Immeasurably More Than We Ask or Imagine
Keep on asking, and you will receive what you ask for. Keep on seeking, and you will find. Keep on knocking, and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks, receives. Everyone who seeks, finds. And to everyone who knocks, the door will be opened. — Matthew 7:7-8 NLT
I recently felt God prompting me to spend a day in prayer and fasting. I thought and prayed about it for a few days and the feeling didn’t leave. So on a Monday morning before getting out of bed, I dedicated the day to God and what He had planned for me to learn. I had recently been reviewing my business’s yearend documentation and saw how God had provided, despite a significant loss in business for the past two years. I was longing to be more productive, but the business wasn’t coming in. I had been asking God – “What next? When? How long? Guide me.” As I was preparing for the day, my fax machine started spewing page after page of work from a client I hadn’t had anything from for a few months. There was definitely a time of praise and thanksgiving to God! But I didn’t let it interrupt my commitment to God. And boy am I glad I didn’t because God continued to answer.
After reading God’s word for a while and praying, I decided to go for a walk. I went down by the river and enjoyed seeing some eagles, a hawk and some other birds. But mostly, I just enjoyed walking and talking with God. I asked Him, with a boldness and confidence I don’t always come to Him with, about my future – Do I go out looking for a job? Do I wait? Would He please make it very clear to me that He had plans for me. And I shared some specific things I desired if I were to work outside of the home. While I was walking past some friends’ business, the owner came out and asked me to talk. He talked about the possibility of a part-time job. Now I really wanted to fall on my knees before God in prayer. This is the perfect answer to my prayers. God knew the variety of my needs and concerns about working and He provided with THE best answer – it included many of the specific things I had requested.
I have to tell you it was so refreshing to spend such a concentrated and purposeful day with God. I didn’t just fast from food, but turned off most of the worldly distractions. I didn’t start the day with the morning news. I didn’t read my emails. I didn’t check Facebook, aside from my morning devotion with my Ephesians Bible study group. I didn’t even have the radio on! Those who know me know that I usually surround myself with some form of noise. But this day just seemed like a day I should devote to God.
But to see God work so immediately – when I LISTENED to HIS LEADINGS! Too often I pray quickly something like, “LORD, You know my needs. Help me see what You have for me.” But God tells us in Matthew 7 that whatever we ask for we will receive, seek and we will find, knock and the door will be opened. Jesus teaches us persistence in our prayer. God will provide for our daily needs and pour out His spiritual blessings.
Ephesians 3:12 says, Because of Christ and our faith in Him, we can now come boldly and confidently into God’s presence.
We are blessed to be able to come BOLDLY AND CONFIDENTLY into the presence of the KING of Kings! We can ask Him anything, talk to Him about everything because He cares. Instead of being afraid for our life, like Queen Esther was when she appeared before King Xerxes without being summoned; God invites us to come to Him ANYTIME with the assurance that He will welcome us and hear us.
Even though we can come BOLDLY and CONFIDENTLY into His presence, we must also surrender to Him and LISTEN for His prompting us to be in agreement with His Will for our lives.
I have spent the past two weeks almost pinching myself for God’s answers. Then I find that I’m chiding myself because I believe firmly that God is able to immeasurably more than all we can ask or imagine. Have I been limiting God by not BOLDLY ASKING WITH THE CONFIDENCE THAT HE GIVES ABUNDANTLY? Have I been too busy and distracted not to LISTEN?
I encourage you to find that special time with God. Whether it’s 10 minutes in the car while you’re waiting for kids to get out of volleyball or waiting at the doctor’s office, tune out all the distractions and focus on what He is saying to you.
Now all glory to God, who is able, through His mighty power at work within us, to accomplish infinitely more than we might ask or think. Glory to Him in the church and in Christ Jesus through all generations forever and ever! Amen. Ephesians 3:20-21
Celebrating the immeasurable blessings of God ~ Faye
Linked with Good Morning Girls and Beholding Glory.
