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.”

 

God Is Mindful Of You

Happy Monday friends!

This morning’s music Monday devotional is a reminder many of us need, that God is mindful of YOU.

“What is man, that thou art mindful of him? and the son of man, that thou visitest him?”
Psalm 8:4

No one care more about your life than God. No man, no woman, not even yourself! That’s why it is important to acknowledge God who acknowledges us. God is always thinking about you and thinking about what is best for you. His intentions will never be unclear, or selfish like man because God loves you perfectly. Some of us can even say we didn’t know he was all we needed until he was all we had.

Whatever concerns you, concerns God. Whatever you’re worried about, whatever you’re afraid of, whatever you’re anxious about, God is there. He feels your pain. He has your best interest at mind because he is mindful of you.

To be mindful is to be alert, focused, attentive. When God is mindful of you he notices everything about your life. Matthew 10:19-30 says not even a sparrow can fall to the ground without God noticing. He even number every hair on your head. That’s how close God pays attention to you. To each and every one of us, not one of us is invisible to him.

How many of us can attest to the fact that when everyone else left us God remained?

Let us show him that we also are mindful of him through prayer, praise and devotion.

Amen ❤

 

This week’s song is Mindful by Brian Courtney Wilson

Lyrics:
All that I hope
Is to be closer, I want to be where you are
My desire
Is to be closer, I need to be where you are
You’re the lover of my soul
I will be mindful to say
That I love you
Because you first loved me
And I thank you
For your Grace

All that I want
Is to be closer, I want to be where you are
My desire
Is to be closer, I need to be where you are
You’re the lover of my soul
And I will be mindful to say

That I love you
Because you first loved me
And I thank you
For your Grace
For your Grace

I love you
Because you first loved me
And I thank you
For your Grace

I didn’t know you were all I needed
Until you were all I had
And now I know all I have in you
Is more than enough
More than enough (repeat)

I love you
Because you first loved me
And I thank you
For your Grace
And I’ll be mindful

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.

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

Brokenness Aside

I want to warn you all from sitting at the table of brokenness.

By brokenness I am not talking about being shattered because there’s a differences between being shattered and being broken. Divorce will shatter you but you can get married again. Loosing your job can shatter you but you can be employed again. Being shattered means you can be fixed but to be broken means God’s got to humble you.

I got on my knees last night and asked God for strength. Strength over the complicated living situations I am in. I asked God to keep my body strong and to give me what I need in this effort. I asked God to put his hands on me that I might lead his people without distractions. Instead, God put more on me today. I didn’t ask for that. I asked for grace. I asked for strength. I asked God to give me more power than he had last year. Instead, he gave me pain.

Through the abundance of things God has already done for me to keep my feet on the ground, to draw me closer to him he gave me something that I’ve got to depend on him more than I ever had. He says “If I let you do all that you planned to do without me you are going to take glory that does not belong to you. So to keep you humble, to break you, to mold you, to shape you I’ve got to make you dependant on me. Because Mother’s not there, Dad’s not there, sister’s are not there. Late in the midnight hour you need somebody who’s grace is sufficient.”

Paul shares the depth of the dilemma he’s in because he uses the word ‘thorn.’ It’s not a light prick but it is a wooden stick that impales you.

I want to speak to someone who has every had a thorn, or you’re currently feeling this throne. Sweet little church sayings or antidotes won’t get rid of that thorn.

Your pain may have been carried to you by Satan, but it was conceived by God. God won’t let anything happen to his child that catches him off guard. If you haven’t been through anything skip this post. But, if you’ve been through your own storm. If you’ve had a thorn jug you every time you thought you were about to turn the corner or every time you thought you were feeling better it jugs you again then there’s help. Whatever your thorn is there’s good news. Paul said “I went to the Lord and asked him to remove it.”

I went to the Lord and I asked him to remove my thorn, but like Paul I heard him say “my grace is sufficient.”

His grace is sufficient friends. Believe it.

His grace woke you up this morning. His grace started you on your way. His grace is standing you up right now. His grace will keep you all the year long.

So, when brokenness gives you an invite to sit at its table, decline. For brokenness allows God to mold you and change you but if you are content with dwelling in a state of brokenness a change won’t ever come. Set brokenness aside and keep God in mind.

