A Month (or More) in Prayer Journaling

I’ve posted about this on my personal Facebook as well as the Just Hold Fast page and it was something that had been on my mind and heart. I don’t pray enough, or didn’t. I don’t know the barometer of what is ‘enough’ because the Bible tells us to never cease praying (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18). What I do know is it lingered there, in the back of my mind and I had not considered how to fight it with tools like journaling. I do all the expected praying, I talk to God when I first wake up, at meals, during bed times and if someone asks me to, I pray for them. I do not understand the practice of telling someone you will pray for them and then not doing it. You’re basically lying, even if well meaning and you forget because life has gotten you distracted.

We know prayer is a powerful thing that God wants us to do. How often do we forget to? Journaling can help and God saw that specific need in my life. Like the good Father he is, he provided a way for me to get what I needed to deepen my relationship with him and I want to share that with you.

Consider this, where do you think that distraction has come from? The enemy. He doesn’t want you to pray for anyone. In fact, he will throw up all kinds of roadblocks to prevent you from doing so. I’m guilty of being distracted, that is the reason why I am writing this and the purpose is to give you an idea of what consciously focusing on praying has done for me and my relationship with God. TL;DR, it’s way better than it was!

How it all Started

I’m going to blame this one on Tara over at Story of My Heart for giving me the thing I didn’t know I needed. Lots of folks have heard or seen the movie War Room which shows just how transformational prayer can be. The movie depicts the Jordan family who from the outside have this wonderful marriage but the reality is that at home their marriage is in shambles, it is a war zone. All seems lost and yet, God provides the wife with help from an older and wiser woman who leads the wife to the power of constant prayer and journaling it to show the good it can do. Things change, the family becomes closer and it is all because of God and the practice of talking to him.

I tell you all of this to say Tara gave me a copy of ‘The Battle Plan‘ which is a small book that goes along with the movies concept. The book itself is pretty diminutive in size but what it represents is something so much greater. I am late to the game with this book and the concept itself is not new. What the movie has done is re-envision the prayer journaling is and communicate its purpose. It has been re-envisioned in such a way that it helps Christians who are struggling to keep that prayerful connection.

For me, it has worked. What does around 3 months in prayer look like? It will be different for everyone, I’ve prayed daily and logged prayer requests that have both been asked for and simply me finding out about some event that someone would need prayer about. I was not perfect in this endeavor because I would often forget my journal after a week of work and I would try to rememeber who and what I prayed for so that on Monday I could fill it out. So what does that look like?

Prayer Journaling
Prayer Journaling

Why Journaling Matters

The whole purpose of journaling is not to give you ammo to feel like you are praying more than others, it is not there to make you boastful. I would argue instead that it does more important things like reminding you how powerful prayer can be. James 4:2 tells us that, “You do not have because you do not ask.” and when we turn away from Gods’ invitation to communicate with him directly we neglect the fact that this whole spinning ball and all that it entails exists because He simply spoke it in to being.

Journaling serves other purposes as well. When you journal and you see how God responds to your constant prayer it humbles you to see how much of an impact your work for His good will be in peoples lives. Journaling serves as a reminder to pray until it becomes a habit and then it keeps you on track.

Even with all of that I think that journaling about your prayer and connection to God does something infinitely more important, it dispels doubt. Christians and non-Christians alike doubt God. I struggle with that in times of high stress when I see no way out on my own and that is the key thing for me. I know that intuitively it is just doubt that is strangling me but my desire to operate on my own, outside of the influence of God. Journaling has helped center me and remove that issue from my life. It had tempered my need to control and allowed me to prayerfully serve others, regardless of their knowledge that someone out there, even a stranger, prayed for them.

