Talk to God, Not Just About

This devotional is brought to you by a sermon from John Piper that is necessary to every person on their Christian journey.

Psalm 23 teaches us the importance of communication with our Father, that it is important that we talk about Him to others, but that we also talk to Him.

In verses 1-3 David refers to God as “he”:

“The Lord is my shepherd…
He makes me lie down…
He leads me…
He restores my soul.”

Then in verses 4 and 5 David refers to God as “you”:

“I will fear no evil, for you are with me;
Your rod and your staff, they comfort me.
You prepare a table before me.
You anoint my head with oil.”

Then in verse 6 David uses third person:

“I shall dwell in the house of the Lord.”

What we must learn from David in Psalm 23 and other psalms is that we should not talk about the good news of God without having a personal relationship with the God we talk about. We should frequently interrupt our talking about God with talking to God.

Let us move from the general to the specific with God. Not only should God be someone we speak about, but someone we speak to.

Not far behind the theological sentence, “God is generous,” should come the prayerful sentence, “Thank you, God.”

 

7 Day Prayer Series: Day 7

Day 7.

Reveal yourself through me

“Show me a sign of your favour, that those who hate me see and be put to shame because you, Lord, have helped me and comforted me” (Psalm 86:17)

To be a Christian is not only to have our personal prayers answered, but also to make a statement to the whole world. While prayer begins with us for our situations and circumstances, it should extend to a prayer for God to reveal himself through us so that the world may see and enjoy him. Yes, we must first come to God and pray for his listening ear, joy, strength and all the other good things but move prayer outside of ourselves and into what God desires. We must pray for our light to shine through all the world.

The world is watching us Christians: we should respond by wanting our faith and our whole life to mean something to the watching world. We want unbelievers and sometimes believers to know that our God is the one and only God, to come to him and be saved.

Let us transform our prayers from asking God to do for us into a desire for him to do in us something dramatic that moves the hearts and minds of others. It is important to move beyond our selves and into the world, something that can only be done when God works through us.

Thank you for staying tuned in and praying with me this week. I pray this series stays with each of us for this week, this month, this year, forever.

Blessings ❤

P.S If anyone has any prayer requests please make them known via comments or email and I’d be pleased to make my requests for you known.

7 Day Prayer Series: Day 6

Day 6.

Unite my heart to you

“Unite my heart to fear your name” (Psalm 86:11)

This world is full of division and our sinful heart’s are no different. More and more of us are divided between wanting to resonate with God’s heart, and fulfilling rebel desires and impulses. Unity becomes a word instead of a way of living. However, to be a Christian is to kill sin and stay on the side of righteousness, united with the Lord.

Sin divides our attention and affection to the Lord, but there is a way to move into unity. To counter the effects of this divided world our frequent prayer should be that God rid us of spiritual divisiveness, that we may not be hot and cold so God can unite our hearts in him.

Tune in for Day 7 (last day) tomorrow with a prayer on favour.

Blessings ❤

P.S If anyone has any prayer requests please make them known via comments or email and I’d be pleased to make my requests for you known.

7 Day Prayer Series: Day 5

Day 5.

Give me your strength

“Turn to me and be gracious to me; give your strength to your servant”  (Psalm 86:16)

The other day I went to the gym and tried deadlifting 150 lbs, it was a sorry mistake to say the least. I was weak and in need of strength. Many of us also need strength and don’t realize it until we try and lift our heavy weights, our heavy burdens and are unable to do so. For some we need strength to wake up ready to tackle our to-do lists and take on the world. Or maybe we need strength to do a seemingly simple task, getting out of bed. Many of us go through life tired, we forget to ask for help – for strength. Our individual efforts may work for a while, but eventually we will run out of gas and be left with small, short-lived strength. We need a refuel.

Along with our prayers for guidance, we need to ask God for strength so that we can walk on the path he wants to lead us on spiritually and physically. Relying on our own strength to go through life is much like the story of “The Three Little Pigs”. Some of us build with straws and others with sticks, but with God we can be like the third little pig who uses bricks and remains strong in the face of his enemy.

It is important to work hard, but never in your strength alone. You cannot do it all on your own. Work in the strength that he supplies. God will lend his own strength to all who ask as long as it is not for selfish or materialistic dreams. He will give you the courage and strength like he did Samson, if you commit to lay down your life for others in the name of Jesus.

Tune in for Day 6 tomorrow with a prayer on unity.

