PRAYER IS THE MOST YOU CAN DO

Today, I found myself feeling overwhelmed and small, as I read of the devastation that has gone on around our world.  Between all of the hurricanes, the fires, the earthquakes, the flooding, and of course the constant threat of nuclear war, I found myself feeling helpless and tiny.   I felt like, I want to help all of these people some way, some how.  I donated money to Convoy of Hope but my little bit doesn’t seem like much in comparison to the vast need around the entire world.  Don’t get me wrong Convoy of Hope is amazing but I want to do more.  (If you are interested in donating to the relief efforts visit Convoyofhope.org).

In my feelings of inadequacy and helplessness I cried out to the Lord.  I poured out my heart and told The God of The Universe how much I want to ease the suffering but I don’t feel useful.  I have limited money and resources.  Then God spoke to me in my distress and gave me direction and comfort.

The Bible says this, “God is our refuge and strength, an ever present help in trouble.  Therefore, we will not fear though the earth give way and the mountains fall into the sea, though its waters roar and foam and the mountains quake with their surging.  Psalm 46:1-3

God is our help in times of trouble.  I don’t have to fix it.  I will contribute whatever I can of course, but God is God.  He is the best help.  The Bible says, “Be still and know that I am God.”

In this time of devastation across the world, this time of scary news stories, of people suffering, may I encourage you to pray!  Hit your knees and cry out to God.  God hears our prayers.  If you are somehow being affected by these issues in our world, please know that Jesus loves you! I personally love you and am praying for you and so are millions around the world.

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Do You Want to Hear the Coolest Thing?

We go to church every Wednesday night.  It’s my favorite night of the week.  I absolutely love being in the house of the Lord but there was one Wednesday night in particular that was most special to me.  I took my two children to church on Wednesday as usual.

After church, my children absolutely love hanging out for a little while and playing on the play ground.  This Wednesday was no different.  My son was playing on the slide and I was shooting baskets with my daughter.  My son called me over to him and said, “Mommy, I need you to come here.”  In my mind, I was wondering if he was a bit jealous of me shooting hoops with my daughter, but I didn’t say it out loud.  I just went over to him and asked him what he needed (it is all of ten feet away, from the basketball hoop, in case you were thinking this was some long distance).

My son, just so you know just turned four years old.  He is sweet, smart and can be a bit of a pistol.

Anyway, he gleefully asked me, “Mommy, do you want to hear the coolest thing about Jesus?”

I was a little surprised by his question, but of course I said, “Yes, tell me son, what is the coolest thing about Jesus?”

He said, “Did you know that Jesus died just for me Mommy and if I pray and tell him I am sorry for the bad stuff I did, He will forgive me and he wants me to give him my whole life and if I do He will live in my heart and won’t remember the bad stuff I do sometimes.”

I fought back tears of joy as he was saying this to me, and calmly said, “You are right son, that is the coolest thing.”

He said, “Yay mommy it is the coolest thing ever.”

I asked him, “Are you thinking of giving your life to Jesus?”

He said, “Yep and I am going to do it right now, but I need your help Mommy.  I don’t know how.”

That night, sitting on the slide of my church, “I led my precious little boy in prayer to give his heart to Jesus.”  When we got home from church, he excitedly ran up to his daddy and told him. “Guess what Daddy?  I belong to Jesus now and He lives in my heart and He loves me sooo much!”

Jesus loves you too.  The coolest thing about Jesus is while we were still sinners Christ died for us.  The Bible says that when we surrender our lives to him, He forgives our sins and He adopts us as His sons or daughters.

