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Overcoming Difficult Trials

Archive for the tag “Prayer”

What Does God Think Of Our Grumbles?

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What does the Bible teach us about grumbling and complaining? The Greek meaning of the word complainer means, “one who is discontented with his lot in life.” The first complainer was the very first man, Adam. After he sinned in the Garden of Eden, he complained to God that Eve was the reason for his disobedience.

“Then the man said, ‘The woman whom You gave to be with me, she gave me of the tree, and I ate.’”

Complaining is a part of human nature, that is, our sin nature. There is a long list of complaints throughout the Word of God. Job complained about his suffering and material losses. Jacob complained about his first marriage. Queen Esther’s enemy, Haman, complained to King Ahasuerus about the Jews in the land. Jonah even complained about the mercy and grace God showed the people of Nineveh.

Prayer is an avenue in which we can have honest conversations with our Creator. We are instructed to come boldly before the throne of God. He will listen to our grumbles and complaints, but it is best to petition for strength and understanding while conveying frustrations and disappointments. The prayer closet is a sanctuary for all believers but discontentment is a sign we have not accepted God’s plan and will for us.

As believers and lights of the world, should we join in conversations where grumbling is the focus? Discontent breeds bitterness, anger, and often ill will. Scripture warns us to refrain from complaining, especially in front of non-believers.

Do all things without complaining and disputing, that you may become blameless and harmless, children of God without fault in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world” Philippians 2:14-15 (NKJV)

Don’t grumble against one another, brothers and sisters, or you will be judged. The Judge is standing at the door!James 5:9 (NKJV)

With elections in the forefront, it is easy to fall into negative political conversations. It would be so much better if we petitioned God, in our prayer closet, for His pick regarding leadership. Requesting God’s will in such matters will ease our worries over political figures and provide us with peace of mind. There is no authority higher than God, and He appoints all earthly authorities.

“Let every soul be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and the authorities that exist are appointed by God. Therefore whoever resists the authority resists the ordinance of God, and those who resist will bring judgment on themselves.” Romans 13:1-2 (NKJV)

The apostle Paul wrote about contentment, the solution to our habit of grumbling. He understood that God was our all and all, our everything. Nothing else can fill us with absolute peace and contentment. The knowledge of God, His love and sacrifice, is the key to accepting all circumstances in life.

Not that I speak in regard to need, for I have learned in whatever state I am, to be content: I know how to be abased, and I know how to abound. Everywhere and in all things I have learned both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need. I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.Philippians 4:11-13 (NKJV)

To wrestle with God is acceptable, but you might get your hip knocked out of socket (Gen. 32:25). To blame God and speak ill of Him is sinful. When the urge to grumble arises, consider these facts first. God’s ways are not our ways as His thoughts are so much higher than our own. God loves us unconditionally and disciplines those He calls His own. God knows our future and how to get us down the path of life. Finally, we live in a fallen world where man still has a free will.

 

God Desires Honesty

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We have the freedom to speak honestly before our King. God already knows what we think, and what we are about to say, so it is foolishness to hide our true feelings from Him. We have permission to be honest, really honest, and need not fear retribution or punishment for our transparency.

Before a word is on my tongue You, LORD, know it completely.” Psalm 139:4 (NIV)

Consider Lazarus, Mary, and Martha. Jesus considered all three to be His friend. And even though He was the King of Kings in living flesh, He welcomed their honest feelings. In one story, Martha complains about Mary sitting at His feet and listening to His word, instead of helping her serve guests. She actually rebuffed Jesus and questioned whether He cared that she had been left alone to serve guests. Furthermore, she ordered Him to tell Mary to help. Jesus acknowledged her feelings but replied that Mary had chosen the good part, which would not be taken away from her.

“Now it happened as they went that He entered a certain village; and a certain woman named Martha welcomed Him into her house. And she had a sister called Mary, who also sat at Jesus’ feet and heard His word. But Martha was distracted with much serving, and she approached Him and said, ‘Lord, do You not care that my sister has left me to serve alone? Therefore tell her to help me.’

 And Jesus answered and said to her, ‘Martha, Martha, you are worried and troubled about many things. But one thing is needed, and Mary has chosen that good part, which will not be taken away from her.” Luke 10:38-42 (NKJV)

 On another occasion, Martha, grief-stricken over her brother’s death, freely spoke of her disappointment with Jesus, for He had not been present before Lazarus passed. She did not know that her Savior intentionally stayed away so that He could perform a miracle. Lazarus was raised from the dead, which led to many conversions.

