Category Archives: Connecting with God

Be angry …

It seems that in today’s world of reality shows filled with fights and arguments giving full vent to your anger is something to be praised.  But if you are a child and follower of the most high then you believe otherwise. Unfortunately, allowing anger to rule your spirit many times breaks trust, ruins relationships and worse case scenario can end a life.

In my life, I have grown to the point where the desire to know what the word of God says about issues when they present themselves is of the utmost importance, especially if they are destructive and detrimental.  When I was younger, I got angry quickly and since I was prone to holding things in, it was wrathful when I did get angry because I exploded.  While Anger is a natural human response to an emotion, giving full vent to our anger dictates a level of immaturity and lack of self-control.  The bible tells us to ‘be angry and do not sin’.  Sinning in anger or giving full vent to our anger (wrath) can have repercussions in both the physical and spiritual realm.  James tells us that the anger of man does not produce the righteousness of God, so we already see that anger is unproductive and even counterproductive to our walks as children of God.

Here are three other things the bible say’s about how wrath or giving full vent to your anger affects you and those around you!  There are also good reflective journaling questions you can answer for yourself.  Many times we have ‘a ha’ moments when writing things down and quietly thinking about our inner workings, so give it a try!

  1. Makes you a fool:  Basically, if you give full vent to your anger you are acting like a fool.  That’s kind of harsh right?  But if you think about it, it’s true!  I can remember the times when I blew my top,  screaming, cursing and throwing things basically made me look a little crazy.  On top of that once I had time to calm down and look back on the mess I’d made, I usually feel quite foolish. (Proverbs 29:11 & Ecclesiastes 7:9).  Unfortunately, while you may be apologetic and truly repentant many times people won’t forgive easily or may continue to throw it in your face for years to come. (I talk a little about how to deal with someone that won’t let your past stay in the past.)  Have you ever been in a situation where you just ‘went off’ and felt horrible about it later?  Why do you think this happened, what in your past made this particular situation one where wrath was your response? How do you think you can prevent this from occurring in the future? 
  2. Makes you a troublemaker: According to Galatians 5, fits of anger is a fruit of the flesh and we know that it produces unrighteousness, but it also produces dissension and chaos.  Proverbs 29:22 tells us that a man of wrath stirs up strife and one given to anger causes much transgression and Proverbs 15:1 says that a harsh word stirs up anger.  I don’t know about you, but when in an argument with someone, especially a significant other, I used to fight as dirty as they come verbally.  This usually did not deescalate the argument, but created more anger between us.  I’ve always said that anger is something you can catch if you allow it into your spirit, it can spread and soon both people are on a horrible path to wrath!  Can you think of a time when your words have stirred up anger recently?  How could you have spoken in love and gentleness to prevent this from happening (go over the scenario in your head with a different reaction and guess how the other person may have reacted differently)? How in your life has wrath been contagious?  Can you remember  a time when you attempted to keep your cool, but allowed the anger of someone else to take you out of that mindset?  What could you have done to prevent ‘catching wrath’?
  3. A horrible friend: The bible says that you shouldn’t make friends with someone given to anger or a wrathful person.  But this bible verse speaks to the fact that a someone quick to anger usually pushes people away, either out of fear, lack of tolerance for the behavior or uncertainty because they never know what will set you off.  But what if you are a spouse or parent and given to wrath, separating yourself from your family long-term is usually not a viable option.  I would start with being as open and honest as possible and let them know that you are attempting to be better (I talk a little bit about how to deal with that here). I myself have noticed where my tendency to fly off the handle has caused friends to look at me differently and many times those relationships have not been fully mended.  People often distance themselves from dangerous things that have a tendency to hurt or feel unpleasant, in this case it would be your anger.  Have you noticed your anger coming between you and those that you love, family relationships, friendships, partnerships etc.?   How can you go to them now, laying all pride aside and be open and honest?  Write a letter (even a paragraph) letting them know how you feel as this may be an easy way to get the conversation started.
  4. Distant from God: The bible is pretty harsh on those that give full vent to their anger and it’s possibly because it is one sin that can so easily creep in and tear relationships apart if not kept in check.  If you are prone to giving full vent to your anger not only are you considered a fool and troublemaker, but you are distancing yourself from God through sin.  Those that are given to fits of anger are lumped together with those that practice sexual immorality, idolatry and orgies!  Wrath is that serious to God and we can not inherit the kingdom of and since it is a sin to give full vent to your anger as it cuts us off from God (Galatians 5:20).  I challenge you to read a proverb a day and highlight what it says about anger, it is full of wisdom!

