Prayer for the Overwhelmed (based on Romans 5:1-5)

Friends, I have been feeling a little overwhelmed lately. If you can relate to that feeling, allow me to assure you that God wants us to reach out to Him. He is listening and He cares.

I wrote a couple of prayers that I want to share with you; one in this post and one in the previous one. The prayer below is based on Romans 5:1-5

Dear Lord, life seems complicated right now, and I am physically and mentally exhausted. I know You hear my prayer and see my situation. It is an unimaginable blessing that You are a relational God who knows and cares how I feel. I am deeply grateful for Your Holy Spirit’s outpouring of love and divine encouragement. Your Word says I can rejoice in my sufferings because I will develop endurance, character, and hope – traits that will help me become more like You. Bring to my mind Your promise to not only give me hope but to be my hope. Instead of focusing on the problems I am experiencing, enable me to focus on You and what You are teaching me through them. Lord, help me to surrender to You and to embrace Your plan for my life. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Romans 5  1 Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we[a] have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. Through him we have also obtained access by faith[b] into this grace in which we stand, and we[c] rejoice[d] in hope of the glory of God. Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.

Prayer for the Overwhelmed (based on Psalm 34:1-9)

Friends, I have been feeling a little overwhelmed lately. If you can relate to that feeling, allow me to assure you that God wants us to reach out to Him. He is listening and He cares.

I wrote a couple of prayers that I want to share with you; one in this post and one in the next one. The prayer below is based on Psalm 34:1-9.

Dear Lord, I feel overwhelmed by the numerous goals, commitments, and responsibilities vying for my attention and time. Please open my eyes to Your countless gifts, especially those found in the challenges I am presently facing. Strengthen in me the determination to continually praise You, especially when life is difficult. Help me to thank You daily for Your unwavering mercy and constant love. Remind me that You are right beside me, eager to reach out as I take refuge in Your arms. Thank You for the times You have rescued me in the past, and for the times You will save me in the future. Bless me with a renewed sense of awe as I consider Your incredible glory and power. Please grant me a brand new perspective of my situation and a fresh appreciation of Your matchless peace as I draw closer to You. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Psalm 34 1 I will bless the Lord at all times; his praise shall continually be in my mouth.  2 My soul makes its boast in the Lord; let the humble hear and be glad. 3 Oh, magnify the Lord with me, and let us exalt his name together! 4 I sought the Lord, and he answered me and delivered me from all my fears. 5 Those who look to him are radiant, and their faces shall never be ashamed. 6 This poor man cried, and the Lord heard him and saved him out of all his troubles. 7 The angel of the Lord encamps around those who fear him, and delivers them. 8 Oh, taste and see that the Lord is good! Blessed is the man who takes refuge in him! 9 Oh, fear the Lord, you his saints, for those who fear him have no lack!

The Bridge

The God who parts waters, conquers graves, and closes lions’ mouths is much higher and holier than us. And He is perfect, pure, faithful, and flawless, and none of that prevents Him from lovingly connecting the colossal chasm between us.

Recently, I have been thinking about how vastly different we are from God and how important it is to keep that fact at the forefront of our minds. Not so we dwell on our lowly position, but so we marvel at how incredible He is. Unfortunately, if we minimize the magnitude of the divide between God and us, we reduce Him to some sort of super-human being instead of remembering He is not in the same realm as us. At all.

Jeremiah 5:22a says, “Do you not fear me?” declares the Lord. “Do you not tremble before me?”(ESV) The first portion of the ten commandments in Exodus 20:2-3 says: “I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery. “You shall have no other gods before me. (ESV) Psalm 46:10 says, “Be still, and know that I am God. I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth!”  (ESV)

Even though we continually choose to separate ourselves from Him through sin, His Word says He is not willing that anyone should perish. Jesus obediently died on Calvary; a gift offered to all of us regarding all of our sins. The God who parts waters, conquers graves, and closes lions’ mouths is much higher and holier than us. And He is perfect, pure, faithful, and flawless, and none of that prevents Him from lovingly connecting the colossal chasm between us.

We can’t truly appreciate how amazing God is without acknowledging the distance between us and recognizing how far He will readily go to reach us. 