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In Times of Trouble

When hard times in life hit you, how do you respond?  You lose a job, what do you do?  You get sick, what do you do?  I can tell you my tendencies.  My first response is usually to freak out and then I get busy.  The worse the problem, the busier I get!  I appoint myself to fix the problem!  I run around like a chicken with my head cut off, trying to find a way, anyway really, to improve on my current situation. The bad thing is I don’t usually know what direction to go, so I spend tons of energy working as hard as I can in the wrong direction or in thirteen different directions.  My hope is if I throw out enough arrows, maybe one will hit a target.  I don’t stop to consider if it is the right target. Ultimately, I don’t get anywhere, I am tired, stressed out and things haven’t gotten better at all.  I don’t think this response is rare, I have a feeling I am not the only one that responds to life’s challenges this way.

Interestingly, my natural response is opposite of what the Bible says to do.  I guess that is not surprising, I have found most of the things the Bible says to do are not my first response.  I am by nature, sinful after all.

The Bible says, “He says, “Be still, and know that I am god: I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.” Psalm 46:10 NIV

As I read this this morning, I started to think, that is all great but what does it mean to be still.  In my mind, I thought of it as being quiet.  I am sure that it does help to quiet your mind to hear God, but that isn’t what this verse is referencing.  The word ‘still’ is a translation of the Hebrew word rapa, meaning “to slacken, let down or cease.”  In times of war, it denotes putting down your weapons.  This phrase actually means to stop the crazy stuff you are doing and just stop and be still.

The word “know”  in this case means to “acknowledge or be aware” in Hebrew.  The Bible tells us to stop the crazy activity that we are doing to fix the situation, and acknowledge that He is God!  God is all knowing, He is present everywhere, He is all powerful, holy, sovereign, faithful, and good.  He knows what you are going through and He cares about all the details of your life.  He also already knows how to fix it and He knows how to bring you through it.

Why is it the more messed up my life is, the faster I move….do I want to just get to the wrong place quicker?  Really, what is the point?  My natural response is actually not very logical when I remember who God is and how much He loves me.

Psalm 46:1 says, “God is our refuge and strength, an everpresent help in trouble.” NIV

I don’t need to go into crazy busy mode when there is a problem.  The reality is, it won’t be me to fix it.  It will be God.  He is my everpresent help in trouble!  My first reaction should be to stop, go before the Lord and let God direct my steps.  How nice it is to know that He will give direction and be my help in time of trouble!

Feeling Torn

First let me say, sorry for neglecting my blog as of recent.  Let’s just say I have felt torn in about a hundred different directions in this past month.  Do you guys ever get like that?  I swear even if there were thirty hours in a day right now, I probably would not get everything done that needs to be done.

This past month has not only been busy (I mean the kind of busy when you feel like your hair is on fire) but it has also been a time of prioritizing.  As you guys know, I started my own business.   To be honest, I wasn’t completely prepared for how much time and effort it was going to take.  I know, I probably should have expected it, but I didn’t.  This isn’t a complaint.  I have enjoyed myself, but I have been really busy.  I have had a lot of emotional ups and downs over the last month and a half, and more than once I have had the feeling that I should just quit.  I have had some great successes, but I have also had some failures and rejection.  It has been a distinct mix of exhilaration and excitement, and total discouragement.   It has been a time of learning to rely on God to help me do a sales business when I am not a sales person.  I have been a social worker for most of my life, living in a non profit world and a mom, but never a sales person.

I have had to really learn to prioritize my time.  I have had to pray about what God wants me to be doing.  As a result I have had to let somethings go.  Somethings, small others were larger.  For example,  I had every intention of continuing to baby sit as well as run my business.  That quickly became apparent that it wasn’t realistic.  The decision to stop was made easier by the mom of the child I was babysitting.  She kept dropping baby off here sick, thus getting my kids sick, thus giving me doctors bills, thus all the money I was making was going out the door.  After prayerful consideration, it was clear that babysitting was not something I could continue to manage to do.  I couldn’t devote enough attention to the child I was babysitting and that child deserved something I am not able to give right now.   I also couldn’t justify continuing to allow my entire family to be sick nearly continually.  We just can’t afford to be sick constantly, which I am sure no one really can afford that. I miss the little girl, but it has reduced my stress and my family is much healthier.  It has allowed me to give more to my kids and to my new business, which takes a surprising amount of time at the moment.