Conclusion

I did not write this to boast or brag about my relationship with God. Instead I want to encourage you, with all of my heart, to pray more. Let me pray for you. Regardless of the circumstance and our desired outcome, God has a plan and when we embrace that, commune with him and serve others great things will happen. It is not something you do in the hopes of gaining ground with God because that is not how it works. We do not act and follow Jesus with the hope of Heaven as a reward. We follow his simple invitation to live as he has so that we live the way God intended us to. Without the death and resurrection of Jesus there is no Christianity. Jesus prayed constantly to God and he is perfect. We, flawed humans need a little help and I believe journaling is one of the most effective ways that we can continue to pray and keep a strong relationship with God.

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New Year 2018 – Reflection and Goals

2018 Reflection and Plans

Just as I have for several years now I look back on 2017 and reflect then turn to 2018 with hope, with dreams and goals for my relationship with God, my family and with myself. This is inspired directly from the Bible since we are often hung up on the old in a detrimental way and I was determined to change that.

Reflection of 2017

What I found was that God had already put that path in place for all of us. He knows that we dwell on things and need a reminder, that is why 1 Chronicles 16:11-12 exists! We are told specifically to remember the wonders God has done. My wife calls me a planner, and I am, I like to take the long term view over instant gratification so this speaks to my heart so much. I get hung up on stuff just like anyone else and I think we humans have the ability to slip down that slope of negative thinking so easily because it seems justified to us. Even if it were something small we allow it to eat at us and become a monster within our souls.

When I look back on 2017 I see a year that was everything good and bad in life. No major deaths in my family, but one of our dogs was put to rest. Successful school semesters and my wife has even gone back to pursue her ADN to BSN. We all turned a year older and even welcomed a new puppy to our home, and he chews on everything…literally anything.

All of those things are great days of our lives moments but it has also been a year marked by unexpected challenges of faith. The sudden departure of a loved man of God who is now planting a church in Salt Lake City, Utah called Ridgeline. It is easy to get distracted by that event because leaders, Godly men like that are a rarity in the Bible Belt so when you experience that you tend to latch on. I am completely stoked for what he and his family will do in SLC and you should go to their site and check out their journey! God has moved so that the churches expenses are already covered for a whole year. It is one of those things that shows why faith leads to God’s grace. If you know someone in the area, or are in the SLC area yourself, go and see what Ridgeline is all about!

Goals of 2018

I don’t like the term resolution, it has negative connotations around this time of year. It makes me think of things people promise themselves and abandon on week two of the new year. I don’t make goals until the middle of January because I want to make sure I can meet those goals and only after I look at where I need to improve from 2017.

I have three goals and the first is the most important one because it involves more than just me but my wife and children.

Goal 1 – Pray More

I don’t mean just making sure I dot the ‘i’ or cross my ‘t’ when it comes to grace and before bed. I mean intentional, important, God I need you, someone else I know needs you type of praying. It is something that was running around in my head and something I had mentioned to my wife two weeks before Christmas. This is the cool part, God had already laid the path. I received a copy of ‘The Battle Plan’ a prayer journal inspired from War Room. This gift came by way of my wife’s sister Tara who along with Melissa run Story of My Heart. That coupled with being asked to be a part of the Prayer Team for Reboot Combat Recovery by Melissa is just more proof that this specific goal is vital to my year.

The other half of this goal is my family. Until now we have allowed the kids to say grace using words they memorized in day care. It is sweet and cute and makes my heart swell but with them being 7 and 5 I want them to see more than just something they repeat every day. I want them to see how a conversation with God can be, to be comfortable talking to God about anything and can be done any where. It is my hope that I can communicate and how them that God is there for whatever mess you have fallen in to or placed yourself in (Romans 12:12). That faith in He will be victory in them even if the outcome is not what they expect.

Goal 2 – Read More

I’m not going to tell you I know the Bible forward and backwards or that I read it daily, I do not. I want to change that and will, but that is not what I mean by reading more. I mean to read more from great men of God to learn from their insight. This will be a tough challenge for me, I read enough in school so I fear burnout but, I want to learn more about their lives and how God moved in it. My goal is to read one book a month, and hopefully report back on it here! That would be awesome to accomplish but I cannot promise it I can only pray and try my best to do it.

