Tag Archive | New International Version

Peace is NOT dependent on our circumstances

523671_314457205336545_557872178_nI am so thankful today! Once again, God has kindly given us the desire of our hearts and my hubby has received a clean bill of health six weeks post prostate cancer surgery. I am thankful for the clean PSA reading today but for much more than that. I am thankful for the incredible peace God gave us both during this entire challenge.  From the time we received his diagnosis until today we have had an unnatural peace. Not the kind that comes from knowing we WILL get exactly what we have been praying for (which was full recovery) but the kind that comes from knowing the ONE who will provide the answer. God has kindly restored my hubby’s health. We are very thankful and happy that He has.  However, should He have allowed the cancer journey to go on further I believe we would still walk through the journey in peace. We are learning to believe His promises and trust the lover of our souls. There is nothing that touches our lives that we can’t trust Him with. This  journey has allowed us to lean not on our own understanding but to trust Christ with every aspect of the journey. As we turned to Him and sought His guidance He provided us with a wonderful surgeon/oncologist recommended by dear friends.  He has provided financially during the last six weeks so as we have not had to miss paying a single bill.  He has provided Mike with a quick recovery and physical strength. He has given us a new compassion for people diagnosed with a life threatening illness. He has put wonderful people in our lives that have and are continuing to deal with a cancer diagnosis and we are blessed to be able to pray with and pray for.

Though it would have  been nice to have my hubby home for six weeks under different circumstances, we are thankful that during  the last six weeks  we have been able to spend more time together than we have in years! The word of God says the rain falls on the just and the unjust. Difficult circumstances will come our way from time to time but I am so grateful that NOTHING is too big to surrender to Christ. He is available to us 24/7.  He not only meets our needs but provides for us in so many ways far beyond what we could imagine.

If you are going through difficulties give Christ the opportunity to give you a peace that passes all natural understanding as you wait on your answer. Give Him the chance to provide for your needs. As a follower of Christ walking in His will, these are promises for YOU. He is no respecter of persons. What He will do for us, He will do for you! Read the Bible and learn of His promises to His kids.  Lay your fears, worries and anxieties at His feet and ask Him to give you the peace that passes understanding. Ask Him for the wisdom you will need in decision making as you go through your difficulties and finally take Him at His word.

John 14:27 NIV Peace I leave with you, my peace I give you. I do not give you as the world gives. Do not let your heart be troubled and do not be afraid.

Psalm 9:9 NIV The Lord is a refuge for the oppressed, a stronghold in times of trouble.

Philippians 4:6,7 NIV Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God 7 And the peace of God which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. 

Knowing the One who holds our future and how very much He adores us, gives us the confidence to trust that He is working out His plan for our life, regardless of what comes our way. Therefore there is NO reason to fear whatever that may be but instead we can bring all our needs to Him in prayer and rest in the peace He give us .

P.S.  If you don’t know Christ, the author of true peace,  perhaps it’s time you meet the one who died for you. He died for your sins and mine and through His death and resurrection He offers us a restored relationship with God the Father.  By calling on His name and confessing our sins, we are able to enter into a wonderful life changing relationship with Him. There is no sin too big that God cannot forgive you of when you come to Christ. He longs to have an intimate relationship with you. He wants to be the ONE you turn to in times of need. Through salvation in Christ, not only are we promised an eternity in Heaven but we are promised fellowship with Him as we walk through this journey here on earth.

John 3:16 NIV For God so loved this world that He gave His one and only Son that whoever believes in Him will not perish but  have everlasting life. 

May 2013 bring you into a closer walk with Christ,  the lover of your soul!

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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

He is NEVER late

We live in a rushing world. We rush to work, rush home to get dinner going, rush to the babysitters etc.. Seldom do we do things at a comfortable pace. Many of us our busy with our  jobs, family, cell phones, tv, internet and  electronic gadget and games! We move constantly, seldom taking the time to relax or unwind without filling that time with some type of distraction.

When we text, email or facebook message someone we are often annoyed if they do not respond immediately. We expect instant answers and responses.  People expect to be able to reach us through one means or another just about any hour of the day or night!  If we need information on anything we google it and receive info often within seconds. Waiting patiently has become a thing of the past.

When we spend so much of our life in high speed mode, it’s not surprising that we often come to God wanting instant answers. In case you haven’t discovered it yet, God does NOT work on our time schedule. 🙂 As we read in Isaiah 55:8-9 NIV “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,” declares the Lord. “As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.

