I ordinarily don’t do this as a post on the blog, but today I felt compelled by Him to do it. As most of you probably know I’m better at expressing my thoughts through writing than anything else. I have quite a few handwritten prayers in my notebook just for Him- Sometimes it’s easier for me to write them out instead of verbally speaking them! With that being said, this is a recent prayer I wrote and I felt like He wanted me to share it. It’s my sincere hope and prayer that it will be an encouragement to someone today!
All I want to do in this life is bring You even more glory! You created and knew me before the world began! (Jeremiah 1:5) On that note, I cannot thank and praise you enough for bringing me as far as you have over these last (almost) twenty years! Even though I don’t know where you’ll be taking me in the future, I am trusting and knowing you have my best interest at the center of Your heart! That alone has been an enormously difficult pill to swallow over the years, but you have shown me that I don’t have to win the victory for myself because you’ve already done that! Yay! You’re simply amazing and when I think of what you did for me by sending Your son to die for me (John 3:16) it leaves me speechless! Help me to never forget what you’ve done for me. I AM YOURS! Satan has absolutely NO authority over me because I am your daughter! Although, that truth doesn’t make me immune to his lies and schemes. The good news is that You have given me every weapon I could possibly need to stop him in his tracks! And, for that I am eternally grateful!
Being a Christian in this broken world we live in today is much more difficult than people realize. Over my many years of being a daughter of the King I have come to the conclusion that if anything it makes life much harder at times, but in the end it makes life better because He is living it with us. There are plenty of situations I have faced where doing the right thing is much harder because it’s something I am commanded to do as His daughter. As I was praying and thinking about forgiveness the Lord brought this scripture to mind from Matthew that says, “If you forgive those who sin against you, your heavenly Father will forgive you. (Matthew 6:14 NLT) Forgiveness is something that we are called to as Christians even if we don’t necessarily want to do because of the flaws and imperfections within our human flesh. Along with the great privilege of being His daughter comes the responsibility of listening and following the guidance of the Holy Spirit. Which, is something that is much easier said than done. The one thing I can say from experience is that once Christians encounter forgiveness for themselves (if you believe in Him, you have received forgiveness yourself as stated in John 3:16) we begin to understand the power of God’s grace on a more intimate level.
God is always teaching me more and more about himself and as I’ve grown more mature in Him, the more I have learned that it is all about HIM and what He calls us to do! Yes, there may be times where it would be much easier to continue going in our own direction instead of His, but that isn’t what we were created to do. Think about the Prodigal Son, for instance. (Luke 15:11-32) He decided to run away from the hardest things in his life out of the fear from the enemy. The same concept can be applied to forgiveness because it is meant to free us not frighten us. Satan will try his best to send us running in the other direction, so we don’t have to deal with our problems- God is the one we should be running toward.
Let me encourage you with these words from Matthew West from his song entitled: “Forgiveness”
I recently started a bible study called “The Armor of God” by Priscilla Shirer and even though I’m just getting started on it I can already sense that He will reveal more of himself to me through this study. I’m not sure exactly sure what He has planned for me, but I am more than thrilled to be embarking on another adventure with my Creator! One key point that I now have a fresh reminder of is the fact that the victory over sin has already been won by Jesus Christ. As we are reminded in Ephesians 2:4-5 “But God is so rich in mercy, and he loved us so much, that even though we were dead because of our sins, he gave us life when he raised Christ from the dead. (It is only by God’s grace you have been saved!)” (New Living Translation) There have been many times throughout my relationship with Him where I feel as though I fail to understand this vital truth from His word in all of its amazing glory.
