What it Takes to Boldly Approach the Throne (Part Four)

If you are new to studying with me, welcome! For some tips to help you gain the most from what we are learning together, click here.

This month our study is focused on prayer and what it means to come boldly to the throne of God.

Week Four Study Overview:

Today, we are wrapping up our series on prayer by discussing what it means to pack up pieces of pain.

Key Point of Struggle:

Why am I always given a bunch of Christian cliché’s to deal with the hard things of life?

Key Proof of Comfort:

Psalm 23:6

I’m slowly working my way through Lysa TerKeurst’s book Uninvited. In it, she has a chapter titled When Our Normal Gets Snatched, where she tells the story of a friend who went through a divorce and was forced to move from her home. The last item to pack was a wedding portrait. Lysa’s dear friend called her and posed this question: “What do you do with the things that have no place anymore?”

I was struck by that question because in life we’re always packing for something. Maybe it’s for a vacation or an address change that requires suitcases and cardboard boxes. We clean out the closet or basement where there’s been an over-accumulation of stuff. Or, much worse, maybe we’re forced to pack away friendships, marriages, or the death of someone we love deeply. We hit the unfriend button, speak through legal representation, or pack the left behind contents of life belonging to one who moved to eternity. If there’s anything of which we can be certain, it’s that there will be seasons of packing, and it won’t always be for a tropical trip.

I’ve been spending time preparing for a teaching series, and I keep coming back to one solid point that won’t ever require packing away. God will never leave us. Go ahead; take a moment to allow those words to sink deeply inside. Let them settle in peace. God will never leave. Not ever.

Throughout the month of June we’ve been looking at some powerful prayers, and there’s one particular Psalm written from the hand of David that begins with declaration, turns to conversation, and ends with powerful affirmation.

Let’s look at Psalm 23 and then single out one verse in particular.

The Lord is my shepherd;
I shall not want.
He makes me to lie down in green pastures;
He leads me beside the still waters.
He restores my soul;
He leads me in the paths of righteousness
For His name’s sake.

Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,
I will fear no evil;
For You are with me;
Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me.

You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies;
You anoint my head with oil;
My cup runs over.
Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me
All the days of my life;
And I will dwell in the house of the Lord
Forever.

-Psalm 23:1-6

 

Now let’s look at the last verse one more time:

“Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life; and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.”

-Psalm 23:6

I want to tell you this: whatever you find yourself packing away at this time in life, know that God is with you. His goodness and mercy will follow you every day of your journey on this side of heaven. Even when you cannot see or feel any indication of His presence, He is still there.

  • In your journal, write this familiar Psalm, highlight verse 6, and then list everything you’ve already done today or will do throughout the rest of the day. Look for purpose in every moment, every activity, and every breath. Write about it, and then choose to stand strong in truth knowing you have a God who will never leave.

Lysa’s friend asked what to do with things that no longer have a place. There are no easy answers for that. Let’s just be honest and say that when life is hard, the last words we want to hear are a bunch of Christian cliché’s strung together to make us feel something we don’t. But, do you want to know something else? It doesn’t change the fact that Jesus refuses to leave us, won’t forsake us, and wants us to pack all the things that no longer belong in our lives inside His life. When we do that, we will gain strength that has no other explanation except the supernatural. We will stand on truth that comes solely through faith alone.  A cliché is a bunch of overused words and expressions. The truth is if you want peace, then you need to overuse the Bible. Whether or not you find what’s in it to be nothing more than a plethora of platitudes or not, if you need to find life, you’ll find it in the pages of that ancient text.

Go boldly to the throne, hand over the packed up boxes of grief that no longer have a place and gain strength. It’s the hardest thing you’ll ever do, but you were made for hard things.

Love,

Jennifer

What It Takes to Boldly Approach the Throne (Part Three)

If you are new to studying with me, welcome! For some tips to help you gain the most from what we are learning together, click here.

This month our study is focused on prayer and what it means to come boldly to the throne of God. If you missed week one, or Week two, you can click on the links to take you there.

Week Three Study Overview:

Today, we will look at a powerful prayer from Paul to the Colossians.

