Pay Attention…God is Answering!

My church  is doing a 40 day prayer challenge and I have been keeping a prayer journal. In it, I record prayer requests, answers to prayers, and any insights the Lord gives me during my prayer and bible study time. When writing in my journal, I don’t focus on proper grammar and format. As I put ink to paper my unedited thoughts flow. I am writing for an audience of two, me and God. This approach allows me to write without any inhibitions…very liberating experience. Its amazing because as I write, thoughts and feelings come to the surface that I didn’t realize was there. There is something about being deliberate with recording prayer request and the answers that come. It makes me more aware of how God is responding. So often I pray, God answers, and for various reasons, I miss it. Sometimes it’s because I was not praying in faith and I didn’t expect God to move. Or I pray and God answers but not in the way I wanted and expected him to. My prayer journal helps me to be more sensitive, more alert to the ways God is moving. Everyday I have something praiseworthy to record. EVERYDAY! It’s amazing. And as I go back and read the answers to prayers, it builds my faith and encourages me to keep on praying. He is listening. To me. I have an audience with the creator of heaven and earth. Now, how awesome is that?!

Me

Anika Jones

I am a very expressive person. I love people. I love to talk. I love to share the new things I am learning and when I share I love to share with a childlike enthusiasm that may annoy some. I love to get to the “feelings” part of every story. I share my feelings and when I am done, I want to hear your feelings as well… and when we are done sharing, I love to have a , ” so what does this all mean and how does this all connect party.” No kidding its true, ask my non-talkative husband. Along the way, I tried being someone else. I tried to contain what God had given me to share. I tried being more ” mature” in the way I expressed myself. Who God had made me to be was getting lost along with the gifts that came with my personality. I got discouraged and even doubted God using me on a grander scale, I was slowly shutting down. The noise in my ear sounded something like this, ” yes you blog but you dont write as well as the other bloggers out there. Yes you have ideas that you think are creative but others will see them as being juvenile, and whatever it is you are saying has been said by others but even better. ” Insecurities, doubts, and past hurts can be big bullies if you entertain them.

I just got off the phone with a really good friend (we all need one)and she encouraged me from such a sincere heart. I hung up the phone feeling refreshed and ready to unleash what I know the Lord has put in me without reservations. Help me Lord to not be hung up on feedback from others, help me to be faithful to dispense what you have put it me. Help me to use every gift you have put in me for your glory, and not for the approval of man! And let the church say AMEN!!!!

Avoiding God

 

Ever been there, disappointed so then you come up with the clever idea to avoid God?
I found myself being really busy. Being busy is not a difficult thing for me, because there is always something to do. However I must recognize that just because there is always something to do doesn’t mean I have to get it done right away or that I always have to be the person for the job. I have mastered the act of conveniently making myself busy when I just don’t want to deal with the issue at hand. Sometimes the issue is just too painful and requires too much self inspection so I avoid Him. This is not to say I don’t pray or acknowledge God but my prayers remain at the surface. I choose not to quiet my spirit long enough to not only tell God all, but to be still to also hear His response. I pour out my heart and “run” before God can address me. It is easy to justify thoughts and feelings when these thoughts are not being challenged. But to grow, I must be challenged. So here I am this morning God, not only to cast my burdens on you, but I am also choosing to be still to hear your response. Your response that brings loving correction. Your response that is more interested in fixing me over the issue at hand. Your response that brings the the right perspective and peace. Truth is, when I avoid God’s response, I miss out on great blessings.

Thinking of Eternity

“We must spend time together now because when the kids are grown and gone it will just be us. We dont want to end up being strangers.”. These are the lines I use with my husband to sell the idea of a monthly date night. I have heard of couples divorcing once the kids are gone. Why? Because they poured so much time and energy into raising the children and the marriage was neglected. What a sad ending but it makes sense. How can I enjoy spending time with someone who became a stranger over the years? This is not to say we are not to raise our children but we must prioritize correctly.

I began to think about eternity. You know, eternity is forever and ever and ever….it’s amazing how we casually talk about it. We are all going to spend eternity in one of two places, heaven or hell. Most claim they are going to spend an eternity with a God they don’t even have a relationship with now. If I don’t worship him now, what makes me think I will be able to or even want to worship Him for all eternity? It’s not just about going to church and being a good person. It’s about having communion with The Lord, totally surrendering all to Him. It’s about Him being our life not an afterthought. If He is a stranger to me now, then I won’t be invited to the party. As we all make news years resolution, let a right relationship with Jesus be at the top of the list because after the new year has come and gone, eternity still awaits us all!

BEING NEEDY IS NOT ALWAYS A BAD THING

 

Some days I am tempted to nominate, second, and approve myself as wife and mother of the year. On these days my activities go as planned, the new recipe I tried for dinner was a winner and all is well and I think, “I GOT THIS.” BUT these days are few and far between. Recently an older cousin stayed with me for a few days. She was such a blessing and she helped me to realize how much I needed help. Being needy in this case is not a bad thing. The old adage no man is an island is so true. God did not design us to go at it alone. On his earthly tour, Jesus, the son of God had 12 disciples. What makes me think that God is expecting me to do this alone? I am slowly recognizing that I don’t have to be supermom and that it is ok to ask for and receive help. This admittance takes a great level of vulnerability and humility. Pride tries to convince me that being needy is for the weak. It whispers, “you are smart enough, strong enough, no one can do it like you can.” But it is true, God does resist the proud but gives grace to the humble (James 4:6). And believe me when I say I am in desperate need of God’s grace.

This mindset of asking for help also applies to our walk with God. None of us have to fight the devil by ourselves. Perhaps you are struggling in a certain area but don’t want to admit it to anyone. Purpose in your heart that you will not let pride cause you to carry the same baggage into 2014. Build relationships with godly people, ask for prayer, let down your guards and confess your sins to another (James 5:16.). It brings healing and liberation!

Receiving the Grace of God

 

I can admit that I still struggle. Struggle to accept the grace of God. I have such a works mentality. Yesterday I missed my quiet time with the Lord. This was not intentional but baby number 6 got up earlier than usual and required my attention. I am almost ashamed to admit it but I was beating myself up for missing this time. I felt that somehow God was not gonna move on my behalf because I didn’t put in the “work” that morning. Therein lies the problem, there is too much of an emphasis on me doing as opposed to resting and receiving what Christ has already done. Gods grace is not to be abused or taken for granted, nor is it to be rejected…such a delicate balance. Yes we should strive to have daily communion with God, it is a great benefit to us and it pleases the Father. But we must not reject the grace of God when unpredictable moments happen; trust that the Lord sees and will honor the desire that we have to be in His presence.