I say that in recognition of the fact that there are some things that our earthly minds are unable to comprehend here on Earth until we get to Heaven and have reached true perfection just like Him. However, I do believe that in today’s culture there is a significant tendency to unintentionally misunderstand His word in all of the power we are intended to comprehend it with. In my own life I have seen it happen when I am faced with seemingly impossible situations or extremely traumatic events. When I’m presented with these circumstances I find myself doing one of two things: The first being shutting down and not talking to God or anyone about my scenario. Or worse, sometimes Satan will use my weakest opportunities to his dangerous advantage by proceeding to spew his most filthy and discouraging lies into my mind. It’s quite evident that neither one of the situations I listed are good thoughts or places to be in my relationship with the Lord. I realize now that if I would immediately take my needs and concerns to God, Satan wouldn’t feel threatened enough to spew his lies into my mind so easily. This experience reminded of 1 Peter 5:7 which says, “Give all your worries and cares to God, for he cares about you.” (NLT)
Granted, over the years God has significantly changed my heart and He has given me a new perspective of what it truly means to be a daughter of the King and I will be forever grateful for the way He continues to work in my life! Along with my renewed spirit, I now have a greater awareness and sense for when and where Satan may choose to attack me. Here is a prime example of what I’m talking about: At the end of this past semester I was awaiting the final grade on my research paper for English. I had been feeling great about the way everything turned out up until that morning when I knew the results would be posted. It wasn’t long before I allowed Satan and his demons to creep into my mind feeding me all their lies of self-doubt and insecurity. I knew from the moment I began feeling threatened by the lies that they were from Satan, not God. I immediately started praying and asking the Lord to protect my mind from the lies of the enemy and to rid me of the shame and doubt. Later on that day, I ended up making a very high B on my paper which allowed me to maintain an A average in that class for the semester! That night God spoke to me and said “See, my dear daughter, you have no need to worry about these things. I will take care of you no matter what because I love you and want my best for you.”
Lastly, my question for you is this: Do you spend time in daily recognition of what God has done for you? Or rather do you find yourself as I did in the example where Satan might be running at an intensely fast rate in your mind? No matter where you find yourself right now God is still there waiting for you. He is ready and more than willing to pick you up and make you into the person He created you to be! (Ephesians 2:10)
There’s no denying that our lives here on Earth are troubling. I strongly believe that’s why Jesus warns us about the challenges in John 16:33 which reads “I have told you all this so that you may have peace in me. Here on earth you will have many sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world.” (NLT) The challenges we face in this life are different for everyone because Satan is well aware of our weaknesses, but that’s due to the fact that he doesn’t have the power to read our minds, or to know what we’re doing everyday- Only God can do that because He created us! (Jeremiah 1:5) As Christians, we know that Satan has no authority over us, but do we actually take that truth at face value? I still find myself having to be reminded of the power of that amazing truth daily. When I found the inspiration for this post I was listening to “You Make Me Brave” by Bethel Music. God spoke to me almost instantly saying “Andrea, think about how much better your life can be if you learn how to be brave in Me and not in your own power.” Often times in my life I have found that the simplest promises of His word are the hardest to understand. I think this is the case because it is human nature that tells us it’s our responsibility to find a solution to the problem. While God’s response is the exact opposite- He is our strength and He will always fight for us all we are asked to do is surrender!
My main point is this: There are times when it may seem easier to try and “fix” things in our strength, but His response is simple we don’t have to do everything by ourselves and He doesn’t expect us to. At the end of the day we all sinners who need a Savior. (Romans 3:23) That’s what makes being a Daughter of the King so amazingly beautiful!
“The Lord himself will fight for you. Just stay calm.”
Throughout my many years of walking with God, I have learned that as important as it is for us to praise Him for his goodness in our answered prayers- We must also strive to do this with the unanswered prayers, or the things that we may think God doesn’t care about. As I acknowledged my need to praise Him more frequently for the things He provides for me that I’m not even aware of I was reminded of Psalm 34:8 which says, “Taste and see that the LORD is good. Oh, the joys of those who take refuge in him!” (NLT) Each time I read this verse it means something new to me. Recently, I was reminded of this truth when I look back over the last several years and realize just how richly blessed I am to be a daughter of the King!
