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1 John 5:14-15

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.

Mark 11:24

Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours.

In my 19 years as a single mom, God has answered ALL of my prayers. Yes, He has answered ALL of my prayers. I know you’re thinking that I mean that God has said “Yes” to all of my prayers. Not exactly. He doesn’t always answer with a yes. Sometimes, His answer is no or not yet. There are some issues that I have been praying about for years and it has not come about “yet,” but I know it will.

That is the promise: We can have confidence that God WILL hear us. We can be confident that we have what we asked of Him. We can be confident that whatever we ask for in prayer WILL be ours.

BUT (Yes, there is a But!)

God does promise all of the above, BUT there are conditions. When God promises something, you can bet that there will be a condition. He won’t just make a promise without asking us to do our part.

According To His Will – Our prayer has to line up with God’s will. We can’t pray for something of a sinful nature and expect God to answer affirmatively. We can’t pray for God to help us get away with robbing a bank if we promise to give 10% to the Church. This would not be in God’s will. If our prayers are coming from a place of hate or any other place that goes against God’s nature, be assured that the answer will be NO! We can not expect God to answer our prayers with a YES! when they go against His will and His nature.

Believe That You Have Received It – BELIEVE! HAVE FAITH! If your prayer lines up with God’s will, then you can pray with confidence. In January, I started praying for the funds to go through a program to become a certified Biblical lay counselor. I have an associates degree in Human Services and love psychology. I found this Bible based program that was highly recommended, but it was $375.00. I wanted to make sure that this was God’s will and not my own. My goal is to help other single moms, other women who suffer with anxiety etc. and other women in general. So, I waited and I prayed. My birthday is June 8th. On June 6th, I received a gift in the mail of $375.00 in cash. I had not told anyone of this prayer on my heart. No one knew of the need. I prayed according to God’s will and I believed that He would provide the funds. I am now studying for my certification in Biblical lay counseling, which may lead to a certification in Biblical counseling.

My CHALLENGE to you: When you pray, make sure that your prayers line up with God’s will. Also, have faith! If your prayers line up with God’s will and nature, then you CAN have confidence that it will be answered with a YES! BELIEVE!!! No prayer is to BIG for our God. We serve a God that has access to ALL of the resources in the universe, so pray BIG! He CAN and WILL answer with a YES!!!

 

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Matthew 5:44

But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you,

 

I think this is one of the hardest things that God expects us to do. I don’t want to love someone who has hurt, bullied or caused me pain. I don’t want to pray for someone who is going out of their way to make my life a living hell. As Christians, we must obey the commands of our Lord and He has commanded us to love our enemies and pray for those who persecute us.

Granted, I have never had a family member murdered or been in a mass shooting situation. I can only write this from my shallow experiences of being bullied at my work place or having a child treated badly by another person. Even in those situations, my tendency is to let the anger simmer just under the surface and think of smart retorts to their hatefulness. I can not even imagine how I would react if a family member was physically hurt by someone else. My prayers in cases of mass shootings or hearing of racism or violence, is usually for God to bring swift justice and not for reconciliation or for God to change their hearts.

As I write this, I feel the Holy Spirit working in my spirit and giving me the answer to my own question of WHY?

Why should we love our enemies and pray for those who persecute us?

The only reason I can think of is that our God is a God that performs miracles. He loves for His people to partner with Him in these miracles. When God takes a murderous person like Saul and turns him into Paul, one of the greatest Apostles and missionaries the world has ever seen, God gets the glory for that. When we step out in obedience and show kindness to someone who is downright hateful and malicious to us and our kindness transforms their heart, God gets the glory for that. When we pray consistently for someone who is hell bent on persecuting us for our beliefs or other reasons and their heart is transformed, God gets the glory for that. Any time a heart is transformed it glorifies God and that is ALWAYS a good thing!

My CHALLENGE to you:

If you are being tormented or persecuted by someone in your life, I encourage you to be kind to that person. A smile or a kind word can melt a hardened heart over time. An offer of help can open a door for a relationship to bloom and grow into an opportunity to share your Jesus story. If that person is dealing with a hardship, offer assistance in any way that you are able. And pray for that person. Pray for a difficult situation they are dealing with. Pray for blessings and peace for that person. Pray for opportunities to build a relationship and to share the Gospel. Pray that God will use you to help soften and transform a heart.

