Persist In Prayer

Luke 11:5-10
Then he said to them, “Suppose one of you has a friend, and he goes to him at midnight and says, ‘Friend, lend me three loaves of bread,
6 because a friend of mine on a journey has come to me, and I have nothing to set before him.’ 7 Then the one inside answers, ‘Don’t bother me. The door is already locked, and my children are with me in bed. I can’t get up and give you anything.’ 8 I tell you, though he will not get up and give him the bread because he is his friend, yet because of the man’s boldness he will get up and give him as much as he needs. 9 “So I say to you; Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. 10 For everyone who asks receives; he who seeks finds; and to him who knocks, the door will be opened.”

When we go to the Lord in prayer all too often we give up on the prayer when we do not see immediate answers. We assume God does not care or has not heard. We know from scriptures like Jeremiah 33:3 that God hears each word we utter in prayer, and he always answers. Yet, we give up. This story in Luke reminds us to keep asking, to keep seeking our answers through prayer. God is listening, and God is answering. When we persist in seeking Him for answers our hearts and minds are being changed and renewed.

When we persist in prayer, our boldness overcomes our insensitivity, not God’s. When we continue to knock on the doors of heaven, we are being changed, we are seeing more clearly, and we are better able to see the hand of God at work in whatever situation we are bringing to Him. We are better able to understand our sensitivity and intensity of the need we are presenting.

We are reassured in verse 10 that as when we ask, we receive, as we seek, we find, when we knock at heavens door fore answers, the door will open. It does not say we might find answers, or the door might open, the word says, they will! How often I have been guilty of letting a certain prayer go, feeling as though my prayers were not getting past my ceiling. Forgetting that God was at work even though I could not see it at the time, and often could not feel it. I forgot that the word tells me that He always hears me and He always answers. Yet, on other occasions I have continued in prayer, fervently asking for God’s help, healing, or intervention, whatever the petition was, but I desperately continued seeking and knocking, and somewhere in the process I have been changed. My prayers have often taken a turn towards what God wants, and my faith has grown and my fears have been quieted. God was hearing and God was moving. I was better able to pray effectively because God turned my heart, and mind to be in line with His perfect will and timing.

We are like a microwave, we want everything in 30 seconds or less. Having to wait for five minutes for something to cook seems too long. But the process of cooking some things takes longer, if we give up on it too soon, we get to eat uncooked cold food. Do you want that? As we grow in Christ, we see more clearly how His timing and His ways are best. When we wait on Him, things go more smoothly, often flawlessly, but when we barge ahead all too often it goes wrong or is very hard. There is a reason for everything God does or does not do. His ways are so much higher than ours and He sees what we cannot.

When I was a child and my dad was abusing me, I prayed all the time that the abuse would stop, that Jesus would do something to help me. I also prayed so hard for him to be saved. I wanted him to know Jesus and to one day go to heaven. Did the abuse stop immediately? No. Did it keep me from asking and seeking God’s help? No. I had learned through my grandmother that I was to keep knocking on heaven’s door. She assured me through her own walk and prayer life that God was listening and answering. What my prayers did, was change me. No matter what he did or how many times, somehow, (I know how 🙂 I was able to laugh and play, forgive and move on. Every time I went to my field to pray, God met with me there. No, I could not see it then, but I see it so clearly now.

When I look back at that little girl crying and talking to God, I can feel him all over me. He protected my mind and my soul, and somehow in spite of what was going on, he grew my faith. Did my dad get saved? YES, HE DID! It was years later, but God heard my prayer and through circumstances that he allowed for a season, he saved his soul. My dad has been gone a long time, thirty years to be exact, and all thirty of those have been spent with His savior, the one who saved him in spite of himself. Hallelujah! I kept knocking, I persisted in prayer, it did not matter what the circumstances looked like, I believed God was listening and answering. His answer not only included salvation for my dad but healing even in the process of pain and hurt for me. Only God can do that!

I want to urge you to trust God with your hurts, your decisions, every need you have, He is the answer! He cares, He hears, He answers, He is faithful. He will guide you through the hard places of life all the while growing your faith, molding you, and changing you to look more like him and the child of God you should be. Even when the answer is no, or wait in my case, God is hearing and answering. And there are times when it is a resounding yes, and we see instant answers. Let God’s perfect work be done in you as you continue to seek him and answers through prayer. Remember these words mighty warrior and do not grow weary in the asking.

