Monday, May 12, 2008

He Really Does Answer Prayer!

"'For I know the plans I have for you,' declares the Lord, 'plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Then you will call upon Me and come and pray to Me and I will listen to you. You will seek Me and find Me when you seek Me with all your heart. I will be found by you,' declares the Lord, 'and will bring you back from captivity.'" (Jeremiah 29:11-14, NIV)

God really does answer prayer! I know it may be hard to believe especially when you are in the middle of a dark, stressful time, but He does come through. If we remember that His ways and thoughts are not the same as ours, we can learn to expect Him at all times.

God has a way of surprising us in the tiniest of details as well as in the big things of life. As God's children, we must believe what He says about His character and promises. It is a choice we must make to trust that He really does know the plans He has for us and in our trusting cast all of our cares in obedience.

When we take a step in faith, God will move mountains for His children. I attended a conference a few months ago and heard a speaker say that, "When we make a decision, God will move the universe!" What an amazing revelation and promise! Despite what I have done or not done in my life, when I make a decision to step out in faith, God will move heaven and earth just for me! Wow!

The beauty of these promises comes from the immeasurable love God has for His children. We don't deserve it and could never earn it, but He freely gives it. Hallelujah! And to think that all we have to do is choose to believe, trust, wait on Him with expectancy and simply delight in Him. Even when we do those simple steps He shows up.

God has mercy for us, grace and wisdom for living each day and power to help us overcome life's circumstances. When there is no hope and we have done all we can do as humans, God can do so much more. I am limited in my own efforts, but with God I can do all things.

If you are in a place that doesn't seem to be getting any better, if you have lost all hope and have done all you can, seek God. Simply ask Him to help you. Believe He will answer your prayers and know that they will be answered in ways that you would never expect. Look for Him in all things and watch His glory unfold.

Lord, may we seek You and seek You with our whole hearts. We often get ourselves in situations that we don't know how to get out of. Help us to remember that You know all things and that You do care about each one of us. Help us believe and trust in You. Remind us to turn to You at all times for all things. Change our hearts, our minds and our ways for Your glory and promises. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Why God

"And I will walk among you, and will be your God, and ye shall be my people." Leviticus 26:12

Those who do not know the Lord, ask how and why Christians believe in Him. When I look at what He has done in my life and in the lives of other Christians, I can't help but believe in Him. Issues have been resolved, unexplainable blessings have been received and miracles have occurred. None of these could have been accomplished by human hands, only by faith and the power of God.

I have been faced with a challenge or what I would call a challenge and finally met it head on the other day. I was accepted into grad school via an online program with a prestigious Christian university. I am so excited about the opportunity to learn and deepen my faith in the Lord. My biggest fears were paying for school and managing it with work. I have a job that I am grateful for but am not crazy about. I finally shared with my boss, who is also my father, this great opportunity for school. The sharing part went well, but I was finally faced with what to do about a career. I have been praying and asking God to make a way for me to go to school full-time and provide the financial means to pay for it and my personal needs over the next three years. My desire is to focus fully on my school work and some other opportunities that God has laid on my heart.

Over the past two weeks, 2 Corinthians 5:7 ("For we walk by faith, not by sight.") has been repeated many times in passages I have read or in conversations with friends. Some have even said, "If you want to walk on water, you have to get out of the boat!" I am once again at a point where I have to trust God in a mighty way to open doors and bless as He sees fit. Yes, some of the changes and opportunities require effort on my part, but the impossible or miraculous can only come from God. What some people call fate or luck, Christians know is the grace, love and power of Almighty God.

When you are faced with challenges that you have no idea how to resolve or get through and suddenly an opportunity or resolution appears that no human could have performed, you know it has to be God! When doors open and your dream is handed to you so smoothly and effortlessly, it can only be God. When your dreams are achieved, needs are met in greater ways than you planned or expected, it's because God's hand was in it. There is nothing any human can do without the grace of God. We have power, abilities, talents, skills, creativity, wisdom, knowledge and strength because of our Creator. We didn't give any of these to ourselves. He gave us these attributes as gifts for the sole purpose of using them for His glory. God isn't selfish. He, like us, just wants to be received, recognized, accepted and loved.

