Thursday, December 31, 2015

My Social, Relational, and Spiritual side of 2015

I am always a big fan on reflecting with what the year has brought me to make goals for the next year. I decided to put this post in three categories: what happen to me socially, what happen to me in my relationships, and what happen to me with my relationship with God.


My Online World

I have had this blog since 2010. I have always enjoyed writing and decided to share with others what God has taught me. It has been an off and on experience until this past summer. I started listening to podcasts and realized there was a whole other world online. There are women like Heather MacFadyen from the God Centered Mom podcast who is real about her struggles and wants to encourage other moms to be God centered through all walks of motherhood. Then there are women like Lisa Appelo and Jennifer Dukes Lee who I have subscribed to their blogs. But then I was able to take it one step further and joined the Hello Mornings and No More Angry MOB Facebook groups where I get to interact with amazing women of God who wish to challenge and encourage me and others. I began to realize that I wanted to join this community of women through my blog. I found an online course called Christian Bloggers Bootcamp which my mom and dad got me for Christmas. My mission statement is "Challenging and showing women that God's grace and His word can help them through all areas of life". I am excited to see where God takes this next year.

Politics and the 2016 Election

If you have followed my blog or even just a friend of mine on Facebook, you can clearly see that I like politics. It started two years ago on my journey of discovering our American Heritage. I am a firm believer that the only thing that will change the direction of this nation is if we go back to the word of God. The founding fathers knew that and we need to realize that ourselves. So this time around I have followed every single republican debate and the candidates that I like. John Adams said once, " Liberty cannot be preserved without a general knowledge among the people". We have to do two things

1) Draw near to God's Word for guidance and direction

2) Research and be aware of current issues or the candidates and what they stand for

If we don't do these things our country will be completely lost. We need to step up as Christians and hold onto God's word.

Owning our own house and Dave Ramsey

As of May, my husband and I are owners of a double side house. But as we lived here, we began to realize that we were not financially ready as much as we thought we were. My husband and I balance each other out. I am a penny pincher and my husband likes to spend money. Luckily we don't live luxurious and buy pretty much everything use but we still like to spend money. We realize that we were going to be in debt for a long time. That is when my husband started to listen to the Dave Ramsey show on podcast. My husband and I began to saw that we really were not good with our money as we thought we were. A few things that I have learned from being a house owner especially of a double is

1) There is always something that needs to be worked on and we have to have the money. In September we had to set up in our envelope system three categories: Christmas, fix our car, and a problem that we have going on at our house. When we took out the chuck of money we needed to save, it was a reality check with what money we had to leftover to distribute to the other envelopes.

2) Not everyone is good as us paying off bills or paying rent. We learned how to show grace but also stick to what was right when it came to the renters on the other side of our house. There are going to be set rules when we get new renters.

3) I can now understand why owners of previous houses we rented from said no animals. They leave such a mess! I don't think I even want an animal unless it is an outside one.

My husband and I are getting use to the "Dave Ramsey way" with the envelope system and realizing even during the times that we think it is hard, it will be worth it in the end.


 Being a mom changes things

At the beginning of the year, my husband and I moved back to where we use to live when we first moved to Pa. I was so excited to go back to my old church which I loved so much. But I soon found out that the things I enjoyed at church I couldn't enjoy as much now since I became a mom. For starters, they don't have nursery for the Sunday evening service or Wednesday service. It was a little easier to go when goober was little but now as an almost 18 month old, it is hard to come anymore because she don't sit still. It was kinda disappointing when I couldn't see the girls I use to work with in the youth group. I am not able to spend much time with them as much as I was able to before. Also all the young moms that have kids the same age as mine, all work. So I kinda feel isolated. I am in the middle where the 20 somethings still see me as a peer and the older moms with older kids still see me as a young married person without kids. But what I have learned and going to try to apply this coming year is:

1) Finding a place where I can serve. There is a children church teacher position during the worship service that I am going to serve in. It is important to try to serve in the areas you can serve even if it is just working in the nursery or ministering to someone in the church through prayer and sending out letters.

2) Teaching my 18 month old to sit. I have to confess I wanted to do that before I had kids but reality set in that it is actually harder than I thought. My little one does not sit still at all. Her personality is very bold and sometimes strong-willed. It is going to take tons of unhappy moments of reading a book and holding her as I read to her for her to learn.

3) Older women with older kids are only a phone call away. Sometimes you might just have to settled with a phone call instead of going out for coffee. I have developed a relationship with a woman at church who actually has done this with me. She even invited me to go walking in the park as I pushed my little one in the stroller.

I am definitely anticipating this next year how I will continue to grow in this.