Goal 3 – Practice Patience

Lord help me on this one, it will be difficult. As my kids have grown my patience has lessened because I can see the wheels spinning as they devise uncounted means of torture for the parental units of the home. They are testing their boundaries and on most days I am solid, handle it well. On other days I feel like that is all I have done that day, fuss at my kids. I do not enjoy that feeling one bit. I need more Ephesians 4:2 in my soul brothers, pray for that for me, please.

The Real Goal

All of those those goals really come together under one thing. Establishing a stronger relationship with God. I want my entire family to be bedrock in God. It is a great work, a life’s work of a husband to guide his family there. That is a burden made light by Christ, if we seek Him relentlessly. Jesus is the man we should be molding ourselves to be like, who we teach our sons to be like. If I bring Christ closer, I can lead my family to being closer to him and fulfill my life’s work.

A Challenge

Going in to 2018 I have set myself a challenge. I want you to solicit prayer requests for me at the Contact page and I will pray for you. I will log that prayer in the book provided by Tara. I want to fill that book up by the end of 2018 and know that I prayed heavily for those who I may or may not know. Regardless of the outcome I can look back and show my kids that prayer is unrestricted, available to friend, foe and stranger. It will be a difficult journey but if I Just Hold Fast, I can do it.

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Be There For One Another

Help One Another

Everyone helps his neighbor and says to his brother, “Be strong!” – Isaiah 41:6

A few weeks ago my pastor was speaking about church, about diversity in the church when he was addressing the issues we face today in the world. Mostly in America because that is where we live but abroad also. It’s painful to think that you must be of a certain demographic to worship somewhere. We were called to love one another. To be there for one another not because it is nice, not because we feel bad but because it is what Christ did. Even in times when He could have justly torn someone down such as Peters’ denial or Judas’ betrayal.

Christ understood hard times like no man has before or will again. Yet He still found strength to comfort others. He looked outside of His own interests and in to what was best for all of us (Philippians 2:1-7).  I don’t think any church has reached that. Even my own. We want it, I pray we do. We are people though and that means we often become judgmental or whispering about things. Sometimes that humanity makes us choose not to be there for one another when we should.

Tragedies have a way of uniting people in ways they never considered possible, it’s in those times we realize how true 1 Corinthians 12:26 is because we suffer with others even if the tragedy is afar. Yet we forget to rejoice with those same people. When we get tired or are hidden from public view our real feelings tend to surface. Sometimes they are ugly, I’m guilty of it and I ask God to give me a change of heart to always be encouraging.

That does not mean we cannot reprimand those we love or with. In fact we should (Ephesians 5:11) because we are looking out for them. It’s something that must be done with care. We are stewards of God’s grace and with that comes the responsibility to hold ourselves and others accountable without condemning them and to reprimand them when they stray without ostracizing them.

When we walk a mile in someone else’s shoes we get a better picture of why we should be there for one another. We experience their experience. Putting ourselves in that mindset mentally is great as long as we use it to prepare ourselves to actually serve them if we can. When I get home I want my family because that is what soothes me from work. I have that shoulder to lean on. Sometimes that is all someone needs. If we can love others and learn to see things from their perspective that is when we are being there for one another. You don’t have to go to a foreign country to be a missionary, do it in your own back yard. Make a step towards creating diversity in your life and invite those people to where you worship. That is how we put the diversity back in the church. It’s simple, effective and it glorifies Christ.

Who Is God to You?

God to You

In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. – Genesis 1:1

If you are Christian you know the creation story and even if not many people are familiar with it. It is the accounting for how everything that exists was formed. Other religions have similar stories such as the flood that Noah lived through but is seen in Sumerian text and in Babylonian historical accounts, albeit the people differ. God has been there since the beginning of it all because he created it all. We literally would not exist had he not wanted it. Our reference verse shows us where creation began. Which is great for a Christian but what about someone who has no idea about God or Christianity, what if they ask who this God is?

