“But Jesus often withdrew to lonely places and prayed.” Luke 5:16 NIV
Praying is very important. Jesus knew this and spent so much time building himself up in prayer. If Jesus who was perfect needed that, how much more do we need it. It says he withdrew to lonely places. It was important that praying to God was in a quiet place. With nobody around for distractions. When we are alone with God in prayer we are far from lonely. But God deserves our complete and full attention. Praying is not something difficult or exact, but just coming to God and talking. Tell God you’re every need, desire, and what’s important to you, and don’t forget thanksgiving for all he has already done for you. It is easy to focus on needs and what you don’t have. It’s more important to be thankful for all you do have. God takes such good care of me and supplies all that I need. He wants to bless me abundantly and he does as soon as I get my mind off of me and back on what I can be doing for his kingdom and others. He wants us to bear much fruit. If we are praying and desiring to bear fruit he can bless us. He will give us more fruit. It is simple sowing and reaping. If you want to be loved and cared for, then be loving and caring. If you want respect, then be respectful of others. This is not complicated, but very simple. Spending time talking to God and doing things to become closer to him will make you a better, happier person. The more you let him solve your problems and shoulder your burdens, the more you will seek to do the same for others. This will only make your life better, and also for those around you. God’s principles are good. He desires to give us a good and abundant life. But it is not just about what he’s doing. We have to believe in what he asks us to do. To do it all because God knows best. He only tells us because he knows it works. We may not understand everything he does know, but I know him and I know he loves me. He would never steer me wrong. I have sixty years experience following him and I have done things my way and I have done things his way. And guess what? His ways are so much better.
Do you have a relationship with him?
“For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.” Ephesians 2:10 NIV
This week was my yearly vacation to Special Touch Camp. Each year people with disabilities, whether cognitive or physical get to go to a Christ centered camp where for five days we get to do great things that we don’t normally get to do. If you have any handicaps and want to go where you are loved unconditionally and get to do many exciting and different things, I highly recommend it. My favorite is soaking in the hot tub and just relaxing. It is not easy getting me in or out, but whatever you want they make it happen. One year I rode a zip line through the trees and landing in the lake. This year a friend of mine went on the screaming swing, where they pull you way up in the air and let you go screaming all the way. We play games, do crafts, sing, hear great messages and eat great food. Everyone there loves God and loves to serve others. This week we talked about how we are made so perfectly and uniquely. God never makes anything poorly and we are perfect. No two people are alike and we are so loved. At one of the services the pastor gave out beautiful flowers, all different and unique. It made me remember one morning as I sat in the patio praying I had a vision, because I was awake but I saw a beautiful field of millions of different flowers . God told me that is how he sees the people he has made. It doesn’t matter if we have handicaps, addictions, or problems. No matter your color, nationality, or difference God sees you just how he made you. Whatever potential he sees in us makes him smile. Of everything he ever created we are his best work. Created just like him to think, reason and to do great things. He knows the beginning from the end. Though I once made big mistakes he saw just what I would become and do for him. We are all a messed up bunch having our own needs and wants. When we stop worrying about ourselves and start worrying about others and their needs, that’s when God can start meeting our needs beyond our expectations. I am fearfully and wonderfully made. God put in my DNA everything I would ever need to fulfill his purposes for me. I may be in a wheelchair, unable to walk or stand,and to even care for myself. I can’t speak clearly but he has enabled me to do great things for him. Right where he has placed me he has given me many assignments and let me change lives.
Do you know how perfect and wonderful you are?
“I am the vine; and you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit ; apart from me you can do nothing.” John 15:5 NIV
This verse has so much to say about our walk with God. Who God is and how he sees his awesome plan for us. God is the one who made us and he is apart of us. We were never meant to be apart from God. Our need of him is so very important in every aspect of our lives. If we want to be all that we can be then we need to cooperate with him. He does know what is best. He has great plans for us. To be a people for himself that will bear much fruit, this fruit is the characteristics and traits that will further his kingdom. We will be loving, joyful, peaceful, long-suffering, gentle, good, meek, temperate, and faithful. These are the fruits he desires to see in us. He uses the example of a grape vine for good reasons. If God is a grape vine then we are connected to him and will produce fruit like his. Grape vines produce grapes. We can not on our own decide to produce some other fruit such as tomatoes. We are to be more like him each day. He decides what we need to be and what is best for all. We also need to stay connected to him. He is our power source. When we do what we want and not what he has asked us to do we will be week, and ineffective . We need to spend time with him. A relationship with him is very important. Anyone you have ever had a relationship with is first, important to you. You spend time together, sharing, the good and the bad together, and grow closer to each other. Another thing about a vine is being connected, always, every day. If you are not connected to him, his vine, you are disconnected. If you are disconnected you will die. It may be a slow, miserable death, but with no nutrients you will die. When a vine dies it is cast off and burnt up. You don’t want to be cast off or dead do you? You will not be very productive if you are dead. As I was reading my Bible today I was in Deuteronomy. The Israelites had just spent forty years wandering in the wilderness and the whole time God provided for them. They were brought out of Egypt in such a mighty way. Even when they faced their first struggles God was strong. Splitting the Red Sea so they walked right through, in the mud, no! The walked on solid, dry ground. He provided water when they needed it, food for thousands of men, women and children. They demanded meat and God sent them quail. Their clothes and shoes held up for forty years and did not wear out. During this time they married and raised families. He kept them safe and strong. Because there were more people after forty years and all the original ones died in the desert. Only Joshua and Caleb remained from the original bunch. When they came into the promised land God fought for them. No matter how big or how strong their enemies were, they did not stand a chance. But he warned them to leave certain people alone. Because he had already blessed them, such as Esau’s family and Lot’s family. Those who God has blessed shall remain blessed.
