Gratitude makes the heart happy

Have you ever spent time with a person or family that are going through a difficult time?    I have at certain times, and always try to help in some way with either an encouraging word, a prayer, some cash or even food items.

A few weeks ago a friend and myself went to visit a family going through a very challenging time in their lives.   We did not know them, and  were asked to visit  as they needed some prayer and hope.    It did not take long to figure out what their main problem was.

We were with this family for over five hours with prayer and guidance, and not one time did we hear anything positive come out of their mouths.   When we asked them to give thanks to the Lord for something, anything, nothing could come out.  We received blank looks.

It´s important to find the good in all circumstances and give thanks.

The last part of Luke 6:45 says   For out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks.

Their hearts were filled with frustration, disappointment, heartache.  I am not minimizing their current situation, but giving thanks  is vitally important.

If the worse comes out of our mouths constantly, the enemy takes advantage of that and then we don´t see the light at the end of the tunnel.

We had to explain to watch their words and begin declaring victory. With their words, they need to begin to turn the tide. With their words they need to give thanks, to praise the Lord, and listen to worship music.

This brings me to the season we are in where we celebrate life.  The life that Jesus gave for us, his death on the cross to take our shame, our sins, our guilt and give us eternity in heaven with Him.

Living in a developing nation has his drawbacks in many areas, but there is always something to be thankful for, and I look for it.  If I look for the bad, I will find it.  If I keep looking, I will find more bad things to complain about.  But I choose to look for the good.

Look for something to be thankful for, even in the small things and begin to praise and thank the Lord.  What we have is salvation, and that alone deserves our praise.

One thing I am thankful for, the view from my home.

The view from my house

 

The calm of the ocean

In my prayer time this morning, the Lord showed me an ocean.  As I looked, I thought it was a lake, as the waters were not moving like the ocean does.  But it was not a lake, it indeed was the ocean.

I saw boats scattered throughout the ocean, some of these small boats had one person inside, others two, sometimes three.  They all had a single fishing pole.

Lord, what does this mean, what are you showing me?

I will calm the waters to bring in my lost sheep.  The harvest will be performed on a personal level, one on one, or two on one, in intimate settings.

It is time for my harvest to be reeled in. They will be saved from the depths of the sea, the sea of sin where it is dark, cold and lonely.  They will come out of the depths into the light, and I will expose them to the “Son” and they will receive healing.

It is a season of restoration and harvest of souls.

I have loved ones that I am praying for, and this word encouraged me. May it do the same for you.

 

 

Why obedience is important to you and God.

In sharing the Christmas message at church, our pastor focused on Joseph, the husband of Mary and his obedience to the Lord.

I don’t recall hearing many sermons about Joseph during the Christmas season.  It is usually about Christ and His sacrifice, and mostly about Mary and her response to the Angel –  Behold, the maidservant of the Lord.  Let it be to me according to your word.  Luke 1:38

Obedience

In hearing about Joseph, our pastor pointed out key truths.  He was a son of Abraham,  a just man, wanting to please God, obedient and operated in faith.

Imagine for a moment.  Joseph is engaged to Mary, and the scripture says before they came together or were married, Mary was found to be pregnant. Joseph did not want to disgrace her, and he made plans to break off the engagement silently.

How do you think Joseph felt at hearing this news?  His betrothed was pregnant, and not by him.

As Joseph was thinking about how to end his relationship, it was during this time an Angel came to him in a dream and informed him Mary was pregnant of the Holy Spirit.

Would you believe a story like that?  Joseph did, and his obedience to the Lord is recorded.  Not only here, but also when he was warned of yet in another dream to escape Egypt to save Jesus´  life.

I have been meditating on this sermon all week, and I ask myself, where have I been disobedient to the Lord in my daily life?  It´s so easy to read this story many times over, but never stop to think about Joseph´s obedience in all of this, and how vital it was.

This type of obedience took courage and faith.

If we read of all the accounts in the Bible where the Lord calls someone to operate in obedience, many times it goes against logic.

  • Moses parting the red sea
  • Moses striking a rock and have water gushing out of it
  • Noah building an Ark
  • Gideon choosing only 300 men  to defeat the Midianites
  • Sauls conversion on the road to Damascus

Of course, there are many more examples of obedience in the Bible.  If we strive to be obedient in the smallest of things in life, imagine how the Lord will trust us with the bigger things that come our way.