God’s Story

As with any story you start from the beginning because where else would you start for a lost soul? Salvation doesn’t begin somewhere in the middle and God didn’t just appear during Jesus ministry on Earth either. His story began before we were created and will continue long after we have been judged. It is something the Bible tells us continually from Genesis 1:1 to Revelation 22:21. His story is one creation, rapture, anger, judgement, forgiveness and love. The facets that are who God is are uncountable to our language but his character is woven throughout the Bible. He is Qanna (Jealous, Exodus 34:14), Adonai (Lord/Master, Genesis 15:2) Jehovah Shalom (Peace, Judges 6:24) and most importantly to our afterlife Jehovah Mekoddishkem (The Lord who Sanctifies You, Leviticus 20:8). I know I used a lot of Old Testament references there and for good reason, we are starting at the beginning. It is proof that God has been all the things we normally tell those who don’t know about God when they ask.

What We Say

I’ve been asked plenty on what He is to me and I have always used canned responses, not because I am lazy, my responses are genuine. I truly believe all the things I say such as Lord, King, Creator, Alpha and Omega. I’m sure I am not the only one, these are correct terms we learn as children and as new believers in the truth that Christ spoke. What we say determines how people understand God and those who are lost are particularly sensitive to this. Speak your testimony and not what you just were taught. Share Him in all the ways you can, I don’t see anything wrong with expressing how you may doubt or become frustrated with Him. The easiest way to appeal to someone is to find common ground. If they have a preconceived notion that all Christians are arrogant and look down on non-believers then strip away some of that wall and show them how broken you were and still can be inside, then show them the light you carry with you.

Final Thoughts

Instead of beating a dead horse, tell me, who is God to you? Is He the shield as He told Abraham in Genesis 15:1? Is He faithful (Hebrews 10:23) and loving (John 14:21)? Is He, like David proclaimed in Psalm 19:14 as his rock and redeemer? He is all these things and more and we know this because it is in His words put to paper for man to find Him. The Bible is more than just a collection of writings found and put together. It is the words of God himself and it is also an exposure of His heart. All that God wants us to know of Him can be found in those pages if we are willing to read, study, learn, chase and exhort others to do as well. We grow as they grow and we walk closer to Him in sharing the truth.

Daily Devotion – Spiritual Fitness

Spiritual Fitness

Have nothing to do with godless myths and old wives’ tales; rather, train yourself to be godly. – 1 Timothy 4:7

In this, Paul is telling Timothy to not waste time on myths or old wives tales but to use that time to become spiritually fit. How does that happen? With consistent nourishment and time. It is easy for us to get caught up in the trappings of the world. We often worry about things that have little meaning in the plan God has for us. Gossip (Ephesians 4:29) is often the demon we battle that tries, and often succeeds in being a parasite. One that sapps away the nourishment that we should be focusing on to reach a better state of spiritual fitness.

What does Spiritual Fitness Look Like?

It’s undefinable and not something that has a visual cue. I’m certain you’ve heard the story of a new pastor who dressed as a homeless man and sat outside of his church as the congregation went in and then proceeded to go in side where he was looked down upon as if he were less than. When the Elders of the church were confirming the new pastor this homeless man who was asked to sit in the back stood up and walked to the pulpit. The congregation was shamed. While the validity of the story may not be entirely true it does have some important lessons on what spiritual fitness looks like. It is also a message to how we deviate away from Christs’ mission. As disciples our mission is for each one to reach one. Even if we only help lead one soul to God in our life we have accomplished something great! Spiritual fitness has no definable physical trait.

How do Spiritually Fit People Act?

When I think of how I need to act so that my spiritual fitness is showing the first word that comes to mind is service. Service to others by speaking life. Giving hope by helping whenever I can in whatever role that God is putting before me. We shouldn’t try to pick and choose the opportunities that He presents us. Each is a gift and to turn from an opportunity that God has placed before us because it isn’t good enough is like turning away from Him and His plan for us. I no way profess that my place in life is better than anyone else when I talk about my qualities, it is just an expression of thoughts, I love everyone or try to, I’m not perfect. Spiritually fit people are always praying (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18), they are serving others (Galatians 5:13), they have faith through their works and not faith apart from their works. Ultimately they strive to be like Christ.

