How is your prayer life?
Prayer is one of God’s greatest gifts to His people yet many believers do not make communicating with God on a daily basis a priority. Sadly, communicating with God is often reduced to when they are dealing with a crisis. However, I recommend that every child of God needs to set aside some time in their schedule to leave the cares of this world behind and find a solitary place where they can be alone and talk to their heavenly Father. Martin Luther King Jr said “to be a Christian without prayer is no more possible than to be alive without breathing.” A person gets a totally new outlook on life when they spend time in God’s presence. Your priorities change as well as your desires and goals in life. No believer is going to grow strong and healthy without cultivating a prayer life. Without prayer we are doing life based solely on our own strength and we lack the wisdom and power we must have if we are going to be used by God to further His kingdom on earth.
Jesus understood the value of prayer. Therefore, He arose early – making it a priority to spend time in prayer. Not only did He wake up early for the purpose of prayer, Jesus made it a point to find a place to pray. Why? Because He wanted to avoid any distractions and focus on what was important – alone time with God. When you spend time with the Father you will be able to focus and receive clarity about what is important in your life. Prayer is the only way to find the source of direction, inspiration and courage to do what God wants you to do. You might be a person who makes a daily ‘To Do” list and you prioritize the tasks according to how important they are to you. You list the most important task as number one but prayer isn’t the least you can do, rather it is the most you can do to change your life and to change the world.
It’s time to examine your prayer life. If you are like most people you wish you could be better at communicating with God but the ball is in your court. Make prayer a priority if you want to allow God’s will, power and blessing in your life. Remember that “the effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much.” (James 5:16).
As we journey through this life we will encounter a few storms along the way. Things can be fine one moment and the next you find yourself in the middle of a terrible storm. One phone call, one twenty-four hour period of time, one doctor visit and there you are, in the storm of your life. When the storms of life come, they often cause us great anguish and pain. Your life can change so quickly. One storm can devastate us with heartache, heartbreak and turmoil, but the good news is Jesus is an expert at calming storms. I have found that He will either calm the storm we are going through or He will calm you and allow you to experience peace while the waves are coming against you. Storms are not meant to destroy us even though they bring anxiety and pain. Storms are actually meant to develop us and I just want you to know that there is no storm on earth that Jesus cannot calm! There is no problem so great that Jesus cannot fix. Jesus cares about you more than you could ever know and is with you at all times regardless if you are on the mountain top or in the valley.
The disciples of Jesus found themselves in the middle of a storm and they began to panic even though Jesus was in the boat with them fast asleep. The storm was not an issue for Jesus. The difference between Jesus’ response and the response of His disciples were their thoughts. The disciples thought the storm was too much for them and they were going to lose their lives. Fear took over and controlled them. On the other hand, Jesus knew who He was and to whom He belonged and there was no reason to fear. He could sleep because He was in absolute peace. Even though you might not see exactly what Jesus is doing in your storm, don’t question His concern, He really does care! You don’t have to be afraid of a storm when it’s in the hands of one who loves you. There is one who has the power to calm the storms that arise in your life. You and I need not fear the storm when our gracious, loving Heavenly Father is the one in control! Sometimes, He sends the storms to educate us and to teach us to trust. His purpose is not to hurt us, but to grow us. You can always trust the Lord to do the right thing in the storms of life. Do you need to hear Jesus say “Peace, be still” to your storm? He’s only a prayer away. Don’t do life without Him.
Have you ever found yourself in a position where you wanted to accomplish something big but the odds were stacked against you and it looked like an impossible situation? Many people let go of their dreams because they fear that they will never be able to succeed. Those that do succeed took a leap of faith and landed in a place where miracles happened over and over again. God supported and protected them. Its’ been said that the will of God never leads you to where His grace cannot keep you. It doesn’t matter who you are, where you come from. The ability to succeed begins with you having faith in God as small as a mustard seed.
God will not give you a blue print of His plans for you, and it’s not up to you to figure out how it will happen. Your job is simply to take one step at a time and never lose sight of the vision and let God do the rest. That is faith – faith is not seeing the destination, but trusting that God will show you what you are to do and when to do it every step of the way. If you can see the end from where you are, chances are you are walking by sight. If you stay where you are until you are sure of the end, you will not move at all. Don’t fear difficulties. Choose to look at them with eyes of faith, and not fear. Eyes of faith focus on God; eyes of fear focus on the circumstances, the problems. Eyes of faith see a big God who is able to overcome a big problem. When Satan comes knocking at your door, simply say, “Jesus, could you get that for me?” Faith is the ability to not panic.
