Tag Archives: Prayer

Two Kinds of Expectations

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Does God want you to have expectations? Sure He does! In fact, Psalm 5:3 states, “In the morning, Lord, you hear my voice; in the morning I lay my requests before you and wait in expectation.”

We are often taught to not have expectations or maybe experience tells us that “too many expectations lead to disappointments.”

The kind of expectation that leads to disappointment is the anticipation of the way things “should” be or “how” they should happen.  We have a picture of the process in our mind and expect that things will occur accordingly, and when they don’t go the way we want it to go, we get terribly disappointed. It would be better to think of “your way” as a general blueprint for your plan but allow for flexibility so that God will still work it out — His way. If it does happen the way you wanted it to, great! But if not, the key is to not insist on making it happen your way. That’s what it means to “surrender your will.” It’s a power struggle between you and God. God always wins so the sooner you surrender, the happier you will be.

The other type of expectation is mentioned in Psalm 5:3. Ironically, it is easier to have expectations of the way things should be than to believe that the “impossible” can actually be possible. Do you believe that God actually wants you to have expectations so He can fulfill them? The difference lies in “how” and “will” (as in the future tense of the verb, “to be.”). Put your expectations before God and believe they “will” happen, but leave the “how” part to God.

One last thing I want to point out. The operative word here is “wait.” The psalmist wrote, “…I wait in expectation.” There is no indication that God answered this person’s prayer the same day.  Honestly I have had to wait so long for certain things that I wondered if my desires were out of line with God’s plan for my life.  What if God didn’t want those things for me?  I think the more appropriate question is, why would God allow this to be written in the scriptures if He didn’t want to answer our prayers?

“Lord, I wait for you; you will answer, Lord my God.” Psalm 38:15

The psalmist was 100% confident that God would answer. Do you pray and wait with this kind of confident expectation?

#prayer #faith #expectations #disappointment #waitonGod #patience #prayer #belief #confidence #powerstruggle #waiting #happiness #hope #hopeinGod

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Eyes on You

boat“We do not know what to do, but our eyes are on you.” 2 Chronicles 20:12

Have you ever avoided prayer because you knew it would push the pain to the surface?  Life can get pretty overwhelming at times, and when burdens overload our system, we shut down and life grinds to a standstill.  How does your body respond to stress?  Mayo Clinic lists some of the symptoms of stress:

  • Physical pain (especially in the neck and shoulders)
  • Over-eating
  • Depression
  • Crying
  • Negativity
  • Anger
  • Smoking (or other addictive behaviors)

The first step to responding to stress is changing the way you think.  When you feel helpless, when circumstances are way beyond your control and all you can do is utter, “God help me,” (if you could even mutter those words without crying) – look to the heavens and know where your help comes from:

I lift up my eyes to the mountains—
where does my help come from?
My help comes from the Lord,
the Maker of heaven and earth.

He will not let your foot slip—
he who watches over you will not slumber;
indeed, he who watches over Israel
will neither slumber nor sleep.

The Lord watches over you—
the Lord is your shade at your right hand;
the sun will not harm you by day,
nor the moon by night.

The Lord will keep you from all harm—
he will watch over your life;
the Lord will watch over your coming and going
both now and forevermore.

 Psalm 121:1-8 (emphasis added)

Crying helps and it’s good to let out the floodgates of tears every now and then, but the migraines that follow after an intense sob are very draining, and the sorrow won’t stop if your perspective doesn’t shift.  Recovery time is different for everyone; some can bounce back and go right to work, while others can spend half a day to days and weeks in bed, with no motivation or physical strength to get up and pull themselves together.

Shorten Your Recovery Time by Looking to God

My sub-heading was almost “Shorten Your Recovery Time with Mind Change,” but changing your perspective is only part of the process.  Looking to God will make mind change easier because, after all, you would be relying on God’s strength to overcome seemingly impossible obstacles.

Let’s examine Psalm 121 again.  Every verse is practically saturated with God’s love for you.  He is with you from beginning to end.  He’s got your back.  He watches over your every move because He cares.  God will keep you from all harm; He will watch over your life — your coming and going, “both now and forever more.”  Sometimes I jump wayyyyy ahead of myself.  I worry so far into the future about my family when I don’t even know if I’ll be alive tomorrow.  Anyone can be at the wrong place at the wrong time, and all your stress would have been in vain.

