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Remembering…

I remember when I found out that I was pregnant with Asaiah.  I was standing in my bathroom looking at the results on the little stick I was holding in my hand; I fell to my knees and said, “God! What are you doing??” That was the first time in my life that I felt completely unprepared, and a little scared.

I remember sitting in the doctor’s office, waiting to be seen for the first time to confirm my pregnancy.  As I sat on the table, waiting for the doctor to come in, I just stared at the fish mobile above my head, slowly turning around and around.  I thought about what my baby might see as he laid in his crib looking up at me.  I imagined myself looking down at him with the deepest love I’ve ever known, and thinking that I hope he would see my love as he gazed into my eyes.  That was the first time that I realized that life was bigger than me.

The doctor entered.  I remember blubbering out my words before he said hello.  I said, “Oh um, hi, um, I’m so sorry, I hope I’m not wasting your time…um, I’m not even sure I’m pregnant because of my history.” He looked bewildered.  Tears ran down my face.  He was a gentle man.  He said, “Well, let’s find out.”  When he said, “oh yes, you are definitely pregnant,” I couldn’t stop thanking him as if he had something to do with this miracle but it was the only thing I could think to say.  When I climbed into my car, I broke down in tears.  I called my very good friend to share the news.  I just could not believe what was happening to me.  Even now as I remember these moments, I’m getting choked up.

During the first trimester carrying Asaiah, there were moments when I felt completely out of control as I prayed desperately for God to allow me to carry my child to full term–that my baby would be healthy, and fully developed.  I had many close calls with him (though I didn’t even know he was a boy until later).  I prayed over him every night, laying my hands on my belly, speaking words of life to him.  I must have told him a thousand times over that I loved him.  That I was so happy to be his mom.  That I would care for him and teach him about life.  I prayed he would know God all of his days.  That he would know love unspeakable.  That he would be used for God’s glory.  That his life would be a testament to God’s miraculous power and His mercies.  Those moments were tender and most of the time brought me to tears as I thought about God’s amazing judgment and sovereignty.

Then, he came early.  35 weeks.  Ryan was still in Japan.  I was living with his parents.  My mother-in-law took me to the hospital.  The labor lasted 4 hours.  Not long for a first pregnancy.  Asaiah was small.  He was only 4 lbs 10.5 oz.  He was taken to the NICU because he couldn’t maintain his body temperature.  I was an emotional wreck.  I remember holding him in my arms for the first time.  He was perfect in my eyes.  Such a beautiful baby.  All the hopes and dreams I had for him came surging forward as I thought about the great responsibility Ryan and I had to nurture this child, who at that moment was helpless and needing me.

I’ll never forget this one day when Asaiah was in the NICU.  I was still recovering in the hospital.  I woke up at about midnight.  My heart was full of emotion as I thought about my child, alone with strangers in the NICU.  I called down to the unit, trying so hard to hold back my tears, asking if I could please come see him.  When I walked up to where he was, tears rushed forward.  He was so tiny.  He was laying under a lamp, no clothes on except a diaper that was way too big for his small bum.  His foot was purple from the needle pricks.  That was the part that got me.  To think that he experienced such pain, and I wasn’t there to help him or soothe him.  I could barely stand the pain I felt in my heart.  All I could do at that moment was pray for him and rub his little legs and arms.  He was so tiny.

As I remember these moments of his first days, I am wondering where the time went?  Um, ages two, three, four, and now five?  The moments seem to be fleeting by so fast.  I remember:

His first skinned knee.

His first surgeries.

His first words.

His first steps.

His first smile.

His first bike ride without training wheels.

His first time climbing a tree.

His first time running.  Jumping. Dancing. Laughing.

His first prayer that he formed with his own words.

His first night without pull-ups.

His first day of Kindergarten.

And now, the first time he walked to class without me holding his hand.

Our Asaiah is a capable boy, not the fragile baby I once held in my arms in the NICU.  Why am I recalling all these memories?  Well, the moment that got me thinking about these memories happened this morning when he told Ryan and I that he didn’t need us to walk him to class.  He gently told us (as if he knew that the news of his declared independence would be hard on me somehow) that he could walk to class on his own.  He gently said, no-one would take him (heart be still).  That he would be safe.  And that he could do it by himself.  I could feel change creeping in.  I silently thought, “I’m not sure I’m ready.”  But I also felt very proud of our child, who was so confident.

I took him aside and asked him if I could pray with him before he left for school.  He cupped my hands.  As I prayed, my little boy gently kissed me on my forehead (in his own way reassuring me that all was well).  He kissed me on my cheek.  He smiled.  He hugged me.  Then he was gone with his dad.

After Asaiah left, I held Judah a little closer.  Took extra time with him.  Slowed down, didn’t rush past him to get all my tasks done.  I looked in his beautiful blue eyes, told him I loved him more.  Yes, I held my sweet baby Judah a bit closer and longer this morning because I knew change was inevitable.  That it would come soon and was happening every day as he grows.

My hope for anyone who is reading this today is that you would take in every moment with your children.  Take time to tell them stories.  To read books to them.  To ride bikes with them.  To take them to the park.  To have a picnic with them.  Go swimming.  Run around outside with them.  Take walks.  Pray with them.  Teach them about God.  Build values and character in them.  Say no when it is appropriate but never stop showing them love!  One day they will be on their own.  They will remember the times they shared with you and keep those moments close to their hearts.  And you will too.

That’s what I”m going to do.  Love better.  Listen more.  Play longer.  And give them a safe place to grow!

Many blessings to you,

Dori

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When Asaiah was two-years old, we took him to a park where he was running and jumping without a care in the world. Asaiah is an adventurous boy.  He doesn’t anticipate danger, and then make a decision to do what it is that he has in his mind to do. No, he just follows his little heart, taking life on with full-force. On this day, when we took him to the park, he found some concrete steps nearby. I didn’t think much about stopping him (yes, I’m revealing my not-so-smart mommy moments). Anyhow, he began tackling these steps like they were a mountain to be conquered. As he cleared one level of them, he looked at Ryan and I for affirmation of his accomplishment. The joy he shared with us in his adventure was a beautiful moment. But then, just as it seemed all was right in the world, Asaiah slipped on the edge of one of the steps, and slid down a few of them, scraping his knee! Ouch!

The joyous sounds that was just a moment ago coming from his sweet lips turned into blood curdling screams of pain! I ran to him as fast as I could, scooped him up, and cared for his knee. Tears stained his cheeks.  I could see the terror and fear that came
over him when he looked back at the steps (which I imagine in his little mind, he now thought of the steps as the enemy and not a place where he experienced so much fun). I was soothing my little boy, telling him everything was ok, that his mamma was with him now. I hugged him close, and comforted him until he stopped crying. Then I heard myself say to him, “son, that was a nasty fall, but everyone falls once in a while in life, you just have to “get up and try the world again.”

Hand in hand, we walked back to the steps.  I walked up and down with him to show him he didn’t have to be afraid. He soon forgot the pain of his knee and continued on with playing again (of course, not directly on the steps, he wasn’t the only one that learned a lesson that day)!

