What’s on your mind?
When you ask if someone has a moment to talk, lot’s of times people will answer with ‘what’s on your mind?’
God already knows what’s on our minds, so why do talk to Him? Because God wants to be asked. God says to pray several times in the Bible. Why does He want us to pray? Because there needs to be effort on our part, if God simply gives us what we want all the time without our asking wouldn’t we end up never talking to God? Perhaps thinking that we are just ‘lucky’? Maybe thinking that we are so amazing we can provide all these ourselves? Forgetting that there is a God who rules and provides? Oh, quite easily. In fact we see God’s people (that’s us) doing exactly all these things in the Bible and in modern days. How does it go again? They had a time of abundant prosperity- without asking for it, God simply provided- then they began to sin against the Lord. If we ask then we remember to thank God when provided for. If we give time to God then we won’t forget who the miracle worker is, because it isn’t us. God still hears the yearnings of our heart, He still hears us when our souls cry out and we don’t have the words to say, but when we do have the words to say, He likes us to pray.
We have all heard the great expectations sermon; it’s a really great sermon, but do we come truly come with great expectations? Today I had a miracle that actually shocked me. After having the vet out to diagnose my horse’s unexplainable lump as just that an unexplainable lump I started to get serious about my praying for him. To be honest before I found out that the vet had no idea what it was I just figured if God healed him that was fine but if he didn’t the vet would just treat it and it would still be fine, but unlike God the vet doesn’t know all. Today I checked my horse’s lump and it was GONE! There wasn’t even a trace it had been there! If you want to shout a Hallelujah go right ahead because I am still amazed! Oh and did I mention the lump had been there for nearly 4 months? It wasn’t something that was just going to go away. In this life we have so much that we can take care of ourselves because of modern medicine, modern technology, modern this, modern that that we sometimes don’t even bother to seriously pray about things, because if God doesn’t fix them that’s fine we know someone who can. That is the wrong way to think. I can say this because I go there too. I like to think that I seek God first and just go with Him on things but I (as many people do) fall into the solving it myself rut. God can do EVERYTHING! We just need to give Him the chance to take care of things for us, and to truly believe that He can. We don’t want to leave off asking for help until we reach something we truly can not do ourselves, because if we see God taking care of the little things we will most likely have more faith when we need to give Him the bigger things. Another thing I love about God is that I didn’t have to do anything to make this or any other miracle happen. All I did was pray and believe and I saw the unbelievable. I fail constantly and hurt God probably daily, as hard as I try not to my human nature gets in the way of my Christianity at times. I am also a major failure when it comes to being a public witness, my words stick in my throat and I end up saying nothing. Yet despite all these negative qualities of just being me God steps in and holds me when I cry. He still listens when I pray and blesses me with amazing miracles. It is so nice to know that no matter how bad we screw up, No matter how constantly we sin and fail Jesus still loves us. He wants us to do better that’s true and He will help us do better, but He’s still loving us everyday no matter who we are or what we’ve done. Isn’t that the most amazing miracle of all? because it’s that constant, undying, faithful love and ridiculous grace that led our Jesus to die on the cross for our sins, and to rise again three days later. What a miracle!
God I come with great expectations for this and everyday! Thank you for being our constant friend and greatest miracle. Amen.
The two thieves on the crosses are perfect examples of Christian and non-Christian people. Both were thieves, both were sinners but one chose to follow Jesus in the end. Like the two thieves we are all sinners and we all fall so short of the kingdom of God it’s hard for many to believe that they can go to Heaven. Jesus died as a criminal without committing any crime so that even the theif hanging next to Him could join Him in Heaven. Just the same, we all have a place with Jesus in Heaven if we choose to accept it by accepting Him. All people are people, there is no biological difference that separates those who are Christians and those who aren’t. The difference is Jesus. The difference is the Holy Spirit moving in us making us act…. Christian, we are just two sides of the same coin. All non-Christians can come to Christ there is absolutely nothing making it so that they can’t; not only that but Jesus welcomes them, us, everyone! Jesus wants the whole world to see Him and to not feel they are unwelcome in His home and at His table. Listen and you will hear His gentle voice calling you home. Today I want to end by saying this; anyone who feels cast out from the church because they are struggling to find their place in God’s kingdom, don’t feel like you’re alone, remember that the church cast Jesus out too. There are many churches out there and in truth sometimes you have to look a little before you can find a pastor and a congregation that suits you, but when you do you’ll feel like you’re home. Jesus wants YOU even if you don’t feel wanted and HE Loves you no matter how unlovable you feel. So choose Jesus because He has already chosen you.
Pray with me please
Jesus I know I am a sinner, I know I fall short of your glory but I also know you love me and you want me; please come into my life and fill me with you. Please forgive my sins and draw me to you and closer to you. Help me find you and to not feel discouraged. In your name I pray. Amen.