There is much to be said in the bible about anger, just read through the book of Proverbs!  But ultimately it leads to strife and death if given to wrath.  Read here on ways to control your anger and keep those feelings in check when they arise.

God Bless on your journey to wholeness!

Court

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3 things that happen when you become a Jesus Freak…

I can remember when I first truly started on my path of what it looks like to live for God.  I begun carrying my bible everywhere, talking about God A LOT in general conversations and studying as much as I could.

Once, while talking to a friend about God and my new journey, she abruptly interrupted me and told me that, it was nice, ‘but just don’t become one of those Jesus Freaks’!  At the time I was slightly taken a back because unfortunately, I had grown into a woman that thoroughly enjoyed people pleasing and shied away from rocking any boats.  And if I were to look like a Jesus Freak that would be akin to capsizing the entire ship!  Besides, who wanted to be seen as an odd ball?  So, unless I encountered someone that had a passion for God, I stopped talking about Him as much with others in fact I usually didn’t even bring up my beliefs.

Fast forward to today when recently, for whatever reason I noticed that I have become increasingly bold in my expression for Jesus and my walk.  I think that unabashadness comes with age, maturity and growing in relationship with Him.  In His word we are called to speak of him boldly and without fear.  In fact in Revelations cowards are grouped in with murderers, idolators and sexually immoral people who will be thrown into hell.  Now, this girl loves hot weather, but spending an eternity swimming in a fiery lake of burning sulfur is in no way appealing to me.

In today’s society, it seems okay to be obsessed with fashion, fitness, and entertainers, but if you bring up God or Jesus too much you’re labeled a freak.  Fortunately for growth, I have learned to embrace the fact that I don’t look like the world and am resembling it less and less everyday!  There are life shifts and events that have occurred as I walk out this journey and these are three major ones that you may notice as well!

1. Success Shift: When we begin to dig into what God wants our lives to look like our entire view of successful living shifts.  Success becomes increasingly God focused and less goal focused.  God tells us that His followers are not to look like the world because friendship with the world is enmity with Him (James 4:4).  Nor are we to be conformed to (Romans 12:2) or love the world and if we do, the love of the Father is not in us and 1 John 5:19 tells us why!   If we are consistently consuming God’s word instead of things of this world (television, radio etc) we can begin to acquire a taste for the things God desires of our lives and less of what this world dangles in our faces as the carrot of success.  We have the desire to stop running the rat race and run towards the things of our Father, to stop living for the lies of ‘success’ in this world and the success of eternal life with God.

2. Loneliness:  As we grow closer to God we may find ourselves alone and slowly cut off from relationships that do not serve the purposes God has set forth for our lives.  Although it can be a lonely space, it is a great one!  As you begin to realize a couple of things and understand how fulfilling this space of solitude can be.  You learn that you are not alone and that God is calling you into deeper fellowship with Him.   In Psalm 4:3 we learn that The Lord sets apart the godly for himself and Deuteronomy 14:2 tells us that He set’s apart those that are Holy.  As much as we would like to hurriedly get out of the situation of being alone it is often best to sit and spend that time with God.  There is nothing wrong with asking Him for godly friendships or relationships at this time, but there is nothing like getting to know Him in this time of quiet and solitude.

3. Persecution:  We are all aware that there are people dying for their beliefs everyday, but many of us are fortunate enough to have the ability to enter churches and bible studies without the fear of death.  Our persecution may not inflict as much damage, but can come in the form of people criticizing you and your beliefs or ostracizing you because no one wants to hear about the God you serve.  And guess what this is okay,  Jesus was persecuted and tells us that all who desire to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted (2 Timothy 3:12).  The bible tells us that the persecuted will be blessed and that we are to pray for our persecutors.

