Monday, September 28, 2009

Removing Mountains

When I was a little girl, I took Mark 11:23 literally. Truly, I say to you, whoever says to this mountain, Be taken up and thrown into the sea, and does not doubt in his heart, but believes that what he says will come to pass, it will be done for him.
We took trips to the mountains for vacation. I had heard in church that if I had faith the size of a tiny mustard seed that I could say to this mountain to crumble and be removed. As we were climbing the mountain roads in our car I would confess to myself that I had at least that little bit of faith. I would repeat over and over in my head “be removed mountain, crumble!” Thankfully the Lord never answered that prayer, because we were driving on that mountain I wanted to crumble.
As I have aged I have not taken that verse as literally as I used to. However, I do not think that I have given it the full power it deserves, either. I like to think that my faith is the size of a mustard seed. In fact, I know at times that it actually is. I see prayers answered when I ask the Lord to take care of a situation in which I have been asked to pray on. However, I have noticed that the same mustard seed faith I have when praying for another’s need, seems to be smaller when I am praying for my needs.
For some reason I feel that God is more likely to answer my prayers for someone else other than for me. Why? I think it is because I do not feel worthy enough. Why should I? I know my sins, I know my faults, and I know my doubts. When I pray for another I am not thinking of their sins, faults, doubts. I pray believing God will answer their need. But as I travel along this road of prayer and faith with my savior I have to remind myself that God’s grace is what makes me “worthy.” I have had to teach myself to be positive in prayer, to praise in prayer and to know that whatever I ask in prayer, believing, that I will receive. (Matthew 21:22)
Prayer can be hard and it can be confusing. Prayer can feel like it needs to be said using big words. But God wants us to have a talk with him. To talk to Him earnestly and let Him know what we need, as we do with our friends. I have learned that sometimes all I have to say is “God, you know my need.” When I feel like I can’t express it properly or when I feel worn down from waiting, I just say to God…”you know my heart, you know my need, and I trust you to take care of it.”
Jesus’ death for my sins; His shed blood….that is what makes me worthy. I may forget it at times when the enemy chooses to remind me of how unworthy I am…but God gently reminds me that “He knows my heart, He knows my need, and I need to trust Him to take care of it.”

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Never Alone

My heart aches for the worthlessness women feel. In my life I know some of the world’s greatest mothers, daughters, sisters, friends, Christians, professionals, wives, WOMEN that exist. It really pulls at me deep inside when a woman feels ugly, unworthy, depressed, defeated and so on. I wish that I could open their eyes and clear their minds. I want them to see their value and worth.

The enemy seeks to destroy. Each woman I know right now is struggling with something. Some have broken marriages, others have poor body images, and some have no feelings of worth. I feel a deep need for a movement from God to touch each of these women’s lives. I offer the best advice I can, I deeply and earnestly pray from my heart for them all. I wish that these women did not have to experience these battles.

One common factor that I have found in all of us is a battle going on in our minds. Thoughts occur and out welcome their stay. Negativity sinks in and we belittle ourselves. Thoughts of fear, worry, doubt, uncertainty, some even death. It feels almost impossible to train your mind to take a positive direction when negativity creeps in. It seems so difficult to find at least one positive thing to hold on to and concentrate on.

But God’s word teaches us not to worry. He speaks on worry several times in the Bible because He knows it is a part of who we are. We are worriers by nature, it seems. There are several references to worry in the Bible. A few are:

Philippians 4:6-7: Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

Matthew 11: 28-30: “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”

These verses show us of God’s love and His want for peace in our life. Does that mean that we will never have worry and warfare’s? No! Does that mean that if we pray for this peace that it will ALWAYS come instantaneously? No!

One thing that I think we do not understand is that this earth is not intended to be pain free. There is heartache, pain, devastation, and worry. There has been since the beginning and will be until the end. These verses are to remind us that in the midst of these things that God is with you. You may not always feel His presence and there may be times you cry out and feel He is not there. But surely, He is. He does not forsake His children.

We are allowed to go through the wars and battles we go through because they teach us valuable lessons and make us want to draw closer to God. They strengthen our relationship with Him when we recognize we are weak and need to be humbled to accept His grace and His strength. We like to have too much control over our lives and it does not work that way. God has to have complete control for our lives to fall in to place.