“For everyone who asks receives; he who seeks finds; and to him who knocks, the door will be opened.”

Ask, seek, knock…He is listening.

Stay The Course

Matthew 11:1:6
After Jesus had finished instructing his twelve disciples, he went on from there to teach and preach in the towns of Galilee. 2 When John heard in prison what Christ was doing, he sent his disciples to ask him. “Are you the one who was to come, or should we expect someone else?”
4 “Jesus replied, “Go back and report to John what you hear and see:
5 The blind receive sight, the lame walk, those who have leprosy are cured, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, and the good news is preached to the poor. 6 Blessed is the man who does not fall away on account of me.”

Here John was in prison because he had publicly rebuked Herod for marrying his sister-in-law. When John heard what was going on and that Jesus was healing and raising the dead, he started having doubts as to whether Jesus really was the Messiah. John had been preparing the way for the Messiah, yet here he sat in prison, and if Jesus was the Messiah why was he in prison? Couldn’t Jesus free him? After all, John could have been using that time to preach.

It is a valid response to his predicament. He had faithfully been going about preaching repentance, baptizing, and shouting about the coming Messiah. Yet, here he was, in prison and Jesus did not seem to care. But Jesus answered John’s question by telling him about the evidence of who He was. He was healing the sick, raising the dead, people could walk again, the good news was being taught to those in need. Miracles were happening and they spoke of who He was, they confirmed His identity.

We too tend to doubt who God is when things are not going our way. When life hands us more lemons than lemonade we question God, who are you and why won’t you change this, and help me. And we find our answer in verse 6 of this passage: “Blessed is the man who does not fall away on account of me.” What does it mean? The evidence is there, God is who He says He is, and He is able to do anything, but all too often He says to wait, not now. Our prayers are being answered in God’s time.

I will repeat it, even when He does not act quickly, we need to stay the course, to continue to walk with the Lord regardless of our circumstances, regardless of whether or not we see prayers being answered, especially the way we think they should be answered. We need to trust God, even if He does not work it out immediately, we need to stay the course because God is with us. We already know from Jeremiah 33:3, and 1 Peter 3:12 that God hears our prayers, and He always answers. We also know from verses like Deuteronomy 31:8, Joshua 1:5, Isaiah 41:10, and many more that He is always with us, He never leaves us or forsakes us.

We are blessed, happy and so much more when we continue to believe even when our eyes cannot see the answer and God seems silent. We need to remember that our faith should be in Christ Jesus, not in the “what can He do for me.” If we have been forgiven for our sins and born again, and we are now sons and daughters of the Most-High God, then we have all we need and we can trust him to work in our lives and hear and answer our prayers. God is faithful, He does and will answer in His timing, not ours, and usually, He does not answer the way we think that He should. His wisdom is so far above our earthly human wisdom that we cannot see exactly what we need or how, we just know that we want relief and help.

John wanted out of prison…he was faithfully fulfilling his God-given mission. But that did not mean he was exempt from trials and tribulations. He had to do what we need to do and that was to refocus his attention not on what he could get, more stuff, comfortable, out of prison, but on who Jesus is and our relationship and walk with him. I believe that when we continue on in the face of hardship and we lean in close to Jesus, He transforms our thoughts and our desires to come in line with His own. We start wanting more of him and less of this world and all that it offers. Jesus wanted John to see that He was who he said He was and the miracles taking place were evidence of it, but that He was not a “Jennie in a bottle.” You cannot just demand it to be done and expect it to immediately happen. Yes, could it, absolutely, we see times in scripture when healing was instantaneous, and death was immediate because people did not obey God. God can act right at the moment of your prayer.

I do not know about you, but I have been so happy at times when God did not answer immediately in the heat of the moment, the answer was so much sweeter and obviously better than I could have asked to begin with, and often as I study God’s word and pray I can see that I really did not need whatever it was I was asking for. God works all things out according to His will, in His time, for our good and His glory. If you have prayed, He has heard and the answer is on its way. Do not look for it with human eyes, look with spiritual eyes. Rest in Him, let him grow you, and teach you through the process and greater the reward and blessing when you do! When we wait on God and allow him to do it “His way” we are getting the very “best way ever!” After all He is going to do it His way regardless of what we need or want, why not find peace, joy, and contentment while we wait?