So, next time someone calls you a Jesus Freak simply say thank you and pray for them!  You never know it may be just the thing that will bring them a little closer to God.

God bless,

Court

A lifetime of Thanksgiving…

This year has been especially difficult for me, in fact one of the hardest that I’ve had to live through thus far.  I have, of course had friends and family to speak to, dole out an endless supply of hugs, spend time with or confide in when needed but I continued to feel quite isolated and alone in it all many times.  The realization that ultimately that thing, event, life circumstance is all yours to deal with can be crushing as you wonder how you will survive the aftermath.  It’s tough and no matter how many times someone says they feel your pain, they don’t, because it’s your pain.  No one else can cry your tears and in the end you are going to have deal with your internal struggles yourself.

This lesson I learned as my life pretty much crashed around me with a series of unfortunate events and diagnoses because I was (and still am) trying to make sense of it all.  It was so bad that I had no desire to do life any longer, I didn’t want to talk to people, write or go to work or class, I honestly just wanted to stay in bed and let life pass me by.   But I knew I couldn’t and life pushed forward so with a sometimes forced happy face I had to as well.

James tells us that when we encounter events that test our resolve and tribulations that torment us to count it all joy, but how? (James 1)  How are you grateful for the loss of a loved one, a diagnosis of cancer or the abandonment of divorce?  How are you grateful for that perverbial empty hole you have over a great loss or a transformational life shift? I have to apologize in advance because I don’t have all of the answers, but I can tell you what helped me get through some tough times this year and in the end give thanks for the realizations that came with them.

When you feel abandoned know that you are never alone: There were people that I thought I could beyond a shadow of a doubt depend on when the chips were down and although most proved to be dependable some showed me who they were & where they decided to stand in my life.  I found the sting of resentment rising up in my spirit against the latter, but I had to understand that everyone doesn’t have the capacity to love (I mean truly love) or to exhibit that love in a manner that’s recognizable to you.  And this doesn’t make them bad people, it just makes them unenlightened people.  Either way God will always be in our corner, so some nights when I cried into my pillow I would turn my tears into prayers.  Times when I was loneliest I decided to turn to God and read from His word, it really did make me feel better.  Thank God for people who you can call true friends but ultimately for God and the fact that He never leaves your side!

Don’t perpetuate more grief by focusing on what’s wrong:  There were times when I felt so down that my self talk was truly coming from a negative place because it was as if the bad news came back to back. I truly felt under attack, and it can be quite difficult to pull yourself out of the spiraling world of negativity, but even in the midst I would have to remind myself to focus on the positive aspects of a situation.  Someone in my family was diagnosed with cancer, but they are still here and we could love on them even more than before, so for that I’m grateful.  Life is but a vapor and sometimes the sting of the reality of death seems to wake people up to the fact that we aren’t here forever.  Thank God for the knowledge and wisdom to live in the moment and appreciate the good things in life and the people in our lives while we have the time to do so.

Focusing on others takes the pain away:  even if just for a moment.  While going through some things in my life I was a bridesmaid in a wedding I noticed that although we would spend some time focused on my circumstances, I was much happier to talk to her about the wedding or help her with planning.  It made me feel good to forget for a moment that my life wasn’t all fairy tales and sugarplums.  Getting your mind off of you and being less selfish will help you in dealing with your issues. Of course we will have times where wallowing can’t be helped as we are human but being less self-centered and caring for others is a great way to start to shift your mindset. Thank God for recognizing that selfishness only leads to increased loneliness and for opportunities to be a light in someone else’s world if only for a moment.

You will emerge from the fire:  knowing that there is another side to the anguish you feel is priority.  Most likely you will emerge stronger that before, I truly believe the adage that whatever doesn’t kill you, will make you stronger. Even if we feel as though we have nothing to be thankful for presently, we can praise Him in advance for blessings to come! Thank God for challenges in life that grow us up and make us stronger and more like him.

