Lord, Give Me Beautiful Feet!

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During the summer months, our feet tend to get more attention than any other time of the year – especially women’s feet.  We get pedis, moisturize, and shop for cute sandals.  Once August is over, we typically shove our feet back into socks and shoes and tend to forget about them until warm weather rolls around again.

Did you know that God wants us to have beautiful feet all year long?  Every day of our lives?  Not just when we’re at the pool or wearing flip flops?  It’s true.

Romans 10:14-15, NLT “But how can they call on him to save them unless they believe in him? And how can they believe in him if they have never heard about him? And how can they hear about him unless someone tells them? And how will anyone go and tell them without being sent? That is why the Scriptures say, “How beautiful are the feet of messengers who bring good news!”

God says are feet are beautiful when we bring good news.  This means the beauty of our feet is tied directly with the words that come from our lips!  Ugly words = ugly feet.  Beautiful words = beautiful feet.  God is saying you can spend all the time and money you want on nail polish, foot scrubs, and sandals, but if your words aren’t pleasing and uplifting, your money is wasted.  So before you check out your toes, check your mouth.

He mentions our feet again in Ephesians 6:15, NLV “Wear shoes on your feet which are the Good News of peace.”   He is instructing us again to bring good news.  He wants us to use our feet not just as accessories but as tools that can reach others with the gospel of Christ!

For me, I have started asking God every day to help me have beautiful feet.  The scripture in Romans asks how they (the lost) can hear without someone preaching to them.  This is our job!  We are to preach the message of the Good News through our words, our actions, and our faith.  Those are the things that keep our feet beautiful in the eyes of God, and that is what I desire more than anything.  I want God to use me and my family’s story in any way He can to reach the lost and share His Love.

Prayer

Father God, we come before you today thanking You for your love, your mercy, and your grace.  We want You to use us as Your messengers.  Use us as Your earthly hands and feet.  Help us to realize Your will for our lives.  Help us to guard our mouths against words are that harmful, untrue, or unnecessary.  Help us to be messengers of the Good News wherever we may go.  Let us bring Your peace and Your presence with us in to every situation.  We love you and we know You love us.  Give us beautiful feet, Lord.  In Jesus’ name we pray, Amen.

Action

Where can you take your beautiful feet today?  Where can you share the Good News?  It may not be through sharing scripture or even God’s plan of salvation.  It may be through a compliment to a co-worker.  It may be in telling your spouse that you love them.  It may be in holding open the door at the grocery store for a stranger.

It may be in what you DON’T say or do.  When your friends are dishing on the latest gossip, when your kids are complaining about their teacher, when you come home to your husband’s socks on the floor (again!) – how you respond is just as effective in keeping your feet beautiful.  Ask God to help you guard your mouth and your thoughts.  He will help you.  He wants you to be beautiful from head to toe!

Before you put on your shoes each day, what do you do to keep your feet beautiful in the eyes of God? 

beautiful feet

Deep Calls to Deep

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My family just returned from a wonderful week at the beach.  The salt, the sun, the sea – it was all just so peaceful and relaxing.  The time to have fellowship with our family and meet new friends was such a blessing.

The small, family friendly beach we visit in Florida was a little more crowded this year.  The traffic from Mobile, Alabama to Florida’s Emerald Coast was also much heavier than in years past.  Naturally, I began to think of all the people around me and what draws them and us to the beach.

These people all around us could have gone to a big city for their vacation or an amusement park or used the money for a big shopping spree at the mall…but, instead, they are choosing to bask in God’s creation.  They are voluntarily selecting things not made by human hands to enjoy, to recharge, and to relax.

For believers, we know He created all things and can see His handiwork all around us.  I, personally, love to see God in nature.  His presence and His majesty is all around us.  It fills us with awe and wonder at His power and His being.

What about unbelievers?  I feel they are drawn for the same reasons only they don’t realize it yet.  We are all born with a need and a desire for God’s presence.  For believers, we know where we can find it.  For unbelievers, they are searching, looking, and seeking for something to fill their hearts.  This is what calls us to experience His creation.