We want to learn to see through eyes of faith, and trust God every step of the way. The odds may look like they are against you right now but hold steady. Go after the dream God has given you. Yes, you will encounter problems but don’t become discouraged. When you come to the end of yourself you will find that God lives there and He is only a prayer away. As a child of God, prayer is like calling home every day. God will give you the strength to succeed and it will be all to His glory!
If you want God to do a new thing in your life, you must be willing to do something new because if you keep doing what you have always done, then you will keep getting what you have always gotten. But, if you want to achieve new things or go places where you have never been, then you must be willing to do some things that you have never done. You are going to have to take a step of faith to get to the next level. God honors those who risks shame, frustration and disappointment when they act in faith. It’s easy to stay with what you are use to – there is some security in that, but if God is calling you to a greater place in your life or in your business, don’t be afraid to take a risk. God might be answering your prayers by telling you to cast your net on the other side so that your boat is running over. But are you willing to risk something in order to see God do something new and great in your life? Sometimes we must do things we have never done to get to places where we have never been!
You must trust God throughout your life. You will not always know where God is leading you but trust that He has it all planned out. One night a house caught fire and a young boy was forced to climb out his bedroom window onto the roof. His father was on the ground below him and he kept telling his son to ‘jump.’ The boy would not jump because all he could see was smoke – everything was black. The boy yelled out “Daddy, I can’t see you.” His father yelled back “But I can see you and that is all that matters!” You may not be able to see where you are going, but God has you in His sight and He will always be there to catch you. You might be asking yourself “Will God really do this new thing in my life?” The real question is not “can God” rather it is can you? Can you trust and believe, not doubting, but be fully persuaded that God is a faithful God? Every promise in the word of God belongs to each of us but they are dependent upon our level of faith. We must be willing to trust and obey God at all times in all situations. When God speaks to us, we must believe that He is faithful to do what He has promised.
If God has told you to do something, the first step belongs to you. It is a step of faith; it might look like a risk but it is your choice to take it or not. You must have faith and trust in God to survive. Your faith will determine how far you go; it will cause you to remain stagnant or it will take you to a place where you have never been before. Your level of faith will tell God when you are ready. There is always a higher level to reach in your marriage, in your job, in your finances, but whether or not you get there is up to you. Worry and fear do not produce change – only faith does! God has a certain time and place to give you your dream. The question is do you have enough faith that will take you there?
What measure do you use to measure success? Some people measure success from a financial perspective. Others measure success by what you own or by prestige taking into consideration your position on the corporate ladder. The real question is how does God measure success? God measures success by your faithfulness. Faithfulness is not a common virtue in society today. Marriages, relationships between family and friends and the breaking of commitments/contracts all suffer from the lack of faithfulness.
God wants to see our faithfulness. God wants us to be faithful to what He has called us to do. We will not be judged on how much stuff we have accumulated here on earth. Rather we will be judged on our faithfulness or lack thereof on the work God has called us to do. True success is not to be measured in terms of what man can see, but in terms of what God sees. Therefore, it doesn’t matter in what manner we have been called to serve God, we must do so faithfully. We are redeemed of the Lord. We belong to Him. He is our Lord and Master and the only one whose judgment matters. It would be good if God looks upon our work and finds us faithful. From the parable of the talents story in the Bible, it doesn’t matter if God has given us 5, 2 or 1 talent. We don’t have to compare our accomplishments. We only need to be faithful in obeying God and fulfilling our purpose in this life. Look at the disciples. They were persecuted and died horrible deaths. They were successful not because of prosperity and power, not because of prestige or popularity, but only because they chose to remain faithful to the Lord. They were faithful in obeying His Word and doing His work.
Whenever God give us a responsibility, let us accept it and do our best at it and show God that He can depend on us. One day, we are going to hear the Lord say, “Well done, good and faithful servants. You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things.” Luke 16:10 says “Whoever can be trusted with very little can also be trusted with much, and whoever is dishonest with very little will also be dishonest with much.” Do you want to be successful? Become known as someone who can be depended upon to be faithful to do everything that you are asked to do.
