Sometimes God gives to us before we ask and sometimes because we ask. While God does countless gracious things for us without us requesting them or even realizing them, there are some things He does only as a response to us humbly asking Him. To be sure, we don’t pray to get what we want to build our own kingdoms; we pray to get what we need to live for His. Still, God loves to be seen as generous, loves for us to appeal to His generosity, and loves to give generously to us because He loves us. So, ask Him. Pray often, celebrating the grace already given to you and requesting the grace that is yet to come.
You are not bothering God when you ask Him for more grace. He isn’t too busy or too disinterested. He doesn’t need to put something more important on hold to help you. Listen… There is no sin so big that God won’t forgive it and no sin so small that God will ignore it. There is no stronghold so powerful that God can’t break it and no stronghold so flimsy that God wants you to get free on your own. There is no problem so significant that God won’t handle it and no problem so petty that God doesn’t care about it. He does trillions of things in running the universe. One of His favorites is hearing from and helping you.
There are three questions we should regularly ask in an honest-as-we-can-be evaluation of our spiritual journey with Jesus. First, how am I relating to God through my daily prayer and Bible time? Second, how regular and authentic is my corporate worship with others? Third, how am I stewarding my time and resources for the kingdom of God? These are essential parts of us knowing Jesus and making Him known so that God is honored in us and we are happy in Him. When we have been less-than-faithful in these areas, let us ask God for grace to begin again, rejoicing that He will never stop being fully faithful to us.
Many people feel like their prayer isn’t “working” so they barely or rarely pray at all. Prayer, as with all of life, should be about God being honored in us and us being happy in Him. This is why we are to pray for… The hallowing of His Name. The coming of His kingdom. The doing of His will. This results in His glory and our good! Know this… Prayer isn’t about filling up our kingdoms with what we think will make us happy; it is about being filled up by all He offers in His kingdom so we can actually be happy. You can be sure of this: the prayer that “works” is the prayer that “wants” all that God has for us in Jesus.
An effective lie of the enemy works like this: It is rejected. It is tolerated. It is approved. It is encouraged. It starts out so absurd that only someone considered a fool would believe it. It ends up so accepted that only someone considered a fool would not believe it. If something is said loud enough and long enough, people will think it is true. As Christians, we must look to God over politicians, journalists, bloggers, podcasters, peers and other people for what to believe. We must turn to Scripture over culture for truth and wisdom for how to live. Let us believe this… God is not our enemy, and God will never lie to us.
Let’s be honest: In an ever-churning sea of distraction, we are vulnerable to forgetfulness. We forget Who God is and what God does and what God says about what we are to do and who we are in Christ. We forget His plans. We forget His promises. We forget His provision. We forget His power. We forget His presence. We forget His preciousness. It is essential that we fill our lives with things that redirect our attention to Him and rekindle our affection for Him. We need reminders that He is for us and He is with us. Today, you will think a lot about tasks, troubles, and things. As you do, be sure to think about God.
The Bible is a light that illuminates dark places. When you read it or hear it, it lights up the darkness of… Your heart. Your path. Your witness. Your life. It exposes the sinfulness of your heart so you can go to Jesus for forgiveness. It shows you the pitfalls of the path you are on so you can follow Jesus safely to where you are meant to go. It brightens your witness before other people as you go so you can point them through your good works to the hope and happiness you have in Jesus. It shines encouragement into your life so that you can keep going because of the promises of Jesus. So… turn on the light today.
The weights we carry around inside of us come in many shapes and sizes. We face an ongoing onslaught of worry, uncertainty, fear, overwhelm, discontentment, indifference, pressure, grief, unrest, outrage and discouragement. Within these categories are countless daily instances which can let us down, get us down, put us down, shut us down, hold us down and run us down. But… There is a Burden-Bearer we can turn to for help for the stresses and messes of life. Nothing is too intense, too great, or too difficult for Him to replace with peace, hope and rest. Today, cast your cares on Jesus. They aren’t too heavy for Him.
God does not send us ill-equipped into battle against the enemy of our soul. Instead, He dresses us in His own armor. In order for us to fight the good fight of faith, we must put on that armor of God … ahead of time, in advance of the skirmish. We put ourselves and others at extreme risk if we wait until the battle begins to ready ourselves for war against sin and evil. The enemy does not allow us to call timeout or grant us a recess to gather our ammunition and put up our shield. This is why we should arm ourselves with a daily dose of God’s instructions, truths, and promises found in God’s Word. Slow down and suit up.
It is hard to know who is telling us the whole truth, withholding the truth, distorting the truth, misinterpreting the truth, or creating their own version of the truth. We can easily be deceived into thinking something is true when it is not. So, who can we count on to be honest with us with what we need to hear? What is the standard by which we can evaluate all other guiding life principles and philosophies? What truth can we live by so we do not live in vain or error? Who can we believe? Jesus. Jesus is Who we can believe. We can always count on what He says to be true for us and good for us.
Are you praying for God to change the lives of those who are close to you but far from Him? It may not look promising right now, but don’t lose hope because no one is a lost cause. That family member, that friend or even that foe can be changed by God no matter how disinterested they are in Him or distant they are from Him. A rebellious will can surrender to the plans of Jesus. A closed mind can open to the good news of Jesus. A hard heart can soften to the love of Jesus. Keep talking to God about that person and keep talking to that person about God. Remember: He can do for others what He has done for us.