Exceeding Beautiful – Meeting #8

 

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How would you define beauty?

I got different answers from the girls but the main one was, it’s your personality that makes you beautiful. It’s who you are inside. It’s your character. And I’d have to agree!

For me it can be hard to except how God has created me. You walk down the isle at the store and you’re constantly bombarded with pictures and messages of what our culture calls ‘beautiful’ or ‘perfect’. We see other girls and we go, ‘If only I had a body like that!’ or ‘If only I had that color hair.’ We compare ourselves to others all the time. We let our worth come from what others think of us. And then we fall into the trap of constantly worrying about our outward appearance.

It’s no fun living for other people’s approval. It will not fulfill you. I’m guilty of wanting others to approve of me. Ask my sisters how long I stand staring at my closet on a Sunday morning. Or how many times I redo my hair, because I get so caught up in my outward appearance. Or if you could listen in on my conversations with friends you’d probably hear us comparing ourselves to other women or complaining about how we don’t like our bodies.

Trust me it’s not easy to stop longing for other’s approval.

In Ezekiel 16 it talks about God’s love for Jerusalem. So God is telling Ezekiel all this in a story. He finds a baby that was cast away, not even cleaned up after birth, He takes the baby and washes it. Then the story continues and He sees her later when she’s older and He enters into a covenant with her and she becomes His. Then He washes away all her dirt and starts to cloth her in silk and fine linen. Then He starts decking her out in all sorts of jewelry. But my favorite part is when God stops and says, “And though wast exceeding beautiful!” 

This really stood out to me when I was reading it. It made me stop and remember that the God of the universe calls me beautiful!

“You are EXCEEDING BEAUTIFUL my darling.”  – God

Picture this. God is in the process of creating us and it looks like He’s making sugar cookies. He finds the cookie-cutter shape He wants and then proceeds to make EVERY single one the same shape. Does that sound very creative? No.

That’s not how God creates. He has created every single woman to be different on purpose! Different heights, shapes, personalities and the list goes on.

God designed each of us unique. He looks at how He formed our bodies, each shape, each color, and He does not go, “OH NO! I made her legs too long! I made her hair brown and it should have been red.”

No. No. That’s not at all how our God looks at us. He looks at you just like you are and says, “You are beautiful!”

God made you the way you are. He wanted you to be like that. Stop trying to wish away the body He gave you! Embrace how God made you. Be content.

Did you ever stop and think when we’re discontent with how God has made us we are telling Him He didn’t know what He was doing when He formed us in the womb and He did a bad job.

We’re like, “God you really made a big mistake when you gave me brown hair. I mean come on.”

Is this honoring?

I am so guilty of forgetting this and being discontent. I forget that I am clay in His hands and He shaped me. He is the master Creator.

Awhile back my brother took me to a pottery place where you paint on mugs and then they cook them so your design stays. I painted mine yellow and grey. We were creating. The mug was not painting itself.

It would have been very, very strange if I was painting away and the mug started yelling at me!

“You are doing a horrible job! I should have been green.”

That’s basically what we are doing when we hate how God made our bodies.

I love this quote:

“God designed us, therefore He defines us.” – Girl Defined

God created us so He gets to say who we are. We don’t need to live up to the world’s standards of beauty. We’re always chasing the beauty we think we see on the magazine covers, when God has already proclaimed us beautiful.

Our identity, who we really are needs to be in Christ alone. If we try to live up to are culture’s standards of beauty we will never achieve that goal.

For me it’s very hard sometimes. But God is helping me.

Every single morning the battle begins.

Who am I going to let define who I am?

God or the world?

It’s a constant struggle, trust me. I catch myself looking in the mirror and saying, “Will people think this looks cute?” “Will they think this looks frumpy?” “Am I too wide?”

One verse that has helped me is:

1 Peter 3:3-4

Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as elaborate hairstyles and the wearing of gold jewelry or fine clothes. Rather, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God’s sight.

This is up in my bathroom by the mirror so every time I can see it and be reminded that true beauty comes from within. It’s about your character. I’m learning slowly to let go and really believe what God has said.