My relationship with my in laws 

As I stated before, we moved back where we use to live in January. But we did not have a house yet. So we chose to live with my in laws. Here are a few things I learned:

1) Communication is the key. No matter how different my point of view is from my in laws, communication had to happen. There were times I had to be straight forward with them which was hard but they were able to hear what I had to say. It made them respect me more as a person.

2) Offer to do things around the house. My in laws are busy people and simple things like vacuuming slipped by. So I did it. I also offered to make dinner a few times. It made it easier to live there.

3) Do things they like to do. My mother in law liked playing games and so do I. So almost every evening we played games. My father in law liked to relax and watch tv. So sometimes I watch his favorite tv show. It was the small things that count.

This next year, I think I need to focus more on my mother in law's mom who now lives by herself who is wearing my mother in law thin.


Learning how to wait on God

I want so much to live a life is grace filled. I want to be able to show it to my love ones. But I always fall short. I am a major people pleaser and I have had enough of it. But I continue on in my strength. It has not been until recently through this Christmas advent season that I have seen Christ as the one who came to deal with my sins. It is through Him that I can do anything. It is through Him that I can make it through the day focusing on the here and the now. But I have to wait on Him. There is going to be more on this in the future on my blog. But here is a video to get you personally thinking
God's word changes people's lives
This is something that God keeps bringing up year after year to remind me. I always try to control the situations I am in. Sometimes it leads me to fear. Sometimes it leads me to getting really angry at my little goober. Sometimes it allows me to think things that are not true where I just get so swept up in emotions where it ruins the rest of the day. God has given me a BIG desire to share God's word through writing but why do I seem to skip out on myself? On my iPad I have verses for every emotion I tend to struggle with.
When I feel overwhelm
Psalm 94:19 and Psalm 61:2
When I feel like a failure
Psalm 37:23-24 and Psalm 94:18-19 and Micah 7:7-8
I also would like better my American Heritage study for kids. I don't know but I do know that this year without the word of God I wouldn't have had learned the things I did.


Thursday, December 24, 2015

Praying for 30 days- day 30!

Christmas is tomorrow!! But Christmas started for me at the beginning of this month through Advent. Even through the deaths of my Grandpas, life and hope still brought peace. I am learning to just to choose joy. I have come to appreciate more the life Christ has given to me when He came on this earth as a babe. He didn't stay as baby in the manager but grew up as a man to do His Father's will, the will of God that has been there even before the foundation of the world. We have always meant to live life and have it more abundantly. It is only though Christ and what He did on the cross that saved us from the power of darkness and death in our hearts. He took it away completely. In that I can choose joy everyday. In that I can say that He is my God.

During the past 30+ days, I have been praying for certain people, more than others but whoever God laid on my heart. Today's prayer and verse in my book Today I pray by Stonecroft ministries summed up what I hope for, for my love ones.

Isaiah 25:8-9
"He will swallow up death forever,
And the Lord God will wipe away tears from all faces;
The rebuke of His people
He will take away from all the earth;
For the Lord has spoken.
And it will be said in that day:
'Behold, this is our God;
We have waited for Him, and He will save us.
This is the Lord;
We have waited for Him;
We will be glad and rejoice in His salvation.'"

Father, thank you for the day ________ will say, "This is my God; I trusted in Him, and He saved me. This is the Lord, I trusted in Him; let us rejoice and be glad in His salvation."

Saturday, December 19, 2015

O Holy Night- my thoughts and meditations

This Christmas season I have immensely enjoyed doing Advent in my own studies and with my daughter. It has been an amazing experience immersing myself in God's word and constantly focusing on Him as my king and conqueror of my soul. He has certainty been working in my life and the lives of the ones I love. O Holy Night has been such an inspiration to me because it gives a clear message of His gospel. It is a new favorite of mine.
O Holy Night
The stars are brightly shining
It is the night of our dear Savior's birth

This night was like no other night. It was a night set apart for God's perfect will: His Son, our Savior was born.
Long lay the world in sin and e'er pining
When our Savior was born, the world was lost and separated from
God. The sinfulness of this world was clear and needed a Savior. "Pining is one of those older words we don’t hear very often. It does refer to a desperate longing, but it also has a more archaic meaning of discontent and fret. Both reflect what the Bible tells us about the state of the world. In rebellion against God it seeks satisfaction in things that do not satisfy.It is a restless world that will not embrace the one cure that can save it("

'Til He appeared and the soul felt its worth
A thrill of hope the weary world rejoices
He came to us on that night to bring our burdened and sin laden
souls hope. When we hope, we can rejoice, rejoice in that through Him, we will not be weary no more. He is our Savior. He has overcome all sin!
For yonder breaks a new and glorious morn.