“’Lord,’ Martha said to Jesus, ‘if You had been here, my brother would not have died. But I know that even now God will give You whatever You ask.’ Jesus said to her, ‘Your brother will rise again.’” John 11:21-23 (NIV)

God does not look favorably upon liars. Truth is who God is. He cannot lie. Since we are called to be like Christ, we too must strive to speak truthfully at all times, even in our prayer closet.

In the hope of eternal life, which God, who does not lie, promised before the beginning of timeTitus 1:2 (NKJV)

“But Peter said, “Ananias, why has Satan filled your heart to lie to the Holy Spirit and keep back part of the price of the land for yourself? When it remained, was it not your own? And after it was sold, was it not in your own control? Why have you conceived this thing in your heart? You have not lied to men but to God. Then Ananias, hearing these words, fell down and breathed his last.” Acts 5:3-5a (NKJV)

If we hold feelings of hate, disappointment, lust, fear, or bitterness in our heart, it is best to acknowledge it, express it openly with God, and then ask for forgiveness. He can handle our true emotions. He knows our hidden sins and welcomes honest communication. Truth and honesty make for an intimate relationship with God. Pour your heart out to the King. Those who speak truthfully are His delight.

Lying lips are an abomination to the Lord, but those who deal truthfully are His delight.Proverbs 12:22 (NKJV)

“An honest heart loves the truth.” ~ A.W. Pink

Putting God First

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What is your greatest treasure? What is your most precious possession? The Bible mentions our connection to this treasure. It is a heart connection.

For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.Luke 12:34 (NKJV)

If our heart treasure is money and success, we should take heed to Matthew 6:24. This scripture warns we cannot serve two masters. It is impossible to serve both God and money. Many a greedy man has been doomed by his ambition for power, wealth, and success. Queen Esther certainly played a part in Haman’s demise (Esther 7). His thirst for power and success was his ruination.

God is to be our first priority, in all things and in all ways. Putting a child or family member above God is a form of idolatry. Genesis 22 tells of how God tested Abraham. Abraham adored his son Isaac, but that did not hinder his obedience to God.

Then He said, “Take now your son, your only son Isaac, whom you love, and go to the land of Moriah, and offer him there as a burnt offering on one of the mountains of which I shall tell you.” Genesis 22:2 (NKJV)

God waited until the very last moment, watching Abraham lift his knife to slay his son, before intervening and providing another blood sacrifice. God witnessed Abraham’s obedience. He saw the heart of his servant. Isaac was greatly loved, but Abraham had not placed him in a position above the Lord. He trusted God would fulfill His promise to make his descendants as numerous as the stars in the sky (Gen 22:17).

“But the Angel of the Lord called to him from heaven and said, “Abraham, Abraham!”

So he said, “Here I am.”

And He said, “Do not lay your hand on the lad, or do anything to him; for now I know that you fear God, since you have not withheld your son, your only son, from Me.” Genesis 22:11-12 (NKJV)

So, it is good to ask this question periodically. “Is God my top priority and how do I actively put Him first?”

We are told to Seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you.” Matthew 6:33 (NKJV)

“In everything you do, put God first, and he will direct you and crown your efforts with success.” Proverbs 3:6 (TLB)

Putting God first, in everything we do is not easy in this fallen world. There are so many distractions and temptations that keep us from our fellowship time with God. It is easy to get involved in family matters or work related issues first thing in the morning. Yet, in the life of a saint, God must be first. Our relationship with our Creator needs to be a priority. If we wait to pray, worship, and read the Word of God, it is easy to place Him on the back burner. We trudge through our busy day and come home weary and ready for bed.

As we drift off to sleep, God calls out to say, “I missed you today! I wanted to share some words that would have encouraged you and others. I had wisdom to impart and I wanted to teach you about ______. Am I your first love, your first priority?”

Jesus and other Bible characters are noted as early risers who sought God in prayer. Abraham, Hannah, and Job are just a few examples.

And Abraham went early in the morning to the place where he had stood before the Lord.Genesis 19:24 (NKJV)

Then they rose early in the morning and worshiped before the Lord, and returned and came to their house at Ramah. And Elkanah knew Hannah his wife, and the Lord remembered her.1 Samuel 1:19 (NKJV)

So it was, when the days of feasting had run their course, that Job would send and sanctify them, and he would rise early in the morning and offer burnt offerings according to the number of them all. For Job said, “It may be that my sons have sinned and cursed God in their hearts.” Thus, Job did regularly.Job 1:5 (NKJV)

I encourage you to carve out a set time in the morning to fellowship with God. Sing His praises and read the Bible. The Word of God is what feeds our spirit. The Holy Spirit will store what we have read and supernaturally bring it back to memory when necessary.

