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Awaken Me

awaken me

Ever feel dead to the things of God? Or feeling Asleep? Distracted? Unaware of his plans for the day or your life?

I have. It’s seems His voice is so quiet I can barely hear it. This is my hearts cry. Is it yours?

Awaken me to your gentle voice.
Awaken me to your endless hope.
Awaken bravery for your glory.
Awaken bones to run after you.
Awaken my heart to hurt when you do.
Awaken my hands to carry your love.
Awaken my voice to speak only what you speak.
Awaken my mind to think only what you think.
Awaken my soul to surrender to your spirit of life.
Awaken me today Lord.

What happens when you’re praying for a miracle, and you don’t get it?

what happens when you_re praying for a miracle, and you don_t get it

There is not a day that there are not many prayer needs.

Did you know that the medical field is now the #1 business in our nation? People are sicker today than ever historically. We have huge opportunity to pray for the sick, but why are so many are too shy or scared to pray? Is it because:

  • You don’t know how to pray for the sick?
  • You think “What if they die?”
  • You have prayed before, and it didn’t work?
  • You are heartsick because you have lost someone you loved and needed?

First of all, I am so sorry if your heart is hurting because the people you loved are no longer here with you. I have experienced this pain.

In 2003, my mom was diagnosed with cancer. That was when I realized when I personally did not know God’s will. I did not know if it was his will to heal my mom or if it was her time to go. I sought God and his will like never did before. I read my bible round the clock, at the stop sign, waiting in parking lots. Every spare minute, my nose was in the word.

It was during that time that the Lord opened my eyes to John 10:10. It changed the entire direction of my life. “The thief came only to steal, kill, and destroy, but I have come to give life and life abundantly.” You see, up to that point, I thought sickness and disease were just a part of life. I didn’t realize that that was a thief. But Jesus came that we could have life and life abundantly. Cancer is not abundant life. Sickness—if you talk to any sick person—you will find out that it is not abundant life. I realized at that time that I didn’t know the difference between God’s fingerprints and the thief’s. Because of that, I wasn’t able to resist the thief’s fingerprints. I was fearful of sickness because I didn’t understand God’s purpose for me was to have an abundant life.

Hope deferred makes the heart sick.
-Proverbs 13:12

Still knowing this truth, I prayed for my mom night and day, but on February 6, 2006, I lost my mom. I was heartbroken. Did God not come through for my mom and me? Do I quit praying for others? How do I continue when the miracle didn’t come?

Most of us try to understand what happened? We come up with our own understanding and then with the best intentions share it with those who have lost have a deep loss, like it is somehow going to make it all better:

  • “It was just their time to go.”
  • “God needed them more than you do.”
  • “God just said, ‘No.’”
  • “God always takes the best. He gives and takes away.”
  • “In time, everything will be okay.”

None of this is helpful to a hurting soul.

But if this does not help, how then are we to respond?

Just do not try to make sense of it. We are not supposed to understand (Proverbs 3:5-6), but we are supposed to pray about everything so we can have the peace that is BETTER than understanding (Phil. 4:6-7). When we try to explain it, we put limits on God.

Stop trying to understand. Stop trying to explain why. You do not know or understand. In fact, Proverbs 3:5-6 tells us to not even lean on your own understanding. There is something better than understanding, and you can find it in Philippians 4:6-7. It’s the peace of God that guards your heart and your mind!

Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. 7 And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
– Philippians 4:6-7

After we don’t see the miracle, many of us back off from praying because we feel inept. We wonder: “Does healing really work?” “Am I qualified to pray?” “Maybe I don’t have this gift.” When mom wasn’t healed, I felt unsure, and my questions caused me to stop praying for miracles for almost four months. It rocked my foundation because I was carrying the weight of the outcome. The burden was never mine to bear, but I did! Never allow your circumstances and own understanding to cause you to make up our own doctrine. The thief wants us to stop to shrink back, but all of God’s people should say, NO WAY – not today!

“But My righteous one will live by faith; and if he shrinks back, I will take no pleasure in him.”
– Hebrews 10:38

So what happens when you’re praying for a miracle, and you don’t get it?

Let’s say your father asks you to go fishing with him. Some of you are already cringing, but fishing isn’t about how many fish you catch, it’s about spending time with your dad. It’s like Father God has asked you to go on a mission trip with Him, and it’s not about how many souls you save or miracles you witness, it’s about doing it together.

Are you ready to join Him because He’s asked?

He said to them, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation. Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned. And these signs will accompany those who believe: In my name they will drive out demons; they will speak in new tongues; they will pick up snakes with their hands; and when they drink deadly poison, it will not hurt them at all; they will place their hands on sick people, and they will get well.”
– Mark 16:15-18

We are supposed to share the good news gospel. Does this mean that every time we do, but people aren’t saved that we just quit? By no means! We are also supposed to place their hands on sick people. It doesn’t say, “You make them well.” The weight of the outcome was never meant to be on your shoulders.

