Wednesday, January 16, 2013

If You Only Pray When Something is Wrong...Something is Wrong

 I would just like to start out by saying that most likely I will not be going in any certain order as far as my devotions when I post on the blog. I will just be posting the ones that stood out to me most. I also want to say that through this blog I am speaking first, and foremost to myself. However, I hope that it will help you some how along the way.

The first devotion I wanted to write about is the one I read on January 4th. It is from the In Touch Devotional Magazine by Charles Stanley.

Title: "The Power of Jesus' Name"
Scripture: And whatsoever ye shall ask in my name, that will I do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. -- John 14:13

In this devotion he talked about praying in Jesus' name. This devotion really spoke to my heart. By the end of the 2nd paragraph I was sitting here in tears just praying and thanking God for what He did for me and what he continues to do for me. There were 3 key points in the devotion that stood out to me.

Praying in Jesus' name expresses our:

Authority to Petition God
When Jesus died on the cross for us He paid our sin debt in full. When we are willing to repent of our sins, turn to God, and ask Jesus to be our Lord and Savior, He WILL save us. No matter where you've been, or what you've done, God will NEVER say no to a person who truly wants to be saved (Romans 10:13). 

When we accept Jesus as our Savior that gives us the authority to petition God. In other words, we are now allowed to come boldly before the throne of God and let our requests be made known unto Him (Hebrews 4:16). Not because of anything good in us, but because of what Jesus did on the cross for us. Do you know why we can now come boldly before God and speak to Him directly? Because Jesus is seated at the right hand of the Father making intercession for us. Jesus is praying on our behalf! I like to think of it like Jesus is saying, "Father, Crystal really needs this done, and it's according to your will, could you help her with this please?". What better advocate could we have than Jesus Himself?? 

Thinking about all of this made me realize how great a privilege we do have as Christians. We have the authority (through Jesus) to come to God any time we want. Yet, how often do we neglect that privilege? I know I neglect it a lot. We, as Christians, have the right and the privilege to come before the Father and to pray in Jesus' name. What a blessing that is!! If Jesus had died on the cross and saved me from my sins and then I never heard from Him ever would still be enough for me to owe Him everything. If He had only died for us and saved us from Hell it would've been enough, but that is not what He did. After rising from the dead he ascended to be seated at the right hand of God and is ALWAYS making intercession for us! That is enough to make me want to praise the Lord

I have always loved the part in the Bible that talked about how when Jesus died on the cross, the veil was torn revealing the Holy of Holies (Mark 15:38). In the past, only the priest was allowed into the Holy of Holies, but when Jesus finished His work on the cross, the veil was torn from top to bottom. I think it's important to point out that it was torn from top to bottom because that shows that God tore open the veil. This was God's way of saying, "Come on in"!

Agreement with God's Purposes

In order to pray in Jesus' name we must agree with God's purposes. What this means is that when you pray, you are praying for things that are in accordance to His will. The words, "In Jesus' name" are not magical words that get you anything you want. It has to be according to His will and not your own. I taught a lesson on this in my Acteens class last Wednesday and I used this example. If I pray for God to help me grow closer to Him, and ask it in Jesus' name, then He is going to answer that prayer because I KNOW it is God's will for me to grow closer to Him. However, if I pray and ask God to send me a boyfriend (I'm married), and I ask for that in Jesus' name is God going to grant that request? Absolutely not!! That is an example of not praying according to His will. I am a happily married woman, but even if I was an unhappily married woman, I can assure you it is NOT in God's will for me to have a boyfriend. That seems silly I know, but I feel like it's a good example of praying according to God's will and praying for something that is NOT God's will. Now sometimes we are not sure if something is God's will. In that case, I just pray "IF IT IS according to your will".

Assurance of an Answer

If we pray in Jesus' name we can be sure that He WILL hear us and answer us. 

In my own prayer life I have been guilty of saying a hurried prayer and sometimes even a prayer that I've said so many times it's pretty much just recited from memory. There is NOTHING wrong with praying for the same things over and over again. In fact, that is what God wants us to do. However, He wants our relationship with Him to be more than just repeating a prayer. He wants to have time to talk to us personally. Most of the time I fail to give Him that time. We need to stop being in such a hurry to get done with our devotions, Bible reading, and prayers and start allowing God the time He needs to speak to us. If it is only us doing the talking, then the relationship can never grow. Just imagine if you were the only one talking in your relationship with your spouse or your best friend. It wouldn't be much of a relationship. I don't want to be the person that only prays when I need something. I want to talk to God about everything. I want to thank Him and praise Him for what He's done for me, and I want to just talk to Him as a friend.