Remember your beauty comes from inside. It’s your character that really matters. Not the number on the scale.  Not your outward looks.

God has called you beautiful!

Believe it!

 

There’s a whole story that I hope to get up soon from my sister-in-law. But I don’t have time to get it up right now.

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And this is what happens when a farm girl leads a small group… lol. We have great times together!!!

 

Oh this video is sooo amazing! Y’all should watch it!

 

 

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God’s will, God’s timing, God’s best – meeting #7

 

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When we are saved Jesus becomes our Savoir and also our Lord and Master. We don’t like thinking about the fact that Jesus is our Master. But he is.

Luke 9:23

23 And he said to all, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me.

Jesus says that when a person becomes his, they have to DENY themselves. That means put aside what we want. Set down the sins and desires of our hearts and pick up the desires of God’s. He says follow him. Clearly Jesus is doing the leading. Not us. While it’s not a sin to have dreams and desires for the future, what God wants always need to have the greatest priority in our lives. Jesus took our place and punishment, we own him everything! He deserves the throne of our hearts. He deserves to be our waking thought and the last before we fall asleep. We are called to be different, because we have been REMADE. So our dreams and desires should be in line with God’s will.

Proverbs 3:6

In all your ways acknowledge him,
    and he will make straight your paths.

Jesus needs to be apart of our everyday lives, not just for 2 hours on Sunday morning.  We have to be walking and talking with him. You’ve got to know him to know his voice. Because if we don’t know his voice we won’t know what he’s trying to tell us. We can’t hear the warnings or the nos. We’ve got to be able to hear him. If you are walking with him, he will lead you even when you think it’s a complete waist of time he will show you that with God all things are possible.

Right now as a family we are going through Ezekiel. And I’m really loving it. This verse really stood out to me:

Ezekiel 3:14 

14 The Spirit lifted me up and took me away, and I went in bitterness in the heat of my spirit, the hand of the Lord being strong upon me.

By the time we got to this verse in the story all I could say was poor Ezekiel. God whisks him off and hands him this scroll and tells him to eat it. Then God is like, “Now I want you to go warn the people of Israel. But by the way they don’t listen to me and they aren’t going to listen to you either.” That is one encouraging send off on a mission you didn’t ask to go on. What was going through Ezekiel’s head? “God really. You’ve got to be kidding me.”

God didn’t ask Ezekiel if he thought it was a good idea or even if he wanted to do this. God doesn’t come and ask us for advice. Now I know as humans we HATE thinking about the fact that God calls us to do thing we don’t like and still makes us do them. He picks us up and says, “I want you to do this for me, so people will see me and my name will be glorified.”

I know we don’t like doing things we don’t want to do. No one does. But God doesn’t plan so we like it. He plans things so he will be glorified. He created us to bring him glory. God often calls us to do things we don’t want to do. And we’ll try and fight it and ignore him. But as the verse says God’s hand was strong upon him, even though Ezekiel was boiling mad. Trust me don’t try and fight God. His hand is strong. Don’t ignore his voice. He will win every time. Believe me I ignored him for 2 years and he still won out in the end. And when I did let go and submit to him I found some of the biggest blessings in my life.

If God created you and holds everything together wouldn’t he know what’s best? YES! God’s plan for your life is not to make you a slave. His plans are to bless you, to prosper you. His plans aren’t to do you harm. God has a grand masterpiece all mapped out. We only see a little piece but he sees the whole picture. And we need to trust him and his timing. We may not understand why God put us in the families we are in or why he gave us brown hair. We may not be able to understand why hurtful things happen to us. But we need to trust that God is working ALL things out for good. God will answer your prayer at the right time. God’s timing is perfect and his ways are perfect. He is waiting for just the right moment to give you his very best. Did you ever stop to think that God wants to give you his BEST? He doesn’t want you to settle for less just because you can have it right now. Wait on God! Wait for his BEST!

So my challenge for you today is this:

Is there something you’ve been fighting against that God wants you to do?

