I Wish I Knew What She Knew

 

woman-1031508_1280There is one story in the bible that I have always struggled with, a story that has made me aware of my faults, and made me want a deeper understanding of God. That is the story of Hannah.

Hannah had a hard life, she was married to a man named Elkinah, but Elkinah had another wife as well, Peninnah.

That for one is something I couldn’t even begin to imagine, there is no way that I would want to share my husband with another woman. And then imagine what it would be like having to live with her, having to see her every single day! Continue reading

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When Nobody is Watching

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When Joe’s on a night shift and I have the house to myself in the evening, for some reason I always feel about a million times hungrier than I usually would: I’m raiding the cupboards for any chocolate or crisps that might be hiding in the back, even cutting corners of lumps of cheese to feed my face. But when he’s at home I’m much more restrained, I just don’t seem to feel half as hungry.

This is probably as much down to boredom as anything; but isn’t it funny how we often act so differently when we are on our own?

This true with so many other areas in the life as well. Don’t we all act so much more lazily when we think we’re not being watched; or talk that bit more freely when we are just around family?

I know I often think that who we are when nobody is watching doesn’t matter. What’s the harm in it? After all, we can’t exactly be a good witness when nobody is watching us!

Of course who we are when nobody is watching does matter. They say that character is who you are when you are on your own.

Before King David was King, he was just shepherd boy David. A shepherd boy who had to spend a lot of time on his own with just his sheep for company. He could have spent his time sulking about having to do that mind numbing job.

He didn’t. He spent those hours worshipping God. Those hours he spent on his own in his youth shaped the man he was to become. A man who slayed giants and who was destined to become king. A man after God’s own heart.

I know it is so easy to pretend to be the perfect Christian in front of others. We know the right words to say to make it sound as if we are in the right place with God. But true faith comes when we are earnestly seeking God when nobody is watching.

But Jesus often withdrew to lonely places and prayed. (Luke 5:16)

 

5 Reasons not to Pray

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I feel like a bit of a hypocrite sharing this post.

I am no prayer expert: I’m usually the one that says the least in prayer meetings and struggles with it in my personal life. There are so many excuses I come up with for not praying, but for all these excuses there is rebuke that I know deep inside my heart, even if I do often ignore it. Maybe sharing this post will hold me accountable for spending more consistent time in prayer.

What’s the point, God doesn’t listen anyway. I get that, I so do. I know it can feel like you are just talking into the air sometimes. Its hard to talk when you cant see the one you are talking to, I even find it hard to speak to someone in sunglasses – it’s so frustrating not to see their reaction to what I am saying!

The thing is, prayer is not just talking into the air: It’s a two way conversation. God does respond to our prayers: sometimes he gently shifts our thoughts to things we know we could never have thought of on our own; sometimes it will be through words we read in the bible and sometimes it will be a deep knowledge within our hearts. He does listen, he does respond, and he does answer our prayers

I’ve seen this in my own life, and in the lives of others, multiple times. Like when I was in Christian Union at school, and we prayed for new memebers, right after we finsished the prayer, a boy from the year below knocked on the door and started coming to Christian Union.

I don’t know how to. Don’t worry about doing it wrong. When you’re talking with a friend do you worry about doing it wrong? Or do you just focus on having a good time and getting to know your friend better? This is essentially what prayer is about. Spending time with God and getting to know him better. Really, when you think about it like that it doesn’t seem to hard.

If you are still struggling, then look to the Lords prayer. The prayer Jesus taught us. This wll guide you through worshipping God, seeking forgiveness, and lifting up the needs of the world.

I don’t know what to pray about. In the world there are approximately 9 billion people, if about a third of them are Christians that still leaves 6 billion who don’t even know Christ yet. And then there’s all the people who do already know Christ but are suffering in some way, and then there is my self, my own needs. Sometimes I find myself not praying because it’s just so overwhelming that I don’t know where to start, and when I do start I feel bad about all the things that I don’t get around to praying for!

The thing is prayer isn’t just about me. Prayer is all about God. We start by worshipping him, and then pray about the things he lays on our hearts. That may be during the times we have set aside for prayer, or that may be when he suddenly wakes us up at three o clock in the morning.

I’m too busy. If you are genuinely too busy God understands. There will be times in your life when you cant spent large, or even small, chunks of time devoted to prayer, but make sure you are genuinely connecting with God throughout the day: Send up little prayers and talk with him about everything that is going on. Pray to him about situations that come to your attention throughout the day.