Final Thoughts

Spiritual Fitness requires a regiment just as much as physical fitness does if not more so. We can become spiritually unfit in a moment whether it is by action, thought or even inaction. There are two prizes we can gain from being spiritually ready for things that come our way. The first is the life we get to enjoy here on earth. If you walk with God here the things in your life will improve because you will be speaking life, showing love and acting in service to others through God. We can have a multitude of prizes (some tangible but mostly not) lavished upon us through our life by our service to others. Our works are rewarded in heaven but those works must be done in faith and not apart from it. If we make an effort to become and stay spiritually fit our life in the here and now can be so much better.

Daily Devotional – Grow in Faith

Grow

Be diligent in these matters; give yourself wholly to them, so that everyone may see your progress. – 1 Timothy 4:15

If God has truly made an impact in your life because you have truthfully made the commitment to trust Jesus Christ as your savior then you will grow. To give the reference verse some back story, Paul is writing to Timothy whom he asked to go to the church in Ephesus because it was a mess. A mess because while they loved God they had forgotten how much God loved them. They were a church on autopilot. In Revelations 2:1-4 Jesus tells them directly that while they profess in faith and show a walk in faith for anyone to see they do not grow in faith because they have left their first love by putting their devotion in to the church and not the people of the church.

Faltering in the First Love

Remember the butterflies that you had when you accepted Jesus for what He is? Son of God, the Lion, the Lamb and more. I would be lying if I said that it did not wax and wane for me. I’m human and broken. Sometimes I don’t like what God is putting in front of me, but I still love Him. Those times when I am listening to the enemy and not to God is when that First Love falters. Maybe it is getting caught up in the trappings of portraying what a Christian should be like the church at Ephesus was. Their biggest transgression was forgetting how much Christ loved everyone, including the unbelievers. When we as a church, I say that meaning the people of God, attack unbelievers by slander, action or denial of even acknowledging their existence we are showing we have let our First Love go. How can we grow in Christ when we are doing exactly the opposite of what Christ did?

How to Grow our First Love

To have your First Love is to be like Christ. One way to be like Jesus it is to serve others. He did this exceptionally well, perfectly actually. Why did he come to Earth and die? In service to us so that we may find a path to Heaven. When we lose that love we lose our desire to serve others including the lost, and even our brother and sisters in Christ. God has breathed words in to the Bible, in to our hearts and it will help us combat losing our love. We need to do everything we can for God. He has done enough for us. We grow our love by doing just that, loving others and not loving what we think the church represents.

Instead of calling people freaks or perverts or assuming they are terrorists because their faith is different (Ephesians 4:29), we should be trying to understand why they feel the way they do and reaching out to them in love as Jesus did. When we reach out in anger we condemn them in a way Christ never intended. As Christians we understand what judgment is because all will be judged. It is not the act of judgment, which is the formation of an opinion, that is a problem. It is how we express that judgment that is the problem. If we express that opinion in anger or fear then what have we done? We have taken away from how we should present ourselves as Christians. We have robbed ourselves and others of that First Love.

Final Thoughts

To nurture our first love we must nurture our faith. It is a synergy that is necessary for us to grow. Proverbs 3:5 tells us to trust in the Lord and to not lean on our own understanding of things. Our understanding is often flawed with emotions of anger, fear etc. These things are where we are following our heart and not our faith. Worship God with all of your being, Pray to Him all the time, Serve others in everything that you do, Give all that you can muster to Him and then dig deeper and give more of yourself. There is no depth to which we can go that God doesn’t get. When we think that God just won’t understand we are wrong. He is God and He knew us before we were born and will know us long after we are gone. Plan seeds of faith, goodwill and love and water them to grow. Ignore the seeds of doubt the enemy tries to sow in your field of works.