Pray in the morning, before you get entangled with work and the cares of this world. Prayer is our way to communicate with God. It is also one way He communicates with us.

Let the morning bring me word of your unfailing love, for I have put my trust in You. Show me the way I should go, for to You I entrust my life.” Psalm 143:8 (NIV)

Now early in the morning He came again into the temple, and all the people came to Him; and He sat down and taught them.” John 8:2 (NKJV)

Seeking God: ALL Are Called To Pray

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Seek the Lord and His strength; Seek His face evermore!”   1 Chronicles 16:11 (NKJV)

Spiritual work is HARD work. Prayer is often arduous. It requires time, concentrated focus, and humility. Prayer is more than mere meditation. Rather, it is the means by which every saint cultivates intimacy with God. To commune is to converse or talk together, usually with profound intensity and intimacy. Often there is an interchange of thoughts or feelings. (http://dictionary.reference.com/)

“Spiritual work is taxing work, and men are loath to do it. Praying, true praying, costs an outlay of serious attention and of time, which flesh and blood do not relish.” ~ E.M. Bounds

 Oswald Chambers suggests in his book Daily Thoughts For Disciples, that prayer develops and nourishes the life of God within us. It advances and feeds us while we move towards spiritual maturity. How? Continual contact with the Father sharpens our spirit and teaches us to focus on matters that concern God. It develops spiritual discernment, increases our love and compassion for the lost, and aides in transforming our minds.

 For ‘Who has known the mind of the Lord that he may instruct Him?But we have the mind of Christ.” 1 Corinthians 2:16 (NKJV)

 And be renewed in the spirit of your mind” Ephesians 4:23 (NKJV)

 “Choose to view life through God’s eyes. This will not be easy because it doesn’t come naturally to us. We cannot do this on our own. We have to allow God to elevate our vantage point. Start by reading His Word, the Bible…Pray and ask God to transform your thinking. Let Him do what you cannot. Ask Him to give you an eternal, divine perspective.” ~ Charles Swindoll

 We are called to abide in Christ. This means to remain inseparably linked to Christ in all areas of our life. When the Word of God abides in us, and we have asked God to lead us in prayer according to His will, powerful things will happen in the heavenlies.

 Practice entering the throne room of God with praise but also enter into prayer with a motive and intent to listen. If we cannot silence our own thoughts, how will we ever manage to hear HIS voice? While quietly waiting on the Holy Spirit, God will make know His will and purpose and effectively lead us through our time of intercession.

Since prayer brings us into the very presence of God, we can be certain a spiritual battle will ensue. Do not let this discourage you! The enemy would not fight so hard to distract, discourage, or exhaust us if God’s leading was not effective and powerful.

We are to “fight the good fight” and prayer is something we are ALL called to do. It is not just a select few who are “raised up” or gifted to pray. It is every Christian’s privilege! All believers should strive to become prayer warriors. We ought not to put the burdens of the world on only a few shoulders. We must unite and draw close to God as a nation. The sacrifice of time and the energy exerted during intercession will develop our spiritual muscles. Thanks to prayer, we can call upon God’s power and tear down devilish strongholds and the evil schemes of the enemy. We ALL benefit from prayer.   It is my hope that prayer fills your day and blesses many, through the power and leading of Jesus Christ.

Read the quotes and scriptures below and then consider your prayer life. Do you need to make any changes?

“If My people who are called by My name will humble themselves, and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land.  Now My eyes will be open and My ears attentive to prayer made in this place.” 2 Chronicles 7:14-15 (NKJV)

“Satan dreads nothing but prayer. His one concern is to keep the saints from praying. He fears nothing from prayerless studies, prayerless work, prayerless religion. He laughs at our toil, he mocks our wisdom, but he trembles when we pray.” ~ Samuel Chadwick

“The Christian should work as if all depended upon him, and pray as if it all depended upon God.” ~ Charles Spurgeon

Are You Persistent In Prayer?

 

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We should be devoted, persistent and steady in our prayer life. Our communication with God should not only be daily but continuous throughout the day. The Bible is full of scriptures encouraging believers to be tireless in prayer. It is God’s will that we seek Him out.

