Is God Listening?

Psalm 34:17(NIV), “The righteous cry out, and the LORD hears them; he delivers them from all their troubles.”

Has anyone besides me ever asked themselves this question, “Is God Listening?” I know I’ve asked myself this question more times than I can even remember throughout my relationship with Jesus. Usually for me, as a Christian, one of the most helpful ways to remind myself that God is listening, is to reminisce about His past faithfulness to me and my family. Psalm 77:12(NIV) says, “I will consider all your works, and meditate on all your mighty deeds”. When I meditate on His deeds, it’s evidence of His love and His presence in my life. Looking back on what God has done, gives me confidence in Him now in the present,  and helps me to put my hope in Him for my future.

But still, how do I know He is listening? How do we know He is listening, at that very moment when we cry out for help?

I have come to know that God is listening because…

He gives me peace as I talk to Him (Philippians 4:7). He carries my burdens and gives me rest (Matthew 11:28). He gives me strength when I feel weak (2 Corinthians 12:9). He reminds me of His words in scripture or He will speak to my heart about what He wants me to do in my situation (Hebrews 4:12).  Usually when He speaks, His words will resonate with me.

When I cry out to God, I simply do it by faith. Then I wait in expectation for what He will do for me (Psalm 5:3).

Psalm 34:17 says that He hears us and will deliver us. Our struggle comes when we have to wait to be delivered, because sometimes God comes quickly, but other times we must wait. The good news is that if we must wait, He is still with us everyday giving us exactly what we need. I can remember going through a season of difficulties on a particular job, and God spoke to me and told me that as long as I was there, He would take care of me, and He absolutely did!  Even though God spoke those words to me years ago, I have found them to be a comfort on every job I have had since then.

When we must wait for His deliverance, He will always hold us up with His strength if we trust Him to. He will always fight on our behalf. He will make a way, but the when’s and the how’s we have to leave in His hands.

Is God really listening? Yes, He is listening to you, He is listening to me. He cares deeply about our needs.  When doubt tries to steal our peace, let’s remind ourselves of Psalm 34:17. Our Heavenly Father not only listens, but He answers, and His answers are always right.

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Don’t Cry!

Luke 7:13 (NLT), “When the Lord saw her, his heart overflowed with compassion. “Don’t cry!” he said.”

In this story in the book of Luke, a widow had lost her only son. The funeral was in progress when Jesus saw her. He ended up walking over to the coffin, touching it, and speaking to the deceased boy. He told him to, “Get up!” The boy sat up and begin to talk! Then Jesus gave him back to his mother.

Our Lord Jesus has a heart that overflows with compassion for each of us. When we are hurting, he feels our pain and sees our tears. His words to us are the same that they were to this widow, “Don’t cry!”  He is ready to touch our hearts and speak life into situations that appear to be dead. With Him, it’s never too late for things to turn around.

The same compassion that Jesus extends to us, we are able to extend to others when we have accepted Him as our Savior and Lord. Praying regularly keeps us closely connected to His heart, so that we can sense another person’s hurt and pain. We can call out to them and say, “Don’t cry!” We can offer them comfort because we ourselves know the Comforter.

There are a lot of reasons to cry as we look at the condition of the world around us, as well as the situations we must face in our own lives. However, Jesus is calling out to us with compassion, eager to dry our tears and bring healing.

So…

Don’t Cry! He is working things out for you!

Father,

How amazing it is that You see our every need, hear our every cry, and feel our every pain. When we rejoice, You rejoice. When we mourn, You mourn with us. Thank you for being a God who is concerned. Thank you for being eager to bring healing to our hearts and comfort to our souls. Thank you for having a heart that overflows with compassion. Please help us to treat others the exact same way, so we will be a true reflection of Your love.

In the name of Jesus. Amen.

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Keep the Faith

Proverbs 16:9 NLT says, “We can make our plans, but the Lord determines our steps.”

We all have desires for our lives. We build a vision of how we would like for our lives to be, and we hope things go according to plan, but the truth is that sometimes they don’t. That’s just the way life works. There are couples who want children, but have not been able to conceive. There are some who had an idea for a business or an invention, but so far they have not been able to get it off the ground. There are some who have had their lives altered by wrong choices they made, or by the carelessness of other people.

When we find ourselves in a place where we feel we’ve somehow missed out on something, it can be frustrating to say the least. If a dream seems to have faded or a goal seems out of reach, it can leave us feeling as if there is, “a part of us that has not yet lived”. But even if we end up in a dry and unfulfilled place, we still have a choice to believe for the best. We never know when things may suddenly turn around. We can make a decision to keep trusting God to work things out in our favor. Psalm 5:12 tells us that God’s favor surrounds us like a shield. When things don’t go as planned, God may have another plan that is different, yet better suited for us.