Be careful what you ask for: I remember saying a prayer just before I received some of the bad news for God to increase my faith because I wanted a faith like Sarahs, like David’s and Abraham.  I told God that whatever had to be done to do so and not long after the punches started to roll in.  Now, am I saying that it’s a result of that prayer, I don’t know.  But I do know that we receive test from God and we receive trials from satan, either way our response is the same and that’s to pray and pray some more while keeping focused on the optimal outcome and pushing towards Yahweh.   But with anything in life, be it kids, a degree or an increased faith walk, make sure you’re prepared to work for it and navigate your way through the test as best you can. Thank God for answered prayers and the strength, fortitude and ability to pass the test that sometimes come along with them.

God bless and Happy Thanksgiving (let’s eat)! ☺️🎉

We all fall

I can definitely say that within the past couple of weeks I have failed in some areas that in my mind were under control but somehow, when tested, I found myself back at square one going through the motions of dealing with the discouragement of failure.  I don’t know what it is for you, not keeping a consistent schedule for reading the bible, breaking a diet, drug usage, falling back into sexual sin, or blowing your budget, it can be devastating to make progress but continually backtrack, especially if it’s something you’ve dealt with for years.  Sometimes you may want to give up completely, especially if you feel like you’ve let God or people in your life down.  I’ve been there A LOT, but please don’t give up, continue to strive for excellence and keep pushing forward. This quote puts it perfectly, ‘failure should be our teacher, not our undertaker, failure is delay, not defeat, it is a temporary detour, not a dead end.  To be totally honest, I wrote this particular blog out of the failures I’ve encountered within the past couple of weeks,  it helps me to move forward and I hope it will be helpful on your journey to success as well.

  1. Remember that God loves you and will forgive you:  We serve an awesome God, who truly loves and wants a relationship with us.  Although sin can separate us from Him and we are definitely outside of His will when in sin, we are able to repent (read about true repentance here) and seek His forgiveness, which He has promised to extend as we extend  that same forgiveness to others. For if you forgive men when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you” (Matthew 6:14).
  2. Forgive yourself: I notice that Many times after I make a mistake or fail at something important, like blowing my budget when I have a gazillion bills to pay or falling into sexual sin with my boyfriend I am the only one beating myself up about it for days or weeks at a time.  I can be extremely hard on myself and at times this crosses over to other people I’m in relationship with as I can force my expectations of perfection onto them.  But by reliving the moment I’m keeping it alive and allowing past occurrences to play a major part in my present.  Worrying, calling myself names, dwelling on the false sense of being a failure all contributes to a feeling of being stuck and of pain.   Whereas if I focus on forgiving myself and recognize my humanity while taking full responsibility for my mistake while learning from the lesson it brings a sense of strength and true compassion for one of the most important people in my world, me!
  3. Recognize that everyone fails at some point in their lives:  Scripture tells us that we ALL fall short (Romans 3:32). but through His grace and by our faith we are saved!  I am so happy that I have a God that truly loves me and understands that I will fail, but gives me the strength and provision to get up again and continue on my journey with Him.  Although perfection is the goal it is a continuous effort that I’m not sure I will reach in this lifetimes.  Failures will happen, but it’s how you recover that matters the most.
  4. Right your wrongs (if you can):  If you’re able to return the dress you bought that blew your budget do so or if you failed at practicing patience with your kids or speaking kindly to your husband when frustrated then truly apologize and make an effort to search out strategies that will help prevent future occurrences.  Although, you can’t actually go back in time you can rectify or try to make amends for some mistakes.  As long as sorry doesn’t continually cross your lips for the same infraction and it’s genuine those that love you will most likely find it in their hearts to forgive and let it go.
  5. Focus on the future not your failures:  In Philippians 3, Paul tells us not to focus on things in the past but to push forward towards what Christ has for us.  This may be more difficult for some, as we have to get in a habit of controlling our thoughts and not allow them to control us.  It is an art, which honestly I have yet to conquer myself but will as I grow and practice. There are many great resources online and books on the topic, but to start off try this: when a thought comes into your head that drags you back to that failure focus on the lessons learned and not the negatives, think about something else or a positive that came out of it.  The bible tells us to think on positive things and replaying a mistake is doing just the opposite of what God told us to do.
  6. Get your game plan together:  Life is kind of like a game, full of obstacles, set backs, wins and successes but the best players always have a plan!  While our plans may not always work out as we’d like, I truly believe that a failure to plan is a plan to fail.  In His word, God tells us that He will always give us a way out of temptation and that we have the power to resist temptation and flee the devil.  We have power, we just have to use it.  If you find yourself constantly falling into the same trap or giving into the same sin make a plan to help prevent even taking that route in the future.

