Stretching Saints

I’m that girl! The one whose emotions are twisted and turned by the performance of her teams. Who are my teams? Well the Godly (and very true) response is Team Jesus ALL day, everyday. As it relates to sports, I am a Who Dat (New Orleans Saints) and Roll Tide (Alabama) girl!!!
Football is a beautiful  game when done well;  it’s a collaboration of individuals working towards a common goal. I would know,since  I am a fan of teams with 17 nationals championships (2 in the last 3 years) and one glorious Super Bowl just 3 years after Hurricane Katrina tore threw New Orleans
But football is just the model for collective collaboration. The original, the masterpiece— that’s found in my first team, my eternal team, you guessed it, Team Jesus!!!
As believers, we are committed to one Team, that is the Kingdom of Heaven. Our head coach is also called our high priest . (Hebrews 5:10). His name is Jesus and yes there were coaches or priests before him, but fortunately for us— there will be no other coach after him. We’re blessed with something many teams lack, stability. God has given our team a leader and he’s provided us with the tools for success.
The Bible is our playbook. It contains ALL the answers. As my church says, the Word of God is the Answer( shout-out to Faith Chapel) Unfortunately, we as believers don’t always use our playbook to its full capabilities. We pick a few plays (scriptures) and those are the ones we live by or quote. Usually ,we chose ones that speak prosperity and blessings which cater to our needs. But we skip over the plays ( scriptures) that make us uncomfortable, the ones that make us stretch for the goal. This is the trap of the enemy; he knows familiarity keeps us from all God wants to do in us and through us.
When we choose to stretch in our relationship with God, we leave our fandom behind. In a strange way, we become FOLLOWERS. The world preaches leadership and that’s all good but for God’s kingdom to operate effectively— we’re called to follow.
Following isn’t easy. To follow, we must relinquish control. The outcome isn’t about our personal needs or wants, it’s about working for something bigger than ourselves .Like the 11 men on the football field, God calls us to “do our job” and if everyone does their job — then success will come.  Don’t believe me, it’s written in our playbook. 1st Corinthians 12 is all about playing your part an how the parts work together for maximum function.
I’m not excluded from wanting to stay in my comfort zone and not stretch for bigger. The Holy Spirit convicted me just this week with a great football analogy. (Aside, I love that God will speak in a language we understand)
So the Holy Spirit told me “you’re Alex Smith and I want you to be Drew Brees. ” At first I was offended because Drew Brees is the quarterback of my beloved Saints, so of course I was like God I wanna be him too.
But then I thought about the first part of the statement.  What did the Holy Spirit mean when he said you’re Alex Smith. Well Alex smith is safe.  He’s a good quarterback, but he’s not a risk taker. He doesn’t throw passes out of his comfort zone, so his teams usually have to score points the hard way. They have to go 70 or 80 yards for touchdowns..
What separates  Drew Brees from Alex Smith? Well Brees is a surefire Hall of Famer and Alex Smith is just a good quarterback. Brees is in the NFL record books and will have a legacy far beyond his playing days.  Brees is probably less talented than Alex Smith, but his success has been exponentially greater. Why is this???
Put simply, Drew Brees has reached a greater potential than Alex Smith because he takes risks. He stretches beyond his comfort zone and he trusts his preparation. Brees will throw the ball downfield in expectation of achieving the big play; a quick score or large chunk of yards that sets up the score.
That sounds like a lot of sports chatter, but the reality  is we are each confronted with the same decision on our Christian walk. Will we stretch the field and go deeper in our walk with God like Drew Brees? Can we trust the sermons and teaching we have learned when it’s time to face the tests and trials of life?? Or do we shrink back an say I’m good where I am with God. Church on Sunday is enough and I don’t need to tell others about God. I mean we don’t normally say that aloud, but that’s what our actions say. We choose the safe route, to be Christian up until the point it makes us uncomfortable.

I’m choosing to stretch. I want God’s very best and that won’t be found in my comfort zone. I’m letting go of my fandom.  I don’t want to just hear about Jesus and his great works. I’m Following him so I can experience His great Works. Will you commit to following him no matter the cost??? I’ll warn you, it isn’t safe, but there’s no limit to what God can do in you and through you if you’re willing to let him cal the plays!!

Drew Brees Stretches Across the goal line – Are we stretching in our walk  with the Lord?