Key Point of Struggle:

How can we ever fully please God?

Key Proof of Comfort:

Oh Lord, You have searched me and Known me. Psalm 139:1

“…To ask that you may be filled with the knowledge of His will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding; that you may walk worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing Him, being fruitful in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God; strengthened with all might, according to His glorious power, for all patience and long suffering with joy; giving thanks to the Father who has qualified us to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in the light.”

– Colossians 1:9-12

Prayer has become a lifeline for me. Not just because I know that God is the only One who can do the impossible in my life, and the lives around me, but because it deeply connects me to Him. I need those conversations in my life. I’ve learned I don’t do well without them.

One of my favorite parts of reading anything from the apostle Paul is that we are essentially peeking into his mail when opening up the Bible to the books he authored. His letters were meant to encourage, instruct, and warn newly established churches. What is even more powerful to me is that in these letters he sometimes speaks of what he is praying over the people.

I believe God gives us words to pray over specific people and situations. When I was praying to become pregnant and we were facing what seemed an impossible circumstance, God put on my heart to pray these words: “Lord, make a way where there is no way.” I faithfully prayed that each day until He made the crooked way straight and left doctors who told me it was practically impossible to conceive, slack jawed in disbelief. He recently gave me a new word over my writing and speaking ministry. I know the power of what He chooses to hide in my heart, and so I’m praying this new word each day. No one can tell me He didn’t do the same for Paul. With my whole heart, I subscribe to the idea that God put the words Paul prayed, over the churches he ministered to, deep inside his heart. It’s no surprise to me that the Holy Spirit inspired Paul to write those prayers so that we can know the power they hold.

This morning when I awoke I began to pray the anointed, power-filled prayer from Paul to the Colossians over those I know and love.

This prayer speaks what seems impossible for the human condition, “…that you may walk worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing Him.” I often struggle with the sin of my own heart and wonder if I will ever become who God intended me to be. However, I also know the power of our impossible God, the hope He gives, the mercy He pours, and the blood Jesus shed on the cross to gift me the opportunity of allowing my heart to be read through a filter of grace by the Almighty Himself. We have the power to escape the trap of sin because of forgiveness complimentary of agape love.

Today, I pray this prayer in Colossians over you. God looks at our hearts, searches, and knows us. He reads us through filters of grace and mercy through the Power of His Holy Spirit, which promises to break chains that nothing else has the power to break.

  • This week, I want to challenge you to write Paul’s prayer to the Colossians in your journal each day. Yes, that’s what I said. Write that prayer each and every day while committing to pray it over yourself and one other person throughout the week.

Love,

Jennifer

What it Takes to Boldly Approach the Throne (Part Two)

If you are new to studying with me, welcome! Here are some tips to help you gain the most from what we are learning together:

  • It will be helpful to have a journal alongside your Bible as you study. There will be questions to answer, key verses, and prayers along the way that will be worth writing down throughout the journey. (This isn’t required, only recommended in order to gain the most from the study.)
  • Each week I will give a study overview. This consists of one or two sentences designed to give you a “heads up” on what we will be learning.
  • Every week as we begin the study, you will see a Key Point of Struggle and a Key Proof of Comfort listed. The Key Point of Struggle is a piece of the study that could possibly stir the most angst inside you as you’re working to seek purpose and live it well. The Key Proof of Comfort is a piece of the study that will help calm your soul as we discover truth together.

Week Two Study Overview:

Today we will look at Hannah’s prayer to God in the midst of her distress.

Key Point of Struggle:

What if God doesn’t answer me the way He answered Hannah?

Key Proof of Comfort:

Because of Jesus we can boldly approach the throne, and that gives us hope for God to work the impossible in our lives.

This month our study is focused on prayer and what it means to come boldly to the throne of God. If you missed week one, you can read it here.

A healthy prayer life didn’t come overnight for me. As a child, I don’t think I ever moved mountains with mighty prayers of faith, but as an adult I pray about everything. It took me a long time to get where I am. Communicating with my Father in heaven has been a process that began in desperation, transitioned to discipline, and became a desire. I’m confident in telling you that at this point in my life I can’t live without prayer. I actually miss God when I don’t talk to Him.