We are all prisoners until Jesus sets us free; once we accept Jesus into our lives as our Lord and savior He frees us from all our chains. I have said this many times before in other posts. This time I would like to discuss our beautiful bracelets, the things we add to our lives that we think are so wonderful but in fact are new chains tying us down and pulling us away from our savior. Most people have either owned, held, or seen crystal bracelets. They are sparkling and vivid, beautifully catching the eye; once you place the bracelet on your wrist you realize it’s light and after awhile you don’t even notice it’s there, until it catches on something. The same goes for our crystal chains. We have these little things we bring into our lives that seem glittering and beautiful, we don’t even notice something is off with them at first. We have these beautiful little things for a short amount of time and now we don’t even notice them because we are so used to them being part of our lives, until they catch on something, say our conscience. Until our crystal chains catch on God we may not even notice that they were drawing us away from Him. I won’t make it easy and point out the crystal chains I see around me because there are many on my own wrists that I am sure I haven’t noticed yet, so who am I to judge yours. I also almost know for sure that at least one chain you never realized was thus has popped into your mind while reading this, I know that a couple popped into my mind while writing it; the nice thing about crystal is it shatters really easily. On that note I say break off your chains and be free once again in the name of Jesus! Who the Son sets free is free indeed. Be chain-less today!
It happens often in movies and in novels, where the hero is backed against an impossible wall and there is no way to escape. Suddenly the hero cries out for help and out of nowhere appears an all powerful friend who turns the entire situation around, and now the hero and her/his pal are beating back the enemy until they are victorious! That’s us with Jesus. So often we find ourselves backed against a wall and realize there is no way we can save ourselves so we cry out to Jesus, “Help Me Lord! I am trapped! Deliver me!” and like the friend in all the movies Jesus comes to us and changes our whole situation until we can see a new horizon and an escape from our enemy. Unlike the fictional movie friend, Jesus is already there waiting for us to call on Him. He’s not far away and has to come running, it’s not that He’s just showed up at the right time, it’s that He is with us already, we just needed to come to Him for help. Now notice also how in the movies the friend and the “hero” have to still battle their way out? that can also be the case for us. Jesus comes to our aid but we still have to fight through our problems with constant prayer. We will be delivered it just sometimes takes time; the defeating blow to our enemy is that we are no longer fighting alone, the minuet Jesus is fighting with us the tables turn and we have the winning hand. Another thing I want to point out, have you ever noticed how the “hero’s” friend is often the true hero of the story? For example: Sam from Lord of the Rings, Toto from Wizard of Oz, Little Creek from Spirit, and so many others, always remember that we are not the hero of our story, Jesus is. He’s that friend who drives out the darkness and brings us hope. Our friend is there to help us because He loves us, and heroes always come to save those in need. Isn’t it nice that we have a real and alive hero who came to save us and is there to help us? A hero who goes by the name Jehovah.
Do you ever feel panicked? Not necessarily from something bad, but just from general life? The, ‘this deadline is coming up’, or ‘that paper is due’, or the famous ‘I can’t believe I have not gotten that done yet’ panic. Our world’s not falling apart it just feels like we are. It may be a panic caused by good things that you don’t know how to fit in your schedule, or something you’re excited for but you don’t know how other people will react. All kinds of things can cause us to panic. Then we see the amazing happen, the things we are panicked about start falling into place as if they were always meant to be there. We meet our deadline and it’s the best work we’ve ever done, our paper gets on the prof’s desk just as the bell rings and we can breathe, our schedule suddenly has room, our exciting new life experience is the making of an amazing new future, We find that thing we needed to get done goes by really fast. So on and so on. Guess what friends, that’s Jesus. When our panic turns into prayer we see it turn around into purpose. My grandfather preached once that to see miracles we first have to see problems. I know that’s not a new concept but it’s still true. Until we have the privilege of saying, “okay God, I give this to you,” we haven’t yet seen Him work. Jesus gives us what is best for us and sometimes that’s hard to see. Philippians 4:6-7 says (say it with me) worry about nothing, pray about EVERYTHING. Jesus longs to prove Himself to us, He desires to hear our prayers about everything. Nothing is too personal, too hard, too dirty, too scary for Jesus to hear us say. He knows already, so feel free in unburdening yourself to Him. Only Jesus can give us peace and only He can make perfection out of our panic.