I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.
– Phil. 3:14

 

Believing isn’t seeing—it’s continuing to believe even when we do not see.

Since the loss of my mom, I began to pray for everyone, everywhere in every way, believing and knowing that God is for us. He is not against us. He is for us, not against us. He came to bring life and life abundantly. I was convicted that instead of praying, “Lord, if you will,” “If you are willing,” or “If it agrees with your will,” I knew God’s will at that time. I knew for sure that it was God’s will to bring abundant life. I begin to pray with that expectation. I know the Lord is bringing abundant life.

I prayed with someone who had a broken toe and it was healed immediately. I got to witness it. I prayed with someone that had one leg shorter than the other and their leg is perfectly healed and whole now. I’ve seen the power of God bringing abundant life, bringing healing. But I have also not seen it. I came upon an accident where a pedestrian had been hit in the street. I pulled over, jumped out of my car, ran up to her, laid hands over her, and prayed over her. She didn’t get up. Nothing changed. I heard from the news that she lived a day and a half. I don’t know how my prayer impacted her or anyone on the scene or if it did at all.

But faith isn’t seeing. Faith is not knowing. Faith believes even when you do not see. Faith is following God and doing his will even when you do not see the results and believing the results are happening somewhere regardless of what happens. Some miracles I’ve seen immediately, and other miracles I’ve seen nothing happen. When I prayed over someone’s eyes recently, nothing changed. They were still blurry; the symptoms were still fully present. But if I say, “Well, it didn’t work. It must not be God’s will,” if I lose heart and give up hope and give up faith just because nothing happened, it would be going in complete opposition of what I know God’s will is which is to give life and life abundantly.

So I press forward, running towards the goal, continuing to pray and believe in every single thing that I pray about because I know the Lord. He is good. I know he is a good father. He desires healing and miracles to happen. When the miraculous occurs, a crowd gathers because they want to know, they want to have a part of the power. So you prayed, but didn’t get the miracle right away; don’t stop, just believe. Never stop believing in a God who sent his son to die so you could have abundant life.

Grandpa’s Promise

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When I was 23 years old, my grandpa told me I could have my grandma ray’s piano someday. He said, “If Harriett will let me, I will personally have it sent to you when you have a place big enough for it.”

I cannot tell you what it meant for my grandpa to even offer the piano. It’s not about the piano itself, it was about the statement he made when he offered it. I hadn’t been a big part of my dad’s family most of my childhood so I never really felt like part of the family. I spent my life feeling rejected and 2nd rate – dead last.

But this day, my grandpa’s words said to me – we love you. We value you. You are an equal and important part of my family! The fact that he would consider giving me such an awesome gift, I couldn’t hardly contain my tears! I pretty sobbed all the way back to Oklahoma that trip. I sobbed tears of acceptance!

I intentionally bought my house with enough room for the piano, but my GMA just couldn’t give it up. So I never got it.

They passed in 1998 & 2002. In 2002, my dad took the piano to his new home and it’s been with him ever since.

The initial joy of my grandpa’s offer had faded. The statement of what it meant was gone…to the point that I wasn’t even sure I wanted it anymore.

But today, 2013 (21 years later) my grandpa’s promise is coming to pass! The heart of my grandpa’s promise has reminded me of how valued I was to him. That kind of acceptance, love & extravagant gift is just a tiny example the restoration God has done in my life!

I sit here teary eyed (and most of you know I’m not a crier!). This old beautiful symbol of acceptance and my restoration is moving into my home.

And I’m thrilled!

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Revive Your Dreams: Living the dream

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“Where is the nose of your plane?” In order to keep your dream alive, you need to ask the same question continually: Are you gaining or losing altitude in your life?

You are the pilot of your life. You have the choice to bolt full throttle and pull up the nose of the plane. God is the engine, the power, and the glory in your life. Your job is to reach out and to trust in Him. Most of us, however, get confused. We presume we are the pilot and the power. That’s where things turn terribly wrong. This is where aspirations nose-dive out of control.

When you are making progress, it can be easy to become more focused on the work than on God. It’s tragic to let results get ahead of the relationship. To prevent that from happening, keep your finger on the pulse of your relationship with God. The enemy is out to kill, steal, and destroy you and create a barrier to living out your dream by making you results-focused rather than relationship-focused.

Although you are certainly the navigator of your future, you are not the engine behind your dreams. Your relationship with God is. It connects you to the heart of God so your life can be fueled continually by God’s power. God is the source making possible the desires of your heart. First Corinthians 8:3, “But the man who loves God is wisdom. Without the Word and communication with Him, you lack true wisdom. You are a plane without an engine. If you are not listening to and looking for His direction, how can God direct your steps? Absent God’s truth, the enemy will shoot down your hopes and purpose with discouraging lies, delays, or failure.

