In all circumstances

Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. 1 Thessalonians5:16-18 (ESV)

A pretty tall order in this very broken world we live in. Tragedy is all around us. One just need to turn on the news or to social media and we hear and read about:

Senseless mass murders

Senseless loss due to the poor choices of others

Senseless loss of life due to cancer and other illnesses

Senseless loss of the lives of children

I have often read the question “How can a good God allow such senseless things to occur?” but the truth is that God hurts along with us. God only wants good for us, he has plans for us that are good and for our good.

For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope. Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will hear you. You will seek me and find me, when you seek me with all your heart. Jeremiah 29:11-13 (ESV)

So how do these verses, promises from the Bible, fit in with all the senseless things that happen here in this world where we live? Truth is, these are what God chooses for us but he created us with free will and, unfortunately, many make sinful choices that have a ripple affect. That ripple affect causes these senseless losses. It seems no one ever thinks about this ripple affect of their choices until it is too late. I can sadly but, honestly, say that choices I made years ago have caused a ripple affect that has caused a break in my relationship with my beautiful daughter. Do I look back and wish I had the opportunity to make different choices-say different words, absolutely, but that is not possible so instead I:

Rejoice always: I rejoice remembering the good times and cling to them.

Pray without ceasing: I pray that God will heal hearts-hers and mine.

Give thanks in ALL circumstances: Yes, even in the worst of situations and times I can find things to be thankful for.

This is the will of God for me (and you): God’s will for me is to live a life that rejoices, prays without ceasing and lives in gratitude.

When I am faced with all the senseless things, in this world, I focus on what is good and true. We serve a good, good, God who wants only the best for us BUT we live in a fallen world that often tries to take our focus off of Him and put it on our circumstances so we turn from God. It’s at times like these we need to frustrate the enemy and lean into Jesus and allow these circumstances to strengthen our faith.

In this you rejoice, though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been grieved by various trials, so that the tested genuineness of your faith—more precious than gold that perishes though it is tested by fire—may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ. 1 Peter 1:6-7

In times like these when I can’t change my past and make better choices I don’t have to like my circumstances but I do have a choice to wallow in my loss or look to the Lord to give me comfort, peace, mercy and surround me with His love. When my mama heart hurts and I feel reconciliation is impossible I cling to this scripture:

But Jesus looked at them and said, “With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.” Matthew 19:26

Precious Heavenly Father, I praise you and thank you for your peace that surpasses all earthly understanding in this troubled world we live in. I ask, Lord, that you forgive me for choices that I made, years ago, and the ripple affect they created. I rejoice in knowing you are who you are and that you are good and only want good for your children. I pray, Lord, that you touch the hearts of all that are hurting in this world and I thank you, Lord, for your grace, mercy and love. In Jesus name, Amen

Honoring God-Part 2

Honoring God in our Prayer Life

This weeks blog is the second of a 4 part series on Honoring God our lives.

First and foremost I need to make it very clear I do not have a perfect prayer life and while I do pray daily I fall short daily too. I am slowly but surely moving towards a prayer life that honors God.

Yesterday on the Faithfully Following Ministries blog In God’s Presence I was honored to share about a time I did not have the courage to pray in a way that honored God. My prayers we not really prayers at all-they were pleas for God to resolve my problems with my solutions.

“Some people have wandered from the faith by following such foolishness. May God’s grace be with you all.” 1 Timothy 6:21 NLT

God’s grace was with me despite my manipulative ways that did not honor God and it was sheer foolishness to think I could manipulate God to fulfill my prayer with my answer. I had no clue that the plans God had for me were so much better than what I could ever have imagined.

“My thoughts are nothing like your thoughts,” says the Lord. “And my ways are far beyond anything you could imagine.” Isaiah 55:8 NLT

It wasn’t until I let go of control and courageously trusted God, with our needs, that my prayers honored God.

Honoring God in our prayer life begins with praising Him for who he is-the great I AM

Luke 11:2

Honoring God in our prayer life acknowledges who provides our needs daily.

Luke 11:3

Honoring God in our prayer life begins with humbling ourselves before Him confessing our sins and asking for forgiveness and gives us the courage to forgive the wrongs of others against us, in the same way  he has forgiven us.

Luke 11:4

Honoring God in our prayer life gives us the strength to fight temptation.

1 Corinthians  10:13

Honoring God in our prayer life trusts He knows his plans for us, that those plans are for good and not evil and a hope for the future…our plans usually fall way short of God’s plans for our lives.

Jeremiah 29:11-13

In the blog yesterday I shared how I finally let go of my expectations and solutions and simply prayed scripture over the situation. Once I learned the lesson that there is a God and it wasn’t me God answered my prayer in a way I could not have possibly imagined.

Honoring God in our prayer life trusts God with all our hearts, acknowledges his ways are much better than ours and that he will always lead us towards good and not evil.

Proverbs 3:5-6

Honoring God in our prayer life means confess our sins to each others and we hold each other up in prayer.

James 5:16

Honoring God in our prayer life means less of us and more of Him!!

John 3:30

In what ways do you honor God in your prayer life?