We all fall down in life, don’t we?  We experience broken relationships, divorce, loss of a baby, loss of a job, loss of a loved one. These types of events are horrible and really take a toll on the wellness and health of our mental and sometimes spiritual state of being. I understand these things because I’ve experienced many losses in my life, just like you. What I’ve discovered as I’ve grown and matured in my relationship with Jesus is that each of my experiences brought me closer to Him. When Asaiah scraped his knee, my heart felt a twinge of pain as I heard my child’s cry. As I mentioned, I ran fast to him to rescue him from his fall. Just like I scooped Asaiah up and held him close while I soothed him, how much more does God do this for us when we are hurting? You see, God ordered each of our steps, in His infinite wisdom and sovereignty, before one was taken (Psalm 139:16, New Living Translation). He knows our pain before we experience it but He also provides exactly what we need to heal from it as we trust Him. This is hard to understand but even so, it is true.

May I step out here with you for a moment? May I extend my warmest thoughts towards you by saying I’m so sorry for your pain, but you will make it through.  May I say that you are not alone?  And that if you’ve experienced a recent loss or are struggling with a pain that is troubling you deep within your soul, please know that God loves you deeply, passionately, and understands your heartache. He wants to heal those broken places completely so that you can “try the world again” with zeal, and confidence that His plan towards you is good and not harmful (Jeremiah 29:11, New International Version).

It isn’t enough to just say these things without offering some practical ways to overcome pain. When we are stuck in a place where our hurt overwhelms us, what should we do?

  1. Go to God. Allow yourself to experience the feelings and emotions of your pain in His presence. I’ve learned that it is not healthy to stuff those emotions down or hide them under the carpet. They don’t go away. In fact, when the feelings aren’t dealt with, they can stir up a sense of despair and hopelessness that immobilizes our efforts to heal.
  2. Think on the goodness of God and His plans for you. A sweet friend of mine shared her strategy of thinking on the goodness of God as she works through her pain of loss. Entrenching your thoughts on the goodness of God has a medicinal effect on our mental and spiritual well-being. Finding scriptures that speak to your pain is like applying a soothing ointment over your wounds.
  3. Try the world again. As you work through the steps of healing, get up and try the world again. Go after your dream, make a new friend, explore other job possibilities that are fulfilling, reach out to a neighbor, bless someone with a phone call, hug your child, take a walk, and spend extra time loving on your husband or family. And most of all, love you by taking care of yourself. Eat healthy and exercise!  And last,
  4. Get up each morning and end each day with a praise on your lips towards our great and mighty God, who is the “good gift giver” (James 1:17, New International Version). He is establishing your steps. He is working every detail together–all the joy and pain–for our good. In the end, no matter what happens in our life, God wins. And that means that if you are a
    believer in Jesus Christ, then you win, too. All your hopes and dreams will be fulfilled in God’s timing. The fulfillment of those dreams may not look like the picture we have in our mind but the end result will be better than anything we could think or imagine (Ephesians 3:20, New International Version)!

Dear Lord, I pray that Your loving hand of grace will be felt by your people today. I pray especially for those who may be hurting from past wounds or recent losses, I pray that You will bless them with the desires of their heart and heal their wounds so that they can continue on with life in a way that is healthy for them and pleasing to You.  Please help us to run to You and to”try the world again” when we fall. Thank you for picking us up and for loving us through difficult times!  For weeping lasts for a night but joy comes in the morning!  In Jesus Name, Amen.

May God bless you beyond measure today!

Dori

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart.  Do not depend on your own understanding.  In all your ways remember Him.  Then He will make your paths smooth and straight” (Proverbs 3:5-6, New International Reader’s Version).

I often find myself looking for opportunities to teach my boys biblical principles through their life experiences.  This morning was no different as Asaiah and I sat down to begin his devotion.  Once again God reminded me of a simple lesson about trust through an exercise that isn’t new.

We opened his bible and began looking at Proverbs 3:5-6, which in part instructs us to trust in God with all of our heart.  I asked Asaiah what he thought trust meant.  He explained it from his limited perspective but I felt like he needed to see trust in action to help him remember its true definition.  I sprung up from the couch, and asked him to stand in front of me with his eyes looking forward.  I asked him to stretch his arms out and without looking I told him to fall straight back.  Right away Asaiah was hesitant.  He was scared.  He said as much.  I told him that he could trust me to catch him.  He wasn’t so sure.

Then, he did something that I didn’t expect him to do.  He began taking control, instructing me on how far back I could stand from him.  Next, he told me to reach my arms closer to him.  At first without thinking, I followed his directions because I wanted him to feel comfortable.  But was that the lesson I was trying to teach him?  That he could manipulate and take control of uncomfortable situations to make it easier for him to trust?  Does God want us to trust Him in the same way?  I don’t think so.

I stopped my son at that point, turned him around, and looked him in the eyes.  I said, “Son, trusting God is not an exercise in our ability to make our situation comfortable.  We have to trust God even when we can’t see that His protection is there.  Mommy is right behind you.  When you fall back, I will catch you.  By obeying me, you are learning to trust me.  I won’t let you hit the ground.  This is true about God, too.  In life, you won’t always see God with your eyes, but He is all around you, and as you learn to obey Him, you are also learning to trust Him.  You have to let go of the control.  Trust God to catch you just like mommy will catch you now!” This little pep talk gave my five-year old son courage because he turned around and without a word he fell back in my arms without looking back!

I was so proud of Asaiah for taking me at my word and for following through with this exercise in trust and faith.  But in the process of teaching him this important lesson, God put His thumb on this area in my life.  Can you relate?  Have you taken control back from God in some areas of your life so you didn’t have to continue enduring a challenging situation, relationship, or hardship?  So you were more comfortable?  I’m sure we’ve all done this to some degree, at some point or another.

When we are faced with an uncomfortable situation, our first instinct may be to take control to reduce our fear in some way.  That’s what Asaiah was trying to do by giving me instructions on how to catch him.  But May I challenge you for a moment?  Our relationships are not perfect.  Our children are not perfect.  Nothing is guaranteed or perfect in life; however, the one thing that is constant and never-changing is God’s Sovereignty over all the details.  This means that nothing happens to us that He does not allow.  So rather than trying to take control over our situation that leads us outside of God’s will for our life (we find His will for our life in God’s word–the Bible), why don’t we first seek Him and trust Him to see us through?

Falling back into the arms of God with our eyes closed and trusting God to catch us is uncomfortable but if we take God at His word in Proverbs 3:5-6, we can be sure that in doing so, He will make our road straight and smooth even in the longest valley!  The point is that God allows us to walk through difficult situations that require us to trust Him blindly so that it brings glory to Him, to His saving grace, to His restorative power, to His healing mercy not so that we can boast in what we did to bring resolution to our problem or so that it suits us entirely (though God desires for us to enjoy success, Jeremiah 29:11, New International Reader’s Version).

