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Posts Tagged ‘pray’

 

 

We have seen pockets of spiritual renewal in the midst of the violence and chaos that has been created by the hate, intolerance and racism. Pockets here and there of goodness, compassion and love. But, is it enough? Are occasional pockets of spiritual oneness enough to be called a spiritual awakening? I don’t think so. It’s a start, but we have a long way to go to get to the place where we have a true spiritual awakening in America. It begins with each one of us examining our hearts and making the decision to live a life that glorifies God and letting go of the things that keep us tied to the world. The Church has become an entertainment industry. In our effort to bring people into the Church, we have become more secular and less like Jesus. We think it is okay to take middle school girls to see vampire movies as a youth event. We think it is okay to have viewing parties to watch the Walking Dead in our churches because we want to reach the unchurched. We forget that it is NOT our job to bring people into the church. It IS our job to live as Jesus lived in our daily lives. It IS our job to build relationships with our friends, family and neighbors; relationships built from love and compassion. It IS our job to allow the Holy Spirit to work through us. We need to allow the Holy Spirit to work in the hearts of ALL people. As we reach out in love, the Holy Spirit will bring them into the church. We need to get back to putting Jesus #1 in our lives and leave the rest to God. There are 5 things we can do to bring true spiritual awakening to the United States of America:

  1. Pray: We need to be on our knees on a daily basis praying that God will protect this country. We need to pray that God will place His angels to protect the borders of this country from evil. We need to pray that the plans and plots of the evil one will be revealed, so they can be stopped. We need to pray that God will pour out the Holy Spirit in such abundance that Satan will have no choice but to flee. We need to pray for our Mayors, Governors, Senators, Representatives and even our President. We need to pray for our Pastors, our faith-based leaders, each other and ourselves. We can change things. Satan WILL flee, but we need to pray. Every lasting spiritual awakening starts with the crying out of the Saints in prayer. We need to come together as one and storm the heavens with our prayers. It starts with prayer.
  2. Repent and Transform: As we find ourselves on our knees in prayer, we need to pray that God will reveal the darkness in us that causes the violence and pain and that He will transform our hearts. We need to be willing to repent of our sins and trust that God will bring good out of it. We need to be willing to be transparent with each other and trust that our brothers and sisters in Christ will accept us as we are: sinners redeemed by the blood of Jesus. We are all sinners. We have no right to judge each other. We ALL need to look into the deep recesses of our spirits and repent of the sin that lies there. After we repent, we need to leave the sin behind and transform our lives to glorify God. We need to continue to renew our minds daily through prayer and Bible study. We need to transform our lives so the world will see more of Jesus in how we live our lives then they see of us.
  3. Love: We need to love those around us, even when they seem unlovable. We need to pour out love into our communities instead of hate. We need to open our hearts and eyes to where there is pain and step out in love to be Jesus in a broken world. If we don’t, who will?
  4. Serve: When we start to love the people around us God will reveal areas where we can serve. When we start to serve those in need around us, we build relationships with those who need the healing touch of Jesus and the Holy Spirit will open the doors for us to share our Jesus story. Serving others in love and compassion allows others to see Jesus in us and allows the Holy Spirit to work in their lives. Through our obedience in serving, the Holy Spirit will fill our Churches and revival will come.
  5. Disciple: We need to start discipling new believers. One of the biggest things that is missing in the Church is discipleship. I grew up in the Church. I went to Sunday school. I learned my lessons, but I was never discipled in the Church. There was never anyone that came alongside me to disciple me. No one ever taught me how to be a follower of Jesus. No one taught me how to live this life through the ups and downs. Sunday school is great, but we need to be willing to sacrifice some time to come alongside a new believer for a significant amount of time to disciple them. We need to be willing to teach new believers how to stay connected to the Vine: Jesus. I was finally discipled. I was thirsty for more of Jesus and God sent the Holy Spirit to disciple me. Outside of the Church. I was not finding Jesus in the Church. Don’t get me wrong, I love the Church. I do. That’s why I am so passionate about bringing the Church back to where it needs to be. We need to be more proactive in building discipling relationships and not depend so much on our Sunday schools. We need to be more proactive in turning new believers into mature disciples of Christ.

We can bring spiritual awakening to America. There is hope! God still loves us and we can turn things around. One pocket of spiritual renewal here and another pocket there CAN turn into a National revival and Satan will have no choice but to leave. Never give up hope! With God ALL things ARE possible!

 

 

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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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