Daily Devotional – My Heavenly Father

Heavenly Father

See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are! The reason the world does not know us is that it did not know Him. – 1 John 3:1

There are only a handful of names I really enjoy being called in life. Son, Brother, Dad or Daddy, Scotty (I get this more than Daddy and that is okay), Fiancé and most importantly, child of God. While I may not physically hear this from the lips of God I can hear it in my heart. God is such a good Father, in ways I will never be able to be. He takes care of things I can never imagine handling. All the children that need his attention and battling with the enemy to me seems insurmountable. He is our Heavenly Father who dwells in all places in all times so that His children’s spirit is watched over.

Tough Love

I want to share a story with you about a time when I was a child and I had inadvertently terrified my parents. After school in the city was an interesting time. You had to do your homework and then you could go play. I was originally just going to play on the sidewalk in front of my house and that is what I told my mom. After being out there a few minutes I realized that the small church right up the road was having after school Bible study and I so wanted to go! In my excitement I completely forgot to tell my mom that was what I wanted to do and I just went. After the program was over for the day I left the church feeling happy and I had some craft with me. As I was walking up the concrete walkway to leave the church grounds I heard, “There he is!” and looked up to see my Uncle Timmy stalking towards me. I was terrified, I didn’t understand what I had done wrong as he hoisted me up and carried me down the street to home. There I was summarily passed to my father who was intent to take me upstairs and show my hind end a thing or two with his (even in my eyes today) giant meaty man-bear-paw. Mom stopped him and reminded him that I did not even know what I had done. I was sat down and explained that I had not told mom where I was, the police were called and it was a big mess. I don’t like disappointing my family, especially my parents and I had. I was crestfallen and even though I knew I had done wrong I was punished as well. Even though some parents would have given me a pass because of the relief that I was safe and not abducted. God believe in the same thing (Hebrews 12:5-11) though I think that sometimes we misinterpret the intentions of tough love and use it as a means to justify being mean to our children when they are frustrating us. I’m guilty of it, I try to dissuade myself from irritating them back as a form of punishment but frankly, it isn’t is and I beg God’s forgiveness often and pray that I have the strength through Him to be less like that.

Heavenly Comfort

I fullt believe the comfort we get from God is not from single method. God is omniscient and He knows that we may not get our comfort in ways that someone right next to us does. Some week prayer to provide comfort and some look to friends or family. God can provide comfort in all ways but I do believer that the heavenly comfort we get from God is not by praying alone. The heavenly comfort that God blesses us with can be sought out in church. Christ was the center of the church and if we go to a place where God’s children gather we can tap in to that source of amazing heavenly love.

Final Thoughts

God does not seek to give us punishment but He does expect His children to follow His words. We should not hide our faults from God like Ananias and Sapphira (Acts 5:1-11) did, you cannot hide from God. It’s that weird power our parents posses, when they know you’re doing something you shouldn’t and you think you have gotten away with it and then the hammer comes down. Parenting is no walk in the park, you have to balance love, discipline, praise and many other factors to set boundaries but also encourage your children. God has given us boundaries and he has given us praise and rewarded us greatly through the death of Christ, even if we were unworthy. This heavenly love is incomparable and even though we know we are a child of God, we never really grasp all the complexities that it entails.

Daily Devotional – Who Am I? Discover Yourself

Discover Yourself

This is what the Lord says – He who created you, Jacob, He who formed you, Israel; “Do not fear, for I have redeemed you; I have summoned you by name; you are Mine.” – Isaiah 43:1

This kind of question is right up my alley. I spend a lot of time in reflection, examining what I have done so that I can improve my future. Let me be clear on this, there is a distinct difference between reflecting for improvement versus clinging to a mistake because you spent a lot of time making it. We should see our salvation as a catalyst for doing more than just changing our status in God’s eyes. It should show us how to discover who we are as a person and in Christ.