Father God, I pray that we would be prompted by Your Holy Spirit this morning to re-evaluate our choices to take control back from You because we are uncomfortable trusting You to help us stay the course in whatever we are experiencing.  Please forgive us for stepping in the way, for jumping ship too early, for walking in our ability, for not leaning on You but instead leaning on our own understanding.  Please help us to remember that as we trust You in our life, You will make our path smooth and straight!  In Jesus Name, Amen.

Take Aways…

Take some time today to put your mind and heart on God.  Don’t think about others who may be involved in a situation that is difficult.  Just think about the Lord and ask Him to give you clarity of mind to do the right thing.  Ask Him to teach you how to trust Him and to follow Him according to His word and what His word instructs you to do.

Write down your thoughts in a journal, date your entry, and each day this week reflect on what you wrote.  Are your thoughts in line with God’s word?  Do they reflect a biblical perspective?  Forget about how you feel.  Just answer, yes or no, to this question.

Finally, write out a prayer that includes scriptures on trusting God.  Read and re-read your prayer throughout this week.  Jot down any changes in your thinking or feelings.

Scriptures to Remember….

Psalm 9:10
Lord, those who know you will trust in you. You have never deserted those who look to you.

Psalm 13:5
But I trust in your faithful love. My heart is filled with joy because you will save me.

Psalm 19:7
The law of the Lord is perfect. It gives us new strength. The laws of the Lord can be trusted. They make childish people wise.

Psalm 28:7
The Lord gives me strength. He is like a shield that keeps me safe. My heart trusts in him, and he helps me. My heart jumps for joy. I will sing and give thanks to him.

This week has been a hard week for our family.  Last night I had to get refocused, put my fears to rest, build my faith, and turn up my steadfast resolve to PRAISE God, to THANK God, and to TRUST God! 

God is teaching me that He is sovereign which means that He is orchestrating every detail of my life.  Nothing happens without His OK.  I have to believe that when He allows us to walk through tough places, He is using that circumstance to build our character, perseverance, long-suffering, resolve, and our faith in Him.  But that isn’t all, His will for my life is only a piece of the puzzle through which He is accomplishing His greater plan and purpose.

God is teaching me that He never changes.  His love for me doesn’t change.  His will for my life doesn’t change.  Even when we face challenging times–job loss, sickness in our body, death of a loved one, hurt relationships, or whatever situation relates to you–God’s love is the same for us.  He isn’t punishing us through those situations; we live in a fallen world, bad things do happen.  But God is our rescuer; He never abandons the works of His hands!  This too shall pass.

God is teaching me that He is at work in my life.  Though I wake up and experience the same circumstance, I know that I know that God is working.  He won’t tarry for long. He will never leave or forsake us, which allows us to confidently declare that He is our helper!  Don’t be afraid! (Hebrews 13:5, NIV).  Listen, I know it is difficult at times to muster up the courage to change the way we think about our present circumstance, but unless we do, we won’t experience the true peace of God, allowing Him to lead us and not fear!!

So, what shall we do then?  I say, let’s shout the goodness of God from the rooftops!  Shout out His name!  We are His!!  Lift your hands because He sets us free!!  God, You are sovereign!  You never change! and You are working in our life!

Please take a moment to crank up the volume on this song!!  Be encouraged as you listen to the words and set your own praise loose in the middle of your hard place!! 

Warrior vs. Worrier

This morning I woke up worrying about a letter my husband and I received the night before.  When I read over the letter again, I felt anxiety creep in. My head reminded me that God was in control but my heart believed my eyes, that is, what I could see instead.  I wish I could say that my Christian “warrior” of faith kicked in.  But instead, the “worrier” of doubt showed up.

Later that morning, I sat down with my five-year old to read his devotion.  I had to smile when I read the topic.  I love God’s sense of humor, when He uses the simple things like a Kindergartner’s devotion, to remind me to trust Him.  Our topic was found in Judges 6-8, which tells the story of Gideon.   After I finished the devotion with my son, I began to think about this passage of scripture and how it related to my life. 

Many people thought Gideon was a coward because he didn’t trust God right away.  But what would you do if you were in his shoes?  I mean, every time the Israelites took two steps forward, their enemies surrounded them and kicked them five steps back.  When the Angel of the Lord appeared to Gideon to declare to him “the Lord is with you, mighty warrior,” Gideon questioned God, asking:  “What took you so long? Are you sure you have the right person, Lord?  I am from the weakest tribe.  We’ve fought a losing battle for many years.  Our enemy is strong” (paraphrase mine). 

When I read Gideon’s reply, I understood why his unbelief surfaced and I related to his heartfelt inquiries.  My thoughts went back to my letter and how I was struggling with unbelief earlier.  I was focused on what I could see (and like Gideon, I focused on my past) rather than taking God at His word to “work all things together for my good” (Romans 8:28).  Even so, the part that stuck out the most was when Gideon reminded God that he was from the weakest tribe, implying that God must have the wrong person for the battle that lay ahead.  But God didn’t make any mistake when He called Gideon to fight.  Gideon had to make a choice to trust God.  And once he did, Gideon defeated his enemy with less than he thought possible.   

God wants our faith to be unshakeable, but He also understands that sometimes we get stuck by looking at life from our own perspective.  You see, just when Gideon thought the enemy had won, and that his people were out of all other options, God stepped onto the scene, and turned the situation around!  God wants to do this in your life and in mine.     

God spoke to me through my little boy’s devotion about Gideon’s life.  He said, “I’ve called you to be a warrior of faith not a worrier of doubt.  Put your trust in Me–not in what you see!”  I needed this reminder this morning.  Thank you Lord for Your truth and for showing us that we must trust You, even when we can’t see what You’re doing!

It is rare that I have a moment like this all to myself.  As I sit here thinking about my very busy day with my boys, I’m thinking back to a moment I had with Asaiah, my five-year old.  We were driving home.  He was trying to communicate a thought to me but I couldn’t hear him over the outside noise.  Then I hear this little voice, growing very loud, saying, “MOMMY!!  You are hurting my feelings!”  I guess he thought I wasn’t listening, but I was.  

I know God was speaking to me in that moment because what proceeded from my mouth was something I was not thinking about.  I said, “Son, your feelings can only be hurt if you make a decision to be hurt.  I have no power over your feelings.  No one does.”  Then, I heard myself telling him this:  “I’ve wasted too many hours in my life being hurt because of what someone else did or because of a situation I perceived incorrectly.  In this case, Asaiah, you thought I wasn’t listening but I was, I just couldn’t hear you.  Do you understand?” His reply, “Yes Mommy.”

How much he really took in from my lesson, I’m not sure.  And Yes, I used big words and expecting him to understand that concept was probably a bit much.  However, pondering that exchange between us made me wonder if God was really trying to teach me a valuable lesson.  You see, I’ve always been considered by others as a “sensitive soul.”  My feelings have been easily hurt, sometimes without a word spoken.   I’ve perceived actions as ill-intentioned, wrong of course, but my feelings were hurt anyway. 

Those were moments wasted.  Time given up.  Communication lost. 

