Prayer Life, Part 1

Come walk with us as we focus on prayer through infographics.

The Lord has been placing this topic on my heart for quite sometime. I invite you to engage in this adventure as we learn more about strengthening our prayer life together.

May each post allow you time to reflect upon your prayer life and draw you closer to the heart of God.

Behold

Somedays…it is not a long post.

Somedays…the words seem few.

Somedays…God tells me to just listen.

Today…He had me hear you!

To all our friends and family who experienced any type of loss this year…You are not alone. Behold the only hope. Our prayers and thoughts are with you. May you know God hears you and loves you beyond belief.

Are you looking for a refreshing study for you or your life group in 2021?

Are you looking for a way to live out Scripture and grow closer to the Lord? Beginning in February, a new study will be launched. You can establish your own study group where you live, join a virtual group, or walk through it independently. You will be supported weekly through postings on Facebook and the Refining blog.

In our instantaneous world, embracing anything for a lifetime may seem farfetched and impossible. But to achieve an enriched existence withstanding the test of time, our interaction with God and His Word requires day to day intentionality. Crown the Sword is the doorway to examining personal reliance on biblical truth and learning how to infuse Scripture in your life with an eternal mindset. In this self-reflective study, you will go beyond a surface level walk with the Lord and learn ways to build an intimate relationship with God and His Word.

Make no mistake, the path Stotts lays out is simple, but not easy, because your success depends upon the posture you are willing to adopt under God’s authority. If you feel living more authentically through God’s very words is a laudable investment, this 12 week study is for you. Come discover how to incorporate a treasured gift meant for the duration of life and beyond.

If you are interested in the details, please register below. https://form.jotform.com/203534400943145

We will email you the details in 2021!

Overwhelmed? Conquer it with God and His Word

Photo by Inzmam Khan on Pexels.com

Be diligent to present yourself approved to God as a workman who does not need to be ashamed, accurately handling the word of truth. 2 Timothy 2:15 (NASB)

Have you ever felt overwhelmed? I have had the pleasure of being there! I have lost count of the number of episodes. However, I can attest to the fact those zany feelings are genuine and definitely stop me in my tracks. It has taken me years to finally address it, call it out, and deal with it.

Two years ago, God was restoring me from an intense pit which lasted half a decade. As He began reconditioning my heart and repairing my life, the Lord had me face one of the largest elephants in the room. (Yes, there were more than one!) This creature had overpowered me several times and left me devastated in handling my very own existence. I even identified myself as one who was best at doing nothing when not knowing what to do. It was time to deal with the paralyzing effects of being overwhelmed.  

My dark valley was a discipline gorge delivering many unforgettable lessons. However, the most impactful discovery was the importance of staying in His Word and paying close attention to His directives. My desperation allowed me to cling to The Spirit of truth, God’s Holy Word, and find hope in His promises.

As I began digging deeper into Scripture, the Holy Spirit began prompting me to apply it to my circumstances. God was basically saying, “It is time to put skin on Scripture my daughter”. The Lord started with my feelings of being overwhelmed and spotlighted the root of the issue. ME! My out-of-control desperation episodes where nothing more than lacking the ability to let go and allow God to drive.

The fight is still real and can be powerful at times. However, I have learned to face the devasting lie from the enemy by humbly surrendering to the directives and promises of God’s sweet words- Scripture. I am getting better at calling out those overwhelming thoughts and placing them under God’s authority than I use to be. And somehow along the way, I found freedom by living life as a passenger and giving up control of the keys.

Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the Lord your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Deuteronomy 31:6 (NIV)

Allow me to share three ways I learned to combat the struggle:

1. Surrendered to God: I had to accept the fact life is not about me. As I discovered my purpose through God, it became clear-I had been living according to my plans. I had created blueprints I could not humanly achieve because the truth is: I am a powerless being. God is in control and I am not.

So, as I began humbly surrendering my life to the Lord, those overwhelming moments arose less and less. It became easier to handle the pressures of daily living. Why? Because I was no longer the manager of my life, God was. It still amazes me how giving up the steering wheel allowed my life to be in better working order.     

2. Connected with God: Hindsight is definitely 20/20. My overwhelming episodes could have been lessened had I been in full relationship with the Almighty Lord. God showed me His desire-for me to participate in an environment focused upon Him 24/7.

After admitting to my lack of engagement with God and Scripture, I began making Him top priority. I ran to Him about everything in life-good or bad. He became a power source of strength above anything I had experienced. His connection seemed to block out the enemy’s ability to overwhelm my mind. God gave me peace, security, and satisfaction. I began following His discernment and letting Him lead.    

3. Submitted to the Lord’s text: Putting skin on Scripture started with drenching my life with God’s Holy Word. For years, I had viewed the Bible as talk uttered by God without acknowledging the supernatural force, potency, and capability it possessed. My viewpoint had to change.

God extended His invitation to infuse my life and He welcomed me to a completely different way of thinking and living through His Word. His empowerment lured me to seek Him on a more intimate level and to bring my life under His absolute authority. I began inserting my name in His Word and fighting off those fickle feelings through declaring Scripture.