I hope these pointers help, what are some things you do to prevent wallowing in failures, please share below!
God Bless,
Court 🙂

The fear of relinquishing control

Hannah is absolutely one of my favorite women in the bible but throughout her life she was mocked by Peninnah because of her barren state.  Due to the constant torment and reminder of having a closed womb Hannah becomes so depressed that she refuses to eat even though her husband is offering her double portions of food.  We find her pouring her heart out to God so much that Eli, the high priest, thought she was drunk.  She tells God that she would give the child up to Him if she could have children.  In return, God opened her womb and when she finally had a child she offers Samuel, the boy she prayed, to Eli the high priest, she rejoices and gives praises unto the Lord.    God had answered her prayers with her one dream of having a child, Hannah  in return gave her dreams over to God to work for His kingdom.

I don’t know about you, but I’ve been told to always be careful what you pray for, because God just might give it to you.  Although I want to hand over control of my life to God it can be extremely difficult.  Honestly, I’m afraid of what I would have to give up even though I know in the end God will bless me and ultimately I’ll be happy with His decision.  This afternoon, I prayed for God to change my heart and give me the courage to hand everything over to Him.  As a self-proclaimed task checker, list maker and control freak this was no easy feat!

Hannah showed such bravery in making the vow with God.  The very child that she was so depressed about not having to the point of starvation, she vowed to give right back to God if He opened her womb.  Although James tells us it is better to not make vows, but just let our yes be yes and no be no but in both Ecclesiastes and Deuteronomy it tells us that if we make a vow we should honor it swiftly and Numbers let’s us know that we should always honor it.  Basically be men and women of our words and Hannah was just that as Samuel spent the majority of his life dedicated to serving God.

Do you think you could ever dedicate your dreams and desires totally to God?  What is something that you need to hand over to God at this moment?  Are there things in your life that you have made idols of and need to ask God to take away?  Is there something you want desperately that you focus on it constantly instead of focusing on God and His desire for you life?  Share below!

Beyond Winter

winterFor many of us spiritual winter is a time of brutal coldness, boredom or lonliness.  Generally, as a population that thrives on the hustle and bustle of summer life seasons, it can be difficult to appreciate the stillness of winter because since there is always something to do our minds are kept occupied.  In contrast, during winter seasons we can’t think of anything else except the feeling of being stuck and frozen in the bitter coldness.  We can eagerly long for warmer days in opposition to recognizing the usefulness of winter.  I am guilty of it, I literally can’t stand winter and going through a life season of it is so painful that my gut reaction is to immediately want out!  Because who wants to live with pain right?  But in the book of James he clearly tells us that we should count it all joy when we fall into divers temptations.  In my case I have in the past done the opposite and tried to find happiness in through escaping on a vacation or preoccupying my time with frivolous activities or tv shows so I don’t have to think about the issues of life, basically anything to not deal with the frigidness winter.  From time to time I can also have spiritual tantrums where I am very angry with God instead of thanking Him for the time of spiritual growth and education while in this stage of life.

As I look back on these times in my life wether it’s being jobless, single or just going through a heartbreaking time I can recognize the necessity of embracing the stillness of winter.  While this wasn’t easily done in the midst of it, I can clearly see the needed time of rest and self reflection.  I also often find myself depending on God the most for answers & companionship in these times.  It’s important to try and look beyond now, towards a seasonal shift while patiently waiting, growing and preparing for a time of bloom.

My advice to you, while difficult I know, is to practice knowing that this is a season bound to change and be grateful for it.  You will work again, love again and feel so much joy that laughter is uncontrollable.  Believe this with your heart and know it in your spirit because that is where the only meaningful truth lives.