I don’t know how anyone can stand on the beach and look out over endless water and waves and question God’s existence.  He is so real, so present, and loves to delight us with His work.  He speaks to us through the beauty all around us – it reveals His glory to us.

Psalms 95: 5  NIV, “The sea is His, for He made it, and His hands formed the dry land.”  He made it all – for you and for me.  He wants us to enjoy the earth and all its majesty.  He delights in gifting us beautiful things made by His hands.

Scripture

Psalms 42:7  NIV, “Deep calls to deep in the roar of your waterfalls; all your waves and breakers have swept over me.”

Prayer

Father God, we love You and we know You love us.  It is evident all around us in the beauty of Your creation.  We may wrestle some days with fleshly stress and worry, but we know Your presence is all around us.  It is calling to us just as “deep calls to deep”.  Help us to slow down and savor Your majesty.  Open our eyes to see Your glory.  Open our hearts to feel your presence.  Let us drink deeply from the beauty You have freely given to us, so that we may experience Your love, Your peace, and Your power.  We give thanks to You for your creation and for giving it to us.  Help us to appreciate it more each day and to see You in every tree, every cloud, and every star.  In Jesus’ holy name we pray, Amen.

Action

The Psalmist asks in 42:2, “When can I go and meet with God?”  We know we can meet with God anywhere, but do you have a special place in nature that you especially feel God’s presence?  For me, it is near the water.  It may be a creek, a river, or the Pacific Ocean.  God’s presence is so real to me near the water.  My parents just returned from a two week road trip to Yellowstone.  The mountains proclaims His majesty too.  His handiwork is visible from the forests to the hills to the plains.  We just have to open our eyes to see it.

What speaks to you?  You don’t have to embark on a road trip to find something.  His presence can be seen in your front yard, alongside the road, or even within the walls of your home.  Let’s share where we see His glory and encourage one another to seek Him.  He’s calling you right now.

Deep Calls to Deep

Deep Calls to Deep

Why Do We Pray? (Part 5 – What Do Our Prayers Do for Others?)

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We’ve all had those moments in our prayer lives…We’ve been praying for a specific person for what seems like forever and nothing has changed.  Their healing hasn’t come; their marriage hasn’t been mended; their children haven’t been saved; their financial break through hasn’t happened.  It’s frustrating.  We sometimes may even question if we should continue to pray.  Perhaps God has other plans for this person’s life?  Perhaps we should focus on the other names on our prayer list?

In this situation, we are missing a vital point – our prayers for others aren’t about US.  They are being offered up in intercession for OTHERS.  To stop praying for another person before their needs are met would be an unwise decision.  We need the prayers of others especially when we aren’t visibly seeing God’s hand move in our lives.  It is during those times we will need the most faith, strength, and hope.

My daughter had a recurrent tumor for over three years.  For more than three years, people prayed for her to be healed.  They prayed for us to have courage and strength.  They prayed for our needs to be provided.  They prayed for us to stand strong in our faith.  Without those long years of intercessory prayer, I don’t know where my family would be today.  Yet, because of those intercessory prayers, I can tell you that my daughter is healed, our needs are met, and our faith is strong!

Three years was a long time for us and a long time for our prayer warriors to lift us up day after day after day, but thank God they did!  I can assure you there are those who have waited longer for their answer.  Many are still waiting.  Please don’t give up on them because God’s perfect will seems to be taking a little longer.

Intercessory prayer is vital in our Christian walk.  James 5:16 tells us to “pray for each other so that you might be healed.  The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective.”  God wants us to pray for one another.  He even tells us that it is effective.  How can we give up when He tells us it makes a difference?

I know for a fact my mother has prayed over me and my brothers since before we were ever born.  She still prays for us each day.  I pray for my daughter and always will.  Sometimes certain intercessory prayers are an essential part of our prayer life.  They don’t change.  We continuously pray for certain people or situations (e.g. our pastor, our nation, our spouse, etc…) because we want God’s constant presence, protection, and blessings over them.