Oftentimes, it is our arrogance and selfish nature that demand instant gratification with regards to our prayer life. We think we know how best to resolve a situation and basically tell God what He needs to do to bring the resolution about. Thankfully, He seldom does things as we expect.  He knows so much more..including the beginning and the end of things. He knows the heart of the people we may be working with, He knows the overall situation and circumstance and isn’t just interested in our interests but all His kids interests. He looks at the long term results of our character and what He wishes to accomplish in and through our lives. It is out of love for us that He  may delay an answer or deny us our request. He will NEVER respond to our prayers contrary to His word. He will NEVER respond against His very nature. He WILL respond at the right time with an answer that demonstrates His love and His nature, even if that response happens to be NO. Just as a loving parent at times will withhold something from their child knowing it is not in their best interest, so will God withhold from us anything that is not in His best interest for us. We are changing from glory to glory daily and part of that is becoming more Christlike in our character. Answering all our prayers in the way we want them answered could prevent this!

One of the most dramatic examples of God’s perfect timing in response to prayer can be found in the book of John. We read the story of Mary and Martha and their sick brother Lazarus.  John 11:1-44 NIV 11 Now a man named Lazarus was sick. He was from Bethany, the village of Mary and her sister Martha. (This Mary, whose brother Lazarus now lay sick, was the same one who poured perfume on the Lord and wiped his feet with her hair.) So the sisters sent word to Jesus, “Lord, the one you love is sick.”When he heard this, Jesus said, “This sickness will not end in death. No, it is for God’s glory so that God’s Son may be glorified through it.” Now Jesus loved Martha and her sister and Lazarus. So when he heard that Lazarus was sick, he stayed where he was two more days, and then he said to his disciples, “Let us go back to Judea.”“But Rabbi,” they said, “a short while ago the Jews there tried to stone you, and yet you are going back?” Jesus answered, “Are there not twelve hours of daylight? Anyone who walks in the daytime will not stumble, for they see by this world’s light. 10 It is when a person walks at night that they stumble, for they have no light.”11 After he had said this, he went on to tell them, “Our friend Lazarus has fallen asleep; but I am going there to wake him up.”12 His disciples replied, “Lord, if he sleeps, he will get better.” 13 Jesus had been speaking of his death, but his disciples thought he meant natural sleep.14 So then he told them plainly, “Lazarus is dead, 15 and for your sake I am glad I was not there, so that you may believe. But let us go to him.”16 Then Thomas (also known as Didymus) said to the rest of the disciples, “Let us also go, that we may die with him.” 17 On his arrival, Jesus found that Lazarus had already been in the tomb for four days. 18 Now Bethany was less than two miles from Jerusalem, 19 and many Jews had come to Martha and Mary to comfort them in the loss of their brother. 20 When Martha heard that Jesus was coming, she went out to meet him, but Mary stayed at home.21 “Lord,” Martha said to Jesus, “if you had been here, my brother would not have died. 22 But I know that even now God will give you whatever you ask.”23 Jesus said to her, “Your brother will rise again.” 24 Martha answered, “I know he will rise again in the resurrection at the last day.” 25 Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me will live, even though they die; 26 and whoever lives by believing in me will never die. Do you believe this?”27 “Yes, Lord,” she replied, “I believe that you are the Messiah, the Son of God, who is to come into the world.” 28 After she had said this, she went back and called her sister Mary aside. “The Teacher is here,” she said, “and is asking for you.” 29 When Mary heard this, she got up quickly and went to him. 30 Now Jesus had not yet entered the village, but was still at the place where Martha had met him. 31 When the Jews who had been with Mary in the house, comforting her, noticed how quickly she got up and went out, they followed her, supposing she was going to the tomb to mourn there. 32 When Mary reached the place where Jesus was and saw him, she fell at his feet and said, “Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died.” 33 When Jesus saw her weeping, and the Jews who had come along with her also weeping, He was deeply moved in spirit and troubled. 34 “Where have you laid him?” he asked.“Come and see, Lord,” they replied.35 Jesus wept.36 Then the Jews said, “See how he loved him!”37 But some of them said, “Could not he who opened the eyes of the blind man have kept this man from dying?”38 Jesus, once more deeply moved, came to the tomb. It was a cave with a stone laid across the entrance. 39 “Take away the stone,” he said.“But, Lord,” said Martha, the sister of the dead man, “by this time there is a bad odor, for he has been there four days.”40 Then Jesus said, “Did I not tell you that if you believe, you will see the glory of God?” 41 So they took away the stone. Then Jesus looked up and said, “Father, I thank you that you have heard me. 42 I knew that you always hear me, but I said this for the benefit of the people standing here, that they may believe that you sent me.”43 When he had said this, Jesus called in a loud voice, “Lazarus, come out!” 44 The dead man came out, his hands and feet wrapped with strips of linen, and a cloth around his face. Jesus said to them, “Take off the grave clothes and let him go.” 

