prayer

What Stops Your Progress?

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This past week was my first week of getting back into the gym regularly, and Friday was the day I would meet my goal of working out for 5 days.  However, Friday morning I woke up an hour earlier than usual around 5 a.m. with a slight headache and couldn’t get back to sleep.   Because it wasn’t time to get up yet, I decided to login into my banking mobile app from my phone  and check my direct deposit since it was payday for me.  To my utmost surprise – no direct deposit!  Then I nearly fell off the bed trying to get up and stubbed my toe. With mixed emotions – tiredness from lack of sleep, anger from the missing money and pain from the headache and toe – my mind automatically started going with random thoughts:  “I’m not going to the gym this morning”, “I’m not going to work”, “why can’t things just go right”, “OMG, my rent is due, where is my money”, “life sucks”, “I just want to go back to bed”.

Those few things that happened all within minutes of each other had already started impacting my entire day and it was only 5:15 in the morning!  It’s so easy to get angry, frustrated, discouraged, depressed and lose motivation when things start to spiral downhill in our lives.  It may start with something minor, then it may turn into something major that you may or may not have control over.

Either way, God’s Word tells us how to handle those situations, and no part of the resolution involves giving up, running away, or crawling back into bed for the day.  All those reactions are exactly the way the devil wants us to handle all bad things that come are way – by retreating, quitting and getting frustrated.  God created us with a ball of emotions, but He also equipped us with His Word and access to Him personally to talk to in moments just like these. We can find encouragement to push through in Scripture and we can talk to Him about anything at anytime.

So today I ask, what stops your progress on a daily or weekly basis?  Is it your circumstances? Something someone says? A situation going on at work? A personal relationship or lack thereof?  A negative friend? Financial struggles? Your health? Whatever the case is, remember that everyday life is going to happen to all of us.  As Christians, God did not promise we wouldn’t have any troubles.  However, He promised that we would be equipped with the tools to handle our troubles.  We have everything we need in Him to face any of life’s challenges.  The problem is, our most valuable resources are often under utilized.

In fact, the moment you start to set goals or set your mind to accomplish something, there will be several things that come your way that will try to distract you, kill your motivation, or hinder you from progress.  If we prepare our minds for this by spending time in God’s Word and prayer, nothing should hinder our progress.

 

Compulsive Planner

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So I’m a compulsive planner – literally.  I write my grocery lists out in order of how they are located in the store (and will even adjust based on the layout of which Walmart I’m going to).  I re-write my to-do lists in the order of how they should be done that day.  I iron clothes for myself and my son a week prior based on events, weather, etc.  I plan out my budget down to the bag of Laffy Taffy’s that I purchase every other Friday from the Dollar Store.  I plan out every moment of my vacations, including tentative naps and lounge time.  I plan out my Children’s Sunday School lessons, down to the amount of time I’ll allow for prayer.  Yea, I know, it’s a little much lol.  And God forbid, “my plan” for the day gets thwarted in any way, shape, or fashion – I’m thrown off completely!  I get anxious, stressed and frustrated!

However, lately I have been learning to be more spontaneous and most of all to allow room for God’s “planning” in my life.  It was in the midst of devotions one morning recently, that God spoke to me and said “you can’t plan everything, you have to leave room for me to work in your life”.  Now we all know that having a plan or making plans is never a bad thing.  However, what we often fail to do is to include God in our plans.

I’m planning to move to a new apartment within the next 3-6 months and that planning process has turned into me planning the next decade of my life!  I didn’t just map out furniture and décor, I’ve started trying to plan where my son will play basketball or ride his bike.  How much will I have free in my budget each month to save towards my next overseas vacation or cruise?  What online courses should I start taking to get a better paying job to be able to move into a house 5 years from now?  What part-time work can I do now for some extra cash?  Should I start a fund for my future grandchildren (mind you, my only son is currently just 10 years old)?  Do I want to go sky-diving for my 40th birthday (3+ years away)?  Where do I want to move to once my son goes off to college?  Do I still want to get that personal trainer certification?

