Answered Prayer: Clean Water!

My very first official race was a 10K that represented something immense, the achievement of a goal I had never even set out to accomplish. I believe that God blesses us and we should share our blessings. And because it was such a momentous symbol of God’s incredible transformation in my life, I wanted to do something productive through the race that would help others.

So, I started a fundraiser for WaterAid, an organization that helps provide clean water and sanitation to communities around the world that are suffering from fatal yet completely preventable diseases. No child should die from diarrheal diseases or parasites when it is possible to bring them clean water.  Anyway, I digress. I started out with a goal of $5,000. .

After a few weeks of very discouraging results, I realized that I had failed to incorporate God into this effort. I was doing it for him, so to speak. But I failed to ask him to bless my efforts. So, I posted a prayer request about my fundraising effort for WaterAid through every avenue available to me, including this blog. And boy did he bless me. The $5,000 goal I began with was adjusted to $2,000 when I ended up being the sole fundraiser. I leveraged every fundraising piece of knowledge I had gained in my career to try and persuade people to support my cause.

I had no idea how difficult it would be to raise even $10. Largely with the support of my church members, especially our priest and church secretary I was able to surpass my goal amount of $2,000. It was difficult and discouraging at times, but I praise God because it led to a sense of awareness in my church community. In fact, a year later, some of the members still ask me about it.

The power of answered prayer.

Mark 12:31

People You Can’t Stand

People you can’t stand. The mutual friends that annoy you, the coworkers that are mean, the guy on the bus that gives you attitude because you sat next to him, and the people that shove you around in the crowded subways. Sometimes they are irritating blips on your life screen; other times you get caught up in a cycle of anger and resentment.

You pray and ask God to help you love them. Maybe you have to say that prayer repeatedly, in each moment that your heart rebels against the command to love them. It’s not easy to have the grace that God has. 

Just take a moment to soak that in. It gives new insight to the oft-repeated but rarely-considered line in the Lord’s prayer – “Forgive us our trespasses as we forgive others who have trespassed against us.” How easily we ask for God’s forgiveness yet we rarely think of the well of patience our Lord has for us.

There is a mind-blowing (if you really let your heart mull over it) lesson to learn from these interactions – how amazingly endless is the DEPTH AND BREADTH OF GOD’S LOVE & GRACE?!

*Image taken from:http://www.pktfuel.com/neighbourly-love/

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25 encouraging Bible verses to start your day

The Isaiah 53:5 Project

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I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” John 16.33

“So letting your sinful nature control your mind leads to death. But letting the Spirit control your mind leads to life and peace.” Romans 8:6

“And let the peace that comes from Christ rule in your hearts. For as members of one body you are called to live in peace. And always be thankful.” Colossians 3:15

“God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble.” Psalms 46:1

“It is God who arms me with strength and makes my way perfect. He makes my feet like the feet of a deer; he enables me to stand on the heights. He trains my hands for battle; my arms can bend a bow of bronze. You give me your shield…

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What you say vs. What God says

The Isaiah 53:5 Project

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You Say:  “It’s impossible.”

God says: “All things are possible” (Luke 18:27)

You say: “I am too tired”

God says:  “I will give you rest” (Matthew 11:28-30)

You say:  “I cant go on.”

God says:  “My grace is sufficient.”  (II Corinthians 12:9 & Psalm 91:15)

You say:  “Nobody really loves me.”

God says:  “I love you.”  (John 3:16 & John 13:34)

You say:  “I cant figure things out.”

God says:  “I will direct your steps.” (Proverbs 3:5-6)

You say:  “I can’t do it.”

God says:  “You can do all things.”  (Philippians 4:13)

You say:  ” I’m not able.”

God says:  ” I am able.” (II Corinthians 9:8)

You say:  “It’s not worth it.”

God says:  “It will be worth it.” (Romans 8:28)

You say:  “I can’t forgive myself.”

God says: “I FORGIVE YOU.” (I John 1:9 & Romans 8:1)

You say:  “I can’t manage.”

God says:  “I will supply all…

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“His Promise”

Word For Life Says . . .

Free-Wallpaper-Christian-Chirstmas-Hebrews-10-231 Photo Credit: Wallpaper4god.com Click to view

His promise says I’ll never leave nor forsake you,

Even when the skies are no longer bright blue;

When the clouds and the roaring crash of thunder,

Threaten to overwhelm and drag me under.

 

His promise says I’ll be with you until the very end,

When people turn their backs and you can find no friend;

When troubles and trials make you cry at your wit’s end,

When life unravels, leaving a broken heart that needs to mend.

 

His promise says that this will work together for my good,

Though the confusion can’t be hardly understood;

When life is filled with “I wish I would,”

Taking me through all the could and should.

 

His promise says I lived and died for you,

Giving you everlasting life to help you make it through;

His salvation, sin’s stain erased and undo,

Bring through…

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Why read the Bible?