I do not have God’s wisdom, I do not see the entire picture, but God does…I ask from my perspective, but the one who knit me together and holds all things together really does know the when, the why, the how, and it really is better : )

Are You Producing?

Matthew 3:8 “Produce fruit in keeping with repentance.”
Matthew 3:10 “The ax is already at the foot of the trees, and every tree that does not produce good fruit will be cut down and thrown into the fire.”

How are you producing? Does the tree of your life have good ripe fruit hanging on it? Christians are called to do good works. Once we get up from the posture of repentance and salvation, what we do next is important. Our actions should back up what has just transpired in our lives. Once we give our hearts to the Lord, the Holy Spirit comes in and starts the changing process. We are not left to talk and behave as we once did. Our outward actions should reflect the inward change. God looks past what we say to see if what we do backs up the words coming from our lips. We do not do good deeds to attain salvation, but because we are saved there should be good deeds flowing from us.

God is not pleased with people who say they are Christians yet do nothing about it. We are not to be Christians in name only, but what we do should reflect the inward change we have experienced at the foot of the cross. If you call yourself a Christian yet there has been no change in your behavior, you most likely need to check your heart. You may have had a religious moment of excitement, but have not been truly born again.

God tells us this:” we will be judged” for unproductive lives. He tells us that if we do not produce good fruit we will be cut down and thrown into the fire. Those are pretty strong words! John compares us to fruit trees that do not produce fruit. We are not to be Christians in name only. We are to live productive lives, investing in others, and spreading the “Good news” at the same time. Others should see our faith in the way we treat them. It goes back to the old saying: “we may be the only bible some people read or listen to.” Are you good reading material?

To live for God, we must be obedient to His word. We must resist temptation and sin. We must actively serve people, and love like Jesus loved. We must share Jesus with those we meet. Our actions need to match our words. When Jesus came to this earth, he served others, put their needs above his own, do you do that?
I know of people who claim to be Christian, but there is nothing that they do that backs up that claim. Their lives center around their needs, what makes them happy. The thought of doing something for someone else never enters their mind. They are selfish in all they do. Now, only God knows their heart, but from the outward, it makes me question whether they truly know the Lord.

When you become “born again” there is an immediate change that takes place. The Holy Spirit comes into you and dwells inside of you. From that moment on, there are changes that start taking place. We cannot continue our lives and our conduct as we once did. We do not have to change to come to Christ, He tells us to come as we are, but once we have come, once we have repented and turned from our sins and accepted Jesus as Lord and Savior of our lives, then the change starts and keeps going until we leave this earth. We are to be about the Father’s business. We are to live our lives spilled out for others. We are no longer our own, we belong to God, and God changes us!

If you continue in sin after you say you have been born again, then I say you probably were not born again. The Holy Spirit convicts us of our sins and changes our desires. People who go forward, profess faith, and go live like they did before…need to check their hearts. We lose even the desire for the sinful lives we once lived. As we read, pray, and seek God, our focus shifts, and our desires start to line up with God’s desires.

So, I ask you again, are you producing? Is their fruit on your branches? Do you live a life of obedience to God’s word, do you love in your actions and not only with words? Could someone look at the things you do and see Christ in them? Can others see your faith in the way you treat them? If not, now is the time to repent. We are not promised tomorrow, so we must live fully, and fully live for Jesus Christ right now.

The time to start having your actions match your words is now. You no longer have the excuse that you do not know. If you have read this, then you know. Once we hear the truth, it is what we do with it that matters. God’s word does not lie. He said it, and He meant it! Examine yourself, look deeply at the things you do, or do not do. The next time you feel that prompting by the Holy Spirit, act on it. God sees everything we do. Nothing escapes his notice. He has saved you, now act like it! One day, you will be judged for the things that you have done, or not done. Think about that as you go about your day.

Nothing Too Small

Zechariah 4:6 “Not by might not by power, but by my Spirit, says The Lord Almighty.”

Zechariah 4:10 “ Who despises the day of small things? Men will rejoice when they see the plumb line in the hand of Zerubbabel.”