Through Christ all things are made new. The old has gone away. It is like waking up to a new morning and starting all over again. He gives us a second chance. We mess up but through Him we can do it again every day, every moment. There is hope. There is grace. There is power.
Fall on your knees O hear the angels voices.
This is by far my favorite part. Christ comes and brings hope, a new start to our fallen hearts. It is only through Him we can do that. So when we fall on our knees, we are humbly falling on our faces recognizing He has saved us. And when we do that, the angels sing in heaven rejoicing that we have seen our need and have chosen Christ.
O night divine O night when Christ was born
O night divine, O night, O night divine
When Christ was born that night, God Himself set it up.Every single detail from Mary and Joseph being His earthly parents to King Herod wanting to kill Him, divinely directed by God Himself. It could not have gone any other way.
Truly He taught us to love one another;
Through God sending His only Son to come as a humble baby, being born in a stable and laying in a feeding trough, is only the beginning of showing and teaching us love. Jesus even continues on showing love through out His life and ultimately on the cross.
His law is love
Jesus commanded us to love the Lord with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind and to love your neighbor as yourself. He also taught us that when one loves Him, they will keep His commandments.
and His gospel is peace.
The gospel is Jesus Christ coming as a baby, growing up, dying on the cross and rising from the dead defeating death. In that we are saved from our sins which brings peace like no other to our weary and sinful hearts. We can have the faith that what He says and who He is, is true.
Chains shall He break for the slave is our brother;
The chains are our sin that burdens us which Christ can only break. That is why He came.
"Paul also recognized how he could be free of the chains of sin. 'Wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death? Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord!' (v24-25 of Romans 7) The slave is our brother because we too were once slaves to sin, and we are untied with the Christ in His suffering and resurrection."
And in His name all oppression shall cease.
Christ gave us freedom. Freedom only comes from His name and His name alone. It isn't Buddha nor the teachings of Joseph Smith. They all came and died. He is the only way. He is the only truth. He is the one who brings life.
Sweet hymns of joy in grateful chorus raise we,Let all within us praise His holy name.
Because through His name oppression cease, we can sing out in a joyful and grateful praise because of His great gift to us. It should just flow out of us because of who He is in us.
Christ is the Lord! O praise His Name forever,

This is a declaration of praise of who He is. He is the Lord of our lives. He made this plan before the earth was even made. That is why He is Lord of all. That is why we have to fall on our knees and praise Him forever. Even times to come, all will fall on their knees and see that He is Lord.
His power and glory evermore proclaim.
Besides every knee bowing down to His name, we will bow down to His power and glory. We can now see on earth how He has worked and continues to work in our lives and brings glory to His name. In that we should praise His name. In that the world will praise His name.
O night divine, O night, O night divine


Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Praying for 30 days- day 29

In Isaiah 9:6, one of the names of the Messiah that Isaiah mentions is the Prince of Peace. This particular name shows Christ as supreme ruler that has brought peace to all people. As Jesus states in John 16:33, when we experience tribulations, we can have peace because He has overcome the world. Holding to the idea that through Christ coming and dying and rising again and that all who believe on Him will have peace. He has overcome the sin and evilness in this world and our hearts.

Today's scripture from my book Today I pray by Stonecroft ministries is the opposite of having peace.

Isaiah 59:8 but also including the previous seven verses.
 Behold, the Lord’s hand is not shortened, that it cannot save; nor His ear heavy, that it cannot hear. But your iniquities have separated you from your God; and your sins have hidden His face from you, so that He will not hear. For your hands are defiled with blood,and your fingers with iniquity;
your lips have spoken lies, your tongue has muttered perversity.No one calls for justice, nor does any plead for truth.They trust in empty words and speak lies;
they conceive evil and bring forth iniquity.They hatch vipers’ eggs and weave the spider’s web; he who eats of their eggs dies, and from that which is crushed a viper breaks out. Their webs will not become garments, nor will they cover themselves with their works; their works are works of iniquity, and the act of violence is in their hands.Their feet run to evil, and they make haste to shed innocent blood; their thoughts are thoughts of iniquity; wasting and destruction are in their paths.The way of peace they have not known, and there is no justice in their ways; they have made themselves crooked paths; whoever takes that way shall not know peace.

These verses are describing a person who has no peace with God. They separated because of their sin. Not because God can't save them. Not because He cannot hear them. It is all them. They have chosen to hold onto their sin. They have no concept of the things of God. It is in their actions and words. They cannot know peace because sin runs rapid in their hearts and mind.

As I was praying for the certain people who God laid on my heart for this particular verse, I began to think of two types of people with no peace. There are the people who are not saved and live their lives in sin and just don't care because they know no other way. Those people hold onto anger and bitterness and who are sad. These people are the ones we need to pray for to come to the Prince of Peace as their Lord and Savior. It is only God who can save them.