If this is more of an excuse than a genuine reason, then maybe its more because prayer seems boring to you. Maybe that’s the problem you should be tackling first, I know this one is definitely true of me.

Praying is boring, I can’t concentrate on it. Well I guess if you just sat in one place listing of a load of needs then it would probably become boring, and probably a little depressing. But when you treat prayer as spending time with your best friend then it does become easier.

Prayer isn’t just something you do for a set amount of time each day. It’s something you should aim to be doing consistently, throughout the day. Focusing on God and talking to him in every situation.

Remember prayer doesn’t have to always be done the same way, go for a walk; draw a picture, write in a journal, whatever, it really doesn’t matter. Prayer is about spending time with your creator.

One thing that I know for sure is that the days I begin on my knees always go better than the days that I don’t.

 

Testimony Tuesday: The Prayer Sofa

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Today I am sharing a testimony about the awesome power of prayer from my blogging friend: Beckie Lindsey.

Do you believe in the power of prayer? The “Prayer Couch” at the Desert Chapel Thrift Store in Hesperia, CA, could quite possibly make you a believer.

Owners, Andy and Mary Crothers-Anderson have witnessed firsthand God’s miracles through the power of prayer.

I read about the unexplained miracle making power of a certain prayer couch in my local newspaper. I was privileged to meet with the couple and hear their account of the steady stream of miracles that have occurred since they opened in January 2015.

“The first time I realized the couch was special and blessed was after my husband prayed for a very distraught woman on it and afterwards, it was as if she had gained a new lease on life,” said Mary, an ordained minister.

Andy says a few days after the first miracle on the Prayer Couch, another woman sat on it and was prayed for regarding her relationship with her estranged daughter. It had been four years since the woman had spoken to her daughter. Andy says she was heartbroken.

“We were in awe when the next day the woman came in to tell us that at 2:45 p.m. the previous day, at the exact time of our prayer, her daughter finally called and left a message saying she wanted to reconcile.”

On the Monday after the article appeared in the paper, Andy said a panic-stricken woman came in the store saying she had been diagnosed with breast cancer. She had lumps in both breasts and was scheduled to have a double mastectomy within a few days. They lead her to the couch and covered her in prayer. She came in several days later to report she didn’t have to get the surgery because the doctors said the cancer was GONE!

Delphina Gutierrez, a volunteer at the thrift store, says since she has been working there, not only has she witnessed the miracles, but her twelve-year-old daughter, Ruby has been a recipient when a growth in her foot was healed.

Gutierrez tells of an account of a married couple who came in for prayer. “They’d fallen on hard times. Neither were working and they had financial problems. After the prayer on the couch, the couple came in four days later to report that when they got home, those who owed them money, paid them back, a neighbor bought their used car for $1,800 and the husband got a job!”

Andy recounts another woman who came in shortly after the article ran in the paper. “She came in with her 12-year-old daughter from Compton. Her son is incarcerated at a local detention center. He saw the article and told his mother to come in and sit on the couch for prayer. After praying, she said, ‘you have no idea what this means to me.’”

Andy and Mary say that to date there have been 835 prayers and 18 Pastors have come and blessed the couch.

Mary laughs saying, “God has a sense of humor. I told him I don’t do thrift stores when Andy had the idea of opening.”

“Apparently God not only has a sense of humor but also enjoys a bit of irony,”  I said to Mary. “I say this because it’s interesting to me that He would use a thrift store with used, old, and discarded things to perform miracles. Isn’t it just like God, to use the weakness of man to display His power!”

Of course Mary laughed and agreed.

Yes, God is at work at the Desert Chapel Thrift store, for those who were once downtrodden, weak, homeless, jobless, penniless and hopeless, have encountered how PERSONAL and yet powerful the Living God truly is.

Dear readers, it is not only my belief, but I have witnessed myself that God is still in the business of miracles. He longs to show Himself to His people.

We are in what the Bible refers to as ‘the last days’. As we get closer to the second coming of Christ, we will see more and more miracles such as these.