Continue earnestly in prayer, being vigilant in it with thanksgiving.” Colossians 4:2 (NKJV)

Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 (NKJV)

Although God hears every prayer and enjoys our fellowship during intercession, prayer requests are not always answered within our timeframe. We should not assume God has turned a deaf ear to our petition if pleas are not answered immediately. Our requests might not be aligned with God’s will or sin might be tainting our appeal. Even Habakkuk expressed frustration and impatience over God’s delay in answering a prayer request.

O Lord, how long shall I cry, and thou wilt not hear! Even cry out unto thee of violence, and thou wilt not save!Habakkuk 1:2 (KJV)

God sees beyond our present circumstances. He brings events into play that we do not know about in order to fulfill His purpose and obtain well-deserved glory. Learning to “wait on the Lord” develops patience, a valuable component of the fruit of the spirit.

For ye have need of patience, that, after ye have done the will of God, ye might receive the promise.Hebrews 10:36 (KJV)

God hears every prayer, so patiently seek Him out but wait on His timing to fulfill a personal request. Be on guard for any attempt from the enemy to instill doubt and discouragement. Wearing the spiritual armor of Christ will help ward off his fiery darts of lies and deception. (Ephesians 6:10-18)

I waited patiently for the Lord; He turned to me and heard my cry.”Psalm 40:1 (NKJV)

“My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience.  But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing.” James 1:2-4 (NKJV)

Additionally, we are to endure. This means we must weather each storm and discomfort by waiting. The testing of our faith produces steadfastness, which works to give us greater strength.

PERSISTENCE is also rewarded. Christ shared the parable of the persistent widow (found in Luke 18) so that we would not lose heart when prayer needs remain unmet. We are not punished for reminding God of our shortcomings or reiterating our requests for help. He wants us to rely on Him for everything. When a situation appears hopeless, God acts so that we know He provided the answer.

Then He spoke a parable to them, that men always ought to pray and not lose heart, saying: “There was in a certain city a judge who did not fear God nor regard man. Now there was a widow in that city; and she came to him, saying, ‘Get justice for me from my adversary.’  And he would not for a while; but afterward he said within himself, ‘Though I do not fear God nor regard man, yet because this widow troubles me I will avenge her, lest by her continual coming she weary me.’”

Then the Lord said, “Hear what the unjust judge said.  And shall God not avenge His own elect who cry out day and night to Him, though He bears long with them? I tell you that He will avenge them speedily. Nevertheless, when the Son of Man comes, will He really find faith on the earth? Luke 18:1-8 (NKJV)

With persistence, we find our way through adversity and finish our spiritual race. Google defines persistence as “a firm continuance in a course of action in spite of difficulty or opposition.” Life in this world requires stamina and grit. Thanks to Christ we are

…. more than conquerors through Him who loved us.” Romans 8:37 (NKJV)

 Endure, be persistent in prayer, wait patiently for the Lord to act, and never cease to give Him thanks and praise.

Meditate on the following scriptures and ask God to speak to you about your prayer life.

Seek the Lord and His strength, seek His face continually.1 Chronicles 16:11 (KJV)

“O Lord, God of my salvation, I have cried out day and night before You.” Psalm 88:1 (NKJV)

Seek the Lord and His strength; Seek His face continually.” 1 Chronicles 16:11 (NASB)

A Prayer For Greater Faith

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Blessed Father God,Thank You for choosing me to live eternally with You. As Your bondservant, I will serve You loyally and with a thankful heart. I am blessed by Your desire to know me intimately. I long to know You more and more.

I now ask for a greater and deeper faith, one that trusts You unconditionally and with my whole heart. I do not want to lean on my own understanding when adversity and times of testing come. Your ways and thoughts are so much higher than my own. Grant me a faith that is certain of Your unconditional love and faithfulness. Enable me to REST in You, even during the most painful and trying circumstances. Be my peace, strength, and hope.

Thank You for calling me Your child. I am Yours. Do with me as You will. Strengthen and equip me to endure any purpose You have ordained for my life and may I succeed in glorifying Your holy name.

https://www.facebook.com/cherylzelenkaauthor

http://facingtrials.com

What Should I Do?

 

God's WillWhat Should I do?

To know God’s will, in any given circumstance, requires patience. Waiting for Him to speak and direct our path entails self-control and faith. But with patience we are made complete to the point of not lacking anything. What a promise! To be made perfect through trials and testings which serve to cultivate our patience, a facet of the fruit of the Spirit.