Even though there are times we cry out and we get angry because we are tired of fighting the battles we as women have to fight, we have to press on. God will answer our prayers. God does hear our cries. God does not want us to live in fear. He is present. He surely loves you completely.

And whether you have to pray that prayer 100 times or you have to struggle daily for peace or you have to humble yourself and take your problems to a brother or sister in Christ for guidance and deeper prayer…for whatever reason…you have to go through your own struggle or battle. Because, this too shall pass. AND; when it does, you will have grown, learned more, and you may be used to help someone else in their time of need. Rest assured the enemy will be defeated and your prayer will be answered. God is greater than any problem you may face. If you cry out, but do not feel immediate peace then hold on to this truth…God is with you and you are NEVER ALONE.


Thursday, September 10, 2009

Enough already!!!!

I am trying to be a positive thinker in a negative world. When I hear my family member or my friend speaking negative thoughts it makes me upset. I always tell them to think positive and that when negativity pops in their mind, to ask God to remove the thoughts and to focus on something good. I need to heed my own advice.

I have noticed three situations lately where I have been negative. And on top of that, I have spoken to two people earlier this week about their negative thinking and how to help overcome it. Here are the three things that popped in my head.

1. My grandmother was rushed to the ER last week. The Paramedics were trying to get in her home after she called 911. She could not answer the door because she was disoriented, so they broke in. She is doing better now and went home that same night. My husband went over to her house yesterday to drop off a few things I had for her. He called me and asked me to call her house and let her know he was at the door because she was not answering it. My immediate thoughts, were “oh no, she may be hurt, she may need help.” (She was okay, just had the TV too loud.)
2. My very good friend is expecting a child. She went to hear the heartbeat for the first time yesterday afternoon. After 4 hours of not hearing anything and her not responding to my texts or calls, I became nervous. I thought things may not have gone well at the doctor’s office. I contacted two of our mutual friends to see if they heard word yet. My anxiety caused them to become nervous. They weren’t thinking anything was wrong, until I called. (I did speak with her, everything went well. She heard the heartbeat…she did admit to me that at first they could not find the heart and she, herself, instantly began preparing herself for bad news…she too thought negatively right from the get-go.).
3. My husband was working cutting grass on a farm today with a large tractor. He was to knock off around 6. He told me that if I called and he did not answer that it may be because the tractor is too loud to hear the phone. He has answered each time I called, so I forgot about the fact that he might at some point not hear it. 6:10 rolled around and he hadn’t called me yet to say he was coming home. Dinner was ready and I wanted to tell him to hurry before it got cold in case he lost track of time. For 45 minutes I tried to reach him with no success. I began to fear that he may have had an accident with the tractor so I got in my car to drive to check on him. Not even a mile from my home, he called me back to say he couldn’t hear the phone over the noise of the tractor and was heading home.

During each circumstance, I called out to God. I prayed for Him to (1) let my grandmother be alright; she was. (2) To please let my friend call me soon with good news; she did. (3) To keep His protective hand over my husband and to let him hear his phone; he did.

When the anxiety over my husband’s safety overwhelmed me today, I heard myself speaking the same words I shared with other’s this week. I immediately prayed for God to remove those negative thoughts from my mind. God answered.

I feel it is easier to be negative than it is to be positive in the world we live in today. The world, the media, and everyday people we know are all negative. But I am trying to sink myself into God’s word and His promises to help me overcome this anxiety.

One thing that helps me is listening to God tell me not to be “of this world.” Romans 12:2 says - Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind.

The world likes to bombard us with negativity. There have been times in the past people have tried to speak negative things on me (out of genuine concern) and it has shocked me that they would think such. They would say things like, “have you ever thought that “this” may be because of “that?” Well, NO…not until NOW, thank you very much….geez!!!

If the world wants to harp on all the bad things in life and all the “what-if’s” they can, but God’s word tells me NOT to in Romans 12:2.

Other verses I like to meditate on is a portion of Proverbs 12:25 – An anxious heart weighs a man down….How true that rings. Anxiety not only weighs you down mentally, but physically as well. It can wear you out

AND…2 Timothy 1:7 – But God did not give us a spirit of fear. But of power, love and a sound mind. This verse is staple in my life almost daily, I repeat this to myself often.

