Monday, June 30, 2014

Get Back in the Closet!

I've been asked before, and I've also heard people talk about having a Prayer Closet. For a long time I thought that to be a literal "closet" where one went to pray! You may be laughing right now, and that's okay if you are. But let me ask you, do you have a prayer closet?

Let me put it in simpler terms: Do you have a special, private, place that you like to go by yourself to talk to the Lord? My absolute favorite place is on a balcony, in the mountains, overlooking a rushing creek. But when I can't be there, my favorite place is at the end of my porch. I call it "The Stoop." Yours could be a spare bedroom, a favorite chair, a trail in the woods, even your car! My husband's favorite place is on his motorcycle, riding down the road. 

But when you pray, go away by yourself, shut the door behind you, and pray to your Father in private. Then your Father, who sees everything, will reward you. ~Matthew 6:6

Whatever, or wherever you go, this is your "Prayer Closet." Someplace private. Someplace where no one else goes with you. This is your very private special place where you meet and spend time with God. You don't always have to talk. Maybe you just spend time listening, waiting for Him to speak to you. Because face it, He already knows what's on your heart.

Yes, it's good to bring all your cares to Him (1 Peter 5:7), but sometimes it's also good to just "be still" and listen.

Be still and know that I am God! ~Psalms 46:10a NLT

In my prayer closet, I see and hear many things. The best thing about my prayer closet is that it's portable. I can take it with me anywhere, because I can pray anywhere! But the best thing about my time spent in my prayer closet is that God is always there.

In the 60's, the Beach Boys sang this song and the first few lines went, "There's a world where I can go, and tell my secrets to. In my room. In my room...."

Jesus went away by Himself to pray alone, in private. The Beach Boys went into their room. Whether alone in the wilderness, woods, a room with a door, a balcony in the mountains, on a motorcycle, or wherever is your favorite place to linger, get back in the "closet." God is waiting for you there.

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

More Than Expected

Sometimes with God, you get a lot more than you ever expected. Okay... ALWAYS with God you get more than you expected. Why? Because God is an abundantly giving God, and He wants to bless His kids with so much more than we could ever imagine or dream possible.

For too many years though, I had absolutely no idea that God wanted to bless me. Instead, I thought that God was this great big Judge, Jury, and Jailer, who was waiting for me to mess up so that He could convict me, sentence me, and then zap me into oblivion for some stupid mistake I made. Sound familiar?

When God healed me though, I discovered that He was not who I had Him pegged to be. Of course He was the God who saved me, but He also showed me that not only did He save me from an eternity in hell, He saved me from a miserable life on earth, too! He also showed me that He is a gentleman, He is kind, loving, generous, gentle, and my list can go on and on. But another thing I learned about God is that He actually WANTS to bless me! He wants to give me things, and He wants me to receive them gladly.

You can pray for anything, and if you have faith, you will receive it. ~Matthew 21:22, NLT

The night I was healed, God actually gave me a whole lot more than I ever thought was possible. Not only did He heal my mind from the many years of verbal and emotional abuse that plagued me, He also put me back together mentally, emotionally, and then began a physical healing inside me!

God gave me more self-esteem, more confidence, and a presence about me that people actually notice. I didn't know it was there, but it is. This didn't happen overnight, but the process began in an instant.

Maybe you feel as if things in your life are hopeless. They aren't. Maybe you feel as if no one cares. They do. Maybe you think God has forgotten you. He hasn't. He is crazy about you! He wants to bless you. He loves you and wants you to let Him. It might seem way out there, but honestly God does not want you to hurt or be hurt. So if there are things going bad in your life, you can be assured that God is not the cause of it!

God is a God of abundance. He created you for great things and has great big plans for you. So right where you are, why not ask Him to help you? He's just a breath away. And you can be confident that with God, you will get a whole lot more than you ever expected.

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Don't Be Backwards

I was reading an article this morning that my sister wrote, and it struck me that maybe I'm doing things wrong. Well, maybe not wrong but backwards. And if backwards, just how do I know that and what makes me an authority on the subject in the first place? I don't know, but it just struck me that maybe I'm doing things backwards.