God was speaking to me today.  He was saying:

No one has power over your feelings unless you give power to them.  In other words, stop allowing other people to affect your mood, your next steps, your attitude, your feelings, or how you feel about yourself through their actions or words.  Instead, remember that I made you for My good purpose.  I didn’t make any mistakes when I formed you.  My opinion is the only one that matters.  Listen to Me:

You are Beautiful.

Lovely. Wonderfully Created.

Committed & Passionate.

Smart.  Able. Desired By Me.

Pursued.

Purpose Driven.

Successful.  Lacking Nothing.

Gifted.

Wow….just from a small conversation with Asaiah, I receive a beautiful love note from the Lord.  Thank you Lord.  And thank You for reminding me to look up to You instead of at other people to define my self-worth.  Thank you for teaching me truth through my interaction with my children.  Thank you for using moments like these to remind me of Your thoughts towards me.  May anyone reading this today be reminded that You love them deeply, and that You have a good plan for their life.  Your plan is unfolding today through every moment You give us breath; Your plan is coming together to give us a hope and a future!  To glorify Your name alone.  Thank you Lord.  In Jesus Name, Amen.

When everything in life seems to be going great and we are on our highest of highs, we feel close to the Lord and feel that His approval is on us. I’ve often heard people say that when they are in that position they feel God all around them. But then, as life happens, and we dip to our lowest of lows, and circumstances and situations are difficult, we have a tendency to think and feel that God has left us and is somehow punishing us.

The truth is that “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever” (New International Version, 2011)! He is un-moveable. His promises to us don’t change. He doesn’t change His mind about what He’s already spoken no matter what we’re feeling. Our feelings are unreliable! They change like the wind tossing and turning us, tricking us into believing false truth about our situation. We can’t rely on feelings to get us from point to point. Equally, we can’t allow our circumstances to define us either. You might be experiencing a hard time today but as I tell my son Asaiah, “a ‘no’ today doesn’t mean a ‘no’ forever!” We can’t more easily believe what we see not happening rather than believe God is working everything together for our good according to His purposes for us (Romans 8:28, New Living Translation, 2007). This is GREAT news!

And, while this is true, what we do in the “in-between” time (that is from the time we ask God to help us to the time He answers) is critical to our survival through the trial. Our commitment to God and resolve in our faith should anchor us to His Word so that when the rain storm comes, we aren’t knocked down! The point I want to share today is that we have to transform our mind by setting it on the truth of God’s word. We are what He says we are–not what our past reflects and not what appears to be our existing circumstances. We can do what He says we can do–no matter what failures we’ve endured. Period.

How do we begin transforming our mind? The first step is turning off the old tape we’ve been playing in our mind most of our life. Our thought life is powerful and even shapes how we see and think about ourselves. For example, you may be waiting on an answer from God about a job situation (like our family). While you wait, are you worrying about financial pressures or are you standing on God’s promises about your situation? May I say you aren’t impoverished! Your Pappa-God owns cattle on a thousand hills (Psalm 50:10, New Living Translation, 2007)! Psalm 144:13(a) says, “Our barns will be filled with every kind of provision” (New International Version, 2011, emphasis mine)! Paul wrote in Philippians 4:19, “And my God will meet all of your needs according to His glorious riches in Christ Jesus” (New International Version, 2007)! These scriptures are powerful but mean nothing on a personal level unless we know they exist!! This leads me to my next point:

Transforming our thinking takes action! We must study God’s Word to know what it says about us. In doing so, we begin to understand God’s will for our life. If we understand how powerful He is in our life, then we won’t entertain Satan, the father of lies, (John 8:44, New International Version, 2007) when he comes at us to distort our thinking. We must learn to listen and recognize God’s voice, through His word, over any other! Once we begin reading and studying our Bible, we have to begin applying scripture to our life. We mustn’t only listen to the word and so deceive ourselves but we have to also do what it says (James 1:22, New International Version, 2011). Our minds won’t be transformed unless we replace the “old tape” with a new one. Memorize scripture, paint it on your heart, and apply it to your life daily.

We all experience ups and downs. We all have moments when we need encouragement even though we are reading God’s word. For this reason, a very important step in transforming our mind and thus changing our life is getting connected to someone who has more depth in their spiritual walk than we do. We can’t change our habits and grow in God’s Word hanging out with people who pattern their life after the world’s standards. Connecting yourself to another believer also creates accountability! We all need someone who is willing to live life with us and keep us accountable for what we say we believe!

Dear Gracious God, I lift up every person reading this note today. I pray their countenance would be lifted high and that they would find You in tangible ways today! I pray for answers to prayer to come quickly. I pray for provision in every household! I pray for encouragement and strength as we wait upon You! I pray we would endeavor every day to take the steps necessary to transform our minds. May we anchor ourselves to You Lord. May we never forget that Jesus’ sacrifice on the Cross gave us freedom from sin and that it is possible to accomplish all things in You. May Your will be done in each person who is seeking You today! May You equip them with everything they need! In Jesus Name, Amen!

Opposite Worlds

My Journal Entry, June 11, 2005

“Do you really think you will be a mom one day?  Don’t you know that time is running out? But what I know and what is truth are forces that bump and grind against each other.  My flesh working against the Spirit.  The Spirit (the Spirit of God) is truth; the flesh is influenced by circumstantial evidence (what my natural eyes see).  If the devil can convince us that our promise is past its time for fulfillment then we will lose hope and lose our desire to live! We must take a stand!  Put our stake in the ground; be vigilant against the evil one!”

I was thumbing through an old journal this morning when I came across this entry I wrote from 2005.  When I wrote that entry, I remember feeling desperate for God to change my circumstances. I was standing in faith for my children but had already experienced so many disappointments, which only discouraged me further.  All of my surroundings spoke impossibility to me.  But if you know anything about how God works, then you know that we live in opposite worlds.  Those circumstances in the natural seemed  insurmountable but in God’s world, they were the perfect ingredients for Him to perform a miracle in my life.   Everything wasn’t ideal from my point of view, but nonetheless, God worked all of it together for my good. Today, I humbly share that I am a mommy to my two beautiful boys; in fact, my oldest son, who just turned five, was born on March 21, 2006, which was  almost nine months after that journal entry was written.  There were many times when my mind told me to give up–thank God I didn’t listen.  The story behind the story is enough to fill a book, but what I want to share today is that no matter how bleak your life looks, or what you are standing in faith for, God will have the final word.  Never let go of your hopes and dreams and never give up on your faith in God!

I feel in my spirit that this is a timely message.  Somebody needs renewed hope and strength today.  Are you believing for a miracle or praying for a circumstance to change or for a dream to be fulfilled?  Listen, God is no respecter of persons, what He did for me, He is surely able to do for you!  When everyone around me was enjoying their blessing, I wondered if God had forgotten about me.  I cried many tears.  Yes, my faith wavered from time to time, but I had to renew my mind daily and encourage myself to keep pressing forward.  It was difficult to wait on God but I didn’t let that stop me from standing my ground against the enemy.  I listened to worship music, read my Bible, and spent time with friends, who prayed for and supported me.  Even so, we must always remember that the enemy of our souls is busy at work bringing discouragement and discontentment to us through his lies and tricks; if he can get us focused on the wrong things, then he can steal our hope!  He sets his trap by tricking us into constantly thinking about our problems, which only hinders our faith.  Don’t fall into that trap!