It can be tough when we are in a position where we have to reroute and travel a different path or make adjustments to the path we’re on. But there comes a time where we must learn to trust Him to perfectly write out every detail of our story. We can’t see the outcome of our tomorrow’s but He can. As 2 Corinthians 5:7 reminds us, we must keep walking by faith and not by sight, and like David in Psalm 31:14-15, keep believing that your times are in God’s hands. God has a perfect timing for everything in your life. No matter what your struggle, His love will see you through, just keep the faith.

In the name of Jesus. Amen.

We’re Different Yet The Same

John 13:34 (NIV), “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another.”

As we venture through life, we will cross paths with many different people. The thing that makes people so interesting is the fact that they are different. If God wanted one version of a human being that is what He would have created. However, thankfully for all of us, He chose not to do that. Being the artist that He is, He put His creativity to work and crafted many different colors, features, personalities, and He even topped it all off by giving us each a unique purpose. He is truly the God of diversity!

Sometimes when we meet a person there may be something about that person that makes it hard for us to accept them. But really if we have a chance to get to know someone a little better, especially when that someone is different from us, we would be doing ourselves a huge injustice not to take advantage of that opportunity. Why? Because every person that is breathing air has a story to tell, regardless of their race, nationality or gender.

When we take the time to listen to another person’s story, we will quickly find out that we all have had our share of ups and downs. We’ve all experienced victories and defeats, gains and losses. We will also discover that although there may be many differences between people, there are also just as many, if not more, similarities. We’re all human and we share the same basic needs, especially our need to be loved. I’m not suggesting that people ignore their morals or values to tolerate any ole thing, because standards are a necessity. Having standards will ensure that we are being true to ourselves, and even more, true to the God we serve. However, I do believe that when we take the time to at least listen, and show compassion to one another, we may find a true treasure in getting to know that person better. When we listen to the story of another, we can better understand why they are who they are. We also may gain insight from them about life in general, and learn something new that can be a blessing to us.

It never hurts to deviate a little from what we deem to be comfortable and familiar. When we are willing to “step outside of the box”, we may discover that we are in the place where we were truly meant to be. When we’re out of our comfort zone, God can use us more fully as we learn to rely on Him to take us to new levels in our lives.

When I look into the face of another person, especially a person who is different from me, I pray I will always remember that they, just like me, have a story to tell. When and if they choose to speak, I will do my best to listen.  Are you listening?

Galatians 3:26 (NIV),”So in Christ Jesus you are all children of God though faith,”

A Thanksgiving Prayer 🙏🏾 🙏🏿🙏🙏🏽🙏🏻

Dear Father,

As we enter another Thanksgiving season we want to say thank you so much for all You have done for us over the last year. Many things have happened in our lives and in the world around us but You have been faithful through it all. There have been countless joys and accomplishments that we have experienced. You have given us good health and sustained many of us through ongoing illnesses. You have answered so many of our prayers and taught us to persevere in faith, and to trust You with the prayers that are still unanswered. Some have endured tragedies, deaths of loved ones, frustrating setbacks, relationship issues and many other hardships along the way.

This time of year is difficult for those who are hurting especially those who have lost someone they love. But even in the midst of these things Your steadfast love has endured. We are learning to trust You with the things we do not understand. Please help us to trust You more.

For those who are hurting, we ask You to bring them Your peace and comfort. We are asking You to give them hope and shine Your Light into the darkness they feel. We pray for those living on the streets that you would send them the help they need. Please be their shelter no matter where they lay their heads each night. Father, when we see a homeless person on the street we don’t know how they got there. However we do know that one day some time ago, a mother somewhere gave birth to them, just like the rest of us, and their mother or father may very well be hurting today wondering if their child is safe. Please comfort those parents.

Thank you for being sure in a world that is unsure. Thank you for being our Peace in the middle of the chaos. We are thankful that we can rely completely on You to supply our every need and protect us and our families as we face each new day. You have a good plan for each of our lives and Your word declares that shouts of victory come from the homes of the righteous (Psalm 118:15)! We are thankful for that victory that we have in You and thankful for the many blessings that You will give us in the coming year.

Jesus we celebrate You and rejoice that we can walk with You through this life. Thank you for family and friends and even for the complete stranger that may walk past us on the street that cares enough to offer us a smile because even a simple smile can make a difference.