34 Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.” Matthew 6:34

Isn’t it true that each day has enough trouble of its own?  Do what you can today, and leave the rest up to God.  If you compound all the worries of the next 10, 30, 50 years to your shoulders right now, you will only add misery to your life.

“The righteous person may have many troubles, but the LORD delivers him from them all….” Psalm 34:19

“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”  John 16:33 (emphasis added)

Trouble is guaranteed.  Everyone has problems!  However, we can have peace if we put our trust in God, for He promises that He will deliver the righteous from all their troubles.  That’s a bold statement, but you will definitely experience a shift in your inner being when you start to change your mind about your troubles.  The only real long-term solution to your sorrows is looking to God and casting all your anxiety on Him (1 Peter 5:7). Accept, embrace, and cling to every promise in the Bible, because they are yours if you claim them.

#peace #Christ #prayer #trust #musingz4life #eyesonGod

Is God Listening?

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Anger is one of the biggest triggers of sin for me.  The trigger could be something big or small, but regardless of the size of temptation, I know that the first thing I want to do is react instead of pray.  It’s so easy to fly off the handle; even if I don’t curse out loud, I know I’m doing it in my mind.  This morning something happened, and I fought every urge to overreact to the situation.  The first thing that came to mind was Ephesians 4:26, “In your anger, do not sin.”  I really needed to calm down before I prayed, and then I wondered to myself, even if I do pray, would God listen?

“If I had cherished sin in my heart, the Lord would not have listened…” Psalm 66:18

I believe that if I cherish anything above God in my heart, then God would turn a deaf ear to my prayers.  Is anger so important to me that I need to hold fast to it instead of praying about the situation?  Is the situation so out of hand that it warrants you the right to behave in rash ways or say things you will regret later on?

“A fool shows his annoyance at once, but a prudent man overlooks an insult.” Proverbs 12:16

Usually, our gut reaction to an incident ends up making us look bad.  Sure, we’re expressing our emotions all right, but if there are people around us, we look like fools to them.  There are good and bad ways to express our anger, and the Bible has a label for someone who instantly reacts the minute he is angered or annoyed.

“We know that God does not listen to sinners. He listens to the godly man who does his will.” John 9:31

“Beware of turning to evil, which you seem to prefer to affliction.” Job 36:21

“For what hope does the godless have when he is cut off, when God takes away his life?  Does God listen to his cry when distress comes upon him?  Will he find delight in the Almighty?  Will he call upon God at all times?”  Job 27:8-10

If we are intentional about doing God’s will at all times, God will enable us to cope with the situation without giving into fits of rage.  We just need help from God and we ask for it through prayer.  It’s much easier to give into what feels right rather than what is right.  What hope does the godless have?  The only way he can turn things around is if he starts putting his hope in God.  At the end of the day, the choice is ours.  Will we find delight in God and call upon Him at all times, or will we give in to what’s easy?

 #anger #trigger #prayer #response #musingz4life 

Nothing More than You Can Bear

god-in-a-boxHave you ever felt all alone in carrying your burdens?  You have no close relatives or life partner who will divide life’s burdens with you, and you feel stuck trying to figure out life on your own.  You sense a large cloud up ahead coming your way, as in the form of elder care or child care after a bad relationship falls apart, and you don’t want to overwhelm your friends lest they think you’re needy or clingy.  You are tempted to numb out and escape, or you can face it head-on with the resources (or lack thereof) that you have.  What should you do?

Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you. – 1 Peter 5:7

Run to God.  He is the Grand Chess Master who sees the whole board whereas you are just a pawn with a limited view of what’s around you.  When you pray fervently, He will show you where to go and what to do, and you will feel at peace if you trust that God will take care of everything for you.

13 No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it. ~ 1 Corinthians 10:13

Trauma, pressure and stress are key ingredients in a recipe for addiction.  I’m not saying that everyone will turn to it when they’re under stress, but statistics show that time and time again, the growing number of users reveals that people need to escape the pain they feel, so they resort to a substance or habit that’s short-lived and pleasurable to get through the day.  Without using, the pain is just too great that it overwhelms the senses.  God offers another alternative:  Himself.

