Hope for Today will inspire you to live a life connected to Christ by empowering you to fall in love with Jesus through personal spiritual growth. Teaching you the power of your identity and authority in Christ. Encouraging you in your inheritance as an ambassador for the kingdom of God!
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I love prayer. I started a life of prayer when I was about 7 or 8 years old and have prayed every night since then. I grew up in a religion, that at the time didn’t teach that one needs to have a personal relationship with Jesus as Lord and Savior; to be reborn through Him. It wasn’t until my late thirties that I accepted Christ and gave my life to him.
While prayer is a spiritual passion of mine, intercession; praying for the needs of others can be overwhelming at times. It is an honor and a privilege to pray for others. Perhaps this is why it can sometimes seem overwhelming because I want to give each request back to God with the same heartfelt desire as the last one. I don’t want to offer up prayers ‘on the fly’ simply because life is busy. I want to take the time to pray for each request according to God’s heart.
Paul encourages us in 1 Thessalonians 5:17,18 to pray without ceasing because this is God’s will for us through Christ Jesus. And I wonder, what does it look like to pray without ceasing? Certainly, I talk with God throughout the day, sometimes, okay many times, out loud!
But, what about times of quietness devoted to the prayer needs for ourselves and others? A few days ago I came across a verse and it has been traipsing through my mind like a new-born doe learning to prance along looking for food.
One day Peter and John were going up to the temple at the time of prayer-at three in the afternoon. Acts 3:1.
During this time both Jews and Gentiles observed three times of prayer, everyday, morning, afternoon and at sunset. Peter and John were busy men, teaching and preaching and spreading the gospel was a full-time job for them and they walked everywhere they went, it would take a good days walk and oftentimes it would take days for them to reach one place to deliver the gospel message. Yet, by all accounts, they stopped and prayed three times a day!
This thought of stopping and devoting time to prayer three times a day intrigues me. God has this in his word for a reason and it gives me hope about the ability to pray without ceasing. What would it look like if we stopped and devoted ourselves to prayer three times a day? What amazing things would our eyes be opened to see? Prayer isn’t just for the benefit of others. Prayer draws us closer into a deeper and more intimate relationship with God. God gives us prayer for our spiritual health.
She knelt before him her helmet under her left arm and wearing her administrative clothes. Her robe was long and lush and of the most beautiful hue of ecru. It was lavishly embroidered and had a fur trim all around. And her helmet, ahh, well, it was a gift from a very sweet friend who told her it was like a nuclear warhead with missiles and different projectiles ready at her command.
For weeks now he has been saying to her, “Listen, listen to me.” Her response was always the same, “What am I listening for?” Today as she knelt before Him he said to her, “Jael you hear My voice and you follow Me and I know you. My daughter, you are my beautiful warrior and my beautiful princess; a warrior princess and I anoint you.”
Interesting, because for a few years now she and one of her best friends have called each other SWP, which means Sister Warrior Princess. Curiously she wonders what the anointing is for since she has thought of herself as a warrior and a princess for a long time now.
To be continued….
My sheep hear my voice; I know them, and they follow me. John 10:27.
I have been blogging about finding deeper intimacy with God and asking God what this looks like for my life. At first God seemed to be silent on the matter, which disappointed me a bit because what started this quest to find deeper intimacy with God was the result of me feeling there is so much more to my relationship with Him. I felt like I had hit a brick wall then suddenly Holy Spirit open the floodgates and daily I am finding new treasures He has set out for me, like going on a treasure hunt finding clue after clue of where the treasure hides!
Yesterday I was standing in front of one of our book shelves and my eyes spotted our devotionals, the small “Jesus Calling” size devotionals. I went to reach for one and thought, “no, I want to read this one instead”, but my hand went for the first one intended.
