Tag Archives: Prayer

First World Problems

And God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light. (Genesis 1:3 ESV)

I just started a bible reading plan that puts the bible in chronological order. One of the things that immediately stood out to me was how verbal God was in Genesis 1 when He was creating the world. He could have just snapped His fingers, clapped His hands, or did a little head nod and POOF! the world is here. But He chose to speak the world into existence. I counted fifteen times where the bible states, “God said,” while He was creating the universe. God spoke and created the world. God spoke and created the sea and land. God spoke and created the creatures of the sea and air. The only thing that God did not speak into existence is man. The bible says that, “the LORD God formed the man of dust from the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living creature.” (Gen. 2:7) God almighty breathed life into us. We were created different from the rest of the universe. We were created with purpose, for a purpose. Everything else was created for us, but we were created for God. We were created to know and love God through Christ Jesus.

Our God is a verbal God.

Even after man had sinned against God, He called out to them. Genesis 3:9 says, “But the LORD God called to the man and said to him, “Where are you?” God called out to Adam and Eve because they were hiding from Him. They hid because they were afraid. God still calls us today and many of us are hiding. We are hiding from God because we are afraid. Afraid that God will punish us. Afraid that God will reject us because of the things we have done. Afraid because we know that He will do some very radical changes in our lives. In reality, it’s impossible to hide from God. Just like He found Adam and Eve, He will find us. At that point when we are in the presence of God, we have a decision to make, will we submit to His will, confessing our sin and turning to Him for help. Or will we continue to run and try to hide. After many years of running and trying to hide myself, I can tell you that what God wants to do in your life is love you. God is love (1 John 4:8) and God wants to show you what love truly looks like.

Our God is a verbal God and He is calling you today. He calls to us through Jesus Christ and through His word. I once heard someone say that if you want to hear the voice of God, read the bible out loud. I challenge you to start your own bible reading plan. Get to know the God of the universe, God the creator, God the Father. I pray that God would call out to you as He did Adam and Eve and you would answer.



Burn Out

“Don’t burn out; keep yourselves fueled and aflame.” Romans 12:11 MSG

Easier said than done, right? A gentleman in my Wednesday morning bible study made an interesting comment today. He said that a group of college kids had came in on a mission trip and were “on fire for Jesus”. He also stated that he wished we could keep that fire going as we grew older, but the world would eventually beat them down as well. Maybe one would keep the fire but most would “burn out”. I have to admit, when he said this I was taken back, even a little angered that he could say this so nonchalantly. Like it was inevitable and that we could do nothing about it. When I sat down to write this post I was frustrated at his comment, upset with the ease of it. But as I started typing I realized something…he was right. But why? Jesus said in Matthew 11:30, “For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” If it’s easy and light, why do so many Christians burn out? As I prayed about it, a thought came to mind. Maybe the reason so many of us burn out is because we are not yoked with Christ, but ourselves. We try to take on the yoke of Christianity without Christ. Instead of leaning on Jesus and trusting in Him and His work on the cross for salvation, we are desperately trying to save ourselves. We trust in our own works, our bible studies, our prayer time, our volunteering to ensure our salvation. We end up trying to be our own savior. Don’t get me wrong, all these things are of great value, but they won’t save us. Only faith in Jesus Christ can save us, and through faith come the works. The bible studies and prayer time, the volunteering and serving should come as a result of faith in Jesus, not the other way around.  So looking back on the comment made of “burning out,” he was right, to an extent. Apart from Jesus we can only sustain the fire for so long. Eventually we will burn out. The world will beat us down and do its very best to douse our flames. If we hope to stand any chance of avoiding exhaustion and spiritual burn out we must rely on Jesus. Only He can sustain us. “Even youths shall faint and be weary, and young men shall fall exhausted; but they who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint.” Isaiah 40:30-31 ESV. My prayer is that you would find your strength in Jesus Christ, that He would fan your flames until they roar uncontrollably with His spirit. That you would lean on Him in times of weakness. That those of you who don’t know Him would stumble into the wildfires of my Christian brothers and sisters and upon seeing the flames of their passion for Christ, have no other option than to themselves ignite. I pray for those whose coals have all but burned out, that the Holy Spirit would blow in like a hurricane and set your soul ablaze. We are called to be the light of the world. I pray that the Holy Spirit would keep us fueled and aflame. Amen.