Relationships yield results. Results do not yield relationships. There is probably not a single success in your life that was not made possible through a key relationship. Every venture you pursue will reflect the key relationships in your life.

If your heart is filled with the knowledge of who God is and who you are in Christ, there is not a lie in this world or a potshot from the enemy that can bring you down. Keep the relationship engines tuned up and the nose of your life plane will continue to soar toward your accomplishing all God has for you.

 

Take delight in the Lord,
    and he will give you the desires of your heart.
-Psalm 37:4

 

Revive Your Dreams: What is your comfort zone?

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Do you long to discover God’s miraculous power through your life? Jesus’s disciple Peter certainly experienced His crazy magnificent power! You can read about his amazing experience in Matthew 14. The disciples were on the boat when a storm came. The boat was taking a beating. The disciples were afraid.

Jesus came walking out to them on the water. Peter was the only one on the boat who asked Jesus if he could walk on the water. The other disciples probably presumed Peter was crazy! Their minds might have worried about what would happen to Peter when he stepped out of the boat. Will he sink? Will the waves take him under? Peter wasn’t considering any of those things. He was ready to walk on water! “Come,” Jesus declared. Then Peter got down out of the boat, walked on the water, and came toward Jesus (Matthew 14:29).

All the other disciples were fearfully clinging to a sinking ship. Being in the ship was probably their comfort zone. Although their ship was basically drowning, they decided to embrace what they knew. They held onto the familiar when it clearly led to destruction.  Their tightly clutched grip on the sinking boat caused them to miss out on the impressive miracle Peter experienced. Their rut kept them from experiencing a life-altering miracle!

How about you? What is your comfort zone?

Jesus tells us again and again not to be afraid. It’s time to dig deep and define what limits are holding you back from God’s dreams. You can’t move out of your comfort zone if you haven’t identified it.

Now, don’t misunderstand what I am saying. God can still work in your life. He will meet you where you are. But wouldn’t you rather step out in faith and do what He wants you to do? Stop focusing on what could fail and imagine what could succeed! Focus on Philippians 4:13, I can do everything through him who gives me strength. Nothing can stand in your way because God is for you!

Get outside your comfort zone because God is worthy of you taking a risk! God is worth it! He is worthy of all you have. He is worthy of the hard labor. Remembering this will keep you motivated.

Your view of God will be strengthened as you step outside your comfort zone to live by truth and faith!

 

He replied, “Because you have so little faith. Truly I tell you, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you.”
-Matthew 17:20

Revive Your Dreams: Where is your mind leading you?

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Your imagination can either work for you, or it can work against you. The mind is a powerful tool that will either lead you toward your dreams or away from them. Where is your mind leading you?

Your God-given imagination is creative, ambitious, loving, and compassionate. Your God-given dreams are inspiring, motivating, and exciting. In fact, your imagination is only being used in the way it was designed when it is surrendered to inspiration from God.

Hebrews 11:1 says, “Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see.” When you compare that definition of faith to the definition of imagination, which is “forming mental images of things not present to the senses,” notice they are very similar. You might even say that our imaginations are built on faith. Your positive imagination is where hope is conceived!

So if we are going to take our hope back so that we can become dreamers of God-sized dreams, we have to surrender our imaginations to God in the same way we surrender our lives to Him in faith when we become followers of Christ.

Is your imagination surrendered to God, or is it still working against you, leading you into the wilderness?

The Bible says God can do more than we can think, ask, or imagine (Ephesians 3:20 paraphrased). But whether you realize it or not, your imagination can become suppressed when you’re only focused on the giants and huge obstacles you face. When you’re focused on the worst-case scenarios and the what-ifs, that is your imagination working against you.

Shift your focus, and cling to the promises of God. He tells us, “And I will do whatever you ask in my name” (John 14:13); “Then the Lord your God will make you most prosperous in all the work of your hands” (Deuteronomy 30:9); and “But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness and all these things will be given to you as well” (Matthew 6:33). God’s promises are true. Focus on what God can do. He will take care of you if you allow Him to work through your life. It’s your choice. Today, choose to surrender your imagination to God, and get ready to experience powerful miracles!

 

We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.
-2 Corinthians 10:5

Revive Your Dreams: Do you know God’s view of you?

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What is your opinion of yourself? How you view yourself will determine your ability to accomplish all that God has for you.

If you believe you are a weak, barely saved sinner, then you may back down when life gets tough. It will get tough. Plowing new ground requires hard work, perseverance, and a steady trust in the Lord.

If you view yourself through God’s eyes—a forgiven, chosen, loved, blameless, saint who is filled to the full with the Holy Spirit—then when things get hard, you will not back down because you know you are a servant of Christ! You are confident that in everything you do, you represent the One True God. You know that where He guides, He provides. So when the provision isn’t present, you know and trust that it is coming.

