Day 31: Come As You Are

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I’m joining Kate Motaung for Five Minute Friday. One word prompt. Five minutes. No editing. Lots of women. All of us writing on that same word. For the month of October, I will incorporate the word prompts into my series, 31 Days Of Going In Circles.

Today’s word is …. Leave.

It’s the last day of the month long challenge. The topic of prayer is not nearly exhausted. I know there is yet much to be unearthed and applied and I am sure to return to this topic often. I learned much about prayer during this time and will leave you with these thoughts:

  • “If you pray to God regularly, irregular things will happen on a regular basis.”
  • “God is great not just because nothing is too big for Him; God is also great because nothing is too small.”
  • Sometimes God delivers us from our problems; sometimes God delivers us through our problems.”
  • “The greatest tragedy in life is the prayers that go unanswered simply because they go unasked.”
  • “Going back to places of spiritual significance can help us find our way forward again.”

And then … “Bold prayers honor God and God honors bold prayers.” (all quotes from Draw the Circle by Mark Batterson)

May we never stop praying but in fact, pray with increased fervency. May we be ever faithful to come before Him just as we are, right where we are in the present moment of time.

The disciples spent much time with Jesus and one day, they came to Jesus asking, “Teach us to pray.”

And Jesus responded to them and to us ….

“Our Father in heaven
Reveal who you are.
Set the world right;
Do what’s best -
as above, so below.
Keep us alive with three square meals.
Keep us forgiven with you and forgiving others.
Keep us safe from ourselves and the Devil.
You’re in charge!
You can do anything you want!
You’re ablaze in beauty!
Yes. Yes. Yes.”

(Matthew 6: 9-13, The Message)

May we come today, and everyday, and lay our burdens before Him, before the Cross. May we leave them there knowing and believing He will tend to them as He knows best. May we continue to let Him teach us how to pray giving opportunity for Him to show us more of Himself. May we come!

 

GetInline-8This is Day 31 of 31 Days Of Going In Circles. You can find the entire series here .

I want to thank each of you who stopped here and read any of my posts this month. Thank you for sharing and commenting for you have made this journey so much richer for having been here!

Today I am joining with … Five Minute Friday and Everyday Jesus and Friendship Fri. and Fellowship Fri. and Faith & Fellowship .

Day 30: In Prayer

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I am not sure how anyone else feels but I can hardly believe I am at Day 30 of the month long challenge. I am almost feeling saddened to think it will be over. There has been such community and encouragement which has come from doing this along with so many others. And now the question on the table (or actually on my computer :) ) is – “How do I bring this to a close?”

And the answer is, “I truly have no idea!”

Seriously.

I have learned so much about prayer and about myself. But more so, I have discovered more deeply Who my God is and how do you put that into words? Are there even words?

Prayer brings a desire by which we want to see the heavens open up to give a glimpse of God. Isn’t that what Moses desired – to see God? Prayer has a way of unveiling our eyes, helping us to see life from His perspective.

Isaiah had a vision. He saw the Lord, high and exalted, the train of His robe filling the temple (Isaiah 6:1).

In prayer we come to realize the glory due Him and the power that is His ….

Holy, holy, holy is the Lord of Heaven’s Armies!
The whole earth is filled with his glory!” (Isaiah 6:3, NLT)

And it is in prayer I come to understand more fully how much God cares for me, for each one of us …

“What are mere mortals that you should think about them, human being that you should care for them?” (Psalm 8:4, NLT)

He does care for us even more than we can comprehend. His heart is moved as He hears our cries and prayers. Not a single word goes unheard. Not a single tear unnoticed.

It is in prayer I find my heart filled with a gratitude for all He is in my life, for the many times He has intervened and responded and saved me from myself. It is in prayer I find my heart filled with praise and Him filling every part of my praise.

And so today I pray …

Lord, heighten my spiritual senses to
see that which is not visible
hear that which is not audible
sense that which is not tangible
believe that which is unbelievable.

Teach me to sort through
the noises of this world to
hear and discern Your powerful,
wonderful, pure, precious voice.

(by Priscilla Shirer)

 

 

GetInline-8This is Day 30 of 31 Days Of Going In Circles. You can find the entire series here .

