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Where’s Our Focus?

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“Though the fig tree does not bud and there are no grapes on the vines, though the olive crop fails and the fields produce no food, though there are no sheep in the pen and no cattle in the stalls, yet I will rejoice in the Lord, I will be joyful in God my Savior. The Sovereign Lord is my strength.” Habakkuk 3:17-19a

So many favorite scriptures verses in the Bible. The one above found its way to my heart again this morning. I was reading a devotional and these words ministered to me…“God met me in my sorrow.”

As I read those words, my heart immediately asked the question, “What does that look like for me today?”

As I re-read another devotional, I felt I got my answer…“invite the closeness of God.” (Lysa Terkeurst) And then I was reminded of the above scripture, which talks of how even in “times of starvation and loss” Habakkuk’s focus was to rejoice in the Lord. His feelings were not dependent on what was going on around Him but on God’s ability to give Him strength – by faith, He believed that.

With ALL that is going on around us and within us, I feel like we are being presented with our own “Habakkuk moment.” If all we focus on is the difficulties (and it’s easy to do in a season where they are so many!) it becomes more than we can bear. We are attempting to carry things we were never intended to carry.

In this “Habakkuk moment,” could I suggest that we invite God’s closeness into all that is weighing heavy on our hearts? Could we allow God to meet us in our pain and difficulties? No words are needed…just invite Him near and remind yourself of who God is and His posture towards you – He is always loving, gentle and kind.

As we invite Him near, He promises to draw near to us. (James 4:8) Allow God to meet you wherever you are today; in whatever struggle, difficulty, pain, or loss you are facing right now. Allow Him to meet you in that place by turning your focus from all that is fighting to take you down, to God, your Savior; The Sovereign Lord and praise His name and rejoice in Him.

Our praise invites God’s presence…

 

 

 

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“Lord, teach us to pray.” Luke 11:1

Little did I know 40 days ago when I began this prayer journey, that our country would find itself in the middle of a worldwide pandemic. This situation has certainly made me press into the presence and grace of God in greater ways. There are so many things that are uncertain in this moment, but one thing I know for certain, I don’t want to waste this moment. I want all that God has for me in it.

Remember all the way back to Day 1 – I mentioned that the prayer of my heart was for God to invade the routine of my life and position me for divine appointments. Wow! As I write that now, I wasn’t expecting a pandemic to invade the routine of my life. But that is what prayer does. Prayer gets us into God’s presence and getting His agenda for us.

When we focus our prayers more towards pressing into God’s presence than our own agenda – it changes everything! When we seek God more for who He is, than what He can do for us – it changes everything! Please don’t hear me wrong. God wants us to pray about all the things that concern us. His Word instructs us to “cast all our cares upon Him, for He cares for us.” But I believe there is another level that He want to take us to, where we cast our cares before Him and then we say, “but even so” invade the routine of my life and position me for divine appointments. Here is where we press into His presence and grace in deeper ways.

When we pray in this way, it changes everything. “it changes how we work, the way we parent, and they way we lead. It changes they way we prioritize and strategize. It changes the way we think, the way we feel, and they way we speak.” Mark Batterson Prayer changes us from the inside out.

My prayer for you is that you keep on praying! Don’t stop even though the 40 days are over. Keep pressing into God and His presence in greater ways. Mark Batterson sums it up perfectly. “Prayer is the difference between appointments and divine appointments. Prayer is the difference between good ideas and God-ideas. Prayer is the difference between the favor of God and the luck of the draw. Prayer is the difference between closed doors and open doors. Prayer is the difference between the possible and impossible. Prayer is the difference between the best we can do and the best God can do.”

It has been a pleasure journeying with you over these last 40 days. I trust that God has spoken to you and encouraged you in your prayer life. I know He has done that for me!

“You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.” Jeremiah 29:13

Journeying with you…

 

 

 

Hair on your head Luke 12.7

“And even the very hairs of your head are all numbered.” Matthew 10:30

Today’s encouragement is to remember that God knows you and He cares about every detail of your life. There is no prayer request too small for Him.

I must confess, at times I do think some of my prayers are too small or insignificant to God.

I want to challenge us today, to place before God, all those prayer requests that we feel may seem minimal or not worth mentioning (like finding toilet paper 🙂 ).  Let’s bring them all to Him and let’s wait in expectant hope for Him to answer…He is faithful.

He truly does care about every detail of our lives.

Journeying with you…

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“Yet this I call to mind and therefore I have hope: Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning;
great is your faithfulness.” Lamentations 3:21-23

The purpose of this prayer journey has been about intentionally seeking God for 40 days and seeing what He will do and how He will move – praying intentionally about whatever He has put upon your heart.

As we pray, remembering answered prayers – the ways God has worked and provided in the past – strengthens our faith to believe God for bigger miracles.  The image above reminds us that, what buoys our faith, when we pray, is to remember His faithfulness in the past, His faithfulness in the present and to expect His faithfulness in the future.

Take a moment today to reflect on God’s faithfulness to you in the past, how He is being faithful to you today and to pray for strength to expect His faithfulness in the days ahead!