So often, we wish we were doing bigger, better things in life and ministry. We look around and see others that are working at high-paying jobs, and have a big house, and all the toys that go with it, or we see someone who is ministering in a way we wish we could. They seem to be doing the things that bring notice to them; they can get things done for God. So often, people believe that you have to be tough or strong, unbending in your approach to survive in this world, and sometimes even in ministry.

What if I told you these things are not true. Look at Zechariah verse six above…God tells us that it is by His Spirit that things get done. He decides, and makes it happen. If there is anything of lasting value in this world, it is by His Spirit. All too often we think small things we do or achieve do not matter, but I tell you they do.

As in verse 10, we see that the older Jews were upset that the temple that was being rebuilt would not match the splendor or greatness of the one King Solomon has built. They thought that smaller meant somehow less than to God. God reminds us in this verse that we need not be upset about the smallness of our gift or work we bring to something. ANYTHING we do for God matters and He is in the little details. Those details are often overlooked by others. Being bigger and better does not always compute the same way in God’s economy as in ours. God rejoices when we do what is right… no matter how big or small it seems. God delights in our obedience and willingness to do the little things we see need to be done.

Maybe you do not have a big high paying job, a fancy house, or lots of toys, but you minister to those in need, you share a meal, you take someone to the Doctor, you show up on time, and do what is asked of you at work or in your church. Maybe you wash dishes after a church social or volunteer to sit with the littles so someone else can have a break. Maybe you get the mail and take it to the door of an elderly friend. It is the attitude with which we serve and do that matters to God. He sees even those secret things that no one else notices. There is not one tiny detail that can escape Hid all-seeing eyes. And God rewards you for those seemingly small insignificant things done for Him.

We need to be satisfied with what we can do, what we bring to the table of need. We need to be faithful in the small things God gives us to do and maybe God will bring a big thing our way, but if not, rejoice that He chose you to do whatever task, or work He has given you to do, and do it with joy in your heart and to please Him above all else. Bigger is not always better…it is just bigger : )

Check Your Focus

We as believers should be following, and obeying the Word of God; we know that God’s word is true, however, all too often we ignore the things that it tells us to do. We tend to focus on what we consider the big verses, the ones that fulfill that Rhema word, we need that second announcement from God for our day or circumstance. I too have experienced that word powerful in the moment that gives me direction and comfort. But this is different than that. This is a conscious effort to focus only on the Lord and who he is and what he does rather than on what we need and want.

As I was studying the other morning through the book of Psalms it was impressed upon me that there is a need for us to focus our attention on God’s glorious deeds. Not only will it empower our faith, but it will focus our attention, and our hearts away from this world’s issues and back to our first love. And we need to be focused in these troubled times.

Psalm 103 tells us of God’s glorious deeds. I am going to take a few moments to write them down for you. 

  1. His benefits-His gifts, His favor, His kindness, His advantage, His value.
  2. He forgives ALL our sins.
  3. Heals ALL our diseases.
  4. Redeems our life from the pit.
  5. Crowns us with love and compassion.
  6. Satisfies our desires with good things.
  7. Renews our youth.
  8. He works righteousness and justice for ALL the oppressed. 
  9. He is compassionate and gracious.
  10. Slow to anger, abounding in love.
  11. He does not always accuse us.
  12. He does not harbor anger forever.
  13. He DOES NOT treat us as our sin deserves.
  14. He DOES NOT repay us according to our iniquities.
  15. His love is higher than the heavens and the earth for us who fear him.
  16. He has forgotten our sins as far as the East is from the West.
  17. He has compassion on us like that of a father for his children.
  18. He knows how we are formed, and remembers that we are mere dust. 
  19. From everlasting to everlasting the Lord’s love is with those who fear him.
  20. His righteousness is with our children’s children, with those who keep his covenant and remember to obey his precepts.
  21. His Kingdom rules OVERALL, the devil is NOT in control, and His kingdom is established forever.

 In a world that screams at us the most hateful things and people, even good people seem to have lost their minds, and their faith, wouldn’t it be better to focus our attention The King of King’s and Lord of Lord’s? To meditate on who He is? He is a good, good Father. He is a sustainer and friend. He is a comforter and keeper. He is…

whatever we need when we need it.

