This. Is. It!

Ray Of Light

(FreeImages.com/CarterPerrier)

I love it when God removes the “blinders” and reveals truth to me!  The interesting thing is that often it’s truth I have known in my head but somehow didn’t really understand and/or believe it, meaning live it.

Remember, what you believe is what you live.

It’s interesting how “old truth” suddenly becomes “new truth” when you finally really “see” it!

That’s how it was for me when I realized anew the truth of the following insights God was revealing to me — truths I had “known” before but not really knew.

For example, I blogged previously how God showed me that faith isn’t something God quantifies; it’s something we simply need to have, and that it’s the Object of our faith — God Himself — that is the Source of our faith.  We can’t produce authentic, powerful faith through our own ability to muster up faith.  We have faith as a result of knowing our God — Who He is.

Secondly, I have come to treasure prayer and to view it as the amazing privilege it is — the opportunity to partner with God in His work in another person’s life and the incredible privilege it is to communicate with God.

I used to think prayer was me, naming off a bunch of requests to God and hoping He would choose to answer some of them the way I wanted or thought they should be answered.

I grew to understand that prayer involved some worship of God.  I remember trying to “tack on” a few worshipful-sounding words in order to meet a higher level of spirituality, or so I hoped.  Sounds really shallow, doesn’t it?!!  To be honest though, my prayer life was often exactly that — shallow.

My prayer life was shallow though because my understanding and therefore relationship with God was more shallow. 

It’s hard to pray to One that you don’t know that intimately, don’t really grasp that His love is unconditional and not affected by performance, and don’t really trust. 

The power of prayer is the One to Whom we are praying.

The problem is we so often don’t really understand God, or our thoughts about Him are based upon misconceptions, twisted truths, and harmful misrepresentations.

I recently read the following quote in the book, Wonder Struck:

The wonder of prayer is rediscovered in Who we are speaking to.

— Margeret Feinberg

Reminds me what God showed me about faith.  Once again, it’s the recipient of our prayers and His interaction with me because of Who He is that makes prayer so vital and so incredible!  It’s not the words, in themselves, that make prayer so powerful.

Prayer is so incredible because it is the opportunity to speak to God or as the following quote says:

“Prayer is the opportunity to bend the ear of God.” — Margaret Feinberg

It’s a big deal because of Who God is!  He isn’t some conniving, selfish, evil, uncaring God.  He is a God who longs to hear our voices, especially when they are lifted in awareness of Him.

Have you ever sat with someone and experienced their inattention or complacency?  It’s not exactly pleasant or satisfying.

A lot of prayer life consists of mumbled phrases thrown out to appease a false view of a vindictive God.

A prayer life is transformed though when we begin to see the amazing and incredible gift it is — an opportunity to commune with an ever-present, ever-loving, ever-powerful God!!!  It is an opportunity to be heard by God but also to hear from God.

This brings me to a third truth.  I read the following quote recently and loved it:

“Hope is confident expectation.”  (Not sure in which devotional I read it.)

Do you see that?!!!  Hope is confident expectation in Who?  The power of hope is in Who the expectation is!  Hope isn’t lasting or “powerful” because it’s something we just randomly possess or stir up in ourselves.  Hope is a powerful emotion that comes from a powerful Source. 

It’s the Source of the hope — what we are expecting or looking to — that determines the resilience and strength of our hope.

As I was pondering the above truths, I was thinking how all kinds of other emotions I can think of owe their power and passion to their source.  If it’s a good source, it can be a good emotion.  If it’s a negative source — a reaction, fear, or bitterness — it can be an emotion that wreaks great destruction.

I couldn’t help but ponder that the authentic reality of truth, love, peace, joy, grace, wisdom, life, hope, faith, and prayer all owe their power to the object or source of their existence: God Himself.

It really is that simple!

This is why I have experienced the pure, authentic fullness of these characteristics only in the Presence of God Himself.

You can pursue peace, purpose, and joy outside of God, but I can personally tell you, it won’t last, and it is only a shallow representation of the authentic reality of knowing the Divine Source!

The secret therefore to the full life is knowing the God of life.  The secret to the above three characteristics is knowing God — truly knowing God.  In order to do that, it may mean laying aside all the false ideas and harmful representations of God so you can finally meet the reality of God Himself.