Just A Moment

Ever have the feeling you Need to read your bible? You’re not sure why or what, but you know you need a moment with God. That was me earlier this week. I hadn’t been sleeping peacefully all week and I seemed to always wake up more tired than when I went to bed. So, Wednesday morning …before class, before work and before everything that was ahead of me for the day, I had the feeling I needed to read the Bible. God was drawing me and I obviously was missing His message.

So, I opened my bible not sure where to flip. I thumbed through the pages and landed where a prayer booklet was inserted. The scripture was Isaiah 8. Can we just give a handclap of praise that God always knows what we need to hear and when we need to hear it?

At first, I didn’t think the scripture was relevant to me as it was talking about an invasion. (remember this) Then, I got to verse 19 and God asked a question. He said, “should the living seek guidance from the dead?”  

And my spirit was convicted. God sent a flood of images and thoughts through my mind about where I have been seeking guidance. I have an amazing family and I want their approval. But I can’t want their approval for my life decisions above God’s instructions. I have awesome friends who keep me accountable and add laughter and joy to my life. But, I can’t run to my friends every time I have a problem and expect their wisdom to be all my answers. I follow gifted pastors who teach the Word of God in an exceptional way. But my pastors aren’t Perfect and they aren’t God.

One thing I know is God is a jealous God (Exodus 34:14). And not in a I own you and nobody else can assess you, possessive human sense. He’s a jealous God because He paid a high price for us. He gave His Son’s life for us (John 3:16). He’s a jealous God because He restored our righteousness when we were dead (Ephesians 2:1).

Yet when life happens, we run to everyone but God. The One whose love was expressed by His Blood. If you took a bullet for someone, would you feel some type of way if they sought everyone else’s advice over yours? I’m not saying God doesn’t speak in different forms like pastors, friends or family. Because He most definitely does! But sometimes God whispers where only we can hear.  Sometimes, He wants to write a message only you can see. 

In my study, I realized that the enemy had sent an invasion ( did you remember? ) my way. The enemy wants our thoughts and our habits, but we must fight him. We must fight to hear the voice of God, to stay in His Word and not this world’s flow. Our lives have been redeemed and they are called with purpose. Don’t be distracted by the world and its voices. Matthew tells us if we seek first the kingdom, everything else will come (6:33).  Our family and friends may be great but they are human and flawed just like us. They were once dead just like us and they need Christ just like us.

But our Heavenly Father, well he’s always been alive. He stands the test of time and He is filled with truth and wisdom. He desires to speak to you, to spend 1 on 1 time with you, and He wants to personally communicate with you. 

I challenge you to get quiet before the Lord. Seek him without expectation. He smiles when we say, Lord I want to experience you or I just want to be in this moment with you. I don’t need anything except your presence. I’m choosing to seek guidance from the One who is and has always been alive. You are the Lord of Lords, King of Kings, and the Creator of the Universe. I need you and I want you God. 

 Get ready!! Heaven and earth will move when you call on the character of the Holy God. He responds to the cries of His children. Cheers to a lifetime of moments with the Holy One!

Your YES Matters: Lessons from a Hard Season

 

Well HELLO!!! It has been about 2 months since I last blogged. I apologize for my absence; I haven’t forgot about blogging or neglected it intentionally. Quite the opposite happened! God took me on an unplanned sabbatical!  Let’s flashback.

The day was Tuesday, November 29th. It was the last meeting of the semester for my small group and I. The whole purpose was to debrief and discuss our goals for the coming season, our Christmas break as we are all college students. And during that time, I uttered words I had no idea where they would lead me. I said “During Christmas break, I want to grower closer to God and allow him to develop me more than ever before”. I know God heard me, because the next eight weeks challenged and pruned me in ways I could not have imagined.

Moving forward, break started on December 12th. I was pumped to relax, catch up with friends, and not worry about school or work for a couple weeks. I set my list of goals for this season and prayed God would meet me in this place. I wanted to read the Word, read five books on faith, and be intentional in my prayer time. Seeing that I had no school, I fully expected to pop out lots of content for this blog. BUT God had different plans and I could not be more grateful that His plan went forth and mine did not.

I can’t give a day by day recap because I’d be writing forever and you wouldn’t finish reading. Cheers to short attention spans 😉 However, as my season transitions again, I thought I’d share 5 lessons I learned in my unplanned sabbatical to encourage you in your faith journey.