What is our response to be? We should: Psalm 103: 20-22 “Praise the Lord, you His angels, you mighty ones who do his bidding, who obey his word. Praise the Lord, all his heavenly hosts, you his servants who do his will. Praise the Lord, all his works everywhere in his dominion. Praise the Lord, O my soul.”

Why not start today to focus your attention on the Lord. Choose to take your eyes off the world and its troubles and look to Him. Think about who he is and all His glorious deeds. I believe when you do this you will once again begin to see the world and its trouble through Jesus, rather than Jesus through the world. 

He awaits your attention, He desires to restore your hope and deepen your faith. As we look to him the things that once weighed us down start to lose their heaviness and we are able to rest secure knowing He’s got this! Always has and always will!

My prayer for you today is that you will read Psalm 103 for yourselves and you will focus your attention on just how great a God we serve!

Is It Time?

I was reading in Psalms today, and I was reminded that God has a time for everything. God’s timing looks nothing like ours. We are like a “microwave society” wanting everything a few seconds ago. Have you ever stood by your microwave waiting for something to cook, and 30 seconds seemed like an hour? We pray, and expect immediate answers, and get frustrated, and fearful if it doesn’t happen right then. We forget that God’s timing is perfect, and He never shows up too soon or too late. God does not measure time as we do.

I think it is safe to say that most Christian’s if not all have been praying about this COVID-19 pandemic, and the upcoming election, and race riots, etc. Each of us wants to see a move of God; almost forcing him to bring an end to it, and feeling frustrated because he has not. It seems that evil is winning, and God is silent, and still. But scripture is clear in telling us that God does things His way, and in His time. Things get done when He says, and not a moment sooner. God is not given to panic as we are.

Let’s read Psalm 75

“We give thanks to you, O God, we give thanks, for your Name is near; men tell of your wonderful deeds. 2 You say, “I choose the appointed time; it is I who judge uprightly. 3 When the earth and all its people quake, it is I who hold its pillars firm. 4 To the arrogant I say, ‘Boast no more,’ and to the wicked, ‘Do not lift up your horns. 5 Do not lift your horns against heaven; do not speak with outstretched neck.’ “
6 No one from the east or the west or from the desert can exalt a man. 7 But it is God who judges; He brings down, he exalts another. 8 In the hand of the Lord is a cup full of foaming wine mixed with spices; he pours it out, and all the wicked of the earth drink it down to its very dregs. 9 As for me, I will declare this forever; I will sing praise to the God of Jacob. 10 I will cut off the horns of all the wicked, but the horns of the righteous will be lifted up.”

We as His children have difficulty grasping God’s timing. Just as our children have done when told that they have to wait for something they are so excited about. Waiting seems like torture to them. We who have children have all experienced at least one instance of a child’s tantrum over not getting something they wanted immediately. Telling them “it’s not time yet,” does nothing to help, often it just makes the fit louder. We as humans have a hard time understanding why God seems to take His time. When we pray for someone’s healing, and they seem to get worse before they get better, we need to be careful that we do not get bitter!

Think about Lazarus (John 11:1-44) God was not too late, He already knew that Lazarus was going to die and that He would raise him to life again. It was not for Him that it was done, it was for those who were watching, and for us all these years later. God is never too late! He is God, and nothing is too hard for him! Death does not scare him or stop him.

As we look around our world today, we can rest assured that our Sovereign God is still very much in control. If evil seems to be winning at the moment, just sit back and watch to see what God can and will do. And remember if God was still not covering us with His hand of protection none of us could handle what would be unleashed.
There is wisdom in God’s timing, there is purpose in it. We as His children must trust that our Father knows what is best, and when all things should occur. God will give us what we need when we need it, not a moment too soon.

Like you, I want to see the chaos of this world quieted. I want to see evil banished and good rise up, but I have to remember to pray and seek God; to read His Word, and understand that God’s ways are best, His timing is perfect, and I can rest in His goodness, and grace.
Nothing will come near my door unless God allows it, and if He allows it, He will give me the grace and peace I need to go through it. None of us likes to suffer, none of us likes to wait. We want that instant gratification, but all too often it is very dangerous to have. If we are never told to wait then we would never grow the way we need to in our relationship with the Lord.