I am learning through this that I really can’t do everything that needs to be done on my own!  Every time I have started to feel like, OK I am good I have everything under control, something happens and I realize, nope I need God.  I need God to help me carry the load.  I need God to help me have enough grace to build my little business.  I need God to provide for my family.  I need God to help me feel like I am sort of sane, when things around me are feeling chaotic.  I need God’s love, I need the support and encouragement only He can give.  Through this I am learning to lean on God and not on myself.   I can’t really put into words how much this has shown me that I need Jesus in every single area of my life.  I am weak and He is strong.

But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. 10 That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong. 2 Corinthians 12:9-11

I have noticed something, every time I have been discouraged over the last month and a half, and I turn to the Lord.  He strengthens me and he provides exactly what I needed.  My business has done pretty well so far, but let me tell you, it has not been by my strength.  Everything (and I mean everything) I have done in my strength has fallen flat.  God is faithful and He has provided.

Is God To Busy?

When I contemplate God, I am awestruck.  I often wonder how God does everything He does and I think is there anything God can not do.  Since God created the heavens and the universe, the answer to that question is no, definitely there is nothing too big for Him to do.

My pastor asked a question this morning that I have been considering all day.  He asked, “Is there anything to small for God to do?”  Now that is a good question.  I know that there are times in my life that I have had the thoughts that my small, insignificant problems, may not be all that important to God.  Does God really care that we needed that commission and it fell through?  Does he care about the little details of my life, when there are literally billions of people praying to him all the time?

My husband and I have struggled financially.  He works in sales, and manages a retail mattress store.  His commission depends on him making budget and on his personal sales.  A couple of months ago, we were having a particularly difficult time.  I had lost the job I had babysitting, which cut our income.  He was having a great month at work.  He had written enough sales that, as long as they all get delivered, he was going to get a nice commission check.  Needless to say, we were looking forward to that check.  We needed that check.  Then it happened.  A truck, with several of the beds he had sold, did not show up!  It was about $6,000 in product.  This happened the day before the period was to end.  That meant, it would literally take a miracle for him to get his commission.  He had one day to sell $6000 worth of product that he did not have, the truck no showed after all and have it delivered in the same day.  I personally felt broken, we have taken many financial hits in our lives, like I am sure many of you have, and this time, I didn’t feel strong enough to handle it.

I decided to reach out to a good friend of mine.  I know this lady well, and I know she is a prayer warrior!  She loves Jesus with a passion and so does her husband.  I asked her to pray for me.  I told her the truth.  I felt depressed, I felt like God didn’t really care about us, and I felt like there was a giant vacuum sucking all the money out of our checking account.  She prayed for me on the spot of course, a simple prayer and gave me some verses to encourage me.  What I didn’t know, was that when she got home that night she and her husband prayed for us for hours.

The next day, was the last day of the period.  My husband went to work, without much expectation.  He was pretty beaten down too.  Fortunately, God does care and He isn’t too busy.  A person moving to Texas came into his store that day.  He decided to buy the most expensive bed  on his floor and have it delivered same day out of the facility in Texas to his new home!!!  It was a $7000 sale.  Let me tell you, that doesn’t happen, but that day it did.  God provided.  He cared about that check we needed.  I called my friend and told her what happened.  She started to cry and told me that she and her husband spent their entire evening praying for a miracle.  I of course started to cry too, tears of thanksgiving.

This incident largely changed how I view God.  It made me realize that He cares about the little things and showed me in a practical way how much He loves me.

Thy lovingkindness, O Lord, extends to the heavens, Thy faithfulness reaches to the skies. Psalm 36:5

Thanks you Jesus that you are never too busy!  Thank you that nothing is too small for You and You desire us to take all of the things on our hearts to You.