I do not believe that I have even “officially” been taught how to pray “the correct” way. In all honesty I have never even thought about it. (Yes, God is shaking his head at me right now…)
Perhaps I am off my rocker, but for years now I simply talked to God. He has heard my good, my bad, and my downright ugly. By ugly I mean my judgmental nature. He has heard the happy, the sad, the fears and the worries. He has also heard my prayer of relief when a prayer has been answered in the nick of time.
God for a long time didn’t hear my simple thank you or even a praise. I have been so quick to ask, complain, and get angry, but never took the time to simply praise & thank Him.
Lately, as I have relied more on him (still expressing my worries & fears), I have begun to simply praise Him & thank Him. I am learning to seek Him first and continue to pray for his guidance.
My view and my thoughts are a changing….
I will be the first to admit, the last thing I tend to focus on during hard times is finding praise somewhere. Yes I am the one who gets neck deep in the trial that I see nothing else. Blinders…it would seem I have blinders on, and crying to everyone about it!….That’s not what God wants…I am so good at placing blame on someone during trials. Let’s be honest, I don’t want to admit its my fault, it’s always someone else’s fault… “I am perfect, and did nothing wrong.” “Others are out to get me…”, and “I am cursed.”
The past few weeks I have learned a bit about myself, and continue to learn more about myself and God’s words in the bible. Frankly getting an honest view of myself, has not been pretty or easy. But definitely needed in order to place me where I need to be. It’s been difficult, and has pushed me to question my own faith. I have wanted to cry “uncle”, request a reprieve and even wanting to say I am just done!! Yet, the strength to endure seems to be refilled when I have reached the end of my rope. I have learned a bit about my weaknesses, and my own flaws. I now know how to better myself God’s way. Through it all, I will continue to praise and thank God.
Money also has been very tight, bills behind, partial paid, etc. My grocery budget has been cut by 1/3rd. For those needing a visual, it used to be $150 – $175, and now its $100 (if I am lucky). For a family of 5 it’s quite a challenge. No eating out, no extras… I could sit and complain to all about it, but seriously, complaining about it hasn’t even crossed my mind. Honestly complaining would take away from God’s glory.
For over a month God has amazed me by providing for us! I have spent less than $100 each week to feed us. Frankly there hasn’t been much of a choice. It’s what has been left. Well, let me rephrase that, it is what God has given me to spend on groceries. (God knows me well when it comes to money). Each week I take that amount and end up with breakfast, lunch, dinner, and snacks for all of us. Each week I can’t complain, all I can do is humbly, wholeheartedly thank God.
I have always searched hard to find praise through trials….looking for the rainbow during the rain. I never had the faith or the eyes to really see the praise during trials. I think I was looking too hard with blinders on. Thankfully I have been blessed to see God’s Glory at least weekly.
I do not know if I am getting any closer to that proverbial light at the end of the tunnel. (I hope I am) But until I have, I will continue to praise God through this storm….
Its been 5 years now…5 years ago today my grandma’s brain was starved of oxygen and with that, she left us. Feb 17th she physically died…
She was eating chicken when it appeared that a piece of chicken had blocked her airways. She lost conscience and never regained conscience again. Months later it was found out that it was actually her heart that caused the choking (there is a name for it, her dad had the same thing).
My oldest 2 were at youth group, my younger 2 at home, and I was at the nail salon…
All of us, her kids, her grand-kids and even great grand-kids will tell you she actually left us Feb 14th to be with Jesus and her husband. They were the loves she always talked about. For years she talked about going home to Jesus. Her service, she planned out and her message was clear but not overbearing. Jesus is the only way. A few funeral services later, and none compare to hers and her clear message.
We have no doubt she was welcomed by Jesus. She had such a deep faith in Jesus. Something I wish I would have actually talked to her about. There is no doubt she was also reunited with Papaw (her love, husband), Jackie (a son she lost shortly after birth), the twins she miscarried, Misty (Granddaughter), and Shelley (Great-Granddaughter)…Not to mention her brother, father….
Such a Bittersweet day…
Yesterday was simply a bad negative thought day. At times it seems my strength, my patience, and my endurance are done and yesterday I was there. I took my doubts, my fears, my worries, and my negativity to God all day. It is so easy for the negatives to take root in your mind. Just like Satan wants…he wants us to stop believing in God and stop having faith in God. Yet God won yesterday….
