scripture

Prayer for Boldness

And when they had prayed, the place where they were assembled together was shaken; and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit, and they spoke the word of God with boldness.
Acts 4:31

“I pray like there’s a God in heaven who hears me when I pray and who answers me when I call on Him. You know why? Because there is a God in heaven who hears me when I pray and who answers me when I call on Him.”
-Susie Larson, Your Powerful Prayers

prayer boldness

I want to gather with other believers whose prayers are building shaking prayers!

I call that the boldness of belief!

In these days when the gospel needs to be heralded like never before, timidity in prayer has no place.

I’ve actually heard women pray such prayers. The sounds of women, lifting up the name of Jesus, rang through the halls of our gathering place. My ears strained to hear them as I was trying not to be disrespectful to the teacher who was also bringing a good Bible lesson. I wanted so badly to join them, but was physically firmly planted.

What gave them that boldness and confidence?

What was it that gave them that Acts 4 authority?

It was the Holy Spirit, abiding in God, purity of heart, and community.

I’ve taken some cues from those women in my personal prayer time.

  • It’s the privilege as God’s child to come my Father
  • Be fully persuaded in God’s ability and willingness to hear my prayers
  • Come with a clean heart
  • Finding out the will of God by reading His Word
  • Pray God’s word as prayers back to Him
  • Stand in faith
  • View God from His capabilities, not my limited understanding
  • There’s freedom in releasing my concerns to God
  • God is a big God

I believe that boldness in prayer comes with practice. The more we learn about the ways of God and the more we experience answered prayers, we develop the strength through faith.

For God has not given us a spirit of timidity, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.
2 Timothy 1:7

We can be bold in our prayers. We’ve been empowered by the indwelling of the Holy Spirit.

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For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God. For you did not receive the spirit of bondage again to fear, but your received the Spirit of adoption y whom we cry out, “Abba, Father.” The Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God.  Romans 8:14-16

Father, we pray for boldness to rise up in us when we pray. As we read about the Disciples in Acts and how their very prayers shook the building, may we yearn for that kind of influence in the world around us! In Jesus’ Name. Amen.

He Is Our Advocate

The word “advocate” means a lawyer or one who pleads our cause or case. Jesus acts as our lawyer, which is pretty amazing! No matter what we go through, Jesus is always on our side waiting and helping us (1 John 2:1-2). He is standing by, at all times, ready to pray on our behalf! 

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I think it is safe to say we all have gone through our fair share of hardships in life. Some of us are going through them now, and others are having a good stretch. In those harder moments of life, it is easy to feel that we are abandoned or alone (John 14:16), but that is Satan lying to us. No matter how hard life is, or what the circumstances are, Jesus is right there being our advocate, rooting us on to keep pushing through! 

Every day we sin, whether we try to or not, it is something we just do by nature. But because God loves us so much, He provided Jesus as our advocate (1 Timothy 2:5). Jesus is righteous and blameless and loves us unconditionally. We stumble and make mistakes, but the Lord Jesus is always right there by our sides, His mercy never fails. 

Some people have the thought that, no matter what I do, sin or not, Jesus is still my advocate. In the Bible you will read over and over, Sin Not, walk in love, in God’s word, and do right. Yes, Jesus is always by our side, but it doesn’t give us a free pass to sin. Jesus Christ our Savior paid the ultimate sacrifice for each of us. He doesn’t want us to make wrong choices, sin, or walk away from our faith. He is always there waiting for us, but it is up to us how we live our lives. God gave us the right to choose our paths! 

We do have the freedom to choose what we do in our lives, and the path we take. For me there is no other way, than to walk with the Lord. I am so thankful that we have Jesus as our advocate in this life. That is one blessing we truly don’t deserve! I know, no matter what, I am never alone, and that is something that is priceless. 

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How do we call on the Lord though to ask Him to advocate for us? The answer to that is by prayer and supplication we can make our requests known to Him. In Jeremiah 33:3 we are told to call on the Lord, and He will answer. I am so thankful that I can call on the name of the Lord in trials, in temptation, and in all that life brings me to be my advocate.

Prayer

Lord God, thank you for allowing Jesus to be our advocate. Thank you, Lord, for your love and kindness, and letting us know we are never alone in this world. Lord, I pray that I can follow the path you have laid out for me, and be full of gratitude and humility along the way. Help me keep my eyes set on you, guiding and leading my way! 

In Awe,

Prayer Life of a Real Busy Mom

Tears rolled down his 6 year old cheeks as we talked. “Woah, what’s wrong, buddy?”