See, I get up in the morning usually to kiss dear husband good-bye as he leaves for work, get my morning vitamin cocktail, then sit on the big comfy couch or rocker...or even out on the stoop... to wake up a bit before I start the day. Only I sit there a bit too long sometimes and before I know it I've been there over an hour. I should have done my prayer time, had my breakfast, and got started writing at least, shouldn't I?

Yet, every morning I wake up out of the middle of a dream for which I usually can't remember what was going on in it, but nonetheless I wake up and there is a worship song playing in my head. Clearly, my mind, soul, whatever... my insides are singing praises to God! It's usually at this time that I wonder where that came from (because of course you know that I'm not coherent enough to realize that I'm already giving God the first few moments of my day) and I trudge to the necessary room in hopes of waking up a bit more.

But my point is that for too long I think I've been doing things backwards. I never sit down at the computer and begin writing until after I THINK I've spent enough time with God, had my breakfast, done my "routine" or "ritual" tasks, and am satisfied that God is satisfied with me enough to allow me to write. HELLO! When did God tell me that I couldn't write until I DID certain things? When did God actually lay the law down on me, period? Um... He never did. I did that to myself.

Yes, I want to serve God. Yes, I want to give Him my first of everything, including the first of my day. Silly me, I HAVE BEEN and didn't realize it! Waking up singing praises to Him from deep within me IS giving Him my first waking moments. Always in my healed mind, because there's room for Him in there now because all those dark shadowy critters are gone (we'll talk about those another time). But the fact is...I AM giving my first and best to God

Here's my theory; We have lived in a performance-based world so long that we have hung that tag on a mercy-filled, grace-filled, loving and forgiving God who requires only that we love and trust Him not that we perform to earn His love or forgiveness! 

The truth is this: I don't have to perform for God! I don't have to perform for anybody! Regardless of whether I wake up with a praise song in my head or not, God loves me anyway. He has already forgiven me. He has already forgotten what I did wrong. He has already healed me. And this writing that I do? Yeah, God gave me that, too! 

He has removed our sins as far from us  as the east is from the west...  And I will forgive their wickedness,  and I will never again remember their sins. ~Psalm 103:12 & Hebrews 8:12 (NLT)

Don’t be backwards! It’s time to turn around and head in the direction God told you to go. You don’t have to follow a list, or routine. Just trust the One who gave you the Basic Instructions Before Leaving Earth. You’ll do just fine.

Thursday, June 5, 2014

Speak Life

Your words have power. Whether you believe that or not, they do. You can either speak life or death into the people around you. Here's an example: Growing up, I heard more times than not how I would grow up to be fat, have nerve problems, and health problems. Why? Because "it runs in the family." I watched as my maternal grandmother got bigger and bigger, and less and less mobile. I watched as my mother struggled with depression and the fear that she would "get cancer and die." Then she did. She was forty-eight. Then I began to fear that the same thing would happen to me. 

In Every Encounter We Either Give LIFE Or We Drain It; There Is No Neutral Exchange. ~Brennan Manning

I struggled for years with my nerves and my weight. I thought that this was my destiny. I literally had no hope...and yet, my Hope was right in front of me the whole time, but I couldn't see Him. The junk that was spoken over me my entire life was choking out the life that God had planned for me. I couldn't hear the life-giving words that would bring me into the purpose laid out for me before the world even began. Instead, the words spoken over me were negative and more times than not bone-chilling.

Toby Mac has a song that says, "Speak life, speak life, to the deadest darkest night. Speak life, speak life, when the sun won't shine and you don't know why. Look into the eyes of the broken hearted. Watch 'em come alive as soon as you speak hope, you speak love, you speak... You speak life." We have no idea how our words affect the lives of others. Whether it's our friends, our family, our children, or even people we don't know, our words hold the hope, love, and life that someone is looking for.

Use your words to inspire ~Toby Mac, Speak Life

Life isn't perfect. We get angry. We get upset. But the words we speak when angry or upset can dash the hope, love, and life right out of someone who is struggling to find those things. I don't want to miss an opportunity to show someone the love of Jesus and help them find their purpose. My words need to be ones that point someone right into forgiveness, grace, and hope. I want them to find that hope, love, and life.

We can turn a heart through the words we say ~ Toby Mac, Speak Life

So, what are YOU speaking?

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