The other people are the ones who are Christians and know that they are holding onto some sin in their life but just can't let go. They are literally struggling and wrestling with God. But once again, they have chosen to separate themselves from their Prince of Peace. God's hand cannot be shortened. We need to come along with them and pray with them and direct them to God's word.

I challenge you to pray and ask God to show these type of people in your life. We need to show them the little Baby that came and grew as a man who died that can be their Prince of Peace too. 

Open _________'s eyes, Lord Jesus, and show _________ the way of peace.   

Sunday, December 13, 2015

Praying for 30 days- day 28

I can't believe I am almost done with this book, Today I pray by Stonecroft ministries. It has been such a growing experience and I can wait to see how God continues to work through this even after it's over.

Throughout the pages of this book and the verses it has given, a lot of them have directed us back to the power of God's word. The power that it has to change lives. I know that it has changed my life. It is real to me. It challenges me even when I am stubborn and rather do it my way. But as day 28's verses states, it sets us free.

 Then Jesus said to those Jews who believed Him, If you abide in My word, you are My disciples indeed. 32 And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.”
33 They answered Him, “We are Abraham’s descendants, and have never been in bondage to anyone. How can You say, You will be made free?”
34 Jesus answered them, Most assuredly, I say to you, whoever commits sin is a slave of sin. 35 And a slave does not abide in the house forever, but a son abides forever. 36 Therefore if the Son makes you free, you shall be free indeed."

Our world has grown to hate truth. Truth makes people feel uncomfortable. It challenges them. Sometimes it hurts their egos. Most court cases are about people who are offended by truth. Just listen to the news. But their "truth" only makes them enslaved to themselves and people's opinions. God's truth sets us free from all that. All we have to do is abide in it. That's it! At my job at the group home for court appointed teens, my boss challenged one of the young girls I worked with to read the book of Mark. This particular book of the Bible changed his life and because of it, he became a Christian. Her response was that she didn't want to read it because she was afraid that she would have to change her life. People know that there is something about God and His word but don't want to be set free. There is power when you read God's word. 

The greatest freedom when one reads God's word is that they can become a son or daughter of God. They will be apart of the family of God. They can live life free from this world and live life more abundantly. It is only by God's word and recognizing it as the only truth.

Lord, I ask that You will set _______ free and that _______ will know freedom indeed.   

Friday, December 11, 2015

Praying for 30 days- day 27

Today's verse from my book Today I Pray by Stonecroft ministries is Proverbs 30:5.

Every word of God is pure; He is a shield to those who put their trust in Him.

Lord God, let ____________ know that every word of Yours is flawless and that You are a shield to those who put their trust in You.

God's word is pure. You cannot find anything wrong with it. What He says, it will happen.

It also what brings people to Christ. It changes lives. God's word is a double edged sword pierces the heart.

Besides Proverbs 30:5 here are some promises of how God's word are pure:

Psalm 12:6
The words of the Lord are pure words, like silver tried in a furnace of earth, purified seven times
Psalm 19:8
The statutes of the Lord are right, rejoicing the heart; the commandment of the Lord is pure, enlightening the eyes
Psalm 119:140
Your word is very pure; therefore Your servant loves it
2 Samuel 22:31
As for God, His way is perfect; the word of the Lord is proven; He is a shield to all who trust in Him.

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Justice for Our Souls

As I have scrolled through my Facebook newsfeed, I see hurt, anger, sickness, and pain. I am watching the likes build up on my current status of asking for prayers for my husband and his family because of his grandfather passing away. A friend of mine has a two year old with chicken pox while taking care of her two month old. She is exhausted. There is also a missionary friend who is suffering stage four pancreatic cancer and going through her second round of chemo. She barely can keep the proper nutrients in her body. All the news reports are talking about President Obama's oval office speech about Isis and the San Bernardino shooting. A Lt Colonel got extremely upset where the news reporter had to interrupt him and told him that he couldn't use language like that. So I had to listen to our president's speech which was of course displayed his agenda for the American people. It brings such a burden on my heart to see what living in a sinful and sad world means, but it also reminds me of the reason Jesus came.

In reflecting of the season, I have focused on how Jesus came as our King who brought justice and righteousness to our souls. He did not come to destroy what was temporary but what was eternal. Jesus came to bring something new from something bigger than anyone realized. As it states in Isaiah 4:2,

"In that day the Branch of the Lord shall be beautiful and glorious;
And the fruit of the earth shall be excellent and appealing
For those of Israel who have escaped."