This was all on my “things needed for the move” list! LOL

Ever since I was kid, my mind has always gone a mile a minute and I often think of what feels like thousands of things at once!  I think, and think, and think and think, and then I get anxious, overwhelmed, and eventually a headache of frustration.  I’m just now learning at 36 years old, that I need to do less thinking and planning and more praying and trusting in God.  I keep a pocket bible and devotional handy at work, in my car, in my purse and at home so that no matter where I am, if I ever start to get an onslaught of compulsive anxious thoughts, I go straight to His Word to shift my focus and then once my mind calms down, I immediately start praying.  Sometimes I’ll just keep reading a verse out loud over and over until it sinks in and resonates with my soul.

Through this, God has been teaching me, slowly but surely, to continue planning while surrendering my plans to Him for approval, change or denial based on His Will for my life. The thing is, God’s plan is always the best plan for me, even though I don’t always realize it at first.  After all, God already knows our future and has already mapped out the “ultimate plan” for our lives.  We just need to sit back sometimes and let that plan unfold.

 

 

New Year’s Resolutions Anyone?

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“resolution” – a firm decision to do or not to do something

Happy New Year everyone!  So its 2017 and that time of year again when many people make their “resolutions”.  The gyms fill up with people who have resolved to work out and get back in shape.  Churches fill up with people who have resolved to be more committed to going to church.  Diet microwave meals fly off the grocery store shelves as people have resolved to eat healthier.  Lists get posted to refrigerator doors, mirrors, walls, and even work cubicles as people name their top ten things that they are going to resolve to do or not do in the new year.   And then…….well then comes February when all those “resolutions” (if they make it that far) go out the window.

I was just making my so-called list of resolutions for 2017 and realized that I hadn’t accomplished 80% of my 2016 resolutions.  Not because I wasn’t focused, or that they weren’t important, or that I didn’t prioritize.  However, it was honestly because I didn’t involve God in the process.  My health, weight loss, need to get out of debt, need for a new car, desire to start saving for my son’s college expenses, plan to go on an overseas trip, etc., are all great and important goals to be focused on.  However, setting goals or “resolutions” can become very monotonous, frustrating, tiring and even pointless if we try to accomplish them on our own apart from God.

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I have therefore, resolved this year to do one thing: to delight myself in God and commit all my goals unto Him, while trusting that He will give me the desires of my heart in 2017.  To delight oneself in the Lord means “to take great pleasure in” God.  In other words, I want to take great pleasure in spending more time in His Word, prayer, and doing things that please Him, while committing my “resolutions” into His hands, trusting that He will begin to work in those areas of my life.

This does not absolve me from doing my part. Clearly if I want to be in better shape, I still need to work out, eat healthier, and take care of my body.  What I’m realizing is that if I make God my number one priority/focus, and then commit all my other goals to Him, that He will give me the desires of my heart and will even strengthen me to work in areas where I fall short.  We work soooo hard to get things we want/desire in this life, and working hard is not wrong in and of itself.  However, sometimes we try to do all the work which makes it ten times harder for us, when all we need is to shift our focus to God.  After all, the verses are plain – “delight yourself in the Lord and He will give you the desires of your heart”; “commit your way to the Lord, trust in him and he will do this.” Even if it doesn’t all happen in 2017, it sure sounds like a guarantee to me – according to the Word of God!

Does this mean we will get every little thing we desire no matter what it is?   Close but not quite lol!  Keep in mind the prerequisite of the verse – “delight yourself in the Lord”.  God did not make any mistakes in any of his promises.  Think about it: if we truly begin to “delight” or “take great pleasure” in God and what pleases him, our heart’s desires will begin to align with God’s will and what He wants for us anyway.  So yes, when one truly delights in the Lord, God will indeed give you the desires of your heart as they align with His will for your life.

So whether you’re making a list or not, as believers, lets “resolve” to delight in the Lord in 2017!

Have We Forgotten How to Fight Evil?

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“Why do we as Christians try to fight against the evil of this world by human means?”

We can’t fight hate, racism, violence or any other kind of evil, by reciprocating the same hate, racism, violence or evil.