Scripture

1 Timothy 2:1 NIV

“I urge, then, first of all, that requests, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for everyone.”

Prayer

Father God, help us to always remember to lift up others in our prayers.  There are so many around us in need.  We can help meet their needs by covering them in prayer.  So often we may get busy or forgetful of the requests of others.  Please lay them on our hearts and our minds.  The Holy Spirit intercedes for us daily.  Thank you for the privilege of allowing us to do the same for others.  Give us servant’s hearts who seek to fulfill the needs of others before our own.  Help us be a blessing to someone each day,  Help us be the prayer warrior you created us to be.  Let us show Your love to others more and more.  We love You, and we ask these things in Jesus’ holy name.  Amen.

Action

A couple of years ago on New Year’s Day, I made a pledge to pray for specific people every day for a whole year.  I asked God to help me choose the people for my list.  He gave me four names.  I prayed earnestly for those people for an entire year.  The next New Year’s I did the same and created a new list of names.  I have witnessed healings, blessings, and restorations as I followed the lives of these individuals.  I never told them they were on a “special” list.  Some of them were not even people I spoke to very often.  Yet, I would keep up via social media or through mutual friends or family.

I pray for others as well, but these people are at the heart of my prayer list.  I intend to always keep a “list” like this for prayer.  It helps me to remember to pray for others, and it also allows me to see God working in their lives.  I can see at the end of the year where He has brought them and the difference He is making in their lives.

Would all this happen without my prayers?  Maybe.  Yet, I would miss out on the blessing of interceding for others and witnessing His hand at work.

How do you remember to pray for others?  What have  you witnessed as a result that of intercessory prayer that serves as a testament to God’s faithfulness?

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If God is Sovereign, Then What’s the Point? (Part 4 – Why Do We Pray?)

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Last week, we looked at prayer as a form of obedience.  We are told by God to pray, and so we should…but there is so much more to why we pray than “because He said so…”  Let’s look beyond simple obedience and explore what prayer means to God and what it can mean for us.

When we pray, we are entering the presence of the one true God – the God of Abraham, Moses, and Jacob.  Sometimes we take that honor and privilege for granted.  We are speaking with the One who parted the Red Sea, raised Lazarus from the dead, and created the entire Universe with His words!  This should leave us feeling completely humbled and awe-struck!  Do we enter prayer with that attitude?  (I’ll save that question for another post….but it doesn’t hurt to think on it…)

I believe God loves to hear our prayers.  The Bible says He is blessed by our prayers and our worship.  We are given the opportunity to bless God…

If God is Sovereign, Then What’s the Point? (Part 3 – Why Do We Pray?)

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This is the $64,000 question – Why do we pray?  God is all-powerful, all-knowing, and His will prevails for our good, so why do we need to pray?  Can’t we just trust He will do what is best for us?  Doesn’t His word say He is blessing us, protecting us, and making a way for us?  Why does He need my prayer?  It seems like He’s already got our lives all lined out just like He wants them to be…so why does He need me to pray about it all?

There are multiple answers to this question.  However, today I want us to look at just one – God tells us to pray.  Throughout His word, we are commanded to pray.  Jesus himself prayed.  He prayed so earnestly he sweat drops of blood – now that is some serious prayer!  So, if we put aside all of our questions and doubts about prayer, and just focus on God’s commands, we should live a prayer centered life.

The next time someone questions your dedication and focus on prayer (or maybe the next time you have doubts about it) remind yourself God wants and expects you to pray.  No question about it.  It’s not just a matter of belief, it’s a matter of obedience.  If we love God, we keep his commandments.  He commands us to pray, so we do – pretty simple (at least in theory…).

Of course, we are filled with many other questions about why we pray, and we will look at these too.  For today, let’s just focus on being obedient to God.  He wants us to pray, so let’s do just that.  Find the time, find your spot, and talk to God.  The all-mighty creator of the universe is bending down to listen to you today and every day.  Be obedient to Him today and pray.

