Psalm 5:3 In the morning, O LORD, hear my voice. In the morning I lay my needs in front of you, and I wait.
Psalm 119:147 I rise before dawn and cry for help; I have put my hope in your word.
There is something special about the stillness and the quietness of early Morning Prayer. Because everything is so still and so quiet it seems I am able to sense the presence of the Lord more easily and hear his voice more clearly. I’ve also noticed that since the tasks and concerns of the day haven’t had the chance to clutter my mind yet, I feel more free to just place all my focus on the One who so loving delights in being with me during this time. Once I finish praying there is a peace and assurance that comes because I know I have laid my needs in front of the Lord and asked him to help me, as the Psalmist mentioned. I also love the way he ended by saying, “and I wait”. I believe that there was something that happened inside of his heart during his time in prayer, which gave him the assurance that he could now wait in expectation for the Lord’s answer, because he was confident that the Lord had heard his voice. That’s one of the great things about prayer, as we do it we become more confident in our relationship with Jesus.
In Mark 1:35, it tells us that even Jesus rose early to pray. It says, “Very early in the morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house and went off to a solitary place, where he prayed.”
Of course prayer is something that we can and should do throughout our whole day; we can pray at any time. However making it first place in our day, brings order to the rest of our day and puts our focus in the right place. Even if difficulties arise during the day, which they sometimes do, being covered in prayer helps us to deal with them in a godlier manner. I’ve prayed often and asked God to help me to spend time with him in the morning before I start my day and he has done it. If it’s a struggle for you to do this, don’t hesitate to pray and ask God to help you to do it, because it does make a difference not only in your day but in your relationship with him. Although you can always learn from others, your relationship with the Lord is personal so in asking him to direct your prayer life you can find the specific plan he has for you. Enjoy your time talking with the Master, he is always delighted to hear from you!
Thank you for the gift of prayer. Please help us to develop and enjoy the prayer life that Jesus died for us to have. It’s an awesome privilege to be able to talk to you anywhere at any time about anything.
And when the men of that place had knowledge of him, they sent out into all that country round about, and brought unto him all that were diseased; And besought him that they might only touch the hem of his garment: and as many as touched were made perfectly whole.
Just one touch of Jesus will make us perfectly whole. In him we lack nothing. Have you ever thought about the power in that truth? It’s easy to feel inadequate or incomplete, but his touch brings healing to our soul.
The word broken comes to my mind as I think about this. Sometimes being broken may not be a bad thing because it causes us to see our need for Jesus. In these verses 35-36 they were broken in their bodies and they besought Jesus, which means they urgently went after him. Throughout the course of our lives we may experience brokenness is many different areas. It could be relationships, finances, health issues, or even our self-worth, the list is endless. However, when we run to Jesus by faith like they did, just one touch of him will make us whole. Sometimes the wholeness you are looking for may come through God’s peace. Even though you may still be navigating your way through a difficult problem, when you have touched the hem of His garment the peace he gives you sets you free. In Philippians 4:7, it says “his peace surpasses all understanding.”
Every day we should be seeking the Lord and reaching out to touch him because it is his touch that gives us strength to live. The best way we can reach out to him is by first accepting Jesus as Lord and Savior. Then to develop our relationship with him we need to talk to him constantly about everything. One of my favorite verses is 1 Thessalonians 5:17 that says, “Pray without ceasing”. As we reach out and touch the hem of his garment everyday by faith, we will be made perfectly whole.
Thank you for the wholeness we have in you. Every good and perfect gift comes from you (James 1:17). Please help us to reach out to you by faith each day and receive the gifts you have for us.
Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him and he shall direct your paths.
Recently while meditating on this verse I decided to look at it closer to make sure I was getting all God wanted me to. Countless times over the years I’ve read, quoted, and heard Proverbs 3:5-6. It’s a very well-known passage of scripture from the Bible. For those of us who are familiar with it, it probably comes to our minds quickly and often especially during stressful times. While some of God’s promises are unconditional there are those that are conditional and this is one of them. There are actions we must take in order to experience the privilege of having God direct our paths.
Trusting God with all of our heart is a decision that we must make. Even after making a decision to trust God, we cannot accomplish this in our own strength. We must pray and ask Him to help us. Whatever it is we may be going through we must learn to immediately turn it over to Him. That’s the great thing about prayer, we can do it wherever we are. Even if we are at work, we can say a quick, simple prayer and ask God to help us to trust Him to get through our day. There have been many days I didn’t even feel like going to work, but I thank God I have a job and ask Him to energize me and give me grace and a right attitude. Usually after a short time, I can look back and see a change in how I feel and I thank God for helping me.