Additional Notes: 

As I was contemplating these truths further while washing my dishes, it “struck me.”  We often think that people who don’t believe in God don’t believe in God because they are lacking faith or because they are rebellious.  What shattered that pre-conceived idea for me is that just as I need to understand God is my Source of the abundant life so it is with the “unbeliever.”  Perhaps, the person who doesn’t believe in God isn’t about his/her lack of faith at all but more about his/her lack of understanding or false understanding of God.

In other words, how can you believe in One that you think is angry, harsh, uncaring, vindictive, and selfish?  It’s easier to pretend He doesn’t exist than that He does but could be those things.

It is a wrong view of God that is the biggest hindrance to a person’s ability to trust in God.  How can you trust in One you don’t believe loves you unconditionally, perfectly, and eternally?

Rather than telling people they need to have faith, maybe we need to be telling them and showing them more what our God is truly like — not a man-made version of a god but God Himself.  That may mean, we first need to get to know Him more intimately ourselves.

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A Party In Heaven!

I was so excited tonight to hear Will giving a very good Bible lecture to Luke. Will has a really big heart for people to hear about Jesus. So very precious!

As the conversation went, Luke mentioned that one of his friends is a Christian. I asked Luke why he said that. I also asked him what it means to be a Christian. Luke didn’t know so Will then gave a good and thorough explanation. Luke appeared to understand as much as a three-year-old can. He then indicated that he wanted to ask Jesus to forgive him for his sins and that he wanted to become a Christian. So with a little help, Luke prayed to accept Jesus as His Savior!

I shared with Luke how that the angels rejoice over anyone who believes in Jesus. Luke was very excited to hear that Heaven was having a party for him.

This summer, following a good chalk art presentation on the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus, Drew had also prayed to accept Jesus as His Savior! It is such a joy to hear our children understand spiritual matters!

Our prayer for them is for spiritual growth and hearts to not just be saved but to obey the Lord and to have a relationship with Him.

My Home — A Cathedral Where Glory To God Reigns!

The past few days have been amazing!  Let’s just say that I feel as if a cloud was lifted off me.  I know my dad, my husband, and my secret prayer sister have been praying — maybe many others.  I just know that I have sensed those prayers.

I have been loving my earlier morning risings; I am able to have devotions, read some from a wonderful parenting book, get a shower, raise the blinds, prepare breakfast, and then lovingly welcome my children to a new day.

Here are a few tips from my new parenting book that I have been implementing that has been so helpful:

1. Anger is good for indicating a problem but never for solving it.  Separate the two.

2.  Establish the relationship before addressing behaviors.  Do this by first getting your children to come to you or going to them.  Then lovingly give clear instructions.  First, state the goal for what you want to accomplish and then ask the child to do their part.  This emphasizes team work.

3.  Ask three questions following a discipline:

“What did you do that was wrong?”

“What was wrong with it?”

“What can you do differently next time?”

4. The goal of discipline is to work your children to reconciliation and to be able to wisely respond to correction, to respond to our vocal commands without needing a repeat or consequence.

There are so many other wonderful things in the books, but those are some of the best for our family so far.  The books are called: Say Goodbye to Whining and Good And Angry.

I have been so thrilled by hearing my children respond with good attitudes, by them not resorting to hitting as a means of solving a disagreement, etc… So much victory, and I am humbled and amazed.

My heart is at peace and joyful.  The Lord has given me so much patience, and His wisdom is what I seek and then try to share with my kids.

Here is a note I wrote along those lines:

“Just wanted to say that God is so good! He has filled my heart to overflowing with joy! I am amazed by His grace — so rich, so unfailing, so full of light and life! Tears fill my eyes as I ponder these moments, these evidences of His grace… in the eager smiles of my children as they run obediently to me, in the cheers as we play a game together, in the muddy boots that are running with my boys, in the victory to not yield to sin’s temptation to impatiently answer my children but to lovingly demonstrate…”

“And time, this moment, slowed and entered into, might be a cathedral giving glory to God…”
Some recent special moments:

A shelf that holds our printer broke.  The printer was precariously hanging above our monitor. I tried lifting it but couldn’t. I unhooked the monitor and moved it out of the way.  I then unhooked the printer.  Again, I tried to lift it but couldn’t.  I knew if I left it, we would probably have a broken printer plus more.  I loved Drew’s response to the problem, he said, “Mommy, let’s pray.” So, we did just that. The Lord then gave me the wisdom to know how to lift the shelf so that I could then get a better grip under the printer and then finally lift the printer out of the way.  The boys and I were then able to stop and thank the Lord for his help.   Another exciting example for the boys and I in how God does answer prayer!

