christ Jesus, 6 who gave himself as a ransom for all people.

1 Timothy2:5,6 NIV 5 For there is one God and one mediator between God and mankind, the man Christ Jesus, 6 who gave himself as a ransom for all people.

Christmas giving outside your circle

The Christmas season is upon us again. The stores are packed with shoppers trying to find the perfect gift. Christmas trees are decorated with every imaginable color, and Christmas music is heard everywhere you go. It’s an exciting, yet somewhat stressful time for many families. For those with loved ones or friends that they are able to share the holidays with, it is a happy time. It offers an opportunity to get together under joyful circumstances and enjoy each other’s company. Most of us love to be able to have all or near all our loved ones around us for a short time again.

Sadly, there are many others that look at the holidays as a time that emphasizes their loneliness. We usually don’t have to look far to find someone that doesn’t have family or close friends to share the holidays with. This can be due to relocation for a job, a family split, addiction, a falling out or multiple other reasons.  Why not reach out to someone this Christmas season? There are so many great ways to reach out…perhaps invite someone outside the family to Christmas dinner, donate to the Salvation Army, adopt a foster child through World Vision, help your Church with an Outreach dinner for their community, purchase gifts for struggling families, give to your local food bank..  There is no end to ways that you can be a blessing to others during this time of year.

Even though times may be tighter for some of us right now, we still have so much to give. If you can’t afford to give financially, why not offer your time?  Read to the elderly or visually impaired, bake an extra dozen cookies to share with a lonely neighbor. Just take a look around your neighborhood and see where you may be able to meet a need.

For too long many of us have made Christmas a time of meeting our own needs. Though there is nothing wrong with sharing and giving to those we love, the opportunity to give to others outside our inner circle provides us with a blessing greater than anything we will feel or receive from any gift under the tree.

The Bible has many verses on giving…why not take this  Christmas season to live them out?

Proverbs 11:24,25 NIV 24 One person gives freely, yet gains even more; another withholds unduly, but comes to poverty.25 A generous person will prosper; whoever refreshes others will be refreshed.

Luke 6:38 NIV 38 Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.”

Acts 20:35 NIV 35 In everything I did, I showed you that by this kind of hard work we must help the weak, remembering the words the Lord Jesus himself said: ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.’ ”

Romans 13:8 NIV Let no debt remain outstanding, except the continuing debt to love one another, for whoever loves others has fulfilled the law.

Truly, some of the happiest people I know are the most giving people. Stinginess does not bring happiness. It may thicken a wallet or bank account but it does not bring real joy. Giving does!

As Christians we can be a blessing to others because we serve a God that has done and continues to do so much for us!  Through Christ we have open access to the Creator of the world. We are continually watched and loved on by Him.  So this Christmas season remember Ephesians 2:10 NIV 10 For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.  Go out and be a blessing to others and do good works! 🙂

Salvation Army-Giving Hope Today

Salvation Army-Giving Hope Today

Utilize your access to the throne!

This old world of ours is quite the mess these days. There are rumors of wars in the air. Society as a whole has decided that good is bad and bad is good and anyone that questions that is quite simply politically incorrect. At times it’s tempting for followers of Christ to just tune it all out and live in our own little spiritual cocoons.

Our calling however is not to ignore the plight of others. We need to do what we can to help when and who we can. This doesn’t mean enabling but assisting. We need to contribute to charities or activities that are a blessing to others that have less than we do. We are to reach out in tangible ways when we can and in ways that we are able. Most importantly, however, we are called to pray! Prayer DOES change things. It changes people, circumstances and brings God’s infinite wisdom into some pretty messed up situations. People can laugh and mock believers for their “blind faith” but as the saying goes, a person with an experience is never at the mercy of a person with an argument. I have  seen first hand God move in my life and the lives of those around me in supernatural ways. This year alone I have seen God provide supernaturally in many ways…financially, in healing, with  jobs and in answering heart cries from many people that have sought Him. Prayer is a precious gift from God Himself. As followers of Christ, we can go boldly before the throne of God and make our requests known. This is not done on our own merit, thankfully, but on the saving blood and redemption of Jesus. He has opened the door for us to the throne room!

There are a few things we need to be mindful of however, as we come before the throne of God in prayer. We are to confess our sin before God and ask for forgiveness through Christ. As shown in 2 Chronicles 7:14 NIV 14 if my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land.   

Sin should never keep us away from God, it should motivate us to ask for forgiveness and humbly come before Him. He will hear our prayers. We are also warned about coming to God in prayer with bitterness or resentment against someone. We need to confess and rid ourselves of bitterness and unforgiveness if we want Him to hear our prayer.  Matthew 6:14-15 NIV 14  For if you forgive other people when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. 15 But if you do not forgive others their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.  This statement is very clear and doesn’t leave any wiggle room for holding onto bitterness. Sometimes it is only by an act of will that we are able to forgive, we may not feel it but we do it as an act of obedience knowing that we too need forgiveness for our own weaknesses and sins.

As we confess our own sins and forgive others of theirs against us, we are able to boldly come before God, through Christ.  Hebrews 10:19-23 KJV says19 Having therefore, brethren, boldness to enter into the holiest by the blood of Jesus,20 By a new and living way, which He hath consecrated for us, through the veil, that is to say, His flesh;21 And having an high priest over the house of God;22 Let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience, and our bodies washed with pure water.23 Let us hold fast the profession of our faith without wavering; (for He is faithful that promised). When God looks down at us He sees a child that has been washed in the blood of His precious Son and delights to hear our prayers. Through the blood of His Son we are given exclusive rights to come before Him and make our requests known.

We need to take advantage of this amazing opportunity God has provided for us. Instead of worrying and complaining, we need to be bringing our needs and the needs of others to Him and allowing Him to work in us and through us.  He not only loves us but He wants us to come to Him with these needs.

Phillipians 4:5-7 NIV Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

1Peter 3:12 NIV 12 For the eyes of the Lord are on the righteous and His ears are attentive to their prayer, but the face of the Lord is against those who do evil.”

Matthew 7:7 NIV “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you.

John sums things up beautifully in the following verse,  1John 5:14-15 NIV 14 This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us. 15 And if we know that He hears us—whatever we ask—we know that we have what we asked of Him.

Spend more time talking to the “lover of your soul” and less time worrying and complaining about things.  He longs to have the intimacy with you that prayer provides.  Finally, don’t forget to thank Him for all the answers to your prayers!

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