I encourage you today to get your Bible out, sit down prayerfully, and read God’s word. Let his word fill up the ‘hurried’ places of your heart; let His word feed your weary soul, and calm your heightened senses. Stop looking at all that is going on through a lens of fear, and start seeing it through, Jesus.

One day all the evil in this world will be gone. Jesus will rule and reign, and all the hurried, anxious fear will be gone. Just know that He can take it away now if we will only release it into His hands. Then the “Peace that passes understanding,” can rule in our hearts and minds.
He sees the evil, He is allowing it. He sees the pandemic, He is allowing it. Why? He knows and that is enough!

Live Confident, He Is Victorious

Habakkuk 3:17-19

“Though the fig tree does not bud and there are no grapes on the vines, though the olive crop fails and the fields produce no food, though there are no sheep in the pen and no cattle in the stalls, I will rejoice in the Lord, I will be joyful in God my Savior. The Sovereign Lord is my strength; he makes my feet like the feet of a deer, he enables me to go on the heights.

How often do you get a word from the book of Habakkuk? Well, this morning as I was reading God spoke to me about this passage, and I wanted to share my thoughts with you.

As we read through scripture the images that are brought to mind seem somehow foreign to us. After all, most people today are not in the fields or raising sheep, although, in some countries they are, the writers always use terminology and picture images to suit the times.
So, I am going to rewrite this verse as though it were for today and see if it applies, I am confident that it will.

“Thought the fire tornado and earthquake destroy, and the Covid-19 pandemic shuts down businesses and causes people to lose their jobs, and causes schools to close and parents to scramble to do homeschool and figure it all out, and there are rioting and race issues, and I have to social distance or shelter in place; and although people are very sick and dying horrible deaths because of this illness going around, and people everywhere are made to wear masks that are uncomfortable, yet I will rejoice in the Lord, I will be joyful in God my Savior. The Sovereign Lord is my strength; he makes my feet like the feet of a deer, he enables me to go on the heights.”

The world is in distress, no matter who or what you listen to it is all bad news, (I choose not to listen:) )but if you are a born again believer you need to let faith rise up and take hold of you, fear is not from God! We need to have faith that God can and will give us the strength and grace to make it through, and He can also give us joy in the process. We need to take our eyes off of the difficulties and keep our ears away from the reports from the so-called experts. We need to buckle down and pray and read God’s word! God can give you confidence in the midst of difficulties and sorrows. God can strengthen you in your inner man all while the world is in chaos around you. He can make you tread and run over difficult circumstances when you abide in the confidence of God.

God is working out His plan, he did not say we would not go through hard times, but He did say we were not alone, that He is always with us. God will bring about His perfect justice in His time. One day our world will be rid of evil, but until then we need to Praise the Lord, we need to Lift His Name On High, we need to READ and Pray our way through this life, and live the best we can for Him until He returns for His Bride! (believers)

God will never cause you to live in fear and cower in the corner. The Holy Spirit is able to lift us up, reveal to us truth, and instill confidence in us even if the world is falling apart. Right now it looks like evil is winning, it seems that God has forgotten us, but I say, not so! God is working out the things that need to be worked out and bringing about His perfect will and plan; be patient, wait with an expectant heart. Stay grounded in His word and let those Holy Inspired scriptures soothe your soul, calm your mind, and bring you joy instead of fear!

God is near, live as though today was your last day on earth, one day it will be! Are you ready? I hope so! You can be saved in an instant. Ask Jesus into your heart, repent of your sins and ask Him to fill you with His spirit, to take the old man/woman away and in its place leave a blessed child of God. You do not have to fix anything first, stop anything first, because you can come as you are, where you are, and He will do the work for you when you come in the sincerity of heart.
Wouldn’t you love to know that your eternity will be with the King of Kings, and Lord of Lords, the Creator of all things? No more tears, no more pain, no more anything bad…just peace and love!

God Bless!

Holy Moments

Do you ever pause and realize that you are having a Holy moment in the middle of the ordinary? We do, and we can see them if we pause and take it in.  I am having one of the Holy moments right now. My ordinary day is experiencing a Holy moment.

Just a little while ago I heard the news that an urgent prayer request had been answered. My heart has been rejoicing in praise and gratitude as I passed this good news along to those who have been fervently praying.  I am sitting in my sunroom listening to the pouring rain and have been doing my Bible study for today.  As I was enjoying God’s word my husband turned off the Christian show he was listening to and came and sat in a chair nearby, he too reading God’s word.  I had this overwhelming feeling of God’s presence with us. God in this room flooding my heart with joy, gladness, and thanksgiving.  

