Purposeful Faith

Category - faith

How Forgiveness Moves us Forward

By Guest Contributor: Joy A. Williams 

Forgiveness feels good when it comes my way. It scratches my itch for another chance. It lets me back in when I should be left out.

But when it’s time for me to forgive, forgiveness may feel awkward or even unfair. I know it’s the right thing to do. It’s what Jesus did for us on Calvary’s Cross. It’s what He does for me daily.

O Lord, you are so good, so ready to forgive, so full of unfailing love for all who ask for your help. (Psalm 86:5 NLT)

Forgiveness moves us forward. I was reminded of its force when I saw a church sign a few years ago.

It read “If you stole our stuff, we forgive you.”

As I consider hurt feelings over a recent relationship struggle, the words on the sign inspire me to say: “Although you stole my stuff, I forgive you.”

I don’t know what items were missing from the church. But I do know the “items” missing from my heart.

Trust. Treasured memories. Future plans.

Are stolen items missing from your heart too?  Are chunks of dignity or pieces of a dream absent? Forgiveness doesn’t change what happened, but it changes what could happen if we don’t forgive.  We may become bound to the thing we disdain instead of becoming free to walk in God’s purpose.

And yet, I’m still learning.

Forgiveness is how we grow in front of people. Bitterness is how we grow weary by what happened.

Get rid of all bitterness, rage, anger, harsh words, and slander, as well as all types of evil behavior. Instead, be kind to each other, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, just as God through Christ has forgiven you. (Ephesians 4:31 and 32 NLT)

Letting go of an offense is a strenuous “growth opportunity.” Our pain matters.  But what Christ did for us matters too. We must decide if what He did matters most.

I can be tempted to fix things myself with a sharp-tongue or misguided perspective until I realize…

Forgiveness acknowledges what went wrong while trusting God to make it right.

Trust in the Lord with all your heart; do not depend on your own understanding. Seek his will in all you do, and he will show you which path to take. (Proverbs 3:5 and 6 NLT)

It’s not always easy, but He can always be trusted.

I hope the person who stole the church’s items stepped up, made amends and met the Savior.  I see Christ working in my struggling relationship in both tough and tender moments.

I want Him to take over my perspective when forgiveness is required.

I praise Him for taking what was meant for evil and turning it into something good.

If your “stuff is stolen,” God knows all about your pain. Whether you need to meet the Savior or need to grow in front of people, may you be restored by His grace and move forward.

About Joy A. Williams

Joy A. Williams is an author, blogger, and speaker. She has served as a small-group Bible study leader, Women’s Conference and Retreat speaker for over twenty years.  Her years of experience of encouraging others with God’s grace has deepened her enjoyment of sharing His life-changing truth in Christ.

She is the author of Friendship MAPS: A Journey through Maturity, Aspirations, Perspectives, and Struggles. Joy shares “hope for the heart and joy to the soul” on her weekly blog (at https://joyAwilliams.com) and she loves living life in North Carolina with her husband Brady and their son.

In addition to subscribing to her weekly blog, you can also connect with Joy on Twitter or Facebook @joytothesoul and on Pinterest @joy2thesoul.

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Be a Blessing

I am delighted to have a dear friend, a prayer warrior, and a true lover of Jesus join me today. Adrienne Young, welcome! It is a pure honor to feature you today on Purposeful Faith. I know your words will be a blessing…

Post by: Adrienne Young

“Don’t make me miss my blessing.”

That’s an odd thing to hear while standing in line at Goodwill, but I ignored the cashier and kept going through my cart to see what items “sparked joy” and what would I discard.

As I got closer to the register, she lit up and said through her smile, “I’m so glad you didn’t get in the other line when it opened up. You are my blessing! I know you don’t come in here often, but every time you do, people gravitate toward you, and you always bless me by asking how my day is going.” Wow! I asked her for her name and how I could pray for her.

Darlene told me she was going through a custody battle and knew the enemy was attacking her but she trusted God. She came from behind the counter to hug me as I prayed for her.

This one trip to do what I love to do, what I wrote a book about doing, and what I thought was a normal 8 PM quick trip turned into thrifting with a purpose. . .

You see I had planned to go to my local store just minutes away, but the Holy Spirit led me to this one. What if I decided not to go that night and ignore His voice? What if I would have been so consumed with the purchases that I missed the purpose in going?