If you have anything to add or comment I would love to hear your thoughts as well. Feel free to comment below. :)

Lord, help me to not be guilty of being too busy to spend time with You, and help me to develop a relationship with You where I pray always and not just when something is wrong. Help me to not forget whose I am and what a privilege I have to pray in Jesus' name. Help me to make prayer a priority in my life. In Jesus' name, Amen.

Monday, January 14, 2013

My Quiet Time Notebook

I was looking on Pinterest one day and came across a pin were a lady had created a "Quiet Time Noteboook". I thought this was a great idea because I would love to be able to look back at what spoke to me and also see ways God answered prayers. So, I started my quiet time notebook.

The lady actually used a 3 ring binder and dividers but I didn't want to buy all of that so I just used a composition book I already had that has dividers made in it. The first section is where I write down key points that stood out to me from my daily devotion. In the second section I write prayer requests and as they are answered I will write how and when God answered that prayer. So far I only have two sections but I am sure I will come up with something for the others as well. This notebook has really helped me in sticking with my devotions and reading my Bible.

As you can see I enjoy using the devotional magazine by Charles Stanley. It's called In Touch Magazine and is completely free. You can order it on In Touch Website or you can just view the devotion online. I'm not saying you need to do this specific devotion, I'm just saying I really like it. I have always loved Charles Stanley and I really enjoy his devotionals. Another preacher I really love is Greg Laurie of Harvest Ministries. He has some awesome devotionals as well. Below is the In Touch devotional magazine I receive in the mail. As you can see the devotions are not very long, but you can get a lot out of them if you will pray and ask God to speak to you.

I underline key points and things that speak to me and then that is what I write about in my notebook. On my blog is where I plan to write my thoughts on what I've studied. Of course I may not be able to write every day on the blog, but if I've read something that really stood out to me or encouraged me in some way I plan to share it on my blog in the hopes that it will help someone else along the way.

Sunday, January 13, 2013

I Finally Did It!


I've been wanting to create a blog for a while now just to have a place to write about my relationship with God. I have been a Christian for a long time but I feel like I've failed in my walk with the Lord. I've failed in reading my Bible and spending time in prayer. I always say that I want to grow closer to God, yet I tend to slack off on doing my part. I've always had such a desire to be able to hear God speak to me and to KNOW for sure that it is Him. However, that isn't going to happen unless I spend time with Him like I should. I am guilty of saying a hurried prayer (sometimes memorized) and reading scripture just to say I read it, not really meditating on what it says and giving God time to speak to me. Often times I have felt like reading my Bible was more of a chore than something enjoyable. I would think of so many other things to do. Thankfully, so far this year I have been reading my Bible and devotion, and praying and it has been something I actually look forward to. I am so thankful for the desire I have to grow closer to God. I pray that the desire will continue.

This year I am determined to do my part. I am trying my best to spend time reading my Bible and devotion, and praying. Not just praying when I need something (which I have been guilty of), but praying just to develop a closer relationship with my heavenly Father. I will admit that in the past I have started strong and not really stuck to it. I tend to find everything else to do but read my Bible and pray. I know the devil uses anything he can to take our attention off of God, but it's not all his fault. I make the final decision whether to spend time with God or do something else. Not that there's anything wrong with doing other things, as long as God has priority in your life. I want to make God, and my relationship with Him my first priority this year. My prayer is, "Create in me a clean heart, oh God, and renew a right spirit within me." –Psalm 51:10

I'm hoping by starting this blog it will help me to be accountable and maybe help someone else along the way. As I read my devotions each day I will be writing some key points that I get out of them, as well as keeping track of how God answers my prayers, speaks to me, etc. I am sure this will benefit me, but I hope that this will benefit you in some way too. I pray that God will use something I share to speak to you, or encourage you along the way. Feel free to share this blog with anyone you would like. Thanks for reading!