I can guarantee that as you show love and pray for that person, you will undergo transformation too. Your own hardened heart will begin to soften toward this person when you begin to know them and the issues they may be dealing with. You will start to care when that relationship blooms into a friendship. You will rejoice when that person accepts Jesus into their heart.

You doubt and say that these things will never happen? You say that such and such person will NEVER change so why bother? 

We bother because God tells us to. Step out in obedience and leave the outcome to God. Trust Him, because MIRACLES HAPPEN EVERY DAY! 

 

 

I want with all of my heart to be the woman who loves like Jesus. I don’t want to be the woman who judges someone before I know their life story. I don’t want to be the woman who snaps at people when I have had a bad day. I don’t want to be the woman who is impatient when teaching others. I don’t want to be the woman who gossips about others. But, let’s get real. As much as, I don’t want to do those things, I am human. I am an imperfect woman who does her best to love like Jesus, but I am not Jesus, so I fail, sometimes more than I succeed.

How do we love like Jesus?

There are days when I’m not really sure how to love like Jesus. It should be easy to make loving others a lifestyle. It should be easy to make loving others a priority in your every day life. But, it isn’t easy. There are days when I get so wrapped up in my own activities and thoughts that I miss that opportunity to love someone who needs my love. I miss opportunities because I am so focused on ME and what is going on in MY life. I am then filled with regret at having let an opportunity go. I regret the possibility that I have added to someone’s burden or sadness. I regret that I in any way disappointed God. How did Jesus love? The New Testament tells us how Jesus loved. Five examples are listed below:

  1. Luke 19:10 For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost.” – Jesus was sent to seek and save the lost so that none should perish (2 Peter 3:9). If Jesus came to seek and save the lost, then that is our God-given purpose too. John 3:16 tells us that God so LOVED the world that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. God LOVED us so much that He sent His beloved Son to seek and save the lost. Our mission and ministry as Christians is to seek and save the lost in our own sphere of influence. How do we do that? We build relationships. We set the example that Jesus set for us. If we are intentional in building those relationships and we are intentional in acting like Christ in ALL areas of our lives, those around us WILL ask why we live like we do? Why we have joy in the midst of sorrow? Why we choose to love instead of hate? They will ask. And that door will open for you to share your Jesus story.
  2. Hebrews 2:18 Because he himself suffered when he was tempted, he is able to help those who are being tempted. – I don’t think any of us can argue that Jesus suffered more than most of us will ever suffer in our lives. He was also tempted by Satan to sin. The thing is: Jesus DID NOT SIN! Jesus NEVER GAVE IN TO SATAN’S TACTICS! Of course, we are not Jesus and when we are tempted we have that tendency to give in. We are human and imperfect after all. But, because Jesus suffered and was tempted, He can now help us when we are being tempted. We have all suffered in some way in our lives. No one is immune to heartache and temptation. And while there will be times when we give in to temptation, we can still use our experiences to help those around us who are suffering and being tempted to sin. Be willing to walk alongside that person who needs accountability and encouragement. Remind them of 1 Corinthians 10:13 No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it. 
  3. Matthew 9:36 When he saw the crowds, he had compassion on them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd. Matthew 15:32 Jesus called his disciples to him and said, “I have compassion for these people; they have already been with me three days and have nothing to eat. I do not want to send them away hungry, or they may collapse on the way.” Matthew 14:14 When He went ashore, He saw a large crowd, and felt compassion for them and healed their sick. – I think I have proven my point that Jesus felt compassion for people who were hurting in any way. These are not the only verses that attest to the compassion that Jesus showed the people He came across, but I will let you find the rest. My point here is that the compassion that Jesus felt LED HIM TO ACTION. When He felt compassion for someone or a group of people, He acted on that compassion and fed the multitudes, healed the sick, delivered the demon possessed, taught about God and living a Godly life, and rebuked from a place of love and not condemnation. We are called to do the same. We are called to feel compassion for the hurting and heartbroken in the world around us. We are also called to ACT on that compassion. Our compassion must lead us to feed the hungry, minister to the sick, build relationships, disciple others, and even rebuke from a place of love. There are so many ways that we can show our love to those around us IF we allow our compassion to lead us into ACTION. 
  4. Hebrews 4:15 For we do not have a high priest who is unable to empathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are—yet he did not sin. – The Jesus Centered Bible uses the term understand instead of empathize. Jesus understands our weaknesses. He was human and He was tempted. He understands our imperfections. He understands that we can not face the temptations and trials of life on our own. We need to have that same understanding for others. Because we know what it is like to be tempted and fail in our efforts to fight temptation, we need to be understanding when others fail. We all have weaknesses. We need to be willing to understand someone else’s weakness and step out to be that strong tower for them when necessary.
  5. Romans 8:34 Who then is the one who condemns? No one. Christ Jesus who died—more than that, who was raised to life—is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us. – The definition of intercede is to intervene on behalf of another. Jesus is sitting at the right hand of God interceding for US. Despite the fact that we are NOT worthy of His intervention, Jesus intercedes on our behalf. Jesus asks for mercy and grace on our behalf. If Jesus is sitting in Heaven interceding to the Father for us and our imperfect, sin-filled selves, don’t you think we owe it to those in our lives to intercede for them. We are called to intercede/intervene on behalf of others. I have prayed prayers of intercession on behalf of my kids and miracles have come about because of those prayers. Don’t miss the miracle in someone else’s life because you refuse to pray for them. We are not any better than anyone else and we are never to good to intercede on behalf of another.