God then tells us to lean not on our own understanding. A lot of the times we want to know exactly what is going on. We want to know how things will work out, but in scripture we are told God’s ways and thoughts are higher than ours.
Isaiah 55:8-9 (NKJV)
“For My thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways My ways,” says the Lord. “For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways, And My thoughts than your thoughts.
God is working things out in ways we simply cannot understand. Sometimes He will choose to reveal to us what He is doing, but others times we must trust Him for the results and try not to figure everything out on our own.
Lastly, we must acknowledge him in all of our ways. We can do this by making God a priority in everything that we do, which means we must include him in every part of my lives. We must pray often, and ask Him to show us areas of our lives where we are not trusting Him and He will. Fear can hold us back from trusting in God with all of our heart, so praying and asking Him to take away fears would also be a big help.
All that is left for us is to believe that once we have done our part, he will then direct our paths. When God is directing our paths, we can rest assured that everything will work out for our good (Romans 8:28).
Please help us to trust in you with all of our hearts, lean not on our own understanding, and acknowledge you in all of our ways. Thank you for directing our paths as You promised You would. Please remove any fears that are holding us back from trusting in You.
When I first graduated from college I was so excited to be able to finally have more time to spend in God’s Word. I had a deep desire to know him better and I knew that his word would be the way I could do that. Not that I didn’t read my Bible while in school, it was just that now I knew I would be able to dedicate much more time to developing a better relationship with him.
Getting closer to the Lord is like most other relationships, as you spend time with him and get to know him you grow closer to him and love him more. Deuteronomy 6:5 says, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength.” I’ve definitely come to understand that learning to love God is a process. I’m surely glad that everything God ask us to do he is willing to help us with through the work of his Holy Spirit our divine helper, and I’m ever so grateful for his patience. As he guides us and teaches us we become more of who God wants us to be. Submitting to God’s will is a choice we have to make daily but ultimately it leads to days filled with peace, joy, and direction. As we begin to see him work more in our life we begin to love him more.
The days that I enjoy the most are the ones where I can sense his presence the most. But fortunately even on days when I may not feel as close to him I know he is still there because he promises in his word to never leave us nor forsake us (Deuteronomy 31:6).
Over the last several months God has illuminated the word “joy” to me. I think his reason for doing that is because He knows joy is a key factor in enjoying life. Joy is something that can be experienced regardless of what difficulty we may be facing. Our hearts are joyful when we love God and are aware of the fact that he is always in control of our circumstances. When we encounter life’s setbacks joy says, “My God will never fail me, his love for me is greater than my problems so I don’t ever have to worry. He will take care of me.”
It’s so true, God will take care of all your needs, so do not despair! Reach out to him in good times and bad. Learn about who he is through his word and talk to him throughout your day and watch your love for him grow. As our love for him grows, we will have the contentment that comes from facing each new day aware of his presence with us and his love for us. As we look out and look up we can see the beauty of God’s love all around us, especially through his creation that he has given us to enjoy. Many days I just look up at the sky and I say, “Thank you Father for this beautiful day and for being here with me, I love you”. I certainly know that he loves me and being sure of his love for me causes me to enjoy my life more. He has given us all things to enjoy. In 1 Timothy 6:17 it reads,” Command those who are rich in this present world not to be arrogant nor to put their hope in wealth, which is so uncertain, but to put their hope in God, who richly provides us with everything for our enjoyment.
What’s your greatest fear or worry? As you ponder this question just realize that whatever the answer may be through the love of God you can still find peace and enjoy your life. With all that is going on around us, it may be hard sometimes to understand that our main focus should be on loving our God because he first loved us (1 John 4:19). It amazes me that he first loved me, even before I knew him. My prayer for my life and yours is that we will love our God with all our heart, soul, and strength and enjoy the life he has given us!
I remain confident of this: I will see the goodness of the LORD in the land of the living. (Psalm 27:13)
Thank you for giving us all things to enjoy! May you be glorified through the lives we live here on Earth. Please teach us to love you with all of our heart, soul and strength. Help us to walk in the joy that comes from understanding in our hearts that you love us and want us to enjoy life.
As 2018 is quickly approaching I’m sure we are all beginning to think about the coming New Year. This time of year we usually begin to set the goals we hope to accomplish in the New Year or consider and pray about the changes we want to make in our lives. It is also a time of reminiscing where we reflect on the challenges we have overcome throughout the current year which have taught us valuable lessons and made us stronger. For some of us we may be even carrying those same challenges with us into the New Year because they are not yet resolved and we feel uncertain about the outcome. But whatever our story may be there is one thing that is steadfast and that is the truth of God’s Word. His Word will never fail us it will stand forever.
