His Answer...

The power of No. The answer we don’t want to hear. The finality of it. All too often when we ask God to answer our prayers, in the back of our minds and the seat of our hearts we hope He will grant our request and say “Yes!” So how do we begin then, our approach to God with our requests? Are we beginning by centering our hearts, our minds, our very being on what He intends for our good, no matter what His answer is? What He intends for our good is often not what we have in mind. Our entrance into prayer with our Father God can either be heavily weighted with emotion, or, breathing freely and expectantly open. Bring your emotion, your pain, your sorrow, and your joy, your bliss, your excitement and as you settle into His loving arms, let it all go and focus on simply being open and at peace in His perfect presence. Praise Him and thank Him for Who He is, for all He has done for you, then open your heart with confession of what is weighing you down. Accept His forgiveness, welcome His peaceful presence, and give Him praise for being a good, faithful, loving Father. As you pour out your requests to Him for your life, remind yourself that His good and perfect will is the foundation for everything you will ask of Him.

I can’t think of a better analogy right now than cheesecake, I know it’s odd, but stay with me. God’s will is that delicious, crumbly, buttery, golden crust. For me, my favorite part of any cheesecake is the crust. It has to be firm, not chewy. If it is not firm enough, if there isn’t the right ratio of butter to crumbs, then it can be too dry and sandy. If it has too much butter and not enough crumbs, it can be slightly greasy and chewy. God’s wisdom is the crumbs, God’s love is the butter. As the two combine to form the perfect crust, the foundation for our cheesecake is set. The rest of the cake will come together perfectly with the right balance of ingredients. Our lives are the cake. What we bring to the blend—our hopes, our dreams, our fears, our sorrows, our burdens—will come together into the right texture for that cake when we allow God to take it all and make it what He intends for good. As we approach the “Amen”, the icing, the decorations on the cheesecake are what signify He has made something good and perfect of our lives. We are working toward this end in our brief time on this earth, and we won’t be able to say we are perfect until we stand before our Father God in heaven one day. I haven’t likened myself, my life to the perfect cheesecake before but I think it is an interesting way to look at it! It is a lot of work, and it is an accomplishment I have enjoyed many times, because I love to bake. I have to imagine that our Father God feels this same sense of pride when He sees us stand firm, walk humbly, seek justice and shine His love for all the world to see.

When we are considering in our prayer time, our walk with God, whether He answers our requests with a “Yes” or “No”, we need to bear in mind that His intentions are always and only for our good. He is not just a loving God, He is a strong God, which means His “No” may not be one we welcome but it is His answer for our best. Even when Jesus asked Him that night in the garden as He prayed, for God to spare Him if at all possible, we watch the Father’s “No” unfold into what ultimately is the perfect gift for all of us. Jesus’ life for us, each one of us, what a gift! There is nothing more perfect that has been given. Even as the Father said “No” to His Son, Jesus knew that this was God the Father’s best for all of us.

How will you respond the next time God speaks an answer into your life that you aren’t prepared for? I’m learning as I experience His best for my life, I am far better, stronger, and wiser when I choose to accept it even if I don’t agree with it. He has a purpose, every single time, He knows my best. I trust Him more today than I did 5 years ago because I have chosen to believe He knows my best. His Word is true, His presence is constant, and He is Lord of my life. There is freedom there, for each of us, if we choose it.

Trust in the LORD with all your heart and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, and he will make your paths straight” (Proverbs 3:5, 6 NASB).

The Power of One....

Today is not just another day. Today is a new day for me because of Christ in me. Each and every single day I have of this life is a blessing, a promise, a guarantee from my Father God that He has great purpose for me and He is just beginning to do a great work in my life today! What is powering you up today? Consider your options, you have two.

One: the power of the one who rules the world to push, pull, and drag you down!

Two: the Power of the One who rules your heart, mind, body and soul, to inspire, empower, encourage and embolden you up!

I think about how determined, dedicated, and passionate my son Bailey is about his love for music. He has found his niche, his greatest passion in music whether it is performing in the school play or with the school choir, in his school talent night or on stage at a coffee bar, and even as he is preparing for auditions at school and for the upcoming solo/ensemble and choir music festival competitions this Spring. He gets in his zone, sets aside his time and focus in his room to work for hours each week on perfecting what he is most passionate about. As a result, that focus inspires and empowers him to be the best Bailey he can be. It is inspiring to me to watch his focus, his attention to detail, his concern for knowing the material he has committed to learning and presenting it as best he can. I see that carry over in how he is growing, exploring his faith in Christ. From the time he first accepted Christ at the age of 5, so many questions coming out of the mind of this child! Sometimes I had to tell him I don’t know, but let’s explore that together and we will find the answers. As I watch his determined focus launch him into more study of the Word, not unlike his determination to study and perfect his musical skills, I am so proud, filled with admiration of the shape my son’s life is taking right before me.

I believe when we choose to tap into the Power of Christ in us, that our Father God is looking upon us with a similar pride, admiration. I like to think of it that way. I am thankful that in the moments when I fail Him, when I allow a particularly difficult moment in my day ruin me, that I can come right to Him for confession of my weakness, to request and accept His wonderful forgiveness, and walk forward into the grace He has for me. It is a beautiful thing, the Power of Christ in us and available to us each and every day. It is how it should begin and end, it is an overflow and ever flow that should rule our being each and every day.

Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will. Romans 12:2 NIV

my Ebenezer...

“…Thus far the Lord has helped us.”-1 Samuel 7:12 There are moments in my life when I look back and can see how God in His perfect yet my...