“In ‘the last days,’ God says, ‘I will pour out my Spirit upon all people. Your sons and daughters will prophesy. Your young men will see visions, and your old men will dream dreams. In those days I will pour out my Spirit even on my servants—men and women alike—and they will prophesy. I will cause wonders in the heavens above and signs on the earth below—blood and fire and clouds of smoke. The sun will become dark, and the moon will turn blood red before that great and glorious day of the Lord arrives. But everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.” Acts 2:17-21 NLT

Jesus tells us in Matthew 24: 36, that no one, but the Father knows the day or the hour when Jesus will return, but He does say there will be signs.

Jesus said in Luke 21:29-30 NLT, “Notice the fig tree, or any other tree. When the leaves come out, you know without being told that summer is near. In the same way, when you see all these things taking place, you can know that the Kingdom of God is near.

And in Matthew 24:28 NLT, “Just as the gathering of vultures shows there is a carcass nearby, so these signs indicate that the end is near.”

God is a loving God. He doesn’t want anyone to perish. He is pursuing those who are lost to come to Him through his son, Jesus Christ and be saved. (2 Peter 3:9)

He will use the most seemingly unlikely sources to do so, even including using a broken-down, old sofa!

God is still in the business of saving souls and business is good!

Meet Beckie: In addition to being a wife and mom, Beckie is a Christian writer and blogger with a passion to encourage others to fall in love with the Word of God. She’s written children’s magazine stories and articles, as well as devotions and studies. She’s currently writing a young adult novel and two children’s picture books. Connect with Beckie on her blog, Spotlight at beckielindsey16.com,  where she regularly puts the spotlight on God’s Word. She’s also on Twitter, Facebook, and Pinterest.

How to Stop Worrying

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Worries have a weight to them.

They burden us.

They make our path a harder journey.

They make us weary.

They take over our minds and take away our joy.

Worry takes our mind off God. It makes us tremble, it can paralyze and stop us living the life God wants us to.

Most of the things we worry about are pointless. If I asked you what things you were worrying about this time last year, you probably wouldn’t remember most of them. There would probably have been a couple of big things that you still remember, but there would also have been lots of little things that you can’t name. Little and pointless things.

The little things aren’t worth worrying about. But worry carries no power to overcome the big things either.

Worry is not a blessing, it’s a curse.

That’s why Jesus commands us to stop worrying. Worry never achieved anything. We might give our lives to worry, but worry will only bleed us dry. Worry will destroy us and tear our relationship with God. Worry is a worthless friend. Worry is our enemy in disguise. We need to destroy it.

Worry will cleave itself to you and it will feel impossible to get rid of.

The only cure to worry is praise. And when we have worry praise can be the hardest thing.

But praise will lighten our heart. It will bring us joy and lead us closer to our true friend. Praise will repair our relationship with our creator. Praise casts out all fear. Praise will make us happy, despite everything.

Worry looks inside but praise looks out and up.

Worry pulls us down but praise helps us soar.

Worry is selfish but praise is selfless.

Praise despite hardship is powerful. We acknowledge that God is in control, we don’t try and control. Holding too close the things we should let go of.

Praise and prayer change everything, worry never changed anything.

Praise is powerful, where worry is powerless.

Praise is the cure, when worry is the poison.

Let’s rip out our worries crush them, and worship our creator. The only one who can bring true healing.

Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done.(Philippians 4:6 New Living Translation)

If You are Struggling with Prayer, This is a Great Book to Read!

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Prayer Fatigue by Jennifer Kennedy Dean

I recently finished reading Prayer Fatigue, and honestly, I think it is the most refreshing and encouraging book I have ever read about prayer. The author outlines ten struggles many people face when praying, and then then talks about how we can overcome them. I was encouraged by this, as I could relate to a lot of the problems! It was nice to know I wasn’t the only person struggling in these areas. I also realised I wasn’t doing as badly as I thought I was.

These are some of the areas which the author highlights:

  • Thinking of prayer as one more thing on your already crowded to do list.
  • Feeling that your job in prayer is to convince God or move him to do your will.
  • Trying to follow someone else’s pattern for prayer and feeling that you fall short.
  • Feeling that God is grading your prayer and you are passing.

This book was relatively short and easy to read, I really would recommend it to anyone who sometimes finds prayer to be more of a chore than a joy.

You can find it on Amazon here.

I only recommend books that I enjoy and this one comes highly recommended!

Do you ever find prayer a challenge rather than a joy? What have you done to tackle this?

What books have recently been an encouragement to you?