I want to encourage you to surrender to God. I know surrender sounds like a bad thing, but it’s a good thing when we surrender to God. When we surrender to him we find freedom. Trust that God knows what’s best and that he wants what’s best for you. So hand over your future. Hand over that relationship. Trust God. I know it can be painfully hard. But what I’ve found when I do hand things over, God turns around and blesses me like crazy. When I hold onto stuff I loose it. That’s why daily I have to hand everything over to Jesus. It’s not always easy. But God will give you the strength if you ask!

You will find victory when you surrender to Jesus!

Psalm 27:14 

14 Wait for the Lord;
    be strong, and let your heart take courage;
    wait for the Lord!

Love like God loves – meeting #6

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I don’t know about you but in my life there have been people who have hurt me, and I’ve also hurt others. When someone hurts you it often makes you close up and become bitter, or you just cannot stand being around that person. Well whether we like it or not Jesus tells us how we are to treat others, including those who hurt us.

John 13:34-35 

34 A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. 35 By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.”

Jesus says to love one another ‘Like I have loved you.’ What has Jesus done for us? How has He loved us?

I have loved you with an everlasting love;   Jeremiah 31:3

Jesus looked on us in all our filthy sin and He said, ‘Uh… that right there is MINE!’ He saw all our wickedness but still loved us.

Romans 5:8

but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

Jesus loved us so much that He stepped down from His throne, to save us. He was the ruler of the WHOLE universe but He cared so much He was willing to give it all up for us. We deserved Hell; but He stepped in and took our place. That is amazing love…

Jesus tells us to love one another like He has loved us. So that means that even the people who are against us, like our enemies, we need to love. They fall in the category of ‘others’.

Matthew 5:43-47

43 “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ 44 But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, 45 so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven. For he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust. 46 For if you love those who love you, what reward do you have? Do not even the tax collectors do the same? 47 And if you greet only your brothers,[a] what more are you doing than others? Do not even the Gentiles do the same?

Think about what Jesus said when He was on the cross. He called out to His Father and begged Him to forgive the people who put Him there. He loved His enemies when He did that.

Luke 6:28 

bless those who curse you, pray for those who abuse you.

This doesn’t say, ‘Bless those who are kind to you.’ It says to bless and pray for the people that abuse you. That is hard. Really hard. Loving those people who cause you pain in NOT easy. Part of loving is also forgiving them. Loving and forgiveness go hand in hand.

Think of Joseph and his brothers. They hated him and tried to kill him and sold him into slavery. I don’t think Joseph would have been too happy about that. It was his brothers. I know if my brothers had done that I would have been steaming mad. But he forgives them and loves them. He tells them that what they meant to harm him, God meant for good. Joseph went from being a slave to being next to Pharaoh in command. That’s pretty amazing. God can take what people mean for bad and use it for good.

Awhile back I read a story about a Christian family in Armenia. For centuries they had lived under the thumb of the Islamic Turks. The Turks would often plunder and murder them. During one of these violent attacks, a Turkish captain and some of his men attacked a farm of a Christian couple and their three teenage daughters. Kicking open the front door of the farmhouse, the men ransacked every room and looted all the valuables. Then they dragged the mother and father outside and shot them dead on the spot.

The Turkish captain and his men took up residence in the house, enslaving the girls and abusing them. The officer kept the eldest daughter for himself and forced her to serve him hand and foot and mistreating her in every way. Some time later, the girls escaped. Eventually, the oldest sister made her way to a city were she trained as a nurse. She found work in a hospital, serving sick men, women and children in need of care.

Then one night she was assigned to a ward of severely wounded Turkish army officers. When she came to the bed of one of the patients placed in her charge, she recognized by the light of a lantern the face of the officer who had enslaved her and murdered her parents. Recoiling in horror, an avalanche of dark memories crashed down upon her. Her stomach roiled like it was being twisted inside out. Fleeing the ward, she collapsed in a quiet corner and sobbed. Minutes later, as she caught her breath, she began to pray.

The Turkish officer lay in a coma, unaware of his surroundings and unable to respond. His condition would require exceptional nursing to keep him alive. But the sight of the man sickened her and the thought of touching him was more than she could bear. “O Lord,” she prayed, “What am I to do?”