Blessings ❤

P.S If anyone has any prayer requests please make them known via comments or email and I’d be pleased to make my requests for you known.

7 Day Prayer Series: Day 4

Day 4.

Teach me your ways.

“Teach me your way, O Lord, that I may walk in your truth” (Psalm 86:11)

Here I’m focusing on the wonderful request of verse 11 for God to teach us his ways. In any trial, a teachable heart is essential. Ask God what you should be learning about Him and about yourself in the difficult situation because there is truth in his ways. Most of us instinctively pray for quick deliverance, but David prays that he will learn God’s ways so that in his trials he will walk in obedience to God’s truth. He prays that his loyalty will not be scattered or divided, but rather be united or single-minded in God’s truth.

Have you ever heard the saying, “the truth shall set you free”? I’m pretty sure that saying comes from the Bible because walking in God’s truth we see the truth come alive in us — in our priorities, in our relationships, and in our heart’s.

God doesn’t expect us to just figure it out on our own. He wants us to rely on his teaching and ask him for wisdom and guidance. Start with, “God, teach me your way” and then fill in the blanks with whatever it is you need his guidance on.

If we are willing to be taught, the Lord will use various means for our enlightenment.

Tune in for Day 5 tomorrow with a prayer on strength.

Blessings ❤

P.S If anyone has any prayer requests please make them known via comments or email and I’d be pleased to make my requests for you known.

7 Day Prayer Series: Day 3

Day 3.

Make my heart happy in you.

“Gladden the soul of your servant, for to you, O Lord, do I lift up my soul” (Psalm 86:4)

Prayers are not there only to rescue us from sin, but they also allow us to be flooded with joy in the Rescuer. Sin disrupts God’s ultimate plan for us, but it doesn’t have to control us. Through prayer God offers us an escape from our sin and a way into eternal joy. God wants us to be happy in him. There’s joy in knowing that our heart’s cry is answered when we turn to God, our heart’s will no longer be filled with sin and pain, but joy and happiness when we make that plea.

However, many of us look for this joy in other areas separate from God, but we cannot put on joy like we put on a pair of pants. It is only through God that joy is given, but we mustn’t expect to feel it if we do not ask God to receive it. Something supernatural has to happen in our hearts, and the supernatural only happens one way: with God’s help through prayer.

David asks (86:4), for God to make glad his soul. That was a bold request at a time of his great suffering. Like David, we ought either to be rejoicing in the Lord, or pining after him through prayer! Never assume you’ll find joy without asking God for it.

Tune in for Day 4 tomorrow with a prayer on walking in truth.

Blessings ❤

P.S If anyone has any prayer requests please make them known via comments or email and I’d be pleased to make my requests for you known.

7 Day Prayer Series: Day Two

Day 2.

Save me, and keep me.

“Preserve my life, for I am godly; save your servant, who trusts in you — you are my God. Be gracious to me, O Lord, for to you do I cry all the day” (Psalm 86:2–3)

There are many of us who face all sorts of people, some who mean well and others who don’t. As a result, we pray quite often for our friends and neglect our enemies. David had the same issue, but in the face of all his enemies, David looked to our God for protection and deliverance. He was often surrounded on every side, threatened in every way imaginable. But he recognized that hope and confidence is found in God and can only be complete in regular prayer for preservation. While he recognized those who meant well around him he also noted his enemies and made sure to pray against their evildoings. 

Our enemies may be a former friend, a coworker, or even a relative but I have news for you. We have an enemy far greater than them, an enemy more fearful than all of David’s enemies combined. His name is Satan. He has planted his mercenaries at every turn. And we are helpless against his schemes without a warrior fighting for us. We mustn’t fall into the trap set up by Satan or our enemies and believe that because we are saved we are shielded. The fact that David cries out for God to save him (86:2, 16) shows that he knew that he could not save himself.

Being saved is not an isolated, single occurrence but a daily commitment, much like prayer. You are being saved every day. But not without prayer. Each day should welcome a plea for protection and keeping, not a reliance on a committed made in the past. 

We set ourselves up for problems when we neglect to take seriously the plans of the enemy and rely on our salvation than our prayer for preservation.

Tune in for Day 3 tomorrow with a focus on joy in the Rescuer.

Blessings ❤

P.S If anyone has any prayer requests please make them known via comments or email and I’d be pleased to make my requests for you known.