A New Perspective on Prayer
What a blessing we have to pour out our hearts to God. We can go to Him with our praises for answered prayers and how He provides. We are often quick to go to Him with our requests, particularly in times of trouble. In a group setting, we listen to prayer requests and praises, and then we lift them up to God. Sometimes those prayer requests are easy to do and remember even outside of the group setting.
When we get together in a group or are on our own with the LORD, it’s relatively easy to ask for prayer for our physical needs – a job, health issues, raising children, traveling safety, marriages, etc. Sometimes, when we know the people well and there is a healthy measure of trust, we can ask for emotional support as well. But rarely do we reach out and ask someone to pray for our spiritual health. I know in my life, I’ve not even prayed this on a personal level often.
Paul is so grateful (sitting in prison) for his fellow brothers and sisters. He brings them before God in thanksgiving and in prayer for their spiritual welfare. He prays for their understanding of the immeasurable richness of God’s love. Every time he thinks of them he prays that they will be filled with a confidence in what they hope for and an assurance of what they cannot see (Hebrews 11:1).
Ever since I heard of your STRONG FAITH in the LORD Jesus and your LOVE for God’s people everywhere, I have NOT STOPPED THANKING GOD FOR YOU. I PRAY FOR YOU CONSTANTLY, asking God, the glorious Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, TO GIVE YOU SPIRITUAL WISDOM AND INSIGHT so that you MIGHT GROW IN YOUR KNOWLEDGE OF GOD. I pray that your HEARTS WILL BE FLOODED WITH LIGHT so that you can UNDERSTAND THE CONFIDENT HOPE He has given to those He called – HIS HOLY PEOPLE WHO ARE HIS RICH AND GLORIOUS INHERITANCE. I also pray that you will UNDERSTAND THE INCREDIBLE GREATNESS OF GOD’S POWER for us who believe Him. This is the same mighty power that raised Christ from the dead and seated Him in the place of honor at God’s right hand in the heavenly realms. Now He is FAR ABOVE any ruler or authority or power or leader or anything else – not only in this world but also in the world to come. Ephesians 1:15-21
I finished my reading on these verses challenged to 1) give God continual thanks for the abundance of friendships He has placed in my life through friends and family; and 2) lift up in prayer those God has placed in my life that they may be filled to overflowing with the knowledge, wisdom and understanding of how awesome our God is, and that they may grow in their understanding of His love and grace.
Praying that you may be filled with blessing of confident hope in God ~ Faye
Am I too busy to notice God? Sometimes it is very clear to see God’s hand and other times it’s a struggle to see Him with physical senses.
We’ve had to tighten our spending habits in the past two years due to a change income source. Part of my “job” is to watch for ways to make the best use of the resources God has provided. I went shopping for an Angel Tree gift and had a store coupon – spend $50/receive a $10 gift card on your next purchase.
I made my purchases; however, they came to $35. I began asking myself if there was anything else I actually NEEDED to bring the total to $50. I didn’t. The lady in front of me at the checkout obviously had been Christmas shopping. I handed her the coupon and said, “Merry Christmas!”. She was very grateful and asked a few times, “Are you sure about this?” “Yes,” I said with a sincere smile.
I proceeded to talk with God while I waited to check out. It went something like this, “God, You provided that coupon – I thought for me. Obviously I missed the focus, since I thought it was to stretch our dollars, but in reality it was to bless someone else. Thank You for using me.” (I’ll admit there was some, “seriously God” thoughts going on as well, but for the most part, I kept turning them back to thanking and praising Him for an opportunity to bless someone else.)
Well the lady was checked out and just about to leave when she turned to me and said, “Here, you take the gift card, Merry Christmas.” I said, “Thank You,” to her and praising God at the same time! Laughing at how awesome God is in the ways He provides – especially when I surrender my “self” to Him. Now I didn’t have to spend the $50 to save $10 on a return trip! I saved the $10 on $35. He had a better plan for me.