When I think of bold prayers, I think about Hannah. If you know anything about my story then you know why I feel a connection to Hannah, but there’s more to why I love this particular prayer. Let’s take a look at it.

So Hannah arose after they had finished eating and drinking in Shiloh. Now Eli the priest was sitting on the seat by the doorpost of the tabernacle of the Lord. 10 And she was in bitterness of soul, and prayed to the Lord and wept in anguish. 11 Then she made a vow and said, “O Lord of hosts, if You will indeed look on the affliction of Your maidservant and remember me, and not forget Your maidservant, but will give Your maidservant a male child, then I will give him to the Lord all the days of his life, and no razor shall come upon his head.”

12 And it happened, as she continued praying before the Lord, that Eli watched her mouth. 13 Now Hannah spoke in her heart; only her lips moved, but her voice was not heard. Therefore Eli thought she was drunk. 14 So Eli said to her, “How long will you be drunk? Put your wine away from you!”

-1 Samuel 1:10-14

Before we can fairly view this account of Hannah’s life, we have to put it in cultural context. There’s a bit of a backstory to circumstances surrounding Hannah and there are a few things you’ll need to know to properly understand her. In the Old Testament it was commonplace for a man to have more than one wife. It was also a great honor to have a male child first. This is why Hannah specifically asked for a son. When studying the Bible, we have to look at the way society functioned, historically, to give us insight as to why certain circumstances happened the way they did.

Hannah was barren and to make matters worse she was one of two wives. The other wife had an open womb and an unkind demeanor, to say the least. Her name was Peninnah. She was jealous because their husband, Elkanah, had a love for Hannah that he didn’t share for her. We all know jealousy tends to lead to cruelty, in one way or the other, and this is exactly what happened where these two women were concerned. Elkanah, with all his heart, wanted Hannah to be free of hurt, but pain ran deep and her desire for a baby of her own, deeper still.

One evening, after refusing food and weeping throughout dinner, a broken heart and bitter soul led Hannah to confess everything she felt to God. She begged, pleaded, and pledged a child that didn’t yet exist to a life of service for the Living God, if only He would grant her request.

I would like to highlight one specific point about Hannah’s prayer:

  1. At that moment, Hannah was a hot mess before God.

Desperation often leads to overwhelming transparency. I often wonder why we wait until we feel completely forsaken before arriving in a place of pure honesty. We serve a God who created us. This means He knows everything about us, and yet we often try to hide. Hannah was burdened with misery so profound it uncovered every ounce of pride she may have had. It drove her to a dependence on God she might have otherwise never experienced.

It’s okay to be a hot mess before God. It’s okay to be authentically you before the Almighty. He already knows who you are and expects you to come boldly to His throne.

For any of us who struggle with wondering if God will answer us in desperate moments the way He answered Hannah, I want to say this: All we know about Hannah is a few isolated events recorded in the Bible. We have no idea how many times Hannah had moments just like this one where she pleaded to God for a child with every stitch of her soul. We have no idea how long Hannah waited before this particular prayer changed everything.

Listen, no one wants to be told to wait for God’s plan. We need things from God. Whether it is physical healing, inner healing from brokenness, financial miracles, a baby, or wisdom in a particular decision or relationship, we often feel we don’t have time to wait because the clock is ticking.  Comfort doesn’t usually come in the form of counsel telling us to trust God and wait. Yet, when we choose to listen to that advice we don’t want to hear, hope is produced. In fact, hope actually becomes plentiful.

In WW2 a Jewish person sat in a German concentration camp and scratched three lines on a wall. This is what was written:

I believe in the sun even when it’s not shining.
I believe in love even when I don’t feel it.
I believe in God even when He is silent”

When we cry out God will meet us. It might not always be the way we expect, but God will give us hope and our faith will rise up. Whoever wrote those three lines had deep faith. I believe they boldly approached the throne and received a hope more powerful than anyone can begin to understand. I see peace woven throughout those words that cannot be explained by anything else except an encounter with the Almighty God.