When was the last time you found yourself thinking about the ‘good old days?’ It’s human nature to do so but you must avoid getting stuck there. Many people zero in on a good time in their life but spend their present trying to relive those days. That is not a good way to live life because the past is just that, it’s in the past, and it can never be relived or repeated. The alternative is to dare to be bold and seize every day as a new gift from God. Psalm 118:24 says “This is the day the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it.” Every new day presents us with new opportunities and it would be wise to see it as such and work on seizing the moment while we have it. Your past contained both good and bad days. You made good choices and you made bad choices but dwelling on the good or bad will do you no good. Today you have a choice. You can live in the past or you can choose to let it go and move on and take advantage of all the possibilities that a new day brings.
Facing the present means that we put our faith in Jesus Christ, and trust Him to be involved in every part of our lives. It also means that we choose to live life as it comes to us day by day; not in the past, not in the future, but right here at this moment. God does not want us to waste our lives away. He wants us to seize the moment and live every day of our lives with a purpose. Your past, whether good or bad, does not predict your future. Your future is what you are determined to make it, so do your best and leave the outcome to God. God is an important factor in what lies ahead for you. Many people forget the God factor and plan for success based solely on what they hope to accomplish and they fail to take into consideration that what is impossible to man is possible with God.
Abraham Lincoln said “In the end, it’s not the years in your life that count. It’s the life in your years.” Live every day on purpose knowing that you can make a difference. There is nothing you can’t do. Believing that you can is the first step. Don’t let what’s behind you keep you from living today. Life is good; life is precious and it should be embraced and enjoyed one day at a time. Don’t dwell on yesterday and what could have or should have been. Look up and see what is in front of you right now. Life is to be enjoyed and not merely endured.
One of the advantages of growing older is the opportunity to learn. In fact, I really believe if you are not still learning, you have stopped living. No one is too young or too old to learn no matter what their position is in life, and one thing that I have learned is our world needs more people who can’t help themselves but to be kind to the people who cross their paths every day. These are good people who enjoy doing good. The Bible has a great deal to say about being good and doing good. God is good and God wants us to be good. That sounds very simple, but many foundational truths in life are just that simple. There is so much violence and pain in the world today and sometimes it all seems overwhelming and we can feel powerless to do anything about it. We can, however, choose to be kind and to do good every day.
Kindness and goodness is an extension of God’s love and needs to be given out as freely as it is bestowed upon us daily by our heavenly Father. See each person as Christ sees them. Make a commitment to let no one ever come to you without leaving better and happier. Often we’ll find we end up benefiting and being blessed as well. There are people waiting for someone who is genuinely kind to enter their world. These people have gone a long time since seeing an act of kindness or hearing a kind word. Just stop and think about it for a moment. There is someone out there who will live a happier life merely because we took the time to share what we had to give. Too often we underestimate the power of a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, or the smallest act of caring, all of which have the potential to heal a hurting heart. Treating everyone with kindness will help us to live with purpose because we would have done what was in our power to do for someone when we were with him or her.
Just as important as being kind and doing good is to do so with no thought of reward. Do it simply because it is the right thing to do. There is no benefit of keeping score of our good deeds. With no records to read you will avoid the risk of growing resentful or bitter because your good deeds were never reciprocated. In the 13th chapter of 1 Corinthians, Paul says that love “keeps no record of wrongs.” Our love should keep no record of “rights” either. One of the most meaningful emotions you can ever experience is to have someone recall how you did something for them that meant a great deal to them. Ephesians 4:32 says “Be kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving each other, just as God in Christ also has forgiven you.” Do all the good you can, to everyone you can, while you can. Remember the words of Dr. Seuss “To the world you may be one person; but to one person you may be the world.”
Most Christians don’t fully understand how much God loves them individually. They know that they are saved and they believe that their sins have been forgiven, but they can’t wrap their arms around the concept that God is personable and knows them by name. Understanding the depth of God’s love for you is the fundamental truth that will hold you steady on your earthly journey. The Bible says “And you shall know the truth and the truth shall set you free.” (John 8:32). Once you get this truth down in your soul, it will bring about the breakthrough that many believers need to be set free. You might feel unloveable right now because of what someone has done to you or said about you, but you are loved by God not because of what you’ve done, but because of who you are. The blood of Jesus Christ has made you loveable and worthy to be called a child of God. Jesus said that the greatest love a man can show for his friends is when he lays down his life for them. Jesus laid down His life for us. That is how valuable and loveable we are to Him!