Thinking of Marriage

My boys are already thinking of marriage — at least the oldest two are.  The other day, I overheard them talking to each other that God has someone special for them to marry.  I know this mommy definitely prays along that line.  So, ladies, if one of your daughters marries my son(s), there are lots of prayers on her behalf already.  🙂

Will is a Winner!

Saturday evening, I sent Will to his room to “cool down” before addressing some bad behavior.   When I returned to his room, I soon could tell that he was very frustrated at his own ability to control his temper.  I told him to wrap his arms around me and to hug me tightly.  I then gave him a “bear hug.”  It was at that point that he broke down sobbing.  He said that he has a problem with anger, and he can’t help it.  At that point, I talked with him again about why Jesus died — because we can’t be good on our own.  We try and fail, and it is a losing battle without Jesus’  help.  We discussed salvation a little more in depth, and I shared my testimony again with him.  Not long after that, Will then prayed, asking Jesus to forgive him and to help him to control his anger.

I called the rest of the family into his room, and we all prayed over Will, asking Jesus to help him.  The reminder for the siblings was that we are all a team.  If one suffers, we all suffer.  It was precious to listen to Luke’s prayer in particular.  He, on his own, prayed, “Jesus, please help Will.  He is sad…”  I can’t remember the rest.  Luke also sweetly gave lots of hugs, wiped away his brother’s tears, and smothered Will with kisses.

After we had all prayed over Will, he then asked to pray for his brothers.  He then put his hand on their heads and asked Jesus to help them believe in Jesus and to help them to have good attitudes and to obey.

The rest of that evening, Will said that he wanted to serve us and his brothers.  We told him that we would be thrilled if he would serve the Lord.  Each time that evening when a tempting situation arose, Will was quick to respond with a sweet attitude, after a few gentle promptings from us .  It was a precious time for our family!

At one point that evening, I asked him if he felt more at peace and happier (I knew the answer).  He said, “Yes!”  I then said it was because he needed a soul cleansing, which is what happens when we truly repent and confess.  The “layers” of sin, along with its accompanying negative emotions are torn away and a new tenderness is revealed.    Praise the Lord that we have a God who not only made a way to rid us of this bondage to sin but who daily and minute-by-minute gives us grace to walk in “newness” of life and then extends forgiveness to restore us!

Picking a Wife

Last night after spending time with a bunch of friends, Will turned to us in the van and said, “Mommy and Daddy, I was just thinking about who I should pick for a wife when I am a man.”  Jonathan replied, “Oh, yeah, and what is she like?”  We both grinned when we heard that he had a specific person in mind.  We both encouraged him that Will could pray for his future wife, whoever she might be.  We also encouraged him that God had someone special just meant for him, if God wanted Will to marry.  I guess I better start praying more regularly for my future daughter-in-laws, Lord-willing.

Compassion

A number of times as we have been riding in the car and praying for our trip and the day’s events, Drew has reminded me that we need to pray for Haiti.  It’s dear to hear his concern for them and a good reminder to have compassion towards those who are suffering.

Moses

Tonight as I was tucking Will into bed, he has lots of questions about Moses.  After answering his questions, he said, “I want to be good like Moses.”  I told him that God wants to use him in great ways, just like God used Moses.  I then encouraged Will to pray to God to ask Him to help Will to be good like Moses.  I also encouraged Will to pray the same prayer for his brothers.  It was exciting to hear him say that he would.  I truly believe Will’s prayers tonight will include this petition.

Conviction

Tonight was we were tucking the boys into bed, Will started to sob.  We immediately asked him what was wrong.  He said, “Because of my sins.”  I asked him, “What about your sins?”  He said, “Because they are wrong.”  He wanted to pray then and prayed a sweet prayer of repentance.  Drew asked why Will had been crying.   Will said, “Because I was sinning.”  It is precious to see/hear true repentance!