Me: I hope they are the good kind and not the bad kind.
Prodigal: You should tell me more.
This is from the book In the Middle of the Mess by Sheila Walsh
There is freedom in confessing out loud to a trusted sister who will love you and pray for you and hold you accountable to the life you want to live. But I urge you to be wise. Be careful whom you choose to share your story with and confess your sins to. Jesus said, “Don’t throw your pearls to pigs! They will trample the pearls, then turn and attack you” (Matthew 7:6). In other words, don’t take what’s holy and sacred to you and give it those who may use it against you. That’s why I urge you to ask the Holy Spirit to guide you to the right women. When you find those safe sisters, you’ve found the place to continue to be saved, to be the authentic you. It won’t always be easy, but it will always be worth it.
And Moses said, Hereby ye shall know that the Lord hath sent me to do all these works; for I have not done them of mine own mind.
Yes, God has been working on me. We think we should get a break. We think that it is about time. We think isn’t this our vacation day. God ignores all those thoughts, and continues to focus on our growth.
I must be an endless chore that seems never to be complete. It is how the floors always need mopping, dishes in need of scrubbing, and clothes that need washing. One day it seems finished, but it doesn’t take long until your attention is back to the same chore you did yesterday, or two days ago.
Unlike chores at times, the Lord looks on me with love. He looks on me with compassion, and patience. I am not so much a chore but an act of love. I am precious, and cherished. So as the Lord my God sees me today, He is loving me, no matter where I am in my relationship with Him, or my growth.
Since God is with me, God is teaching me. He wants me to praise Him more. Sounds simple doesn’t it? But this test is not about praising Him because I got a paid vacation to Hawaii for a month. (I am still waiting on that test). No, He had me start by praising Him when I was complaining.
I had a list that night. I decided me, and God were going to have a heart to heart. I was going to be open, and communicate. I started going down my list. Then I waited for a response. What was God going to do with all of my list? He whispered, praise to my soul.
I sighed. I did not want to praise. I wanted everything to change. I started small. Thank you Lord for my life. Words flowed after that. Before several minutes, I had several praises. Then I noticed my mood had changed. I really was grateful for everything. I also remembered all the blessings that I have in my life.
Test number 2. Someone close to me hurt my feelings. This person has hurt my feelings several times. I was angry, I was weary, and I just cried. I sat on my bed crying out to the Lord. This person was just being so insensitive toward me. After crying my heart out, I prayed, and asked God what to do. I began reading and there in what I was reading talked about praising. There was that whisper to may soul again, praise.
I praised God for this person and then sent them a text praising them so that they could hear. Within 24 hours, the Lord had made sure that the hurt that was created would not continue, but was stopped. I praised God, and started remember all the blessings that God worked in my life.
I was walking outside. I just stopped, and looked around. The first thing I noticed is that the temperature was perfect for me. I was not hot, and I was not cold. I could walk, and enjoy how the air felt around me. I did not have to shiver from a cold breeze, or did I have to run from the sun that caused me to sweat from the heat. I then looked up, and the sky was a solid blue. Not a dark blue and not a light blue. A solid blue with no white clouds at all. I was walking in a perfect day. I just praised God for allowing such pleasure from His conditions. A started to remember how blessed I was.
See after praising God in the first two tests. It naturally happened when life appeared good. When all was well. I think that is God’s point. If we don’t learn to praise God in the difficult times, we tend to forget Him in the good times. We forget to praise Him, because it is not on our mind. We forget we are blessed, because it is not on our mind. Trials and difficulties allow us to learn a spirit of praise that will continue with us rather it is a perfect day or a day of trials.
That is how God is trying to mature us. When we learn that spirit of praise, we have that joy. We are able to appreciate the love of God, we are able to see the good in every situation. Lord, I had been a poor student at times. I have been a slow student at times. Thank you Lord for not dropping me as a student, and for those test you gave me!
For thou hast been a shelter for me, and a strong tower from the enemy. I will abide in thy tabernacle forever: I will trust in the covert of thy wings.
Jennifer Van Allen
They helped every one of his neighbour; and every one said to his brother, Be of good courage.
Prodigal: Well, maybe you can just share a story then.
This comes from the book Revolutions in World Missions by K.P. Yohannan
One Sunday when we were down to our last dollar, I drove our old Nova to a nearby church for worship. I knew no one and sat in the last row. When it came time to take the offering, I quickly made an excuse to God and held on to that last dollar.
“This is my last dollar,” I prayed desperately,” and I need to buy gas to get back home.” but knowing God loves a cheerful giver, I stopped fighting and sacrificed that last dollar to the Lord.
As I left the church, an old man came up to me. I had never seen him before and never have since. He shook my hand silently, and I could feel a folded piece of paper in his palm. I knew instinctively that it was money. In the car, I opened my had to find a neatly folded $10 bill.
But thou, when thou prayest, enter into thy closet, and when thou hast shut thy door, pray to thy Father which is in secret: and thy Father which seeth in secret shall reward thee openly.
Me: Yes, and we can grow closer to God at the same time!
Prodigal: Of course.
This is from the book This is My Story, This is My Song by Norman Blosat with Elva Blosat
David Pringle invited me to take a walk with him through the meadow path near his home. As we walked, he told me an amazing story. He said that one Sunday afternoon, while reading the Bible and meditating, he heard an audible voice saying. “Go to Poynton.” It was so strong an authority that he went that very afternoon. As he walked through the town he was drawn to an old brick church with a “For Sale” sign on the front lawn. In brief, David later learned that at the very time he heard the audible voice, five women were holding a final prayer meeting in the little red brick church with the “For Sale” sign, asking God to send someone who could help them keep their church open. With contacts made, David volunteered to preach, evangelize and pastor the church. The church soon began to take on new life. It grew in numbers. Several years later the old brick building was torn down, replaced by a modern functional building. Church growth continued. The Poynton Church developed a vital outreach into the community. In a time of seeming defeat, five faithful women prayed and God turned things around!