My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience.  But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing.” James 1:2-4 (NKJV)

But what if you need to know God’s will immediately? First, do you REALLY need an answer in the next minute, or is that your will? If you don’t require an instant message, pray and wait to hear from the Lord. If you DO need to act quickly, the grace of God will direct you and the discernment of the Holy Spirit will guide. Things will suddenly line up, come to you miraculously, doors will close (or open), or God will send somebody to help.

How do we know if something is God’s will? First, if something does not line up with the Word of God… it is NOT God’s will. Our heavenly Father will never encourage us to compromise our faith or sin. If it is a decision between one job and another, ask God to bless your decision and then close a door. If both doors are closed, something better lies ahead. If both doors remain open, pick one and trust God will bless you for seeking His face in the first place.

Can a person wait too long to hear from God? No, but there are some who hear His answer and do not like His reply, thus they wait and wait and wait some more. If we think a willful pause will change God’s mind, after we have received an answer, careful consideration of self-motives should occur.

“If anyone wills to do His will, he shall know concerning the doctrine, whether it is from God or whether I speak on My own authority.” John 7:17 (NKJV)

“Do I want my will more than God’s will? Have I yielded my heart and do I trust God with my desires? Have I asked God to make His will my will and passion?”

Since God created each one of us with a unique purpose, He has also equipped us to accomplish that good work. Faith in this promise will carry us through times of uncertainty.

Being confident of this very thing, that He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ” Philippians 1:6 (NKJV)

For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.” Ephesians 2:10 (NKJV)

If an opportunity has seemingly slipped by, it is possible God never had it in His master plan. And if the opportunity was ordained, God will guide us off our rabbit trail and direct us back to the proper destination. He is in control. He is sovereign and has unrestricted power. Even before our birth, He knew we would get off course, so He designed specific lessons for our rabbit trail. God is never surprised or caught off guard by our actions. He knows our weaknesses and works to build them into future strengths.

We may want specifics when it comes to following His will, but He allows us to make choices. If we are yielded to him, He has ways of preventing wrong choices. So, never be fearful about making a decision if you have laid it at His feet.

Now when they had gone through Phrygia and the region of Galatia, they were forbidden by the Holy Spirit to preach the word in Asia.  After they had come to Mysia, they tried to go into Bithynia, but the Spirit did not permit them.” Acts 16:6-7 (NKJV)

God knows our heart and our desire to please Him.  He does not want His children walking around paralyzed with fear, anxious over making a “wrong” decision. James 4:6 assures us that God offers grace to the humble. If you are wrestling with a big decision, take comfort this promise and trust God will guide your steps.

“But He gives more grace. Therefore, He says:                                                                        ‘God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble.’” James 4:6 (NKJV)

*Meditate on the following verses and pray over any decisions you need to make.

’For My thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways My ways,’ says the Lord. ‘For as the heavens are higher than the earth, So are My ways higher than your ways, and My thoughts than your thoughts.’” Isaiah 55:8-9 (NKJV)

 Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding;  In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths.”   Proverbs 3:5-6 (NKJV)

“If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all liberally and without reproach, and it will be given to him. But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for he who doubts is like a wave of the sea driven and tossed by the wind.”  James 1:5-6 (NKJV)

Now He who searches the hearts knows what the mind of the Spirit is, because He makes intercession for the saints according to the will of God.” Romans 8:27 (NKJV)

Don’t Be Anxious!

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“Therefore I say to you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink; nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the air, for they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? Which of you by worrying can add one cubit to his stature?

“So why do you worry about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin; and yet I say to you that even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. Now if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is, and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will He not much more clothe you, O you of little faith?

“Therefore do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For after all these things the Gentiles seek. For your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you.  Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about its own things. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.” Matthew 5:25-34 (NKJV)

Blessed Savior,

I lift up those who are filled with anxiety. With your love, calm their anxious heart. Bring them to an understanding of Your Sovereignty. You are more than able to guide them through their trouble, so help them to relinquish control and trust You to handle their trouble. Let the knowledge of Your power and love lift their spirit and give them hope. May they move through their struggle in peace, knowing nothing is impossible with God.

Thank you for giving us exactly what we need, including trials and times of stretching. Amen.

Hearing God

 

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Now the Lord came and stood and called as at other times, “Samuel! Samuel!”

And Samuel answered, “Speak, for Your servant hears.” 1 Samuel 3:10 (NKJV

If we want to deepen our intimacy with God, our time of fellowship with Him should be considered. God speaks to us throughout the day and not just during our morning devotions! Because we are so easily caught up with routines and the cares of each day, we forget to practice a continual upward focus. We miss many opportunities to converse with God. What is it to ABIDE in Christ? Is it not a constant awareness of His presence? 

