I learned an interesting Hebrew word today: tefillah. While the English translation is pray the Hebrew and English have very different meanings. When we hear the word pray we think of conversing with God. However, the Hebrew meaning for tefillah is to examine yourself.
We need a balance of both. We need to continually converse with God and we also need to examine ourselves. When the Holy Spirit convicts me of sin, I am quick to repent and ask the Lord to forgive me but I confess, there are also times I say a quick “please forgive me of my sins” prayer that really holds no conviction.
As I contemplated this word I wondered how I would respond to someone who came to me and apologized but really had no idea why. I don’t think I would put a lot of value in their words.
Isaiah 59:2 tells us, “But your iniquities have separated between you and your God, and your sins have hid his face from you, that he will not hear.” (KJV)
If your conversations with God seem one-sided lately, perhaps it’s time for a little self examination.
One of my greatest joys as a parent is surprising my son with an unexpected gift. At Christmas I always have to take his gifts to someone else’s home and hide them until Christmas Eve because as soon as he sees or feels the package he can tell what it is – without fail. It is a challenge for me to wrap something in a way that fools him. It rarely works, but when it does it is such a thrill to see his excitement at being surprised.
I believe God feels like this when He blesses us with the things He has prepared for us. He is the best Father we could ever imagine. In fact, according to Ephesians 3:20-21 … He is a better Father than we could ever imagine.
“Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.”
I John 4:17-19 tells us we can have boldness in the day of judgment. Why? Because the perfect love of God casts out fear. I needed to hear that this morning.
Satan loves to torment us with fear. He feeds on our insecurity and doubt. Just last night I was praying from a place of fear and defeat. Some say Satan whispers, but at times I feel like he is shouting at me …. “YOU’RE NOT GOOD ENOUGH, YOU’RE NEVER GONNA MAKE IT, YOU ARE A FAILURE … etc., etc., etc! It’s the same condemnation he has tortured me with all my life.
- Yes, it’s true – I am not good enough, but Jesus is and He took my judgment!
- Yes, on my own I could never make it, and that is why God sent the Holy Spirit to be my helper. I am not in this fight called life alone.
- Yes, I fail God everyday. But God assures me in His Word that He will forgive me if I confess my sin.
I love that God often gives me a verse of scripture in response to my prayers. As I read these verses this morning what stood out to me was, “But he who fears has not been made perfect in love. We love Him because He first loved us.”
You see, our perfection doesn’t come from our performance. It comes from being hidden in Christ. He didn’t choose me because I was worthy, He chose me because He loved me … with a perfect love.
After Moses passed away God appointed Joshua to take his place. Joshua had already proven himself to be courageous when Moses sent him to spy out the land of Canaan, but God knew his biggest challenges were ahead.
God’s directive to Joshua to be strong and courageous was not a request. It was a command. I believe it was also a comfort to Joshua. Afterall, what is there to fear if the Lord is with you where ever you go?
We also have the assurance He is with us. He will never leave us or forsake us. No matter how dark the night, or how tall the giant, we are more than conquerors in Christ. We are children of the King, protected by His angels.
Like David, we can proclaim, “The Lord is my light and my salvation – whom shall I fear?” Psalm 27:1 AMP
I am grateful for those who put their lives in harms way everyday to protect me, to protect all.
My heart breaks over the hate and violence going on in America.
Vengeance is not the answer to injustice.
Everyday our military, firefighters and police officers willingly lay down their lives. I believe the majority choose their careers out of a sincere desire to protect and serve. Like any profession, there are the few who abuse their power.
Every police shooting is investigated. Those who abuse their power must be held accountable, by due process of law. They too are entitled to be tried by a jury of their peers. Revenge is not justice. Social justice can only be obtained within the confines of the law. Violence solves nothing.
Thank you to all who protect and serve.
In John 15:13 (NKJV) Jesus said, “Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one’s life for his friends.”
It is comforting to know I can go to God for wisdom in times of confusion. He will not respond with rebuke.
“If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him.” James 1:5 KJV
What parent would turn their child away if they ask for advice? “For God is not the author of confusion, but of peace … ” 1 Corinthians 14:33 KJV
We serve a GOOD Father!
Seek His wisdom, knowledge and understanding for your situation. I often find God will bring a scripture to mind when I ask for guidance. Study His Word, hide it in your heart and He will use it to illuminate His path of deliverance … sometimes one step at a time.
“They word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path.” Psalm 119:105 KJV
When I think of the detail God poured into creation it astounds me that anyone could believe creation occurred without a divine design.
God’s miracles did not stop with Jesus’ resurrection. In fact, Jesus told His disciples that they would do even GREATER works than He did. I long to see those ‘greater works’ in my lifetime.
If we as believers could truly grasp that we have the same power within us that Jesus demonstrated in His earthly ministry, we could change the world. I believe the problem is we are lacking the child-like faith that moves mountains.
I love hearing stories of the miracles God is doing today. When God shows up and does the impossible the lost are confronted with the reality of who HE is, while believers are refreshed and encouraged in their faith.
He is STILL the God of the impossible. Let’s live a life without limits.
Jesus not only freed us from the penalty and punishment of our sins, but because we belong to Him we are also free from the power of sin to enslave us.
That my friend is amazing grace.
Romans 6:14 (KJV) tells us, “For sin shall not have dominion over you: for ye are not under the law, but under grace.”
Grace doesn’t give us an excuse to keep sinning; it gives us the power to overcome.
Romans 6:1-2 (KJV) What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound? God forbid. How shall we, that are dead to sin, live any longer therein?
1 John 1:9 (KJV) “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”
You’re no longer a slave to sin.
Whatever your sin struggle may be, HE has the power to set you free!
Jesus was never shy about confronting the misguided theology of His time. His teachings were revolutionary in a nation that had to continually fight for their very existence.
It’s easy to read today’s verse and think, “that sounds wonderful, BUT.” …
The reality is these are hard words to live by. They go against our sense of entitlement to vindicate wrong. But, Romans 12:19 tells us vengeance belongs to the Lord.
Jesus knew hate begets hate. Likewise, love begets love.
- Love your enemy.
- Bless those who curse you.
- Do good to those who hate you.
- Pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you.
These words contain life changing wisdom. Jesus wasn’t advocating lawlessness or suggesting we allow people to abuse us. He was guiding us to be accountable for OUR reactions. He was showing us a better way.
If we follow His guidance we can live free of bitterness.
When I read this verse the thing that struck me most was “for this is God’s will for you.” How often do we struggle to know God’s will for our lives? Could it be this simple – rejoice, pray, give thanks?
Perhaps if we put our focus on these three directives we will be able to discern God’s guidance in areas that are not so clear. If my child comes to me for advice I don’t respond with silence. Our Heavenly Father isn’t silent either.
Live a life of joy, in spite of your circumstances. God doesn’t want you weighted down with the cares of this world.
Pray without ceasing:
Prayer isn’t a ritual. It is meant to be an ongoing two-way conversation with our Heavenly Father.
Give thanks in everything:
Live with an ‘attitude of gratitude’.
Rejoice, pray, give thanks. This is God’s will for you.