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Posts Tagged ‘Gods will’

closed doors

Romans 8:28

28 And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.

I have had doors seemingly open to ministry positions, just to have them slammed in my face further down the road. My daughter, Kiowa, is in a similar position. She has been taken down a path in her military career, just to have that door close unexpectedly.

Why does God open doors, only to close them further down the road? I am certainly not a person who claims to know why God does what He does, but from personal experience, I have some ideas why He might take us just so far and then shut the door:

  1. To Mold Our Character– Sometimes we need the experience to strengthen the Godly characteristics in our spirits. Experiences like this build can build our faith, patience, obedience, and dependence on God, if we allow them to. It is up to us how we chose to react to these situations.
  2. To See For Ourselves– I know that I can be stubborn sometimes and think that I know best. In these situations, I believe that God has led me just so far, so that I could see for myself that this was the wrong road for me. He wants us to trust Him, but sometimes we need to see for ourselves that this is not the best thing for us. How much easier it would be if we didn’t whine and trusted God to guide us down the right path. I hope to learn that lesson at some point!
  3. To Increase Our Discernment Skills– According to http://www.freedictionary.com discernment means the act or process of exhibiting keen insight and good judgment. Are we on a path that is potentially bad for us? Can we make the decision on our own that this is not the road that we should be on? Sometimes things look good from the outside, but once you take a deeper look inside the workings of a ministry or business, you find out that things are not as they should be.

If God has shut the door on your dream, don’t give up! There is ALWAYS a reason behind what God does and trust, my friend, that it is ALWAYS for our good. Here are 3 things that you can do while you wait for the next door to open:

  1. Pray– Keep praying for open doors and God’s will. It is all about what God wants and not about what we want.
  2. Strengthen Godly Characteristics– Use this time to work on those characteristics that you may struggle with: patience, obedience, discernment, self-control, surrendering your life to God, etc. What characteristics do you need to work on?
  3. Prepare– Prepare yourself for the next open door, by reading the Bible, praying, seeking God’s will and purpose for your life, serving others, etc. There are things we can be doing while we wait to prepare ourselves to be those vessels that God can use. What do you need to do to prepare?

Keep your heart open to opportunities that you would otherwise pass up. God may be opening the door to a whole new dream for you. We may think we know what’s best for us, we don’t. I have gone down roads that would have hurt me in the long run, had God not shut the door to protect me from myself. He wants the best for you and IS working out the purpose for YOUR life. Hang on! Open doors are right around the corner!

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teach me to pray

 

 

Matthew 6:9-13

“This, then, is how you should pray:

“‘Our Father in heaven,
hallowed be your name,
10 your kingdom come,
your will be done,
    on earth as it is in heaven.
11 Give us today our daily bread.
12 And forgive us our debts,
    as we also have forgiven our debtors.
13 And lead us not into temptation,
    but deliver us from the evil one.

I don’t remember a time in my life when I couldn’t recite the Lord’s Prayer word for word. I don’t remember ever attending a church where it wasn’t recited on a regular basis. Over the years, it became rote and meaningless. This was not the way Jesus intended it to be. Jesus never intended this passage to be a prayer in and of itself. He gave it as an outline to use as a guide in your prayer life. To recite the Lord’s Prayer in the mechanical way that we have become accustomed to does not do it justice and we learn nothing from it. There are 5 parts to this outline:

The first 2 parts are all about God and His will:

1. Praise and WorshipOur Father in heaven, hallowed be your name. We acknowledge who God is to us by praying, Our Father in heaven. This establishes our relationship with God. According to http://www.merriam-webster.com the definition of hallowed is holy, consecrated, sacred, or revered. This tells us that God’s name is holy, sacred, and to be revered. We don’t have to use these exact words in our prayers, but we do have to give praise and spend a moment in worship of our heavenly Father. Jesus put this part of the prayer first, because it is the most important part. To give praise and worship to our God is the most important thing.

2. God’s WillYour kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. We are to pray for God’s will in ALL things. I know how easy it is to slip into self-satisfying prayers, or prayers that push our own agendas instead of God’s. Jesus lived His life doing God’s will, seeking God’s will and obeying God’s commands. We need to do the same. It is okay for us to want things, but God knows what is best for us and we need to seek His will in ALL things.

In these days of unrest and evilness, it is important for us to be in prayer that God’s kingdom will come and we will live as God intended, in peace and harmony with each other. There is an urgency and we need to pray for an end to injustice, oppression, and hate. We need to be in prayer that all people will know God’s heart and that this world will be transformed by the love of God.

The last 3 parts are about us and what we need:

3.Our Daily Bread– Give us today our daily bread. Jesus is telling us to pray only for what we need today. This is consistent with God’s command not to worry about tomorrow, as found in Matthew 6:34.