Jesus LOVES us! Jesus shows His love by: 1. Seeking and saving the lost, 2. Helping those who are being tempted, 3. Having compassion for the hurting and ACTING on that compassion, 4. Understanding the weaknesses of others, and 5. He intercedes for us.

We are called to BE examples of Jesus in this world. To Be an example of Jesus means that we need to LOVE OTHERS just as He loved. My CHALLENGE to you is to use the above five examples to love those in your sphere of influence on an every day basis. We each have at least one opportunity every day to show the love of Jesus to someone else. Time is short, my friends! GO OUT and LOVE OTHERS TO JESUS!

 

There are so many times when I run around like a crazy person, trying to figure out everything on my own. I try to control everything and I have a need to know all the answers and the outcome for every scenario. God doesn’t work like that. He knows that to much information could overwhelm us and send us running. He gives us what we need, when we need it and expects us to BE STILL and HAVE FAITH. I have learned through this devotional to:

  1. BE STILL and REMEMBER WHO GOD IS – I have to take the time every day to sit in the silence and remember that God is all powerful, has ALL resources at His finger tips, is compassionate, is just, and the list goes on.
  2. STAND FIRM – When I coming up against a person or situation that I feel helpless to fight on my own, I need to remember to have the courage to stand firm in my faith. I need to be still and trust that God will fight for me. I do not need to live in fear. I do not need to feel helpless. God will fight for me. ALWAYS!
  3. DO NOT FRET – God gives us a blueprint for dealing with difficult people: Be still, wait patiently, do not fret and refrain from anger. I have had to deal with many difficult people. That is simply the way life is. I will now know how to deal with difficult people in the future. God will guide us in dealing with the difficult people in our lives that will glorify His name. We simply need to follow His blueprint.
  4. REST and HOPE – I need to take time every day to find rest in God. I need to be intentional about being hopeful, knowing that God has a plan and a purpose for me. When I allow Satan to steal my hope, he wins and I NEVER want Satan to win!
  5. BE STRONG and TAKE HEART – While I am waiting for God to work in a situation, I need to be strong in my faith and I need to take heart that everything will work out the way it is supposed to according to God’s will. I need to remember to continue to grow in my relationship with God and in my faith during the waiting seasons of life.
  6. WAITING PATIENTLY – This is the hard one. God expects us to wait PATIENTLY and not whine about our situation. I have learned how to wait (mostly with patience) while God works in my situation. I am a single mom of 5 after all! You would think I would have an advantage in the patience department! I am a work in progress and may never fully arrive. I am waiting somewhat patiently!

 

Resting in God and waiting on God are not things that I have ever been good at. I have a need to control everything in my life. God works on my own heart issues as I write these devotional series. I hope that you have been encouraged if you are waiting on God or are dealing with a difficult situation/person. I challenge you to apply what you have learned to your situation and trust God in the wait. Never give up hope that God can and will work in your life as you learn to Be Still and trust in Him.

 

 

 

Psalm 40:1

I waited patiently for the Lord; he turned to me and heard my cry.

In the last post, I gave the definition of wait as staying where one is or delaying action until a particular time or until something else happens.

The definition of the word patiently means in a way that shows tolerance of delays, problems or suffering without becoming annoyed or anxious.