This week’s song is Brokenness Aside by All Sons and Daughters

Lyrics:
Will your grace run out
If I let you down
‘Cause all I know
Is how to run

‘Cause I am a sinner
If it’s not one thing it’s another
Caught up in words
Tangled in lies
But You are a Savior
And You take brokenness aside
And make it beautiful
Beautiful

Will You call me child
When I tell you lies
‘Cause all I know
Is how to cry

‘Cause I am a sinner
If it’s not one thing it’s another
Caught up in words
Tangled in lies
But You are a Savior
And You take brokenness aside
And make it beautiful
Beautiful

You make it beautiful
You make it beautiful
[x2]

Love God with Your Everything

There are few things so universal and yet so challenging. Love. Most importantly, love for God. Jesus says in Mark 12:29–30, that to love is the most important commandment as it is necessary to enjoy God’s sustained favour.

There are many substantial examples of God’s sustained favour in the face of great love. Moses asserted, “[Yahweh] keeps covenant and steadfast love with those who love him and keep his commandments, to a thousand generations,” but he “repays to their face those who hate him, by destroying them”(Deuteronomy 7:9–10). Similarly, Paul declared that “All things work together for good” only for “those who love God” (Romans 8:28).

There is no room here for divided affections or allegiance. As Jesus said, “No one can serve two masters” (Matthew 6:24). God demands total loyalty from you. A loyalty that starts with the heart.

Being loyal is defined as “Being faithful to one’s oath, engagements or obligations. Being faithful to one’s allegiance to a government or state or to a person conceived as imposing obligation”. Loyalty comes out of love, devotion, dedication and commitment to the well being of another. As lovers of Christ we are to prove ourselves loyal in regular devotionals, dedicated time and a commitment to stay faithful through the course of the relationship, choosing God over the world.

We are not to simply reserve God to the weekend or worse, a single day of the week – often Sunday’s and occupy the rest of our time with the pleasure of the world. As important as loyalty is in this day and age in our relationships it serves the same importance to our Maker who reminds us not to let “steadfast love and faithfulness forsake you” but to “bind them around your neck; write them on the tablet of your heart” (Proverbs 3:3).

Loving God with all our Heart
From the heart “flow the springs of life” (Proverbs 4:23), and without one’s will, desires, passions, affections, perceptions, and thoughts rightly aligned, the life of love is impossible. As a result disloyalty beings and God no longer becomes the source of our love as we go out giving out our love to others.

Loving God with all our Soul
Along with our hearts, we are called to love God with all our soul. In the first five books of the Old Testament the “soul” refers to one’s whole being as a living person, which while it includes one’s heart, it includes so much more. It is not only the heart that we live and have our being but also our souls that has a closer meaning to “living being”. For example,   in Genesis 2:7 we are told that “Yahweh God formed the man of dust from the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living [soul] creature.

So we are to love God with our everything, beyond our heart. We are to love him with how we talk, and what we do with our hands, and how we utilize our talents, and how we react to trials. Our entire being is to display that we love God.

Loving God with all our Might
What it means to love God with all our might not only points towards the strength a person has, but also what he has at his disposal. This means that the call to love God is not only with our physical muscle or the strength we have in the moment, but with everything we have available for honouring God. Our might is not reserved to what we possess but all that we have around us – which includes our house, our jobs, our time, our family.

Therefore, we must love God with our everything because He is our everything. To love God with our everything includes our heart, soul and might. We are to let the love we feel expand to the love we show. Whether we’re eating or singing, jogging or blogging, texting or drawing – our love for God is to be in felt and seen.

Let us not reserve God to a “side thing” in a time of disloyalty, instead let us remain faithful to God.

This week’s song is You are Everything by Todd Dulaney

Lyrics:
You are everything to me (you are everything to me)
You are everything to me (you are everything to me)
You are everything to me (you are everything to me)
You are everything to me (you are everything to me)

You are alpha and omega
You’re my healer, you’re my Saviour
You are everything, you are everything
(You’re my healer, you’re my Saviour
You are everything, you are everything)

You are everything to me (you are everything to me)
You are everything to me (you are everything to me)
You are everything to me (you are everything to me)
You are everything to me (you are everything to me)
You’re my healer, you’re my Saviour
You are everything, you are everything
(You’re my healer, you’re my Saviour
You are everything, you are everything)

You are more than life to me (you are more than life to me)
You are more than life to me (you are more than life to me)
You are more than life to me (you are more than life to me)
You are more than life to me (you are more than life to me)