Friend, you need to know that having an open heart before God and bringing your needs to Him every day will not cause Him to become bored of you. You also need to understand that if your answer doesn’t come the way you expect it that you are not loved any less. Regardless of the outcome, you need to make the decision to approach the throne with boldness. I believe approaching the throne looking like a hot mess counts in the bold before God department!

It is true that we have no choice but to wait and trust, but that doesn’t mean we remain stagnant in the meantime. We need to live our lives communicating with our God. It brings us into deeper relationship and brings hope and peace that we will not tap into any other way.

  • Romans 12:12 says, “Be Joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. In your journal, please write this scripture and then list one way having hope brings you joy. After that,  list something you need to be more patient about, and then write a prayer to God thanking Him for His hope while asking for His help during affliction.

Love,

Jennifer

 

 

 

What it Takes to BOLDLY Approach the Throne (Part One)

Hello Friend! I don’t know about you, but I miss Jeremiah already! I loved digging into the weeping prophet’s life and learning from him. I couldn’t believe the number of emails I received last week from people who either gave suggestions for our next topic of study, or asked that we continue in a Bible study format on the blog long-term. I’m super excited about that! The Word will not change, but it has the power to change us! We can depend on it because it endures the test of time. The ESV says it like this:

The grass withers, the flower fades, but the word of our God will stand forever.

-Isaiah 40:8

The Word of our God stands tall in strength with authority, and I count it a privilege to study it with you. For the month of June, I would like to take some time to study prayer. Here’s why: We often depend on the prayers of others to carry us through, but what about our prayers? Are we praying for others? Are we praying for ourselves? Do we understand what it means to approach the throne of grace boldly? Our communication with the living God has the power to change everything. If we aren’t communicating with Him, how can we expect to maintain a healthy relationship with Him? Over the next few weeks, we are going to look at some people from the Bible and examine some of the powerful prayers they prayed. We will apply those prayers to us and begin to unpack power through the Word. Are you with me?

We will continue in the same study format. This means that each week you will once again see a key point of struggle and a key proof of comfort. Let’s begin!

Key Point of Struggle:

Many of us aren’t sure how to talk to God. We’re afraid He won’t answer, or that our prayers might seem selfish.

Key Proof of Comfort:

We will take an in-depth look at Hebrews 4:16 to sort out those fears.

As we prepare our hearts for a series on prayer, let’s take a closer look at Hebrews 4:16

Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need.

-Hebrews 4:16 (NKJV)

The word boldly inside the text makes me nervous. Do you know why? Because, friend, I’m a lot of things, but bold isn’t one of them. It seems to take me forever to say what I need to say. I tend to filter everything. I recognize what trickles from my heart, ends up on my tongue, multiplies, and overflows through my lips. I want those words to be genuine, consistent, and kind. I understand how easy it is to be misinterpreted, and to have my heart unfairly judged by others just like me. It’s scary. And to be honest, I even tend to filter what I speak to my Father in heaven.

I worry my prayers are selfish and aren’t as faith-filled as they should be. I’m also petrified that if I become bold, then I’ll somehow lose humility. And James, the half-brother of Jesus says, “But He gives more grace. Therefore He says: “God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble.” (See James 4:6) I can’t imagine a worse circumstance than to be resisted by my God. But there’s good news: this word bold isn’t to be confused with prideful confidence. It’s to be aligned with confidence in the power of God! Let me show you…

The Greek word for bold in Hebrews 4:16 is the word parresia. It means freedom, openness, especially in speech, boldness, confidence. The short definition is freedom of speech, confidence.

This means we have freedom of speech with our God. We can communicate to Him openly, unafraid to ask Him for the desires He’s placed within our hearts. We can obtain mercy at His throne and receive grace in our time of need. Now, of course, our requests must match up to His Word. We must make sure they are God-honoring.

Let’s try something new and take the short definition of parresia and insert it into scripture replacing the word boldly.

Let us therefore come with freedom of speech and confidence to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need.

Friend, it’s time to get honest with God. He already knows everything about us, but He’s waiting for us to confide in Him. It’s in our most authentic moments that we begin to truly accept freedom.