  1. Pursuit is more important than Performance to God!

When I said to my small group, I wanted to grow closer to God and allow him to change me from the inside out, I was saying YES to God. I just finished an amazing book by Lysa Terkeurst called When Women Say Yes to God. In the book, she talks extensively about radical obedience and living life in tune with God’s will. I expected my Christmas break to be an easy, relaxing season.

Truthfully, it was a HARD season.  The unexpected happened and then it happened again. I was knocked off my feet by the obstacles of life. My aunt passed away unexpectedly which rocked my family. My car broke down when I was out of town by myself and I was unable to get it fixed for three days.  The beautiful thing was that when I was knocked off my feet, I fell to my knees. And God met me in those hard moments. He was my peace, He was my strength, He was my comfort and He was my provision. I had to choose to be vulnerable with God in those times and let him know I wasn’t okay. Even in not being okay, I had to choose to worship and trust God because He was still God in my difficult circumstances. Sadness, tears, and grief didn’t stop me from connecting with God. And my pursuit of God allowed him to sustain me in my weakness.

2. God wants to see progress and he is not expecting perfection.

 So, I entered this season with my eyes set on pursuing God. And that is what I did. Can I tell you that when I started pursuing God, the devil started pursuing me. I don’t mean the previously mentioned obstacles; I think those were God’s plan. No, I am talking about the devil came for my whole life. He attacked me in the quiet places, when I was all alone. Thoughts of doubt and fear flooded my mind. My inadequacies were never more on display than these times. The ugly persona of sin reared its head. I fell flat on my face and messed up so many times. I could not understand how I could say YES to God, spend time with Him daily and still be attacked in different areas of my life. I experienced conflict, showed jealousy and battled discontentment. The devil took hold of my mind and it was a fight to win it back. There was one week where I just could not win.

BUT God spoke to my heart in a gentle, loving way. He told me that the only way to fight the lies of the devil was with truth. I needed to spend more time with him in His Word and less time with the world. But God I protested, it’s my break and I want to do this and this.  And yet, I found that the more time I spent with him, the better my outlook became and the less control sin had on me. I was not perfect, but as the year changed from 2016 to 2017, I saw a change in me. I saw Progress.  God dealt with my heart on conflict and how I needed to handled different situations in my life. He exposed seeds of jealousy and discontentment in my heart and offered to uproot those things if I would allow.

3. Pruning requires patience and sacrifice.

 When God said, he wanted to uproot those things in my heart that weren’t like him, I had to say YES again. And this time my YES was an SOS to the devil and his demons to test me in the very areas I was pursuing change. Then God prompted me to do what I knew I could not do on my own. I was sitting on my bed one afternoon when I heard God nudge me and then say I’d like you to fast. At first, I was like Yes God;  I was planning to fast for the New Year anyways. But then God said I want you to do my fast, not your own. God’s fast for me was the Daniel Fast, to only eat fruits and vegetables and drink water for 21 days. Additionally, He said to fast from social media. Anyone who knows me knows I LOVE meat, so my first reaction was God I can’t. And to be honest, I didn’t want to nor did I plan to do this fast. But I told one of my friends what God had spoken and she encouraged me to carry through. I still wasn’t convinced.

I prayed God would speak another word to my heart. But God is not a man that he should lie and his Word doesn’t change. So, I prayed God would change my heart in order that my desires would align with His. And that is exactly what he did. In the days leading up to my fast, God began preparing me for the 21 days ahead. He allowed me to hit the reset button. I was praying for vision and God answered my prayers of vision with another focus, he spoke to me about sacrifice. My fast was my sacrifice. I remember telling God that this would be hard. To which God responded, “don’t worry about the pain, remember the purpose.”  God promised to be by my side the entire time and to NEVER leave or forsake me. I am so grateful for his promise which carried me through those 21 days. He was my strength and my sufficiency. In my weakness, God was strong and he allowed me to complete the work he started in me.

4.God can’t speak if you’re not in position

I didn’t say any of the above for you to be impressed. Truthfully, this is the first time I have truly reflected on this previous season. It was not about what I couldn’t have. Instead, I had to make my fast and my life about what I did have and that was the presence of God. I spent more time in prayer than ever before. There were many hard days when I wanted to give in, but the covenant I made with God was more important than my appetite for food and for worldly pleasures.