Several weeks passed, and the officer awoke from his coma and began to regain his strength. One day, the doctor who oversaw the ward stood by the officer’s bed with the Armenian nurse beside him. “If not for her devotion to you and your care,” the doctor tld him, “you would be dead.”

The Turkish captain leaned forward in his bed and looked carefully at her. He knew who she was. “We have met before, haven’t we?” he said.

“Yes.” she answered, “we have met before.”

“Why didn’t you kill me?” he asked.

“Because,” she said, ” I am a follower of Him who said, ‘Love you enemies.'”

The officer had enslaved her but what did she do when she found him dying? She put all that horrible stuff behind her and saved his life. That right there is forgiveness in action! When I read that story I was awed and I had to ask myself, ‘Would I have done that?’

When you feel like you can’t forgive or love someone, stop and ask God to help you love them. I know it’s not easy to love people who hurt you. But Jesus wants us to. He wants us to love and forgive them even if they never realize how they hurt us or ask for forgiveness. Believe me when you forgive and let go, you will be set free. When you hold onto bitterness it doesn’t effect anyone else but you.

God promises that in our weakness He is strong. If it seems impossible to forgive ask God to give you the strength to. He will. He will heal your hurting heart. He will be faithful.

Today my challenge for you is to look at you own life, and find someone you need to forgive and love. Maybe a parent. Or sibling. Or friend. Or enemy. Whoever it is, throw the bitterness and hurt away and forgive.

By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another. John 13:35

When the world looks at us and sees divided churches and families does that make them see Jesus? Our job as ambassadors of Christ is to point others to Him by the way we live. Jesus said if we love one another all people will know we are His.

Go love, so all people can know you are a follower of Jesus!

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Meeting #5 – Life’s storms and a place of refuge.

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Last time we focused on prayer and how powerful it is. Today I wanted to talk about the hard time we have in life.

John 16:33

These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.

Jesus comes right out and tells us we will have hard times. He doesn’t try and hide it. In life there will be hard times…

I had originally planned on just focusing on God being our refuge. But then God spoke to me and asked me this question, “Why do you need a refuge in the first place?”  Because of storms. If there wasn’t a tornado you wouldn’t need to seek shelter in the basement. If you didn’t have storms in life you wouldn’t think you would need God. Whenever there’s been a storm in my life I can always look back and see that God brought it for a reason. He has used hard times to get my attention off myself or someone else and onto Him.

When I look back before my younger siblings came from the Philippines I had everything I wanted. I was spoiled. A complete brat. I was basically an only child because my brother was 12 years older than me. And I had ALL the attention from my parents. Before my siblings came 4 years ago I would have a sleepover with my mom once a week. Sometimes I was just lonely or scared. So when my siblings came I was VERY unprepared. After about the first week my rose colored dreams of what this new life would be were gone. My parents didn’t pay attention to me like they used to. When they would forget to hug me goodnight or my mom would be snuggling with my sister I would sometimes start crying, because I was lonely and just wanted to be loved. Back then it was very hard. But now I can look back and say I am soooo thankful I went through that. Because I forced me to run to the only One that would never leave me or let me down. I can see why God brought those hard months… because I was focused on myself and He wanted my heart and my attention. God used the coming of my siblings to draw me to Himself. I honestly believe if it wasn’t for them coming here, I would not be saved today.

God brings storms to our life for different reasons. But if you look very closely you can always see a blessing in the storm. And the greatest thing of all: God has promised to be with us.

Isaiah 40:31

But they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint.

 

Isaiah 41:10

 Fear thou not; for I am with thee: be not dismayed; for I am thy God: I will strengthen thee; yea, I will help thee; yea, I will uphold thee with the right hand of my righteousness.

 

Isaiah 43:1-2

 But now thus saith the Lord that created thee, O Jacob, and he that formed thee, O Israel, Fear not: for I have redeemed thee, I have called thee by thy name; thou art mine.

 When thou passest through the waters, I will be with thee; and through the rivers, they shall not overflow thee: when thou walkest through the fire, thou shalt not be burned; neither shall the flame kindle upon thee.