I had already written in my journal how thankful I am for this roof over my head out of the pouring rain, I have thanked him more than once for answered prayer, and I had thanked him for being such a good, good Father to His children.  My ordinary day has suddenly become a “Holy Moment” kind of day, the kind where my heart feels centered, and my thoughts are made clear. 

In the Bible, there were often times when people experienced Holy Moments that forever changed their lives. We can read in the book of Exodus about Moses and the burning bush. (Exodus 3:2-6) This Holy Moment changed his life forever. In another place, we read where Zachariah had a Holy moment with an angel when he was told his wife would conceive and have a son in their old age and that their son would be full of the Holy Spirit even from birth. (Luke 1:11-20) But probably one of the most known Holy Moments is when the angel appeared to Mary. She was just a young girl going about her daily routines unaware that her life was about to radically change forever, and that she had been chosen to be the mother of Jesus, God’s son who would save His people from their sins. (Luke 1:26-38)

There are many more instances in the Bible where, and an angel of the Lord visited people, but can we today have Holy Moments with God, those that we know He is near and with us. Maybe it is nothing as grand as having an angel drop in to make an announcement, or the Lord to suddenly appear and speak audibly to us, but I believe we can experience His presence in the ordinary moment of life and they suddenly become Holy.

I personally have felt these moments on more than one occasion. A few times it has been when God has done the impossible for me and I feel as though he has scooped me up into a giant bear hug or kissed my face. Other times it is just a sense that He is in the room with me, not just in my heart, but almost as though if I could peer long enough into the air I would catch a glimpse of him. Have you ever had one of those moments?

I can remember as a teenager standing on a rock behind my home that overlooked my grandparent’s home. It was fall, and I can still see what I was wearing as I stood on this rock in the chilly air looking out. I was heavy in heart about something and was not really even praying, just looking, maybe even longing for something. But all of a sudden a huge breeze started blowing, and my hair was whipping around. I put my arms straight out and leaned back as the wind blew on me, and I felt the Lord’s presence, I felt as though he was blowing healing, refreshing wind into my soul and heart.  It lasted just a few moments and was gone, but as I left that place, I felt freer, changed, renewed.   I believe it was a Holy Moment. God ministered to me right there on that rock with a fresh wind from heaven. 

Maybe if we spend more time looking for God and less at the craziness around us, we will begin to experience more Holy Moments in our lives.  And maybe the heaviness of this year will be lifted, and we will be forever changed for the better in spite of what is going on in our world. I think these Holy Moments are just as important and life-changing for us now as they were for these folks then. Maybe not on a grand scale, but on a heart scale in our every day walks with God.  He is always near, the Holy Spirit is always working in those who belong to Jesus. But maybe we should pause in the ordinary and experience the extraordinary and let it cleanse and refresh us.

I think now more than ever we need to lean in close. Read and pray like never before.  We need to be strong in our faith, and confident in His word and promises. Sometimes our Holy Moments are so small that we can almost miss them by the distractions of this world. Take time to look for them and really enjoy them when they come. I know I will!

Unruly

Do you have an unruly tongue? Are you one of those people that you feel free to voice your opinion in any way you choose or speak to someone in a demeaning manner.  Do you use your mouth to speak vulgar things and use words that are unkind or offensive, gossiping? Maybe you use your words as weapons to hurt another. Do you use your tongue to manipulate, false teaching, bragging, complaining? There are many ways we can use our words, but if you use your words in any of these ways or worse, then I would say you need to surrender your tongue to the Lord.

Psalm 15:1-4 “Lord, who may dwell in your sanctuary? Who may live on your holy hill? 2 He whose walk is blameless and who does what is righteous, who speaks the truth from his heart and has no slander on his tongue, who does his neighbor no wrong and casts no slur on his fellow man, 4 who despises a vile man but honors those who fear the Lord, who keeps his oath, even when it hurts, 5 who lends his money without usury and does not accept a bribe against an innocent. He who does these things will never be shaken.”