The word of God filled me when my stomach was empty. His voice comforted me when my strength was failing. And the intimacy of His Presence truly changed me from the inside-out. I can’t accurately put into words what this season meant to be. It was a season of growth; God planted so much inside of me that I believe will come forth in coming seasons. He instilled knowledge from His word and from books of faith. He also convicted me when I sought knowledge over His presence. God showed me flaws in my thought patterns and He revealed that I’m not immune to sin even when I am seeking His face. He sustained me and carried me in the hard moments, and He picked me up when I messed up. I am so thankful for the intimacy of these past eight weeks. God renewed my faith and reminded me of His promises. He let me know that he withholds no good thing and He is always with me. I needed God so much in this season, but I truly believe I’ll need him more for the next season. Without him, I am nothing and I can do nothing.

5. Your YES Matters

I hope my story encourages you. I pray you say YES to whatever God has asked of you. And when you say YES, know it will change and challenge you like never before. BUT the other side of your YES is where blessing and purpose await. God is for you and He LOVES you!

 

 

The Table is Set; Take Your Place

I have this grand vision of my one-day family. When I’m married with children, dinner will be more than a meal! It will be a time of fellowship ; a daily appointment of quality time. I see my husband at the head of the table and my place straight across at the opposite end. There are four seats along the sides for our children to eat. Assigned seats has a negative connotation, but I believe the personal touches tailored to all the personalities will make every seat a unique place designed for one specific person. I see monogrammed charger plates, special notes of encouragement, and extra helpings of the foods they like on their plate.

Every place at my future dinner table is going to be unique. It doesn’t mean I love my husband or kids any less, just that my love for each of them is tailored. The point being is everyone in my family will have a seat at the table. Have you ever thought that God views us in the same way? He desires for each of us to Take Our Place at His table!!!

When you share a meal with someone, you share more than food. Usually, your physical hunger and social needs are met. Dinner is fellowship; you learn intimate details and laugh merrily. The cares of the world can evaporate temporarily at a good dinner party. That’s exactly what happens when we sit at God’s table. Whether we are praying, worshipping, or sitting quietly… Our time in God’s presence feeds us spiritually. We are renewed and refreshed. Spending time at God’s table allows our knowledge and reverence of who he is and who we are in Him to increase. “As God increases in our life, we as fleshly beings decrease” (John 3:30).

When you have dinner with someone, there’s a lot of planning that goes into it. Someone has to extend the invitation, the invitation has to be accepted, and everyone has to pick a date, time, and location suitable for all parties involved. The beautiful thing about dining at God’s table is that NO appointment is necessary. His table is available 24/7 and your spot is reserved. No one is taking your spot; its set aside with your name on it. Our place at God’s table isn’t earned, it’s a free gift offered through the process of salvation. (Ephesians 2:8)

Our God is a God of free will. He loves us and gently nudges us through the Holy Spirit to spend time with him, but he always leaves us the choice. God doesn’t desire puppets; He wants willing vessels who yearn and ache to be in His presence. “When we draw near to God, he draws near to us!” (James 4:8) A surrendered person doesn’t just seek God’s counsel in times of need. It’s important to press in when life is great also. Your seat at God’s table isn’t contingent on your circumstances; your seat is saved, so that God can alter and transform your heart to look like His, which in turn helps you overcome your circumstances. God’s plan is to “give you a new heart, and a new spirit. Sitting at His table opens the door for our hearts to be cleansed and allows God to remove the heart of stone formed from our flesh”. (Ezekiel 36:36)

In choosing to sit at God’s table, we choose to sit at the table of victory. The victory of God came 2000 years ago on a cross when our savior, Jesus, was beaten beyond recognition for our sins. Jesus took our place and Won the battle we could not win on our own. How grateful we should be that our Savior, our friend, our Lord loved us enough to lay down his life before we even knew our faults. (Colossians 1:20-22). Our God is Jehovah Nissi, the Lord our Victory! Sitting at his table in private allows us to publicly stand and fight from victory. Jesus simply says “take heart, I have overcome the world” (John 16:33). Though the world may beat you down, keep going back to your reserved seat at the Lord’s table, and there you will be spiritually filled and equipped to fight in victory (Ephesians 6:10-18)

It should be our highest honor to seek the Lord’s face. Jesus’ death on the cross was a gateway for us to find our place at the Lord’s table. Before the cross, Christians had to bring blood sacrifices, cleansed in the most detailed manners on an appointed day to be in the presence of God. What a disgrace that we, myself included, many times take for granted that we live in a new covenant; one that allows us to “call on the name of Jesus anytime and anywhere”. (Psalm 91:15) We, especially, as American Christians, have a freedom our predecessors and some contemporary Christians in other parts of the world dream of and are willing to die for.