So, may I ask you, whose report will you believe—God’s word or the devil’s lies?  I want to challenge you today to step off of the devil’s bus!  He is taking you in a direction that leads to “no-whereville”!  Take back your ground!  Study God’s word, let it become your testimony, let it become your beacon, your guidepost, confess it daily over your life and over your hopes and dreams! Doing so is a tangible act of faith, which will empower and encourage you to stay your course!  God is faithful.  He is an on-time God.  He is never late and is never early.  He is working all things together for your good.  Today you are one day closer to your miracle and your breakthrough! Remember friend—“Be strong in the Lord and in His mighty power! Put on all of God’s armor so that you will be able to stand firm against all the strategies of the devil” (Ephesians 6:10, New Living Translation).

Father God, whoever is reading this today needs a tangible touch from You.  I pray that You will fulfill all of their hopes and dreams according to Your plan and will for their life.  I pray that today will bring a renewed hope and strength to them and that they will set their eyes on You!  May Your peace embrace them!  May Your word inspire them!  May they always rest in You and draw comfort from You even in their darkest hours! Thank you for loving us so completely and for all of Your provision in our life!  In Jesus Name, Amen!

God Bless,

Dori

Trying to forgive someone for an act committed against you is hard enough but what about trying to “judge not” in the process? We’ve read and heard so many sermons on forgiveness but very little teaching is offered on the dangers of judging others.  I humbly write this today because God dealt with me about this undetected, unaddressed, widely accepted act of judging.

My lesson began about a month ago when  I was struggling to move past a hurt I experienced by a very close person in my life.  I’ve been in situations before where I’ve had to walk through the steps of forgiving someone but in this case I was getting no-where.  My prayers went unanswered (so it seemed) and I was increasingly frustrated and dismayed that I was stuck.  Thankfully, I had enough sense to reach out to a trusted friend for help.  I explained my situation and expected her to say polite things about how I was handling the situation but that was far from what happened.  I was gob-smacked when she boldly pointed out that I was stuck because I was standing in judgment of  this person for their actions.  Ouch, that hurt!  But my trusted friend was right.  Judgment was like a noose around my neck.  I was dying a slow death (spiritually speaking) because of my harsh judgment towards this person.  I couldn’t embrace this person because every time we interacted I came away judging.  Judgment stopped my ability to forgive freely. 

Next, my friend challenged me to do a study on the subject of judgment.  It was so eye-opening that I wanted to share some of the insights from my study:

Thoughts on Judgment 

  1. Evaluate your own heart each day rather than pointing out the flaws, mistakes, or mis-steps of others.  
  2. Do not judge others; otherwise, you will be judged with the same measure that you judged (Matthew 7:1-3, NIV; 1 Samuel 16:7, NKV).  Judging people is enticing.  It’s the enemy’s trick to distract you from praying for that person. 
  3. When judging others, we erect a barrier between our self and the person we are judging.   The space between me and that person becomes a land of folly.  Folly means “to be foolish, lack understanding or sense; an unwise investment [of time], [talking about others], wickedness” (Dictionary.Reference.com). Engaging in folly wastes time and energy. Its mindless, idle work.  Does nothing to build you up in the Lord or the person being judged.
  4. It’s an unwise investment of your time to stand in judgment of others.  God is the Supreme Judge. He judges our thoughts and intentions.  We do not have the power to read a person’s mind or judge one’s intentions.
  5. Judgment exposes us to the (attitudes of) or spirits of Suspicion, Anger, Hurt, and Pride.  (Example:  I would never do that; I can’t believe that person is a Christian and made that choice! What about this or that?? Aren’t they thinking about those things?) These are prideful thoughts.  “But by the grace of God, there go I” (I Corinthians 15:10, NKJV).
  6. Lack of communication is a gateway for misguided conclusions (judgment).
  7. Therefore, when I judge I put myself in the place of God.  This is dangerous. Remember, God is standing at the door, watching, ready to judge me (us) at any minute (James 5:9, NLT). 
  8. Take heed.  Stop this none-sense!  Remember God loves this person, too. 
  9. Don’t think just because this person is a Christian that he/she won’t make mistakes.  We don’t know what God is doing in their life. 
  10. The battle is not mine (2 Chronicles 20:17, NLT).  Don’t take up other people’s offenses.  Pray for them instead. 
  11. Don’t get offended because you (mistakenly) believe you are affected by someone elses’ decisions.  Am I not trusting God with my life?
  12. When you blame others, and say their actions are affecting you, you are saying that they have control over your destiny.  This isn’t so!!  God is in control of your destiny.  He has a plan for you!  

Actions Steps To Gaining Freedom!

It wasn’t just enough for me to understand what I was fighting against.  I had to write my actions steps so that I was fully committed to the process of turning away from my wrongdoing.

1.  Confess my sin, repent, and ask for forgiveness

Father God, Most High, I humbly come to You today to confess that I have sinned against You and against my fellow-man!  I have judged ____________________________ so harshly and need forgiveness from You so that I may forgive and stop judging ___________________________.  I pray where judgment and unforgiveness set up home in my heart, You would replace that occupied space with forgiveness, love, peace, longsuffering, patience, kindness, and joy.  I pray for the fruit of the Spirit to root itself in my heart and that I would be ruled by those things and not the enemy’s tactics! I pray for protection over my heart, over my mind, over my thoughts, over my life and over my family! I plead the blood of Jesus Christ over my family in Jesus Name! The battle is not mine but it is Your’s.  You go before me in battle and You gain the victory! Thank You for forgiving me. May I walk in that forgiveness towards ______________________ and cut judgment off at the root! In Jesus’ Name!

2.  Put off my old way of thinking.  Fight the battle with the Word of God!

Once you make the decision to stop judging and to start operating in total forgiveness, your old way of thinking will bring up hurt feelings to test your committment to this process.  When that happens, be ready!

Example:  Say to yourself:  “This is NOT my battle! It is God’s battle.  I will not judge.  I come against the spirit of judgment.  I curse it at its root. You will not gain any more ground in my life or in this situation! I plead the blood of Jesus Christ over my mind, over my thoughts, over the motives and intentions of my heart! I plead the blood of Jesus Christ over my children and their thoughts, and over my husband and his thoughts! This family is protected by the blood wall of Christ Jesus!  Every evil thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God must bend its knee and submit to the Word of God!  In Jesus Name! I plant the seed of forgiveness, of love, of joy, longsuffering, kindness, and peace in my heart and in this situation.  May the fruit of the Spirit flourish over this situation! May we walk in peace towards one another for God’s glory! In Jesus’ Name, Amen!

3.  Commit myself to the Lord in prayer daily.  Bathe my family in prayer, plead the blood of Jesus Christ over my family and myself.

This is an important step.  Stay committed to this process and you will find freedom over your situation!