Jesus came to bring back Eden to our lives! He came so that life would be excellent and appealing. Our souls would escape death and to live life more abundantly. He came to bring about a bigger plan of God's glory.

"His delight is in the fear of the Lord,
And He shall not judge by the sight of His eyes,
Nor decide by the hearing of His ears;
 But with righteousness He shall judge the poor,
And decide with equity for the meek of the earth;
He shall strike the earth with the rod of His mouth,
And with the breath of His lips He shall slay the wicked...

“And in that day there shall be a Root of Jesse,
Who shall stand as a banner to the people;
For the Gentiles shall seek Him,
And His resting place shall be glorious.”  Isaiah 11:1-4,10

Jesus' delight was the will of God. He came to judge the poor righteously and to slay the wicked. Sin was not meant to rule but God and His righteousness. 

 "In those days and at that time
I will cause to grow up to David
A Branch of righteousness;
He shall execute judgment and righteousness in the earth."
Jeremiah 33:15

So even with everything that is going on with the uncertainties of life or the direction of our nation, we have to hold on to the fact that God has a bigger and better plan. That He has and always will have a plan and we are apart of it as Christians. As a Anita @anitamckaney on Periscope said advent is about not just Jesus coming here on earth but that He was to come, has come and will come again. This should be our focus among the hurt, pain, sickness, and anger that is lingering this Christmas season.

Sunday, December 6, 2015

Praying for 30 days- day 26

Psalm 23:4
"Yea, though, I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil; for You are with me; Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me."

God, I pray that ________ would know You and receive the comfort of Your Presence while facing any dark valley. Help _________ to trust You and not be afraid. (Today I pray by Stonecroft ministries)

As I have stated earlier in this prayer journey, my husband's 92 year old grandfather is not doing well. We found out later on that he has terminal cancer and he is dying. My husband is taking this really hard because he is super close to his grandfather. I prayed this prayer for him today because I cant imagine going through a time of knowing your life is about to end and you have no hope. He is in a constant state of helpless and depression. He does not have the peace that one can have holding onto today's scripture.

I have done a study on this chapter some while back where I looked up what was the purposes of the rod and staff for a shepherd. The rod is a symbol of strength. It shows power and authority. The rod also is used to discipline and correct the sheep. But it was also tool to for counting and examining the sheep. The rod showed who was in control which gave the sheep peace and comfort that they were taken care of.

The staff is the opposite of the rod. It is a symbol of concern and compassion. It demonstrates longsuffering and kindness where the shepherd could draw his sheep together in an intimate way. The shepherd also used it as he guided his sheep along various paths.

As God is our shepherd, we can find hope and peace in these roles that He has in our lives. It should also make us want to share these concepts with other people who are going through a hard time in life and don't know who God is. How do we not know that God could be using you as a tool during this hard time in their lives? I continue to pray for my husband's grandfather and the role God wants me to do even if right now it is just praying.

Friday, December 4, 2015

Praying for 30 days- day 25

So after I wrote my blog yesterday, it was as if God showered me with some extra grace. I read some blogs that really encouraged me. I made the last switch on my blog as you can see to Progressing through Grace. Then my husband came home and I was still awake. We got to spend some time with each other without the t.v before we went to bed. Super awesome! Then I read today's verse from my Today I pray book by Stonecroft Ministries and it defined the desires of my heart when I choose to live by grace.
Luke 14:25-27
" Now great multitudes went with Him. And He turned and said to them, 26 “If anyone comes to Me and does not hate his father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters, yes, and his own life also, he cannot be My disciple. 27 And whoever does not bear his cross and come after Me cannot be My disciple."

Father, I pray that ________ will make a genuine commitment to Jesus Christ as the Lord and Savior of his/her life.

I think this verse and prayer did not agree with each other in my mind today. This book that I have done the past month is for people to pray using scripture for those who are not saved. The prayer was clearly for both saved and unsaved but those who are saved could use this scripture only. I could personally relate to this scripture.
We need to want to completely give everything over to God and take up our crosses by always saying yes to God. That means as a Christian, we have to give everybody that we care for so much over to God. If we don't, we can not serve God completely. We are holding back. That includes that long waited for baby or husband. That includes life circumstances that don't seem fair. God had gone before us. He knows what we need and in that we need to trust in Him.


Thursday, December 3, 2015

Praying for 30 days- day 24

Today was a rough day emotionally for me. I constantly had to bring myself back to grace by drawing near to God thorough His Word. Today's scripture brought me back to perspective on who I am in Christ.

Ephesians 4:22-24 and including Roman 7:6, 24-8:1
" that you put off, concerning your former conduct, the old man which grows corrupt according to the deceitful lusts, 23 and be renewed in the spirit of your mind, 24 and that you put on the new man which was created according to God, in true righteousness and holiness."