Journeying with you…

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“With my whole heart, with my whole life, and with my innermost being, I bow in wonder and love before you, the Holy God.” Psalm 103:1

“For nothing will be impossible with God.” Luke 1:37

Today’s encouragement is when you pray, remember the character of God – remember who He is. A.W. Tozer says: “What comes into our minds when we think about God is the most important thing about us.” What does come to our minds when we think about God? When we bow our heads to pray, what image of God do we think of?

Let’s remember that when we pray, we are praying to the One seated on the throne and all authority is His. Let’s enlarge of view of God when we pray. Let’s pray big, bold prayers because our God is holy and powerful.

Nothing is impossible with God…trust Him. He is faithful!

Journeying with you…

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“How can a young man stay pure (authentic, complete, transparent)? Only by living in the Word of God and walking in its truth.” Psalm 119:9

If I am learning anything through these challenging times, it is to keep my eyes fixed on Jesus and trust in His Word. For me, trusting is an action – it’s something that has to be lived out.

That is what God requires of us. He wants us to not only believe in His Word, but to trust in His Word as well. To trust in God’s Word means to walk it out. That our actions, our lives, our words, our thoughts, reflect what we say we believe. When we take God at His Word, God stands by His Word. Mark Batterson

I am learning also that God’s Word is the only thing that can fill the need in my heart, be the soothing balm to my worry, be the strength in my weakness, be the joy in my despair, be the peace to my fears, be the anchor in my troubled times.

His Word is truly our lifeline…spend some time in it today!

Journeying with you…

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“I tell you the truth, if you had faith even as small as a mustard seed, you could say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it would move. Nothing would be impossible.”  Matthew 17:20

Sometimes our prayers can feel empty. Sometimes our prayers can feel like they don’t carry enough power in them. Sometimes we can’t find the words to articulate our prayers. Sometimes the faith behind our prayers doesn’t seem enough.

The good news is that “even if we have faith the size of a mustard seed,” which is about the size of a pin head, that is enough for God to do the impossible.

I don’t know what mountains, crossroads or painful situations you may be facing today. But I do know that God is able to do the impossible with your mustard seed of faith. Trust Him. Trust in His character. He is able.

Be encouraged today…all it takes is mustard seed size faith!

Journeying with you…

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“For the word of the LORD is right and true; he is faithful in all he does.” Psalm 33:4

**(I am writing this post today as a message to myself – but just in case there is someone else feeling the same, I thought I’d share it with you.) :)**

Today’s encouragement comes as a reminder that God’s Word is faithful and true. During these difficult and trying days, His promises are our daily manna.

It is good to remember the faithfulness of God, not only in His Word, but in our lives as well. Take a moment to look back over your life and take note of how God’s faithfulness, His provision, has carried you through.

There are so many lessons to be gleaned from this season that we are in…but the one that stands out the most to me in this moment is, we will trust Him in the midst of the storm? 

If our answer is “yes” than we need to put on our armor. God’s Word says “He will cover you with his feathers. He will shelter you with his wings. His faithful promises are your armor and protection. Psalm 91:4 Our armor is His Word, His faithful promises to us.

When we embrace God’s promises, when we make them our own, when we store them up in our hearts, when we commit them to memory, when His promises become our prayers, God will be faithful to come through on them.

Today, let’s turn our gaze to Jesus…He is with us in the midst of this current storm. What promise from God’s Word will you put on today? Mine, “You will keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on you, for he trusts in you.” Isaiah 26:3 What’s yours?

Journeying with you…

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“Aaron and Hur held up his hands – one on one side, one on the other.”

Today’s encouragement is a reminder to lift up someone else’s hands through prayer. As these weeks continue, we may feel weary, we may feel we are losing ground, we may even be sick; we may be out of work, we may be losing money. So many things and more may be consuming our thoughts during this difficult time. Maybe you know someone who is struggling in this way.

Today, let’s turn our gaze towards Jesus, on their behalf. Through prayer, let’s lift up the hands of those we know and love who are struggling and bring them before the throne of God. Let’s be an Aaron and Hur to someone today. Lift up our leaders, lift up our country, lift up our families and friends, lift up all those in essential services fighting this pandemic on our behalf; lift up our churches.

Let’s be an encouragement through our prayers for someone today.

Journeying with you…

 

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“Jesus said to her, “You don’t have to wait any longer, the Anointed One is here speaking with you—I am the One you’re looking for.” John 4:26

“Many of the Samaritans from that town believed in him because of the woman’s testimony.” John 4:39

“They said to the woman, “We no longer believe just because of what you said; now we have heard for ourselves, and we know that this man really is the Savior of the world.” John 4:42

There is a saying, “There is no test without a testimony.” Today I want to encourage you to encounter Jesus in the midst of your test – for that is where the testimony is found.

The scripture above is taken from the book of John, where a Samaritan woman encounters Jesus. She was living a life of sin and yet Jesus reaches out to her, encounters her and turns her whole world upside down. From her encounter with Jesus, she then goes and shares her testimony with her village. Many come to believe, not only because of what she had said, but because they came to have their own personal encounter with Jesus.

Whenever Jesus encounters us, the result will always be a testimony. His story becomes our story as He works in and through our lives.

Today, may you encounter Jesus and as you do, share your testimony – it will encourage someone else’s faith!

Journeying with you…