Be blessed & live purposeFULLy

Court

When we grow weary…

Do you ever feel as if you want to give up dong the right thing?  When you get tired of putting others first, don’t have the desire to control your tongue, or grow weary of praying and seeming to get no answers.  If you do then I can totally relate, one thing that I struggle with from time to time is patiently waiting for God to reveal or send my significant other my way.  Although I realize the purpose in waiting and growing while I do, it can become extremely discouraging to want something and not be sure when or if it’s coming.  Recently I grew very frustrated with the waiting process and was close to just giving up and accepting a date from a guy I had no real interest in.  Now, I know some people will say that it’s just a date and not that big of a deal.  But months ago I told God that I didn’t desire to go out with anyone that I had no future with (you can read about that here).  This man was someone I knew from the past and I know I would have gone out with just so that I didn’t have to deal with momentary loneliness and boredom.   I truly desire to stand by the fact that I am waiting with the goal of growing closer to God and into a godly woman.  So, instead of going out, I called my cousin who helped talk me off the ledge, but what truly kept me from taking the leap was when I typed into my internet browser ‘tired of doing good’ and the first result was Galatians 6:9 -Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up (NIV).

If my computer had hands this verse would have been a big slap, because something struck me and I knew that I wasn’t fully appreciating the moment, but attempting to escape what I had deemed boredom instead of embracing it as a time to grow closer to God.  This verse is what truly pulled me through and kept me from giving in.   Sometimes I feel like the father in Mark 9:24, where he exclaimed to Jesus, I do believe; help me overcome my unbelief!”  Because if I truly believed, beyond the shadow of a doubt that my husband was coming would I continue  to have these moments  of frustration?  If we believed God when He said that whatever we asked for in His name He would do, would we stress about that job, our kids or whatever else is causing us mental anguish at the time.  Believing in God or knowing that He will do all He has promised and many times much more, even though we don’t see it on the horizon or have no idea how He will bring it about, is how faith works.   He is pleased by our faith, he is delighted when we truly believe with our hearts in Him, so in moments when we grow weary of the process, the question becomes where is your faith?   I must truly believe without a doubt that God will not allow my waiting to be in vain.  I have to ask Him to grow my faith so that when test come (even minor one’s  like I faced) I can see them for what they are and know that my days of doing what is right are not in vain and I will ultimately be rewarded for my diligence and obedience.  We can’t be afraid to take action by being still and patiently waiting for God’s best while doing the work to become His best.  We are sometimes so afraid that because our right now is stagnant or we don’t seem to be reaping the rewards of doing the right thing or life isn’t going the way we want that we will never get the chance to finally fly and have that dream career, publish that book, buy that house or have a wonderful marriage.  Many times we think this because we see everyone around us seem to take off or we are just tired of waiting for our turn to leap, but I’m praying that you have the resilience to keep doing what you know to be right.  I pray that you have the faith in God to believe that one day, when the timing is perfect, you will certainly soar.

God Bless,

Court 🙂

The sacred morning

There is something sacred about mornings. As the blanket of night gradually concedes to the brilliance of a new day.  Somewhere between the tug of sleep and the steady nudge of morning, I find my sweet spot.  The sun covers my body in a warm blanket of light and the sounds of nature beckon to me a fresh start.  I cherish mornings like this when I’m not awakened by the sound of an alarm clock, or a blaring television. When I’m not feeling rushed, nervous or anxious about the day ahead, but can awaken with ease and in my bodies own timing.  I find much reward when I am able to give these gratifying mornings purpose by spending time with God.

But honestly, most of my mornings are no where near this gentle or serene, in fact I wouldn’t consider myself an early morning person at all.  So when I have to get up early my usual mornings consist of waking up to the harsh sound of an alarm clock which I have set to go off four or five times, rushing around groggy with sleep still in my eyes as I get ready for work (usually running late), walk my dogs, make my breakfast etc etc.  There usually is no time for God, or at least I don’t make time for Him.  It’s easy on the weekend’s when I’m alone in bed to pick up the bible first thing and read but mornings like this it usually doesn’t even cross my mind.

Proverbs 8:17 states, …and those that seek me early shall find me.  In some scriptures, early, is replaced with diligently, but either way our goal is to seek Him at a time when we are free of distractions and able to focus completely.  In the bible we see that Jesus, got up before the sun rose to pray so that there would be no interruptions or disturbances.  And in the morning, rising up a great while before day, he went out, and departed into a solitary place, and there prayed.  (Mark 1:35) This week I’m taking a note from Jesus and will do my best to wake up early and pray.  Who knows maybe it will stick, if you want to join me comment below and we can help keep each other on task!