Discovery

I think that I have learned enough about myself to give you some advice on self-discovery. I know exactly who I am. This is going to be secular advice that will lead into why it is important in a non-secular manner! Understanding who you are is going to help you communicate better in showing the love of Jesus. How you discover who you are can vary based on your actual desire to and the life you’ve lived. I have a penchant for doing everything the hard way. So finding myself was a 10 year journey into depression, overeating, lying and being someone I wasn’t just to fit in. That needed to change, I had nephews and siblings that I wanted to see grow up. My sister had married, my brother had married. I was the oldest and here I was in my mid-20’s living at home eating myself to death. I wanted to see them grow up and I wanted to be there for them, all of them.

Like many lost or wandering souls I turned to God, after I had basically pushed Him away and did what I wanted I came back. Then I came across Psalm 40:1-3 and I had been asking what can I do, what can I change, what more do I need to be better. God answered me there and gave me hope. I would’t be perfect, I know I can’t be but He told me I was enough. I was enough. My sister had a gastric bypass and so then I worked towards having one done. I began eating better before hand and had dropped almost 50 lbs before I had went to see the surgeon and jump through the hoops to get everything done. I still was doing a lot of the things I probably shouldn’t, my language was not great among other things but I was trying and while I didn’t go to church I read the bible on my phone or tablet. Eventually I had the surgery and I lost a lot of weight. I learned a lot about myself in that time because philosophy is a hobby of mine. I came to learn some of my fears, my flaws and my strengths. I was an entirely different person. Who people know me as today was not who I was 3-5 years ago.

It took a lot for me to understand who I am and honestly, I think that in tragedy we do learn the truth. Being honest with ourselves is the hardest thing you can do (Psalm 51:6) on the road to self discovery. Like lots of other step programs admitting the truest facts are the first steps needed to restoration of the former person. It is a hard road to discover yourself but you can do it. It will increase your understanding of how things were, how they are and help you see what you can do for the future.

Testimony

How you view yourself is going to affect your testimony in Christ. If you are an introverted person it may be harder for you to be a witness to God’s work because you have a natural reluctance to reigning in your actions and emotions. Think about this though, David danced in glory of the Lord and sang His praises because of something God gives to us. The Holy Spirit. The Bible instructs us to use the Spirit to reach out to others (2 Timothy 1:7) not fear them. Yes, that is easier said than done but remember, God wants us to grow and we grow by reaching outside of our comfort zone and learning new things. We should let that light increase and touch other lives so that they know the joy we have in the security of salvation.

Discover Who I Am

I am a Child of God. I’m also a father, soon to be a husband, an uncle, a brother, a son. I have many titles and I have many obligations. They all make me up a part of who I am. I’m a man who has made mistakes and I have made some pretty awesome triumphs. I have been a liar, I have been a misogynist, I have been a terrible cook. That stuff doesn’t define me in the way I see myself today. They are chapters to my life, secrets I keep between God and myself. It is also things I have let go. I don’t get it right all the time and God doesn’t expect me to.

It is interesting that this devotional came up today. I was speaking with some co-workers and one brought up what Maya Angelou had said, “You are enough.” It made me think back to my experiences and then I open my devotional tonight and here is this devotion telling me that I am a child of the Most High God. I am important and precious to Him. I have a purpose in this life and I am enough. Yes, I am enough for God, that makes me enough for myself, for those I love and those who may scorn me. Thank you Jesus, thank you for the tears and the heartaches. Thank you for the times that were rough and you let me dwell in them so that when I was ready to spread the word it would burn through me like a wildfire and maybe just maybe reach someone needing it. Someone who may be hurting.

I am enough.

They are enough.

You, God, our portion, are more than enough.

Daily Devotional – Scary Shadows

Shadows

What, then, shall we say in response to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? – Romans 8:31

I can remember being a child sometimes and in those moments I remember some of my fears that are now just amusing and down right silly. Especially of shadows. I hated going in to the basement as a kid because I watched a lot of horror movies. Totally cool until the movie is over and you’re home alone. That fear comes from the idea that I didn’t think I was in a safe place even though I really was. It’s like that now, with God. See, I can scare myself with shadows, these what-ifs and maybes because I doubt in His plan for me sometime.