7 DAY Prayer Series: Day One

**Friends, welcome to my very first 7-day series on prayer. While I’d love to talk exclusively on prayer in this one post I’m afraid you’d all be reading an essay rather than a blog post and the sure way for you to walk away with the teachings of this post is to go at it one day at a time.

A morning prayer is a great way to start your day. It allows you to seek God’s plan for the day ahead and prepare yourself for His goodness. Whether you need encouragement, peace, strength, wisdom, happiness, or patience God can meet you when you come before Him with your head and heart bowed. Let His Word go before you everyday of the week as you pray because a life full of prayer is the secret to a happy life. However, prayerlessness is the great enemy of true happiness. If we give up on prayer, or refuse to pray, we surrender our seat at the throne of grace.

However, it is not just the act of praying – the words, knees bowed that bring results, but the that the heart bows along with our knees. Some of us who do pray can find ourselves in danger of forfeiting prayer’s fullness as we fall into stale ruts of familiar words and repeated requests. We wake up each day, say the same prayers, and wonder why it doesn’t feel more real and life-changing. The problem is that while prayer should be our heart’s cry we distance our heart from the act and rely solely on our words.

There are also some of us who walk through the valley with our heads down and our mouths shut. We find no strength or rescue in prayer. But the Bible speaks too often and too highly of prayer for us to let our temporary situations pull us away from what brings us closest to God. Yes, we may know the Lord’s Prayer by heart, but those five verses are not the only guide we have to help us pray. It is the template. God has given us many different routes for getting out of our daily ruts through prayer. He has given us the tools of prayer through His Word. Take Psalm 86, for example. Here is the first of seven simple daily prayers drawn from David’s prayer.

Day 1.

Hear my cry

“Give ear, O Lord, to my prayer; listen to my plea for grace” (Psalm 86:6).

David wrote an entire book of songs/prayers to God and the common theme for all was his plea with God to listen (Psalm 4, 17, 27, 28, 30). David never took the ever-present help of God for granted. He never took it as something that is handed out to all without any work done on our part.

God Almighty, the sovereign and infinite, Maker of heaven and earth, hears your prayers. But, don’t take God’s ears for granted. Acknowledge His holiness and your sin when you pray. Think to yourself if you heard the same plea from a friend who promised never to make the same mistake ever again after you warned them and continues to do so. Imagine they call to talk to you, never asking for you to hear them out – instead they assume because you’re their friend you’d automatically give them your ear, your forgiveness and your advice. Wrong. We make the same mistake with God. We must plea for His ear, His forgiveness, His answer. We must not presume he will listen, but for Jesus’s sake we must ask him to hear one more prayer. It is the act of asking that he longs for, that is not only done through prayer but in asking that he hears our prayers.

A prayer of David.

Hear me, Lord, and answer me,
    for I am poor and needy.
Guard my life, for I am faithful to you;
    save your servant who trusts in you.
You are my God; have mercy on me, Lord,
    for I call to you all day long.
Bring joy to your servant, Lord,
    for I put my trust in you.

You, Lord, are forgiving and good,
    abounding in love to all who call to you.
Hear my prayer, Lord;
    listen to my cry for mercy.
When I am in distress, I call to you,
    because you answer me.

Among the gods there is none like you, Lord;
    no deeds can compare with yours.
All the nations you have made
    will come and worship before you, Lord;
    they will bring glory to your name.
10 For you are great and do marvelous deeds;
    you alone are God.

11 Teach me your way, Lord,
    that I may rely on your faithfulness;
give me an undivided heart,
    that I may fear your name.
12 I will praise you, Lord my God, with all my heart;
    I will glorify your name forever.
13 For great is your love toward me;
    you have delivered me from the depths,
    from the realm of the dead.

14 Arrogant foes are attacking me, O God;
    ruthless people are trying to kill me—
    they have no regard for you.
15 But you, Lord, are a compassionate and gracious God,
    slow to anger, abounding in love and faithfulness.
16 Turn to me and have mercy on me;
    show your strength in behalf of your servant;
save me, because I serve you
    just as my mother did.
17 Give me a sign of your goodness,
    that my enemies may see it and be put to shame,
    for you, Lord, have helped me and comforted me.

Before you pray today remember to ask God to “give ear” – to first listen to your prayer, from there make your requests known.

Tune in for Day 2 tomorrow with a focus on preservation.