A soldier trains for battle and makes an effort to recognize His commander’s voice, especially during the most chaotic times of battle. He waits for instruction and direction since his life depends upon it. Training our ears to recognize God’s voice in every moment and circumstance requires a deliberate and conscious effort. An attitude of, “Speak Lord, I am listening” should be our aim. It takes practice and discipline.

It took three calls from God before Samuel acknowledged His presence. How many times has God called out to us only to find a deaf ear? And today, how many times will He speak before we recognize His voice? Then, once we finally hear His voice…. will we set aside our personal agendas and fellowship with Him? The choice is always up to us. I pray you decide to sit at His feet and fellowship with the Father of all mercies.

Father God,

I lift up this reader and ask that You sharpen their desire to fellowship with You today. May he/she purpose in his/her heart to set aside time to patiently wait for You to speak. Refine their ability to recognize Your voice. Grant them understanding when You do speak and an obedient heart to accept Your wisdom, encouragement, and leading. Amen.

“What hinders me from hearing is that I am taken up with other things. It is not that I will not hear God, but I am not devoted in the right place. I am devoted to things, to service, to convictions, and God may say what He likes but I do not hear Him.”  ~ Oswald Chambers

 

Pray Away Confusion

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This devotion is found in my book FACING STORMS: DEVOTIONS FOR THOUGHT AND MEDITATION. Available on Amazon  http://www.amazon.com/Facing-Storms-Devotions-Thought-Meditation/dp/1502487551/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1430870978&sr=8-2&keywords=cheryl+zelenka

“Storms can bring fear, cloud judgment, and create confusion. Yet God promises that as you seek Him through prayer, He will give you wisdom to know how to proceed. The only way you will survive the storm will be on your knees.”  ~Paul Chappell

“For God is not the author of confusion but of peace, as in all the churches of the saints,”   1 Co 14:33 (NKJV)

“For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.”   2 Timothy 1:7 (NKJV)

Confusion has the ability to rob us of the peace given by God. It can ransack our sleep and distract our thoughts. It is the cause of much mental stress and many health issues. Without the guidance of God, we will not escape its fog or snare. Indeed, prayer and quiet meditation are required to sort out the troubles that greet us every day.

Since God is NOT a God of confusion, He is the God of peace, we can conclude that our head scratching is the result of personal sin, bad choices, or a spiritual battle has ensued. Confusion is an instrument of deceit often employed by the enemy.

He is a talented deceiver who continuously invents ways to confound the children of God. Relentless and ever watching, he waits for moments of weakness to attack. He will invent new ways to baffle and bewilder even the most spiritually mature. Nobody is beyond his reach.

Thankfully, everyone belonging to Yahweh is engraved on the Father’s palm. We are under His eternal protection. We are always before Him and continually on His mind. He will never abandon us to this foe.

One of the most deceitful and heinous ways the Devil achieves our befuddlement is by misusing God’s own Word. The enemy knows the scriptures well; so don’t be surprised when you become perplexed by his subtle lies for they will be mixed with gospel truth. He may be cunning and clever but we have the Holy Spirit within us and He will always provide the necessary discernment needed to cast him off. If we resist the Devil he must leave. Complacency has never won a war.

“Therefore submit to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you.” James 4:7 (NKJV)

Prayer brings us into the throne room of God. We can always lay our petitions at His feet with the assurance of knowing our prayers have been answered, in His way and in His time. However, there are times when we will find ourselves entangled in spiritual warfare. Who knows the reason? There is a multitude of possible answers but for whatever reason, the Lord will ask you to persevere and fight. With the armor of Christ, you will not only fend off fiery darts, but with the Living Word you will attack this fallen angel.

“For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places. Therefore, take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.

Stand therefore, having girded your waist with truth, having put on the breastplate of righteousness, and having shod your feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace; above all, taking the shield of faith with which you will be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked one. And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God”       Ephesians 6:12-17 (NKJV)

To carry a sharp sword, one that is effective in bringing down strongholds, a soldier of Christ should be in the Word daily. It is the bread of Life and we shouldn’t neglect our spiritual diets. An undernourished body is weak, so too is an undernourished spirit.

It takes diligence and a true conviction on our part to seek out God’s truth. We are responsible for our own spiritual walk and should heed the example given to us by the Berean Jews. They heard what Paul preached, but they did not take it for truth until they had examined the Scriptures themselves. They worked to verify the truth. They were involved and active in their spiritual education.

