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Matthew 6:5-8

“And when you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the street corners to be seen by others. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward in full. But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you. And when you pray, do not keep on babbling like pagans, for they think they will be heard because of their many words. Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him.

I have always felt that God wrote this verse for me and other introverts who sometimes feel our prayers are inadequate compared to the eloquent prayers of others. I spent a few months in the Fall of 2012 and early 2013 spending many hours in the prayer room of our local house of prayer. It was modeled after the International House of Prayer in Kansas City, Missouri. Integrated into the intercession sets were times of rapid fire prayer and intercessory prayer. For both types of prayer the intercessors would pray on the microphone. The only difference between the two being that the rapid fire prayer segment was intercessors giving 15 second prayers instead of longer, more eloquent prayers. I learned so much during these months about prayer and the end times and I loved spending hours in the prayer room, sitting at the feet of my Savior, but I struggled with the idea of having to pray on the microphone in front of everyone else. Part of what we were taught was that “we are all meant to be outgoing and extroverts.” I knew that God did not make extroverts and then suddenly forget what He was doing with the rest of us. We are introverts for a reason. We are not mistakes and some of us do not feel the leading of the Holy Spirit to pray publicly. We may be in agreement with what others are praying, but that doesn’t mean that God is leading ALL of us to pray publicly. I was made to feel somehow less than because of my introverted ways.

There is a place in God’s kingdom for introverts. There is a place in God’s kingdom for those of us who pray simple, honest prayers from humble hearts. I don’t feel like I need to stand on the street corners or pray on the microphone in a House of Prayer for God to hear me and answer my prayers. I don’t need to pray long, eloquent prayers to get God’s attention. Honestly, God answers my prayers daily and my prayers are usually short and to the point.

There is a place for praying as a community and coming together in agreement. God tells us that too, but I believe that the majority of our prayers are said when we are alone. There is something very special about that time when we meet with Jesus and can share our innermost secrets with our Savior in private. We don’t need wordy, flowery prayers. We don’t need for others to hear us. We can be certain that God hears the prayers of the introvert. We can be certain that God hears the prayers of the shy, quiet, sensitive, anxiety ridden heart and He WILL answer those prayers.

Never think that your prayers aren’t good enough, loud enough or flowery enough. Just because someone in a leadership position tells you that you need to pray a certain way in order for God to hear you does not make it true. Go to the heart of God, His Word, and find out for yourself what the truth is.

CHALLENGE: Read the story of Moses and see for yourself how God used a reluctant man, who by his own admission (Exodus 4:10) was not good with words, to lead a nation to freedom.

Remember Moses and never think that your prayers are not good enough.

 

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Rest For The Weary

 

Matthew 11:28

“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.

I realize I haven’t written for awhile. There are times when I feel exhausted and just can’t bring it together. I am sick with the flu at this moment and feel drained. My diabetes and high blood pressure make it important for me to keep stress at a minimum and practice self-care. It has been hard to do with the stress at work and the stress of the Winter. Sometimes, I get buried in the chaos and stress of life and I forget to breathe. I forget to look forward to the Spring, but the Spring is coming. Jesus is coming! I hang on to Him and look forward.

He is inviting ALL of us who are exhausted and beat down by life to come to Him. When we run to Jesus, He WILL give us rest. Today, I rest in the shelter of my Savior’s arms. I don’t know how long this will last, but I know that I can find rest in Jesus. If you are exhausted and drained by the busyness of life, I urge you to run to Jesus and find rest in the arms of the Savior. Life is hard. Take care of yourself. Find rest in Jesus.

Day 3: Do Not Fret

 

Psalm 37:7-9

Be still before the Lord and wait patiently for him; do not fret when people succeed in their ways, when they carry out their wicked schemes. Refrain from anger and turn from wrath; do not fret—it leads only to evil. For those who are evil will be destroyed, but those who hope in the Lord will inherit the land.