I am sure He put the idea into my head, nudged my heart to give the lady the coupon. Had I been so focused on my finances, myself, the busyness of all the things I had to do, I would have missed an opportunity to be used by God and to have Him turn around the blessing back to me.
Praying that in the busyness of life, especially during the Christmas season, you take time to be with God.
God of the Impossible – Part 2
Often life hands us difficult circumstances. There are times things seem impossible to deal with.
As a Christian we are blessed to have Someone to turn to in those difficult situations. God’s word tells us, “In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit Himself intercedes for us with groans that words cannot express.” (Romans 8:26) I can’t imagine my just thinking a prayer and the Holy Spirit taking those thoughts before the throne of God; pouring out my heart to Him. What a wonderful assurance and blessing.
A recent devotional asked How do we go to God in prayer? What do we ask Him? At first glance that seemed strange. I figured I open my heart out to God and He hears my grief, pain, worries, etc., But the author was saying, too often we come to God with an Oh God, what am I going to do? Basically focusing on us. Instead he suggests our focus should be God, what are You going to do in me, through me, in this situation?
Impossible situations are opportunities for God to teach us valuable lessons.
Ones that we would likely not learn any other way but yield ourselves completely to Him. Surrender hasn’t been easy for me. Those who know me have called me stubborn, strong-willed, focus, driven and independent. I’d like to say that the majority of those words describe who I was. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not perfect—I’m still a work in progress. But through the years of learning to deal with health issues, medication changes, a body that works sometimes and not others, I have spent a lot of time with God. He’s been changing me. I’ve not always liked it, most often I’ve dug in my heels or argued with Him. But when I’ve surrendered and asked Him, Ok God. What are You going to do through me, in me, with me? He has bowled me over.
I’ll try to give a “short” example. I was involved in youth ministry of some type for around 30 years. I LOVE teenagers! God made it very clear (literally woke me three nights in a row at 2:00 AM with the message, “It’s time. Everything will be okay.”) I knew He meant it was time to step down from youth group. I was devastated. I argued. I prayed. I looked to others for guidance and advice. But God continued to say “Trust me and obey.”.
During the last year of youth group I had begun having progressive health issues which were later diagnosed as Rheumatoid Arthritis. I spent the next year getting used to a new medical regime as well as finding out what my body would and wouldn’t do. I also continued to pray, “Lord, You’ve gifted me, and I want to serve You. How? What do You want me to do? For almost two years God continually said, “Wait. Be patient. Trust Me.” There were days I succeeded in doing that, and too many other days where I argued frequently with Him.
Then came the Midwest Flood of 2008 that hit our community. God placed me in a position with the gifts and abilities needed to help with flood recovery. By that time, I had grown in my dependence on Him. The medications were definitely helping with the RA. And in a pattern of circumstances that can only be called God’s providence, I spent the next two years aiding in flood recovery. The amazing thing is that not once did I have an RA flare. My body never acted up with either unmanageable pain or fatigue that I had dealt with in the previous years.
God is the God of the Impossible! When I surrendered my heart and life to His will. He took it, ran with it, shaped it, formed it, and made it useable for others. He knew two years ahead of the flood that if I were still in youth group I would not have been available to help my community in such a specific way. I am continually working at surrendering my plans to His hands, trusting Him and being obedient to His leading. When I do this, He blesses “immeasurably more than I can ask or imagine.”
Praying God abundantly blesses you, too ~ Faye
God of the Impossible
My heart has been heavy for my beloved son. You see it was his birthday recently, and we couldn’t even get in contact with him. He’s made some decisions to put other things in his life and family hasn’t been one. His parents grieve over a lost relationship. So do several others in the family, no one more so than his daughter who doesn’t understand his choices at all. So I continue to pour out my heart and soul to God who seems to remain quiet. I KNOW that’s not true, but from a mom’s heart, I want to SEE the answers right now and alleviate the pain for everyone.
