Tag: no

Sept 20 Freedom in Christ

yes-661437_640When my first son was small, I remember wanting to avoid having a child who yelled “No” all the time, so I tried to avoid saying No to him if I could.  Eventually, I did end up having to say No much more than I wanted.  It was such a convenient way to help him understand what was allowable and what was not.

There were so many ways to tell him what he could do because so many things were permissible.  Yes, he could walk on the sidewalk, or on the rocks, or in the grass or on the bricks, or holding my hand or with granddaddy, but “No” was the quickest, easiest way to make the point that he could not walk in the street.

And it wasn’t long before he learned No himself and with it came the desire to rebel.

How similar is my life of freedom in Christ.

There are so many things that are good to choose from, it would take a lifetime to list them all.  For instance, I can be told to speak to people in love, in truth, instructing, encouraging, in kindness, with joy, with laughter, individually, in groups, tell jokes, share stories…the list could go on extensively.  But it is simpler to give someone a standard of communicating by saying “don’t lie.”

And yet, this creates a list of No that I find myself focusing on, filling my thoughts with the negative.   When I focus on the negative more than all the things that are allowed it gives me a sense that godly living is restrictive.  And the desires that have No in front of them are the things I spend more time thinking about so I can try and avoid them.

So when I hear “walk by the Spirit and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh,” it is immediately freeing!  It changes my focus onto all the freedoms that the Spirit gives me!

When I am so focused on all the great things the Spirit shows me I can do, I will be so busy doing those things, that I will not have time think of the desires of the flesh.

And by doing the Yes things the Spirit invites me to, I will automatically be avoiding the No things, without even thinking about them!

Father, let me see past the No statements to the freedom in the Yeses!  Help me reframe my thinking by looking to all the things the Spirit leads me to.  Let me bless others with all the yeses.  Let me live in the blessing of Your Yes.  Amen

Galatians 5:13-26

Feb 3 Apple or Potato prayers?

“Hear my voice when I call O Lord; be merciful to me and answer me.  My heart says of You, “Seek His face!”  Your face, Lord, I will seek.” 

Oh Father, thank You that I can know that You do hear me.  Sometimes I sing out my praise, or I call out my thanksgiving, or I weep and whisper out my needs, pr my heart is so broken I can only weep.  But the Holy Spirit intercedes for me and even the groanings of my heart that cannot be expressed in words are heard.

Thank You that in Your mercy, You answer me every time.  I appreciate and love the times Your answer is “yes” and I can see the fruit of my prayers immediately.  They are like apples I can see growing and maturing on a tree, right before my eyes.

The buds come, the blossoms open, then the fruit appears, grows and matures while I watch the whole process.  With a prayer like this, I can see you at work and be encouraged.

But I understand that at times the answer is “wait.”  Then it’s more like growing potatoes.  The plant is there, but the fruit, the potato, is growing underground and cannot be seen until it is time to harvest.  It takes faith to dig up the plant looking for the potatoes underneath.

These are harder prayers because they feel like nothing is happening.  The truth is, You are at work answering the prayer, just not in ways visible to the human eye.

And I also must acknowledge that sometimes the answer is “no.”  And I have to choose to trust that Your will is best for me, even if I don’t understand it at the time.

Like the Psalmist Lord, I will seek Your face.  I will read and study Your Word and apply its lessons and teachings to my life.  I will come to You in prayer, allowing time not only for talking, but also listening for what You want to say to me.

I will look for those places where You insert Yourself into my life through circumstances; using events or occurrences, contacts or everyday things to speak to me and heighten my awareness of You.

You remind me of Your beauty in a sunset.  You make Your sovereignty known when I look at the stars.   You reassure me of Your love and care when You have a friend call or pray for me.   And these are just some of the ways You communicate with me.

Whether praying apples or potatoes, hearing a “yes” or “no,” I am encouraged with these words of David: “I am still confident of this:  I will see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living.”

And especially for those “potato” prayers, You say “Wait for the Lord; be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord.”  Father, help me wait and not fall into discouragement, self-pity or giving up.  Keep my faith strong and my trust in You solid; so that at the end of the waiting, I will sing of the wonders of the Lord!  Amen

Psalm 27:7,8,13,14; Romans 8:26

Sept 20 Freedom in Christ

yes-661437_640When my first son was small, I remember wanting to avoid having a child who yelled “no” all the time, so I tried to avoid saying “no” to him if I could.  Eventually, I did end up having to say “no” much more than I wanted.  It was such a convenient way to help him understand what was allowable and what was not.

There were so many ways to tell him what he could do because so many things were permissible.  Yes, he could walk on the sidewalk, or on the rocks, or in the grass or on the bricks, or holding my hand or with granddaddy, but “no” was the quickest, easiest way to make the point that he could not walk in the street.

And it wasn’t long before he learned “no” himself and with it came the desire to rebel.

How similar is my life of freedom in Christ.