" But now we have been delivered from the law, having died to what we were held by, so that we should serve in the newness of the Spirit and not in the oldness of the letter...O wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death? 25 I thank God—through Jesus Christ our Lord!
So then, with the mind I myself serve the law of God, but with the flesh the law of sin. There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus,[a] who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit."

Lord, I pray that ________ will put off his/her former way of life, to be made new in the attitude of his/her mind; and to put on the new self, created to be like You, God in true righteousness and holiness.

Through believing what Christ did when He died on the cross, we become new people. We have a new attitude and renewed mind. Through His grace and strength, we put away the old ways of bad attitudes or strangling sins and put on Christ by living in the Spirit. We no longer have to try to do things on our own. We have the Spirit that works in us. Even when we mess up, we know that there is no condemnation but grace. We know reminding of ourselves of the new man every day helps us to live the life that God has called us to live. We need to hold on to the promises that we have been given through His word, to be holy and set apart. It is clearly only through Him.

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Praying for 30 days- day 23

Ephesians 4:27 but also including verse 26
"Be angry, and do not sin”: do not let the sun go down on your wrath, 27 nor give place to the devil"

Father, I pray that ________ will cease giving a foothold to Satan. (Today I Pray Stonecroft Ministries)

Anger can sometimes be such a complex emotion. For starters it is only a result of another feeling. When I feel powerless, I get angry. When I disappoint someone I care about, I get angry. When I get defensive, I get angry. There are even times when I can start out feeling one emotion and only after I get angry, I start feeling other emotions. Anger not pleasing to God can be a gateway for many bad feelings especially not dealing with it. This is when Satan can take advantage of it and make it a foothold in your life.
I also feel like in situations of anger with nonbelievers, it makes it sometimes longer and harder to come to Christ. That is why it is so important as believers to be patient and show love to those who have held onto anger for so long. I believe it is solely in God's hands when someone has been so angry for so long to change their hearts. We just need to draw near to God through prayer and His word to strengthen us to deal with these people. It is possible through God.  

Monday, November 30, 2015

Praying for 30 days- day 22

Acts 26:18 including v 17 and Colossians 1:12-15
" 'I will deliver you from the Jewish people, as well as from the Gentiles, to whom I now send you, 18 to open their eyes, in order to turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan to God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins and an inheritance among those who are sanctified by faith in Me.’"

"12 giving thanks to the Father who has qualified us to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in the light. 13 He has delivered us from the power of darkness and conveyed us into the kingdom of the Son of His love, 14 in whom we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins.
15 He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation."

I ask, Lord, that You will open ________'s eyes and turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan to You, God that _______ might receive the forgiveness of sins and be sanctified.

I have grew to appreciate Paul's conversion and testimony throughout the years. He was a man that was driven by pride, and honestly thought he was doing what God wanted him to do as a Jew. But that day, on the way to Damascus, Jesus got ahold of his heart and transformed it. Paul was once a man controlled by his own desires and passions that was switched to God's desires and passions for all people.
What Paul was commanded to do was exactly what happen to him. He was brought out of darkness of anger and violence into the light of loving and caring for all people. Paul was no longer under the power of Satan who desired that the message of Christ be stopped but now under the power of God who saved him from his sins. He received forgiveness from all that he had done and an inheritance to be a son of God. 
This too happened to us as Christians through what Christ did when He came down as a human. Jesus came as a representative of who God is to this earth so that we can be saved from our sins and become His own. We no longer can live in darkness but see things through His light. It was all from the His great love and the shredding of His blood that we too experience these things.
I don't know about you but this should drive you and I too to tell others about Jesus and what He has done for us. It is so much that He has given to us. Why is it so hard to share with others if it has changed our lives? I too am convicted by this.     

Saturday, November 28, 2015

Praying for 30 days- day 21

1 John 1:9 including verses 6-10
" If we say that we have fellowship with Him, and walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth. But if we walk in the light as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses us from all sin.
If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. 10 If we say that we have not sinned, we make Him a liar, and His word is not in us."

Thank you, Father, that when ________ calls on You, You will be faithful and just and will forgive ________ and purify ______ from all unrighteousness. (Today I pray Stonecroft ministries)

In order to receive forgiveness and before one calls on God, one has to know His truth. It is the word of God that allows us to come to Him. He uses that to transform our hearts and minds in order to forgive and cleanse us from our sins.
How did I get that from these verses? Look at verses six, eight, and ten. If one walk in the darkness, they don't practice truth. If one say they have no sin, they deceive themselves and truth is not in them. If one says that they don't struggle with a sin, they make God a liar and His word is not in them. You see the God's truth is what leads us to confessing our sins to Him. In result our sins are forgiven and we are cleanse from all unrighteousness. That is why it is so important for us as Christians to read His word but also more importantly it is our job to tell others who are not Christians about His truth. It is what saves people. God uses us who is faithful to His word so that others can experience their sins forgiven and cleansed. 