Does our God get angry when we blatantly ignore Him after such a great deed was done to give us privilege and invitation to join him at the Table? NO, our God is so righteous and so loving that he continues to pursue us daily… He beckons us to him, He blesses us beyond what is deserved, He extends grace and mercy when we fall short, He forgives us and remembers no more when we step outside of his grace. God LOVES us unconditionally and relentlessly.

You are the daughter or son of the King. He calls you his child, an heir to His kingdom” (Romans 8:17). Every parent loves to see their child, especially once they have left the nest, come home and dine at their table. God is waiting to welcome you with open arms at His table. No matter how many people enter His home, NO One can or will fill your spot at the table. “Taste and see that the Lord is Good” (Psalm 34:6)!! The table is set and your place is reserved—Don’t wait: the most magical dinner complete with love, joy, peace, goodness, kindness, and faithfulness is on the eternal menu. (Galatians 5:22)

Submerged: ” Why being Knee Deep with God isn’t enough “

I remember taking swimming lessons when I was 8 years old. Standing at a mere 4 ft. 5 inches tall, I was so intimidated on the first day as I stared into the large indoor pool from the shallow end which was 4 feet and looked out towards the unthinkable deep end, which was 12 feet deep. On that day, I thought what in the heck is my mom thinking, I could die in this water— I can barely stand up without being underwater (submerged).My mom had wisdom that my innocent mind was not privy too; she knew the only way I could learn to swim effectively was to be submerged into the water and that started with learning the rules of the water, hence swimming lessons.

The reason for the above story is to create a parallel of swimming and your spiritual walk. It’s easy to be intimidated just like 8 year old me when you first start to understand the concept of God. Living for God and following his ways seems cumbersome and scary, like the 12 foot end of the pool. However, just like there was a process for me to learn how to swim, there are also steps for growing in your spiritual walk. You don’t just wake up one day ready to jump into 12-foot end of a pool or the 12-foot end of spiritual life. Without a solid foundation (aka spiritual lessons), you won’t be equipped to handle the tests that come with being submerged in 12-foot end of spiritual life. With that being said, the rest of this blog will be broken down into
steps;

1. Staying Afloat

The first thing they taught us in swimming lessons was about kicking our feet. I remember hanging onto the wall and kicking my feet for what felt like an eternity during lessons. They told us kicking our feet was important because that was the way to propel ourselves forward. Many people have grown up in church, so the concept of God is second nature. We “kick our feet” spiritually in Sunday school class, children’s church, vacation bible school, church camp, and many other great activities designed to teach kids about God. Other people don’t learn about God until they become adults. They attend church once or twice month, listen to praise music on Sundays, and pray when they
need something. In this stage, whether child or adult, God has a genie like quality for young believer, he is available when it’s convenient for the person. He’s a part of their life, but he isn’t yet everything. This is a “when I need God he is available outlook”. However, the goal of our spiritual walk should be that God is ALL I
NEED. They are not yet submerged, rather this stage in the believer’s walk is about staying afloat.

2. Knee Deep Standing Firm in the Comfort Zone

The next thing they taught us in swimming lessons was moving our arms while kicking our feet. We would kick our feet and flap our arms to tread water. This step of learning to swim reminds me of the stage in our spiritual walk when we learn about the bible and become more involved in church. Now, as a believer, we are able to repeat stories of people in the bible like Jesus, or Moses, or Abraham. We can quote popular scriptures like John 3:16 or Philippians 4:13. We selectively try to live right, but ignore parts of the bible that don’t align with some of our fleshly desires. We say things like only God can judge me (read Isaiah 13:11) or God knows my heart. Jeremiah 17:10 says “the Lord searches the heart and tests every man according to his ways, the fruits of his actions”. This is very much an excuse filled stage of the spiritual walk. It’s dangerous to be stuck in this place. God calls us to grow in his word and in our walk. (1st Corinthians 13:11– “walk by faith,not by sight”) 

At this stage, many people believe in God, but they haven’t experienced him for themselves. Therefore, their faith will remain shallow and stagnant if they stand firm: These believers are in the water, but they’re not moving towards the deep end. They are treading in 5 feet where they are comfortable because the water is not deep enough to overtake them, so they feel they’re in control. The bible tells us that in order to live the fullness of our life in God,We must surrender control to him.