I have had jobs where another woman or two were bent on making my life a living Hell. From the day I started those jobs, these women were mean and hateful towards me. I never understood why. I had no prior relationship with them. They did not know me or the kind of person I am, but they set out to cause me as much pain as they possibly could. It is hard for me to understand why we attack each other the way we do. We are set on causing other people heartache and frustration. It hurts. If you have been the victim of hateful actions or words from another person, God gives us a blueprint for handling these situations:

  1. Be Still – God tells us to BE STILL. We are to sit and wait…
  2. Wait Patiently – We are to sit and wait PATIENTLY for God. The definition of patience is the capacity to accept delay, trouble or suffering without getting angry or upset. This is the hard part. It is normal to get upset and angry when someone is harassing you and causing you pain. God tells us to wait without getting upset or angry. He tells us to wait patiently for Him.
  3. Do Not Fret – To fret means to be constantly or visibly worried or anxious. I am guilty of this! I fret over little things and I fret over big things! I am a work in progress, but this one command is so important that it is mentioned TWICE! Verse 7 tells us DO NOT FRET when people succeed in their ways, when they carry out their wicked schemes. Verse 8 says, “DO NOT FRET – it leads only to evil” When we worry constantly or live in our anxiety it leads us to evil.
  4. Refrain From Anger – God tells us to refrain from anger and turn from wrath. It is normal to feel anger, but dwelling on our anger or the wrong being done to us will lead us to sin against another person and against God. We can scream in our pillow, write out our feelings of anger in a journal or talk to someone safe, but we must NEVER allow those feelings of anger to lead us to doing something that will hurt someone else or separate us from God.

 

God gives us a promise. He tells us that if we can sit and accept our trouble or suffering without getting angry or upset. If we can keep from worrying constantly or sitting in our anxiety then:

Those who are evil will be destroyed – God has your back! If you obey His commands, He WILL fight for you! He will bring to justice those who are out to get you!

Those who hope in the Lord will inherit the land – Those who find their hope in God will find their joy in heaven. But what about here on earth? The blessings of God will follow those whose hope is in Him all the days of their lives.

If someone is tormenting you and causing your life to be a living hell, take it to God. Follow the commands above and trust that God will deal with those who are evil. If you need someone to pray with you, I am always here. Let me know how I can pray for you.

 

 

 

 

 

There are often times in my life when I know that God has intervened on my behalf. When circumstances come together in such a way that only God could have pulled it off. This happened to me this week.

Back in January I had decided to put full coverage insurance on my 2006 Mitsubishi Endeavor. I had debated about this because of the age of the car, but decided to go ahead because it is still in great condition and it is my only vehicle. My inflated payment was due February 28th for $377.00 and then would go down to $274.00 in March. I made the payment for $377.00 last Saturday 2/16. The payment had not cleared my bank account as of yesterday (2/21) and I was not sure why. In the meantime, my son Talon informed me yesterday that I could take his 1986 Chevy truck off the insurance because the cold weather in January blew the engine. I removed the truck and noticed that my insurance app was still saying that I had a payment due, only now the payment had gone from $377.00 to $179.00. I called the insurance company this morning to find out if my payment of the $377.00 had gone through or not. The payment had not gone through. It had been bounced back to the insurance company. I called the bank to see why it had not gone through. The customer service rep didn’t have an explanation. She said it was strange and she couldn’t see any reason that the payment wouldn’t have gone through. So, being reassured that the $377.00 payment did not through, I made the payment for $179.00 and thanked God for saving me $200.00.

I try to give and do what I can for others. I try to live in obedience to the Holy Spirit. I try to always trust that God will provide, but there are times when I falter in that faith. There are times when I falter in my belief that God will always provide and God in His goodness gives me a reminder of His greatness in the orchestration of an insurance payment to save me $200.00. I am not worthy of His goodness. I fail repeatedly every day and still He loves me enough to bring about small miracles to remind me that He is with me always. God will provide if only we believe.