With the holidays coming, I know many people dread the reminder of losses or the dramas of broken relationships that are likely to occur.
- There’s the issues regarding children with split custody and visitation dates.
- There’s the lost loved one and the absence amid the memories brings a deeper pain and reminder of the loss.
- There’s a prodigal son, daughter, brother, sister, parent, friend who have turned their back on God and all He has to give.
- You might be the one who will sit alone every day during the holiday. No one comes to visit. It seems no one remembers you anymore.
- You might be the one who longs for the time you could make handcrafted gifts, wrap presents, go out shopping and stand in long lines with dexterity, energy and without any pain.
- You might be the one who wishes she had the energy to bake holiday goodies with her grandchildren.
Many of us face these types of hurts and loss during the holidays and special occasions. I am learning it’s not about me changing my son during these struggles. Oh yes, I regularly pray that God will continue to work in his heart and bring him back to God and his family; but really my struggle is about me. Instead of worrying and dwelling on the loss, I need to pour out my heart to God. I need to praise Him and tell others what He has done for me. I need to remember God’s faithfulness throughout my life and especially in the difficult times of the past. This helps give me the assurance that God IS with me. That God cares about my son. That God hears those who grieve the loss of their physical abilities or relationships and carries them through the deepest pains.
Psalm 66:5 – “Come and see what our God has done, what awesome miracles He performs for people.” Sometimes the miracle isn’t healing the losses as much as it is dealing with us in our loss. You see we are creatures who too often tend to focus on the negative, worry about tomorrow, or dwell on our grief. Verses 9,10, 12b say, “Our lives are in His hands, and He keeps our feet from stumbling. You have tested us, O God; You have purified us like silver. … but You brought us to a place of great abundance.” Be filled with the precious knowledge that God knows intimately your suffering. That even though God is allowing you to be in the refining process, He will bring you out so that you may go forward and say to others,
“Come and listen, all you who fear God, and I will tell you what He did for me. For I cried out to Him for help, praising Him as I spoke. If I had not confessed the sin in my heart, the LORD would not have listened. But God did listen! He paid attention to my prayer. Praise God, who did not ignore my prayer or withdraw His unfailing love from me.” (vs. 16-20)
It may not be the answer I was looking for, but focusing on God’s abundant love for me has filled me with His peace. The knowledge of His great love for my son fills me with His hope. The knowledge of His sacrificial gift of His Son fills me with His love.
May God abundantly bless you as He answers your prayers ~ Faye
Faith on the Journey
This is a week where the rubber hits the road – do I really believe in God being in control of all things?
Background: Sunday morning my team is leading worship. The pastor is preaching on one of the 7 deadly sins – Laziness vs Zeal, or a passion to live for Christ out of gratitude for our salvation. It’s also a Sunday where we will remember the Reformation by looking at the five tenants of the Reformed faith – Grace Alone, Faith Alone, Scripture Alone, Christ Alone, Glory to God Alone. God’s word tells us in Hebrews 11:1 that
“Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things unseen.” or as said in the NIV – “Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see.”
This week is one of those weeks where what I say I believe has to become reality. I’ve learned of a 30 year old wife who has been diagnosed with bladder cancer; a 50 year old friend who just found out she has Non-Hodgkins Lymphoma; a friend’s dad had a failed surgery on his heart and the doctors are looking for new options; many friends struggles with relationships with family members; the flooding in Bangkok, Thailand is affecting a couple I know. It just seems like everything is coming in waves. Life is full of disappointments, dangers and the unknown. So each day has been spent in a lot of prayers for others. Tonight I went for a walk in a nature setting and just prayed to God about my friends. What a privilege we have to share intimately with God our heartaches. Each day comes with its abundance of problems, but when we put our FAITH in God, each struggle is shared by Someone who is much bigger than you or I.
Faith is the confident assurance, the conviction that God is going ahead of us on our pathway of life. He knows what struggles we will face ahead. He is preparing us for what we will have to deal with in the future. We need to have the confidence that God knows what is best for us, and He loves us so much.