3. Going Against the Grain using Power Strokes:

In my swimming lessons, they taught us power strokes once we got the hang of using our arms and feet together in the first two steps. These power strokes were a more effective method of using our arms and were designed to help us swim against the current in oceans, lakes, or any other body of water not stagnant like a swimming pool. In regards to
your spiritual walk, power strokes compare to the development of a personal relationship with God. The believer has started reading the Bible on their own, praising, and spending quiet time. Usually, they have a few testimonies because they have witnessed what God can and has done in their personal life.

At this stage, many believers have given God most of their life, but they haven’t given him ALL of it. In terms of percentage, they are probably 75% committed, which is good, but it’s still not enough.I can personally attest how dangerous this stage is because I got stuck here for a long time without even realizing it until I was convicted beyond measure. The problem with giving God 75 percent of your life is that the Devil still has 25 percent to play with. And make no mistake about it, that’s exactly where he will attack you, the 25 percent. See the devil comes to kill, steal, and destroy so he doesn’t care how much of your life you leave open, he just cares that you have left some of it open. This stage is a good place to be in your walk, but it’s not the BEST place and we
all want God’s best for our lives.

4 Submerged: Diving Deep and Never Turning Back

The last thing we ever did in swim lessons was a test. We had to jump off the diving board into 12 feet and swim to the other end of the pool. This test was a comprehensive exam to determine if we could apply all the skills we had learned. At this point of the lessons,our swim instructors relinquished control and allowed us to take charge.
total focus and commitment were required from us as students to pass the test. This is the place we all trying to be in our spiritual walk. When we jumped off the diving board, we were Submerged; it was sink or
swim and there was no turning back.

This is a beautiful Place to be in your spiritual walk, it’s total commitment to God. It’s a place of surrender: you yield to his will for your life because you understand that his ways and his thoughts are higher than yours (Isaiah 55:8) You’re trusting the plans he has for your life because he working for your good (Romans 8:28) When tests come, you talk back to the devil and use the word of God as your weapon. This is the stage where everyday you take up your cross and you choose to be faithful and obedient (Psalms 119:30) it’s not always easy, but it’s Worth it
because he is faithful..

So cheers to Living it out and being Submerged
in the King’s(👑 Jesus) way!

Pray For Me: The Gift of Praying for Others

People, whether friends, family or sometimes strangers, tell us often “pray for me”. Our natural response is to say okay I will, or if you’re like me and you love emojis, you send 🙏🏽🙏🏽. It’s great to say this, but there’s an action step that follows! We actually Have to Pray. We should not just pray Lord help them, but we should be intentional in our prayer time of interceding, agreeing, and or lifting up the concerns of our brothers and sisters in Christ.

Prayer changes things. Prayer changes people. To understand power of these proceeding statements, we must understand the power of prayer. Prayer is communication with God. We take for granted that we can easily connect with God by praying in our car, our homes, in the church, in restaurants before we eat and many other places. In the Old Testament, a sacrifice had to be brought to the temple and only certain anointed people were allowed to pray. The people were disconnected from God because the debt of out sins had not Yet been paid.

But thanks be unto him, we don’t have Those problems. JESUS fulfilled the prophecies of scripture and became the ultimate sacrifice. The cross was the payment of our sins, the cross was the restoration of our connection with God. Because of the Cross, we can pray. Because of the cross, we can have intimate relationship with God. Because of the cross, we can lift up our needs and the needs of our brethren.

From this day forward, be intentional about your prayer life. Be reminded of why we can pray and express your gratitude to our savior. Intercede intercede intercede!!! pray for those in your life who don’t know Christ. Pray that people will not just hear about God, but that they will experience Him.

Don’t absent mindedly say you will pray for someone and not follow through. Pray with fervour and passion as though you were praying over your own concerns. Pray with a humbled sincere heart. Believe that God can and will do the impossible.