Do you want to be one of God’s blessed people?
“How precious to me are your thoughts, God! How vast is the sum of them! Were I to count them, they would outnumber the grains of sand – when I am awake, I am still with you.” Psalm 139:17-18 NIV
God delights in us, his love for us will never fail. He made us for greatness on purpose and he thinks about us continually. When you have something like that on your side you have hope. This is a difficult life we live. We need someone who loves us unconditionally that will always be there for us. Even though we won’t always be there for ourselves. We are not perfect like God. We can get mad at ourselves , put ourselves down, and even lie to ourselves. God will not. You can not be happy until you have this unconditional love God gives. I see so much complaining and anger from people. People can be very selfish, thinking first and foremost of themselves. They even expect others to fulfill them and make them happy. Of course they can’t and it only angers people. There is something inside us from the time we are born that is searching for that unconditional love. Even if we find that for a time with a loved one, there will come a day when they will let us down and prove to be imperfect. Someone can love you but it is not their job to make you happy. Only a perfect God can do that. He wants to do that. But we do have to come to him first. Until you are finally loved unconditionally by God and following him. Doing his will, his way, you can not be truly happy. Until you are it is going to be difficult to get along with others, who are like yourself, imperfect. I am a very happy person and care very much about the people I come in contact with and try to be pleasant and helpful. But I wasn’t always that way. Things could easily bother me and upset me. I knew God all of my life but I didn’t really know him. I made it very personal in 2013 when I began to search for the Lord with my whole heart. The more I read my Bible and prayed the better I got to know him and how much he loved me. For the last year I have been reading a daily devotional called, ‘Letters From God’ by Ivan Tait. I love this book because it tells me some of the many thoughts God has for me and it is so empowering. Knowing how God sees you and all he has for you can fill you. The more love I get from God, the more love I have to give others. When you love God and yourself you can’t help but love others. God says to love others as yourself. But what if you cant love yourself? Until you know how unconditionally you are loved you can’t. You will try to earn that love and no one but God can give it.
Do you know just how much God loves you?
“I lift up my eyes to the mountains – where does my help come from ? My help comes from the Lord, the maker of heaven and earth.” Psalms 121:1-2 NIV
The Lord is so faithful. On our own we can do nothing, we are just useless sinners. All good comes from the Lord and all bad comes from our enemy the devil. Everyone is created by God in the womb. Our looks, our personalities, our abilities, and our desires. He knows us so very well. He also loves each and every one of us. He promises to help us through our journey on this earth. To make it joyful, happy, fulfilling and useful. He gives us just what we need to know to do everything that he has called us to do. We were separated from this good and loving father at birth by death and sin but he is always drawing us back to himself. There is a whole in each and everyone of us that we will try to fill, it’s a God sized whole that only God can fill. When we find him he brings so much help to satisfy our lives. We are each called to be somebody special. Those that reject him will never know that wonderful peace, contentment, strength and joy that he can bring. The only way to get it is to know the godhead, all three. They each bring so much to our lives. I spend so much time studying scripture and how it relates to our lives. Do you know how much you can learn from just one scripture? Every scripture is important and says so much. I have read the same scriptures over so many times but I always seem to see something new. I was just reading in Exodus about the tabernacle and it was a very beautiful place. But the Lord in his great wisdom wanted it just so for good reasons. He gave special knowledge to certain people to build it perfectly. In just how it would come together. It was also very functional in how it easily came apart to be carried on their journeys in the wilderness. God thinks of every detail. He even chose certain individuals to carry certain parts so nothing was left behind. And no one was left out. It commanded awe and respect when you were inside. Did you know that now our bodies our that temple ? We no longer need to go to the temple to have access to God. We have continual access. We have a direct line. God has a perfect job all planned for us . He also gives us the knowledge we will need to do that job well. He has a perfect place for us in society and in ministry as well. He gives me inspired words of great help to others.