Cautionary Scripture Verses

“Stop judging others and you will not be judged. For others will treat you as you treat them. Whatever measure you use in judging others, it will be used to measure how you are judged. And why worry about a speck in your friend’s eye when you have a log in your own? How can you think of saying, `Friend, let me help you get rid of that speck in your eye,’ when you can’t see past the log in your own eye? Hypocrite! First get rid of the log from your own eye, then perhaps you will see well enough to deal with the speck in your friend’s eye” (1 Sam 16:7, NIV).

“Don’t grumble about each other, brothers and sisters, or you will be judged. For look—the Judge is standing at the door!” (James 5:9, NLT).

“So don’t make judgments about anyone ahead of time—before the Lord returns. For he will bring our darkest secrets to light and will reveal our private motives. Then God will give to each one whatever praise is due” (1 Corinthians 4:5, NLT).

“Judge not, and you will not be judged; condemn not, and you will not be condemned; forgive, and you will be forgiven […]” (Luke 6:37, NKJV).

“As for the one who is weak in faith, welcome him, but not to quarrel over opinions. One person believes he may eat anything, while the weak person eats only vegetables. Let not the one who eats despise the one who abstains, and let not the one who abstains pass judgment on the one who eats, for God has welcomed him. Who are you to pass judgment on the servant of another? It is before his own master that he stands or falls. And he will be upheld, for the Lord is able to make him stand. One person esteems one day as better than another, while another esteems all days alike. Each one should be fully convinced in his own mind […]” (Romans 14:1-23, ESV).

[…] Do not be afraid or discouraged because of this vast army. For the battle is not yours, but God’s” (2 Chronicles 20:15, NIV). 

In Summary

 Judgment, offendedness, and unforgiveness are like the three henchmen. They are so similar that they can be in operation at the same time but one or the other can go completely undetected. If you are working through a situation that requires forgiveness but are struggling to break free, ask God to show you all that is holding you back.  Ask Him if you are standing in judgment of that person. Through my research, I learned that I could not get free from unforgiveness until I recognized that offendedness and judgment were also chaining me to the hurt and pain I was feeling.  Now, as I think on these things, I am very aware of the devil’s tactics against me.  I couldn’t gain victory because my offense was nurtured every time I judged the situation.  I am not their God.  Remember, “we are not fighting against humans.  We are fighting against forces and authorities and against rulers of darkness and powers in the spiritual world” (Ephesians 6:12, CEV).

Finally friend, live a joyful life! Ask God to show you what His plan is for your life, and don’t let anything, especially holding on to unforgiveness or standing in judgment of someone, stop you from obtaining all that God has planned for you!  May you find peace in Jesus Christ from this point forward!

God Bless,

Dori Price

aka GreenEyeGurl

A Simple Life

It’s been a while since I’ve sat down to write what’s on my heart.  Feels good to sit here, to think about what I want to share, and to know that I am reaching out again.  Ever go through a place where you feel like everything is on pause?  When God is dealing with me about serious things, things that I need to change, I go quiet and I wait until that change begins to take root in my life.  It’s painful when you see ugliness in your heart but I thank God that He does not leave me that way and that He loves me enough to address those displeasing things!  So, that is where I have been–sort of like in a “time out” or like in a “think about it” place (a phrase I recently heard Asaiah’s preschool teacher use in place of the “time out” phrase). 

Above all else, what I want to share today is an encouragement to all to get back to the basics of living a simple life that pleases our Creator.  I’ve read Romans 12 several times over the past few weeks but this morning when I read it again, I found a peace that I needed.  Its instruction is full of wisdom and a beautiful starting point for us to refocus and reposition our priorities in life.  I think the Message version states it best.  Please don’t give in to the temptation of skipping over this valuable passage of scripture.  Read it line-for-line, and let it soak into your spirit!

Let’s take a peak:

Romans 12

So here’s what I want you to do, God helping you: Take your everyday, ordinary life—your sleeping, eating, going-to-work, and walking-around life—and place it before God as an offering. Embracing what God does for you is the best thing you can do for him. Don’t become so well-adjusted to your culture that you fit into it without even thinking. Instead, fix your attention on God. You’ll be changed from the inside out. Readily recognize what he wants from you, and quickly respond to it. Unlike the culture around you, always dragging you down to its level of immaturity, God brings the best out of you, develops well-formed maturity in you.

 3I’m speaking to you out of deep gratitude for all that God has given me, and especially as I have responsibilities in relation to you. Living then, as every one of you does, in pure grace, it’s important that you not misinterpret yourselves as people who are bringing this goodness to God. No, God brings it all to you. The only accurate way to understand ourselves is by what God is and by what he does for us, not by what we are and what we do for him.

 4-6In this way we are like the various parts of a human body. Each part gets its meaning from the body as a whole, not the other way around. The body we’re talking about is Christ’s body of chosen people. Each of us finds our meaning and function as a part of his body. But as a chopped-off finger or cut-off toe we wouldn’t amount to much, would we? So since we find ourselves fashioned into all these excellently formed and marvelously functioning parts in Christ’s body, let’s just go ahead and be what we were made to be, without enviously or pridefully comparing ourselves with each other, or trying to be something we aren’t.

 6-8If you preach, just preach God’s Message, nothing else; if you help, just help, don’t take over; if you teach, stick to your teaching; if you give encouraging guidance, be careful that you don’t get bossy; if you’re put in charge, don’t manipulate; if you’re called to give aid to people in distress, keep your eyes open and be quick to respond; if you work with the disadvantaged, don’t let yourself get irritated with them or depressed by them. Keep a smile on your face.

 9-10Love from the center of who you are; don’t fake it. Run for dear life from evil; hold on for dear life to good. Be good friends who love deeply; practice playing second fiddle.

 11-13Don’t burn out; keep yourselves fueled and aflame. Be alert servants of the Master, cheerfully expectant. Don’t quit in hard times; pray all the harder. Help needy Christians; be inventive in hospitality.

 14-16Bless your enemies; no cursing under your breath. Laugh with your happy friends when they’re happy; share tears when they’re down. Get along with each other; don’t be stuck-up. Make friends with nobodies; don’t be the great somebody.

 17-19Don’t hit back; discover beauty in everyone. If you’ve got it in you, get along with everybody. Don’t insist on getting even; that’s not for you to do. “I’ll do the judging,” says God. “I’ll take care of it.”

 20-21Our Scriptures tell us that if you see your enemy hungry, go buy that person lunch, or if he’s thirsty, get him a drink. Your generosity will surprise him with goodness. Don’t let evil get the best of you; get the best of evil by doing good.

This passage is rich with instruction.  Print this scripture out.  Meditate on it.  Really, it is a simple life that in obedience to God’s word can bring us much happiness, health, peace, joy, and prosperity!