God promises that He will not leave our side. He will be our strength. Our refuge. Our rock. Our strong tower.

Here is a bunch of different verses all from Psalms talking about how we can rest knowing God knows what He’s doing and He provides a safe place. A hiding place in His arms.

Psalm 9:9-10

 The Lord also will be a refuge for the oppressed, a refuge in times of trouble.

And they that know thy name will put their trust in thee: for thou, Lord, hast not forsaken them that seek thee.

Psalm 18:1-2

 I will love thee, O Lord, my strength.

 The Lord is my rock, and my fortress, and my deliverer; my God, my strength, in whom I will trust; my buckler, and the horn of my salvation, and my high tower.

Psalm 27:1-3

The Lord is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? the Lord is the strength of my life; of whom shall I be afraid?

 When the wicked, even mine enemies and my foes, came upon me to eat up my flesh, they stumbled and fell.

Though an host should encamp against me, my heart shall not fear: though war should rise against me, in this will I be confident.

Psalm 46:1-3

God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.

Therefore will not we fear, though the earth be removed, and though the mountains be carried into the midst of the sea;

 Though the waters thereof roar and be troubled, though the mountains shake with the swelling thereof. Selah.

Psalm 56:3-4

What time I am afraid, I will trust in thee.

In God I will praise his word, in God I have put my trust; I will not fear what flesh can do unto me.

Psalm 62:2

 He only is my rock and my salvation; he is my defence; I shall not be greatly moved.

Psalm 139:7-10

Whither shall I go from thy spirit? or whither shall I flee from thy presence?

 If I ascend up into heaven, thou art there: if I make my bed in hell, behold, thou art there.

 If I take the wings of the morning, and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea;

 Even there shall thy hand lead me, and thy right hand shall hold me.

Psalm 144:2

 he is my steadfast love and my fortress,
    my stronghold and my deliverer,
my shield and he in whom I take refuge,
    who subdues peoples under me.

Psalm 119:114

You are my hiding place and my shield;
    I hope in your word.

God is loyal and He will never, ever let you down. I don’t know what you all are going through. But take courage. Hold onto Jesus. It may be horribly painful. But He knows what He’s doing. He has a plan for you life and His plan and timing are perfect.

I listened to a sermon awhile ago by Dr. Tony Evans, but there was something he said that stood out to me.

“We are always praying that God would take away our problems, when we need to ask Him to show us why He brought them.”

So if you are in the middle of a storm, STOP, and ask God what He’s trying to teach you and why He brought it. Is He trying to get you to rely on Him alone? Is your attention on yourself? Is He trying to bless you? Is He strengthening you?

If you have stories you would like to share about how God has been a refuge, go ahead and share in the comments! : D

Small Group Meeting – #4

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* My apologies I was quite busy and completely forgot to take any pictures.

In our last meeting we talked about how important it is to spend time in God’s Word every single day. And it’s just as important to spend time praying. I believe everyday should be started by spending time with God. But I’m not going to say that if you aren’t getting up extra early and spending an hour in prayer you are not a Christian. No that’s not true. Now if you do that’s great! But sometimes your life may be so full that you can’t do that or you may have a really hard time staying alert in the morning. God understands. He will still hear your prayers even if you are praying while washing dishes or whatever else you may be doing. The important thing that I want to get across to you is, SPEND TIME IN PRAYER. Everyday.

Make time. Get before God. Start you day right. I love this quote from Charles Spurgeon,

“It is a good rule never to look into the face of a man in the morning till you have looked into the face of God.”

As Christ followers spending time in prayer needs to be a priority. Martin Luther put it well:

“To be a Christian without prayer is no more possible than to be alive without breathing.”

Prayer is our SUPER POWER! If we believe God can do anything, He will do it.

Matthew 19:26

26 But Jesus looked at them and said, “With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.”

Mark 11:20-25

20 As they passed by in the morning, they saw the fig tree withered away to its roots. 21 And Peter remembered and said to him, “Rabbi, look! The fig tree that you cursed has withered.” 22 And Jesus answered them, “Have faith in God. 23 Truly, I say to you, whoever says to this mountain, ‘Be taken up and thrown into the sea,’ and does not doubt in his heart, but believes that what he says will come to pass, it will be done for him. 24 Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours. 25 And whenever you stand praying, forgive, if you have anything against anyone, so that your Father also who is in heaven may forgive you your trespasses.”

