Practical Steps – Prayer

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Some may not think this should be the next “practical step” to take but I believe it is.

 Jeremiah tells us in 33:3 ESV, “Call to me and I will answer you, and will tell you great and hidden things that you have not known.”

By praying God reveals Himself to us.

Jesus prayed!  If Jesus prayed, even thought He was the Son of God, how much more do we need to pray?

Jesus began His ministry here on earth with prayer.  “Now when all the people were baptized, and when Jesus also had been baptized and was praying, the heavens were opened.  And the Holy Spirit descended on him in bodily form, like a dove; and a voice came from heaven, “You are my beloved Son; with you I am well pleased.” Luke 3:21 ESV. The Word doesn’t tell us what Jesus was praying for at this time, but God anointed Jesus with the power of the Holy Spirit.  If God thought Jesus needed the anointing of the Holy Spirit, then how much more do we need this blessing?  The way to receive this blessing of the Holy Spirit is to pray and ask God for it.

We need to follow Jesus’ footsteps on this journey.  Jesus prayed, seeking God’s guidance, God’s grace, and God’s strength in prayer.

By praying we open our hearts, our minds and souls, allowing the Holy Spirit to work within us leading us to the truth and light of God’s Word.

On this journey we are building a relationship with God, our Father.  What is the first rule of any relationship?  Good communication.  Prayer is the way we communicate with God, through the Holy Spirit. I know in the beginning of this journey, I was so confused on the “right’ way to pray, I bet some of you have too.  I spent hours thinking of words, of trying to figure it all out.  I didn’t think I was a “prayer warrior”.   I wasn’t allowing the Holy Spirit to lead me (yes, that control issue again!).   Paul tells us in Romans 8:26 ESV, “Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness.  For we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words.”  We don’t need to have exact words, we need to allow the Holy Spirit to intercede for us, we just need so speak from the very depths of our hearts.  Whew, what I relief it was when I understood that!  It’s not all up to me to have the “right” words.

When we pray, and ask, God reveals Himself to us.  David tells us in Psalm 143:10 ESV, ” Teach me to do your will, for you are my God!  Let your good Spirit lead me on level ground!”  As God shows us more and more about who He is, His perfect will begin working in our own life.  God will begin to deepen our understanding, deepening our faith and desire to walk closer with Him.

As I began this journey, I was at the end of what I knew.  My life, as I had once known it, was gone.  There always seemed to be more questions than answers when I prayed.  God wants us to bring our needs, our burdens, our pain to Him in prayer. Matthew tells us in 11:28 ESV, “Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.” I prayed everyday, all day.  I asked Him to reveal Himself to me.  I asked for understanding, for guidance.

I realized God had been revealing Himself to me all along, I just hadn’t been listening. I was expecting a huge eruption, a lightning bolt out of the sky leading me. Once I opened myself up to the power of prayer, releasing all my preconceived notions, I became open to know God, I became open to learning the ways that God works.  I knew He was more than able to bring victory to my challenges.  I learned it’s up to me to keep the lines of communication open, between He and I, to keep my heart and mind focused on Him.

God answers prayers, all prayers.  He may not answer the way we try to demand of Him but He answers all prayers according to His will.  James 5:16b ESV, tells us, “The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working.”  As I learned to ‘get over myself” and pray for guidance and understanding God answered in ways that I could never have even thought of asking for on my own!  Believe when I say, what we “think” we need and want is so much tinier than God has planned for us!  We can’t even begin to imagine the magnificent blessings He wants for us, His children!  I don’t want to limit God working my life by asking for anything but His will!  God’s wisdom far exceeds our own.

The closer we draw to our Father the more we come to understand that we have limitations on what we can do for ourselves. God wants to give us wisdom and understanding through prayer.  “If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach and it will be given to you,” James 1:5 ESV.  How wonderful is our Father!  He will give us answers if we would only quiet down, listen and obey!

 Praying shows our faith in God, that we believe the promises in His Word.  That God will bless us in ways we could never have asked for or hoped for!

As God commands us in His Word, “Pray without ceasing.” 1 Thessalonians 5:17 ESV

 

Practical Steps – Jesus

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Do you desire to grow in your journey with God?

Growing in a relationship will take work… If you think just to believe there is a God  is enough then are traveling down a scary road!