Today I am joining with … Thought Provoking Thursday and Coffee for Your Heart and Thurs. Favorite Things and Hearts for Home .

Day 29: Never “All Ready”

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Somehow I always thought I would be “all ready” when the time came for …

  • college
  • my first full time job
  • marriage
  • moving away from The Bronx
  • babies (after all, I had to have read at least six baby books including Dr. Spock’s!)
  • toddlers
  • teenagers
  • rejection
  • disappointment

Shall I go on? No matter how ready I thought I was, I was never “ALL ready”.

“Ready”, as defined by dictionary.com means: “completely prepared or in fit condition for immediate use; duly equipped; adjusted”. And therein lies the problem. Each of these roles, or changes in situation, required a process in which I needed to adjust and fit into my new role. Being prepared was something which would develop over time. But I must have missed the newsflash as I thought it would be an immediate occurrence.

Mark Batterson, in his book Drawing the Circle, writes this very profound and freeing statement:

You’ll never be ready. (page 112)

I can hear the sighs of relief. Or is it only me?

I am reminded of Abraham as God called him from his home …

“It was by faith that Abraham obeyed when God called him to leave home and go to another land that God would give him as his inheritance. He went without knowing where he was going. And even when he reached the land God promised him, he lived there by faith – for he was like a foreigner, living in tents.”
(Hebrew 11:8-9, NLT).

Abraham didn’t know where he was going so he could not possibly have been “all ready” for what God was going to unfold in his life. It was then the truth hit me … I will never be ready. And neither will you.

Paul, in writing about the difficult circumstances he endured, expressed it this way:

“We were crushed and overwhelmed beyond our ability to endure, and we thought we would never live through it. In fact, we expected to die. But as a result, we stopped relying on ourselves and learned to rely on God.”
(2 Corinthians 1:9, NLT)

It is as we are totally unprepared that we come to the point of relying on Someone other than ourselves. We come to the end of ourselves, acknowledging we do not have the resources to move forward.

 God does not want us to live solely by our intelligence or what we know.

He wants us to rely on Him.

Total dependence.

All. Ready.

GetInline-8This is Day 29 of 31 Days Of Going In Circles. You can find the entire series here .

Today I am joining … Tell His Story and Wedded Wed. and Woman 2 Woman and Works For Me and Coffee & Conversation and A Little R & R and Winsome Wed. .

 

Day 28: When Giants Fall

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I heard the song about a week ago and it has been on repeat since. I have gone back to read and yes, reread the story of David and Goliath several times (and in several different versions) at this point.

And here is what I am learning:

1. Our giants will taunt us. In 1 Samuel 17:8, we are told: “Goliath stood and shouted a taunt across to the Israelites….”. A taunt is meant to provoke, demean, and insult a person to respond with an action. Its usually done in a derogatory and sarcastic fashion. Again in verse 23 it says: “Then David heard him shout his usual taunt to the army of Israel.” Notice it is the same taunt, the usual one. Our enemy knows us and knows us well. He will use the same taunt, the exact words every time to get at us.

2. Our giants will wear us down. “When Saul and the Israelites heard this {the taunt}, they were terrified and deeply shaken” (verse 11). As they allowed their fear to grow and shake them, they began to lose hope of beating the giant. If we continue to listen to the taunts of the enemy and believe his lies, we will lost hope and that is his intended purpose. To get us give up.

3. We need to view the giant differently. I love at this point that verse 12 says, “Enter David” (The Message). David comes to the same exact place, sees the same exact giant, and hears the same exact taunting. But instead of being filled with fear, he is outraged and asks, “Who is this who defies the armies of the living God?” (verse 36). David knew and relied on Who his God was based on his history with God. He states, “God, who delivered me from the teeth of the lion and the claws of the bear, will deliver me from this Philistine!” (verse 37). David did not see Goliath as a giant. He saw him as a Philistine, an enemy which could be defeated by his God.