Friday, November 27, 2015

Praying for 30 days- day 20

Matthew 11:28-30
" Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. 29 Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30 For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.”

Father, help _______ to come to You for that true soul rest.
(Today I pray, Stonecroft ministries)

I am going to share a story about a friend of mine who came to mind when I saw this prayer today. They grew up in a very conservative home. They were taught to focus on being that good Christian. Their parents discouraged any questions that they would have that questioned what the Bible taught. In result communication was stifled and things were hidden from their parents. To this day my friend thinks the reason why their relationship with their parents are bad is because of their parent's religion. 
My friend is burdened by their false ideas and traditions that are not completely based off of God's word. For one to have complete rest, they need to let go of their own ideas and traditions that go contrary to the Bible. It is so easy to hold onto those church traditions that we grew up with and not even realize that they are not biblical. Traditions contrary to the Bible bring conflict, strife, and contradictions which result in being burdened by doing things in one's own strength.
So instead of leaning on those traditions, we need to take Jesus up on His offer and give those traditions to Him. We need to draw near to Him through His word and allow Him to sift our hearts to empty us and be completely burden free.  

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Praying for 30 days-day 19

This Christmas season I have been thinking about doing an advent activity with my little goober even if she is only 16 months (closer to 17 months) for the season. But since she is still a little young I thought of inviting my five year old neighbor whose family is not a Christian to join us. I am so excited to plant those seeds and see where God takes me this encounter.

But this morning with today's verse in Acts 11:18 it got me also thinking about other people who seem "less likely candidates" to spread this advent experience with. I will also include the first 17 verses.
"Now the apostles and brethren who were in Judea heard that the Gentiles had also received the word of God. And when Peter came up to Jerusalem, those of the circumcision contended with him, saying, “You went in to uncircumcised men and ate with them!”
But Peter explained it to them in order from the beginning, saying: “I was in the city of Joppa praying; and in a trance I saw a vision, an object descending like a great sheet, let down from heaven by four corners; and it came to me. When I observed it intently and considered, I saw four-footed animals of the earth, wild beasts, creeping things, and birds of the air. And I heard a voice saying to me, Rise, Peter; kill and eat.’ But I said, ‘Not so, Lord! For nothing common or unclean has at any time entered my mouth.’ But the voice answered me again from heaven, What God has cleansed you must not call common. 10 Now this was done three times, and all were drawn up again into heaven. 11 At that very moment, three men stood before the house where I was, having been sent to me from Caesarea. 12 Then the Spirit told me to go with them, doubting nothing. Moreover these six brethren accompanied me, and we entered the man’s house. 13 And he told us how he had seen an angel standing in his house, who said to him, ‘Send men to Joppa, and call for Simon whose surname is Peter, 14 who will tell you words by which you and all your household will be saved.’ 15 And as I began to speak, the Holy Spirit fell upon them, as upon us at the beginning. 16 Then I remembered the word of the Lord, how He said, John indeed baptized with water, but you shall be baptized with the Holy Spirit. 17 If therefore God gave them the same gift as He gave us when we believed on the Lord Jesus Christ, who was I that I could withstand God?”
18 When they heard these things they became silent; and they glorified God, saying, “Then God has also granted to the Gentiles repentance to life.”

Some of those candidates might be those people who seem a little rough around the edges and rub you the wrong way. Or maybe it is a person who seems so trouble. Or maybe a person in line at the store who is grumpy and bites the cashier's head off. Those type of people make me feel uncomfortable to reach. Maybe it is someone who you don't think deserves to have a chance because they don't seem to get it. Those are the exact people we need to be praying for to have true repentance to turn away from their sin and hurt in their lives. It is easy to want to spread the Christmas joy with my neighbors but these people are just a little hard sadly for me.

But the key is saying yes to God no matter who the person is. That's what Peter did with the gentile he visited. He said yes to God even though it did not seem right at the time. Even the other disciples reacted in shock before Peter told his story. But when they realized that he said yes to God, they said yes too and it changed their hearts. Maybe the key is simply just saying yes and allowing God to do the rest.

Holy God, I pray that You will grant genuine repentance to ________, a repentance that causes _______ to hate sin and to turn from it.