My sister, what if we decided to ask God to use us in our everyday life to bless those we come into contact with? What if we took God at His word according to Romans 12:1 MSG?

So here’s what I want you to do, God helping you: Take your everyday, ordinary life—your sleeping, eating, going-to-work, and walking-around life—and place it before God as an offering.

Prayer: Father, with your help, we will take our everyday ordinary life – our sleeping, eating, going-to-work, and walking-around-life, and place it before you as an offering. Help us to recognize how we can be a blessing to those who come into contact with, even when we are enjoying our hobbies. Use us for your glory and help us obey the voice of the Holy Spirit so that we can join in where He is working. In Jesus name, Amen.

About Adrienne Young

Adrienne Young’s mission is to love, live and lead on purpose with a purpose in every area of her life.  She is 100% committed to helping women of faith do the same in their lives and businesses.

Sought out by Fortune 500 companies for professional development, Adrienne combines her John C. Maxwell leadership training with 16 years in education to take organizations from start-up to implementation via her company Adrienne Young Ministries, LLC.

She is the founder of Remnant Warriors Global, Inc., Women Who War, and is the author of the best selling book Don’t Go Thrifting Without Me. Adrienne serves in ministry with her husband Edward. They have two sons, Emmanuel and Elisha, love football, and reside in Fort Mill, SC.

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Soul-Important Information

You matter.

Nowhere did Jesus tell people to “Who I created you to be doesn’t matter.” No time did Jesus look a woman in the eye and say, “You don’t matter as much as she does.” Not even once, did Jesus say to someone, “I have too much on my hands to help you.”

All of God is available to all of us. Right now.

Right here. Right now.

God never left you. He never got tired of your whining and left you. He never deserted you to your negativity. He never walked away from your hopelessness. He’s right here. Talk to him if you want to if you need to. He hears your cry. You matter.

At the same time, I believe, He’s not content where you are. He’s not content to leave you the same. Because He knows what He created you for. You were never meant to wallow. You were never meant to stay stagnant. You were never meant to call your comfortable place your dwelling place.

Put on your new nature, and be renewed as you learn to know your Creator and become like him. (Col. 3:10)

Here, as if Jesus is calling us out of our shell — I believe, He desires hearts of radical obedience, far more than proclivities to modern-day conveniences.

I find TV convenient. I find shortcuts convenient. I find doing what the herd does convenient because it is easy and not shunned upon. But, I’m convicted, my desire for modern convenience can never shut off His sometimes random or impromptu calls to radical obedience.

If one keeps on shutting these off, their heart grows cold and hardened. There’s the real potential their conscience may get seared.

And, this is where a major problem presents itself.

You matter to God, but so do your choices. Do you pick God or other things?

Yes, God loves you

Yes, God cares about you.

But, also God cares for your daily choices.

Radical obedience knows when to turn away from modern conveniences (like a TV show that’s gone way-wrong, too much TV, staying in an area your supposed to leave, telling God no, gossip, slander, old routines, busyness, etc)

Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will. (Ro. 12:2)

Those who honor me I will honor, but those who despise me will be disdained. (1 Sam. 2:30)

This year, tear down every barrier, blockage, between you and God.  Tear down your TV, your fear of man, your self-hatred, your hibernation-like tendencies, your shopping issue…whatever…if you need to do so.

How? There’s no back-breaking pressure. Simply, ask God where to change and how. Submit to His plan. Take a small step. Keep doing it. You’re half-way there… Not by your power or might, but through the Spirit — choose to love God this year.

“If you love me, keep my commands.” (Jo. 14:15)

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God will Put Everything “Right”

“I don’t know, I don’t have a crystal ball.” I’ve noticed this is a catch-phrase for financial analysts when on TV.  They love it. They’re point being, they have no idea what the market will do. No one knows. But, much like us, everyone wants to know…

I want to know what God is doing. I want to know why things have happened the way they have: I want to know the reason a family member passed away, why I am still stuck in different areas in my life and how God is going to show up in the future. I want to demand answers from God on many a day.

Tell me! I need to know.  Like Eve, I say, let me “know”, God!  ASAP!

Knowing is not always beneficial.

I keep Christmas gifts a surprise to my kids. Why? Because there is nothing better than seeing the joy written all over their faces when they open up that morning-surprise. I don’t tell them all the details about the “birds-and-the-bees” yet. Why? Because there is a right time for that message. I don’t let my son see what’s on those late-night cable channels. Why? Because wisdom says, “He doesn’t need to see that — ever.”