The love of God may be hard for some of us to understand because we define love based on a human understanding. People love one another for many different reasons. Unfortunately, human love can change. Have you ever loved someone who only seemed to love you for what they could get from you? That is very painful but God’s love never changes nor is it based on our performance. It is impossible for us to do anything to make God love us any more than He already does. God will never love us less because His love is unconditional. It is everlasting and even though we may reject His love, He will continue to love us. At times in our lives we may find ourselves asking questions like does God love me? How do I know that God loves me? Just remember that you were purchased at a steep price and nothing will ever be able to separate you from God’s love.
There is nothing like the love of God. It is the most overwhelming thing I have ever encountered in my life. It is the greatest thing God ever did for any of us. The love of God heals, forgives and most of all it has redeemed you. God’s love is priceless and the best way to show God that you love Him is by doing His will and being what He would have you to be. Love others exactly as you are loved by God. The world needs to see what real love looks like. The world needs to see kindness, compassion and the act of putting the needs of others first. The world needs to see a love that knows no partiality and most of all it needs to see a love that is forever increasing because it has no boundaries. God would love that!
It’s important to focus on God and not on your circumstances when going through a tough time. That is the only way to find peace. When you focus on God you are acknowledging that God is in control and that God is bigger than your problem. Your faith causes you to possess a supernatural perspective that involves having the knowledge that God is going to use your problem for your good and you rest in that.
No one enjoys going through difficult times but God has promised to never leave or forsake us. That promise alone will carry you through your darkest days and should be looked at as an invitation to take your burdens to the Lord in prayer. God wants us to tell Him what’s burdening our hearts and give it to Him so we can rest. He commands us to stop thinking about our problems and let Him deal with them. When we do that, He gives us peace – the kind of peace which surpasses all understanding.(Philippians 4:7). God wants us to focus on Him; to think about Him and to pray to Him. Focusing on God and not your circumstances may not be easy; that’s why it’s called a battle. But the way we fight this battle is to change what we’re thinking about. You might say certain thoughts plague you because the crisis you are in has been going on for a long time and seems never ending. The answer is to renew your mind and think about those things that are true, lovely and of a good report. (Philippians 4:8).
Jesus was with Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego in the fiery furnace, and He’ll be with you in your fiery furnace as well. They were at peace even though they didn’t know whether God would actually keep them alive or not. All they knew was that God was with them and would see them through one way or the other. And that’s what you need to realize; God is with you and will see you through one way or the other. And that’s not resignation or defeat. That’s confidence. God has a plan for you and it’s good. If you’ll just keep moving forward, being the best that you can be, God will take what’s meant for your harm and He will use it to your advantage. God will open doors that no man can shut. God will give you favor and cause you to accomplish your dreams. God knows how to get you to where you’re supposed to be. You are not going to just come out, you’re going to come out better off than you were before!
Easter is the celebration of the resurrection of Jesus Christ and every Christian has a lot to be thankful for. We know that Jesus died on the cross to pay the debt for every sin committed in the past, the present and in the future and because of Him, believers will spend eternity with our heavenly Father. We worship Jesus because He is alive and that He has risen. We know this in our head but have we really taken it to heart? Have you actually thought about what impact the death and resurrection has on your personal life? Are you living your day to day life as a child of God who has been redeemed by the precious blood of Jesus Christ? Redemption cost Jesus His life. Therefore, our lives should be lived with a purpose and should reflect the new man or woman you have become. You are a vessel that God’s love flows through. You are a light that will dispel darkness where ever you go. You have been set apart to raise the standard against evil all because of the resurrection of Jesus Christ.
The resurrection changed everything. Not only was death defeated but that same power that raised Jesus Christ from the dead resides in every person who knows Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior. If you are saved, you are no longer just an ordinary person. You are now an extraordinary individual who is able to defeat the enemy of your soul no matter what fiery darts he throws at you. If you believe in the resurrection you have hope. You know that nothing is impossible with God and your eyes have been open to see what the non-believer cannot see. A non-believer is limited by the natural but now the natural becomes the supernatural and that supernatural dimension exists only because of the resurrection.
Where would we be without the resurrection? Jesus Christ rose from the grave and life will never be the same. Make it a point to serve the King of Kings every day. Reach out and touch someone who might not know what you know. There are a lot of hurting people in this world and a smile, a hug or just a ‘hello’ to a stranger might be the game changer for a lonely soul. The resurrection was not for just a certain group of people but it is for every one. Every one deserves to be happy, to have peace and not live in fear. Share your testimony and let God do the rest.