Now that I live in the country one of my favorite things to do is sit out at night and watch the stars. Out where we are there is virtually no light pollution so we can see billions of stars and the depth of sky and the milky way is so vivid you could almost touch it. One thing I like to do is pick a star and make a wish (yes I know that’s silly but it makes me smile.) Tonight as I made my wish I noticed my star shift places and realized I had made a wish on a satellite. This made me realize how often we think we are wishing on stars and they turn out to be satilites. We put all our hopes into one big dream and it ends up being less than we expected. Say you wanted to sing professionally and you put all your effort into getting that one big hit, but when it comes and you start chasing that dream you find yourself discontented with the stage life. Now what? You’ve put all you have into this opportunity and now you don’t feel you can move on. Let me tell you something I heard a great speaker once say, “if you are feeling a push to move into something new it very well might be God preparing you for something that is coming.” Trust your calling, trust that that voice may be God wanting you to do something else. Everything has it’s season and maybe it’s your season to start God’s dream for you. Now wait, don’t go quit your job, pack your backpack and go because a new calling isn’t always what’s going on, discontentment and God moving can be different things; so pray hard and involve people you trust to pray with you because you want to be sure it’s God before you move. God is the star, solid in the sky and unwavering; our own ambitions however can easily be a satellite, here right now and gone somewhere else in a few moments. We must trust that God does have a purpose for us (because He does) and we must wait upon Him to move us when it is time. Instead of wishing upon satellites turn to God in prayer and open your heart to hear His answer.
Everyone has had to use it at sometime in their lives, the refresh button I mean. Whether it was the one on your phone, your computer, your video game console; the point is we have all probably had a point in our lives where it was necessary to hit that little button. There have probably been times when your device wouldn’t operate properly until you got out your paper clip, pulled out the end and gave the button a tap; Suddenly your device turns off, then back on and everything is as it should be.When God refreshes us it is much the same thing. I know that usually things aren’t completely they way they were but they FEEL better. My grandfather once preached on how a fair portion of our sufferings are caused by our minds, our situation or hurt might not be nearly so bad as our minds are making it out to be and when God refreshes us we can suddenly see the bright side. Our but God moment as my grandfather would say. That time when we were at the end of our strength, but God reached out His hand and pulled us through. God refreshes us and our souls have peace, we now feel we can take on our lives. Have you ever noticed how small the refresh button is? If you didn’t know it was there you probably wouldn’t even notice it. Sometimes that’s hope; so small that if you didn’t know that Jesus was there with you, loving you, you probably wouldn’t even notice it. The hope just needs a little focus to show us that we will be okay. If our eyes are on our frozen screen, we can’t see a solution around our problem so we panic and get frustrated; but if our eyes are on our refresh button (Jesus) we know that there is someone who can fix everything. We need to press into Him and feel Him take away all our fears and hurts and worries and refresh us. So try to remember that in our lives there will be problems, but we have a refresh button that can set everything right again, a refresh button that has overcome the world.
But if a man suffers as a Christian, let him not be ashamed; but let him glorify God in this name. -1Peter 4:16
Suffering, now that is something everyone knows a little about. The verse probably means to suffer for Christ, but when you think of it can also apply to suffering in general. When you suffer as a Christian you always have someone to turn to. When you suffer as a non-believer, you suffer alone. Suffering with God means you always have someone there, wiping your forehead, wrapping your bandage, helping you up the stairs, letting you cry on His shoulder, giving you a word of confidence and so much more. I have had suffering where I feel like I am completely alone; fear builds up and I feel like my tears are mine to bear in isolation, and then I feel Jesus. It can be something as little as opening my Bible app and the verse of the day is exactly what I am experiencing, or a song that comes on the radio that describes my situation. The one common thread in everything about suffering is God reaching out His hand and pulling the one in need through. The one bright light that makes all the trouble seem like it will come to an end is the mention of God. I almost said the simple mention of God, but there is nothing simple about Him, and bringing our eyes up to His level is AMAZING. Why would the Lord of all the earth allow us to be near Him? Why would He care? Because He loves us and always will! So if you are suffering; whether it is depression, illness, pain, fear, doubt, loss or anything else, turn your eyes to Jesus because He loves you! He is waiting for you to see that He is there to HELP, He never leaves us to suffer alone, our tears He always shares with us. So praise the Lord and trust him, through all your sufferings, and know that they are temporary, but Jesus is eternal.
Sometimes I find things coming up in my life that I just don’t want to pray about, because praying means facing my struggle. When we pray we are meeting with God, taking His hand and staring down our problems together; that’s the hard part though, staring down the problem. It’s so nice to take my fears, my anxieties, my hurts, my angers, my sorrows and just curl up in a ball and pretend they’re not there. The old saying out of sight out of mind comes to thought and it’s so true. If we can bury our faces under our pillows and not see what’s happening we can make the hurts artificially go away. The minute we start to pray we are first acknowledging that a bad thing has happened, second we are confronting that bad thing. This can be very difficult, sometimes the bad things are things we don’t want to think about let alone face; but when we look that problem in the eye and say, “I’m not afraid of you!” It loses its power over us. When David took on Goliath he walked out with God hand in hand and looked that giant in the face, he didn’t hide and hope that he would go away because he knew that would not change anything. David went out without fear because he went out with God and He knew that God had him and wasn’t going to let anyone defeat him. The only way to defeat our problem is with God, and we need to pray. Yes praying forces us to confront the problem we don’t want to face, but until we face it and pray the problem is going to stay there, taunting us. So let’s go get our sling shot and pray with Faith, because I know that God knows just where to plant the stone in the canter of our troubles.