Have we ever considered? Not knowing makes us fortunate.

“David confirms this way of looking at it, saying that the one who trusts God to do the putting-everything-right without insisting on having a say in it is one fortunate man…” (Romans 4:8 MSG)

You don’t have to know the whys.

Or, understand the whens.

Or, get answers to every question you have.

God will put-everything-right.

Blessed is the man who trusts God to put-everything-right, without knowing-every-nitty-gritty-detail regarding how.

Our knowledge doesn’t make things right, God’s good work does. It handles all those things we most fear.

“…Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.” (Jo. 20:29)

When we believe anyway, we are blessed. When we trust, we are fortunate.

Where do you need to let go of any unresolved pain, bitterness, grief, misunderstanding, anger or worry? Where do you need to let God off-the-hook for the answers, in order to find peace? Where do you need to bask in the fortunate you’ve obtained; the fact that, for you, God no longer “keeps score” of your sin? (Ro. 4:7 MSG) Today is the day. Ask God to forgive you for carrying around these burdensome demands; let His help come in and rescue you.

God will put-everything-right.

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Learn more about Kelly’s new book, Battle Ready: Train your Mind to Conquer Challenges, Defeat Doubt and Live Victoriously.

Intimate Words from a Father

I love how God wants to speak to us, intimately. Through prayer, I have gotten such a glimpse for his heart for me, for you and for all we are facing.

This is how I believe God might want to speak, personally to you today… Oh, how I hope these words and bible verses speak to the deep of you!

My child,

What you cannot see, I can. I know the plans I have for you – for prospering – and not for harming you. What would it look like for you to really trust me? To lean on me? To know me?

(Kelly’s response: I guess, God, it would look like me: seeing you in all things, choosing to ask for help, waiting on you, and having a willing heart to change).

Daughter, I know your path. I see the end goal and how I’ll get you there. If you will follow me, all these things will be added onto you. Truly, you come into what you most want, when you most want me.

(My response: God, will you help me to most want you?)

It is a joy to teach you. But, like a child with their hands over their ears, I can’t give what you won’t let in. Will you be willing to hear me in new ways?

(My response: God, I need your help. I want to.)

I am a good teacher. I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go. With my loving eye upon you: I will not fail you. Hold my hand. Follow me. There is increase for you. I am the creator of all things. Imagine what I can create in your life. Don’t rule out my goodness. If I sent Jesus to die for you, how much more will I do for you?

Lean on me. It’s okay to relax on my strength. You can trust me to hold you up. To equip you. To engage your heart in a tender way that changes you. I am good to you. In me, you’ll find rest.

(My response: Yes, God, I want that. I really do. I want to know and love you more. May you pour out the grace for me to draw near to your heart.)

Love,

Your daddy

Bible Verses to Ponder:

I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will counsel you with my loving eye on you. (Ps. 32:8)

Whoever has ears, let them hear. (Mt. 11:15)

Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows. (James 1:17)

He has said: “This is the place of rest, let the weary rest; this is the place of repose.” But they would not listen. (Is. 28:12)

 

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Learn more about Kelly’s new book, Battle Ready: Train your Mind to Conquer Challenges, Defeat Doubt and Live Victoriously.

Only God Can Change A Heart

I feel convicted. It is easy to read God’s word and to say, “Yep, that thing right there is what I need to do…”. Yet it is quite another thing to do it. It is easy to develop a three-step plan for improvement, but it is hard to see it through. It is easy to remind yourself of all the ways you really need to change. And then to never find change.

At home, as a mom, I’ve recognized 3 things that need to change:

1. I give in to my children when they ask repeatedly for something.

2. I desperately avoid paths of resistance to keep everyone happy.

3. I have a hard time setting boundaries because I feel guilty.

Friends, I guess I feel a little angry at myself that I haven’t changed these things already. That I haven’t recognized them and reworked them. That I still struggle. That I cause issues at home sometimes. That I can’t stand it when people feel unhappy or angry at me.

I know I am wrong; I am a pushover. I am disappointed in myself.

Maybe you feel like me; disappointed in how you are, what you are doing or where you are today. Maybe you’ve told yourself you’re going to stop cussing, start praying or you’re 100% going to speak nicely now. Or that you’re going to get yourself to where you want to go.

