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.

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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.

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.

When life feels exhausting…

Note: Text written by pursuingHISwill. Background image taken from Microsoft Clip Art.

Note: Text written by pursuingHISwill. Background image taken from Microsoft Clip Art.

Isaiah 58:11

“Watch What You Eat!”

Word For Life Says . . .

What we put into our body matters.  The foods we eat can either help or hinder our health.  Yesterday, I mentioned stopping at a fast food joint.  Sometimes we do this but it is not an everyday occurrence.  I value what goes in my body.  Is every food choice the best choice?  No, but I try to make it a point to have the majority of what I eat to be of nutritional value; to be something that will build me up and not tear me down.

Our spiritual lives work in the same manner.  We are what we eat, spiritually.  If all that we are ever digest is the negatives of this world then we are robbing our spirit of the vital nutrients that can increase our awareness and spiritual health.  The Bible says, “Faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God,” (Rom. 10:17).  What we assimilate…

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“Never Too Strong for God!”

Just another reminder that although we may face more than we can handle on our own, nothing can overwhelm God!

A similar post: More Than You Can Handle

Word For Life Says . . .

“He delivered me from my strong enemy, from those who hated me;
For they were too strong for me,” 2 Samuel 22:18

 

“Is there anything too hard for me?” is a question God asked Jeremiah, (Jer. 32:27). “Is there anything too hard for the Lord?” was the question God put to Abraham after Sarah laughed at the possibility of having a child in her old age. Luke 1:37 tells us, “For with God nothing shall be impossible,” and yet, when faced with things in this life we don’t understand and heartaches untold, we often feel our situations are out of His reach. As if the problems that overwhelm us are too strong for Him, also.

Due to the anointing on his life, David faced enemies who hated him for no reason. He spent many days with his life hanging in the balance. But, in the end, he declared, “He…

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More than you can handle

(Image taken from: followpics.net)

This for all of you who are tired of hearing people say that God never gives you more than you can handle. I’ve been stumped by that phrase as well and I just love the God-given wisdom that shines through this article.

Take a look – Yes, God Will Give You More Than You Can Handle 

Feeling Down

Psalm 38:9

All my longings lie open before you, Lord;my sighing is not hidden from you.

1 Peter 5:7-11

7 Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.

8 Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. 9 Resist him, standing firm in the faith, because you know that the family of believers throughout the world is undergoing the same kind of sufferings.

10 And the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast. 11 To him be the power for ever and ever. Amen.

Challenge: “I Just Want To Be Okay”

For anyone who has struggled through change and questioned life’s difficulties, this is a post worth reading. Essentially, the author is talking about what it looks like to be content in all situations as Paul learned to be. It may seem daunting to accept life’s uncertainties, but God will help you with that. You never have to do anything alone or on your own strength.

11 I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. 12 I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. 13 I can do all this through him who gives me strength.

– Philippians 4:11-13

God Gave Me a Break (Another look at burnout)

The US packaging

Do you know what God did for me today? He literally gave me a break.

This week I decided to attend a nondenominational church I often visit, especially because I knew the pastor would be talking about marriage. I left having connected with the Holy Spirit and gained some food for thought about relationships. I then headed to my home church to catch part of service and most importantly, to teach my Sunday School class.

All was going as planned until I rounded up the teenage boys who comprise my class. As I waited for the last two to come out of the sanctuary and head upstairs, I found that no one was in the classroom. When I looked back, the other two had also disappeared. I spent a good 10-15 minutes searching the entire church twice and even the parking lot, only managing to find one of my 6-7 students.

Giving up the search, I headed back to my classroom defeated and I decided to pray. I’ve been challenged quite a lot through this class; whether it be with my students’ questions or personal feelings of failure. There have been many times I’ve come home feeling rejected by my students’ lack of interest that day. I’ve often questioned whether I was the right person to be teaching and whether I’d correctly read God’s will for me.

I want to share my prayer from this afternoon:

Father, today my students literally hid from me in order to not go to class. A part of me is hurt by that but then…I shouldn’t take it personally.

Father, at times like these I wonder if this is really what you’ve called me to. How capable am I really? But I know you don’t need me to help these kids understand you. I only need to be willing and you’ll take care of the rest. So, I put these kids in your hands and ask you to bless them with a keen interest to know and love you. Open their hearts to a deep understanding of your love. Draw them into strong personal relationships with you. Let their lives be centered on you and you alone. Help them turn to you and rely on you. Let them know that only you can provide the fulfillment they seek.

Father, please use me as you see fit. Be with me and guide me and bless me in this ministry you’ve given me. Encourage me, Father, and help me be heartened. In your name I pray, Amen.

The one thing that guarantees burnout is the fear that whatever you’re doing has been useless or is not appreciated. More than anything, that is what drains me of the desire to continue. However, what I thought of today was the post I put up earlier this week, especially this quote – “Take the time to be fed so that you can effectively feed others.”.

I re-read that post and I realized that today, God allowed me to take the time to be fed through the morning sermon and through the fellowship of friends at my home church.

Yes, I feel discouraged by what happened today but maybe God wanted me to take a break. And in that case, it just makes me more capable to “effectively feed others”.

Also, I may not have held class today, but I did have the opportunity to pray for my students and that is probably the most powerful thing I will ever do for them.