Notice it says to forgive if we have anything against someone so that God may forgive us? It’s very important that we get our hearts right.

We need to pray with faith and BELIEVE that God will hear and answer our prayers.

Matthew 7:7

“Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you.

I remember when I was younger and would read that and I was like, ‘That’s not true. He doesn’t give you what you ask.’ Ever since I can remember I wanted a horse. Well I prayed and prayed, begged my dad to let me get one and prayed some more until I was about 11; that year I gave up. I said ‘God is not answering and giving me what I want so I’m done. I’m not praying about this anymore because He clearly doesn’t want me to have one.’ I gave up on God. But He didn’t give up on me. A few years later my brother who used to run the farm got a job 2 hours away and so running the farm was left to my dad and my siblings and I. I was really sad that my brother was moving. He was always saying we didn’t have enough land for horses. So when he left something inside me said, ‘God is taking him away so you can get horses.’ I had no clue how that would play out, but I now have a horse. I’m not suggesting that you give up on God because He might give you what you wanted anyway. I’m just showing how God doesn’t give up even when we do.

Sometimes people like to look at this verse and say that, ask for anything and God will give it to you. But does a parent give a rebellious child an iphone just because they asked? I don’t think so. If you are asking with the wrong motives He’s not going to give it to you. But if you live for Him and follow His will, not your own, He will gladly give you the desires of your heart.

Psalm 37:1-7

37 Fret not yourself because of evildoers;
    be not envious of wrongdoers!
For they will soon fade like the grass
    and wither like the green herb.

Trust in the Lord, and do good;
    dwell in the land and befriend faithfulness.
Delight yourself in the Lord,
    and he will give you the desires of your heart.

Commit your way to the Lord;
    trust in him, and he will act.
He will bring forth your righteousness as the light,
    and your justice as the noonday.

Be still before the Lord and wait patiently for him;
    fret not yourself over the one who prospers in his way,
    over the man who carries out evil devices!

Since God knows your future He can see what is best for you and if it might hurt you. Here’s God’s answers to prayer taken from, The Battle Plan for Prayer:

  1. Yes, immediately.  Sometimes when we pray, our request is exactly in line with His will, with His timing, and His answer arrives on the spot. The same day we pray it. But sometimes God’s response is even quicker than that… when He says, “before they call, I will answer” (Isa. 65:24)
  2. Yes, in due time. A delay should not be interpreted as a denial. If a nine-year-old girl asks her mom for a wedding dress she saw, the answer to her request might sound like a no. But it’s actually more of a “Yes, I’ll get you a wedding dress, honey. But not now. You’re not ready for it yet.”
  3. Yes, so you’ll learn from it. Sometimes God, deciding we might learn from the lesson, does go ahead and give us what we ask – realizing we do ‘t really know what we’re asking.
  4. No, because your heart’s not right. James said the reason for a delay in God’s answer is not always simply a timing issue. Sometimes “you ask and do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, so that you may spend it on your pleasures” (James 4:3) If lust, greed, bitterness, or pride is at the heart of a request, God may veto an answer in order to guard us from the hurt or idolatry that could result from the toxic request.
  5. No, I’ve got a better plan. Sometimes we ask too small. Confined to our limited knowledge, not thinking outside what we’ve already seen and experienced, we pray for a handful when God wants to give us a houseful… In this situation, His answer is technically a no, but it’s hard not to call it a super-sized yes. An upgrade. We’re allowed to pray big prayers, realizing that in asking for things over our heads, God may just choose to totally amaze us even further. That’s why it’s good to pray, “Lord, would you do more than I can ask or imagine in this situation?” knowing that’s exactly what He is able to do. (Eph. 3:20)

God has different answers. But the key is He always hears and always answers.