Then said they unto him, Where is thy Father? Jesus answered, Ye neither know me, nor my Father: if ye had known me, ye should have known my Father also.
This is from the book The Soul Winner by C.H. Spurgeon
A sinner has a heart as well as a head, emotions as well as thoughts. We must appeal to both. A sinner will never be converted until his emotions are stirred. Unless he feels sorrow for sin and a measure of joy in receiving the Word, there is not much hope for him. Truth must soak into the soul and dye it with its own color. The Word must be like a strong wind sweeping through the whole heart and swaying in the whole man, even as field of ripening corn waves in the summer breeze. Religion without emotions is religion without life.
God loved the world so much that He gave His one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in Him will not perish but have eternal life.
Prodigal: Why are people confused about the Holy Spirit?
Me: A lot of people ignore the topic.
Prodigal: Ignoring something just leaves us ignorant.
This is from the book When God Whispers Your Name by Max Lucado
The Holy Spirit is the presence of God in our lives, carrying on the work of Jesus. The Holy Spirit helps us in three directions–inwardly (by granting us the fruits of the Spirit, Gal 5:22-24), upwardly (by praying for us, Rom 8:26) and outwardly (by pouring God’s love into our hearts, Rom 5:5.
In evangelism the Holy Spirit is on center stage. If the disciple teaches, it is because the Spirit teaches the disciple (Luke 12:12). If the listener is convicted, it is because the Spirit has penetrated (John 16:10). If the listener is converted, it is by the transforming power of the Spirit(Rom. 8:11). If the new believer matures, it is because the Spirit makes him or her competent (2 Cor. 3:6).
Hearken unto the voice of my cry, my King, and my God: for unto thee will I pray.
Prodigal: I just finished digging and finding shells.
Me: Well I am going to talk about some other type of digging.
This comes from the book The Case for Christ by Lee Strobel
Archaeologist John McRay said there’s no question that archaeological findings have enhanced the New Testament’s credibility. No discovery has ever disproved a biblical reference. Further, archaeology has established that Luke, who wrote about one-quarter of the New Testament, was an especially careful historian. Concluded one expert, “If Luke was so painstakingly accurate in his historical reporting (of minor details), on what logical basis may we assume he was credulous or inaccurate in his reporting of matters that were far more important, not only to him but to others as well?”
But he that received seed into the good ground is he that heareth the word, and understandeth it; which also beareth fruit, and bringeth forth, some a hundredfold, some sixty, some thirty.
Prodigal: Sometimes times seems as slow as molasses.
Me: Sometimes it does.
“I am just going to pray that the Holy Spirit will find me a stud!” I told my brother on the phone. He laughed and said “That sounds like a great prayer!” As we both finished laughing. We said our goodbyes, and ended the conversation.
As soon as the call was finished, I thought to myself. I am serious. I need help. What my humor failed to voice on the phone was my feelings of inadequacy. This was an area that I knew I struggled in. Not only did I struggle in it, to be honest it confused me at times.
I felt to do this all alone was overwhelming. I wanted someone to do it for me. I wanted it all to be finished. That was not an option.
I knew I was alone in all this. It was me and God.
At this point, I know you want to ask. Did God answer my prayer? Why yes He did. He was with me, and He was answered quickly.
By the end of the night God had helped me find a stud. I had a small project that I needed to be done that night, and it was late. I really had not planned it all out. So here I was late in the night attempting to nail some items into the wall so that I could create something that would store new items.
The only problem, was that when it comes to handy man jobs, I am at a complete lost. When my brother said that I need to make sure I find a stud, my mind began to question what I had got myself into.
Lord has blessed me with several gifts, but there is a reason God is never going to ask me to build an ark, or even a birdhouse….
I was faced with not being able to get help, and needed this completed quickly. So here I was on the phone with my brother for a couple of minutes, and he was informing me to find a stud.
I was overwhelmed.
Where do you go when you are overwhelmed? Do you give up? Do you throw money at the problem? Do you go to sleep? How about just doing without? I have done all of these options before. In my weariness of the moment, and also my fear. I just turned to the Lord.
I thought for a second, how is God going to help me find a stud in the wall, and make this project happen? I pretty sure there is not a bible verse on finding a stud. Was Jesus going to show up in my house, and grab a hammer? (I wish). In the logical thoughts, and present situation it seemed even silly to think a prayer, and the Lord would help.
There is another side. The Holy Spirit living inside of me that let me know that God does care. That God wants to help me. So which do a choose?
I chose to pray. I trusted in the Lord that He really loves me, and that He says He will never leave me. So how did God do it?
He didn’t change my environment. Nobody knocked on my door in that minute to complete the task. The project was not suddenly completed without me having to lift a finger. No what happened is as I started, God gave me wisdom. What I was looking for started to make sense when I had never had any of this make sense to me before. God also calmed my heart, and gave me strength to do what I needed to do.
The Lord’s promises were true, and we can trust Him in everything. We can trust Him in the areas we feel overwhelmed, and insecure about. We can trust Him when we have no idea what the next five minutes will look like.
Am I going to attempt a birdhouse now? No, but I do know God will be with me, and when I need Him, I can count on Him. Even if I need to find a stud.
I will take the cup of salvation, and call upon the name of the LORD.