Are we justified to feel this way? To “get our self where we want to go”? To “work up” some sort of inner-heart conversion?

Only God can change a heart.

“I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh. And I will put my Spirit in you and move you to follow my decrees and be careful to keep my laws.” (Ezekiel 36: 26-27)

Notice:
– God gives us a new heart.

– By his work, he removes the stone.

– The Spirit, in us, moves us to follow God’s decrees and laws.

Only by a work of God can we work-out any real and lasting life change.

Unless the Lord builds the house, those who build it labor in vain. Ps. 127:1

So where does this leave us? In prayer and with faith.

God will complete the good work He has begun in us. (Phil. 1:6) We no longer need to be angry at ourselves but 100% trustworthy in the Saviors saving work, that is at work within us.

 

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When I lost a Little Faith in God

It’s a horrible thing to lose something. I hate it when I can’t find my phone. My husband will be waiting in the car, with the kids buckled in behind him, while I have to “run back in” to find it. I always put my phone in the oddest spot: a shelf to the left, under the covers on my bed or on the corner of a bathroom counter.

To be at a loss of a very important thing is super frustrating. Even more frustrating, the powerless feeling that you don’t know how to go about putting things back together again.

For a bit, I felt like I misplaced faith. It wasn’t that I didn’t believe in God or anything like that. It’s just I didn’t really believe He had good stuff for me or that I could trust in His goodness to pull through. After a series of disappointments where I expected Him to show up one way, I guess, I became upset when He showed up a different way.

So, I stopped being as tender to Him. I let a little bit of calloused skin cover my heart. I met with God, but only let Him approach me — so-deep.

Wondering what happened to my wild-belief and strong-faith, where anything is possible. I dove back into Hebrews 11 this morning to see if God wanted to bring something back to life.

“Anyone who wants to come to Him must believe that there is a God…”

Yep. I got that covered. I believe there is a God.

“…and that He rewards those who sincerely seek Him.” (Heb. 11:6)

I “must” believe He rewards me?

To believe God “rewards me” feels indulgent, selfish and it induces guilt in me. Isn’t faith supposed to be about all I give Him – what I do, how I love Him, reading the bible with Him and loving others on His behalf?

Yet, God hones in on this— “Kelly, I want you to believe when you sincerely seek me out — I am going to reward you.”

Faith is not only coming to God, or doing His work, receiving and expecting His reward too. We are not old rag dolls, who God uses to take advantage of to get His way or to use up and then throw out. We are children, daughters, of a Father who loves us and wants to take care of us. His heart, when we meet Him, when we trust Him, when we long for Him, when we find Him — is to reward us. It is to give — to renew, replenish, restore and reinvigorate.

When we seek Him, we’ll find Him and He’ll reward us.

Something about this idea — speaks so deeply to my heart that: God is good.

 

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3 Ways: Be in Christ & Change your Life

You are inside God’s love.

It’s an easy thing to forget, I know. We forget things that we are inside of often. For instance, how often do we think, “I am in the system,” or “I am inside the state of ___.”

We rarely consider where we are – although we should. Because when you realize positionally where you are, it situationally reframes the world around you.

What needs reframing in your life? Are you aggravated at a boss? Discouraged at your lack of initiative? So busy you can’t even consider God? Demoralized by the words of people around you? Unsure about the direction you should head? Feeling depressed or powerless to change your circumstances.

Remember where you are. Realize positionally that you are in God’s love to change situationally – everything.

When you are inside God’s love, you realize you are: H.I.S. You dwell on the fact you are H.I.S.

You are:

1. Hidden in Christ.

“For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God.” (Col. 3:3)

If you accepted Christ, in Him (inside all His glory, power, honor, might, strength, wisdom) your life is now hidden. You don’t have to fear the future, because you can trust in His providence to change everything.

2. Invincible in Battle.

“Who is the King of glory? The LORD, strong and mighty; the LORD, invincible in battle.” (Ps. 24:8 NLT)

If you are in Christ, hidden in Him, then  – because of Him – you actually become invincible in battle. This is powerful.  The King of Glory can go where He wants, in a way that is invincible to the enemy of your life. Take a moment to receive this truth in your mind. Don’t gloss over this point.

3. Secured as you trust.

“Your life in Christ makes you strong, and his love comforts you.” (Phil. 2:1 GNT)

In Christ, you are strong. In Christ, love comforts you. In Christ, you get everything you need to face whatever mountain stands against you.