“It is the Lord who goes before you.  He will be with you; he will not fail you or forsake you.  Do not fear or be dismayed.” ~ Deuteronomy 31:8

“When the righteous cry for help, the Lord hears and rescues them from all their troubles.”  Psalm 34:17

When you read the scriptures, don’t make the same mistake I made for many years.  Oftentimes I’ve been told that I just read the Bible like words off a page without letting it sink into my heart.  When you read, make a decision to believe that these are actual words coming from God who is watching over you and is ready to help you.  Just say the word, and He will be right there by your side to guide you along the right path.

“For we also have had the gospel preached to us, just as they did; but the message they heard was of no value to them, because those who heard did not combine it with faith.” ~ Hebrews 4:2 (emphasis added)

How can the scriptures be of any value to you if you don’t believe what the Bible says?

“And [Jesus] could not do any miracles there because of their lack of faith.”  Matthew 13:58

It is entirely possible that your lack of faith is stopping God from doing miracles in your life.  Here’s a few more juicy scriptures to chew on:

In Matthew 9:28, Jesus asked, “Do you believe that I am able to do this?”

In Mark 9:23, Jesus said, “Everything is possible for him who believes.”

Jesus said, “With man, this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.”  Matthew 19:26

It’s not a question of what God won’t do in your life.  It’s a question of what you choose to believe.  Will you open doors with your faith and watch God work in your life?

#RuntoGod #addiction #stress #overwhelmed #musingz4life #pray

Pray Like You Got This

power-of-prayer“I am praying to you because I know you will answer, O God.” Psalm 17:6

“My steps have stayed on your path; I have not wavered from following you.” Psalm 17:5

“For I have kept the ways of the Lord; I have not turned from my God to do evil.” Psalm 18:21

It takes a very special person to be able to claim that he has “not turned from my God to do evil.” A casual glance over at the scriptures would make you think that you have to be perfectly following all of God’s commandments before He would answer any of your prayers.

Using myself as an example, I don’t condone disobedience but I am no “saint” either. There have been times when I was very bitter, rebellious and angry toward God. My walk with God is not untainted, but in the times when I did humble myself before God with a sincere desire to get back on track (however long that would take), God answered my prayers. There were many times when I felt insecure about my walk because of all the sin I was committing (on purpose) so I was hardly praying at all. My faith was shot.

No one’s walk is paved with gold.  No one is innocent; we can only be absolved. I think the heart that God wants us to have is the intention to delight in Him. Delighting in God results in obedience. Obedience on human effort alone is terribly hard, which many can attest to if they already tried checking off the do’s and don’ts of Christianity. If you truly delight in God and pour your heart and soul into pleasing Him, can you honestly find it in your heart to continually sin against Him?

“Wherever your treasure is, there the desires of your heart will also be.” Matthew 6:21

When you examine your life, do your goals reflect your eternal perspective or worldly perspective? There is nothing wrong with planning for your future on earth, whether that’s marriage, career or retirement. However, have you also set goals for eternity? Are you preparing yourself to meet your Creator for the Day of Judgment after you breathe your last breath? It may be time to examine and re-evaluate your treasures. Where is your heart leading you to?

“Anyone who is among the living has hope — even a live dog is better off than a dead lion!” Ecclesiastes 9:4

As long as you have breath in your nostrils, you have hope to turn things around spiritually.  No matter how long you’ve been a Christian, or perhaps you have not yet consciously decided to make Jesus Lord of your life — it is not too late.  Sin separates, which explains the insecurity we feel about prayer. The more you steer clear of sin, the more confident you will feel in approaching God. You don’t have to be perfect to approach the throne of grace, but moving forward, if you have a sincere, earnest desire to do right by God, and you depend on HIS strength, God will draw you closer and bring people into your life to help you in your journey.

“Take delight in the Lord, and He will give you your heart’s desires. Commit everything you do to the Lord. Trust Him, and He will help you.” Psalm 37:4-5

#prayer #trustGod #delightinGod #musingz4life