Blessings ❤

P.S If anyone has any prayer requests please make them known via comments or email and I’d be pleased to make my requests for you known.

Help Comes First From the WORD Not the World

Happy Music Monday friends ❤

A few days ago I was contact by an ex-friend, someone I thought would be in my life for a while. Before responding to this former friend, I took a moment and asked the Lord why it hadn’t worked in the first place. Instead of responding, a went to the Lord in prayer and he met me in my dreams.

Last night as I closed my eyes preparing for a night of rest I tossed and turned and while I dozed off at 4 in the morning, a sweet slumber did not meet me. The dream, a nightmare at most, I had was a weird one that honed in on one of my real life friendships. In this nightmare I was able to see many real life situations where I compromised my faith, my relationship with God, and my wellbeing for the good of this particular relationship. Throughout this dream I was met with a version of myself and this friend, I was an outsider looking in. I saw the two of us dining, dancing, and laughing, our time consumed with each other like it had been for all my other friendships. It looked as though myself and this friend were having a good time, but as I looked closer I saw something didn’t seem to fit. It was a snake. This friend transformed before my eyes from a human into a serpent. The serpent turned to me, as I observed, and said “you’ve allowed your worldly relationships to replace God. You’ve replaced the Word with the world.” Then, I woke up. I gasped and thanked God it was all just a horrible dream, but I still felt uneasy. It occurred to me that maybe this was a sign. Did God put this dream on me to allow me to see that the reason our relationship ended before was because I used this particular friend as a way of replacing him? Did he use the serpent to reveal that like the enemy, I’ve allowed this friend to stop me from seeing, both literally and spiritually what God was trying to do in my life? So, I received my answer… no , this is a relationship not worth mending. It was a rather dramatic answer, but necessary nonetheless.

Friends, don’t allow the enemy to use you nor should you give him the key to use any of those around you to craft his plan of separation from you and God. The enemy comes to kill, steal, and destroy and sometimes we make his job easier when we hold on to the world and not the Word. Anything that you are holding onto right now, or idolizing over God, the enemy is there. May you learn to open your eyes to the areas God is calling on you to return to, like he did me. My prayer is that you call on God and rebuke the enemy’s plans to separate you from God. Don’t make the mistake I did and look to your worldly relationship as your help and strength, when all of your help comes first from God. Put God at the centre of your life, your job, your school, and your friendships. While I ended the friendship with this person several years ago, I almost lost my footing and started what was proven to be a bad relationship – I almost gave the enemy the keys to separate me from the Lord like I had done before.

All of our help comes from God, whether it’s conscious or subconscious! Allow Him FULL access to your life, your situation, to YOU.

Father, we believe you are granting us your perfect peace as we keep our mind stayed on you and put you first. We will not allow the enemy in or allow him to believe our help comes for the world instead of the WORD.

This week’s song is All Of My Help by Geoffrey Golden

Lyrics:
All of my help, all of my help
All of my help comes from you
My saviour
All of my help, all of my help
All of my help comes from you
It comes from you
All of my help comes from you
You are the one that my heart is drawn to
In time of weaknes, my strength is renewed
My help, all of my help
All of my help comes from you

So father, we believe that you are
Renewing our strength as we wait on you
Father, we believe that you are granting us
Your perfect peace as we keep our minds stayed on you
You are our hope, you are our strength
You are our life, father. And so we are gonna lift this together

You are my refuge and strength
My present help in times of trouble
I look to the hills from whence cometh my help
My help comes from you

It comes from you (it comes from you)
It comes from you (it comes from you)
All of my peace (yes)
It comes from you (it comes from you)
And all of my joy, (yes)
It comes from you (it comes from you)

You are my life (yes)
You are my light (it comes from you)
Can’t make it without you (yes)
Don’t wanna do it without you (it comes from you)
Father, we need you (yes)
Father, we need you (it comes from you)
Father, we need you (yes)
Father, we need you (it comes from you)

All of my help (it comes from you)
All of my peace (yes)
It comes from you (it comes from you)
For you are (yes)
The source of my strength (it comes from you)
And you are (yes)
You’re the strength of my life (it comes from you)

I love you, lord (yes)
You paid my price (it comes from you)
And pitied (yes)
Pitied every throne (it comes from you)
Long as I live, (yes)
As troubles rise, (it comes from you)
I’m gonna race, (yes)
To your throne (it comes from you)
You are my refuge and strength

You’re Going To Be OK

**I want to apologize for my absence. To say I needed some time of reflection would be an understatement. I had all but given up, desperate for a sign from God. Something good, something kind, bringing peace to every corner of my mind – then a friend suggested Psalms 20 and here I am. I’m back and I’m ready to tell my story until my Saviour returns.