He wipes his face with the backs of his hands and props himself up on the pillow. “I just can’t remember to pray,” he says with a wavering voice. “We said today in Bible study about how we need to pray and I can never remember! Is God mad about it?”

His eyes filled with fresh tears and I smiled and gave him a big hug, trying not to chuckle too much. “Oh, buddy. God is not mad at you. Praying is so important, but sometimes it can be hard to do. God knows you, He loves you, and He understands. The important thing is to keep going back to Him in prayer.”

prayer

We prayed together and I asked God to bless his little heart and help him feel His love and mercy. We asked for God to help my son, reminding him to pray and continuing teaching him how.

This little conversation with my son lingered with me for some time. How often do I resolve to pray more or more consistently and then forget? How often do I fail in my prayer life? And truth be told, part of me wonders if God is mad at me.

That was a few years ago. Fast forward to today, and although I still struggle and am still growing, I have learned a few important things that have helped me prioritize prayer in my busy mom life.

Prayer is essential.

“…and call upon me in the day of trouble; I will deliver you, and you shall glorify me.” Psalm 50:15

Prayer is essential. Of course, we already know this, but how much of our daily life doesn’t really reflect it? We need to be reminded of how important prayer is! The reality is that we are completely desperate for God every single day, and prayer is critical.  There is always trouble, whether in our situation or in our hearts. Our part is to call on God. His part is to do His work for His glory.

Encourage your heart and spur yourself on with reminders about how important prayer is! It is the first step in becoming a more prayerful woman.

  • It is a primary way we communicate and hear from the Lord of our lives – the One who has authority and power to work in our hearts and our situation for our ultimate gain and His ultimate glory!
  • It is an act of obedience and worship, aligning our will with His instead of getting wrapped up in what we want in our limited perspective of things.
  • It is a demonstration of faith and devotion for our children, showing them how essential prayer is to the Christian walk.
  • It brings peace and contentment because we are focused on Christ instead of the circumstances.
  • It builds our faith as we recognize the many answers to our prayers and give God glory in them all!
  • It is a delight and a blessing to the Lord!

I am often coming back to this place. To reminding myself and encouraging myself with why prayer is important and why I need it so much! They say that desperation is the father of invention. When we really know deep down how desperate we are for God, we are more likely to stay motivated and make time for it in our busy schedules! I find pockets of time large and small in my daily and weekly routine and focus on prayer in those times as much as I can.

Prayer is work.

“And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests.With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people.” Ephesians 6:18

As much as prayer is important, it’s also not easy. Prayer is not meant to be trivial, fluffy, or some checkbox we tick off at the end of the day! Yet how often do we (I) make it that way? While prayer can certainly bring refreshment, peace, and direction, it is also work. And sometimes it’s even hard work. We are laboring in prayer, interceding for others, bringing our husband and children to the feet of Jesus, crying out for mercy and guidance, and leaning into the Creator.

Prayer is work that requires diligence, time, effort, and energy. And as a mom with very little of any of that to spare, I can easily begin letting it slide out of my schedule. But I know now this truth: The work of prayer is, hands down, the most important work we can do. It’s an investment into any situation, effort, or relationship I might be dealing with. It’s an investment in THE relationship that matters most!

After beating my head against the wall for two years about a difficult relationship, I finally submitted it (for real) in prayer. The peace came, just like He said it would. After devoting and prioritizing prayer for our homeschool with my time and attention, we had best year ever! I have seen the real blessings and results of a heart that is truly devoted to prayer and a daily life that reflects that. I certainly still have ups and downs in my prayer life, but the Lord is faithful to continue changing and growing me.

prayer

Yes, it takes time, attention, and energy. Prayer is a habit, a relationship, and a godward focus with our hearts that is worked out in us over a lifetime. But the work is more than worth it, and the Lord in His mercy helps us! Pray for the desire, focus, and energy. Pray for help with the logistics as you put prayer first. It could be your best year ever!

There’s a Ram in the Thicket Just for Me!

What is faith if it is not tested?

Years after the fulfillment of God’s promise to Abraham of a son, Abraham experienced a test that squeezed his faith to the max in the most frightening of all ways for any parent. God told Abraham to take his long-awaited, beloved son Isaac to the land of Moriah and to offer him there as a burnt offering on one of the mountains which God would tell him.

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Gulp! Did Abraham run in the other direction or pretend he didn’t hear God? No! He listened to God’s instructions and obeyed.

