The Power Of If

Matthew 4:3 “And the tempter came and said to him, “If you are the Son of God, command these stones to become loaves of bread.” 

Until recently I never thought about the power of word, “if”.  Out pastor brought to our attentions what this little word does to our thinking and how Satan uses it to cast doubt.  In the verse above the tempter tries to get Jesus to doubt His relationship with the Father.  Jesus had just been baptised and completed fasting for 40 days when the evil one began his attack.  There are a few things wrong with Satan’s attack on Jesus, 1) Jesus had just hear God say to him, “This is my son..” 2) Jesus had just spent 40 days praying and growing close to God.  3) Fasting, for the purpose of prayer and relationship with God will make you stronger not weaker.

The tempter had lost before he ever began.  Another fascinating fact, it was The Spirit that lead Jesus to be tempted.  Now, we all know that when the spirit leads you to do something you are under God’s authority and protection.

Papa, forgive me for doubting You and Your powers.  I come to Your thrown of grace seeking guidance as I face my day.  Father, I know that the tempter is stronger than me and can lead me wayward.  I also know that You are stronger than my tempter.  Give me strength to do the hard things and to live according to Your will.  Open my eyes to areas where I doubt Your strength and guidance.  In Jesus’ Name, Amen

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Anger and Quarrels

James 4:1-3  “What causes fights and quarrels among you?  Don’t they come from desires that battle within you?  You want something but don’t get it.  You kill and covet, but you cannot have what you want.  You quarrel and fight.  You don’t have, because you do not ask God.  When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures.” 

Have you ever noticed how anger, condemnation, and criticism has the power to steal you joy, freedom, and happiness?  When we are in disagreement with someone it often is because we are hurt in some way by their actions or words.  When we are hurting inside we often come across as critical and a vicious cycle insues.  How do we break this cycle of quarrels and selfish desires?  I guess it comes down to matters of the heart.  Check you motives.  Check your goals.  Are your goals and motives selfish?  If so, God will not feed selfishness.  So, when you are struggling with anger, hurt, frustration, and battles within, check your motives because if they are all about you the evil one is behind it.  Go to God and ask him to open your heart and mind to what is going on “under the heart”.  God desires us to be happy and filled with joy but not at another’s expense.

Loving and gracious Father, forgive me for my selfishness.  Open my eyes to the attacks and guard my heart, mind, body, and soul.  I want you to flow through me not my selfishness that causes quarrels and fights.  Open my heart and mind to accept my selfish ways but, not to live in those ways.  Help me to release the negativity and replace it with joy, peace, and love that is only found in you.  In Jesus’ Name, Amen

I can Barely Breathe

Romans 3:23  “For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God.”

There are mornings when I wake up and God puts on my heart a multitude of things, then there are days when there is only one.  I am on a journey of change.  Each year a choose a word to focus on instead of making a new years resolution, because those don’t work for me.  This morning I awoke with this one line from a song.  “I can barely breathe, God help me.”

There are times in life when we feel as if we are overcome by emotion and cannot seem to control anything, including our emotion.  I have come to realize that I have so much fear that I cannot function normally nor hear what God has for me.

Father in Heaven, come down and comfort me.  Help me in my weakness hear Your voice.  I need to feel You near me as I walk this dark and seemingly lonely path.  Father I know my actions and words have not been pleasing to You.  Help me overcome and dwell in the joy and freedom that only comes from you.  In Jesus’ Name, Amen

Free Me

Psalm 25:16-17 Turn to me and be gracious to me, for I am lonely and afflicted. Relieve the troubles of my heart and free me from my anguish.

Have you ever felt that you were lost to yourself?  Somehow life took you away from who you are, your beliefs, your joy, and even your dreams.  We will all walk through times of trouble and heartache.  Loved ones will break promises and hurt us deeply.  When these seasons come remember that Jesus also walked this lonely path looking to his Father.  This same Father who loves and cares for you.  These troubles of the heart bring strength and character.  We just need to remember that on the other side we will be blessed.  Hold on and remember that you are dearly loved by your Heavenly Father.

Papa, I come seeking Your strength because I know without You I am lost.  Strengthen me as I walk through good times and troubled ties.  Remind me that You will bring joy out of sorrow and trouble.  Protect me today and give me the wisdom and strength to change what needs to be changed.  In Jesus’ Name, Amen 

Open and Honest

Deuteronomy 29:18  “Make sure there is no man or woman, clan or tribe among you today whose heart turns away from the LORD our God to go and worship the gods of those nations; make sure there is no root among you that produces such bitter poison.”

When we look upon our lives openly and honestly we can see areas of bitterness.  These areas are where we hold hurts, anger, and unforgiveness toward our fellow brothers and sisters.  God gives us warning after warning, throughout scripture to forgive and trust him.  When we walk through difficult times we often blame God and turn away from him.  This can only lead to more bitterness and pain.  When rough waters come our way we need to lean into God, find strength in who he says he is.  When we do this we find hope and when we have hope anything is possible.

Abba Father, loving and gracious King, Thank you for always being there for me no matter what I have done.  You are ready and waiting for me to take an honest look at myself and cleanse the brokenness within.  Father, I am ready to look at who I am deep inside and examine area where I may hold bitterness and unforgiveness.  Walk with me LORD as I continue to seek and find Your freedom from the bondage of pain, heartache, and unforgiveness.  In Jesus’ Name, Amen

Hope for the future

Jeremiah 28:11 “‘For I know the plans I have for you,’ declares the LORD, ‘plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.'” 

