Monday, August 27

Manna Monday- Life is Fragile, Live Joyfully

Have you ever stopped to think about how fragile life is?
One minute, and your life can change. One word, and a relationship can be broken. One thought, and a sin can be birthed. One wrong decision, and a lifetime consequence becomes a reality. One glance toward an invitation of discouragement, and your attitude can head south. One turn, and an accident can happen. Life is fragile.
Each minute is a moment
So why not live joyfully?
James 4:14 says, "How do you know what your life will be like tomorrow? Your life is like the morning fog--it's here a little while, then it's gone." What are you doing with the minutes of your life? What are you doing with those "one" things that can take you away from living in the joy of Jesus?
My challenge to myself and to you is to take each day, each moment and live in the full measure of the joy of Jesus. How do you do that? I am going to tell you a secret that you already know. And it's not my opinion, it's the very words of Jesus. The joyful life is experienced to the fullest by spending time in His Word and by obeying His Word (John 15:10-11).  Jesus deposits HIS JOY inside your heart upon salvation in Him..... and it is always there in your heart. The problem with joy is that we let sin cover it up, turn away from spending time with Jesus and in turn, our hearts don't treasure His JOY. As a fruit of the Spirit, joy is produced more in our lives when we spend more time WITH CHRIST!!  (John 15:11; John 16:24; John 17:13).
As you begin this new week, think about how fragile life is. Think about how each minute is a moment. What are you doing with the minutes of your life?  Are you living in constant drama, constant discouragement, constant frustration over the circumstances of your life? You don't have to dear sister! Although life is fragile, the joy of Jesus is stable and secure and can help you move through any storm with confidence. Joy is finding deep satisfaction in God's promises which never change. His Word can be trusted. The more we choose to live in the chaos of life instead of in Christ's joy, we will miss the fullness of the joy of Jesus. It will be covered up because of our sin. Because He is the source of joy, we have to remain where He is. That's why trying to draw near to Him through the reading of His Word is vitally important. Try to memorize a scripture or read a passage a few minutes a day and see how that time well spent can produce more joy in your life than you can ever imagine.
Each minute is a moment. Live joyfully!
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Tuesday, August 21

The Prayer that Really Matters

All prayers matter, right?  YES!!!
But what is the prayer that really matters?
Is there a prayer that really matters? And if so, what is it about the prayer that matters?

Over the past year, this question has captivated my heart as I have been praying consistently over the same thing. "What is it about prayer that really matters?"

The Prayer Path
I come humbly to God.
I lay my burden (that I cannot bear) down at His feet.
I wait. wait. wait.
I feel confident that I have laid the burden down at His feet.

Nothing has changed.

A few days later, the request comes rushing back to my mind.
I see no answer.
I doubt.
I become anxious fearing the future.
Filled with a little disbelief. Hating the disbelief but knowing I need to fight the disbelief.
So I turn.... I turn back to the Holy Scriptures.
I read.
My heart is encouraged.
My mind is filled with truth instead of emotions.
I come humbly back again to God believing that He hears me.
I lay my burden (that I cannot bear) down at His feet.

I pray.
I wait.
I pray.
I wait.

Days pass.
Months pass.


I begin to question God again like a sheep that has gone astray.
"God, do you hear me?" I say. "Where are you? I need you!!"
I turn to read the words of the prophet Micah, "But as for me, I watch in hope for the LORD, I wait for God my Savior; my God will hear me." Micah 7:7
Micah is confident. Me,....not so confident.
My heart rejoices in his confidence in the LORD. I want the same confidence for my own heart.

Still Silence.
Days later, nothing has changed,

I turn to read the words of the Psalmist, "Know that the LORD has set apart the godly for himself; the LORD will hear when I call to him" Psalm 4:3

I believe the LORD hears me but I still don't see an answer.
I am sorry LORD. I have been acting like an impatient child who calls out his mother's name 11 times in the grocery store. But am I really impatient, OR am I becoming more dependent on my heavenly Father instead of myself?

Persistence in prayer matters. The Bible says so.

More reflection with a question.
"What does God really want from me?" I question myself.
Dependence. Half- hearted dependence? No.
Total, complete dependence. Everyday, all the time. YES!!

You see, the more we don't see Him answer, the more we come seeking Him. The more we come searching for Him. Calling out His promises to Him. Believing He WILL answer just like His Word says He will.

Webster's Dictionary describes this as persistence: Inclined to persist; having staying qualities; tenacious of position or purpose.

Listen to Luke 11:8 when Jesus is talking about the prayer that really matters:
"if you keep knocking long enough, he will get up and give you whatever you need because of your shameless persistence." (NLT)

"yet because of his persistence he will get up and give him as much as he needs." Luke 11:8 9 (NASB)

Then I am reminded of Romans 12:12:
"Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer." (also means persistent in prayer.)

Listen to the words of the commentary on Luke chapter 11 verse 8.
He does not promise to give blessings "at once." He promises only that he will do it, or "will answer" prayer. But he often causes his people long to wait. He tries their faith. He leaves them to persevere for months or years, until they "feel" entirely their dependence on him, until they see that they can obtain the blessing in no other way, and until they are "prepared" to receive it. Often they are not prepared to receive it when they ask it at first. They may be proud, or have no just sense of their dependence, or they would not value the blessing, or it may "at that time" not be best for them to obtain it. But let no one despair. If the thing is for "our" good, and if it is proper that it "should" be granted, God will give it. Let us first ask aright; let us see that our minds are in a proper state; let us feel our need of the blessing; let us inquire whether God has "promised such" a blessing, and "then" let us persevere until God gives it. (Source: Barnes Commentary
Thank you God that you tell us in your Word over and over again that persistence is the key that matters in all praying. Thank you that persistence leads to dependence on You. Help us to be a people, fixed on your will and purposes and not our own. Help us learn through prayer how to depend on you for everything. Grow our faith in the waiting and help us to cling closely to your promises in your truth that believe that you hear us. Thank you for being the God who sees and hears!
                                                                                                           In Jesus Name, Amen.
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