Below are some biblical quotes about the morning…

  • Psalm 5:3 In the morning, LORD, you hear my voice; in the morning I lay my requests before you and wait expectantly.
  • Psalm 143:8 (ES) – Let me hear in the morning of your steadfast love, for in you I trust.  Make me know the way I should go, for to you I lift up my soul.
  • Psalm 5:3  (ESV) – O Lord, in the morning you hear my voice; in the morning I prepare a sacrifice for you and watch.
  • Psalm 30:5  (ESV) – For his anger is but for a moment, and his favor is for a lifetime. Weeping may tarry for the night, but joy comes with the morning.
  • I also ran across this cool fact about essential oils such as rose and lavender which are best harvested in early morning because the yield is the greatest during this time.  The amount of oil diminishes throughout the day, much like our energy in some cases.

Be blessed, and here’s to a purposeFULL life!

Court

Silent Praise: Does God hear my silent prayers?

Growing up in the Catholic Church instilled a sense of quietude and stillness to my worship. So, when I decided, for numerous reasons, to seek spiritual fulfillment in other denominations it was quite eye opening to witness how others worshipped. Years ago while attending a nondenominational church the person leading worship told us to ‘open our mouths and shout to the Lord otherwise he wouldn’t hear our prayers’ (I’m paraphrasing slightly as I don’t remember his exact words). At that moment I allowed a simple ‘hallelujah’ tumble from my lips but I was confused, I’m talking Scooby Doo funny noises confused! I wondered if what he said was valid, did God not hear my silent prayers all these years? I was comfortable praying in silence, it’s what I did, I can even remember as a kid sending wrapped gifts to Jesus at Christmas for his birthday in my head, did Jesus really not get all my gifts?!

I sung in the choir my last couple of years in elementary school (and honestly I lip synced a lot, I was quiet, weird and honestly didn’t like the sound of my own voice, but that’s a-whole-nother story!!) but as far as praying from my heart aloud, the extent of my vocal contribution was limited. It mainly consisted of reciting the Lord’s Prayer, the Nicene creed and Hail Mary with other members of the congregation. All other communication that I had had with God was silent, between He and I, or so thought. Since that day in church, I’ve heard it said many times in various ways that you must open your mouth in praise to truly connect with God and over the years I have gotten more comfortable praying out loud, but continue to say silent prayers regularly. I recently decided to research how God hears our prayers and wanted to share some of the biblical information I found.

Throughout the bible we read about people praying out loud, even Jesus, but there are also some examples of silent answered prayers. One of my favorite people in the bible is Hannah because she had such faith as she yearned to have a child. Through the reading of her story I can almost feel her angst over the barrenness that plagued her, but she kept petitioning the Lord because she knew He was the only one that could truly help her. In 1 Samuel 1:12-13 it states that ‘she continued praying before The Lord, Eli observed her mouth. Hannah was speaking in her heart; only her lips moved, and her voice was not heard.’ Hannah herself states that she had ‘poured out her soul before the Lord’. In another example in Genesis 24, we see that Abrahams servant ‘spoke in his heart’ prayers that were answered by God. In addition throughout the bible we are told that God searches our hearts and knows them, also in Psalm 94:11 it tells us that God knows the thoughts of man (although it goes on to say that they are futile) and in Job 42:2 we are told that no thought can be withheld from God. Although, I clearly see the importance and power of speaking verbally to God and singing praises to glorify His name these verses and stories are encouraging to anyone like me that sometimes can’t seem to get the words out and feels the need to sends up heart prayers. I also wanted to touch on some other ways you can pray or connect with God.

Writing down my prayers: I’ve always kept a journal since I was a child, although I’m not always consistent and may have missed a day (or a year) here and there I always find my way back to journaling. Many times I address my entries to God and am able to tell Him about my day, what troubles me or how thankful I am for the day.