When Abraham, Isaac, and the servants reached the mount of God’s choosing, Abraham spoke out of the abundance of a faithful heart, for he told his servants at the bottom of the hill, (one of my favorite faith-filled verses), “The boy and I will travel a little farther. We will worship there, and then we will come right back.” (Gen 22:5 NLT)

Up the hill of sacrifice they went to worship! Abraham’s faith started at the bottom of the hill while the rescue plan was yet to be unfurled. Once they reached the top, Abraham laid all on the altar, all that was valuable and precious to him, his only son, trusting that God would raise him up again.

Isaac asked his father the whereabouts of the sacrificial lamb and Abraham replied, “God will see the lamb for Himself,” (Gen. 22:8 Masoretic Text), meaning to perceive something apart from seeing it with one’s eyes. Or “God will provide for Himself a lamb.” (Gen. 22:8 NKJV)

The origin of the English word for provide comes from the Latin providere, which means to foresee, before seeing, to take measures with due foresight, to get ready beforehand, look after, and so on.

God is so good at before seeing and providing.

Can any parent imagine it?

Abraham held his dagger high in the air, his hand quivering as the dagger glistened in the sun. Sweat poured down his forehead. He held his breath in anticipation of committing the most horrifying act for a parent and, instead, heard, “Abraham! Abraham!” The Angel of the Lord commanded him to stay his hand of destruction.

Then, God said, “For now I know that you fear God, since you have not withheld your son, your only son, from Me.” (Gen. 22:12 NKJV)

Abraham raised his tear-filled eyes, turned, and saw the ram in the thicket. God presented a sacrificial replacement, a male sheep with its horns entangled in the bushes, as the foreshadowing of a crown of thorns upon the head of the Lamb of replacement.

Abraham then called that place “The-Lord-Will-Provide.” (Gen. 22:14 NKJV)

On our refrigerator is a white board. Some time ago, as financial woes hounded us, I wrote this on it:

Faith is not moved by what it sees.
“There is a sound of abundance…” (1 Kings 18:41 NKJV)
Elijah spoke it…
prayed it…
believed it…
and after the drought, the rains came!!!

Then, up in one corner, I wrote: There’s a ram in the thicket!

After I wrote all that, I made up a simple, little chorus to the tune of “If You’re Happy and You Know It, Clap Your Hands.” It goes like this:

There’s a ram in the thicket just for me,
There’s a ram in the thicket just for me,
There’s a ram in the thicket that’ll be just the ticket,
There’s a ram in the thicket just for me!

And there has been!

provision

Abraham passed the faith test. His hill of sacrifice became his pinnacle of obedience and his summit of provision. All Abraham did, the Bible says, he did by faith, and the promises of God were, thereby, fulfilled.

Do you have some hill of circumstance before you? Do you believe God has already foreseen and provided an answer, awaiting your unfaltering, Abrahamic obedience, even when you see no way of escape? Mount that hill with praise and worship!

God provided the lamb of rescue for Abraham. And He will do it for you. There’s a ram in the thicket just for you.

Life Is Like a Box of Puzzle Pieces

Are you someone who enjoys assembling jigsaw puzzles? If so, do you top out at 500 pieces, or are you a glutton for punishment preferring 1000+? I’m not a jigsaw fanatic, but I enjoy working on a good puzzle every now and then. My favorite moment in the puzzling process occurs when I finally locate a piece that has been eluding me, setting off a string of easy matches.

provision

My mother-in-law loves puzzling, and has framed a couple of the beautiful puzzles she’s completed over the years. When we were at the Grand Canyon a few years ago, we purchased a stunning 500+ piece jigsaw puzzle for her as a souvenir. The image was an artist’s rendering of a view from the South Rim overlooking the Canyon at sunset. It was gorgeous! If you close your eyes, you can probably imagine what it looked like; however, I seriously doubt that you would attempt that puzzle without the box right in front of you. Most puzzlers refer to the picture on the box repeatedly to make sure they are headed in the right direction.

So, what if I were to tell you that life is more like a box of puzzle pieces than a box of chocolates? It is. Not only do you “never know what you’re gonna get,” but neither will one bite help you figure it out! You just have to live it. One funky-cut piece at a time.