Paul tells us the first step we must take in Romans 10:9-10 ESV, “Because, if you confess with your that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For the heart one believes and is justified, and with the mouth one confesses and is saved.”

Choosing to receive Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior is the most important decision you’ll ever make in your life!

Many people acknowledge that Jesus was a good man, a great teacher but that doesn’t really tell who He truly is.  John 1:1-14 ESV tells us, ” In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through him, and without him was not any thing made that was made. In him was life, and the life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it. …”

Jesus is the greatest gift God has given us.  He is the ultimate example of the unconditional love of God.

 Jesus came to earth to lead us to the truth.  Jesus came to save us from the consequences of our own sins.  We all have sins and as a result of these sins we deserve God’s anger, His judgment.   “As it is written: “None is righteous, no, not one;” Romans 3:10 ESV.

The penalty for sins we are guilty of is death… separated from God for eternity.  “And if anyone’s name is not found written in the book of lie, he was thrown into the lake of fire.” Revelation 20:15 ESV.

Jesus gave His life to pay my debt, your debt.  His death enables us to have a relationship with God.

Jesus tells us exactly how to begin a relationship with God, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life.  No one comes to the Father except through me.” John 14:6 ESV.

By His grace, God has already everything to provide salvation to you.  The first part of your journey is to believe and receive Jesus’s gift to you… the forgiveness of your sins, so you may become a new creation in Him. “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation.  The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.”  2 Corinthians 5:17 ESV.

We all need a second chance, a new start, a clean slate…Do you desire to grow?

If you are ready to enter into all God has for you, here and eternity, please pray with me:

Lord Jesus,

I believe You are the son of God as You say You are.

I believe You laid Your life down on the cross and were resurrected from the dead so that I may have eternal life with You.

I confess all my sins, all my failings, and I repent of any time I have not lived Your way.

Thank You for forgiving me.

Come into my heart and fill me with Your Spirit so that I can become all You created me to be and I can spend eternity with You.

Help me to live my life Your way now.

 

 

Practical Steps – Are You Ready?

rising upAs I’ve studied through the Fruits of the Spirit, I’ve come to learn more about myself and God’s beautiful plan for me.  The study has brought me out of my comfort zone which is so often the case when we obey God.

Becoming a Christian requires much from us.  To say we believe is not enough.  We must obey.  We must remove the old habits and develop new ones.  This, as we know, is more easier said than done.  The Fruits have taught me how to continue to grow in this journey.  I hope that they have you as well, by opening your eyes to all that God wants you to be.

Yet, I, like most of us, have difficulty changing habits I have.  The longer I’ve had the habit the more ingrained it is in me and the harder it is to change, to remove from my life. Yet, I want and need to walk this journey with God.  I know His ways are higher, better than my own could ever be.

Is being a Christian easy?  Some say it should be!  But nothing good is ever easy.  Do you want your old life back?  You can’t… once you take the leap of faith and proclaim Jesus as your Lord and Savior all bets are off!  You now know the truth, “So Jesus said to the Jews who had believed in him, “If you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples, and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” John 8:31-32 ESV

We are “to put off our old self, which belongs to your former manner of life and is corrupt through deceitful desires, and to be renewed in the spirit of your minds, and to put on the new self, created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness.”  Ephesians 4:22-24 ESV

Are you ready?  

“Enter by the narrow gate. For the gate is wide and the way is easy that leads to destruction, and those who enter by it are many. For the gate is narrow and the way is hard that leads to life, and those who find it are few.” Matthew 7:13-14 ESV

Dig deep here, are ready to give up everything that you hold dear, the old way of doing things?

 “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven.” Matthew 7:21 ESV

Are you ready to rid yourself of the things that hold you back from Him?  

The bad language, controlled temper, gambling, drugs, smoking, gossiping, ect. ~ things that can hold you back from Him?

 “I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.”  Romans 12:1-2 ESV

Are you ready to build solid foundations in Christ?  

“All things are lawful for me,” but not all things are helpful. “All things are lawful for me,” but I will not be enslaved by anything.” 1 Corinthians 6:12 ESV

Are you ready?  

Knowing what changes to make, isn’t enough we need to know how to make them changes that last.  “All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be competent, equipped for every good work.” 2 Timothy 3:16-17 ESV

If you are, I hope that you will walk this journey with me, step-by-step growing each day….