 

1 Thessalonians 5:16-18

16 Rejoice always, 17 pray continually, 18 give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.

 

January and February are the hardest months of the year for me. The anxiety starts in November, builds up in December and by January 1st, I am paralyzed by the fear of freezing temperatures, snow covered landscapes and icy roads. The Winter months plunge me into this deep abyss of fear that only Spring and warmer weather can pull me out of. I paid my daughter to take me and pick me up from work one Saturday, when we woke up to 5 or so inches of snow. The next Saturday, I drove to work but conditions deteriorated during the day and I was frozen with the fear of having to drive home in blowing snow and icy roads. God heard my silent prayer and my youngest daughter picked me up and took me back the next day to get my car when the roads were better. I trembled when I woke up to -9 degree temperatures, frozen car doors and had to go to work. I am absolutely TERRIFIED of Winter! It has been a annual struggle for me for 26 years now and as a native Southern Californian I am ready for warmer Winters!

I know what you are thinking! How can a God-trusting woman allow fear to paralyze her to a level of not being able to even function? I’m not perfect. I struggle with issues just as everyone else does. My struggle with fear keeps me running to God for help, mercy and grace. These verses in 1 Thessalonians sums up how I get through the Winter:

  1. Rejoice Always – In the middle of my fear, I rejoice that God is ALL Powerful and ALWAYS in control. I rejoice that I am protected. I rejoice that God knows my struggle and calms my heart with a sense of His peace in the eye of the storm. This is not always an easy thing for me to do. I admit, I usually have to force myself to rejoice in God’s goodness when I am held in the grip of fear. It isn’t always easy to remember that God has EVERYTHING under control. Even when things feel out of control, God is with us ALWAYS and for that we rejoice!
  2. Pray Continually – I pray my way through January and February, one day at a time, each Winter storm as it comes. I keep an eye on my weather apps and pray for God’s intervention and protection. God expects us to pray without ceasing. That line of communication is always open. He will always listen when we pray.
  3. Give Thanks in ALL Circumstances – How do you give thanks in ALL circumstances? It isn’t easy! During these past two months, I have thanked God for daughters who were willing to take their anxiety ridden mom back and forth to work. I have thanked God for protection when I actually did have to drive myself. I have thanked God for calming my fears and giving me courage. I have thanked God for not being to frustrated with me in  my occasional unbelief and having mercy on me in my suffering. We give thanks because we know that no matter what the world throws at us, God can handle it and that means that we can handle it. We give thanks because it is often in the eye of the storm that we see God’s power. It is often in the eye of the storm that miracles happen. It is often in the eye of the storm that God’s mighty wings provide refuge and safety, sheltering us from flying debris and negative thoughts and for that we give thanks!

 

If you have found yourself in the eye of the storm and are paralyzed by your circumstances:

Rejoice in WHO GOD IS

Pray continually to a God WHO IS ALWAYS LISTENING

Give thanks to a God WHO SHOWS UP IN MIGHTY AND POWERFUL WAYS

God is with you ALWAYS! Never doubt His love for you! He can and will protect you, even in the worst of life’s struggles!

Day 2: Stand Firm

 

Exodus 14:13-14

13 Moses answered the people, “Do not be afraid. Stand firm and you will see the deliverance the Lord will bring you today. The Egyptians you see today you will never see again. 14 The Lord will fight for you; you need only to be still.”

The Israelites were terrified. They couldn’t understand why Moses had led them out into the wilderness, only to die at the hands of the Egyptians. At that point they were wishing they had stayed in Egypt, where they served the Egyptians as slaves, but at least they were alive. They cried out to God in their distress and God heard them.

Moses gives them three commands:

Do not be afraid – Moses trusted God to protect them. He knew that God would not call them out of Egypt only to let them die at the hands of the Egyptians in the wilderness. Moses wanted the Israelites to trust God. He spoke to calm their fear and build their faith.

Stand firm – Moses had faith that God would deliver them from the Egyptians. He encouraged the Israelites to stand firm in their faith, trusting that God would deliver them from the oppression and slavery that they had lived with in Egypt.