Luke 1:37 says, “For the word of God will never fail”.
Isaiah 40:8 says, “The grass withers and the flowers fade, but the word of our God stands forever.”
So with that said, I believe we have to learn to take God at his word no matter what circumstances we face. It’s called living by faith and not by sight. I definitely want to take hold of all God has for me in this New Year and I’m sure you do to. I know that I frequently pray and ask God to remove anything in me that is not like him and to show me areas where I need to draw closer to him. It’s always interesting to pray a prayer and begin to see God through His Spirit teach you and show you the answer to the things you prayed about. There is a certain freedom that comes with repenting and asking God to help you to get better in Him because the more like him we become the more of our purpose we can fulfill.
As we venture into this New Year and continue to pursue the dreams God has given us or accomplish the goals we have set, one thing I believe I can share with you that He is showing me the importance of being a giver. Our ability to trust and obey God in our giving plays a vital part in seeing our dreams and goals come to past. It can be hard to give when we think we cannot afford to give or when there is something God is asking us to give that we simply do not want to part with. Although giving is often associated with money it is definitely not the only thing God expects us to give. He may also ask us to give of our time or possessions, and that can be really hard if we don’t want to part with them. We may even need to give up wrong attitudes or wrong thinking that is contrary to his word. But for every seed of obedience we plant I’m learning He always has a blessing on the other side and that we can never out give him. As we give more of ourselves to him we will experience more of his presence in our lives.
I believe that when we go to God with our problems, hopes, dreams, etc., often times there is a process that he may take us through before he can bring us the answers we seek. When we pray for increase we also have to learn to trust that God knows the best time for us to get the increase we desire and also trust him as he does the work in us that needs to be done before we can handle the increase. In my previous blog, “There is Always Something to Give”, I talked about the widow who gave from the little she had. I was so inspired by her story because she was willing to give, in spite of her circumstances. Her obstacles didn’t hold her back from giving what God told her to give.
I realize it’s so easy for us to become discouraged when things don’t go as we thought they would and we wonder what God is up to when we don’t see changes as fast as we thought we would. But remember this truth from Romans 5:3-4…
“We can rejoice, too, when we run into problems and trials, for we know that they help us develop endurance. 4 And endurance develops strength of character, and character strengthens our confident hope of salvation.5 And this hope will not lead to disappointment. For we know how dearly God loves us, because he has given us the Holy Spirit to fill our hearts with his love.”
I think these verses tell us why some of our goals or dreams may be delayed. They tell us it’s because God is working to develop endurance, character, and confident hope in his salvation. But it also assures us we will not be disappointed as we go through this process.
I admit sometimes the wait can be hard but for me, I’d rather trust God as I go through the process so I can know once I receive the blessing it will be something I can handle it. Hopefully you feel the same. So we have to be willing to give our trust to him and not hold back or pick and choose what we will and won’t trust him with. The Holy Spirit recently whispered this in my ear, “Give what I tell you to give and trust me for the increase”. I knew he was affirming that whatever I receive from God will always start with my obedience in giving to God. Look at this truth in Luke 6:38…
“Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you”
Yep, our receiving is directly tied to our giving! Never fail to give the little that God may be leading you to give because as he sees your faithfulness in giving in the little things and as you see his faithfulness to provide for you even in the little things a beautiful relationship built on mutual trust begins to develop. Next thing you know you will be trusting him with bigger things and seeing him release bigger blessings that he now knows he can trust you with. In other words if we can’t give him the $10 chances are we won’t give him the $100. If we can’t be faithful teaching a Sunday school class chances are we won’t be faithful if he places us over a large ministry.
So let’s ask God to make us better givers in 2018! Rather it’s time, money, gifts, talents, possessions, or even using your mouth to encourage those around you don’t be afraid to step out on faith and give. We never know what God will ask us to give but it maybe the seed he needs you to plant to reap the harvest you have been praying and waiting for. So give what he tells you to give and trust him for the increase in 2018 and beyond. God bless you!
Those who hope in the Lord will never be put to shame…(Psalm 25:3)
You word tells us every good and perfect gift comes from you and we thank you for so patiently teaching us that the ability to give is a gift from you. When you use us to give to others it impacts your kingdom in ways we may never even know. Even a simple smile and genuine hello can make a person’s day a little better. Many of the things we are trusting you for are usually dependent on what we are willing to give to you out of obedience. Help us not to try and take shortcuts but to trust you through the process one day at a time as you build our character. We want to be people of integrity who can be good stewards over the blessings you have planned for us so please shape and mold us each day. We rejoice in the good things you have planned for us in 2018 as we grow closer to you and learn to trust you as you teach us to give.