For Ourselves- What needs do you have TODAY? Don’t waste your time on worrying about tomorrow, focus your prayer on your immediate needs for today.

For Others- What needs do family and friends have TODAY? If you know someone or a situation that needs immediate prayer than pray for that person or situation. I’m sure that Jesus prayed for the disciples and God wants us to pray for each other and events in our lives.

4. Forgiveness– And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. If there is anything on your heart that you need to confess and ask forgiveness for, then you better do it. Nothing keeps us separated from God more than unconfessed sin. Confession is good for the soul! So is forgiving others when they have wronged you. I admit that I have a tendency to hold a grudge. It is hard for me to forgive people who have hurt me. Sometimes the words, “I forgive you” is said between clenched teeth and God has to give me an attitude adjustment. We have to forgive others. Hanging on to the hurts of the past will only hurt us in the future. Let it go, give it to God and live the life you were meant to live. 

5. Temptation and Evil- And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one. This is so important and Jesus knew how much we would need protection from Satan. Temptations hit us from every side and we need to be prepared. We can not face them alone. Only with God, can we face down temptations, before they take us down. This part of the passage shows just how much God loves us. He knows that there is no way in the natural realm, that we will ever be able to face the evil one on our own. He will deliver us, if we ask Him to. 

Remember that Jesus intended this passage to be an outline to guide us in our own prayer time. Expand on each part as God leads and see where God will take you in your prayer life. Prayer is how we communicate with God and He has shown us how to do that in His Word. Our journey in prayer is an ongoing process and always evolving, so don’t give up. Keep pressing in and God will bless you abundantly!

 

 

 

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Pray Always

 

 

I have recently read 2 passages of scripture that are very similar in context. I believe there may be more than these 2, but I decided to focus on these 2 passages for this post.

Philippians 4:4-7

Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

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.

I was struck by the similarities in these 2 passages and realized that if God is repeating himself, then it must be important. These passages had 3 common instructions for every day living:

1. Rejoice– According to http://www.vocabulary.com, rejoicing is celebration or festivity. In Thessalonians 5:16 we are told to Rejoice always. I know that this is not easy in this day and age. On a daily basis, we are dealing with the demands of work and kids, all while trying to get everything done on a to- do list that’s a mile long. Believe me, I understand. As I was thinking about this concept, I realized that if “to rejoice” means “to celebrate” than rejoicing is simply a celebration of life. I don’t have to like some of the aspects of being a single mom. I don’t have to like when my kids act up or the car breaks down, but I will continue to rejoice and celebrate this life God has given me.

2. Pray– Philippians 4:6 tells us that in EVERY situation, by prayer and petition, we should present our requests to God. We are also told in 1 Thessalonians 5:17 that we are to pray continually. How often do you pray when you are at work or running errands? Do you remember to pray for that annoying co-worker, the guy that cuts you off in traffic, or that cross cashier? Do you remember to pray when you are in a traffic jam or when things aren’t turning out the way you expected? Honestly, I forget to pray for the people that irritate me. I forget to pray for patience while standing in a check out line. I forget to pray for God to use frustrating situations to mold my character, so that I can be the woman He wants me to be. I have found that I have to be intentional about praying in every situation. The question I ask myself is, “Why is it so easy for me to run to my kids to complain about so and so or this and that, but not communicate with a God who wants to hear about every aspect of my day?” It is something I need to pray about and change so that I am in obedience to God.

3. Give Thanks– Philippians 4:6 tells us that by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, we should present our requests to God. 1 Thessalonians 5:18 tells us to give thanks in ALL circumstances. I have to admit that sometimes I find God’s commands downright hard to obey! Give thanks when my kids are screaming at each other? Give thanks when my car has a flat and I am flat broke? Give thanks when the roadways are iced over and I have to go to work? Are you kidding me, God? You expect me to give thanks? Yes, He does. Honestly, I would much rather complain about my circumstances, but where does that get me? Feeling miserable, negative and toxic. I don’t like feeling like that. I give thanks that I have 5 kids with healthy lungs. I give thanks that I have a car in the first place. I give thanks that I serve a God of unlimited resources. I give thanks that I serve a God that has a legion of angels that protect me on the roadways when the roads are one slick sheet of ice. I am so thankful that I serve a God that is in control of all things!

1 Thessalonians 5:18 tells us that these 3 commands are God’s will for us in Christ Jesus. We live our lives seeking God’s will for us, but never bother to look in the one place where He actually tells us what His will is: the Bible. I’m guilty of this myself, so I’m not pointing fingers. If you want to know God’s will, read the Bible!