The Lord hear thee in the day of trouble; the name of the God of Jacob defend thee;
Send thee help from the sanctuary, and strengthen thee out of Zion;
Remember all thy offerings, and accept thy burnt sacrifice; Selah.
Grant thee according to thine own heart, and fulfil all thy counsel.
We will rejoice in thy salvation, and in the name of our God we will set up our banners: the Lord fulfil all thy petitions.
Now know I that the Lord saveth his anointed; he will hear him from his holy heaven with the saving strength of his right hand.
Some trust in chariots, and some in horses: but we will remember the name of the Lord our God.
They are brought down and fallen: but we are risen, and stand upright.
Save, Lord: let the king hear us when we call.” 

I understand today is Family Day, a day set aside for a time with your family members and loved ones, but not all of us are fortunate with that opportunity. There are some reading who don’t have a blood-related family or don’t get that feeling of peace, comfort, and love usually associated with the family. But, there’s a truth your heart needs to hear and that is, “you’re going to be okay” – whether surrounded with family or in a room all alone (with God).

Have you ever watched a dream die or felt angry because life isn’t going the way you expected? Or maybe it’s a fight just to keep it together. Sometimes it feels like life’s falling apart. Sometimes you’re completely worn out by stresses that never seems to end.

Whether times are good or bad, the Lord says you can be joyful, resilient, and strong! Let’s discover how to guard our hearts against despair together, how to look to the future with confidence, and trust that God will accomplish his plan for you. This begins when you learn to love even when you don’t feel loved. Today’s heartfelt message is about hope–you really are going to be okay.

I know many of the reasons our relationships with our families and I’ll extend this to friends and intimate relationships suffer is because of the lack of love. The problem we have is if we don’t feel it, we believe it isn’t authentic, and thus not real. We begin to question love. This is usually where we leave the relationship(s). This, combined with the definition that love is almost exclusively a warm feeling found deep within us, makes the notion that we aren’t loved. As a result of not feeling loved, we forget to display love.

We live in a “wait until you feel love” world. The main problem with a wait until you feel it love is that it comes more from the world than the Word. It fundamentally undermines the two greatest commandments Jesus gave. The command to love God with everything, and others as ourselves, often assaults this kind of love, oppresses our natural cravings, and inconveniences our self-actualization but it is the Biblical way to love.

If you find yourself alone and loveless because you never really felt loved from those around I have good news. God IS love. God is the supreme example of love. If you want to know what love looks like, look to God. From His sacrifice to his Word we are given a template of how to love. And yes, God loves even those he doesn’t feel love from. So, remember, you are going to be okay if you recognize that while you don’t feel loved by some you are loved by the Most High and that’s all the love you need for a lifetime.

When you don’t feel loved, God still loves. You are not alone, with God you are going to be okay.

This week’s song is You’re Gonna Be Ok by Bethel Music ft. Brian and Jenn Johnson

Lyrics:
[Verse 1]
I know it’s all you’ve got to just, be strong
And it’s a fight just to keep it together, together
I know you think, that you are too far gone
But hope is never lost
Hope is never lost

[Pre-Chorus]
Hold on, don’t let go
Hold on, don’t let go

[Chorus]
Just take, one step, closer
Put one foot in front of the other
You’ll, get through this
Just follow the light in the darkness
You’re gonna be ok

[Verse 2]
I know your heart is heavy from those nights
Just remember that you’re a fighter, a fighter
You never know just what tomorrow holds
And you’re stronger than you know
Stronger than you know

[Pre-Chorus]
Hold on, don’t let go
Hold on, don’t let go

[Chorus]
Just take, one step, closer
Put one foot in front of the other
You’ll, get through this
Just follow the light in the darkness

One step, closer
Put one foot in front of the other
You’ll, get through this
Just follow the light in the darkness
You’re gonna be ok

[Bridge]
And when the night, is closing in
Don’t give up, and don’t give in
This won’t last, it’s not the end, it’s not the end
You’re gonna be ok

When the night, is closing in
Don’t give up, and don’t give in
This won’t last, it’s not the end, it’s not the end
You’re gonna be ok