Be still – Moses knew that God was already at work defeating the Egyptians. He encouraged the Israelites to be still, un-moving, to see how God would fight for them.

THE PROMISE:

You will see the deliverance the Lord will bring you today. 

The Egyptians you see today you will never see again.

The Lord will fight for you.

 

There have been times in my life when someone in my life lived to make my life miserable. I dreaded having to deal with these people. Like the Israelites, I too, cried out in fear and despair. I have felt helpless. I have wondered why God would allow this oppression and attitude of hate toward me when I did nothing to deserve this treatment.

There are times in life when we may not have control over someone else’s behavior. There may not be an immediate way out. As painful as it is to feel helpless, we will have to trust that God WILL deliver us from the situation. It may not be immediate. God may leave us in our struggle to bring about a bigger miracle, but never lose faith.

Do not be afraid of those who may keep you under the thumb of oppression. God is in control and He will defeat your enemy just as He defeated the Egyptians.

Stand firm in your faith. Never doubt that God is at work in your situation. There are times when it may not feel like it, but He really does have everything under control.

Be still and allow God to fight for you. You do not have to worry about defending yourself. God will protect you. God will defeat your enemies.

 

Do not be afraid. Stand firm and I will see the deliverance the Lord will bring me today. _____________________ I see today I will never see again. The Lord will fight for me; I need only to be still.

Fill in the blank to make this verse personal to you. Who or what do you need deliverance from? Hang on to this promise of God. The Lord WILL fight for you! The Lord WILL deliver you! I know how hard it is to be still, but please take heart! God has your back and HE WILL NEVER BREAK A PROMISE!

 

 

 

 

 

Day 1: Intercession

 

 

Nehemiah 1:4-11

When I heard these things, I sat down and wept. For some days I mourned and fasted and prayed before the God of heaven. Then I said: Lord, the God of heaven, the great and awesome God, who keeps his covenant of love with those who love him and keep his commandments, let your ear be attentive and your eyes open to hear the prayer your servant is praying before you day and night for your servants, the people of Israel. I confess the sins we Israelites, including myself and my father’s family, have committed against you.We have acted very wickedly toward you. We have not obeyed the commands, decrees and laws you gave your servant Moses. “Remember the instruction you gave your servant Moses, saying, ‘If you are unfaithful, I will scatter you among the nations, but if you return to me and obey my commands, then even if your exiled people are at the farthest horizon, I will gather them from there and bring them to the place I have chosen as a dwelling for my Name.’ 10 “They are your servants and your people, whom you redeemed by your great strength and your mighty hand. 11 Lord, let your ear be attentive to the prayer of this your servant and to the prayer of your servants who delight in revering your name. Give your servant success today by granting him favor in the presence of this man.” I was cupbearer to the king. 

God welcomes us to be partners in His mission and ministry on this earth. As partners in the ministry, God expects us to intercede on behalf of others, just as Nehemiah prayed on behalf of the Israelites.

1Timothy 2:1-4

I urge, then, first of all, that petitions, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for all people— for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness.This is good, and pleases God our Savior, who wants all people to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth.

I believe this verse says it all! God expects us to pray for ALL people. God wants ALL people to be saved!

We are to pray for:

Kings, Queens, Presidents and all those in authority – that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness.

Unbelievers – God wants All people to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth.

Believers – Ephesians 6:18 And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people.

Our Nation – The prayer of Nehemiah sets an example of interceding for our Nation.

The World – Intercession is to be made for ALL people.

Challenge:

I challenge you to pray for:

The United States of America

Believers

Unbelievers

Those in authority

The World

ALL PEOPLE!

We need to be in prayer. These are times of uncertainty and chaos. We can not allow the enemy to gain a foothold in our lives or our communities. The enemy (Satan) prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour (1 Peter 5:8). We must pray like never before! We need to partner with God in bringing HIS will to earth. We need to pray!