Scripture

The Bible is filled with scriptures on prayer.  This one is pretty straight forward:  “Never stop praying.”  1 Thessalonians 5:17, NLT

Prayer

Father God, prayer is such a privilege and an honor.  Help us learn to treat it as the gift You meant it to be for us.  Help us to learn to prioritize our time and and our responsibilities and make prayer a daily part of our lives.  Help us to grow in our our prayer lives and become so comfortable with prayer that we live in a continuous state of praying in our hearts and in our spirits.  Help us to be obedient to you through our prayers.  We live to serve You.  In Jesus’ holy name we pray, Amen.

Action

The Bible is filled with stories of men and women who prayed, trusted God, and witnessed God’s amazing answers!  If you need encouragement on why you should pray or on how you should pray, I suggest you pick up the Word.  From the Old Testament to the New Testament, there are seemingly countless scriptures on prayers being offered up, prayers being answered, and lives being forever changed.  Do you have a favorite passage from the Bible on prayer?  I have so many, but one that will always be a favorite is found in Luke 1:45 – 55.  Mary prays a beautiful prayer full of faith and hope as she awaits the birth of Jesus.  Seek out Godly examples of prayer.  Continue to incorporate scriptures in your prayer, and mostly importantly, be obedient to God and pray.

 

 

Give Me Words to Speak (Part 2 – What Do I Need to Say When I Pray?)

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Last week, we covered some basics of prayer – posture, location, speech, etc…This week I want us to look at our words.  Does prayer require a specific pattern of words?  Are there certain words we should always use?  Is there a “prayer format” we should follow?  Let’s talk about these questions and discuss the words we offer up to God in prayer.

Prayer is not a “magical” spell or incantation.  Putting the “right” words in the “right” order is not going ensure God will grant your requests.  As I said last week, God is not impressed with our vocabulary.  The words we use in prayer are important, but the condition of our heart when we come to God in prayer is much more important.

I spend the first part of each day reading and studying my Bible and in prayer.  Yes, I sit in my “Jesus chair”.  During this time of prayer, I tend to pray longer, offering up more intercessory prayer and also a good deal of praise.  I always begin by telling God how much I love Him.  I thank Him for not only what He has done for me, but I thank Him for who He is – for His very nature.  Yes, God knows He is sovereign, righteous, full of mercy and grace, our healer, full of compassion, and loving kindness, but don’t you think He likes to hear it?  I think He does.  It also works as a great reminder for me about who God is and that I have access to such glory!

Next, I move on to intercessory prayer for others.  This changes from day to day depending on my prayer list.  Since my daughter has been beating cancer for the past three years, there are always children and families we know from our time at the hospital that top my list.  Of course, I pray over our church prayer list as well as others I may know who need prayer.  I pray for our church and our church workers, I pray for our nation, state, and local governments, I pray for the staff and school where I worked last year.  I just pray over things that I feel led to lift up to God.

I pray hard for my family too.  I cover my husband and our marriage in prayer every day.  I pray for my daughter.  I pray she will always walk in health and wholeness.  I pray for her mental, emotional, and spiritual health as well.  I pray God would surround her with Godly friends who will be positive influences in her life.

Finally, I pray for myself.  I ask God for wisdom.  I ask God for forgiveness.  I ask God to help me become the wife, mother, and woman He designed me to be.  I ask for the Holy Spirit to fill me with the words, thoughts, and actions I need to get through each day.  I pray my family be able to fully embrace and follow God’s will for our lives.

A few years ago, my prayers began to feel routine and a bit repetitive.  I asked God to help me feel alive and renewed in my prayer life.  Soon after, a lady shared with me about using scripture in her prayers.  She told me she would find specific scriptures that related to her requests and pray them to God.  I began doing it also.  Now familiar scriptures flow in and out of my prayers.

Why incorporate scripture?  For me, it totally rejuvenated my prayer life.  It helped me to incorporate my love for God’s word in to my prayer time.  Also, scripture is God’s very word and will, what more perfect words could we offer up to Him than His own?  Yes, He knows what the Bible says; He is the author.  I believe He loves to hear it lifted back up to Him.  His own words coming from a sincere heart has to be pleasing to our God.