Some of us are ahead of others and are already intentional about praying for our brothers and sisters in Christ. And it can sometimes be cumbersome. You feel like you’ve been praying for them for a long time an yet they are still unsaved , they have not completely surrendered, they’re still in an unhealthy relationship, Or whatever the circumstances: it seems unchanging. Let me encourage you, don’t grow weary in your prayers. God hears you and he’s working in their life and yours. Continue to be faithful in your prayers, trust and believe that God is moving. Sometimes God reveals his will, but he doesn’t reveal his timeline. You keep interceding and believing because we serve a miracle working God and he can break any chain, restore any situation, and change every circumstance.

When you’re weary, PRAY. God’s strength is made perfect in weakness and he wants to hear from you. He cares about every small and big thing happening in your life. When you’re joyful, PRAY. God wants to rejoice and celebrate with you. No matter the circumstance, there’s always someone interested in your story and his Name is JESUS . He loves you, He’s for you and He wants to hear from you . So PRAY !!!!

Go to verses about Prayer

1. The Lord is far from the wicked but he hears the prayers of the righteousness – Proverbs 15:29

2. Don’t worry about anything, but in everything by PRAYER and supplication, let your requests be made known to God Philippians 4:6-7

3. Confess your sins one to another, PRAY for one another. The PRAYER of a righteous person has Great Power at Its Working – James 5:16

4. God has listened, he has truly attended to the voice of my Prayer — Psalm 66:19

5. The Lord’s Prayer, Matthew 6:5-13
Note: this was an outline of how to pray,and here are 4 takeaways: acknowledge God for who he is , give thanks, confess and ask for forgiveness. Make your request known to God

Eyes on the Wise

When you read the title, you probably thought it was a typo– isn’t the slogan “eyes on the prize”? Normally you’d be right, the world does say keep your eyes on the prize. There’s only one problem with this ideology for believers. It’s hard to keep your eyes on a prize you can’t see. The bible says our treasures are hidden in heaven (Matthew 19:21) The reward for accepting Jesus as Lord and following him on earth is an inheritance to God’s Kingdom (1st Peter 1:3-5)

It sounds all fine and dandy to know that our rewards are in heaven but is it practical view of living on earth?? The true answer is yes and no… It’s practical to keep the long term outlook that earth is not our permanent home and to know that Jesus is coming back for his Church which in turn will lead to a restoration of our heavenly treasures.

However, human nature and the way God made us in his image (Ephesians 2:10) leads us to desire nice things on earth. We want nice houses, fancy cars, great relationships, successful careers and many other things. There’s nothing wrong with wanting these things; the problem comes when we make them idols. We put achieving success in our jobs, and relationships with people above spending time with God and using our spiritual gifts to serve and love people.

We focus so much on earthly prizes that we lose sight of the Wise one who can guide and direct our paths. If we focus more on God than on our daily to do lists or our circumstances, we can unlock a unique gift. The gift of having an all powerful, all knowing God working on your behalf. When you have the perspective that God’s got me, things that use to seem big become small.

We don’t have to find value in the things of the world. Jesus dying on the cross defined us as valuable. In his eyes, we were valuable enough to DIE for. If you know that someone loves you so much that they would be crucified and die for you, would you ever take your eyes off of
them??

When we realize that God has given us the seal of approval, we no longer define our value by success at work, or with people. Our hope and confidence are not dependent on fickle opinions and the fleeting feelings of people anymore; our hope and confidence are rooted in a strong tower, a God who formed the world with his hands and whose love for us is unconditional and never ending.

So how do we keep our eyes on the Wise? The process is the same as if you were trying to build and establish an earthly relationship, You spend time with God in prayer and worship. You go on group dates whether that’s church on Sunday or bible study during the week. You have individual dates where you sit quietly and listen to what he has to say or spill your guts and tell him all about your day and your issues.

As you get deeper in your relationship, you’ll want to ask him not just about the big stuff in your life, but also the small things.( ex Hey God, what do you think about me dying my hair blond?) The crazy thing that most people miss, when you ask God questions, he always answers. We just have to be still and alert enough to hear him. Nothing on this earth compares to an intimate relationship with Jesus.

It doesn’t happen over night, but I encourage you to challenge yourself daily to grow deeper. Don’t let a day go by where you are not spending time with our God. All the things you think you have to do are not as important as building your relationship with Jesus. If we turn our focus to the wise one, we build our faith. He can carry our burdens and help us do everything we need to do without burning out. The bible says Jesus gives strength to the weary ( Isaiah 40:29)
and his burden is light ( Matthew 11:30)
So, the question today is “ Where are your eyes?”