I am my own worst enemy and Satan is having a field day with that(more than I care). It leaves me wondering my worth and wondering if I am on the right path. Yet it dawns on me I must be on the right path because Satan is trying to trip me and God is with me….
Both devotions today talked about removing the negative thoughts and focusing on the word of God. His words are what is true, not my negative thoughts. Though I have made mistakes, I have also learned.
God tells us to think of anything worthy of praise: Philippians 4:8 “8 Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.” In times of trials, looking for the good, is often clouded by the bad…But its there..
God tells us not to judge: John 7:24 “24 Do not judge by appearances, but judge with right judgment.” 1 Cor 4:5 “5 Therefore do not pronounce judgment before the time, before the Lord comes, who will bring to light the things now hidden in darkness and will disclose the purposes of the heart. Then each one will receive his commendation from God.” Good or bad, God knows our thoughts and our hearts. He brings out our dark, our bad, to teach us… to help us… to make us into the person God wants us to be. When we judge others, trying to justify ourselves, we are only hindering Gods path.
Through these trials, good & bad, God is renewing our faith, he is restoring it to making our faith stronger and stronger…2 Cor 13:5 “5 Examine yourselves, to see whether you are in the faith. Test yourselves. Or do you not realize this about yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you?—unless indeed you fail to meet the test!”
Finally, God is with us. Joshua 1:8-9 “8 This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do according to all that is written in it. For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success. 9 Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.”
I will write it again…”Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the Lord God is with you wherever you go.” How huge is that! How comforting is that!
Yesterday was a tough day hands down, and no doubt I will be faced with those days again, but this morning the relief I felt when I realized God is with me was more than I ever could imagine. God knows my fears, my worries (as I have expressed them over and over) and God’s response….”Do not be dismayed” “Things will be fine” “Have faith”
When I was a kid I loved music (still do), loved playing the piano (especially Jazz & Blues) and also like singing. I started playing piano when I was 7. For many years I would play the piano in front of judges, and receive superior (most times). I simply loved playing. Whenever family would come over, they would ask me to play. However, the coolest thing I got to do…play the piano for the Easter Sunrise Service when I was in high school. Singing was another favorite. I think I was around 7 or 8 when I sang ‘What Child is This” at church one Sunday. I would be in plays at church, and even won the lead singing role in the elementary school play…
Growing up we were surrounded by music…music from the 50’s, 60’s & 70’s. Elvis, Abba, Dean Martin, Kiss, The Supreme’s…The list goes on and on…My cousins & I would dance to “Do the Clam’ by Elvis…We would also play Disco Duck & King Tut, over and over, dancing. I would be surprised if those record singles would still be able to play those songs. We would also sing dance to Grease, Zanadu, and whatever other 8 track we could find and jam to in the basement.
One year while on vacation my brothers & I on vacation played The Kingston Trio, over and over. Even now we can all sing their songs. These days, my brothers & I will play the piano at our parents house, playing and singing along.
In my late teens, my best friend & I would drive down 95 jamming to Kid n Play….Crank Heart, and jam out to the Big Hair bangs…(I am shaking my head just thinking about it)
These days, my kids know lots of 80 songs, lots of the songs from any Disney Movie. Yea, we have been known to sing to Disney Songs driving down the road…
Music has such a way of moving us. Making us feel good, and being the words we cant say to a loved one, and the feelings we can express ourselves.
Why does is seem that when you are trying to listen to God life gets noisy? If feels like trying to read a book at a Rock Concert. It is difficult to do. My life got noisy, well, my thoughts got negative, I became wrapped up in myself and my own negative thoughts became louder than Gods words. Its so easy to go down the road of thinking badly of yourself.
Throughout the day yesterday, I got stuck in the rut of reminding myself of a recent mistake I had made. This of course lead me down the road of, not good enough, and I am more of a problem instead of a help. Then its all down hill from there. God tries to talk, reassure you, and you give into the self-pity party.
I went to bed praying for help and woke up with the intent immersing myself in some bible verses. I then read an email, reminding me just how Satan likes to attack. Trying to bring you down, throwing past mistakes in your face, reminding you of failures you have made….It is so easy to fall into that trap.
For now I am refreshed again, God has restored my soul and refilled my strength.