“Now the Berean Jews were of more noble character than those in Thessalonica, for they received the message with great eagerness and examined the Scriptures every day to see if what Paul said was true.” Acts 17:11 (NIV)

We too must study Scripture when trials or events cause us confusion. We should also search the Bible if a Christian leader says something that causes a check in our spirit. The Holy Spirit is a guardian of truth, and unsound doctrine will set off our internal alarm. Don’t rely solely on others to feed you. Go directly to Scripture and study it yourselves. The Holy Spirit will be your guide.

“ALL Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.”           2 Timothy 3:16-17

We live in challenging times and it will only get more difficult as the return of our Lord draws near. The Bible warns us that false prophets existed in Paul’s time, and they do so even now. These men and women come to tickle our ears and tell us what we want to hear.” 1 John 4:5 (NKJV)

“Beloved, do not believe every spirit but test the spirits, whether they are of God; because many false prophets have gone out into the world” 1 John 4:1 (NKJV)

“They are of the world. Therefore they speak as of the world, and the world hears them.”            1 John 4:5 (NKJV)

We cannot pick and choose parts of the Bible to believe and obey, and then create our own truth. God is love, but love also involves truth, order, and discipline.

The Devil wants to beat us down and convince us that God has left us in our spiritual desert forever. This is a lie! The Father brings his children out of their wilderness in His time. Sorrows are for but a season.

Confusion will discourage the best of us but the best way to attack it is with Scripture and prayer. Ask God for direction and wisdom if you are struggling with decisions or suffering from doubt. Request the Holy Spirit to direct you to truth and then be prepared to face the facts and realities He reveals. The truth and revelations may cause you to make choices or personal life changes.

2 Timothy 2:7 (NIV) commands, “Reflect on what I am saying, for the Lord will give you insight into all this.”

If you are facing trials, struggles, or you simply have questions and concerns, diligently seek the truth. Like a buried treasure, you will find the answers and a cherished prize. Be a Berean today! Don’t let confusion rob you of the peace of Christ.

STUDY THESE WORDS DURING YOUR QUIET TIME:

“Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened.” Matthew 7:7-8 (NIV)

“But there were also false prophets among the people, just as there will be false teachers among you. They will secretly introduce destructive heresies, even denying the sovereign Lord who bought them—bringing swift destruction on themselves. Many will follow their depraved conduct and will bring the way of truth into disrepute. In their greed these teachers will exploit you with fabricated stories. Their condemnation has long been hanging over them, and their destruction has not been sleeping.” 2 Peter 2:1-3 (NIV)

“And this I pray, that your love may abound still more and more in knowledge and all discernment, that you may approve the things that are excellent, that you may be sincere and without offense till the day of Christ” Philippians 1:9-10 (NIV)

“They are from the world and therefore speak from the viewpoint of the world, and the world listens to them.” 1 John 4:5 (NIV)

“What hinders me from hearing is that I am taken up with other things. It is not that I will not hear God, but I am not devoted in the right place. I am devoted to things, to service, to convictions, and God may say what He likes bt I do not hear Him.” ~ Oswald Chambers“Storms can bring fear, cloud judgment, and create confusion. Yet God promises that as you seek Him through prayer, He will give you wisdom to know how to proceed. The only way you will survive the storm will be on your knees.”  ~Paul Chappell

“For God is not the author of confusion but of peace, as in all the churches of the saints,”         1 Co 14:33 (NKJV)

“For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.”                 2 Timothy 1:7 (NKJV)

Confusion has the ability to rob us of the peace given by God. It can ransack our sleep and distract our thoughts. It is the cause of much mental stress and many health issues. Without the guidance of God, we will not escape its fog or snare. Indeed, prayer and quiet meditation are required to sort out the troubles that greet us every day.

Since God is NOT a God of confusion, He is the God of peace, we can conclude that our head scratching is the result of personal sin, bad choices, or a spiritual battle has ensued. Confusion is an instrument of deceit often employed by the enemy.

He is a talented deceiver who continuously invents ways to confound the children of God. Relentless and ever watching, he waits for moments of weakness to attack. He will invent new ways to baffle and bewilder even the most spiritually mature. Nobody is beyond his reach.

Thankfully, everyone belonging to Yahweh is engraved on the Father’s palm. We are under His eternal protection. We are always before Him and continually on His mind. He will never abandon us to this foe.

One of the most deceitful and heinous ways the Devil achieves our befuddlement is by misusing God’s own Word. The enemy knows the scriptures well; so don’t be surprised when you become perplexed by his subtle lies for they will be mixed with gospel truth. He may be cunning and clever but we have the Holy Spirit within us and He will always provide the necessary discernment needed to cast him off. If we resist the Devil he must leave. Complacency has never won a war.