10 As the rain and the snow
    come down from heaven,
and do not return to it
    without watering the earth
and making it bud and flourish,
    so that it yields seed for the sower and bread for the eater,
11 so is my word that goes out from my mouth:
    It will not return to me empty,
but will accomplish what I desire
    and achieve the purpose for which I sent it.

– Isaiah 55:10-11

 

Translation? God’s word has power. It’s active. It achieves something. It produces fruit. Take that in for a moment.

If God’s word has power, then choose to read it, listen to it, weave it into your life so that you are never separated from it. And experience that power in full force.

Sometimes You Just Need a Break {from Dating}

I Kissed My Date Goodnight

Sorry for the inundation of vacation photos, guys. (See Instagram, Twitter, Facebook.)

No wait. I’m not sorry at all!

photoI just got back from a trip to beautiful Belize. I travel a lot for work, but this trip was 100 percent pleasure and zero percent business, unless you consider trying the soup of the day as my “business.” I did take that particular task very seriously.

Work has been busy lately. Life has been busy. I wanted this break. And I honestly needed the rest it brought. It’s the kind of rest that can come only from laying under an umbrella on the beach and reading a great novel, letting the salty ocean breeze turn the pages for you. (If breezes could turn Kindle pages, I suppose.) The kind of rest that comes from swimming underwater across a long, crisp, blue swimming pool. The kind of rest…

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struck-down-but-not-destroyed

Struck down but not destroyed.

struck-down-but-not-destroyedYou know that awful feeling when you’ve done something wrong? That anxious guilt at the pit of your stomach? Or the nervousness of facing the consequences and not knowing how things will turn out?

We’ve all felt the weight of sin, regardless of whether we believe in God or not. Guilt and darkness and negativity – every human being is familiar with those things at some level.

We’ve all had those moments in life when everything feels impossible – when your shoulders are weighed down by the world in a way that feels worse than anything you’ve ever known. Or when you feel stuck in a cycle you desperately want to get out of but don’t know if you can. Some might say ‘it feels worse than death’.

Imagine choosing to take that feeling for someone else; for every single sin of every single person that ever walked this earth.

Jesus did that. A perfect and pure man took on every ounce of darkness, shame, guilt,  and hopelessness from all of us, onto himself.

Can we even begin to comprehend what that felt like? He experienced absolute separation from God, our Father- our connection to hope and peace and joy. His cry on the cross was raw anguish (Matthew 27:46)!

 

All for us.

All for love.

So that even when we feel like God isn’t there, He is.

So that we never have to be separated from God, if we don’t want to be.

So that we can be free from the shackles of everything dark.

 

The story we celebrate this Sunday is one of perfect love. A love of incredible sacrifice. A love that allows us to have victory, hope, and freedom no matter where we are in life, what we’ve done, or what situation we’re facing.

That feeling worse than death? It doesn’t have to be our reality. That’s what it means when we say that Jesus overcame death for us. That’s why we can say “O death, where is your victory? O death, where is your sting?” (1 Corinthians 15:55).

Stand on the promise of Jesus’ resurrection and know that you can trust in God’s victory in your life.

What is God’s answer?

There are times when I start to spiral out of control with my desire to know exactly what God’s will is. Even when I’ve gotten an answer, I want to know I heard God right. A friend once asked me what would make God’s will clear to me. What would tell me exactly what His answer was? I had no idea how to respond. I joked about wanting Him to write me a letter, but part of me was hoping something like that would actually happen.

Later in the day, I came across this article (Maybe God Doesn’t Care) and I was reminded that while there is no such thing as too much prayer, there is a danger in relentlessly pursuing a concrete answer. Why? Because it actually stems from a need to control; a desire to know exactly what is in store and when. Yes, we should submit to God and seek to do his will. However, we also need to trust in Him and his ability to direct us. We have to allow him to actually act and give him the reins. We can’t allow ourselves to get stuck in a never-ending cycle of doubt and worry disguised as seeking his will.

Image taken from: http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-6FYom8sr5L4/Ty1zdliEQyI/AAAAAAAAITE/3_vVk0I_VWQ/s1600/proverbs+3+5+6+copy.jpg

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I wasn’t ready for marriage

For any of you who have thought about the “practicality” of living together or debated how ready you are for marriage, I think this post is a great reminder that you can’t control for everything. At some point, you have to take a risk and you just have to move forward. That’s not the “end all” answer for every situation, but I feel this post is a good reminder of what’s important.

The Matt Walsh Blog

I met my wife on eHarmony. I was a morning rock DJ in Delaware, she was living in Maryland and finishing up her degree. I drove two and a half hours to pick her up for our first date. I spent most of my bi-weekly paycheck on tickets to a dinner theater in Baltimore. The rest went to gas and tolls.

And that’s the way it would go for the next year and a half (minus the dinner theater part). Once a week, I’d spend money I didn’t have and drive the 260 mile roundtrip to see the love of my life. Sometimes I’d sleep for a few hours in the guest room at her mom’s house, waking up at 2AM to head back to the coast for my 5:30AM radio show.

I was very tired back then.

And broke.

Lord, was I broke.

She’d take turns driving my way, burning gas she couldn’t afford to burn and…

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