Here is an excerpt of today’s devotion:
“People don’t lose intimacy when they stop talking, but when they stop listening. Leaders seldom realize how much their listening empowers the other person. Because they are leaders, the sheer act of listening speaks volumes that even a great speech can’t communicate.” John Maxwell
In my experience this is just like Holy Spirit. When you ask God a question be prepared to receive an answer(s)! It has also been my experience that God always goes above and beyond what we ask of Him. Why? This goes back to something I am passionate about; our relationship with God, which by the way, doesn’t just happen. Just like our earthly relationships, which both parties give care and concern too in order for the relationship to be a relationship, our relationship with God desires care and concern. Besides, I believe God loves to bless us just because we are his kids! I know I love to bless my kids just because I love them beyond compare.
However, what is the deeper meaning of God blessing us? One of my favorite Psalms is Psalm 37:4:
Delight yourself in the LORD; And He will give you the desires of your heart.
What this Psalm expresses is that when we delight in God by nurturing and giving care and concern to our relationship with him, he gives us the desires of our heart, because we make room for him to place his heart over our heart and his desires become our desires. This ties back to more intimacy with Him. This requires us to surrender more of ourselves to him; giving him our desires, our hopes, our plans.
Our choice didn’t end when we chose Jesus. Every day we get to choose to nurture our relationship with Him. I mean really nurture our relationship with him. Asking him to show us what He wants our relationship with Him to look like.
Perhaps this is what the Chronicler meant in 1 Chronicles 22:19:
Now devote your heart and soul to seeking the LORD your God.
Precious One God wants to be intimate with you. He’s simply waiting for you to ask!
It was 10 days before her 21st Birthday. She stood on her father’s arm waiting for the procession to begin. As she did, she was looking at all the faces staring back at her. There were smiles all around, and, why wouldn’t there be? It was a beautiful sunny day. The girls looked so pretty in their dresses holding their flowers. The men were handsome as ever in their tuxedo’s. It was her wedding day!
Finally, it was their turn to walk down the aisle into her future. Suddenly, an odd thought came crashing into her mind crowding out all the other thoughts forming there; “This marriage will not last.” The thought was so real, so vivid, so tangible, she could feel it just as much as she had thought it. She brushed it off and soon she was standing there, in front of him, her high school sweetheart. The rest of the day went on as planned and nary a thought was given to “that” thought.
Sadly, two years later that prophetic thought came to pass. The marriage was over. Lives; their lives and that of their families were shattered. Would healing ever come?
It wasn’t until years later that she realized and acknowledged the truth; she had settled. She knew the reason to be that she didn’t feel good enough or deserve to have someone love her for who she was. While she had always felt she was confident she now came to realize she suffered from low esteem. And, that, would take even more years for her to begin to understand and overcome.
This year I decided to read my devotional Bible. After a section of passages the author has inserted a devotion based on the main point of the collective passages. From one particular devotion I read, “When God looks at us, are we a pleasure to him, or a pain?” I immediately took exception to this statement. I have spent the last few years continually learning about my identity in Christ. I know when God looks at me he does not see me as a pain, even when I choose to be disobedient.
These are just some of the feelings God has about me:
He delights in me and rejoices over me with singing (Zephaniah 3:17). Imagine that, God sings!
I am the apple of his eye! (Zachariah 2:8)
He lavishes me with his great love and calls me his child. (1 John 3:1).
I am no longer condemned. (Romans 8:1).
I am righteous in his sight. (2 Corinthians 5:21).
I am blessed because my sins are forgiven. (Romans 4:7).
I meet and pray with many women. One thing we all have in common is overcoming the lies we have bought into about our worth. And, I’m sure the author of the devotions means no ill intent or purposeful harm. But, for some to read those words questioning whether we are a pleasure or a pain to God, could send them in a downward spiral and somehow the start button is pushed on all those old negative and lying mind talk tapes.
Beloved, if you remember just one thing today, let it be that God loves you beyond measure, you are ALWAYS a pleasure to him, you belong to Him!