You will not be wavered, but full of Christ. You will not be taken down, but covered in his love. You will not give up, but stand firm.

Friends, you are H.I.S. Put your trust in Him. Dwell on these three points. Situationally, you’ll find things radically change. Keep hope and find yourself, in Him.

 

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Someone needs this post right now…

12 Power-Prayers

I am sending this out right now because I felt, after prayer, that someone needs these prayers to help them where they are right now. Someone is in a struggle and does not know what to do. Someone can’t see from here to where they hope God will take them. Someone is crying. Someone has hands in their head right now. Someone doesn’t believe they can make it through.

Let me assure you of some things:

  1. Every prayer you pray counts.
  2. Every prayer you pray is heard.
  3. Every prayer you pray is powerful.
  4. Every prayer you pray is handled by God.
  5. Every prayer you pray moves the needle in your life.

Do not doubt. Believe and pray. God has something special for you in this day. This is why this email is going out at a random hour on a random day. Receive this message from Him to you. Circle the prayers that will help you.

Rescuing God is coming to rescue some of you right now. Some big prayers will be answered. I trust Him to save you.

Love, Kelly

Here are 12 Power-Prayers Sourced from Paul:

  1. “God, I thank you for others. Even when I can’t understand them, I want to love them. Help me be uniter not a divider.

I thank my God every time I remember you. In all my prayers for all of you, I always pray with joy because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now, being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus. (Philippians 1:3–6)

First, I thank my God through Jesus Christ for all of you, because your faith is being reported all over the world. God, whom I serve with my whole heart in preaching the gospel of his Son, is my witness how constantly I remember you in my prayers at all times; and I pray that now at last by God’s will the way may be opened for me to come to you. (Romans 1:8–10)

For this reason, ever since I heard about your faith in the Lord Jesus and your love for all the saints, I have not stopped giving thanks for you, remembering you in my prayers. (Eph. 1:15)

We have not stopped praying for you and asking God to fill you with the knowledge of his will through all spiritual wisdom and understanding. And we pray this in order that you may live a life worthy of the Lord. (Col. 1: 9-10)

We always thank God for all of you, mentioning you in our prayers. We continually remember before our God and Father your work produced by faith, your labor prompted by love, and your endurance inspired by hope in our Lord Jesus Christ. (1 Thessalonians 1:2–3)

We ought always to thank God for you, brothers, and rightly so, because your faith is growing more and more, and the love every one of you has for each other is increasing. Therefore, among God’s churches we boast about your perseverance and faith in all the persecutions and trials you are enduring. . . . (2 Thessalonians 1:3)

May the God who gives endurance and encouragement give you a spirit of unity among yourselves as you follow Christ Jesus, so that with one heart and mouth you may glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. (Romans 15:5-6) 

May the Lord show mercy to the household of Onesiphorus, because he often refreshed me and was not ashamed of my chains. On the contrary, when he was in Rome, he searched hard for me until he found me. May the Lord grant that he will find mercy from the Lord on that day! You know very well in how many ways he helped me in Ephesus. (2 Timothy 1:16-18)  

2. “God, may all come into a loving, knowing and abiding relationship with you.”

Brothers, my heart’s desire and prayer to God for the Israelites is that they may be saved. (Romans 10:1)

I pray that you may be active in sharing your faith, so that you will have a full understanding of every good thing we have in Christ. Your love has given me great joy and encouragement, because you, brother, have refreshed the hearts of the saints. (Philemon 5–7)

3. “God, fill me with your goodness. Through this, may your name be glorified.”

Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer.  (Romans 12:12)

Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. (Phil. 4:6-7)

I keep asking that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the glorious Father, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and revelation, so that you may know him better. I pray also that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints, and his incomparably great power for us who believe. That power is like the working of his mighty strength, which he exerted in Christ when he raised him from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly realms, far above all rule and authority, power and dominion, and every title that can be given, not only in the present age but also in the one to come. And God placed all things under his feet and appointed him to be head over everything for the church, which is his body, the fullness of him who fills everything in every way. (Ephesians 215–23)

For this reason, I kneel before the Father, from whom his whole family in heaven and on earth derives its name. I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the saints, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God. Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen. (Ephesians 3:14-21)