If you look at the word bold in the Meriam Webster dictionary, you’ll see it has three definitions. I love the second. It says this… Bold: Showing or needing confidence or lack of fear.

Let’s take that definition and insert it into scripture replacing the word bold:

Let us therefore come showing or needing confidence or lack of fear to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need.

Isn’t that great?!?! It’s important that we have confidence in Christ when approaching the throne. It’s time to rid ourselves of fear speaking our words won’t be good enough or faith-filled enough. We need to shut down the voice that says we are shallow and shouldn’t be bringing such silliness to God. Listen, God wants to hear it all!  He loves every part of us and desires open hearts. When we pray with an honest and upright heart, God sees that and honors it.

The International Standard Bible quotes Hebrews 4:16 like this:

So let us keep on coming boldly to the throne of grace, so that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.

“Let us keep on coming boldly…” I LOVE that! Conversing with our Father isn’t just a onetime deal. It shouldn’t be about frustration over what seems to be unanswered prayers. We have to learn to keep coming back to Him, to keep asking with humility and gratitude, and believe in faith that His will, will be done in our lives.

  • In your journal, write a prayer asking God to help you to keep coming back to the throne with confidence and freedom of speech.

 

Next week, we will begin studying lives from those who went before us in confidence to the throne of grace.

Love,

Jennifer

Never miss a post! Consider subscribing and learn about big changes coming to the blog this summer!

 

 

Just Be Willing…

CASTLEShe had no idea I was listening, but I couldn’t help myself. She was walking step-for-step next to me while telling her friend she was on the way to her dying mother’s bedside. Her sister had just called to deliver the news.

Have I mentioned how shy I am? It’s bizarre. I can lead worship, speak, or do practically anything on a stage involving ministry, but one-on-one with strangers in Walmart… forget it.

The panic in her voice was overriding what I could tell was an otherwise peaceful, velvety tone. Anyone witnessing this would quickly understand she was breaking. Fast.

I prayed. It’s all I could do. I kept thinking that if I was someone else – different in personality somehow, that maybe I would have the guts to tell a perfect stranger I was praying. After all, maybe no one else had ever told her that.

Condemnation quickly swept over me like one of those waves in the ocean that catches a person off guard. The kind that snatches you back in for just one more swim, against your will, when all you really want to do is get to the beach.

There is no condemnation in Christ.

As I loaded my purchases in the car, I kept wondering what I could have done differently. That is until that still, small voice which is ever so faithful to interrupt the condemning voice of shame spoke softly and said, “I put you there to pray for her, just pray.”

Just pray.

After forty-two years, I’m finally grasping the concept that it’s in moments I feel worst about myself that God is working to do His best.

I wasn’t meant to grab that girl, tell her I was praying, and become fast friends. I wasn’t meant to make any type of tangible mark on her life with my own hands. I was meant to pray for God’s hands to leave the mark.

It’s all about Him.

We don’t often think our minuscule trips to the store for paper plates, crayons, and milk will lead to a move of God, but God never stops moving. Even at Walmart! He’s constantly throwing people into our paths to bring beauty to the everyday monotony of life.

Maybe you’re home changing diapers and wondering if you’ll ever get your chance to do the things you were called to do. Well, I can say with all certainty that you’re doing them right now and probably don’t even realize it.

Whenever we find ourselves praying for the passing ambulance or smile at the miserable lady in the produce aisle, we have to believe we are making a difference.

This life is meant for something so much bigger than we can even begin to comprehend.

Every silent prayer whispered from our hearts is meant to mark the life of someone who needs it. We don’t have to be on stage to make a difference… we just have to be willing.

When we are willing, God’s will prevails. (Tweet that)

Don’t ever think the prayers you pray aren’t important or that your ministry isn’t “big” enough. God is at work and your purpose is greater than you know.

No matter when.

No matter where.

Just be willing.

Love,

Jennifer

PS: I’m beginning a series on Advent November 29th. I hope you will join me!

 

Stillness and the Emotional Dam

Stillness and the Emotional DamToday I’m thinking about Hannah. About how much turmoil she must have felt the day Peninnah threw it in her face that she didn’t have a child. I can almost see her wailing before God, crying out, and pleading for a miracle. In fact, she was making such a fuss that Eli thought she was drunk.