There were so many ways Jesus could have answered Mary and Martha’s prayers prior to Lazarus’ death. All it would have take would have been for Him to speak the word and Lazarus would have been healed. His will however, was to allow him to die and be resurrected thereby increasing the faith of the witnesses and glorifying God even more!  His ways are NOT our ways!

The more we spend time in God’s word and in prayer, the more we come to understand how very much God loves us!  The more we understand this, the more we are able to trust Him, even when He says no or not now. It is never out of cruelty but always out of  love. God is the Creator of the Universe, the Ancient of Days, the Great I AM, the Alpha and Omega and we must remember that when we come before Him.  He will not be manipulated or strong armed into doing things our way or else. Instead we can come before Him, through Christ,  and make our requests known and then trust that He who ALWAYS looks out for our long term best interest, will answer our prayer when and as He sees best.

2Peter 3:8-9 NIV But do not forget this one thing, dear friends: With the Lord a day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like a day. The Lord is not slow in keeping His promise, as some understand slowness. Instead He is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.

Sound familiar?

Sound familiar?

Gratitude…take the time to say thanks!

Though 2012 has presented some pretty large challenges, I am learning to recognize the movement of God’s  mighty hand in each and every one of them! His intervention has surpassed my biggest expectations. Though He has allowed some challenges to come my way, He has more than revealed His love and mercy along the way. For those who love Christ and follow Him, we have so much to be thankful for.

We are NEVER alone. We have an advocate that makes our needs and requests known to God the Father, on our behalf. He often brings answers before we have even learned to format the question!

We serve a mighty, loving and incredibly merciful God who loves to meet the needs of His kids. During my husband’s hospital visit for prostate cancer surgery, I saw God’s hand in so many details. From hearing about the wonderful surgeon from dear friends to having our financial needs met and surpassed, He has been with us and before us every step of the way. Mike’s recovery so far has been amazing! Though it will be some time before he is back to his old self, he has already achieved some incredible mile stones of recovery.

Am I surprised, frankly NO. I am learning that God always exceeds my expectations, despite the trial or challenge faced. He has provided us with a circle of great friends and family that have been supportive before, during and since his surgery. Prayer has been felt and we have already begun to see the results!

I am grateful and want to publicly thank God for all the beautiful ways He has demonstrated His love to us during 2012! I want to remember to thank God daily for all the ways He takes care of me and mine. For all the prayers He has answered and continues to answer that have come from my lips. He is so faithful and deserving of our thanks! I want to be like the Samaritan in Luke 17:11-19 NIV 11 Now on his way to Jerusalem, Jesus traveled along the border between Samaria and Galilee. 12 As He was going into a village, ten men who had leprosy met Him. They stood at a distance 13 and called out in a loud voice, “Jesus, Master, have pity on us!”14 When He saw them, He said, “Go, show yourselves to the priests.” And as they went, they were cleansed.15 One of them, when he saw he was healed, came back, praising God in a loud voice. 16 He threw himself at Jesus’ feet and thanked Him—and he was a Samaritan.17 Jesus asked, “Were not all ten cleansed? Where are the other nine? 18 Has no one returned to give praise to God except this foreigner?” 19 Then He said to him, “Rise and go; your faith has made you well.”

If you are currently in the middle of a trial look to Christ to walk through it with you. Ask for His guidance and wisdom in your decision making and for His hand to lead you through. Give Him your needs and He will be there for you. He is no respecter of persons and offers His love and mercy to all who seek Him. As you lean on Him, remember to give thanks along the way. Don’t be like the nine ungrateful cleansed lepers. Take the time to daily thank Him for all that He has done, is doing and will do in your life. As the word says in 1 Thessalonians 5:18 NIV 18 Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.

1 Thessalonians 5:18 NIV 18 Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.