I want to leave you with this song by Starfield called “Rediscover.”  May you know Jesus Christ as your personal Lord and Savior!  God Bless, Dori

 

It’s interesting how a simple card game can challenge you to think more deeply about things.  Have you ever played Go Fish?  The other night Ryan, Asaiah, and me sat down to play a round.  It was the first time we’ve played a game like this with Asaiah.  It was hysterical to see our son jumping up and down and running all over the place when he got a match!  If you ever lack inspiration or motivation to do something, just sit down for a moment with a young child and play a game.  A child’s excitement is contagious!

In life, it seems, we are always trying to find the perfect match for something.  For example, we look for a perfect match for a mate or a match that leads to a good friendship.  When I lived in North Carolina several years ago, I met a friend who God placed in my life at a very strategic time.  I wasn’t sure I was looking for her at the time but God knew that I would need a friend like her to help me through a very dark, immobilizing, scary situation.  This morning as I was thinking about Go Fish, my friend came to mind.  Her name is Lena; she is married and has two boys.  I first met Lena when I was experiencing a difficult time in my first marriage.  She took me under her wing and began mentoring me.  Mentors are such a gift from God.  Lena was a gift to me.  She always reached out to me, inviting me to church, dinner, her family functions, and to so many other events.

Lena always saw something in me that I couldn’t see in myself.  She loved me no matter what I was going through.  She was the big sister I needed.  Her encouragement was a life-line as I navigated through very dark moments.  Her prayers kept me afloat as I experienced deep pain and hurt that seemed unbearable.  She spent time with me and through her example I learned what a Godly wife and mommy looked like.  One thing Lena always told me when nothing else could be said was, “You’re gonna make it.”  Her words still ring clear to me today and were like gold to me back then.  I hung on to them because they brought me hope.  She was just like that.  She could tell me a story or share a scripture that would pick me up from where I was and keep me going.  One scripture she passed on to me became one of my favorites:  “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future” (Jeremiah 29:11, NIV, 2010). 

In addition to embracing me while I was down, she also graciously allowed me to spend time with her son Luke, who was an absolute joy to be around; he was probably two or three at the time.  On a daily basis I was rejected by my husband but when I was with Luke all of that pain melted away.  He loved me unconditionally and I loved him like he was my son.  When I was with him, my hopes of becoming a mommy were renewed.  Lena was a great friend to me.  I don’t know if I adequately thanked her for all she did but God knows that if she wasn’t in my life at that time things might have been more difficult.   

Now, some may wonder how a card game like Go Fish turned into a story about a mentoring friendship.  The concept of Go Fish made me think about the Bible when it tells us to become fishers of men (John 21:1-17) and to make disciples of them (Matthew 28:19).  Lena discipled (mentored) me.  Encouraged me.  Showed me the way.  Prayed for me.  Loved me.  Cared for me.  Spoke life to me.  Gave me hope.  Pointed me to the Cross of Christ.  Fed me the Word of God.  Stayed by my side.  Didn’t abandon me when I made mistakes.  She loved me for who I was, where I was, and who I was becoming.  She cheered me on–told me I would make it even though I could not see the light at the end of the tunnel!    

Mentoring is a priceless gift to offer to someone.  When you give your time to someone, you are saying that you love and care for that person.  This action speaks louder than words because these days one’s time is a precious commodity.  Most of us are familiar with Paul in the Bible.  He was a mentor to many, always exhorting and often times correcting those who looked to him for guidance and direction.  His legacy lives on and still speaks to us today.  This is the type of legacy I want to bestow on those who God allows me to mentor. 

Have you ever been mentored by someone?  Had a friend who helped you through a difficult time?  Told you that you could make it when life seemed hopeless?  if so, may I encourage you to duplicate what was offered to you in that mentoring relationship and reach out to help someone else?  Lena’s acts of kindness and love changed me.  I want to honor my friend and our God by doing that same thing for others! 

May God give us courage to step out of our comfort zones to help someone else!

Most Sincerely,

Dori

What’s In Your Box?

This morning all the tasks I had on my “to do” list were swirling around in my mind.  Bursts of energy propelled me towards one, then another, and then back to where I started again.  Nothing completed.  Nothing accomplished.   Tasks only halfway done.  Anxiety started to creep in.  I looked to Heaven, then sent up a wind-whipped prayer:  “I want to be productive, God, please help me.”  I waited for peace to come.  That’s when I saw an image of a box in my mind.  Inside, it was cluttered, full of cob-webbed items, dusty old dreams, and unfinished business.

I saw myself, every night, and every morning, placing things in that box with intentions of attending to each item, task, wish, hope, and dream.  Disappointment sat at my side, wagging his finger of condemnation, reminding me that I didn’t finish what I started or didn’t touch what was most important.  I saw many items in my box, some had names like:

 Children.  Prayer.  Husband.  God.  Housework. Worship.

Failures.  Disappointment.  Broken relationships.

Shattered dreams.  Failed expectations.  Wasted Time.

I sat for a moment, thinking about these things.  Then, I saw an image of a woman at Jesus’ feet.  She was sobbing.  Her eyes were down low, as she humbly and carefully poured out the content of her bottle on His feet.  At that moment, sitting on my stairs, I knew the Lord was speaking to me through this woman’s actions.  He led me to a passage of scripture from Luke 7:36-38 and Mark 14:5 (The Message):

 “[…] Just then a woman of the village, the town harlot, having learned that Jesus was a guest in the home of the Pharisee, came with a bottle of very expensive perfume and stood at his feet, weeping, raining tears on his feet. Letting down her hair, she dried his feet, kissed them, and anointed them with the perfume. Some of the guests became furious among themselves. “That’s criminal! A sheer waste! This perfume could have been sold for well over a year’s wages and handed out to the poor.” They swelled up in anger, nearly bursting with indignation over her.”

 After reading this passage, the Lord gently spoke to me saying:

 “Daughter, I see your struggle.  You place pressure on yourself to get things done.  You think about unfinished business.  You have to do this, do that. This task, that task, all of it assigning value to your self-worth.  Deeds done.  But what about Me?  Where is your surrender?  Your time is your most precious commodity.  Where am I on your list of things to do?  The harlot woman, though many considered her a “throw away,” had the right heart.  She poured out her most valued possession, her worship and adoration, represented by the oil.  Those items in your box that you toil over take your time away from Me.  Stop what you’re doing.  Surrender to Me.  I will heal you, increase you, give you direction, help you prioritize your time.  Don’t worry about the hecklers who say your time is better spent on other things.  Don’t worry about your husband or family, give them to me.  Pour your adoration and love on Me.”   

And there it was:  The items in your box you toil over take your time away from Me.  Surrender.  All of it.  Nothing left hidden.  All my good intentions.  The tasks that need my attention.  The way I see myself.  My past.  My future.  Hopes.  Dreams.  Family.  Children.  Prayer.  Worship.  Love.  God wants it all.  Nothing more, nothing less.  Genuine and pure.