“Therefore submit to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you.” James 4:7 (NKJV)

Prayer brings us into the throne room of God. We can always lay our petitions at His feet with the assurance of knowing our prayers have been answered, in His way and in His time. However, there are times when we will find ourselves entangled in spiritual warfare. Who knows the reason? There is a multitude of possible answers but for whatever reason, the Lord will ask you to persevere and fight. With the armor of Christ, you will not only fend off fiery darts, but with the Living Word you will attack this fallen angel.

“For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places. Therefore, take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.

Stand therefore, having girded your waist with truth, having put on the breastplate of righteousness, and having shod your feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace; above all, taking the shield of faith with which you will be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked one. And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God”                     Ephesians 6:12-17 (NKJV)

To carry a sharp sword, one that is effective in bringing down strongholds, a soldier of Christ should be in the Word daily. It is the bread of Life and we shouldn’t neglect our spiritual diets. An undernourished body is weak, so too is an undernourished spirit.

It takes diligence and a true conviction on our part to seek out God’s truth. We are responsible for our own spiritual walk and should heed the example given to us by the Berean Jews. They heard what Paul preached, but they did not take it for truth until they had examined the Scriptures themselves. They worked to verify the truth. They were involved and active in their spiritual education.

“Now the Berean Jews were of more noble character than those in Thessalonica, for they received the message with great eagerness and examined the Scriptures every day to see if what Paul said was true.” Acts 17:11 (NIV)

We too must study Scripture when trials or events cause us confusion. We should also search the Bible if a Christian leader says something that causes a check in our spirit. The Holy Spirit is a guardian of truth, and unsound doctrine will set off our internal alarm. Don’t rely solely on others to feed you. Go directly to Scripture and study it yourselves. The Holy Spirit will be your guide.

“ALL Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.”           2 Timothy 3:16-17

We live in challenging times and it will only get more difficult as the return of our Lord draws near. The Bible warns us that false prophets existed in Paul’s time, and they do so even now. These men and women come to tickle our ears and tell us what we want to hear.” 1 John 4:5 (NKJV)

“Beloved, do not believe every spirit but test the spirits, whether they are of God; because many false prophets have gone out into the world” 1 John 4:1 (NKJV)

“They are of the world. Therefore they speak as of the world, and the world hears them.”            1 John 4:5 (NKJV)

We cannot pick and choose parts of the Bible to believe and obey, and then create our own truth. God is love, but love also involves truth, order, and discipline.

The Devil wants to beat us down and convince us that God has left us in our spiritual desert forever. This is a lie! The Father brings his children out of their wilderness in His time. Sorrows are for but a season.

Confusion will discourage the best of us but the best way to attack it is with Scripture and prayer. Ask God for direction and wisdom if you are struggling with decisions or suffering from doubt. Request the Holy Spirit to direct you to truth and then be prepared to face the facts and realities He reveals. The truth and revelations may cause you to make choices or personal life changes.

2 Timothy 2:7 (NIV) commands, “Reflect on what I am saying, for the Lord will give you insight into all this.”

If you are facing trials, struggles, or you simply have questions and concerns, diligently seek the truth. Like a buried treasure, you will find the answers and a cherished prize. Be a Berean today! Don’t let confusion rob you of the peace of Christ.

STUDY THESE WORDS DURING YOUR QUIET TIME:

“Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened.” Matthew 7:7-8 (NIV)

“But there were also false prophets among the people, just as there will be false teachers among you. They will secretly introduce destructive heresies, even denying the sovereign Lord who bought them—bringing swift destruction on themselves. Many will follow their depraved conduct and will bring the way of truth into disrepute. In their greed these teachers will exploit you with fabricated stories. Their condemnation has long been hanging over them, and their destruction has not been sleeping.” 2 Peter 2:1-3 (NIV)

“And this I pray, that your love may abound still more and more in knowledge and all discernment, that you may approve the things that are excellent, that you may be sincere and without offense till the day of Christ” Philippians 1:9-10 (NIV)

“They are from the world and therefore speak from the viewpoint of the world, and the world listens to them.” 1 John 4:5 (NIV)

“What hinders me from hearing is that I am taken up with other things. It is not that I will not hear God, but I am not devoted in the right place. I am devoted to things, to service, to convictions, and God may say what He likes bt I do not hear Him.” ~ Oswald Chambers

 

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