According to the “Jigsaw Puzzles for Adults” website,  the time it takes to complete a puzzle rises exponentially in proportion to the number of puzzle cuts:

It usually takes four-times longer to complete a 1,000-piece jigsaw puzzle as it does to complete a 500-piece puzzle. This is because each and every time you double the total number of pieces, you quadruple the challenge and difficulty. Before you begin a 4,000-piece puzzle, you need to take into consideration the fact that it’s going to take you 64 times longer to complete it than it would to successfully finish a 500 piece one! 1

provision

When you consider the fact that each life is comprised of a gazillion one-of-a-kind pieces, it’s pretty clear that the only One who has the time to complete it is the Lord! In fact, He’s the only One who knows what the finished puzzle will look like. After all, He is the One who designed it in the first place:

“For you formed my inward parts;
    you knitted me together in my mother’s womb.
I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made.
Wonderful are your works;
    my soul knows it very well.
My frame was not hidden from you,
when I was being made in secret,
    intricately woven in the depths of the earth.
Your eyes saw my unformed substance;
in your book were written, every one of them,
    the days that were formed for me,
    when as yet there was none of them.” (Psalm 139:13-16, ESV)

In other words, what feels like a pile of random craziness to us humans—who barely have an inkling what the final picture might look like—is, in reality, a strikingly complex and completely unique masterpiece cut with such precision that each piece locks perfectly into place with ease. Over time, we see more clearly how certain oddly-shaped pieces fit together to create an intricate pattern we almost missed! And when it’s all said and done, the final image should* closely resemble the picture on the box!

Sometimes, when we’re in the middle of a challenging circumstance, we wonder if there is any rhyme or reason to it. God’s timing rarely matches our desired timing, and delays last decades. (Been there. Done that. Got the t-shirt.) We often struggle to uncover the method behind the madness or simmer internally with frustration until it finally, if ever, makes sense.

What we must always remember—and never forget—is that our Creator is also our Provider. And though we typically experience God’s provision as something tangible (e.g., food, shelter, clothes, money, etc.) or spiritual (e.g., peace, love, joy, discernment, etc.), His provision extends much further than that!

The Lord also provides opportunities for us to acquire knowledge, learn new skills, and explore our world so that we are equipped to make a positive impact in it. He takes our everyday experiences—the good, the bad, and the ugly; the pleasant and the painful; the understandable and the mysterious—and uses them to equip and empower us to fulfill a specific-to-us purpose. Did you get that? He uses EVERYTHING, and in so doing, provides us with exactly what we need to do what we were created to do.

“For His divine power has bestowed on us [absolutely] everything necessary for [a dynamic spiritual] life and godliness, through true and personal knowledge of Him who called us by His own glory and excellence.” (2 Peter 1:3, AMP)

What seems to be a thankless task at the age of 19 could end up being a necessary skill when turning 50. (Yes, I can testify to that of which I write.) We have to TRUST that our experiences—as mundane, ordinary, and/or frustrating as they may feel—are part of His sovereign plan for our lives. And what we perceive to be delays and detours often turn out to be key pieces of the puzzle which were strategically positioned to add depth, texture, and interest to our picture. In other words, our daily experience is a key aspect of God’s provision for us.

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“But what about the ugly and damaged pieces? Or the ones we can’t find?” you ask. “What about them?”

In case you didn’t know, God’s philosophy is: No piece left behind!

Sure, there are tattered and faded pieces we would prefer to keep hidden deep inside; however, God says, “Those pieces are an important part of you. Without them, you would not be who you are. Give them to me, we’ll place them in the puzzle together. We’ll use those pieces to help others find hope and healing.”

And then, there are the missing pieces—except they’re not really missing. They were stashed away in moments of sheer frustration when we could not see where they fit! Out of sight = Out of mind. But when the time is right, the Holy Spirit reminds us where we stored the “missing” pieces, and we can find and place them immediately…completing a part of the puzzle we hadn’t seen before.

Every. Single. Piece. Matters. (Even the ones we haven’t received yet!)

Yes, that’s right: There are puzzle pieces we haven’t received yet. Did I forget to mention that? Okay, so apparently, God keeps some pieces to Himself until it’s time for them to be placed. I think it’s for our benefit so that we don’t become overwhelmed by the unrecognizable patterns or discouraged by the enormous number of pieces still waiting to be placed. But in HIS perfect timing, these shiny new pieces arrive and fit perfectly—filling in a section upon we might have all but given up hope!

“And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ.” (Philippians 1:6, ESV)

Shiny and new, tattered and faded, formerly missing, and those not yet received—each puzzle piece contributes to the whole picture. It’s who we are, and eventually, with the Lord’s help, who we were always meant to be.