During this Christmas season, let’s take time to thank God for sending Jesus to bridge the enormous gap between us. 

O, come let us adore Him; Christ the Lord.

When God Calls You Names

God knew that Gideon needed to hear God-authored words regarding who he genuinely was and the amazing things he could accomplish with His help.

I can’t imagine anything casual about an angel making an appearance in the Old Testament, but the angel account recorded in the 6th chapter of Judges begins pretty nonchalantly. God’s messenger was patiently sitting under an oak tree, as Gideon was threshing wheat nearby. He was assumedly waiting for an opportune time to approach Gideon and deliver life-altering news.

Judges chapter 6:12 says, “When the angel of the Lord appeared to Gideon, he said, “the Lord is with you, Mighty Warrior.” Other Bible translations record equally distinguished titles such as Mighty Man of Valor, Powerful Soldier, and Valiant Warrior. Perhaps Gideon momentarily thought the angel had appeared to the wrong man because he did not feel like he lived up to any of those names. He quickly reminded the angel that he was the youngest child from the weakest clan in Manasseh. 

The next thing Gideon knew, the angel charged him with a seemingly impossible assignment: to lead a group of men to conquer a large, powerful Midianite army of more than 100,000 men. (In a fascinating aspect of the story, God was about to thin the Gideon-led army down from 32,000 to 300 men.)

Gideon took some time to ask for a sign that God sent the angel, and he received it. Eventually, his doubts about the message and the messenger vanished, and he realized he was going to be an integral component in a remarkable victory – a victory that could only be orchestrated by God. 

Do you ever have a little bit of Gideonish doubt about yourself? Do you ever see yourself as less-than or unworthy? Do you ever doubt your ability to carry out the tasks God has assigned to you? If you answered yes to those questions, then your impression of yourself is different from His opinion of you. Allow me to boldly suggest that you promptly silence all other views and align yourself with His. 

God knew that Gideon needed to hear God-authored words regarding who he genuinely was and the amazing things he could accomplish with His help.

Our perception of ourselves is affected by past experiences, opinions of other people, and our inferiority complexes. God bases His perception of us on the fact that He, the Creator and King, created us on purpose and with a purpose. 

May we allow God to work on our hearts, so that eventually, like Gideon, we accept what God wants us to know about our identity. May the truth of our identity always win out over the perception we have of ourselves.

Prayer: Lord, whenever I see myself differently than You see me, may I accept the truth of my identity in You. And may I live according to Your truth rather than my opinion. In Jesus’ name, Amen. 

But What Does God Say?

Quick thought for today:

“It’s time to care a lot less about people agreeing with what we say and a lot more about us agreeing with what God says.”

There’s a part of me that likes to preface conversations or social media posts with, “I think,” or “In my opinion,” and then hope that whoever hears or reads my words agrees with me…

I’m working on this.

I’m trying to shift my perspective. My new goals: 1. Strive to express thoughts and opinions that are in alignment with the authoritative Word of God (In other words, before I form an opinion and rush to share it, check if it is Christlike.) and 2. Be less concerned with the reactions of people and more concerned with being obedient to God. (In other words, double-check my priorities. At the end of the day, I want my words to honor God.)

There will be times when I fail, but I am determined to prayerfully pursue those goals. It’s hard for a person who doesn’t just walk away from controversy…I’m more of a sprint-away-from-disagreement kind of gal. And it’s hard for a person who likes to please people. But I’m renewing my resolve to be a Jesus-pleasing gal above all else.

Maybe this sounds like an opinion,😉 but wouldn’t you agree that this world doesn’t need more opinions, and it could sure use more truth spoken in love instead? Ephesians 4:15 says, “But speaking the truth in love, let us grow in every way into Him who is the head—Christ.” 

If we ask God, He will help us care less about the approval of others and more about lovingly expressing His truth in this world – a world desperate for Him.

Where is the Unity?

We aren’t required to share the same opinions in order to have unity, but we can agree that our shared love for Jesus will dictate how we handle differing views.