There are so many things that are good to choose from, it would take a lifetime to list them all.  For instance, I can be told to speak to people in love, in truth, instructing, encouraging, in kindness, with joy, with laughter, individually, in groups, tell jokes, share stories…the list could go on extensively.  But it is simpler to give someone a standard of communicating by saying “don’t lie”.

And yet, this creates a list of “no” that I find myself focusing on, filling my thoughts with the negative.   When I focus on the “no” more than all the things that are “yes”, it gives me a sense that godly living is restrictive.  And the desires that have “no” in front of them are the things I spend more time thinking about so I can try and avoid them.

So when I hear “walk by the Spirit and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh”, it is immediately freeing!  It changes my focus onto all the freedoms that the Spirit gives me!

When I am so focused on all the great things the Spirit shows me I can do, I will be so busy doing those things, that I will not have time think of the desires of the flesh.

And by doing the “yes” things the Spirit invites me to, I will automatically be avoiding the “no” things, without even thinking about them!

Father, let me see past the “no” statements to the freedom in the “yeses”!  Help me reframe my thinking by looking to all the things the Spirit leads me to.  Let me bless others with all the yesses.  Let me live in the blessing of Your “‘yes”.  Amen

Galatians 5:13-26

June 18 You know what I need

prayer answers

Father, how reassuring to know that You listen to me; that You pay attention to my prayers. You listened to Elijah when he was so burned out. And to the believers gathered in Jerusalem who interceded for Paul’s release.

I too, have had times when I felt burned out; when I had done all I could possibly do, and was at the end of myself. With Elijah, You provided for him and gave him a plan. You appeared as an angel and fed him, then gave him directions for a personal meeting with You.   When he responded that he was overwhelmed and done, You gave him release from his ministerial duties.

You allowed Elijah to anoint replacements. Hazael and Jehu would take over the battle against the idolatrous rulers and people. And Elisha would become the next prophet. You heard the needs of Elijah and answered. How reassuring to know that You know me and know my limitations too, and will always have a plan to help me cope.

The believers in Jerusalem prayed; You responded with an angel to released Peter from prison, sparing his life. This was a miracle, as he was literally shackled to two guards, and under the watch of sixteen of Herod’s soldiers!   How heartening to know that when You answer prayer, physical restrictions cannot limit You!

Already in my life I have seen answers to prayer. Sometimes the answer is “Yes”. Sometimes it is “No” for one reason or another, or “Wait”. Sometimes, it is “I will answer your prayer, child, but I have a better plan.” And I am usually amazed that You find ways of answering that surprise and delight me: things I had never thought of!

Thank You Father, that You are not limited by what I can think of as solutions to difficulties and problems. Thank You that Your power is not limited; it is boundless! Thank You that You are merciful and wise in Your answers: not always giving me what I ask for. Thank You, that You, the God of the Universe, listen to and answer prayer. Amen

I Kings 19:1-21; Acts 12: 1-19

Sept 20 Freedom in Christ

yes-661437_640When my first son was small, I remember wanting to avoid having a child who yelled ‘no’ all the time, so I tried to avoid saying ‘no’ to him if I could. Eventually, I did end up having to say ‘no’ much more than I wanted. It was such a convenient way to help him understand what was allowable and what was not.

There were so many ways to tell him what he could do because so many things were permissible. Yes, he could walk on the sidewalk, or on the rocks, or in the grass or on the bricks, or holding my hand or with granddaddy, but ‘no’ was the quickest, easiest way to make the point that he could not walk in the street. And it wasn’t long before he learned ‘no’ and with it came the desire to rebel against it.

How similar is my life of freedom in Christ. There are so many things that are good to choose from, it would take a lifetime to list them all. For instance, I can be told to speak to people in love, in truth, instructing, encouraging, in kindness, with joy, with laughter, personally, with others, in groups, tell jokes, share stories…the list could go on extensively. But it is simpler to give someone a standard of communicating by saying ‘don’t lie’.

And yet, this creates a list of ‘no’ that I find myself focusing on, filling my thoughts with the negative.   When I focus on the ‘no’ more than all the things that are ‘yes’, it gives me a sense that godly living is restrictive. And the desires that have ‘no’ in front of them are the things I spend more time thinking about so I can try and avoid them.

So when I hear “walk by the Spirit and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh”, it is immediately freeing! It changes my focus onto all the freedoms that the Spirit gives me! When I am so focused on all the great things the Spirit shows me I can do, I will be so busy doing those things, that I will not have time think of the desires of the flesh. And by doing the ‘yes’ things the Spirit invites me to, I will automatically be avoiding the ‘no’ things, without even thinking about them!

Father, let me see past the ‘no’ statements to the freedom in the ‘yeses’! Help me reframe my thinking by looking to all the things the Spirit leads me to. Let me bless others with all the yesses. Let me live in the blessing of Your ‘yes’. Amen

Galatians 5:13-26