So this is a week where I need to rely heavily on my faith in God otherwise life would be so overwhelming. I rely on Paul’s words in Romans 15:13
“I pray that God, the source of hope, will fill you completely with joy and peace because you trust in Him. Then you will overflow with confident hope through the power of the Holy Spirit.”
What an incredible blessing to have the assurance of what we hope for so much so, that we will be filled to overflowing by the Holy Spirit. By the way, while I was pouring out my heart to God, I asked Him to give me some evidence that He was hearing me (sometimes He is silent and I have to trust that He keeps His promise to hear me), but today He blessed me by having two friends come along that very private path. They listened and encouraged me in a way that only God could have done.
Enjoying God’s abundant blessings of hope, joy and peace ~ Faye
Reading 1 John 3:1-3 this morning (following www.goodmorninggirls.org Bible study), and I was truly excited to read John’s opening words – we are God’s children, precious, valued, prized, loved. What a way to go into the day.
1 John 3:2 says, “Dear friends, we are already God’s children, but He has not yet shown us what we will be like when Christ appears. But we do know that we will be like Him, for we will see Him as He really is. And all who have this eager expectation will keep themselves pure, just as He is pure.” – New Living Translation
What a glorious thought that we will be changed to be like Christ when appears/returns. 1 Corinthians 15:51-52 (NLT) says,
51 “But let me reveal to you a wonderful secret. We will not all die, but we will all be transformed! 52 It will happen in a moment, in the blink of an eye, when the last trumpet is blown. For when the trumpet sounds, those who have died will be raised to live forever. And we who are living will also be transformed.”
When Christ returns we will be made to be LIKE HIM. If we live a life with the EAGER EXPECTATION, we will live a life that honors Christ. We will make it a priority to keep ourselves pure. I like how The Message describes it: “All of us who look forward to His Coming stay ready, with the glistening purity of Jesus’ life as a model for our own.” Glistening purity of Jesus’ life – I can’t even come close to describing what that will be like.
Seeing Christ as He really is when He appears to us at His second coming is just mind boggling. Knowing that we will be transformed to be like Him in an instant! How amazing. However, did you know Christ appears to you right now? I’ve gone through some disappointments and unmet expectations, especially living with a chronic, progressive disease; and recently have spent a lot of my time taking walks and talking with God. In the past when disappointments and unmet expectations have come, I’ve been quick to talk with family and friends, hoping in doing so it will help resolve the situation or make me feel better. In my times with God, I’m finding that there are times when Christ appears today too. The other day it was not at all in the way I anticipated. I thought He’d have used someone close to me to fill the need I had. But recently Christ has made it very real that He has been walking beside me listening to my heart’s longings, and when I am resting and trusting in Him, He gently guides me closer to Him so I can come along side His desire for my life. He is constantly shaping me to be like Him. I’m really looking forward to the quick transformational change that will happen when Christ returns again. I don’t like the long, drawn-out, painful process that He uses daily to transform me into His image. But I’m very grateful that He walks with me and talks with me when I choose to share with Him my heart’s thoughts. I’m so grateful to have a glimpse of His appearing this side of Heaven and His Second Coming.
May you enjoy the abundant blessing of God walk with you today
Why Be Persistent in Prayer?
I love it when God answers prayers. I really love it when God answers prayers in ways I never expected or imagined!
I saw a glimpse of His working in someone’s life today and was so blessed. This person has struggled with being hurt and angry and unable to forgive the callous acts of some people. From my perspective, I’d say the person was definitely justified by their reactions after being falsely accused of misdeeds. But I saw first hand God’s grace and peace working through that person as they were kind, compassionate and caring to some of the individuals who had spread lies and rumors about them. The incredible thing is this person is not a professing Christian. God was answering my prayers for this person’s life, and they were seemingly oblivious to them. Fortunately, God wasn’t.