In Philippians 4:4-7 Paul, also gives us 2 other principles to apply to our daily christian walk:

1. Be Gentle– Philippians 4:5 tells us to let our gentleness be evident to all. I have always tried to teach my kids to be gentle with their belongings, with animals, and with their younger siblings. As a mom, have I been that model of gentleness that I want them to see? I hope so. I know there are times when I have failed miserably, but I try. Knowing that God gives us a direct command to be gentle, I will try harder to be that role model of gentleness that not only my kids and grand kids need to see, but the world as well. We live in a world of harsh words, hate crimes, and evil intentions; we need some gentleness in our lives.

2. Do Not Be Anxious– Paul tells us not to be anxious about anything in Philippians 4:6. Living in a world of terrorism, war and evil, it is hard not to be anxious. My kids are growing up and going out into the world and I worry about them. At the end of the day, I know that there isn’t anything going on in the world that God doesn’t know about. My worrying isn’t going to help anything. I have to let God be God and live my life knowing that He is in control. I can hear Him telling me, “Go on about your day, I’ve got this.”

When we obey God’s commands, He has promised certain things:

1. He Is Near– Philippians 4:5 tells us that the Lord is near. In every situation and circumstance that we find ourselves in, the Lord is near. He knows intimately our heartaches and our joys. He is near when our children leave home for the first time. He is near when we find ourselves broke and homeless. He is near when our loved ones pass away and we are drowning in our grief. He is near. He knows what we go through on a daily basis and He wants to walk through this life with us.

2. We Will Have Peace- Philippians 4:7 tells us that when we obey the commands that God has given that the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard our hearts and our minds in Christ Jesus. When we rejoice; when we pray; when we give thanks; when we practice gentleness; when we give our worries to God: God promises that we will have a such a peace that we will never understand it and this peace will guard our hearts and our minds in Christ Jesus. I know there are days when I could use some peace, how about you?

I hope I have given you some food for thought, as you discern who God is to you. We each have our own unique relationship with Him and He relates to each of us differently, as I relate to each of my 5 kids differently. In this relationship, our heavenly Father does have certain commands that He wants each of us to follow for our own benefit. He loves us and doesn’t want us to suffer needlessly. We make rules for our children, because we love them and want to protect them and God makes rules to protect us from the harshness of the world.

He never expects us to walk out His will alone. He is always with us and He gives us others to help us up when we fall. If you need a hand up today, let me know. I am here for you as you seek God’s will for your life. I am here for you as you start to implement God’s commands into your life. You never have to walk alone. How can I help you? How can I pray for you?

Remember always, that God loves you and so do I!

 

 

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He equips the called

 

 

Hebrews 13:20-21

20 May the God of peace, who through the blood of the eternal covenant brought back from the dead our Lord Jesus, that great Shepherd of the sheep, 21 equip you with everything good for doing his will, and may he work in us what is pleasing to him,through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen.

All my life I have struggled with insecurities. I have never believed that I was good enough. I have never believed that I could do the job I was given to do. The truth is that I can’t do anything on my own. I don’t have the ability to succeed in anything in my own power. Without God in my life, I am completely powerless. I know that God is working behind the scenes to bring me into His full purpose for my life. I am scared because, on my own, I know I will fail. I will never be able to use my talents to glorify Him on my own.

I am so thankful for a Father, who wants us to communicate with Him and gives us the Bible to use as a guide when we don’t have the words. Sometimes, I simply don’t know what to pray and I find a verse or two in scripture to pray back to Him. Today, my prayer is from Hebrews 13:20-21:

Hear my prayer, God of peace and listen to the heart of your servant. I want more than anything else in this world to do your will and to serve full-time. Often, I don’t feel equipped for this calling on my life and I am terrified that I will fail and bring shame and disgrace to you, my heavenly Father. I only want to do YOUR will. I ask that you will equip me with everything good for doing YOUR will. Give me the skills needed to serve you through serving others. Give me the heart to look beneath the skin and see the heart of the person you love. Give me the patience and the strength to persevere when the going gets tough. Fill me with your love when I am called to wash the feet of one of your children. Use me. Send me. expand my territory. Work in me what is pleasing to you, that I may always seek to glorify your name. I ask this all in the name of my precious Savior Jesus. Amen.

I long for more of Jesus in my life. I long to be fully consumed by the Holy Spirit. Filled to overflowing with the love of Jesus. I surrender all I am, everything I have, my past, my present and my future to Him. I completely trust Him with my life. I am totally sold out and want nothing more than to live for my Jesus forever.

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the road less traveled

Are you traveling on the road that will take you where you want to go? If not, Why? What is keeping you from making a U-turn and heading down the right street?

I have wasted to many years traveling down the wrong road. The main reason, for me, was because I simply didn’t know where I wanted to go. At the age of 43, I think I’ve finally figured it out! I have found the right road for me. It is a fairly deserted road. Every once in awhile, I bump into someone to share the journey with, but for now I’m traveling alone.

