PRAY TO HEAR AND OBEY

Have you ever prayed to hear God’s voice?  Have you been stuck, uncertain of your next moves and you need the Lord to speak to you? I have.  I go and pour my heart out asking the Lord to provide clarity.  However, when He gives me an answer I don’t want, I go back with the same prayer request, “Oh God please let me hear your voice!”  But what I am really saying is, “God I heard what you said but I don’t like that response.  I don’t want to do it!   Can you please come up with some other alternative?”  He is God and I am not.  Even though I don’t always like what I hear when He speaks to me, it is always in my best interest to respond in obedience. Deuteronomy 28 lists all the blessing that follow when Israel obeyed God’s instructions.  We love to shout about those promises, ‘blessed going out blessed coming in!’  But before you get to shouting, don’t forget to read that passage in its entirety. The latter verses share the consequences of disobeying God. This passage reminds us that God does provide direction for His people and tell them what He expects of them.  However, the ability to hear His voice demands a response of obedience from the hearer.

God speaks to us in many ways.  It may be in a dream, from His word, through another believer, or just a strong inner knowing, among many other ways. Don’t take for granted that the creator of the universe speaks to you!    Even if it is not what you want to hear, you know He won’t lead you in the wrong direction. As we prepare to enter a new year, do you find yourself with unfinished God tasks?  You know, the things the Lord told you to do when you asked to hear His voice.  The things you did not want to do.  Yeah, those things. The start of a New Year does not mean that God will change His mind. I encourage you to not only pray to hear God’s voice but to also pray for a heart to obey when He does speak even if it is not what YOU WANT TO DO.    His grace is there to attend you!

Do you want to be delivered from sin or just the consequences?

Deliverance from sin comes only when I want it and I reach that place of true repentance.  No one can wish me to deliverance. It is something that I must be desperate for and God in turn meets me in that desperation and brings freedom. The blood of Jesus is what makes deliverance from sin possible, no matter how severe the case.  A lack of deliverance is not based on God’s inability.  Instead, it is based on my unwillingness to submit to the process and REPENT! At times, I mistake wanting comfort with wanting to be free.  There is a huge difference!  Many will come and say they want to be delivered from making unwise decisions and being spiritually wayward.  When in fact what they are really saying is, I don’t mind the decisions I am making, I don’t mind living in sin but what I really want to be delivered from is the consequences attached to my sinful choices.  Feeling bad and trying to avoid the CONSEQUENCES and not the SIN that warrant the consequences reveals a heart that is not repentant. 2 Corinthians 7:10 reads, “For the kind of sorrow God wants us to experience leads us away from sin and results in salvation. There’s no regret for that kind of sorrow. But worldly sorrow, which lacks repentance, results in spiritual death.I know I really want to be delivered when I begin to feel sorry about THE ACT OF SINNING and not just the CONSEQUENCES attached to my choices.  Take for example a man who is caught stealing and is sentenced to years in prison.  The question he must ask is, do I really feel bad about stealing (the sin) or do I just feel bad about being in prison (the consequence)? Other signs that I want to be delivered is that I stop making excuses and pointing the finger at others.  Instead, I take responsibility for what I have done wrong. I am also willing to be fully transparent about my sins and not pick and choose what I share. These are all signs of humility and God gives grace to the humble but resist the proud (James 4:6).  God’s love, forgiveness and deliverance is available to us. We just have to really want it!

 

Be blessed!

Anika

Death is not the end of the story

Before Jesus was crucified, He made it very clear that he would be resurrected.  He knew that death was not the end of His story.

In John 2:19-20, Jesus goes in and clears the temple and calls out the religious leaders for making His father’s house into a place of profit for them instead of a house of prayer.  The leaders were upset with Jesus and asked him to show them a sign that He had the authority from God to do these things.  Jesus then tells them that if they destroyed this temple that he would raise it up in three days. They were spiritually deaf and dumb and assumed that He was speaking of the physical temple that took 46 years to build.   However, Jesus was speaking of His crucifixion and resurrection.

After He was crucified, the religious leaders went to Pilate and said, “Sir, we remember what that deceiver once said while he was still alive: ‘After three days I will rise from the dead.’ So we request that you seal the tomb until the third day. This will prevent his disciples from coming and stealing his body and then telling everyone he was raised from the dead! If that happens, we’ll be worse off than we were at first.” Pilate replied, “Take guards and secure it the best you can.” So they sealed the tomb and posted guards to protect it” (Mathew 27:63-66).  Little did they know that no security on their part could stop the supernatural work of God.   On the third day, Jesus shook death off of Him and He was resurrected just like he said!

As believers, Jesus’ resurrection has powerful implications for us.  God’s intentions are always for life, and that more abundantly.  Some of us are facing dead situations, but God has already told us that death is not the end of the story.  However, with the passing of time, we can allow the devil to convince us that death is how our story will end.  But it is not so! I want to encourage you to partner with God and begin to believe and speak life!  Speak what God has already spoken in your ear.  Rehearse the promises.  Hold on to them regardless of how dead your situation may appear.  The same power that raised Jesus from the dead is the same power that is able to raise your dead situation.  The devil can try to put stones and His guards in the way to block life and hinder the promises of God.   However, there is no devil in hell that can hinder what God has spoken.  This upcoming Resurrection Sunday I want to encourage you to not only rejoice for the resurrection of Jesus but let out a crazy praise for the life that is coming to your dead situation!