Now when overwhelming emotions creep up, I go straight to those commanding verses and claim them. I submit to the power of the Father and ask for His help in fighting off the persuading lies. Slowly, I have learned to let Scripture conquer the battle of my mind. I have found the Lord’s text to be a true defensive sword worthy to be called highly effective.

So, now when I begin to experience the feelings of being overwhelmed, I am no longer paralyzed and do nothing. God has given me an action plan and a helpmate: His Holy Word. I am now able to keep moving forward thanks to God’s provision.    

My “Go To” Scriptures when feeling overwhelmed:

For my yoke is easy and my burden is light. Matthew 11:30 (NIV)

Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. Philippians 4:8 (NIV)

I, even I, am he who comforts you. Isaiah 51:12a (NIV)

You are my refuge and my shield; I have put my hope in your word. Psalm 119:114 (NIV)

How do you overcome paralyzing emotions? Share your suggestions and thoughts below. We would love to hear from you!

Avoid the Slip!

Again Jesus spoke to them, saying, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.” John 8:12

Cold, winter greetings. Today has brought quite the chill compared to recent days. I enjoy the variety of seasons and I am even a fan of snow. God’s creation amazes me and it can be quite unpredictable. Even the weather forecast can get it wrong occasionally. However, God never gets anything wrong. His ways are perfect along with His timing.

This brings to mind a couple of thoughts today.

1. How do you prepare for the unpredictable? You are unaware it is coming and then it happens. Take Covid-19 for instance. A year ago, most of us could not imagine life as we know it today. Why? Because it was something we had never experienced. Did it catch us off-guard? Probably, but it didn’t surprise God.

If you are slack in the day of distress, your strength is limited. Proverbs 24:10

Life is definitely changeable. Many events are so unforeseeable and far from anticipated. Yet these unexpected events teach us not be overly stunned when things do occur. No matter how startled we are, we must prepare for them. But how?

I believe it requires three basic steps:

  • First it starts with us accepting the fact astonishing events will come.
  • Next, we must continue to grow in our faith and trust in the Lord. As we draw closer to God, Scripture tells us He will do the same.
  • And finally, we have to set up daily provisions in our lives to be able to stand firm during a storm.

Who will separate us from the love of Christ? Will tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? Romans 8:35

These are routines which allow us to tap into a strength beyond our human means. Prayer, listening to God, daily Scripture reading, being in touch with the Holy Spirit, presenting ourselves powerless before the Lord, etc. When we take on an eternal mindset, we realize preparing goes beyond “if the shocking day will come” to “when the alarming day comes”. Our Father wants us ready and prepared.

The Lord is good, a stronghold in the day of trouble, and He knows those who take refuge in Him. Nahum 1:47

2. How do you avoid slipping away from God when normal support systems fail?  Small groups, face-to-face bible studies, accountability partners, worship, church sermons, etc. are just a few of the measures we use to stay connected and growing spiritually. But what happens when all is stripped away? It is like ice-skating across the parking lot without the proper equipment after an unexpected winter storm produces 2 inch gift of solid ice. No doubt, it is hard to avoid sliding out of control.

The Lord is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer, my God, my rock, in whom I take refuge; my shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold. Psalm 18:2

So how do we avoid the slip? I think this is a question many Christians are asking themselves in 2020. Even churches across the world have found it difficult to fill in the gaps when “normal” could not occur. It is not surprising to see brothers and sisters in Christ sliding away and stumbling upon false means to keep the fall from hurting. Yet I really believe there are ways to keep gliding along and prevent from stumbling.

Trust in the Lord forever, for in God the Lord, we have an everlasting Rock. Isaiah 26:4

Regardless of what is offered around us, we must hold on to our commitment to God. We have to continue our growth journey even if all the support systems end. Our spiritual maturity is our personal responsibility so we have to plan for it. The Lord provided all we need-His Word and the Holy Spirit. When we substitute these things with close associations it will leave us holding the short end of the stick. This is far from what God intended.

knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance. James 1:3

To avoid the slip,

  • we have to take ownership of our faith. The realization for our spiritual growth pathway has to begin with the image in the mirror.
  • Daily we have to train ourselves to tap into God’s two resources-Scripture and the Holy Spirit within us. When we are able to do this routinely, then we are better prepared to continue maturing in our faith especially when our Christian world provisions whither or are promptly disrupted.
  • Basically, we must assume the proprietorship of continuing to develop in Christ.

But as for me, I shall sing of Your strength; Yes, I shall joyfully sing of Your lovingkindness in the morning, for You have been my stronghold and a refuge in the day of my distress. Psalm 59:16

As I ponder the response to each of these questions, I find myself challenged. For me, God is prompting me to be more relational routinely. The Holy Spirit is working within me and showing me the map to real hope in God. Slowly, I am realizing it is my responsibility to tap into God’s resources. So, my maturity in Christ hinges upon my efforts and the growth plan I carry out. I cannot survive life’s surprises by relying on anything or anyone but the true source of hope, GOD!     

What is your takeaway?

Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you at the proper time, casting all your anxiety on Him, because He cares for you. 1 Peter 5:6-7

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