 

* I say “should” because there are those who will inevitably reject the Puzzle Maker and His design, choosing instead to forge their own ways by tossing out pieces they don’t like; smashing together mismatched pieces; using glue to stick pieces together; and refusing to give the original plan a chance. Corrupt religious leaders have done this for centuries. 

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1 Nazarewicz, Judith. “Interesting Information about Jigsaw Puzzles.” (Rewritten for clarity and succinctness.) http://jigsawpuzzlesforadults.com/interesting-information-jigsaw-puzzles/

Seeing God’s Provision in Our Lives

This month we are sharing our thoughts on God’s Provision in our lives. The first verse that came to mind was Philippians 4:19 where as a child of God, I can rest assured that my needs will be met.

“And my God shall supply every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus.”

provision

As life comes at me from all directions, it can be a challenge to stay on track. Even the best planned day can go sideways in a heartbeat. I consider it a blessing to know that I am not alone in trying to meet the needs of my family (whether financial, physical, or emotional).

Just think of the promise. My God shall supply every need..according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus.

When we place our faith in the Christ, God has committed himself to protect, provide, and care for us. The hard part for us is to remember that although God always provides for his children, it is usually not in the way we expect.

Isn’t that the truth? When I am knee deep in life, it is often hard to see His provision and care. I find myself praying for specific results instead of His will. Especially when my needs feel so urgent..I need the help now!

But Isaiah 55:9 tells us that God’s way is higher than ours. God sees the overall picture or forest when we can often only see what is right in our face.

“For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts”.

Don’t feel that you are the only one that feels this way. Even the disciples missed what Jesus was saying and doing..and they were there to witness it! If the disciples missed the point of the miracles and the lessons in the parables, we need to not be so hard on ourselves when we do not understand or see God’s provision in our lives even though we know it is there.

I think it helps to remember that provision is not just physical things.

So how should we look at God’s provision in our lives?

God Provides Differently Than We Expect

Remember the story of how God fed the Israelite’s in the desert? Every day God provided food, for that day only. Not for tomorrow or next week but just what they needed for the day at hand. If God provided daily food for all those people, why do we question that He can’t meet the needs of our small family?

We complain just like the Israelite’s did because we don’t get what we want in the way we want it. Whoa,  when I think about how much God did for them and compare my needs to theirs; where do I get the right to complain about anything?

Help doesn’t always come from the direction we are looking. And, unlike the popular saying, the grass isn’t always greener on the other side of the fence. If we re not happy with our circumstances, we should take steps to improve them but in the meantime, not complain about the situation.

We need to be all in, whatever we are doing. I Corinthians 10:31 says: “Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God”.

God Provides More of Himself

Scriptures tell us over and over that we should make the pursuit of God our main goal in life.  Matthew 6:33 says, “Seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.” And Psalm 37:4 says, “Delight yourself in the LORD, and he will give you the desires of your heart.”

Have you ever stopped and thought about exactly what God has given to you? I mean really thought it through or even made a list? It is eye opening. It also shows how much God has and is doing in our lives.

The more I spend studying the Word, the more I want to know about and become closer to God. I believe this is what the focus of our lives should be as we mature as Christians.

God’s Ultimate Provision Was Given at the Cross

Salvation and eternity with God is the greatest gift of all. This provision was given to us at the cross. Until we cross into Glory, the gifts that we are given here on earth are just a taste of what is coming in Heaven.

So while we ask God for so many things to make our life more comfortable here on earth, we need to remember that if we are a child of God’s – we already have the greatest gift of all. For me, this puts my daily complaints in another light.

James 1:17 says, “Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change.”

We may struggle while here on earth. We may create a lot of our own troubles. Well, we all create most of our own troubles by our own selfish will. But God is still there, and providing every good thing in our lives. What love comes from our Father in Heaven. He sent Jesus as the ultimate provision for us.

God Provides for Eternity

While we struggle with the day to day, God looks at the forever after. Our heartaches, physical or emotional pain may not be removed in this life. We may not get the healing we have so earnestly prayer for before our body gives out. There will be times that God does not provide or care for us in the way we want in this life. We must however, remain faithful even in these tough times.

The scriptures don’t promise that life will be easy and that we will not suffer but physically and at the hands of others. In fact, it states that we will in fact suffer for the name of Christ as a Christian.

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But, if we remain faithful – we will be with God for eternity. We will never suffer or have any pain. One of my favorite songs talks about the fact that there will be no tears in Heaven. No sadness, no death, no pain.