Pray For Me

I think it’s safe to say that most people know Philippians 4:13, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” Even if you don’t know very much about the bible, you have probably seen that verse on a t-shirt, bumper sticker, or wrist band. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not trying to knock the verse. I think it’s a very powerful and meaningful verse, and it just so happens to be written by one of my all time favorite people in the bible, the apostle Paul. Having just finished the book of Luke, I’ve been trying to find a good place to pick back up. I really wanted to read about David, but something kept telling me to keep searching. I happened to find a wristband with Philippians 4:13 on it and I thought to myself, hmmm, all the times I have heard this verse or even prayed and said this verse, I have never really read the book of Philippians. Before I go any further, I want to get something off my chest. Lately, I have been feeling pretty far from God. That raging inferno of passion I had for Jesus has turned into a nice, quiet, cozy, gas log fireplace type of fire. I don’t want to have a nice, quiet, cozy, campfire of passion for God. I want to be raging out of control for God. A fire so intense that it can’t help but be spread to everyone that I come in contact with. Well, needless to say I have been feeling kind of down about the fact that I have sort of drifted off from my daily devotions and prayers. Before I opened my bible today, I prayed that God would give me a message. That He would lay something on my heart that I could put into words to move someone out there that might be reading my blog. I wasn’t expecting to be the one that God moved. When I opened my bible case today, a bracelet fell out. That bracelet had Philippians 4:13 written on it. Being that I hadn’t read it yet, I decided to start from the beginning so could really get the meaning behind the verse. Once I started reading I felt like God Himself were talking to me directly through Paul’s message. “And this I pray, that your love may abound still more and more in knowledge and all discernment, that you may approve the things that are excellent, that you may be sincere and without offense till the day of Christ, being filled with the fruits of righteousness which are by Jesus Christ, to the glory and praise of God.” Philippians 1:9-11 NKJV. For some reason this message really hit home for me. Like Paul himself were praying directly for me. If I could ask one thing of my readers, it would be to pray for me. To send out a prayer for “that blogger guy”, that those prayers would fan my flames for Jesus. “Being confident of this very thing, that He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ,” Philippians 1:6 NKJV.

Spiritual Strength

It seems like right after I gave my life to God, I started being tempted in ways that I never imagined. Things that I used to do before without so much as a second thought, suddenly became a struggle for me. I know in my heart what I should and shouldn’t do, but I still struggle with the temptation. Luke 4:1-2 NKJV, “Then Jesus, being filled with the Holy Spirit, returned from the Jordan and was led by the Spirit into the wilderness, being tempted for forty days by the devil. And in those days He ate nothing, and afterward, when they had ended, He was hungry.” After Jesus was baptized, He was tempted by the devil himself for 40 days. It doesn’t list every single temptation, but I can only imagine what the devil promised Jesus if He would just turn from God and worship him. Power, money, fame, food, authority, women, glory, who knows what else the devil tried to sway Jesus with for 40 days straight. For over a month, the devil threw everything he had at Him. I assure you that the devil is just as real today as he was 2000 years ago. We may not see him like Jesus did back then, but he’s there. Behind every temptation we face, day to day, the devil is trying his best to sway us. He may be using alcohol, or drugs to sway you. Maybe it’s women or money, maybe it’s the fact that you have been questioning if God even exists or not. I heard a quote somewhere that said, “The greatest trick the devil ever pulled, was convincing man he didn’t exist.” I titled this post “Spiritual Strength” for a reason, we have to be strong in our faith to resist the devil. It’s not always going to be easy, in fact, most times it will be quite difficult. The devil will tell us that if we just give in, he can make us feel better. That if we just set our faith in God aside, life would be more enjoyable. Nothing could be farther from the truth. In the beginning of chapter 4 in the book of Luke, the devil took Jesus up to high mountain top and showed him the kingdoms of the world. Luke 4:6-8 NKJV, “And the devil said to Him, “All this authority I will give You, and their glory; for this has been delivered to me, and I give it to whomever I wish. “Therefore, if You will worship before me, all will be Yours.” And Jesus answered and said to him, “Get behind Me, Satan! For it is written, ‘You shall worship the Lord you God, and Him only you shall serve.'” The devil is going to offer you the world to turn from God, we have to have the spiritual strength to see through his lies. I don’t know what you may be struggling with today, but take comfort in knowing that just as you and I are being tempted now, Jesus was also tempted and prevailed! Luke 4:13 NKJV, “Now when the devil had ended every temptation, he departed from Him until an opportune time.” An opportune time, the devil will attack you when you are at your weakest. When you are beaten down, depressed, lonely, struggling, that’s when Satan will start his temptations. It says that Jesus ate nothing for 40 days and was hungry. That’s when the devil started to attack Him. When He was hungry, tired, and weak, the devil started tempting Him. The same is true for us today. The devil will wait until we are at our lows to start his attack. Hebrews 4:15-16 NKJV, “For we do not have a High Priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin. Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need.” Jesus Christ knows us, He knows our weaknesses. He was tempted then just as we are now. We must have the strength to come boldly before God in our time of need, not to Satan and his temptations. God knows that we are not perfect, He understands the temptations that we face, because He also faced them.

I don’t know what to do with my hands….