8 Then the Lord said to Elijah, 9 “Go and live in the village of Zarephath, near the city of Sidon. I have instructed a widow there to feed you.”
10 So he went to Zarephath. As he arrived at the gates of the village, he saw a widow gathering sticks, and he asked her, “Would you please bring me a little water in a cup?” 11 As she was going to get it, he called to her, “Bring me a bite of bread, too.”
12 But she said, “I swear by the Lord your God that I don’t have a single piece of bread in the house. And I have only a handful of flour left in the jar and a little cooking oil in the bottom of the jug. I was just gathering a few sticks to cook this last meal, and then my son and I will die.”
13 But Elijah said to her, “Don’t be afraid! Go ahead and do just what you’ve said, but make a little bread for me first. Then use what’s left to prepare a meal for yourself and your son. 14 For this is what the Lord, the God of Israel, says: There will always be flour and olive oil left in your containers until the time when the Lord sends rain and the crops grow again!”
15 So she did as Elijah said, and she and Elijah and her family continued to eat for many days. 16 There was always enough flour and olive oil left in the containers, just as the Lord had promised through Elijah.
17 Some time later the woman’s son became sick. He grew worse and worse, and finally he died. 18 Then she said to Elijah, “O man of God, what have you done to me? Have you come here to point out my sins and kill my son?”
19 But Elijah replied, “Give me your son.” And he took the child’s body from her arms, carried him up the stairs to the room where he was staying, and laid the body on his bed. 20 Then Elijah cried out to the Lord, “O Lord my God, why have you brought tragedy to this widow who has opened her home to me, causing her son to die?”
21 And he stretched himself out over the child three times and cried out to the Lord, “O Lord my God, please let this child’s life return to him.”22 The Lord heard Elijah’s prayer, and the life of the child returned, and he revived! 23 Then Elijah brought him down from the upper room and gave him to his mother. “Look!” he said. “Your son is alive!”
24 Then the woman told Elijah, “Now I know for sure that you are a man of God, and that the Lord truly speaks through you.”
This is very encouraging. It really touches my heart because not only was this woman a widow, but she was also a single parent who obviously was in the midst of some serious struggles. After all, she said in verse twelve that she and her son were going to eat their last meal and die. I believe that even in the midst of her dire circumstances, her heart was still in the right place and her ears were open to the voice of the Lord. The reason I believe that, is because when the opportunity to make a difference came along, she willingly accepted the challenge. She chose to help someone and be a blessing. She could have easily hung on to the little she had and made an excuse not to give. She could have chosen to operate in self-pity, but instead she willingly chose to obey God and give anyway.
Throughout this passage of scripture, we see God’s supernatural provision. We see that God can use anyone for his purposes, regardless of who you are, where you come from, what you do or don’t have, but the key is obedience. Elijah obeyed and went where God told him to go, and the woman obeyed and she gave what God told her to give. They could not see the end result, they just walked by faith and trusted that God would do what he had promised. 2 Corinthians 5:7 says, “For we walk by faith and not by sight.”
The woman first gave bread to Elijah, this was her offering to God. This offering to God was the portion that she sacrificed and gave away. She then kept the rest for herself and her son. After she obeyed God by giving to Elijah, God worked a miracle. He had promised her that there would always be flour and olive oil left in her containers and that is exactly what happened. Verse 16 says that there was always enough. In verses 17-24 we also find out the woman’s son became sick and died. Elijah ended up praying over him and he was raised back to life! I can’t imagine how different this story would have been if she had not been willing to open her home to Elijah and share what she had with him. She would have missed out on a whole lot, including seeing her son raised back to life. However the same is true with us, if we don’t take the steps of faith we need to take, no telling what we will be missing out on in our lives.
I am so inspired by this woman who was willing to open her heart by sacrificing the little she had so she could please God and experience “the more” that he had for her. In fact, after meditating on these verses, I begin to wonder if maybe she had been mentioned in the “faith hall of fame” (Hebrews chapter 11), so I went to investigate. I was delighted to find her in this simple sentence in Hebrews 11:35, “Women received their loved ones back again from death.” This widow is counted among the women who received their loved ones back from death. In the beginning this woman said she and her son were going to die, but after she obeyed God her situation turned around completely and went from death to life in more ways than one! Not only did she have the food she needed to sustain her family, but the Lord literally raised her son from the dead after he had become sick and died. Even after all of that, I would imagine the greatest reward was the personal encounters she had with the Living God and the way her faith grew as a result. After she went through these trials and test she knew without a doubt that God was at work in her life, because she made the following statement to Elijah in verse 24, “Now I know for sure that you are a man of God, and that the Lord truly speaks through you.”