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Praying for 30 days-day 18

This morning I was really struggling with grace. I hate the time I waste on watching Netflix and messing around on my ipad when I should be playing and cherishing the moments I have with my family. It is so easy to get wrapped up with the things of the world and loose focus on what's important. God is faithful and gave me a little reminder of something to be thankful this holiday season.
Isaiah 64
" Oh, that You would rend the heavens!
That You would come down!
That the mountains might shake at Your presence—
As fire burns brushwood,
As fire causes water to boil—
To make Your name known to Your adversaries,
That the nations may tremble at Your presence!
When You did awesome things for which we did not look,
You came down,
The mountains shook at Your presence.
For since the beginning of the world
Men have not heard nor perceived by the ear,
Nor has the eye seen any God besides You,
Who acts for the one who waits for Him.
You meet him who rejoices and does righteousness,
Who remembers You in Your ways.
You are indeed angry, for we have sinned—
In these ways we continue;
And we need to be saved.
But we are all like an unclean thing,
And all our righteousnesses are like filthy rags;
We all fade as a leaf,
And our iniquities, like the wind,
Have taken us away.
And there is no one who calls on Your name,
Who stirs himself up to take hold of You;
For You have hidden Your face from us,
And have consumed us because of our iniquities.
But now, O Lord,
You are our Father;
We are the clay, and You our potter;
And all we are the work of Your hand.
Do not be furious, O Lord,
Nor remember iniquity forever;
Indeed, please look—we all are Your people!
10 Your holy cities are a wilderness,
Zion is a wilderness,
Jerusalem a desolation.
11 Our holy and beautiful temple,
Where our fathers praised You,
Is burned up with fire;
And all our pleasant things are laid waste.
12 Will You restrain Yourself because of these things, O Lord?
Will You hold Your peace, and afflict us very severely?"
Contrast between man and God
+ We need to be saved v 5
+ We are an unclean thing v 6
+ The good things we do are like filthy rags v 6
+ Our sins have taken us away v 6
+ We don't call out for His name v 7
+ We don't stir up ourselves to seek you out v 7
+ We are only clay v 8

+ Mountains shook at His presence v 3
+ He acts those who wait for Him v 4
+ He meets Him who rejoices and does righteousness and remembers Him in His ways v 5
+ He is angry for we have sinned v 5
+ He is the potter v 8

We are humans who can try with every ounce of our being to do good things but because of our evil hearts, they are anything but good. They are like filthy rags. But God is a God that the mountains tremble at because of His power and control. He is a faithful God who sticks by us. He is more than willing to meet with us when we remember who He is and what He has done. When we sin He hates our sin because He is a just God. Our filthy rags is what separates us as non believers from God but as a believer, it reminds us of what He did when He sent His Son as lowly baby who came to do Father's will and die for our sins. That is what this scripture reminds me in this Thanksgiving season, that my filthy rags show me my need for my Savior. For those who are not believers in what Jesus did on the cross, this too can be your hope.

Father, I pray that ________ will see all personal good works are as filthy rags in Your sight and that they will not make anyone right with You.

Sunday, November 22, 2015

Praying for 30 days- day 17

Today's scripture from my book Today I pray by Stonecroft ministries is Jeremiah 24:7.
"Then I will give them a heart to know Me, that I am the Lord; and they shall be My people, and I will be their God, for they shall return to Me with their whole heart

Father, give _______ a heart to know You. Draw _______'s whole heart to You.

I am going to split this verse in three sections to meditate on it in a different way.

"Then I will give them a heart to know Me, that I am the Lord..."
This is God's doing not our part. God is the Lord of our lives even people who are not Christians. Each person is created to glorify God. Some people will never be saved but was used to bring someone else closer to Him. Others do become saved through God giving them a heart to want to know Him more. It is Him who gave us the desire to know Him as our personal Lord and Savior. Non-Christians can be given that desire but it is only through Him.

"they shall be My people..."
In order for someone to be apart of God's people, they need to know Him. There has to be a relationship. That relationship once again points to God giving that us that desire to know Him. I am so thankful that He is the Lord of my life and gave me the desire in order for me to be apart of His people. I hope and pray for the same for my love ones.

"I will be their God, for they shall return to Me with their whole heart."
So because God is the Lord of all of our lives and gives us the desire to know Him so that we can be apart of His people, that desire allows us to come to Him with our whole heart. It is still His working in us even though we are making the move to come to Him. Isn't that freeing when it comes to praying for those who we love and long for to come to Him? When we do give seek Him with our whole heart, our entire being, we will get to know Him.

So my challenge for you is to think of that person(s) that your heart aches for, the one you long for them to listen to the beckoning voice of God and pray for God's perfect timing and perfect will to move their hearts to want to know Him more. Pray also that God will put a peace in your heart to know that it is only Him that can move that person's heart.
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