Have you noticed that the discussion about practically every headline-making topic in our world today (COVID, racism, statues, masks, opening schools vs. distance learning, to name just a few) creates bitter disagreement, anger, and sometimes even violence? Not just among believers and non-believers – that’s to be expected, because we form our opinions upon very different foundations. I’m talking about ugly division among believers. 

Where is the unity?

In John 17:20-26, Jesus prayed to His Heavenly Father about unity. He prayed for future believers to be unified, so that people would be inspired to believe in His Heavenly Father. When we sit with that for a moment, it hits hard. We all have a purpose on this earth: pointing people toward Jesus, and that purpose is benefitted by being a unifying presence. If the beauty of unity shows people who God is and makes Him known, then it’s time to put unifying behavior on the top of our priority list!  Continue reading “Where is the Unity?”

Let God Have the Final Say (Our Identity in Christ ~ Day 3 of 3)

We have a choice to make. We can believe the false identity created by the world’s negative opinions of us, or we can read about, reflect upon, and ultimately receive the identity God bestowed upon us. It takes increased patience and intentional prayer to decide we are going to embrace our God-Authored identity, but we are capable of it with His help.

Philippians 2:5 says, “In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus.” That verse and others with the same message make it clear that before we were born, God placed a calling on our lives: to be like Jesus. Continue reading “Let God Have the Final Say (Our Identity in Christ ~ Day 3 of 3)”

Let the Writer of Our Story be the Author of Our Identity (Our Identity in Christ ~ Day 2 of 3)

If there are times when we question who we are in the sight of God, it is important to remember He has made the answer available to us. Diving into the Bible is the ideal way to discover how He defines us.

The following truths are directly from the Word of God, and therefore directly from the heart of God!

Continue reading “Let the Writer of Our Story be the Author of Our Identity (Our Identity in Christ ~ Day 2 of 3)”

What Can We Do?

When disagreement or controversy arises, I am usually a “Hey, I can see it from both sides,” person because A. I detest conflict lol and B. because I honestly can usually see both sides, or at least see valid points from both perspectives.

With this Covid-19 situation, we’ve heard numerous people say things to the effect of, “I don’t know what/who to believe,” and many of us have been forced to make difficult decisions and feel like we are “picking a side,” based on biased sources, differing views, and incomplete data.

What can we do?

1. Ask God for wisdom. There is a verse that flat-out says that we can ask God for wisdom and He will give it to us. Maybe you knew that already, but I finally discovered that verse existed when I was well into my 40’s, and now I sometimes wonder how I got this far in life not knowing it! James 1:5 says: “If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you.”  Wow – If we ask Him, He doesn’t just give us wisdom, He gives it generously!

If we took time to ask God for His wisdom while sifting through the information we are being bombarded with, what might happen? We may feel compelled to research something further, we may decide to reserve judgment on other news, and/or we may feel led to share some information with others. Whatever the case may be, God is willing to give us His wisdom on how to process and deal with it. He is also willing to pour His peace into our lives even in the midst of the conflict and division surrounding these circumstances. This crazy time in our world would be a perfect time to consider taking advantage of Godly wisdom and “beyond-anything-we’ve-ever-felt-before” brand of peace.

2. “And let all that you do be done in love,” 1 Corinthians 16:14.  Sometimes we need reminders that the love this verse is referring to is the Christlike,  sacrificial, genuine love that God created and personifies. It’s deciding if the way we treat others, the words we speak to others, and the tone we post on social media with follows that Christlike kind of love example. Side note: calling people idiots or uneducated or saying that they have no compassion aren’t words that fit in the “Let all that you do be done in love” category.  Friends, all of it….how we present ourselves to the world, and Who we represent to the world…all of it should be done in love. I know we can get through this without questioning people’s hearts and intelligence.

I hope and pray that we can all choose to believe the best about everyone’s motives. And if you see me failing at that, please call me out – in a kind, considerate manner, of course. 😉

Dear Lord, help us to take a deep breath and put forth a genuine effort to see where people with differing views are coming from. Please give us Your wisdom to help us discern truth. Lord, help our actions and our words to be dictated by our relationship with You instead of fear, resentment or negativity. Grant us Your perspective as we navigate through this time and show us how to display Your love to others. In Your name we pray, Amen.