Imagine if we came together as a body of believers and spent time in unified prayer, fighting in the spiritual realm against our true enemy who is behind all the hate, racism, violence and evil.   According to His Word, when we fight the right way, then and ONLY then will we truly be able to stand against the evil of this world.

Be one of a million, standing for Jesus this Saturday, July 16th, at the National Mall in Washington, D.C.! https://reset2016.com/

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Don’t forget to include God!

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This week God has been reminding me that not only do I need to trust in Him to do what He says He will do, but that I also need to remember to acknowledge Him in all that I do.  proverbs3_5-6

Webster’s dictionary defines “acknowledge” as follows: to accept or admit the existence or truth of. So if the Bible tells us to acknowledge God in all our ways so that He can direct our paths, that tells me that if in fact we proclaim to “trust” in Him, that we would display that “trust” by acknowledging his presence in every aspect of our lives.  So what does that look like on a daily basis?

For me, its when I pray for a new job, acknowledging that God is Lord of my life, and committing what I want into His hands, but at the same time asking Him to show me what His will for my life is.  In other words, “God, I want to work in education and instructional design so please direct me to a position where my skills can be utilized, but if there is something else you want me doing instead, please show me and direct me accordingly.”

Its letting God know my concerns about my child’s schooling and instead of trying to figure it out all on my own, acknowledging His sovereignty over my life, and asking Him to help me make the right decision.

Instead of just going out and buying a much needed new vehicle, its acknowledging God as provider of all things, and asking Him to direct me to the right dealership, with the best price as opposed to purchasing the car of my dreams that I really can’t afford. Read the rest of this entry »

Prayer – the Best Knee-Jerk Reaction!

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It’s so easy to worry about any and everything.  In fact the devil does his best to get us to do just that. From finances, to relationships, to our kids, to our health, there is plenty to worry, stress over and be anxious about it.  In fact things can be going great in your life and yet and still, thoughts of worry can creep up into your mind.

God has been teaching me so much lately and I am happy to say that I have grown to a point that not much really worries me.  Thanks and praise go to God, His Word and the Holy Spirit, for teaching me how to pray and not worry. I know for a fact that it was nothing that I did on my own or taught myself to do.

Lately, however, I feel like Satan has become fixated on this area of my life, because he knows that God is strengthening me in regards to prayer. Just when I think I’ve mastered it, and I’ve let my everyday problems, circumstances and issues that arise just roll off my back while I continue to give it all to God, all of a sudden, the devil tries a new tactic – getting me to worry about the future and stuff that could happen.  Just these last two weeks, I’ve been plagued with thoughts out of the blue like:

‘when are you going to finally get a new car?  you know its going to break down for real next time’

‘you don’t want your son going to public school for middle school do you? that’s when they change for the worse’

‘how are you going to afford to send him to college when he turns 18?’

‘more and more family members are being diagnosed with cancer, what if you’re next’

‘what if your job starts laying off people, you haven’t even begun to rebuild your savings back up’

‘what if you die tomorrow? did you revise your will? is your life insurance current?’

‘what if something bad happens to mom/dad, how are you going to take care of them?’

Read the rest of this entry »

God, when are you going to answer my prayer?

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This verse is so easy to quote and yet so hard to actually do sometimes.  We can say it to others to try and encourage them but how quickly we forget it when our own time of “waiting” actually comes.  I’ve recently been struggling with waiting for a new/better job opportunity.  I’ve been on my current job for almost 3 years, with little room for growth or increase in pay. I’ve actually been given more responsibility disguised as a “better opportunity” only to still have the same title and pay at the end of the day…..oh and not to mention stricter guidelines and a reduction in my bonus….yeah I’m smh too.  After being promised a new role within a year of starting this job, the fulfillment of that promise keeps getting pushed further and further away.  I’m sure many of you can identify with this scenario.  However, in the midst of complaining, talking about management, and wishing I could just quit most days, God has been vigorously reminding me through His Word how horrible my attitude has been while I wait for Him to answer my prayers: Read the rest of this entry »