I believe some of us, more than others, have to work harder to stay positive. It is easy to let fear, doubt and anxiety overwhelm you. Most of us do not think very positively about ourselves that we think something bad is waiting around the corner for us. But rest assured, you can change your frame of mind. As a child of the great King, you can take authority in your life to remove these thoughts and the work of the enemy. For me, this is a struggle that happens too often, but not as bad as it has been in the past. I am learning to lean on the promises of God. I am glad that I caught myself today and asked God to help me. I am thankful that He opened my eyes to see that I need to practice what I preach.

God is a loving God. His love is full of peace and serenity. I know this! I choose to be more positive. I will pray for God to show me how. I will pray for God to show me the instant I am negative and help me to turn it around. I will pray the same for you.

Friday, September 4, 2009

My own good news

I do not watch the news. Well, not as much as I can help it. My husband is a news junkie . He listens to it on the radio often and on TV. When I listen to the news, I remember why I am so against it. Not against the news as information, but against allowing myself to watch it too much. With everything that is going on in our country and around the world these days, it can be very disheartening.

Children kidnapped, economy sinking further each day, healthcare being questioned and protested, murders, suicides and so much more. I like to picture my world full of peace. The news would be awesome if they reported: “Today millions of butterflies were seen fluttering in a field of lilies.” or “In debt? Don’t worry, God has all the credits you need.” LOL… (Shouldn’t have watched all those fairytales when I was younger.)

The reason I cannot allow myself to get involved in the news is because I can find myself wrapped in fear. Oh, I always know who is bigger than that fear and each time, I give it over to Him. However, some people can let it govern their lives. Upon watching the news with a group of people yesterday a man felt his need to share his take on every topic. He is very passionate about his feelings, but also you can hear the fear in his voice over what “could” happen.

After listening to him, I felt led to say “Yes, I know it is scary to think of these things and this world is filled with evil. That is why I just have to trust in God to take care of me because His word promises me that He will take care of His children.” “These things happening in our world could be the signs that the end of the world is approaching. To me, all the better, because it shows me His prophecies are being fulfilled and that He will come back and we won’t have to worry anymore over these things.”

But I recognized myself in him. That could and at times can be… me. That is the exact reason that I do not allow myself to watch the news a lot. I don’t want to worry over everything that is out of my control. Still, I believe I have a voice and that I am to use it. I believe that I am to set an example and stand up for what I believe in, and I do. But what I am trying to say is that I try not to surround my life with negative thoughts all day. That is why I limit my news intake.
Seeking God’s word on the fear that I can allow myself to swim in at times, I came across the following verse:

... Say to those with fearful hearts, "Be strong, do not fear; your God will come, he will come with vengeance; with divine retribution he will come to save you."Isaiah 35:4

This says to me, “Rachel, yes; the world is full of evil. There are things that you know are wrong that happen every day. There are so many that do not believe in God and the enemy does have full reign of this earth to tread to and fro. BUT; be strong and do not fear because THE God is your God and He promises to take care of His children. He will come and destroy all that is wrong with this world. You are saved from evil.” …..

Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of doubt, I will fear no evil. For thou art with me….

If you feel your life is at times run by fear, know that you are not alone. However, recognize that it is the enemy’s way of stealing your peace and taking your focus off the good that God can do.
And even though I didn’t hear on the news about those butterflies in the field of lilies something else incredible happened to me…. in person.

We have a hummingbird feeder on our porch directly in front of our rocking chairs. At first, the hummingbirds were afraid to come drink because the feeder is so close to the chairs. They have eventually gotten used to us sitting there and we now find them drinking all through the day. Yesterday while outside I was standing directly to the left of the feeder about 12 inches away…only 12 inches. I was watching my husband work in the yard. I heard wings flapping at the speed of lightning, and because I am always so afraid of scaring them off, I was startled and felt like I was invading his space. I made no sudden movements, but turned my head slightly to get a better look and saw right smack in front of me every feather, every color, every speedy flap of his wings, his feet and even the nectar that dripped from his beak when he was done. He looked at me for a split second after eating and then flew away.

No one saw this but me, I knew if I tried to get my husband’s attention by yelling for him to look, that the bird would have left. I felt very thankful for that small gift from God. Afterwards, I relished in the joy that incident brought me and thought of how cool my God is.

It spoke to me of my wonderful God, and that is all the “news” I need. That my God is awesome!