I awoke this morning thinking about how challenging life can be sometimes.  I have also discovered that many of the challenges we face, especially in our personal lives, are because of our own thinking.  When we have”stinking thinking” we are not going to see the good in life, people, or, let’s be honest, anywhere.

When all we do is focus on the negative, pain, and heartache that is what we will see.  If you want to see positive changes in your relationships, workplace, or in yourself, stop and recognize your negative thinking.   If you are facing a challenges, know that you are not the first person to ever face that challenge, even though it feels like it, and you will not be the last.  God has a plan for our lives.  He wants us to be happy, loved, and prosperous.  So, today pay attention to your self talk.  it may help to write down then negative thoughts so you can bring them to God in specific prayer.

Abba Father, I come to you broken and in need of your comforting peace.  This life is hard and I know that I allow negativity to influence the things I do and say.  Father please forgive me.  I come seeking hope for my future.  Bring healing to the areas of my life that are a hindrance in my growth with You. In Jesus’ Name, Amen

Tempted and alone?

The temptations in your life are no different from what others experience. And God is faithful. He will not allow the temptation to be more than you can stand. When you are tempted, he will show you a way out so that you can endure. (1 Corinthians 10:13, NLT)

It’s easy to believe the lie that we struggle alone.  When we walk through the valleys of life, these are often the darkest times in our lives, we often feel lost, alone, directionless, and sometimes even feel as if there is no point to life.  These are the lies Satan would have us believe.  There is no struggle that we face when God is absent.  Feelings are anything but static.  How can we trust and rely on something that seems to change with the wind?

I want to encourage and remind you that in the midst of our failure, hurt, brokenness, and heartache, we can draw closer to our Father.  In reality, He wants us to curl up in His lap and snuggle with Him.  He is not a distant, standoffish, or waiting for you at the end of your struggles cheering for you.  He is walking with you so, lean into Him and you will come out on the other side able to look back at your time in the valley as a time of growth and redefining.  God is shaping and preparing you trust Him.

Abba Father, thank You for Your strength to walk through this life.  You tell us in Your word that we will have troubles in this life but, you also assure us that we are never alone.  Help me to recognize the lies Satan is telling me, especially the one that I am alone in my struggles.  When I am tempted to believe the lies open my eyes to Your way out.  Strengthen me as I move forward today and give me the strength to be the change You want me to be in this world.  In Jesus’ Name, Amen

Come To Me

Matthew 11:28-30 “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”

“Come to me…” God is clear when he gives this command. He does not say, “get your act together, change your ways, or you must be perfect.” No, it is simple, “Come to Me” no matter where you are emotionally, physically, with all your hurts, anger, pain, confusion,  or whatever you are dealing with. Raise your hands in prayer and God is there ready and waiting to show you how to pick up the broken pieces.  He will turn your brokenness into a beautiful story. Don’t wait until you have everything “figured out” God will help you figure it out. Trust him for “He is gentle and kind,” His rest is better than anything you can imagine.

Father, thank you that I can come to You in the middle of  my mess knowing that You will accept me, love me, and guide me no matter what. Cleanse me today and draw me ever closer to You. Remind me throughout the day that You are with me to guide me, free me, heal me, and help me. Remind me that it is ok to mess up but, to also seek forgiveness.  Thank you that I don’t have to be perfect to come to you, that you love me and are waiting for me.  Draw me to you.  In Jesus Name, AMEN

The Mirror To Your Heart

Proverbs 27:19 (MSG) “Just as water mirrors your face, so your face mirrors your heart.”

We judge ourselves by our intentions but we judge others by their actions. Would you live differently if you judged yourself by your actions? Actions speak louder than words. What are your actions saying about you?

These are phrases I have heard throughout my life, but never really thought about the truth behind them. God puts words infront of us to ponder and reflect on, but how often do we really take the time to ponder?  The verse today asks us what are face is saying to the world.  Are you at peace? Filled with joy? Worried?  Anxious?

Stop and look in the mirror to see what your face says about your heart.  If you don’t like what you see talk to God are release the junk that He reveals to you because He loves you and wants you to be free.

Father, I come seeking clarity on my life.  Father, reveal to me areas that are causing pain and heartache.  You alone can free me from the chains of bondage.  Help me see the impurities in my heart.  In Jesus’ Name, Amen

Faith Makes it Possible

Luke 1:37 “Faith does not make things easy it makes them possible.”

Faith, this is what gets us through challenging situations.  Faith bring hope.  Faith is what keeps us moving forward.  Faith keeps us from giving up.  When we have faith we can face the challenges of life and continue to move forward.  Faith brings hope and hope bring joy and joy brings peace.  So, don’t forget in the midst of challenges to remember that faith makes it possible to get through challenges and find peace on the other side.

Father, help me in the midst of difficult circumstances to remember that faith in you will not take away the challenges but it will make it possible to get through to the other side.  Father, help me to move forward and to find healing and forgiveness when I am hurt especially by someone close to me.   Bring healing to my brokenness because with you all things are possible.  In Jesus’ Name, Amen