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Prayer

It is prayer through things, not out of them that moves mountains. Sometimes my prayers are not answered the way I desire. When they are bound to my expectations, not my evolution the disappointment can lead to despair.

It is right and natural to pray for circumstances, especially difficult ones, to change. Jesus demonstrated that for us when He asked, “Father, if you are willing, please take this cup of suffering away from me.” But we cannot miss what He says next, “Yet I want your will to be done, not mine.”

Jesus was facing the most unimaginable circumstances, and He did ask for a different way, but ultimately His heart’s desire was the will of His Father not the way of His flesh.

It was not until I came to understand and trust the character of God and the location of my final destination that I could afford to pray with a boldness that says, Lord, here is my earnest plea, but it does not trump my longing for your eternal plan. My prayers shifted from being less about relief to more about refinement. If this cannot change, God, change me.

When I desire self-modification more than circumstantial transformation, my communion with The Father is lighter, and I am free to risk more because it is not about a particular outcome but a positive income. Praise seeps in when personal comfort steps out, and God is glorified. That is the objective of prayer. God’s glory. Not mine.

When we pray through the valley of suffering ourselves or with a friend, and we see God’s faithfulness and ever-present provisions in pain, it affords us patient perseverance because we know that He is good and His ways are sometimes hard, but always holy.

How can I pray for you today, friend?

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Show Us Your Glory, Lord

As I was walking to the beach in hopes of catching a beautiful sunrise about an hour ago, I was singing these words from a song, show us, show us your glory, Lord. God showed off for me as He often does! This photograph, (totally raw and unedited), is evidence that every new ending and every new beginning, although sometimes painful, beholds great beauty. Be encouraged, dear friend. If you are confronting a difficult transition from old to new, there are better days ahead. Forgetting is often impossible, but choosing where to focus our attention and perspective is not. Tim Keller says everything given was necessary and everything withheld was not. The former things, realized and unrealized, have fashioned a wide portion of the person you are. Purpose is a predecessor of praise. Pursue the purpose in every ending and beginning knowing that grief and gratitude co-mingle in this life and peace, joy and hope within you will reside. Lord, help us remember your work never needs editing, even when we think it does! You are loved, friend! ❤️

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Prone to Wander

There was a time when I thought I was a good person, (notice the emphasis on I).  Growing in grace has enabled me to see with my eyes, understand with my mind and confess with my mouth that there is nothing good about me alone except the holy, blameless, good and loving God who dwells within me.  Sometimes even my best intentions are peppered with pride.  It is when I remember my utter depravity that I became free to rejoice in The Lord’s unparalleled adequacy.  Lord Jesus, I confess I am a mess.  I am prone to wander, clothing myself in filthy rags and seeking perfection, approval, and satisfaction from the false God’s of idolatry.  Grant me the blessing of quick detection and correction when my heart turns from you, Father.  At the end of every road of obstinance is death; while the path of obedience leads to life.  May your truth be my compass so that all glory shines on you, my Savior, not myself.  Amen.

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The Message of Our Thorns

Friend, that “thorn” you are carrying, we all have them. For some of you, it may be an addiction, a prodigal child or a painful marriage. Maybe it is a chronic illness, loneliness, depression or rejection that is a constant reminder of your residency in a broken world. The Apostle Paul said 2 Corinthians 12 that his thorn was a messenger from Satan, that he begged The Lord to remove. God did not remove it, but He too purposed it as a remembrance of His sufficient grace. What are the messages of your thorns? Are you listening to Satan or your Savior? The enemy tells us our thorns deem us unlovable, unforgivable, inadequate, weak and hopeless. But God. He says “my grace is sufficient for you.” Although the “limps” we walk with in this life make us weak and wobble, in Him, we find strength and stability. Thorns might discredit us as unworthy and inadequate. However, Jesus credited us as worthy and adequate by His sacrifice on the cross wearing a crown of thorns. The reality is, both The Promiser and the persecutor speak to us through our trials. We have the freedom to choose who to listen to, and that choice will determine which one’s purpose will be realized in our life. Will we frame tribulation for our good and God’s ultimate glory or Satan’s gain and our unlimited gloom?

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An Absolute, Not an Aspiration

7bd381d2f808be7d282e66205a0ee75fHeavenly Father, (blank), is so very hard. I do not understand why it has to be such a struggle, but I trust you know what you are doing and that it is for my gain and your glory. Please keep my heart and mind faithful to you and your promises as I walk this path. When I hit a bump as I travel, lift my eyes to see and tune my ears to hear you.

I know that thing that is cutting you up, keeping you unraveled and desperate for relief is exhausting you, friend. Fight to Remember today that your hope is not in the easing or extinguishment of that situation that the flesh so desires, but in A Savior who says I am on your side and in me your eternal hope is an absolute, not an aspiration. You are loved.

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Peace

  
Every morning my windows grab my attention. They are a showcase of God’s glory. I retreat to my front porch to find rest in the beauty displayed in the Heavens. A word that keeps appearing in my mind the last few weeks is peace. Peace from bad thought patters, peace from my own self demands, peace from condemnation when I don’t measure up, peace from the noises and movement of a chaotic world and peace in my life to be free allowing the chips of life to fall as they may. The sky has been beckoning me out every morning and evening as to say, find peace here. There is peace in every sunset and sunrise. There is peace in the valleys and on the mountain tops, over the lakes and spanning the oceans. Peace is right here on my front porch, knocking and waiting for me to answer. There is peace within each one of us, sometimes it just needs to be rediscovered. May we pursue peace from our past, in our present and amongst our people. Get out and take a few moments to bask in the glow as the sun begins tucking in for the night, and as it begins awakening for the day. No where is God more visibly alive than in nature. Look for Him today, and let His characteristic of peace pause you from busyness and permeate you with blessings. May peace find you today, friends. #nofilter #onlygod

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The One That Bled For Us

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The scarred hands that fold for us in prayer are the hands that bled so we may be comforted in times when life is unfair.

The nail pierced feet that walk with us in triumph and carry us in tribulation are the feet that bleed to free us sinners from every nation.

The head that thinks of His children as beloved is the one that bled when pierced by thorn; making His perfect righteousness ours to be worn.

From His mouth with blood stained corners he urged; forgive them, Father, they know not what they do. The same mouth says, I know, and I finished it, so no debt or condemnation is due.

The One, who died to ransom you, sees where you are bleeding today, and He wishes you to remember that He will never go away.

Life is full of hurts and worries, but we must stay in His story; fixing our eyes to see, so not to miss His glory.

May you encounter His glory today.

 

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Share Your Story

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People are like books. Our lives tell a story. Everyone has chapters of triumph and tragedy, grief and gratitude, success and struggle. All of our stories depict beauty and brokenness. Those parts of our story-the broken ones- are usually the most poignant. Embrace them. Search for the meaning and the message nestled within them. Share them. Our triumph over tribulation is for our growth and God’s glory.