Do you know why you have been called and to what?
“Cast your anxiety on him for he cares for you.” 1 Peter 5:7 NIV
This weekend I read a comment on Facebook that bothered me but I just did not know how to respond. I did think about it a lot though. Someone said, “I know God doesn’t exist, if he does I know he doesn’t care.” Well personally for me I know that is not true. But how sad for those who don’t know him. But for someone journeying through this life, making mistakes, and not having someone to help or encourage them, it must feel hopeless. As Christians we can read his word and feel so encouraged. But I believe God is always pursuing the lost. His was just a cry for help. He probably really did want someone to prove him wrong. Otherwise there is no hope to pull you up when you are down. Bad things happen to everyone and Satan doesn’t have favorites. When he’s seeking to destroy he doesn’t want anyone to have hope. That is why he tries so hard to get us isolated from other believers. Why we miss church can be for many reasons, busy times, work, sickness, and even fear can keep us away. What’s important is that when we are on our own we have a bullseye on our backs. Even Christians can be overcome by tough circumstances. To feel that all is against you and that nothing is going right is common. I heard someone say yesterday that they just can’t get over something someone did to them and its eating them up inside. Bad thoughts and doubts come back to haunt you when you don’t forgive. We know what we should be doing by reading our bibles. If we seek his will for us and keep his commandments he will take care of us. God loves to help us and he truly cares. But we need to do our part first. I was born into a Christian family and my grandfather was a Baptist minister so I was in church from the get go. I have never not known that Jesus loved me. As a child we read a children’s bible story book each night after dinner. Good principles and training on how to apply them in my life were common. What if I didn’t know God? I guess it would be scary. There are blessings for those who serve God and curses for those who enemies of God. There are generational curses that can be passed down by relatives. Sowing good brings good back and sowing evil brings evil back. But how do you explain that to someone who doesn’t know God? I guess the Bible is a good place to start. What if you were separated at birth from God by sin and death, and not knowing the father that really loves you. If he was not in your life then how would you know he loves you? If you were taken from your family at birth how would you ever know that they really loved you, how would you feel. Lost! We as Christians need to see non-Christians as a missing family member. We need to do all that we can to let them know that God loves them. If I could find him, I would, but I can’t. I pray that someone does. You really need to read how much God really does love us and how much he is always doing for us. We just need to turn to him. His story is so amazing and you can’t help but see his love for man in all he does and says. He is mighty and powerful and I wouldn’t want to be his enemy. I have seen what he has done to evil doers. He has done so much for me and those in my life. And I’m so glad for my heritage and the generations of loving, God-fearing people in my family. If you don’t know him you really should get to know him and find out all he will do for you. We are all messed up people but he called us. He is in the process of making us all what he wants us to be. So he helps us become after he calls us. There is hope for us all no matter how messed up we are.
Can you give up your concerns to someone who cares?
“I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.” John 8:12 NIV
This morning in my quiet time this verse just jumped off the page. Life can be hard and scary at times. I’ve had times when I just felt confused. Was I going the right way? Couldn’t I just have a clue? Before I had my stroke I stopped trying so hard I just wanted to satisfy myself. I stopped caring about doing the right thing. It was my time. I had gotten away from the Lord and Satan had me convinced that I wasn’t wrong. I deserved it. It was a very selfish time in my life and I am not proud of it, but I was so deceived. I now know how easily that can happen. Not spending time with the Lord and in questionable pursuits had hardened my heart and I was not seeing clearly. I really feel my stroke was what saved me. God grabbed my attention and said, “What are you doing?” Well after a massive stroke I was flat on my back, unable to speak, move, or even open my mouth. I had plenty of time to think. That was such a dark time, but now I can see again. It is so important to stay plugged into God so the power does not go out. I never want to go there again. I have been seeking the Lord so earnestly for the past few years and my life is so much better. People all around me chat about this problem and that problem like it’s normal and I feel so blessed and lucky. This morning it began to make more sense. Jesus really is light, and if you really are walking in the light you can see clearly. When you are doing everything you can to grow with Christ by praying, reading the Bible, going to a good church, listening to praise music, and really focusing on doing things that lift you up. For me that was no tv except Pureflix, Christian books, Bible studies and podcasts, even religious games and staying away from non edifying things. I had to immerse myself in God for a time. Now I enjoy it so much I can’t stop. Now I am flooded with light and my life has never been more awesome. I still have problems and concerns but when they pop up I can hear that still small voice telling me which way to turn and that’s so special. Try this, do that, and they work. The light of life is great.
Do you know how much easier it is to walk in the light?