Will we understand it all then? I don’t know. I do know that I want to be with God in Heaven. I would imagine that all those questions I think I want answers to won’t matter a bit when I am with my Heavenly Father.

So while we wait for answers to prayers, we need to keep praising God and doing His will. My grandmother used to say that the reason the things of this earth are so hard to bear are because we get a glimpse of Glory through the Word. That glimpse is so perfect that anything less is not enough.

We are sojourners according to the scriptures. This world is not our home. But we are also a chosen race and a royal priesthood according to 1 Peter 2:9.

When you pray again asking for this or that, stop and remember to thank Him for all the good gifts in your life. When we are truly thankful, it puts the urgent needs into perspective.

Provision in Temptation

No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to humanity. God is faithful, and He will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with temptation He will also provide a way of escape so that you are able to bear it.  1 Corinthians 10:13 (HCSB)

None of us are immune to temptation. It comes at us any time it wants to.

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Christian women are bombarded with temptation more often than we care to admit.

Temptation comes in all forms; food, drugs, drunkenness, sexual, rage & anger, discontentment, pride, bitterness, etc. I see it as anything that makes us lose control and sin in the involvement of it. It’s the thing that overrides our better judgement.

Even if we don’t give in, there’s usually shame and a feeling of worthlessness that comes with the thoughts. Please keep in mind, however, that temptation is not sin. Giving into temptation is when we miss the mark.

But when we look at 1 Corinthians 10:13, we see that there is an opportunity to turn away and flee from temptation. We get the chance every single time we feel like we’ll be overtaken.

You may be asking, “But what if I’ve already given into temptation? I feel stuck, guilty, and regretful.”

The first step to renewal and restoration is that you already acknowledged that there is an issue! Ask God for forgiveness. Repent.

You’ll always have a fighting chance. God has absolutely offered redemption and freedom through Jesus Christ. Do not walk around in condemnation, trust His provision.

Do not try to fight a battle without the proper equipment. I want to help you know how to become victorious.

You are not alone. These are weapons that I’m still learning to use also!

It’s time for some heavy lifting and faith muscle development.

Follow His Example

We can study how Jesus was tempted by satan, and how He did not give in to temptation in Luke 4:1-13. He is our perfect example!

Jesus is our compassionate High Priest who can sympathize with our weaknesses. See Hebrews 4:14-16.

Since we’re His followers, we can ask for guidance in how to walk that out in our overcoming. Now, let’s turn over to Romans 8.

We are given freedom from indwelling sin when we accepted Jesus as Lord of our lives. Sometimes that looks like daily de-throning ourselves (our flesh). It helps to write a portion of Romans 8 by hand as a prayer when we’re being tempted.

These next set of verses can easily be tucked into those, “yeah, I know that Scripture from memory, so I’ll just skim over them” verses. But, God’s Word can never be exhausted!

2 Corinthians 10:3-6 Take every thought captive!
Philippians 4:8-9 Meditate on these things!
Galatians 5:16-26  Walking in the Spirit

God has given us every provision for escaping temptation in Scripture, our relationship with Jesus, and the indwelling of the Holy Spirit.

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You’re Not Alone

If we’re willing to bring our battle with temptation to light, we can ask a trusted friend (that won’t sell us out) to come alongside and hold us accountable with encouragement, prayer, and standing in agreement with Scripture that we’ve been standing on.
There are times when counseling is needed. Seek out a godly counselor; one that will always point back to God’s word.

My friend, dealing with and banishing temptation probably won’t be a “one and done” encounter. On a daily basis, we lay down our lives, our own agendas, thoughts, and methods, for the life that Christ died for us. We accept His provision, His grace.

I pray that this is a good starting point for you. I strongly encourage you to bathe yourself in God’s Word. True freedom does come. Get in the face of Jesus, seek the Holy Spirit’s guidance and let’s start obliterating that temptation!

Trusting In God’s Provision

  And my God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:19 

When we truly put our faith in Christ, God will protect, provide and care for us, in all areas of our lives. He doesn’t promise we won’t go through hard times, but He does promise that He is always by our side giving us the strength to make it through anything. God wants us to put our trust in His provision for all our needs. Sometimes that can be a bit scary and require us to step out in faith. 

trusting in God's provision

We live in a world where, when we turn on the news, we see the natural disasters, crime, hate, and other hardships we are faced with. Sometimes it is hard for people to turn over and trust in God’s provision, when we are consumed in a world full of hate. But when we put our trust in the Lord, He will bring us peace when we face the hardships of life. 