She wasn’t…

Hannah was a desperate woman full of sorrow who simply could not wait still any longer.

This word still can go so many directions, but all I see in this picture is that Hannah prayed. Yes, she felt bitter from an empty womb turned gaping wound refusing to heal, but in all this… Hannah prayed.

She trusted God. So what if she yelled and cried and looked like a drunken hot mess, she was pouring it all out to the living God, the only One she could trust to eventually deliver her from grief.

It’s perfectly okay for stillness to mean begging, pleading, and wailing, as long as it always ends with trusting.

Hannah grappled with God and because she trusted Him with her deepest pain, she stayed in the presence of a stillness that can only come from the Almighty.

Do you know that, oftentimes, stillness comes after the emotional dam finally breaks? I have no idea why, but it’s usually necessary to lose it before the process of healing begins.

You can trust God with your deepest pain, friend.

Through it, He will lead you deeper into stillness.

Love,

Jennifer

PS: If you’ve missed any of my October Series, The Struggle to Live a Still Life, Click here and scroll down for previous posts. New email subscribers receive my eBook, Mercy Waits, as a gift!

The story of Hannah is found in I Samuel.

Stillness Requires Vision

Stillness Requires VisionEverything that’s human about us requires more than just staying in the same spot. We are eager to move on to the next big thing and usually we have it all planned out in our heads. This is why it’s frustrating when God calls us to a season of waiting and praying.

However, deeply tucked inside the waiting for whatever comes next, bubbles hope.

I love watching my children blow bubbles in the summertime. Each one glistens in the sunlight showing off a rainbow of colors that float into the air just like our prayers.

And I have to think that our hope and prayers, when given with a thankful, repentant heart waiting still in His presence, must translate into beautiful colors reflected off the hope we have in Christ. Our hope glistens in the S-O-N.

Yesterday, I mentioned that God places our desires deep within our hearts and the more we seek Him, the more available we are to His will rather than our own.

I tend to see those desires as tiny bubbles releasing in the air one by one. Those desires translate to hope, and hope leads to visions and dreams of what’s to come.

I’ve said this already, but I’m going to say it again: To be still in God doesn’t mean we can’t move ahead. It doesn’t mean we can’t pursue dreams and passions placed deeply inside our souls. Being still in His presence actually means moving within it. it’s about stepping forward at His pace and never our own.

In order to do that, we must have hope and vision for our future. It’s time to build on a solid foundation of Christ understanding that being still really means listening intently to His voice in our lives, even when we are running full speed ahead. As long as each stride is in Him, we will be okay.

If you’ve somehow lost the vision for your life, if you’ve forgotten how to dream, you must remember hope.

We have a sure hope in Christ Jesus and stillness in Him requires to trust in that hope. Open your eyes to things ahead, and let your dreams bubble forth.

Love,

Jennifer

If you’ve missed any part of my October Series, The Struggle to Live a Still Life, click here.

 

 

Because Relationships are Slippery and Life is Precarious…

Because Relationships are Hard and Life is PrecariousI’m certain you don’t need me to tell you that relationships are hard. You don’t need to hear they are precarious and sometimes the ground between “point A” and “point B” is slippery. If you’ve ever met another human, you probably already gleaned that from experience.

One time, in the dead of winter, my friend and I decided we wanted a treat from Dairy Queen. On our way, we walked out of her mother’s house onto the back deck where my friend lost her footing on a piece of ice and fell flat on her back. Now, for those of you who don’t know me beyond the blog, I should probably inform you that in real life when someone falls, after I know they are okay, I have an issue with uncontrollable laughter. It’s a problem.

This happened twenty years ago, and I can still see her face while lying there waiting for me to reach out and lend a hand. I laughed so hard that I couldn’t, for the life of me, find the strength to help her stand up. Jokingly, she said I suffered from a severe case of weak arm. It was a correct diagnosis.

The best part of the story might be that her mother opened the back door of the house to see what all the commotion was, and when she realized what had happened she just rolled her eyes, turned around, and shut the door behind her. She knew we were two, crazy girls and that silliness often got the best of us.