So, to wait patiently means to delay action without becoming annoyed or anxious. I will be the first to admit that I am not always a patient person, especially when it comes to waiting on God. I have a tendency to whine or gripe because so and so is living there God given life purpose already and I should be too. As a single mom, I have cried out in my despair and desperation. I have begged God to lift the burden of poverty from me. There have been three things that I have found help alleviate the discomfort of the wait:

  1. Prayer: Prayer can move mountains. Prayer has given me the strength and courage to wait when I really didn’t want to. God has given me peace in answer to my prayers.
  2. Serving: Step out of your comfort zone and serve someone in need. Find ways to serve those in your community in your wait time. Serving others takes your focus off of your own issues and onto the needs of someone else.
  3. Change of Perspective: Is God trying to change your perspective about your situation? I have struggled with poverty my entire single mom journey. I believe that God kept me there to change my perspective from “living in poverty” to “living simply.” I am a minimalist. I have very little and I don’t want what I can’t afford or don’t really need. God changed my perspective on money and my financial situation.

If we wait patiently, God has promised that He will turn to us and hear our cry. Whatever it is that you are waiting for today, I encourage you pray, serve and change your perspective on your situation. God will hear your cries of despair and He will turn you. Hang in there! Whatever it is that you are waiting for, it WILL come to pass eventually. Just be patient.

 

 

 

 

My last day of work was Saturday, May 4th. I thought it would be more emotional. It was bittersweet saying good-bye to the Sisters that I have grown to love and some of my co-workers, but honestly I have had a love-hate (mostly hate) relationship with the job for the 8 years I worked there. I was surprised that I felt nothing. There was no anxiety. There was no doubt. There was only a looking ahead to the future. I am assuming that the lack of emotion means that the time is right for me to launch into a new adventure.

On Friday, my co-workers had a carry in for me and surprised me with some going away gifts. The gift I will treasure the most is a coffee cup that says, “She believed she could so she did.” It inspires me every time I read it! She believed she could. Do I believe that I can accomplish my dreams, my God given purpose in Georgia? Yes, I do believe. Although, I can’t do it alone. It is only as I partner with God am I able to accomplish all that I set out to do. It is not in my power alone that I can do anything. Matthew 19:26 tells us that with God ALL things are possible. That is what I hang onto. In God’s power She Believed She Could So She Did.

 

My daughter, Cherokee, parents Ava (5) and Christopher (3) using natural consequences. Christopher had gotten himself in trouble by throwing a disposable cup out of the car window as they were driving. When they arrived home, Cherokee took Christopher up one side of our street and down the other to pick up trash. Armed with a bag for trash, a bag for recyclables and the wisdom of her 25 years, Cherokee, made sure that as he picked up the trash that Christopher understood that his actions have consequences. Cherokee made sure that he understood that just as he did not like cleaning up after others, other people shouldn’t have to clean up after him. Christopher was disciplined for his disobedience and hopefully, he will remember the lesson and the trash will be properly disposed of in the future.

Just as Cherokee disciplined Christopher for his disobedience, there are times in our lives when God has to discipline us for ours. There are times when we have to suffer the consequences for our behavior. One of the hardest things for me to deal with is the distance that my disobedience puts between me and God. I always seem to have a troubled spirit when I know that my behavior has been against God’s will and a disconnect is the result.

What can we do if we have disobeyed God?

Upon returning from our trash collecting, Christopher needed to apologize for disobeying his mom. Cherokee forgave him with a hug and a kiss and all was forgotten. I always know that the only way to make things right with God is to apologize and ask for forgiveness. We still have to deal with the consequences, but the issue will not be completely resolved until we ask for forgiveness. God loves me. God loves you. He will never stay angry.

Psalm 103:12

as far as the east is from the west, so far has he removed our transgressions from us.

If you are feeling disconnected from God because of an act of disobedience, don’t despair. God loves you! Apologize and ask God for forgiveness. You will still have to suffer the consequences of your actions, but you will no longer be separated from the God who loves you! Lamentations 3:22-23 tells us that:

22 Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. 23 They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.

We are going to sin. We are going to disobey God. Our reassurance is that God is compassionate and will not hold our transgressions against us. Every morning is a chance to start over. Don’t dwell on the mistakes of yesterday. Today is full of wonderful opportunities to turn things around and step into God’s will and purpose.