4. Giants will fall. David knew Whose strength and Name he had come: “…but I come to you in the name of the Lord of Heaven’s Armies – the God of the armies of Israel” (verse 45). With only a sling and a stone, David ran out to meet Goliath. He reached into his shepherd’s bag, hurled a stone with his sling and hit Goliath in the forehead. And just like that, “Goliath stumbled and fell face down on the ground” (verse 49). The giant fell.

We love the story of David and Goliath. But why?

The Biblical narrative is not primarily a story about human courage effort: instead it is about the awesome power of a life built around bold faith in the Lord. This account demonstrates the power of a single faith-filled life to inspire an entire army to victory and the vulnerability of all who “defy the armies of the living God”, when confronted by individuals who possess courageous faith in the Lord. As McCarter states, “It is Yahweh who gives victory, and he may give it to the weak (Israel) in order that his power might be known to all.”

(New American Commentary, Volume 7, page 187)

May we be people whose lives are built around bold faith in our God. May we realize He gives us His strength so that He may be seen in and through our lives.

“For when I am weak, then I am strong.” (2 Corinthians 12:10)

And giants fall!

 

 

GetInline-8This is Day 28 of 31 Days Of Going In Circles. You can find the entire series here .

Today I am joining … Testimony Tuesday and Unite and Titus 2 Tues. and Teaching What is Good .

 

Day 27: Reading & Praying

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I have continued to read The Circle Maker this month and this is the question I found myself returning to …

What if reading became a form of praying and praying became a form of reading? (page 96)

Interesting question for sure. Very thought provoking. And Mark Batterson continues to explain …

The paradigm shift happens when you realize that the Bible wasn’t meant to be read through; the Bible was meant to be prayed through. (page 96)

I sat recalling seasons of intense prayer which usually included holding onto a promise from Scripture and praying God would bring it to pass in my life. I thought of those times, when desperate for God to change a situation or bring healing where I reminded Him of His Word. I reached for my Bible and began flipping through the pages, looking at my very own handwriting in the columns. I found dates recorded, dates connected to verses and prayers and circumstances. And as I continued flipping, all I could see was the faithfulness of God, my God, to me and to His Word …

  • In 1984, when going through an intense situation, I was often reminded: “Even though the fig trees have no blossoms, and there are no grapes on the vines, even though the olive crop fails, and the fields lie empty and barren, even though the flocks die in the fields, and the cattle bars are empty, yet I will rejoice in the Lord! I will be joyful in the God of my salvation! ”             (Habakkuk 3:17-18, NLT)
  • Often over the years, when praying for the way in which my husband would always love me: “This one is bone from my bone and flesh from my flesh! She will be called ‘woman’, because she was taken from ‘man’. (Genesis 2:23, NLT)
  • July 13, 2007, when I heard my daughter was pregnant with my first grandchild: “But from everlasting to everlasting the Lord’s love is with those who fear him, and his righteousness with their children’s children – with those who keep his covenant and remember to obey his precepts.” (Psalm 103:17-18)
  • March 4, 2008, the day of Sophia’s birth as I realized she was a part of my thousand generations: “Know therefore that the Lord your God is God; he is the faithful God, keeping his covenant of love to a thousand generations of those who love him and keep his commands.” (Deuteronomy 7:9, NIV)
  • So many times I had prayed this one for the lives of my own two children: “For I will pour water on the thirsty land, and streams on the dry ground; I will pour out my Spirit on your offspring, and my blessing on your descendants.”      (Isaiah 44:3, NIV)
  • On May 27, 2009 as the Chrysler dealership was lost and income was greatly impacted: “But blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord, whose confidence is in him. He will be like a tree planted by the water that sends its roots by the stream. It does not fear when heat comes; its leaves are always green. It has no worries in a year of drought and never fails to bear fruit.” (Jeremiah 17:7-8)
  • Then there was when it was thought my husband had heart issues and would require a pacemaker: “The king’s heart is in the hand of the Lord; he directs it like a watercourse wherever he pleases.” (Proverbs 21:1, NIV)
  • When my son was discovered to need speech therapy, God assured me: “The mind of the rash will know and understand, and the stammering tongue will be fluent and clear.” (Isaiah 32:4,NIV)
  • When someone close faced issues with a family will: “Though my father and mother forsake me, the Lord will receive me.” (Psalm 27:10, NIV)
  • On February 11, 2010, when Dad had skin lymphoma, God assured with: “He will have no fear of bad news; his heart is steadfast, trusting in the Lord.” (Psalm 112:7, NIV)
  • On August 10, 2012, on the day mom had her stents: “The Lord will keep you from all harm – he will watch over your life.” (Psalm 121:7,NIV)
  • On June 6, 2008, as a loved one feared traumatic hair loss: “Yet not one of them {sparrows} will fall to the ground apart from the will of your Father. And even the very hairs of your head are all numbered. So don’t be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows.” (Matthew 10:29-30, NIV)
  • I prayed for myself and my influence in the lives of my grandchildren and felt assurance: “I have been reminded of your sincere faith, which first lived in your grandmother Lois and in your mother Eunice, and I am persuaded now lives in you also.” (2 Timothy 1:5, NIV)
  • On April 27, 2010, as we made a decision to leave a church after many years, I feared being without a “shepherd” and God assured me: “For the Lamb at the center of the throne will be their shepherd; he will lead them to spring of living water. And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes.” (Revelation 7:17)
  • As I faced leading a Bible Study for the very first time on my own, God brought assurance as I prayed this verse many times throughout that study year: “Let my words fall like rain and my words descend like dew, like showers on new grass, like abundant rain on tender plants.” (Deuteronomy 32:2, NIV)