Sometimes I open my Bible and read entire chapters aloud over my family or over a situation or a specific need.  It refocuses my mind on His promises and His truths.  It offers up my requests in a way that I just can’t do on my own.  Sometimes I use verses from Psalms to offer up praise and thanksgiving.  The words are so beautiful and precious.  They flood in my soul in a way my own words never would be able to do.

There are many beautiful prayers throughout the Bible that we can use as examples or offer up as our own prayers.  Here’s a link to Five Biblical Prayers you may want to read and incorporate in to your own prayer time http://www.biblegateway.com/blog/2012/05/five-biblical-prayers-that-teach-us-how-to-talk-to-god/

I also offer up many, many prayers throughout each day somewhat “on the fly”.  For instance, last night I accidentally put a DVD in our DVD player without removing the DVD that was already in place.  Whoops!  Needless to say, the DVD player began making a horribly uncomfortable noise.  My sweet hubs tried in vain to open the DVD door to remove the discs.  While he was fixing our issue, I quietly and quickly prayed that the DVD player would spit out the discs and work perfectly….and it did….Did God directly intervene with my ancient DVD player?  I don’t know.  I do know that we were able to watch our movie without any further issues.

Praying in that moment was a first instinct.  Yes, it was something trivial and my prayer was not very distinguished, but I was thankful that it came as naturally as breathing for me.  I utter these types of prayers all day long.  Sometimes I have praise and worship verses or songs playing through my head.  I consider those a form of prayer as well.  They keep my mind focused.  They keep my spirit calm and renewed.  They keep me in tune with God.

Scripture

“And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests.  With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the saints.”  Ephesians 6:18, NIV

Prayer

Father God, we thank You for the gift and privilege of prayer.  It is such a blessing and an honor to be able to come before You at any time to intercede, offer thanks, and lift our requests.  Thank You for hearing our prayer and for answering them.  Help us to grow in our prayer lives.  Show us how to pray so that we can grow in our faith and our love for You.  We love You and we desire to become closer to You through prayer.  In Jesus’ holy name we pray, Amen.

Action

I challenge each of us to examine our prayer lives.  What can we do to grow?  What can we do to improve?  Are you lacking confidence in your prayers?  Ask God for help.  Do you need resources on prayer?  There are many wonderful books and articles; however, the best book you will ever read on prayer is the Bible.  Do a little research and you will find a wealth of scriptures devoted to prayer.  Do you have a favorite?  I do.  I’m very partial to praying Psalms 91 over my family.  Dig in and find what you need, then offer it up to God.  He’s waiting.

Psalm 91

What Is Prayer? (Part 1 – What the Bible says v. What we do)

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I watched a movie recently about a woman who was trapped in outer space.  She had little knowledge of how to operate the equipment that could save her life.  She finally made radio contact with someone and asked this person to pray for her.  She said, “I would pray for myself, but I don’t know how.  No one ever taught me.” She was desperate.  She was certain that she was going to die.  She felt lost and hopeless.  It was heart wrenching.  That scene stayed with me.  I began to wonder how many other people all around me might feel that way.

It left me feeling so saddened.  How hopeless people must feel when they want or need to pray, but believe they can’t because they don’t know how…They think their only hope is just beyond their grasp.  That they must rely on someone else to pray for them and offer them hope.  This is simply not true.  You can pray, and God will hear you.  Prayer is not a special practice reserved only for those in ministry or who appear to be devout Christians.

Prayer is something that has taken a top priority in my life over the years.  It went from being my back up plan to being a way of life.  I read somewhere that prayer should be your steering wheel not your spare tire.  So true.  I’d like for us to talk about prayer.  What is it?  What does God say about it?  Are we doing it right?

(Disclaimer – I am not a Bible scholar.  I’m just a wife and a mother who has seen the power of prayer at work and want to share it with others.)