 

Wait, God’s word will come to pass!

Mathew 21:1-5 gives the account of Jesus telling the disciples to go and get a donkey and its colt and bringing them to him.  This command fulfilled a prophecy given by the prophet Zechariah over 500 years earlier.  Yes, 500 years later the word came to pass!!!! This reminds me that no matter how long it takes, I can be confident that  the promises of God will manifest.  The passing of time can cause us to second guess what God has spoken.  Don’t yield to the temptation to give up on the promises because it didn’t happen when YOU thought it should happen.  God is faithful

What are some promises that God has made you?  How long have you been waiting?  Have you given up on believing because you think it is taking too long?  I want to encourage you to go and get those promises and dust them off.  Begin to rehearse them because God is faithful!  Don’t remain hung up on it taking too long that you miss the valuable lessons God is trying to teach you in the process of waiting.

 

DOES YOUR ACTIONS MATCH YOUR CONFESSIONS?


In Ezra chapter 8 we have the account of Ezra leading the second group of exiles returning to Jerusalem.  The trip was about 900 miles and would take approximately 4 months on foot.  The exiles would have to travel through dangerous territory before reaching Jerusalem.  In vs 22, Ezra says he was embarrassed to ask the king for soldiers and footmen to protect them.  Ezra had already made a bold declaration to the king that God would protect those who worshipped Him.  Instead of looking to the king for protection, Ezra got together with the leaders and they prayed and fasted and asked God to protect them.  Verse 23 tells us that God heard and answered their prayers.  Ezra’s action matched his confession. How many times do we make bold confessions about God but when faced with difficulties our actions prove otherwise? Do we claim that God is a provider but begin to worry when lack threatens to overtake us?  We get stressed and forget to seek the Kingdom of God and his righteousness. We sometimes fail to stand with assurance knowing that all the other things we are in need of will be provided! We can make bold declarations but challenges will come to reveal if we believe what we have declared.  To stand on those confessions we must do like Ezra and fuel our faith with prayer and fasting.  Let us not neglect these necessary aspects of our walk with Christ.

Be Blessed

Anika

NO HAIR AND I DO CARE.

I was writing a blogpost to complement my YouTube video, Why are you so stressed?  I had the intentions to finish the post this morning. But somehow it got deleted.  I was not happy!  In the process of looking for it, I came across some thoughts that I wrote down not too long ago about having a shaved head that I hadn’t published.  Why? I am trying my best not to make every blogpost and YouTube video be about my hair or lack thereof.  Why? I don’t want to dwell on it.  I suppose I want to appear strong.  I want to act normal. Wait, you don’t think I am normal?

But truth is while I am seeing all that God is doing in me and realize this process is necessary, I have had some low moments.  Some days I feel so free and then other days I am very much aware and self-conscious about not having hair. I have to fight to not invite shame back in.  This morning happens to be one of those days.  I woke up and shaved the new stubbles that had grown in to avoid looking like a balding old man.  I then realized I had some razor bumps in the back of my head, the lemons are working well as a deodorant but not going too well for razor bumps!  Talk about feeling deflated and super self-conscious! My conversation with God through my tears went something like this, “God can you at least take away the bumps.  I mean I just got the courage to go out bald. Please God, please take the bumps away!”  More tears.

I was just telling a close friend that I found myself thanking God for this process because so much has been revealed to me.  THAT conversation took place on a really good day a few weeks ago.   I am human and my feelings will go up and down. I know that I don’t have to hide my tears and as I am typing they are flowing.   No I am not pretending that it doesn’t feel awkward, it does.  No I am not pretending like I don’t care that I don’t have hair, I DO CARE.  BUT I CAN’T stay stuck here. On a day like today, I have a choice to both go with my feelings and wallow in self-pity, or I can chose to magnify God above my less than ideal situation.  Today I choose to praise, grab a scarf and keep it moving!

How about you?  What situation in your life is less than ideal?  Are you remaining stuck on how you feel and allowing self-pity to overwhelm you? Have you been magnifying your situation more than God?

 

Just in case you are interested, below are the thoughts I wrote out a few weeks ago.

NO Hair and I Do Care

NO hair and I wish I could say I don’t care

But the truth is, I care a lot

I look back at old pictures when the hair on my head was actually mine

And I long for yesterday

Funny how the girl back then was so discontent with what she had

And the girl today sees the beauty that the girl in the past couldn’t see

Funny how that happens…you don’t know what you have until it’s gone

I compared my hair to others

It wasn’t thick enough

Long enough

Straight enough

But I now realize

IT WAS ENOUGH, more than
FOR ME

Cause

That’s what God gave me

But this attitude of discontentment was not just about my hair

I look back at the girl from yesterday

And she had no clue

She never saw herself as enough

How DO I, today, become content in my new reality even if it’s not what I want it to be?

How do I keep myself from sinking into self-pity?

I say to God, please restore my hair

I cry, I beg

But He has shown me that even without much hair on my head, this process has caused Him to restore so much in me

Much that was lost that I did not know about

Much that was lost that could not be seen

So no hair and I do care

But not to the point where I will allow it to define or hinder me