Although it is much easier to thank Him for His goodness and blessings when we’re in the midst of a storm, we need to be thankful for His goodness in everything no matter our circumstance. When I think about people who understood what it meant to be thankful in Jesus’ time I remembered how Jesus healed the ten people of Leprosy. (Luke 17:12-19) As I studied this story I began examining my own life by imagining how I would react to that situation. Out of those ten who were healed, only one gave the initiative to actually run to Jesus just to express his overwhelming sense of appreciation and gratitude for being healed. I asked myself this question: How many times have I found myself running back to God after He does something for me just to tell him how thankful I am? Honestly, this lesson was a very hard pill for me to swallow, but humbling at the same time. All too often I find myself being like the other lepers that just kept walking, rather than like the one who took it upon himself to show his gratitude for what Jesus had done by simply saying “Thank you, Jesus.” My prayer for myself and anyone who reads this is that we will strive to be more like that one leper who understood the value of sincere gratitude.
Lastly, I think these words from 1 Thessalonians 5:18 are a perfect reminder of what it means to have a thankful and more Christ-centered attitude!
Be thankful in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you who belong to Christ Jesus. (NLT)
As Paul boldly states in 1 Corinthians 12:9, Each time he said, “My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness.” So now I am glad to boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ can work through me.
Often, in society and the world around us we are immersed in a message that’s quite the opposite. This message is different for everyone, but unfortunately Satan’s motive never changes- He only comes to tear Christians down at all costs. (John 10:10) It has taken me nearly twenty years to grasp this life changing concept: Even though the world tells us to be ashamed of our weaknesses, or the “storms” we encounter in this life the truth is God says the opposite. You see, these things are yet another opportunity for Him to display His glory in the lives of His children. During those difficult times you may have easier times of contentment where it seems less challenging. However, don’t misunderstand me in thing that God expects us to be perfectly satisfied for with our circumstances a hundred percent of the time. God doesn’t think this way whatsoever. He recognizes more than anyone how imperfect we are in this human flesh and quite honestly the imperfections that have plagued this earth since the time of Adam and Eve only exemplified our need for a Savior, Jesus Christ. (Luke 2:1-20)
Everything boils down to this: In God’s eyes, our earthly imperfections are what make us beautiful. Trust me when I say it’s taken me nearly twenty years to even begin trying to grasp a descent understanding of what an amazing God to whom I belong! He can take the most shattered parts of our lives and turn them into His beautiful masterpiece!
“For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago.” Ephesians 2:10 NLT
I became a daughter of the King when I was eight years old and ever since that day I felt like God had a unique plan and purpose for my life specifically designed by Him. Throughout the years that followed, remembering God’s perfect plan for my life was becoming increasingly difficult as I was so easily allowing myself to be entangled in Satan’s lies. I was allowing myself to become so fixated on the things I couldn’t do as a result of having Cerebral Palsy that the mere truth that the God who created the universe has a purpose for my fleeting life had become a distant reality in the depths of my soul.
Even through those dark times I did my best to cling to two immensely powerful verses in Scripture which can both be found in Jeremiah. “I knew you before I formed you in your mother’s womb. Before you were born I set you apart and appointed you as my prophet to the nations.” Jeremiah 1:5 (NLT) This verse always seems to mean something new to me every time I read it. Granted, I have no clue where God plans to take me in this life, but I’m ready for our adventure because I have come to the realization that I am in no place to try and “limit” Him in terms of what I think I can and can’t do. Truth is, He knows more about me than I will ever know so how could I ever doubt my Creator?
The second verse that I sincerely love is Jeremiah 29:11 which says, “For I know the plans I have for you,” says the LORD. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.” (NLT) Trust me when I tell you I’ve had plenty of times where it’s so much easier to say these verse as opposed to actually having the faith to believe them. On that note I am reminded of the story of Abraham and Sarah. (Genesis 12-18) They both struggled on numerous occasions to take God at his word and we all know where that sin led them. What I take great comfort in from their story is fact that God continuously proves himself faithful-time and time again, despite how Abraham and Sarah chose to disobey God, they were still blessed with a son, Isaac. Believe it or not God is always faithful even if we don’t think He is. I have had to be reminded of that countless times throughout my life with Him.