Faith in the Shadows

God is light and the devil flees from his brilliance. I think that for me, a mantra like that reminds me that no matter the problem, no matter the difficulties that lie ahead if I can keep my focus on God then he promises to see me through. He is the Father and one of the primary duties of a father is to protect his children. When I was little and afraid it was because my faith in the protection my mother and father had given me was foundering. Not because they were poor parents, in fact I have been blessed with amazing parents! It was from my lack of faith in them because I was allowing fear to supersede my knowledge of protection. I know that God is my portion and that it is fulfilling beyond measure but I am human, I fail, I doubt. He loves me anyway. It’s what a Father does. No matter how truant a youth may be his hand is there to hold and lead you and I from the darkness.

Become a Shadow-chaser

This just popped in to my head while writing but why can we not help chase the shadows away? God’s light is within us, it is given to us when we acknowledge there is no higher power than He. We can use that to help lead others from the shadows in to the light. This does not mean we are giving the lost salvation but instead guiding them to Jesus. The shadows retreat within the soul. God’s hand is what chases that away, no man can do this thing but Jesus.

Final Thoughts

All of this reminds me of a favorite song, “God’s Gonna Cut You Down”

[su_quote]Well you may throw your rock and hide your hand
Workin in the dark against your fellow man
But as sure as God made black and white
Whats done in the dark will be brought to the light[/su_quote]

It is a warning to sinners. While we are repentant as Christians it should be a warning to us that no matter what we do, seen or unseen, God knows. The shadows aren’t nearly as scary as the disappointment of the Father in his children who wander. God is forgiving, the shadows, are not.

Daily Devotional: Stop the Doubt

Doubt

Now the serpent was more crafty than any of the wild animals the Lord God had made. He said to the woman, “Did God really say, ‘You must not eat from any tree in the garden’?” – Genesis 3:1

There was no doubt before the fall of man. He was in God’s image and he was pure. The trust between God and man at that time was unquestionable. Yet God also foresaw what would happen and warned Adam and Eve that obedience to Him was paramount. Yet the serpent was able to cause Eve to second guess God’s command. Man had lost his trust in God because he doubted the power that God wields over him, even when it was God who created him. Every time man has sinned it is because he doubted God.

Defining Doubt

Doubt is a feeling of uncertainty or a lack of conviction. Both have separate consequences. When I am uncertain of things it is often a lack of confidence in myself. This I think opens us up to not only failure but sin. We are uncertain of ourselves and if our conviction is lacking then we doubt God. Doubting God alone is a sin, He is Creator and worthy of all of our reverence. Luke 24:38 asks us, why are we troubled, and why do doubts arise in our hearts? I think that it is two-fold, Satan is whispering to us but also our desire to self-fulfill our destiny and not place it in His hands.

Overcoming Doubt

To overcome doubt I think that we need to understand that it is not a lack of belief in Jesus but more a state of limbo. Having doubts does not mean you have turned your back on Christianity which it may feel like. How we overcome this is by addressing it directly. If you find yourself wavering in some manner, that is doubt creeping in. Don’t take the “I guess it’s okay to doubt” or “I’ll work it out later” road. Make strategic war with it. Eradicate it by praying and do as Jesus did. Tell Satan take a hike and don’t come back no more.

Final Thoughts

Granted saying how to overcome doubt is easier said than done but Jesus told us that if we do not doubt in our hearts and believe in what we say (such as telling Satan to be gone) then it will come to pass. Jesus used the word of God as a weapon to send Satan away. We can too because in His death we have been empowered against the enemy. Do not let that leave your mind. Satan fears you and that is why he tries to subvert you. He cannot defeat you but he can make you a bad example. Stop the doubt. Toss Satan out.

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