I woke up this morning and was planning on doing my bible study while my son eats breakfast and watches cartoons like most mornings. After realizing I left my bible in my wife’s car, I’m being forced to use her pink “Busy Mom’s Bible”. I was planning on finishing up 2 Corinthians today but as I flipped through this pink mom bible, I came to Luke 11. The heading of the chapter says, “Jesus’ Teaching on Prayer”. I have yet to read Luke but something kept telling me that I should check this chapter out. It occurred to me while reading this, that there’s a lot of people out there that may not even know how to pray. Some may think the only way to pray is on your knees with your hands together and your eyes closed. I personally don’t think there is any specific way of prayer. If you are talking to God, I assure you, He is listening. Whether it’s on your knees with your eyes closed, or driving in your car, He hears all prayers. When the disciples asked Jesus to teach them to pray in chapter 11 of the book of Luke, Jesus replied in verse 2, “He said to them, “When you pray, say: “‘Father, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come. Give us each day our daily bread. Forgive us our sins, for we also forgive everyone who sins against us. And lead us not into temptation.'” I don’t think we need to just repeat this verse over and over again, day in and day out, but I do think it is a foundation for what all of our prayers should be like. For me, prayer is a form of communication with God. I want to have a strong relationship with God, and the only way to build a strong relationship with someone is to spend time with them, talk to them, get to know them. Sometimes I pray for little silly things like, “Please God, don’t let us be late, again!” But I have been trying to make it a point to take time out of the day and really pray. On my knees, hands crossed, eyes closed, serious prayer. Luke 11:9 NIV says, “So I say to you: ASK and it will be given to you; SEEK and you will find; KNOCK and the door will be opened to you.” I spend that quiet prayer time asking God for guidance, knowledge, courage, strength, wisdom, endurance, and so much more. But after that quiet time of asking, that’s when I start SEEKING. That’s when I start KNOCKING. I honestly don’t think it’s enough to just pray, we have to get out there and SEEK, we have to KNOCK. Jesus didn’t just sit back and pray, He was a man of action! I think prayer gets tossed around a little too much today. We hear the prayer requests at church and we say, “We need to pray for them.” Prayer is powerful, don’t get me wrong, but if someone has a need that you can fulfill, why sit back and pray for it when you could be the answer to that very prayer? We have to take action! I hear “ask and you shall receive” all the time, but we tend to leave out that “seek and you shall find” part. It requires us to do something, to step out of our comfort zone. I’ll admit, it’s not always easy. It’s far easier for me personally, to sit here and type out this message than it would be for me to get up in front of a group of people and say it, or even to witness to someone out in everyday life. Just yesterday I had the perfect opportunity to witness to someone and I just sat there. I heard the voice in my head telling me exactly what to say, and I froze. Oddly enough I was talking to someone about the possibility of zombies after the rapture, when a waitress came up thinking we were talking about The Walking Dead tv show. Instead of using that opportunity to talk about Jesus or ask her if she went to church, I just said it was an awesome show. I chickened out. I froze up. It’s been bothering me ever since. So, for those of you that are reading this I have a prayer request. Pray that I have the courage to listen to that “voice” in my head. Pray that I can break through my comfort zones. For my readers, I pray that you also have the courage to do more than just pray. I pray that you take action. I pray you seek. I pray you knock. Luke 11:10 NIV, “For everyone who asks receives; he who seeks finds; and to him who knocks, the door will be opened.”

Are you talking to me, God?

I grew up hearing about how God “spoke” to people. I would hear someone say something like, “I just felt the Lord speaking to my heart.” I never understood what that meant until recently. I always thought to myself, “You felt Him speak to you? How do you feel speech?” I just couldn’t understand what they were talking about, until now. For me the first time I truly felt the Lord was at a service up in Table Rock, SC. It was an outside service in the mountains, it was beautiful. I just felt something telling me to go to the alter call, so instead of ignoring that “feeling” I got up, went to the front, and prayed. I prayed harder that day in just a few short minutes than I have ever before, but I still hadn’t accepted Christ as my savior. A short while later I had finally agreed to start going to church with my wife. In a service that I wasn’t even paying attention to, is the second time I felt the Lord speaking to me, telling me it was time. That night I gave my life to God. Since then I honestly feel like I can hear God speaking to me all the time. After I got saved, I started praying. I started praying that God would reveal Himself to me. I prayed that I would know God’s will for my life. I prayed that God would tell me what to do with self. I prayed that same prayer this morning before I got out of bed. And when I got up I started reading my bible. I did my normal bible study while my son ate breakfast and watched morning cartoons, then I started flipping around my bible. I came to a verse that I had already highlighted a while back and it stopped me in my tracks. Acts 26:16 NKJV, “But rise and stand on your feet; for I have appeared to you for this purpose, to make you a minister and a witness both of the things which you have seen and of the things which I will reveal to you.” What most of you probably don’t know is that I have been trying to figure out what my next step is in life. Should I go back to school or should I just start looking for some kind of a job. I’ve been praying that God would lead me somewhere, that he would open some kind of a door for me. Ask and you shall receive, right? Well, this morning I feel like He revealed to me not just my purpose but what my goal in life should be also. Acts 26:18 NKJV, “to open their eyes, in order to turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan to God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins and an inheritance among those who are sanctified by faith in Me.” I’m still looking for a job or more preferably, a career, but God showed me what my purpose was this morning.