 

And I could share so many more. As I took this trip down “Memory Lane”, photo-181I came to realize Mark Batterson is so right when he wrote:

Reading is the way you get through the Bible; prayer is the way you get the Bible through you. (page 96)

 

GetInline-8This is Day 27 of 31 Days Of Going In Circles. You can find the entire series here .

Today I am joining … Playdates With God and Unforced Rhythms and Salt & Light and Monday Musings and Blessed but Stressed and Create With Joy and Making Your Home Sing and Good Morning Mondays and Motivation Mon. .

 

Day 26: An Accomplishing Word

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“God doesn’t just speak to hear the sound of His own voice. He speaks in order to accomplish.”

Lord, please help me to be like Abraham who, by faith, when called to go to a place he would later receive as an inheritance, obeyed and went, even though he did not know where he was going (Hebrews 11:8). Help me not to miss future blessings because I refuse to go to a place with You that I’ve never been before.

Father, I desire to fix my eyes on Jesus, the author and perfector of my faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, scorning it shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God (Hebrew 12:2).

Cause my faith to continue to grow, O Lord (2 Corinthians 10:15).

(from Praying God’s Word Day By Day by Beth Moore, page 293)

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GetInline-8This is Day 26 of 31 Days Of Going In Circles. You can find the entire series here .

Today I am joining … Give Me Grace and Still Saturday and Spiritual Sundays and Sunday Stillness and Scripture & a Snapshot .

Day 25: From Circling Around – 4

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I am so enjoying this 31 Day Writing Challenge this month. I have been blessed in making new connections and the encouraging comradery among so many. This week my problem is going to be to narrow down to only five posts to share, as there were many more than five I so enjoyed.

1) Prayer. We probably all do it, speaking our needs aloud to our God. But in this post, we learn about listening prayer.

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2) Once we become a mom, we find we are needed every day, almost all day long :) But in this post, we learn exactly what our children need from us.

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3) Many of us know the old hymn, It Is Well With My Soul, very well. In this post, we learn that it can be well with our soul, even still.

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4) It’s funny how we can read a book and one line can get under our skin. In this post, we learn what one sentence can reveal about our strengths and our weaknesses.

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5) To give a blessing was common in biblical times. But do we stop to think what it could confer to the lives around us? In this post, we read some encouraging words on “blessing”.

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And there you have it all narrowed down to just five. Grab some coffee. Pull up a seat and sit a spell. And may you enjoy what you read!

Love,
Joanne

 

GetInline-8This is Day 25 of 31 Days Of Going In Circles. You can find the entire series here .

Today I am joining … Friday Finds and Saturday Recommendation and The Weekend Brew and Faith Along the Way and Saturday Linky Love and The SITS Sharefest .