May the Lord make your love increase and overflow for each other and for everyone else, just as ours does for you. May he strengthen your hearts so that you will be blameless and holy in the presence of our God and Father when our Lord Jesus comes with all his holy ones. (1 Thess. 3:13)

With this in mind, we constantly pray for you, that our God may count you worthy of his calling, and that by his power he may fulfill every good purpose of yours and every act prompted by your faith. We pray this so that the name of our Lord Jesus may be glorified in you, and you in him, according to the grace of our God and the Lord Jesus Christ. (2 Thess. 1:11-12)

Now may the Lord of peace himself give you peace at all times and in every way. The Lord be with all of you. (2 Thessalonians 3:16)

4. “May the power of Jesus Christ continually fill me with joy, grace, peace and hope, in believing, by the power of the Holy Spirit.

May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit. (Romans 15:13)

The grace of the Lord Jesus be with you. (1 Corinthians 16:23)

We have not stopped praying for you and asking God to fill you with the knowledge of his will through all spiritual wisdom and understanding. And we pray this in order that you may live a life worthy of the Lord and may please him in every way: bearing fruit in every good work, growing in the knowledge of God, being strengthened with all power according to his glorious might so that you may have great endurance and patience, and joyfully giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of the saints in the kingdom of light. For he has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son he loves, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins. [Colossians 1:9–14]

May our Lord Jesus Christ himself and God our Father, who loved us and by his grace gave us eternal encouragement and good hope, encourage your hearts and strengthen you in every good deed and word. (2 Thessalonians 2:16-17)

5. “May my heart continually pursue you. May I hear, understand and uncover all you have to say to me through your Word and in prayer. Give me the words and wisdom I so desperatly need.

Devote yourselves to prayer, being watchful and thankful. And pray for us, too, that God may open a door for our message, so that we may proclaim the mystery of Christ, for which I am in chains. Pray that I may proclaim it clearly, as I should. (Colossians 4:2-4)

I urge you, brothers, by our Lord Jesus Christ and by the love of the Spirit, to join me in my struggle by praying to God for me. Pray that I may be rescued from the unbelievers in Judea and that my service in Jerusalem may be acceptable to the saints there, so that by God’s will I may come to you with joy and together with you be refreshed. The God of peace be with you all. Amen. (Romans 15:30-33)

Pray also for me, that whenever I open my mouth, words may be given me so that I will fearlessly make known the mystery of the gospel, for which I am an ambassador in chains. Pray that I may declare it fearlessly, as I should. (Ephesians 6:19-20)

6. “God, you are the fullness of all I desire, want, hope for and need. Come and be my everything.”

Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received from God. For just as the sufferings of Christ flow over into our lives, so also through Christ our comfort overflows. If we are distressed, it is for your comfort and salvation; if we are comforted, it is for your comfort, which produces in you patient endurance of the same sufferings we suffer. And our hope for you is firm, because we know that just as you share in our sufferings, so also you share in our comfort. (2 Corinthians 1:3-7)

Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ. For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight. In love he predestined us to be adopted as his sons through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will—to the praise of his glorious grace, which he has freely given us in the One he loves. In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace that he lavished on us with all wisdom and understanding. . . . (Ephesians 1:3)

7. “I lack no good thing, Father God. Thank you for everything.”

But thanks be to God, who always leads us in triumphal procession in Christ and through us spreads everywhere the fragrance of the knowledge of him. For we are to God the aroma of Christ among those who are being saved and those who are perishing. To the one we are the smell of death; to the other, the fragrance of life. And who is equal to such a task? (2 Corinthians 2:14-16)

I always thank God for you because of his grace given you in Christ Jesus. For in him you have been enriched in every way— in all your speaking and in all your knowledge—because our testimony about Christ was confirmed in you. Therefore you do not lack any spiritual gift as you eagerly wait for our Lord Jesus Christ to be revealed. He will keep you strong to the end, so that you will be blameless on the day of our Lord Jesus Christ. God, who has called you into fellowship with his Son Jesus Christ our Lord, is faithful. (1 Corinthians 1:4-9)

This service that you perform is not only supplying the needs of God’s people but is also overflowing in many expressions of thanks to God. Because of the service by which you have proved yourselves, men will praise God for the obedience that accompanies your confession of the gospel of Christ, and for your generosity in sharing with them and with everyone else. And in their prayers for you their hearts will go out to you, because of the surpassing grace God has give you. Thanks be to God for his indescribable gift! (2 Corinthians 9:12-15)

Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.  (Phil. 4:6-7)

8. “God, as Healer, please heal me. I trust you will complete the good work you’ve begun.”

Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take (thorn in flesh) away from me. But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.”  (2 Cor. 12: 8-9)

9. Father, mold me, make me and fashion me into your likeness. May I not hate the process you have, but delight in the journey of doing it with you.”

And this is my prayer: that your love may abound more and more in knowledge and depth of insight, so that you may be able to discern what is best and may be pure and blameless until the day of Christ, filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ—to the glory and praise of God. [Philippians 1:9–11

Now we pray to God that you will not do anything wrong. Not that people will see that we have stood the test but that you will do what is right even though we may seem to have failed. For we cannot do anything against the truth, but only for the truth. We are glad whenever we are weak but you are strong; and our prayer is for your perfection. [2 Corinthians 13:7–9]

May God himself, the God of peace, sanctify you through and through. May your whole spirit, soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. The one who calls you is faithful and he will do it. [1 Thessalonians 5:23–24]

10. “God, may I come to know, trust and understand what your grace is.”

The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit, brothers. [Galatians 6:18]

The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit. Amen. [Philippians 4:23]

The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you. [1 Thessalonians 5:28]

The Lord be with your spirit. Grace be with you. [2 Timothy 4:22]

Grace be with you all. [Titus 3:15b]

11. “May you protect me and those I love. Strengthen us too.”

And pray that we may be delivered from wicked and evil men, for not everyone has faith. But the Lord is faithful, and he will strengthen and protect you from the evil one. We have confidence in the Lord that you are doing and will continue to do the things we command. May the Lord direct your hearts into God’s love and Christ’s perseverance. [2 Thessalonians 3:2–5]

12. “God, you are the giver and all you give to me is good. I thank you.

I thank Christ Jesus our Lord, who has given me strength, that he considered me faithful, appointing me to his service. [1 Timothy 1:12]

 

I Get Complain-y and Want Sympathy

sympathy

There are two ways I tend to look at things:

1. Good
2. Not so good at all.

Unfortunately, I usually default to the bad outlook. Somehow I figure if I focus on what is wrong, I can fix it. Or, if I see what is not right, I’ll have a better handle on it. Or, if I know every detail of the problem, I can lay out a plan. I also like sympathy from people.  Emotionally, when I feel hurt, I want someone to make it better. Or, I want someone to really grasp my pain.

In these cases, I may:

1. Complain
2. Whine
3. Act negative
4. Feign tiredness and weariness

After a bit these actions cause issues. On-loading problems onto people almost always off-puts them. There’s a threshold people allow. They may walk away, roll their eyes, tell you to get over it or not call you back. You really have to be careful about going “too far”, I’ve found. But more important than this is – we don’t need sympathy from man, what we really need is empathy and love from God. He is the only thing who will ever fill us up.

So, how do we find this?

Psalm 57 has some interesting answers.

David complains, “I’m surrounded by fierce lions…” (Ps. 57:4)
Shortly thereafter he says, “Be exalted, O God, above the highest heavens.” (Ps. 57:5)

David whines, “My enemies have set a trap for me…” (Ps. 57:6)
Shortly thereafter he says, “My heart is confident in you, O God.” (Ps. 58:7)

In the place of “not so good at all” thoughts, David gets back to “good”, quickly. His mouth runs ahead of his mind for a second. Then, he catches up to “good” with God’s truth.

We can do the same. Even if we think “not so good” thoughts, we can catch right back up to goodness, by immediately changing course, just like David. We can dwell on thoughts of:

1. Praise
“I will waken the dawn with my song.” (Ps. 57:8)

2. Protection
“I will look to you (God) for protection.” (Ps. 57:1)

3. Promises
“…God who will fulfill His purposes for me.” (Ps. 57:2)

4. Power
“He (God) will send help from heaven to save me.” (Ps. 57:3)

5. Passion for God
“My heart is confident in you, O God.” (Ps. 57:7)

David didn’t always think perfectly, but he returned to the Perfect One, quickly and readily. We can do the same. We won’t ever be perfect, but above us, around us and for us – is the Perfect One who has all our answers. He answers when we call. Not only this, He sympathizes with our pains, holding our every tear in a bottle (Ps. 56:8).

All we really want is sourced from God.

 

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