Elijah told her in verse thirteen not to be afraid. He knew that fear could keep them both from experiencing the blessings God had in store. These verses remind us to ask God often to show us any of the things that we may be hanging on to, no matter how small they may be, that he needs us to let go of that are keeping us from experiencing His blessings. When God tells us to take a step of faith and give of ourselves, we can’t let fear hold us back. When we are afraid, we can ask God to help us to move forward and He will. Every day we can choose to be obedient to the Lord. This widow has set an example to us through her faith and trust in the Lord, that when we do choose obedience, our containers will never run dry.
Thank you for your provision and the miracles we experience when we choose to obey you. Like Elijah and this woman please help us not to be afraid to follow the path you have set before us, even when we do not understand all of the details. As we learn to trust you may our containers overflow with the peace, joy, fulfillment and abundant blessings that come from a life lived in total submission and obedience to your will. We don’t want to miss out on your best for us dear Lord, but most of all we don’t want to miss out on You. It’s not just about what you do for us, but it’s about who you are and the amazing privilege we have to draw closer to you each day. The closer we draw to you, the more we know you and the more we know you the more complete our lives become.
I have set the Lord always before me; because he is at my right hand, I shall not be shaken.
“I have set the Lord always before me”, when I read that statement it seems to me the Psalmist is saying that he intentionally always makes the Lord first in his life. He has set the Lord before all things concerning himself. As a result he knew he would not be shaken.
The word Security recently came to my mind. Many people find security in different ways. But for me, I have found the most security in knowing, like the Psalmist, that the Lord is always before me. Therefore, I will not be shaken. Having an intimate relationship with Christ is something that no one can take away, and he never changes, the Bible says, Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever (Hebrews 13:8). Worldly possessions can be lost to include status, money, job, or even the ability to exercise a gift or a talent can come to a halt. Not to mention the fact that even people can come and go. Overtime physical looks will even change; the Bible says, “Charm is deceptive, and beauty does not last; but a woman who fears the LORD will be greatly praised.” (Proverbs 31:30). Also Jeremiah 17:7, “Blessed is the man who trust in the Lord…” Whatever we can come up with to give us a feeling of security other than the Lord, can be lost.
I was recently thinking about how insecurity can even cause us not to walk in God’s purpose for our lives. When we look around there will always be someone with more of something, someone who is better at something or something we want but don’t have. But I am learning to only focus on what God has for me. I realize that God holds all things in his hand because Colossians 1:16, says, “For by Him were all things created that are in heaven and that are on earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones or dominions or principalities or powers: all things were created by Him and for Him. “So I remind myself often that true success comes only when I pursue the portion of the “all things” that God specifically designed for me. I don’t want to waste time focusing on the portion of the “all things” that he has for others (envy) or the portion of the “all things” I think I must have right away that he has not given to me (discontentment).
Every day we must make an intentional decision to seek the Lord and find out what he has specifically designed for our lives because that unique design is his purpose for us (Psalm 138:8 says, “The Lord will fulfill his purpose for me…”). There is such contentment and security in knowing God loves you and that he sees your life from beginning to end. Each day is a gift from him. He belongs to you and you belong to him. We are his people and he is our God. There is not one day we can live that is not included in his plan for us. Truthfully, there are times we all feel insecure about something but the thing for us to do is to refocus our thoughts on who Christ is and who we are in Him. We can cast down those ungodly thoughts when they arise to steal our joy. 2 Corinthians 10:4-5 says, “For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God for the pulling down of strongholds,casting down imaginations and every high thing that exalted itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ,”. The next time you find yourself wrestling with insecurity always remember who God says you are in his Son, Jesus Christ, because when our foundation and security are in Christ, we will not be shaken by anyone or anything.
Thank you that when we set you always before us, we will not be shaken! There are so many things in the world going on to draw our attention away from you, the One who created all things. Help us to refocus whenever we are distracted and to seek you above all else. Teach us by your Holy Spirit to find our security in you alone and to walk only in your purpose for our lives. Help us not to envy others but to be thankful for others and the good they do in the world. Thank you for willingly giving us the portion of good things that you have for us and teaching us to be content and trust your timing. We love you Father. In the name of Jesus, amen.