So here I stand with you, God. I want to see my nature become more and more like you so that your Word speaks more clearly to me. If my character is more and more like yours, then your Word would make more sense to me. It would speak more clearly to me. Your Spirit speaks to that which is within me, but my natural and sinful heart will not hear Your words as they are intended to speak. Only as I become more and more like you through increased obedience, your voice in your Word grow that much clearer. Teach me to hear you, and draw me closer to you that you would be all I ever needed.
You cannot be far from meonly I can be far from You You fill the earth like the ocean fills a submerged cup
You are not contained but contain
Like any storm, which has an eye, so also is our life.At the center of storms is the eye, which is completely calm and tranquil. When our life is an incredible storm, where everything all around us seems like hellish storm, there is always a peace in finding God at our center. When God is our center, there is always a tranquil peace.
The storm may not disappear and may rage on all around us, but we ALWAYS have the center, to go to for peace IN THE MIDST of our storm.
"For the one who sows to his own flesh will from the flesh reap corruption, but the one who sows to the spirit will from the Spirit reap eternal life. Let us not lose heart in doing good, for in due time we will reap if we do not grow weary." -Galatians 6:8-9
My tendency in prayer and seeking God is to sow now expecting to reap now. How often I have prayed with hopes God will answer my prayer immediately? How often I have sought after God in an instant and grown tired of waiting for him to answer?
When you plant a seed (sow), you do not get the fruit (reap) that night with a little water. You get the final product after months of daily watering and cultivating.
Seek God and His Spirit today.... and tomorrow and every day
You will reap what you sow in prayer and spirit but you must keep praying and seeking for something you will one day reap when God says it is ready
There is a common reflection and understanding in our culture that if something feels or seems natural, it must be right.
A few problems arise here. First, some things only feel natural when they are not, in fact, natural. Some of these things might be unnatural and we want to believe they are. So we disregard what really might be true. Other things we have to realize disorders for what they really are. Our brains and hearts can be very deceptive.
On another hand, just because something may be natural does not make it okay or even best for us. I crave a lot of things that are not good for me, but my cravings are natural reactions in me for pleasurable things.
But finally, there is the understanding that our flesh, which is our natural state, is at war within us against the Spirit. Living my life lead by the Spirit is going to oppose all the natural cravings within me. When compared to the pursuit of the Holy Spirit life, we come realize why and how everything else is so much LESSER.
Those natural things inside us oppose the Spirit within us, and moment by moment we choose which to do. Those cravings are more powerful than we give credit. When we disregard how powerful those cravings are, we will likely begin following them naturally, and in so doing, have already begun opposing the Spirit within us. Those are the moments we get discouraged and wonder why or how we have come to do things we do not want to do.
Our cravings are strong, and they may even be natural, but they oppose the Spirit in us. We have to want the Spirit more than what feels natural.
* yes that is a donut burger up there
“His eternal power and divine nature, invisible though they are, have been understood and seen through the things he has made.”
We are able to see God in the things he has made. If we would take more time to notice these things we would come to see him and know him more clearly.
We would stand at the lip of the Grand Canyon unaffected. A huge problem is that we have lost all wonder. Nothing amazes us anymore. We grow more and more numb to the amazing! We forget how powerful God really is because none of these things amaze us anymore.
Remember being scared to death of a thunderstorm? Remember when the Grand Canyon WAS amazing before seeing it in a million pictures? We lose all the wonder when trees, natural running streams and crashing waves, enormous mountains are no big deal to us. We see them every day, in pictures or as we walk outside. But we forget the amazing things we learned in elementary school; about how trees grow, the details about how waves are created. We forget all those things because we learn it and are no longer amazed.
We do our ability to praise a disservice! We do God a disservice when we are no longer amazed by these things. Praise is our amazement expressed! The problem is that we simply are not amazed!
There is a flaw for me in the whole “mountain and valley” analogy we so often use for our spiritual journey. We commonly make the mountain top that spot we desire and aspire to, and the valley those times when it’s the most painful and difficult to take on. Then we make the climb the journey in between.
Now let’s think of the literal in hopes of understanding the symbolic a little more. In reality, I have never been in a valley I did not enjoy. Often valleys are complete with rolling grassy hills and a cool breeze. It is not all that unpleasant.
I do love mountain tops. When you are the mountain top there is a powerful sense of accomplishment. The mountain top is refreshing and holds a beauty which is often spectacular.
So there is only one other element left to be grueling, painful, and difficult. The climb up the mountain is the painful part. I love climbing and hiking, but it is usually a grueling task to climb the face of a mountain. Your heart beats to the thinning air and physical exhaustion. You come around every bend and corner wondering if THIS one will be the last. But a hiker, climber and backpacker will continue to trek because they know one thing; they are climbing to get to the top. It is painful but it is worth it knowing your endurance gets you to the top. Your endurance comes with pain, but it all gets you to the top where the beauty, refreshment, and accomplishment await.
Chapter 1 of James starting with verse two reads, “My brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of any kind, consider it nothing but joy, because you know that the testing of your faith produces endurance; and let endurance have its full effect, so that you may be mature and complete, lacking in nothing.”
The truth is we all face trials and will continue to face more. Something I am learning to do in my prayer time lately is to actively praise God for my trials of all kinds. It has really stretched my faith to watch trials come my way and to not only take them to God (which is a common Christian reaction) but to praise God for those trials.
1 Peter 1:6-7 reads, “In this you rejoice, even if now for a little while you have had to suffer various trials, so that the genuineness of your faith—may be found to result in praise and glory and honor when Christ is revealed.”
This kind of reaction stretches our faith to points many of us have never been before. I am talking about actually praising God…thanking him FOR our painful trials.
Why is this so difficult for us to do? Because we have the mountain and valley analogy all messed up. We have convinced ourselves that the pain is the valley, and like literal valleys we are comfortable there. So we just stay there. We have seen our trials in the wrong light.
We have to remember the valley is not the worst part of the journey. The climb is the worst part of the journey. If I can keep myself from experiencing pain and saying, “I must be stuck in the valley,” and instead turn those moments into praise by saying, “This hurts! I must be on my way up. I must be climbing.” If we can turn our responses to that, we can find it easier to praise and thank God for the pain and trials. Because we climbing!