The bigger things may result in blessings, greater gifting and anointing upon our lives and satisfaction that you are in God´s will.

Operating in obedience to the Lord demonstrates our love for Him.

John 14:15  “If you love Me, keep My commandments.

My prayer for 2018, When I hear the voice of the Lord leading me in a direction that may seem unlogical, may I be obedient.

5 ways to increase your prayer life

Have you ever been at a loss for words when in a prayer group or ministry time and felt intimidated by those around you, especially the way they prayed and spoke over someone?    My idea was, they prayed everything and so well and so eloquently, I possibly could not add to it.  So therefore, I would not pray.

The Bible says some of the  Apostles were unlearned men.  But, they were with Jesus and spent time with him and learned to speak like Jesus.

Acts 4:13 The members of the council were amazed when they saw the boldness of Peter and John, for they could see that they were ordinary men with no special training in the Scriptures. They also recognized them as men who had been with Jesus.

Imagine speaking like Jesus!  Do you think this is available for us today?  I do.

5 ways to increase prayer life

So how did I learn to pray and not feel ashamed about saying what was on my heart?

Here are five steps that I learned along the way that can be of some benefit to you.

a)  I listened to the way others prayed. I paid attention to their prayers and the words they used.  I was especially impressed with how they were able to incorporate scripture when praying over someone.

b) Learn to hear the voice of God.  There are many wonderful books on how to hear the voice of God.  Just to mention a few authors:  Shawn Bolz, Mark Virkler. Don´t just read the books, apply the principles taught in them.  When you do, you will be pleasantly surprised.

c) Spend time in prayer and meditation of the word.  God invented meditation, and it is something we are to do. It is simply repeating the scripture over and over.  Writing down the verse will help you memorize it, and chew on each word.

d) Journal.  Where would I be without my journal, I write everything down.  In my prayer times, I express my gratitude, my love, my frustrations and prayer request.  While journaling, don´t forget to listen and write down what you hear God saying back to you.  Develop two-way communication.  It is available to you and within reach.

e) Practice, step out in faith. There comes a time where you have to take the plunge and step out in faith.  You will be surprised as you yield to the Holy Spirit, He will guide and lead you.  Don´t worry if you make a few mistakes, we all have to start somewhere.  The idea is to get going, and before you know it, your will have a flavored prayer life.

Start praying those awesome prayers inside of you.  As you do, the receiver is blessed, and so are you.

What other ways have you learned about developing a prayer life?  I would love to hear about in the comments.

 

The finger of God

When was the last time you read the Ten Commandments found in Exodus 20? Have you ever read what came before Moses received the laws of God?

Exodus 19 describes something out of a movie;  loud trumpet sounds, thunder, lightning and thick clouds around Mount Sinai.

Finger of God

Mount Sinai was enveloped in smoke, and the entire mountain quaked. I am thinking only the mountain quaked as the Bible says. Did the land quake too?

Then as the blast of the trumpet sounded long and became louder and louder, Moses spoke, and God answered him by voice.   Could this be in an audible voice?  Did everyone hear God´s voice, or just Moses?

Imagine witnessing these events of thunder, smoke, trumpet sounds, and earthquakes. The Bible does not mention if this lasted minutes or hours, nevertheless, it must have been something to behold. When we read this, there is no room for doubt it was the finger of God that wrote the Ten Commandments. Who could deny it?

The entire populations witnessed this, and as Moses climbed the mountain, after some time, the people below began making an idol out of gold.

It seems they forgot the display of power rendered by God.

I have been practicing gratitude in my journal writing. While we may not have the thunder, smoke and trumpet sound today, writing out what I am thankful for does something inside of me.

It reminds me of everything  God has accomplished in my life.  I am reminded how He has answered my prayers, protected me, and shows up at the last minute.  I know it´s God when at the eleventh hour, a financial need is met.

He does not answer by way of a long and loud trumpet sound, but I see it in the simple things. There is no smoke around the mountain where I live, but His protection is with me.

Gratitude keeps me aligned with God, tuned it, and so very thankful.

For some reason, saying why I am thankful to God makes me feel safe and loved by him.