We as believers need to set the standard, we should not sound like the world. Our responses to others should be coated in truth and love. As a believer, we should be harnessing our tongues. We should not be using our words to hurt another. Words are powerful, they can bring life or death. Most times not in a literal sense, but a spiritual sense. Our words can build up or tear down. And how we use our words reflect our relationship with the Lord. There are a lot of things that should distinguish us from the secular unsaved world, but our tongues are certainly a huge part of that. 

I have been around people who say they are believers, they go to church and seem to do all the “right” things,  they tithe, etc., but their mouths are perverse, they speak the Lord’s name in vain without batting an eye, they gossip about people and those who are supposedly friends. They spew filthy words in conversation. Their words are harsh and coarse, and I can tell you it diminishes them in my eyes. They are willing to surrender so much of their lives, yet their tongue is the one thing they do not see needs to be tamed.

Scripture tells us that God wants even our conversations to be pleasing to him. It matters what we say! None of us are perfect. I am not perfect, (surprise 🙂 but we do need to strive to not only live right but talk right.  We read these words in James 3:3-8 “When we put bits into the mouths of horses to make them obey us, we can turn the whole animal. 4 Or take ships as an example. Although they are so large and are driven by strong winds, they are steered by a very small rudder wherever the pilot wants to go. 5 Likewise, the tongue is a small part of the body, but it makes great boasts. Consider what a great forest is set on fire by a small spark. 6 The tongue also is a fire, a world of evil among the parts of the body. It corrupts the whole person, sets the whole course of life on fire, and is itself set on fire by hell. 7 All kinds of animals, birds, reptiles, and creatures of the sea are being tamed and have been tamed by man, 8 but no man can tame the tongue. It is a restless evil, full of deadly poison.”

What we say, what we don’t say and how we say it all is important. There is so much power inside your mouth!  James compares the hurt and damage our tongues can do to a raging fire. It consumes and destroys all that is in its path. Our adversary the devil uses our tongues to inflict injury quickly and painfully. All too often people carry unseen wounds and scars that have been inflicted by an unruly tongue.  Our words cannot be taken back, once they leave our mouth the damage is done. It is so hard to undo the damage done by a cruel word.  If no human can control their tongue, why do we try and how can we gain success (most of the time)?  We will never get it perfect, only Jesus spoke perfectly and loved the same, but we can make the effort to lay down our right to say whatever. We can surrender daily our tongue, laying it on the altar of prayer. We can choose carefully those things we say and how we say them, we can think first and speak second. 

If we take the time to fuel up with God’s word and hide it in our hearts, it goes a long way in controlling what we say. If we pause before we speak and think of how our words may land on the ears of the hearer, just maybe we will be kinder and not say the next thing.  Or possibly think of a time when we have been deeply wounded by words that came at us like a fireball. We need to learn to fight the fire of our tongues and surrender our need and right to go around setting new fires. 

We have a powerful ally in the fight of the tongue and that is the Holy Spirit. If we ask for his help you can rest assure He will help. The Holy Spirit can remind us even in the heat of the moment we need to tread lightly, speak softly and gently. And if we have been guilty of using our tongue in a way that has harmed and hurt, the Holy Spirit can help us right that wrong, heal the other person and change the way we speak, fight, quarrel and answer.

How is it that our tongues can both say pleasing things and terrible things? So often we are told, and it is true, that we may be the only Bible some will read, well, I say we may be the only Bible some may listen to. Let that steep for a moment in your mind and heart. If my words were the words that could lead someone to Jesus, wouldn’t I want to control what comes out and how it comes out? 

The only way to make genuine progress in this war of our tongues is to pray for help. To ask God to give you the right words at the right time, and to teach you when to speak and when to be silent. I am a work in progress. I try very hard to not say anything that will wound a spirit and diminish someone. I try to build up and not tear down. And when I get angry, I try to think first and speak second, to remember I have the power to inflict hurt or to keep peace and love.  I have been deeply wounded by careless words, and I can tell you it is not fun, and it can take years to recover.

So, today I challenge you to surrender your tongue on the altar of God. To ask him to put the right words and attitude in your speech, and to help you to use your words to heal and not divide. If we ask, he answers.  Remember that others are listening and what we say does hurt our witness and testimony. It will also hinder our prayers. 

You may not win all the time, but how about most of the time?