How often have I prayed for this person? Almost every day for the past several years. Have I seen God answering those prayers for opportunities to share my faith, witness that person be changed and transformed by the saving grace of Christ – not yet. Some days it seems so strange to continue to pray for them when God doesn’t seem to allow them to hear His call. But God is so good. When I least expected it, basically while the person was in the very presence of his enemies, God blew me away by the transformation I saw in this person. The person volunteered to be of assistance in the future if needed, answered questions to help the individuals proceed, and best of all, left the meeting calm and filled with a peace that they would not normally have had given the circumstances. Even more surprising, I was there as a friend and hadn’t spent time specifically praying for the meeting today, yet God answered previous prayers for healing and blessed several people.
Psalm 77:11-14 says, “I will remember the deeds of the LORD; yes, I will remember Your wonders of old. I will ponder all Your work, and meditate on Your might deeds. Your way, O God, is holy. What god is great like our God? You are the God who works wonders; You have made known Your might among the peoples.”
I’m praying and hoping I remember this day of the LORD’s deeds for I saw His transforming power. It has given me renewed courage and strength to continually pray for this person’s faith and relationship with God. It has encouraged me to continue to pray for a wayward loved one. Everything is in God’s timing, not mine. Even though I don’t see an answer to my prayers right away, God hears them, and in His perfect time, He will answer the prayers of a persistent heart. I encourage you to think about God’s deeds in your life from today and in the past. Write down a few of them. Share them with others to encourage them in their walk of faith. Tell your children of the ways God has blessed you. Help others remember the mighty deeds of the LORD.
God’s richest blessings ~ Faye
I love God’s sense of humor!
So I’ve started this writing/blog thing and I made it clear, it wasn’t what I was planning on doing. Last night I was reading a devotional on Hannah, which I figured I’d use for my Weds Bible study, but God had other ideas. As I read the article it showed how Hannah sought God’s will – she poured out her heart and she boldly requested His involvement. Well believe me, that’s what I’ve been doing the past few weeks, asking God, “Is He really sure about this venture?”. When I was at the end of the reading, it was like God was confirming for me, “Yes,” because the author wrote — “The truth is, it’s possible that we have been singled out so that God can reveal Himself to us in a new way. Unanswered prayer does not mean prayer refused or ignored. It may instead indicated that the Lord is at work on a much larger scale than we can know or imagine, becuase He indeed (here’s where I broke out laughing), ‘is able to do far more abundantly beyond all that we ask or think’ (Ephesians 3:20).” God used MY verse! Needless to say, He got my attention. [Ginger Garrett, In Touch, October 2011]
However, He wasn’t done. This morning I was flipping through my day calendar [Reflections from the Heart of God, Roy Lessin] reading a few days because I was behind about 9 days. I think God intentionally had me miss the past 9 days until this morning because He KNEW I would still need the confirmation. So, Oct 5 says, “God is leading you on a prepared pathway and will perfectly lead you into the plans He has for your life. Take each step without concern about where the path is taking you. He has gone ahead of you like a scout who has already checked out the trail. Nothing that is ahead will take Him by surprise!” The next day was from Deuteronomy 31:8 – “The Lord Himself goes before you and will be with you; He will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.” GREAT CONFIRMATION. But I’m still arguing with Him, “are You really sure about this?” Crazy, I should know better than to argue with God’s plans. The next day said, “For each STEP that GOD ASKS YOU TO TAKE today there will be GRACE, for each DECISION there will be DIRECTION, and for each TASK there will be STRENGTH.”
I’ve been asking God how I should fill my time over the past year and a half and God’s decided to do it in a way that is out of my comfort zone, but where I can share how incredibly every day He does bless us abundantly. He has shown me He will walk with me, in fact, He’s been there ahead of me making sure the way is clear for me if I follow His leading. How precious a God we serve. The final page of the calendar said, “You may not know all the details of your journey or clearly seewhere the trail is leading, but God will always give you enough light to take the next step.” Rejoicing in God’s timing and humor!
God’s richest blessings,