Unfortunately, there are some relationships that refuse to survive icy conditions.

Metaphorically speaking, pieces of ice in relationships can lead to damage that no one is able to laugh at. All parties involved find themselves injured, and the only hope of getting back on ones feet is prayer. Good, old fashioned, down on our knees kind of prayer.

Above, I used the word precarious. According to Merriam Webster, the origin of the word is Latin – precarius – It means obtained by entreaty, uncertain – more at prayer.

can you believe it? MORE AT PRAYER.

Friend, relationships take prayer. Even when things are at their best, we must pray. That way when they reach their worst, we are ready for the battle. Prayer also creates intimacy between people. There is something about seeking the living God for another human life that holds eternal value so deeply, that the ties of love have no choice but to bind.

We must be bound in love: love that only comes through Jesus, flowing down in the form of grace.

There is so much pain in the world right now. Those of us in the body of Christ need to recognize there are powers and principalities that would love to pull brothers and sisters of Christ apart.

 

Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and He will lift you up.

-James 4:10

Humbling ourselves in the sight of the Lord also means humbling ourselves to each other. We need to look beyond today and think about the eternal value in our situations.

No one likes it, because sometimes we’ve done nothing wrong, however, God calls us to lessen the diameter of our worlds, that He might become larger than anything residing in it, around it, and even floating high above it.

I rented a movie over the weekend and in one particular scene, the son asks the father, “Do you believe in God?” The father replied, “I’m dying… what choice do I have?”

Friend, we should never wait for things to completely crumble before we begin to humble. (Click to tweet.)

It might sound cheesy, but it’s truth.

If you’re having an issue today with someone who has hurt you and can’t find it in yourself to reach out to them, pray for them. Pray blessing, hope, and love to bond all things holy in their life.

Life is precarious… pray harder.

Love,

Jennifer

 

What the Heart’s Spill Sounds Like…

waterfallOver the last few days I’ve been wondering what it might be like to completely spill my heart to someone. I’m talking about unleashing the dam and letting it all go. There are many reasons I don’t make a habit of doing that. First of all, I don’t want to burden anyone. And, second of all, I have a hard time openly conveying the tender places of my heart.

Consequently, I spend a lot of time spilling my heart out to God. Yesterday I wondered what the spill might sound like to Him. Does it sound like much needed rain after a drought, or a damaging hurricane?

For years, when I asked, begged, and pleaded for another child, I often felt like God was sick of my cries. I wondered if my heart sounded like the droning of a desperate woman. To anyone human I’m sure it did. However, I’ve learned that it’s often the frantic cries from broken places that pulls us closer to Him. He desires us to share everything.

We serve a God who longs to hear the sound of our hearts. (See Romans 12:12)

A quiet and listening spirit is one thing, but a quiet heart has the potential to become hard, and it’s imperative to know and understand the difference between the two.

To pray without ceasing is a high calling, and yet it’s required of every one of us. (See 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18) To do that means spilling the heart loudly and earnestly – never giving up. We must intercede for others, for ourselves, for the falling world around us. Small things, big things, and the crazy things that swirl in the heart and soul must be given to Jesus. It’s an offering.

Even angry words and questions why have their place from time-to-time. It’s a fine line, but it’s one we must walk every now and then. As long as we are careful not to become stuck there, it’s okay.

For God so loved the world that He gave His only Son. (See John 3:16)

Besides the obvious, what does that mean for you? I’m talking about in addition to salvation and the hope of eternity. Specifically, what does it mean for you? Have you ever thought about that?

Jesus is the mediator between God and man. We learn that from 1 Timothy 2:5. So, today, I’m reminded that the Love of God and the cross He willing put His son on facilitates the spill of my heart . Our mediator makes the Father accessible that we may pour out the contents of the heart. And because of the cross, grace covers every word and the Father receives it.

  • He hears me because He gave His Son.

And this is the confidence that we have toward him, that if we ask anything according to his will he hears us. And if we know that he hears us in whatever we ask, we know that we have the requests that we have asked of him.