If you have dreams in your heart or circumstances that you don't know how to handle or resolve, make an attempt to ask God for help. He will help if you ask. You don't have to be perfect. He already knows what we have done or not done and what our intentions are. Almighty God just wants His children, the human race, to trust Him and love Him, and He in turn will bless us in amazing ways.

Lord, there are so many of us who do not know You, are afraid of You or don't believe in You. Forgive us and help us to see You as we need to. Help us come to You with all that we have. Teach us to trust You. Show us how to believe in You. Help us receive Your love and grace. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Life as a Christian

Do you know Jesus Christ? Do you know anyone who does know Him? What is your impression of their belief and faith? Are you sceptical? Do you have a distaste for what they believe?

Many people believe from experience that being a Christian comes with a holier-than-thou attitude and a distaste for anyone not a Christian. Others think Christians are just fanatics or plain crazy. Do those of us who are Christians even have a desire to set the record straight for those who are not?

Being a Christian has been an amazing journey for me. When I accepted Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior twenty-three years ago, I had no idea what I was in for. These have been years of amazing blessings, and overwhelming trials, none of which I would trade. They have made me stronger, a little bolder and a great lover of Jesus Christ.

My life as a Christian has not always been a bed of roses and it never will be. God has taught me that Christianity is simply a relationship with Him. It's sitting with Him in prayer throughout the day. It is reading the Bible and asking Him for wisdom, understanding and guidance. It's learning to surrender to His will and being obedient to His commands and call on our lives. It's getting to know Him and falling madly, deeply in love with Him. And it is sharing this faith and all that He is with others.

The results of a life with Christ are unspeakable joy, unfathomable love, immeasurable grace, and an indescribable sweetness in your life. There are trials, heartache and pain throughout our lives as Christians, but having a relationship with God teaches us how to trust Him, how to wait on Him to help us through each trial, patience, and expecting and receiving victory and blessings.

Many people think you have to be perfect to be a Christian. It ain't so! Perfection is attained as we live our lives as believers in Jesus Christ and it is all done by God. Our part of perfection is being surrendered to God so that He can transform us into the likeness of His Son, Jesus. Our trials and victories are what make us more like Him. We make mistakes. We hurt people and ourselves with our actions and our words and we fail. But because we have a relationship with God and because He loves us more than anything, He gives us more chances to get it right. And as we grow, we learn that living as a Christian can only be done by His power not ours.

I love the Lord, because He sacrificed His Son out of love for me, a sinner. He has accepted me as I am, my mistakes and failures. Yet, He still loves me. Is it possible for someone to love us no matter what we have said and done to ourselves and others? Absolutely! God is the Someone Who can, will and does love us for all that we are. He created us so that He could love us. That is His only motive and all He wants in return is for us to love Him. He is really quite simple! The beauty of being a Christian is knowing that His love exists purely for us and that it is there every moment of everyday.

If you don't know Jesus Christ and would like to find out more, simply ask Him. He would be delighted to hear from you and is actually waiting just for this moment.

Lord, for those who do not know You, I pray that they will seek you today and every day. I pray that they will continue to seek Your face and have a sweet relationship with You. Touch each one of them Lord and direct their steps to where You want them to be. Lead them to those who can help them in their new life's journey. Renew their spirits and fill them with Your glorious love and grace.

For those who do know You Lord, strengthen them and continue to guide them. If they have turned from You or are in such great need, call them near. Help them hear Your voice and find rest and comfort in You. Encourage each one of us to reach out with open arms to those who are searching to be filled. May we be Your shining light and hope for them.

You are the sweetest, most precious gift we could ever have. May we rejoice in all that You are and give You all the glory, honor and praise. In Jesus' Name, Amen.