Please keep us safe, healthy, content and of strong, sound mind as we continue to live for You. Please give us wisdom to see beyond the surface of this life and to instead see things through Your eyes. Thank you for allowing us to see another Thanksgiving and thank you for being You.

In the name of Jesus. Amen.

Psalm 107:8-9, “Let them give thanks to the Lord for his unfailing love and his wonderful deeds for mankind, for he satisfies the thirsty and fills the hungry with good things.”

Happy Thanksgiving to you and your loved ones!! Thank you for praying this prayer with me. May the love of God satisfy your soul and fill your life with good things.

The Last Will Be First

Matthew 19:30 reads, “But many who are first will be last, and many who are last will be first.”

Years ago I was traveling with my mom and daughter along the Pennsylvania Turnpike. We were on our way to our family reunion which was being held in Philadelphia. At some point, we came to a stretch of road on the turnpike that was lined with dead trees. The strange thing about it, was that although the trees on the front row were all dead, immediately behind them, as far as the eye could see, were beautiful, vibrant, healthy green trees. However, these lifeless trees on the front row, stood very tall and erect almost as if they possessed an inner confidence. Because of the green background behind them created by the other trees, they appeared to stand out even more. Odd as it may seem, even though these trees were dead, they were still very much alive. They had a mysterious beauty radiating from them that drew attention to their presence.

As I continued to observe this peculiar scene, God brought to my mind these words, “The first will be last and the last will be first.” I have no idea what natural events may have occurred that caused those trees to end up like they were. But to me they represent many people who may not measure up to the world’s idea of beauty. But because they follow God’s ways He has elevated them to a certain level. Like those trees, you may never know what someone has endured to get to where they are, but because they did endure, God has shown them favor. Never underestimate what God is doing in someone’s life just because things appear a certain way on the outside. As Christians, we should have an inner beauty that radiates from our hearts and changes the world around us. People should be able to sense a distinct difference and want to know more about us and our lifestyles. Ultimately who we are should lead people to want to know more about the God we serve.

Those of us who call Jesus Savior, need to take a stand and be all that God has called us to be for the sake of the cross and the glory of the One who died there.  2 Corinthians 6:17 says, “Come out from among them and be separate, says the Lord, then I will receive you.”

If those trees could speak, I know the stories about life on the “Penna” Turnpike would be unforgettable. The good news is that you and I can speak. We can speak life to those around us. Not only with our words, but through our actions. We must let the life we live speak for us. Ask God to show you how you can “come out from among them and be separate.” When you are serving God, even if you think you are last, in God’s eyes you are first. We need to make sure that wherever we are standing, is the place God really wants us to be. When we are where we should be, we can then be effective and make a true difference.

Father,

Please let the beauty we have in you through your Holy Spirit shine brightly so that those around us may be inspired and changed. Help us not to get caught up in things that do not matter but instead to focus on what matters most to you.

In the name of Jesus. Amen.

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His Strength is More Than Enough

2 Corinthians 12:9

And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness…

This is a verse that many of us have heard and read many times but while driving to work one morning the Holy Spirit brought it to my mind in a special way. It was one of those days where I felt weary, one of those days where I was wondering what God was up to, how he was going to come through and what His specific plans were for me with several situations I have going on. As I drove I heard Him speak to my heart and say, “I need you to be strong and you can be strong because I am your strength.”  When I heard this my whole perspective begin to change. I thought to myself…Wow, God needs me!

I often cry out to God for help and tell him how much I need him  and what I need him to do. This is good because he tells us in his Word to make our requests known to him with thanksgiving (Philippians 4:6), but in that moment when he said I need you to be strong I realized just how much God needed me. Joy begin to fill my heart and by the time I arrived at work I had a big smile on my face not only because God needed me to help fulfill His purposes but also because I was reminded He would give me the strength to do whatever He needed me to do. Nehemiah 8:10 tells us that the joy of the Lord is our strength!

I hope that you will find joy knowing that God needs you to help fulfill his purpose here on Earth and in your weary moments be reminded that when you are in Christ you are a part of his plan and he has a special purpose for your life. No matter what you may be going through his grace is sufficient for you.  You can be strong because he is your strength.

Prayer:

Father,

How amazing it is to know that you are our strength and you need us your children to help fulfill your plans and purposes here on Earth. Help us to bring all our worries and concerns to you no matter how small but as we do that help us to also remember that you need us and that you are counting on us to live our lives in a way that will bring glory to you each day. You sent your Son to die on the cross for our sins so that we could not only spend eternity with you one day but so that we could help shine your light into this dark world. Thank you so much for the joy and the strenght you give us!

In the name of Jesus,

Amen.

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