Praying the scriptures: This is something that I’ve recently started doing is year. I have a notebook and write scriptures pertaining to certain situations, like loneliness or anger, and try to refer to them in times of need. I notice that praying them, whether silently or verbally, seems to help a great deal.

Love and parables: 12 Ways Jesus loved the church

shepherd

Most of us are aware of the fact that the bible teaches husbands to love their wives as Jesus loved the church, but I was really interested in delving into the deeper meaning.  Jesus made the ultimate sacrifice for us, he died so that we may have a closer relationship with God and bring us everlasting life.   So yes, husbands are supposed to die (both figuratively by dying to self daily and if need be literally) for their wives.  But there are other ways Jesus exhibited His love to people while here on earth below are a few ways I found throughout the bible.

1. Served: Jesus gave up everything to serve his sheep.  He performed miracles for them, healed the sick, literally gave life to the dead, washed feet and became the ultimate sacrifice so that we could have life through his death.

2. Cleaved:  Just as it states that a son will leave his mother and father and cleave to and become one with his wife we are the bride of Christ and we are to live in him and be one with him.  In the New Testament we see that he left the family he grew up with, his home town and went wherever he was needed for the church.

3. Pursued: Could you imagine if Jesus just sat idly by and waited for people to come to him before telling them the good news?  That was not at all Jesus’ style, He had a purpose and knew what he was here to do and waiting around for someone to come knocking on his door wasn’t in the plans.   He journeyed from land to land consistently spreading the good news to all that would listen.  In the book of Matthew, Jesus tells Simon and Peter to follow him, meaning they were to drop everything and go where he went.  Once it was time to be about his Fathers work, his ministry started he didn’t let look back and the pursuit started.

4. Taught: Jesus really did wash the church with the word.  He spoke in love and parables with the main goal of bringing them closer to God.  He showed them how to pray, reveled things to them through God’s words and left a road map for life just for us to live by.

5. Spoke with love: Even when Jesus was tired He wasn’t cruel or dismissive, he still took the time to explain things to His apostles and other members of his church.  He didn’t curse them out, spout of mean things and was never abusive to them.  There was no tit for tat played or retaliation planned. Can you even imagine if Jesus were the type to get even with people?!   We would all be in deep trouble!

6. Practiced patience: We see that Jesus had to teach the same things over and over, even using multiple parables to show the meaning of what He was trying to get across.  In Matthew 17:17 he asks how long must he stay with an unbelieving people, but even in exasperation he heals and patiently uses the opportunity as a teaching moment.

7. Prayed:  Even as he hung from the cross, Jesus prayed for the people who put him there.  There is no other way to put it than that is pure, undefiled, unconditional love!!!

8. Forgave: When everyone wanted to stone the woman who committed adultery Jesus was in the business of forgiving, he was quick to point out that none of us are without sin and that we shouldn’t condemn other’s because they sin differently.

9. Kept his word:  Although when Jesus was crucified the apostles and his followers were devastated to say the least and felt a little lost, he had told them that he would never leave them and that he was sending the Holy Spirit after he left earth.  He did just as he said he would.  Jesus was a man of his word, anything he promised we can rest assured that it will come to pass.

10.  Led by example:  Jesus didn’t just talk the talk, he walked the walk.  He showed the disciples how to pray and how to be godly men.  He was right there in the trenches leading the good fight.

11. Showed compassion: In Matthew 15:32 it states that Jesus had compassion for the people due to their hunger and in Luke 7 we see that he had compassion for a widow who wept over her only sons passing.  Jesus wasn’t an uncaring person who couldn’t empathize with others, he was a gentle leader that came to heal and enlighten those he loved.  He had feelings and showed it through his compassionate acts.

12. Put God first: Jesus knew when He needed quiet time away and to spend with His father solitarily and made it a point to retreat.  If he knew there were a bunch of people around he would wake up early to speak to God and avoid the crowds, although these were the people he was sent here to save he recognized the importance of keeping God first.  In Luke 5:16, it states that Jesus would withdraw often to be alone with God and pray.  He deliberately took time to connect with God and to seek His will and guidance so that ultimately, he could do what was righteous for the people he led.

Can you think of some other ways?  List them below

God bless, shine on and here’s to a purposeFULL life!

Court