Whether we are struggling in our marriage, financially, in work, or any other way, when we put our trust in God, He will give us the strength, hope, courage, and peace, to keep getting up each day. I firmly believe everything we go through is just for a season, you will always find a light at the end of the tunnel, no matter what the circumstance is.

I know, personally, I have struggled with many different areas in my life over the years, and one thing that stays true through it all is God’s provision. It is easy to find yourself consumed with worry and anxiety about the situation, but if we turn it over to God, He will get us through! If you are facing what seems like an impossible situation, just pray to God. Hand it over to Him, and let Him take control of the trouble, and he will work it out in His timing! I can look back at situations in the past, and remember in the moment I didn’t know how I could conquer and overcome, but now I see how much stronger it made me, and that God gave me the strength to make it through. 

Therefore do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For after all these things the Gentiles seek. For your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. Matthew 6:31-32

provision

Just like in Matthew 6:31-32, God knows all of our needs. All things happen in His timing, and we have to put our trust into Him, that He will provide what we need and when we need it. Everything can’t be on our timing, rather in His. We have to fully trust in His provisions, and by doing that it means handing all our worries and troubles over to Him, and believing that no matter what is in front of us, God will handle it, and provide all of our needs. 

Prayer

Heavenly Father, we just thank you for everything you have provided for us. Help me to find peace in those times I am struggling, and put my trust in you! Help me to stay focused on you Lord, throughout my days, and know that you will make things good. I thank you for your unconditional love, and protecting and providing all of my needs.

In Jesus’ name, Amen! 

 

Seeing God’s provision in a new light – His light!

Overwhelmed emotionally, spiritually and physically, we cry out.  We cry out in desperation because there is nothing else we can do to survive the next moment.

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“We”….

We finally realize how we need God’s help.  It’s never been about us but always Him.  His ways are better than our ways.  He can do the impossible.  He can bring about hope in the midst of our complete uncertainty and despair.

It’s in these dark moments, that we often start to see God working in our lives, if we will open our eyes and heart to him.  (God, of course, is always working in our lives but when things are going well we don’t always give Him the credit.)

It’s when we start to acknowledge God during our trials that we realize, it’s never been about us, but always about him!  Once we realize this, we see our circumstances in a new light.  His light!

Our circumstances viewed in his light, allows us to give God glory no matter what the day brings.

But most of all we start to see God’s provision in a new light too!   We start to understand the truth behind what Jesus said, “man does not live by bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God (Matthew 4:4).”

This Matthew passage is a direct quote from Deuteronomy 8.

Deuteronomy 8:1-5

“Be careful to obey all the commands I am giving you today. Then you will live and multiply, and you will enter and occupy the land the Lord swore to give your ancestors. Remember how the Lord your God led you through the wilderness for these forty years, humbling you and testing you to prove your character, and to find out whether or not you would obey his commands. Yes, he humbled you by letting you go hungry and then feeding you with manna, a food previously unknown to you and your ancestors. He did it to teach you that people do not live by bread alone; rather, we live by every word that comes from the mouth of the Lord. For all these forty years your clothes didn’t wear out, and your feet didn’t blister or swell.  Think about it: Just as a parent disciplines a child, the Lord your God disciplines you for your own good.”

What Deuteronomy 8 reveals about God’s provision

So often when we think of God’s provision, we think of it in terms of providing us relief, financial support or physical comfort.  We don’t always look at it as a faith building exercise, but it is.  And truly, building our faith is the ultimate provision!

1 – God will lead you!

God does not expect us to walk this journey of life alone.  No!  He said, “Follow me!”  He plans to lead us by His word (the Bible) and His Holy Spirit.  Just like he led the Israelites through the dessert for forty years, He will lead us.  Now, notice what verse two says:

Remember how the Lord your God led you through the wilderness for these forty years, humbling you and testing you to prove your character, and to find out whether or not you would obey his commands. 

He not only will lead us but he will provide opportunities to humble our spirit so that we can be more in line with His ways and remember to put our Lord first instead of the momentary pleasures of his world.  In doing this, our faith will be strengthened.

Praise God for being willing to lead us through the enjoyable and extremely difficult roads with us.

2 – God provides in ways we can’t even imagine!

God finds amazing ways to grow our faith and many of these opportunities come from how He provides for us physically.  For example, think of your best and most comfortable pair of shoes.  How long do you think they will last?