Philippians 4:6-7

do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

Notice how this starts ‘Be anxious for nothing’ it doesn’t say ‘If you feel like it don’t be anxious’. No it says ‘DO NOT BE ANXIOUS!’ It’s a command. Not a suggestion. Don’t worry! Pray about everything. God cares about every single thing in your life. Prayer is our weapon. God says ‘You don’t have do the fighting and heavy lifting, pray and trust me. I’ll take care of it’. Satan hates prayer. He hates it when we pray because he knows it will limit him. Prayer is also a source of comfort. It’s a way for us to talk to God and also for Him to speak to us. Don’t forget to take time to get still and listen. He never is out of range or on vacation, He doesn’t work from 9 to 4. No He is always, ALWAYS there, waiting and listening. Prayer is a direct link to God; our most powerful weapon and the Bible says, “USE IT!”

And I think it’s really neat how in the Bible we see Jesus the Son of God taking time to get away by Himself to pray. He goes to a mountain which I think it totally cool. I’d love to have a ‘War Mountain’ instead of a ‘War Room’! But I think that He sets a really good example for us. Jesus took time out of His super busy schedule. Think of how busy He was. There were thousands of people constantly following Him, wanting to hear what He had to say and bringing sick people to be healed. I think He was a LOT busier than any of us, but yet He took time to pray. If the Son of God prays I think we sinful humans really need to make it a priority to pray.

So my challenge for you today is that you take time every single day to pray… take time to use your super power! Don’t let Satan’s lies that you’re too busy stop you. Talk to God!

This is a post I read that I shared with the girls about prayer and creative ways you can strengthen your prayer life.

I recently received my favorite weekly update: an email about morning routines. Being the productivity nerd that I am, I love reading through the morning routines of well-known professionals. This week I was reading one such routine and noticed that the author made a distinction between meditation and prayer.

“I pray every morning,” she said. “Prayer is not meditation, as this is an active conversation I’m having with God.” She went on to share her Bible study habits of the early morning hours, but I was still brewing on her description of prayer. Prayer is an active conversation.

If you’re like me, sometimes prayer feels less like a conversation and more like a monologue. I think we believe prayer should come naturally, and are surprised when it doesn’t. However, prayer is a spiritual discipline; it takes practice to perfect. Here are five ideas to help you strengthen your prayer life and discipline yourself to “active conversation.”

  1. Record requests and answers. One of the best ways to grow confidence in the Lord is to record your prayer requests—and then record His answers. I’ve used several journals for this purpose. I write the request in black and, when God answers, I write the answer in red and date it. I can flip back through these notebooks to see God’s faithfulness and be encouraged for the future!
  1. Make a prayer board. Our prayer board is simply a large corkboard with “prayer sections”: areas over which my husband and I want to pray. We’ve made sections for our marriage, work, finances, dreams and missions. We write requests on small pieces of paper and tack them below each section. When the prayer is answered, we move it to the section “God’s Answers.” At the end of the year, we collect the slips of paper and can see God’s faithfulness for that season! Several of my blog readers have created prayer boards of their own. You can make it as individual as you like!
  1. Ask for prayer requests from others. Add more interest to your prayer life by asking your friends for prayer requests. Touch base with them periodically to see how those prayers were answered. Seeing God work in the lives of friends and family is another great way to connect with His heart for the world.
  1. Pray for a nation, missionary or organization you’re passionate about. Do you sponsor a Compassion child? Have a passion for the nation of Rwanda? You can put that passion to use by praying fervently for the places and organizations you love. Even when we can’t give money or time to a cause, prayer actively engages the Spirit of God on behalf of those we pray for. Intercede for them regularly or create a weekly “schedule” of places and organizations for which you want to pray.
  1. Pray the Word. If you struggle to find the words to pray, open your Bible! Pray God’s truth to Him. These promises are yours in Christ! Many of the passages in Psalms are actually prayers. You can read these to the Lord and allow the truths of Scripture to sink into your heart while you do.

 

Yet again I was very blessed by the time I had with these girls! Thank you all for taking time out of your day to come.

Question for you girls!

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So I was wondering if you all like how we did S.O.A.P. on our verse as a group and if you’d like to do that every time? Just a thought… I’d love to know what you girls think!