So, what is prayer?  Simply put, prayer is a conversation with God.  I can come to Him anytime, anywhere, and just talk to Him.  I talk to God just as I would talk to a dear friend or family member – after all, He is my Abba Father, my Daddy God.  I think some people are scared or intimidated to pray.  They don’t feel they are doing it “right”. They worry about using fancy words or worry about kneeling down.  The truth is there is no “right” way to pray as long as you are coming before God with a spirit that is seeking Him.  “You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.” Jeremiah 29:13, NIV

He is much more concerned with the condition of our heart as we come before Him than any big words we might use.  Our vocabulary does not impress God.  He wants our faith, our hope, our trust, and our love.  So, kneel, stand, lie down, drive your car, peel potatoes, or go for a run – you can pray while doing any of the above.  In the Bible, there are instances where people prayed bowing, standing, kneeling, and on their faces.  Eyes open or eyes closed, silently or out loud – He hears you.

As for your language, I do believe God wants us to be completely transparent before Him as we pray.  He knows what we are thinking and feeling anyway.  Why try to hide behind flowery words?  Yes, I agree there is a certain level of respect and honor we should use in our words to God, but we can let go of the need for propriety and just be humble before Him. “When you pray, don’t babble on and on as people of other religions do. They think their prayers are answered only by repeating their words again and again.” Matthew 6:7, NLT

If you are mad at God, tell Him.  If you are heartbroken, tell Him.  If you are totally confused, tell Him.  If your heart is full of joy, tell Him!  We don’t have to hide anything from Him!  He already knows and He loves us anyway.  He wants you more than anything.  Present yourself to Him through prayer.  “If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land.”  2 Chronicles 7:14, NIV

Another key principle prayer is to listen as well as speak.  God wants to let you know His will.  God wants to comfort your heart and flood your spirit with peace and joy.  Be still before Him.  Let Him and the Holy Spirit move within you.  I’m not saying God will always audibly speak to you (although I definitely believe He can if He chooses).  He does speak to us through His word, through our thoughts, through songs, and through other people.  Be open and alert to what God is trying to say to you.  Listen and you will hear.  “I am praying to you because I know you will answer, O God.  Bend down and listen as I pray.”  Psalms 17:6, NLT 

Imagine what your relationship would be like with your spouse, your co-workers, your close friends, etc…if you never talked to them!  You would completely lose touch of what is going on in their lives.  You would grow distant and detached.  Your relationship would suffer.  It’s the same thing with God.  When we don’t talk to Him, we are missing out on so much!  He longs for you to come to Him.  He’s waiting patiently with a heart full of love for you to simply come just as you are in prayer.

Scripture

“I will bring that group through the fire and make them pure, just as gold and silver are refined and purified by fire. They will call on my name, and I will answer them. I will say, ‘These are my people,’ and they will say, ‘The LORD is our God.'”  Zechariah 13:9, NLT

Prayer

Father God, thank you for the gift of prayer.  Thank you that we have the privilege of coming to You at any time, any place, and any where to praise You, thank You, and make our requests known to You.  Thank you for listening and for answering our prayers.  Help us to remember to spend time with You in prayer.  Help our hearts yearn for Your presence.  Help us put aside our busyness and our distractions to concentrate on You.  Bless our prayer lives God, and help us grow in You.  We love You and are honored to be in Your presence.  In Jesus’ name we pray, Amen.

Action

What keeps you from having an active prayer life?  Is it time?  Do you forget?  Are you intimidated?  I created a special area in my home just for my prayer and Bible study time.  I call this my “Jesus chair”.  I keep my Bibles, journal, pens, etc…right beside my chair.  I also have a lamp, a special prayer shawl, and a scented wax warmer by my chair.  It makes the space cozy and inviting.  Everything I need is at hand, so I’m not up looking for a pen that works when I could be reading or praying.

Would a “Jesus chair” help you?  Maybe you need a different space.  Whatever your situation, I pray you can find a place in your life to make room for prayer.  Please share when, where, and how you like to pray.  We’ll talk more soon about why we pray and different ways we can pray.  Let’s grow together in Christ.

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My “Jesus chair”