 Father, I pray for everyone reading this today.  I pray that You will have Your way in our life.  That our adoration and love are pure and genuine and that we reserve our best for You alone.  May we leave nothing piling up, cluttered in a box, nothing hidden.  May we surrender all of it to You.  In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

In 2008, I was working through a Bible study by Jennifer Kennedy Dean called Live a Praying Life: Open Your Life to God’s Power and Provision.  From that study, God spoke to me about how when we are facing hard situations we must take aggressive action in prayer to stand against the enemy so we can gain the victory over our circumstances.  If you are in the midst of a firestorm, or feel confused, brokenhearted, discouraged, or full of doubt I hope the following insights offer a new strategy for your situation or give you hope that your prayers do make a difference!   I pray that these words will capture your heart and provide you with renewed hope for your life. 

One thing I know for sure, God has not forgotten about you.  His plan will prevail in your life.  Nothing and no-one can stop that plan from coming forth.  God is not a man that He should lie (Numbers 23:19).  His promises are true and we can rest in those promises no matter what our circumstances look like (2 Corinthians 1:20).  And that is where I want to focus for a moment. 

Our circumstances can be deceiving especially when time has passed and it seems as if nothing is changing concerning our prayer focus.  We know that prayer works but we also know that God’s timing is not our timing, which means that sometimes time feels like an eternity.  This past week, I’ve talked with some friends about prayer, which brought me back to Dean’s book.  She had some powerful insights on spiritual warfare, prayer, and the armor of God, which penetrated my heart and has compelled me to share this devotion with you.  Please read on (taken from Dean’s book):

In response to our prayers, spiritual forces are set in motion that brings God’s will to earth.  Prayer has its first effect in the spiritual realm.  When the work is finished in the spiritual realm, the answer is revealed in the material realm.  Prayer is spiritual work.  In the material realm, the definition of “work” is “to use energy to create change.”  Everything I do that uses energy to create change falls under the category of “work.”  In the spiritual realm, prayer is how energy is released to create change.  Remember James 5:16?  “The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective.” 

Prayer changes the spiritual realm and the spiritual realm changes the material realm.  Because prayer has its first effect in the spiritual realm, a reality that cannot be observed with the physical senses, there is a period of time when, from the earth, it appears that prayer isn’t changing things.  This is because the prayer is first doing spiritual work.  Wait until the time is fulfilled, when everything is ripe.  That’s when the kingdom of heaven will be revealed to your senses.  (Waiting is the hard part, I understand… but please keep reading).

Many people mistake prayer for a passive activity.  Some think that prayer is what you do when there’s nothing left to do but pray.  My friend, get this deep in your spirit:  prayer is the work.  Prayer is the most aggressive, offensive, pro-active, invasive work you can ever engage in.  We’re not talking here about just ‘saying prayers.”  This is living prayer.  Let’s examine a well-known, much-quoted passage of scripture and see what it has to say about prayer as an offensive strategy. 

“Finally, be strong in the Lord and in His mighty power.  Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes.  For our struggle is not against flesh and  blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.  Therefore, put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand.  Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace.  In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one.  Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.  And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests.  With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the saints” (Ephesians 6:10-18).

In summary, true prayer is God’s words in my mouth.  God’s words do His work and He is sending His words out with an assignment.  He is watching over His words to see that the assignment is carried out (Isaiah 55:10-11; Jeremiah 1:9 and 12).  When God sends His words out through your mouth, the spiritual realm is immediately fully engaged.  Spiritual forces are dispatched.  All of heaven is poised to respond to the prayers of God’s people.  Through prayer, the enemy’s schemes are thwarted.  Through prayer, the powers, principalities, and authorities of Satan’s realm are stopped cold.  Through prayer, all of the power and provision of God flows into the lives of his people.  

I believe there is super intense warfare going on in the spiritual realm on our behalf for our souls, for our children, spouses, for our mental well-being, provision, jobs, etc.  We may not see change yet because prayer is still doing its work in the spiritual realm.  I know life is full of blessings but it is also full of challenges, and in those times, we tend to pull-back, hide, stay silent rather than rise up and stand against the attacks of the enemy through aggressive (making an all-out effort to win or succeed) prayer.   

Dear Friend, God has called you for such a time as this.  There is no mistake that you are connected to your situation for good reason.  Your steps were ordered before one was taken: before you were shaped and formed in your mother’s womb, God knew you (Jeremiah 1:5).  For the word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart. And there is no creature hidden from His sight, but all things are naked and open to the eyes of Him to whom we must give account. (Hebrews 4:12-13).   

I want to encourage you to keep praying, aggressively and on the offensive over your situation.  If it is your marriage you are praying about, then during the week while your husband is gone, go through your home and lay hands on your husband’s side of the bed, his pillow, his shoes, his clothes, his stuff outside that he uses often, everything that is connected to him and pray over his world in a tangible way.  This is an example of an aggressive prayer action in my humble opinion.  Also, pray for wisdom and direction, seek the Lord on your knees to get a fresh download from God every morning for the battle.  We all need a fresh download from God to ensure we are hearing His voice above all others.

One last thought:

 “Meanwhile, the moment we get tired in the waiting, God’s Spirit is right alongside helping us along.  If we don’t know how or what to pray, it doesn’t matter.  He does our praying in and for us, making prayer out of our wordless sighs, our aching groans.  He knows us far better than we know ourselves, knows our pregnant condition, and keeps us present before God.  That’s why we can be so sure that every detail in our lives of love for God is worked into something good” (Romans 8:28).

God Bless,

Dori

The Boy Was Green

I know this is a funny way to start off my thoughts but I am wondering, when you read “the boy was green,” how did you interpret the statement?  Some might think the boy was green because he was sick; or perhaps you thought the boy was green because he was angry with someone.  The true meaning of this statement can only be known if you have a conversation with the one who made the statement.  This person’s point of view is important for you to understand the meaning.

Have you ever read a scripture verse that you didn’t understand?  Maybe you went to someone to get clarification or you might have done research on your own to form your own conclusions.  While it is very important for every believer to take ownership of his or her walk with Christ, we have to be careful that we aren’t using the Word of God out of context to make it fit our point of view.  We have to be connected to the Source, the One who spoke the Word into existence, to understand the full meaning and scope.  And we need this understanding for our life.

My point is simple.  If you have a need in your life, find out what God thinks about it through His Word.  Pray for wisdom and understanding.  Wait on Him to answer before you leap.  In the process, you will find amazing insights and encouragement through the Bible for your situation.  You will find the answers.  You will find strength.  You will find His good and perfect will for your life! 

As always, send me an email if you need prayer.  I really hope you find peace, healing, encouragement, and love so deeply as you pursue your walk with the Lord and as He speaks to you about His will for your life!

Love,

Dori

Hello Dear Friends,

Thank you for subscribing to my blog.  Over the past several months, I’ve been working on the redesign of this blog and have finally launched my new site: Live Confidently!  I want to invite you to view my new site and to subscribe to it.  I will no longer be writing under GreenEyeGurl.  I am so excited about this new endeavor.  Under my new blog, you will find a fb page that you can link to for great discussions and also join forums to discuss the many topics that concern women.

If you’ve been touched by my writing in some way, please share my new site with your friends.  I really appreciate your support and interest in my ministry!

May God bless you richly!

Dori Price

Welcome to LIVE CONFIDENTLY!

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