Never in your wildest dreams would you have probably thought your best pair of shoes lasting 40 years. But check out how God unexpectedly took care of the Israelites while they were wondering:

For all these forty years your clothes didn’t wear out, and your feet didn’t blister or swell (verse 4).

He humbled you, causing you to hunger and then feeding you with manna, which neither you nor your ancestors had known, to teach you that man does not live on bread alone but on every word that comes from the mouth of the Lord (verse 3).

Isn’t that amazing?  Not only did they not get blisters and they only needed one pair of shoe for four decades but as God humbled them, he provided for them too in many different ways.

3  – Discipline is a provision too!

What?  Yes, it’s true! When God cares enough to correct us so we stay on the straight & narrow path in order for us to be with him for eternity, we can start to see discipline in a positive light.  Discipline grows our faith and molds us into who Christ calls us to be.  Even though we might not enjoy being disciplined, we can trust that God has what is best for us in mind.

If you’re athletically minded or enjoy sports think of it like this:

God is THE best coach around.  He sees all your potential and he doesn’t want you to waste it.  He knows what you are capable of doing not only because he created you, but because He has given you the Holy Spirit to help you accomplish what He has planned out for you to do!  He wants you to be disciplined in your faith so that you can persevere and  run the race without giving up.

Verse five says:

Know then in your heart that as a man disciplines his son, so the Lord your God disciplines you.

provision

Remember…

We are called to remember how God not only brought our faith forefathers through the wilderness but we should also remember how he has led us through our own “wilderness” moments too. Let’s praise God for how he builds our faith through His amazing provision!

 

A Family Tradition of Yaweh-Yireh

She turned the wooden token around in her hands. “Mama, what is this one about?”

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I looked down at the symbols, remembering the exact moment when I drew them. “That one was about how the Lord provided us with this home. We wondered how it would all work out since we didn’t have much money at all. In the end this house is what He blessed our family with! And do you know why?”

She smiled and put the token back, rifling through all the others in the box. “Because Yaweh-Yireh, Mama.”

“That’s right, sweetheart. The Lord provides. He has, He does, and He will.”

Abraham named the place Yahweh-Yireh (which means ‘the Lord will provide’). To this day, people still use that name as a proverb: ‘On the mountain of the Lord it will be provided.’ – Genesis 22:14

Worry can sometimes sneak up on me. Grumbling and complaining can too quickly take root in my heart. Is the same true for you?

Several years ago I was studying my Bible and reflecting on this when the Lord impressed upon me an ancient truth in a fresh new way: A deep, unshaken faith is tied to the remembrance of God’s provision.

I want a deep, unshaken faith, don’t you? And I want that for my children.

So that was the year we started the Yaweh-Yireh box. It became a tradition to keep ourselves in the habit of noticing and remembering those times that God provided in a remarkable way.

In this tradition, we nurture our faith by writing down what He has done, so that we can face the challenges of life with full confidence in the Lord’s provision. It has been such a blessing, drawing us closer to the Lord!

Are you struggling with worry and fear? Can I encourage you? Spend time remembering! Be emboldened with the truth that God sees and goes ahead of you, preparing and providing.

Find a way to physically remember God’s provision in your family. You can start a Yaweh-Yireh box like ours, write them down in a family journal at dinner time each week, or do whatever works best for you. But do find a way to make this a part of your family culture: regularly remembering times of the Lord’s gracious provision, thus strengthening your faith and the faith of your children.

God has provided, friend! What’s more, we know that He is providing in thousands of ways right in this moment, and that He will continue to provide for all of our days to come.

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What does He provide? Wisdom, guidance, care, physical needs, spiritual needs, emotional needs… Above all that, He provides Himself. That’s what we really need, isn’t it? The token my daughter asked about could have been for extra patience, peace in the turmoil or some other way God provided for that situation. We can trust that whatever He provides will be in our best interest.

At base of every obstacle and worry we face, there is the deep and urgent need for more of Him. Here is the blessed reality: Every one of our needs is fully satisfied in the Lord.

Dear heart, whatever you’re facing – whatever challenge, heartache, or struggle – rest in the knowledge that He provides. It may not always look like what you expected. It may not happen when you wanted it to. But it is always in His perfect way and in His perfect timing.

What a serene and quiet life might you lead if you would leave providing to the God of providence!… He has never refused to bear your burdens, He has never fainted under their weight. Come, then, soul! have done with fretful care, and leave all thy concerns in the hand of a gracious God. – Charles Spurgeon