-1 John 5:14-15

For the eyes of the Lord are on the righteous, and his ears are open to their prayer. But the face of the Lord is against those who do evil.

-1 Peter 3:12

  • He’s faithful because He gave His Son.

If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

-1 John 1:9

If we are faithless, he remains faithful— for he cannot deny himself.

-2 Timothy 2:13

Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for he who promised is faithful.

-Hebrews 10:23

I could go on and on about this, but I want to encourage you to allow your heart to spill out to God. He will receive every word and give you comfort, supply hope, and provide wisdom.

Friend, don’t ever think God is tired of hearing your pleas. Don’t believe feelings that are based on pure emotion rather than truth. Too often we allow the enemy to remind us of our faults when all Jesus wants to do is remind us that He died for every one of them.

You are free and covered in grace. (See Ephesians 2:8 and John 8:36)

When I was a little girl my grandfather died. I remember running into the kitchen where my aunt was standing, she held out her arms and I buried myself in her chest while crying. She said, “It’s okay, let it all out.” I often think of God doing that as I lament to Him.

So, friend, it’s okay, let it all out to Him.

Spill every drop and He will meet you there.

Love,

Jennifer

 

 

 

 

 

 

God Honoring Moments…

coffee and Bible_nHave you ever remembered something you’ve said to God in the past that made a difference in your future with Him? I’m talking about words that changed your prayer life so beautifully,  that you know He received that particular plea like an offering of fire in the rain. If you have, then you know those are powerful moments. The kind that knit us closer to Him.

I spent many days praying, “God, please make a way where there is no way.” And He did just that.

And then there are times I  spend with God when nothing comes out of my mouth. Trembling lips seem to be my only offering. I’ve come to find that He honors those moments exactly the same as when I’m able to pray with confidence.

I’m thankful He interprets the language of my heart and not the words from my lips. (Tweet that)

Lately, I’ve been starting out every morning the same. I open my eyes and say, “Lord, I commit this day to You. Whatever You want for my life, help me to accept it, trust in it, and love You through it.”

Those can be difficult words, friend. I have to continually remind myself that I want what He wants… despite my own desires. However, the longer I serve Him, the more I realize that He places my true desires deep in my heart. They come from Him.

I’ve been weeding out certain behaviors in my life that aren’t pleasing to Him. I want to see the fullness of God in my life, but I’m also reminded that He loves me as I am. He might whisper to the deep places of my soul that there is some changing needing to take place within the confines of my heart, but He loves me. He wants me. He accepts me. He honors my time with Him.

And He feels the same way about you.

I’m convinced that He honors our love for Him. He covers our weak moments of doubt, with grace, just as much as he covers our strong moments full of fervor. He knows our only hope comes from Christ, and He loves that we believe in Him. He honors the humility it takes to have faith in a God we cannot see but know exists.

We believe. And I know it makes Him smile.

So I’m choosing to live accepting of His plan and expectant of His answers.

It’s not always easy. It seems like yesterday I was in a hospital bed holding a lifeless baby girl. I remember how hot the tears were that ran down my face when I knew I would never bring her home. And there’s been more heartache since that day…

It wasn’t easy to accept that He allowed me to face such grief. However, the more I learned about Him, the more I grasped that He Himself suffered on the cross. We serve a God who knows what sorrow is.

But we also know that all things work together for good for those who love Him. (See Romans 8:28)

All Things.

Even moments that bring us to death’s door cannot shake us, because He’s at the threshold keeping watch.

Today, I need to tell you that He honors your belief in Him. He honors the courage it takes to stand on the side of a God you cannot see. He loves you and loves the moments you spend talking with Him. He loves when His children call on Him.

He will honor you, friend. He hears you and He knows…

Talk to Him, give Him every moment, and keep believing.

He who follows righteousness and mercy finds life, righteousness, and honor.

-Proverbs 21:21

By humility and the fear of the Lord are riches and honor and life.

-Proverbs 22:4

Love,

Jennifer

My eBook, Mercy Waits, is FREE to new subscribers!

The Kindle edition of my book, Nothing to Hold but Hope, is on sale via Amazon for $0.99! Would you do a girl a solid and spread the word?