So, on the days when we are struggling to take him at His word may we be reminded of these words from David in Psalms:
Have you ever really thought about what it means to experience true peace? Not just worldly peace but the kind that only He can give. In John 16:33 we witness Jesus’ last conversation with his disciples before they would betray him at his crucifixion and Jesus says to them, “I have told you all this so that you may have peace in me. Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world.” (NLT) The same is true for you and I as His sons and daughters, if we choose to accept that perfect peace. I find myself having to be reminded of his peace daily because the world as we know it is turning more and more toward chaos instead of peace in every aspect of life.
Again in Mark 5 we are reminded of this peace when Jesus heals a demon possessed man. It occurred right after Jesus had calmed the stormed as he and the disciples traveled through an area they weren’t very familiar with. Upon reaching their destination, Jesus was approached by a man who was possessed by a demon. Jesus immediately called the demons out of the man and it was only in the moment when the man experienced the true peace that can only be found in Jesus Christ. (Mark 5:1-15)
Back in January of 2014, I had to undergo a posterior spinal fusion to correct my Scoliosis, which had progressed to 65 degrees at that point. It wasn’t until I was in the moment of realizing that I was in the midst of a situation where I couldn’t do anything except trust in Him to take care of me when I couldn’t care of myself where I was able to experience His peace like never before. Too often in life we are faced with situations where everything seems to be crumbling down around us and we can’t do anything but collapse under the immense weight of those circumstances and ultimately that tends to be what most individuals do who aren’t familiar with Jesus and the peace that only comes from Him alone. All God asks of as His followers is to “plant the seed” in those around us and the rest is God’s job. He doesn’t expect us to do anything we aren’t capable of doing just what He asks of us.
Psalm 112:4 says …”A light shines in the darkness for the godly. They are generous, compassionate, and righteous.” If we truly desire with all our heart to follow Christ, that desire should be evident by the way we live our lives and share His love with others. God can sometimes find it necessary to take us out of our comfort zone in order to show us that our lives are still used as lights for Him despite what our circumstances might be. God often uses those times where we are unsure of what to do or even how to pray to make us more compassionate and righteous in Him. Being filled with His light allows us to gain a entirely new perspective on our life purpose. As His followers we know that we are made in the image of Him but I believe that statement can sometimes be nearly impossible for our minds to comprehend. I am truly astounded and left speechless when I think about the truth that the Creator of the universe loves me and thinks my life is significant enough to “glow” in the darkness of the world for Him. How amazing is that? Luke 11:36 reminds us that “…If you are filled with light, with no dark corners, then your whole life will be radiant, as though a floodlight were filling you with light.” God leaves me at a complete loss for words to express my gratitude for how He continues to use my life to glow for His glory in all its brilliance!!
As C.S. Lewis once said, “Joy is the serious business of Heaven.” It’s clear from this statement that God’s definition of joy is vastly different from our worldly sense of the word. There have been numerous occasions in my walk with Him where I may have lacked the faith to realize that when we hear of joy in the Bible God is speaking of it in terms that we can understand because everything in His word is true and it never changes. You see, it can be easy to mistrust God’s definition of joy and instead we are choosing to buy into what the world says joy is. The truth is God earnestly desires for our hearts to be filled with joy and as we recognize that desire daily it actually strengthens our relationship with Him. Nehemiah 8:10 says, “…For the joy of the Lord is your strength.” (NIV) It comes down to this we face a battle everyday of striving to keep our minds focused on the joy we have yet to experience rather than the suffering and temporary joy we are surrounded by right now. God has a perspective of joy is one that isn’t bound by time or our momentary circumstances. Instead, His joy is what we should desire to have more of because if our identity is in Him we will experience true joy both now and in Heaven one day!! With that being said it’s extremely important that God also wants us to have pleasure and enjoy life as we know it.