My road is all about living in community and sharing the Gospel with others. It is a road less traveled. I hesitated at the start. I could see all the pot holes, the ditches, the mud I might get stuck in when it rained, the isolation. It seemed so much easier to pick another road. A road that every other ministry leader was going down, the road of evangelism and modern day crusades that end up being all about the money. I could not travel that road. God was leading me elsewhere and I had to follow Him. I need to live in an intentional community like those of the early Church in the Book of Acts. Sharing our resources and serving the poorest of the poor. I am still searching for that community, but I will find it.

In my experience, I have found 6 reasons that we avoid the road that takes us where we want to go:

1. We don’t know where we want to go. It took me 43 years to figure this out! If you are struggling with this, take it to God. Ask Him where He wants you to go. What are you passionate about? What cause, people group, etc. has God given you a burden for? God usually gives us the talents and skills to match His purpose for us. What are your skills? What talent has He given you?

2. We are fearful. It is easy to look down the road, see the obstacles and become paralyzed with fear. I have been there. God never promised that our lives would always be obstacle free. Every road has it’s share of pot holes, ditches and mud. It will rain. God did promise that He would travel the road with us. He sees all. He knows all and He will guide us if we ask Him to.

3. We get distracted. This has been a big issue of mine. I start down a road and then I realize that this or that needs to be done. I start to question whether I really have time for this. If it’s a passion, if it gives me joy, if it fits into God’s will then we need to find the time. Get a planner and start scheduling time into your day to take steps down the road you have chosen. Even if it is baby steps and you don’t seem to get to far, get started. One day you will look back and be amazed at how far you really have gotten.

4. No support. It is hard to do something that people in your life don’t agree with. It is never easy to go against your loved ones. I understand this. Sometimes we have to follow our hearts, regardless of what others think. If God is leading, then we MUST follow. He is the only one that matters. Be respectful of the opinions of loved ones, but if you know you are in God’s will, then follow Him.

5. We can’t see the end of the road. I always like to know the end result. I like to know that what I am doing will be a success. Unfortunately, we won’t always know the end result. We won’t always know if what we are doing will succeed or fail. What matters is the journey. Knowing that we are in God’s will needs to be enough. He knows what the end result will be. If we walk with Him, more than likely we will succeed, but if we wander off the road, we will most likely fail. We have to trust God and simply obey.

6. We don’t want to travel alone. I completely understand this. It is hard to be the only one championing a cause or serving a people group. There are times when we may the only ones with the life experience or skill set that can do the job God wants us to do. We are never really alone. God is with us. He is all we really need.

Where is God leading you?

What are you afraid of?

What is distracting you?

Do you have the support of loved ones?

Can you see the end of the road?

Are you traveling alone?

Ask yourself the questions above and write down whatever is on your heart. Use these questions as a tool for communicating with God. Ask Him to show you His heart and He will.

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I know it’s been a couple of months since I posted. Those couple of months have been eventful and have left me reflecting on life and God’s will for mine. I am facing a new season of my life and it has left me excited and scared about where God is leading.

babies

I started having to face the fact that I’m not getting any younger last year when my oldest daughter, Cherokee, graduated high school. In October I was completely unprepared to hear that I was going to be a grandma. In March, Cherokee and Nick were married. Last month, Kiowa graduated high school and is making that transition into adulthood. On June 8th, I turned 43! 43! WOW! On June 13th, my beautiful granddaughter Ava Rose was born and I became grammy to this precious baby girl. Well, you might think that would be enough to convince me that I’m getting older, but God seemed to think I needed another reminder. I have been having a hard time focusing when I read. I have had a hard time seeing the small print of my Bible. I love to read, so when I was forced to change the font on my kindle so I could actually read the print, I knew it was time to go to the eye doctor. As a diabetic, I know how important eye care is. I knew bi-focals were a probability, but until the eye doctor actually said I needed bi-focals, I was able to live in denial.

readingowl

 

 

I can’t live in denial anymore. I am entering a new season of life. I still have dependent children at home, but I know that my life has shifted and God is preparing me to answer the call He has placed on my life to encourage and minister to women. I now have a choice in how to accept this realization that I am getting older. I can either kick, scream and deny this reality or I can accept it with grace and look with excited expectation at what God has planned for my future.

Entering a new season of life is never easy. We may be fearful of the changes that are coming. We may feel a sense of loss when we realize that changes sometimes mean losing those things or people that are near and dear to us. Believe me, I know it isn’t easy, but God wants to walk through this transition with you. God wants to give you a peace that only He can give. God knows what the future holds for us and He loves us enough to walk through this new season with us. There is never any reason to fear the future. Trust God to work ALL things out for you. Your heavenly Father is waiting, with a hand held out to you. Take His hand and step into this new season together.

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