It is critical that you know your identity in Jesus Christ! It is the beginning or the end. You are special because God molded you, and God doesn’t create mistakes! You aren’t loved because you are lovable. You are loved because God is love. You aren’t valued because you’re valuable. You’re valuable because God made you.

If we are going to defeat negativity, fear, and distractions to reclaim our hope, we must start by knowing our true identity in Christ. Lies believed can inhibit God’s powerful plan for our lives. The biggest deception preventing you from achieving your dreams is insecurity.

It will be difficult to stick with God’s view of you if you have not learned to fully trust Him. However, if you spend much time with Him at all, you will discover that your Heavenly Father is the most trustworthy aspect of your life. When you have an intimate relationship with Him, you will know for yourself that your God loves you deeply and He will never leave you or forsake you.

 

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!
-2 Corinthians 5:17

Revive your dreams: What is keeping you from being a dream lifter?

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We consistently note that young children are dreamers! Young adults are quieter and more reserved. They are hesitant to share and seem shy or embarrassed to announce their dreams openly. Adults are a mixed bag. Sometimes, we get the ones who don’t dream at all for themselves, and other times we meet those who are still dreaming machines.

What has to occur to turn the free, young-spirited dreamer into the reserved teen / young adult, and finally the pessimistic adult? What point in our lives are our dreams suppressed? I am going to draw from the Bible to suggest three life events that often suppress our ability to dream: fear, previous failures, and loss or devastation.

  • Fear – Fear will always keep you from walking in total freedom. Harboring fear will cause you to trust in things and circumstances, rather than God.
  • Failure – Failure is a dream killer. Feelings of failure will prevent you from ever trying anything new.
  • Loss/Devastation – Devastating circumstances limit your ability to observe with faith and dream God’s dreams! Loss and devastation can prevent progress. Living in the past, prevents us from being aware of God’s work today.

 

If it’s not a past full of fear, failure, or loss that is keeping you from being a dream lifter, it could be a pessimistic pattern that prevents you from opening your life to God’s dreams for you. Sometimes we get stuck in a negative mind-set because of our own internal assessment, and other times, we are influenced by the opinions of others.

The root of a negative mind-set about your dreams is usually the desire to please other people. Man’s opinion is often more valued than God’s. When we reason our own way out of doing something that God has told us to do, we value our own discernment more than we trust God’s commands.

But if we replace negative thoughts with God’s truth, we can become filled with His dreams for us. When we partner with Him, He can achieve more than we could ever imagine. Trust that God’s wisdom is higher than your own. It’s not too late. Keep pressing through the pages. Let God stir you and help you realize you are worthy to do what He’s called you to! Release past failures, fears, and despair. Give it all to God. Today. Listen to God, and you can become a dream lifter!

 

Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.
-Philippians 3:13-14

Revive Your Dreams: Are you a dream keeper, dream killer, or dream lifter?

This week I will be starting a series of posts on how to kick start your dreams. I hope you will be inspired to freely envision your faith-filled dreams and become unstoppable in your pursuit. God is looking for those who hunger to work in His fields doing the work He designed and called them to do. By the end of this series, I pray you’ll be asking, imagining, and dreaming from the very heart of God again. God longs for His children to dream and imagine so He can use us fully to fulfill His purposes on this earth!

 

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What have you done with the dreams and gifts God has placed in your possession? Each of us has received unique gifts from God. What you do with the talents He has given you is entirely up to you.

In Matthew 25:16-30, there is the story of three servants who received gold from their master. The servant who received one bag of gold was a dream killer. He didn’t really know or trust his master. His interest was in protecting himself. Perhaps he dwelt on past failures. The dream killer makes no progress because he imagines the worst possible outcome.

I define the man who invested two bags of gold was a “dream keeper”. He saw himself with great success and was proud of the result he delivered. However, his lack of trust made him only willing to invest in a guaranteed result. The investor is oblivious to the fact that his self-preserving actions only limit his opportunity to serve the master. They have more wisdom and drive than dream killers, but they still don’t fully trust God.

The servant who received the five bags of gold was a dream lifter. He knew and trusted his master, so he was willing to risk everything to serve him. He was not concerned with himself or afraid of hard work, and most likely, his past experience with serving the master had proven successful. His hope carried his imagination. Dream lifters inspire people! Their enthusiasm rubs off on those around them and they motivate others into action without trying. They invest without fear, knowing that it is God who will bring a good return on their obedience.

Which are you: a dream keeper, dream killer, or dream lifter? Commit to obtaining God’s truth. If you are a dream killer, what is suppressing your ability to dream? Is it fear? Failure? Hopelessness? Negative influences? Are you a dream keeper with big dreams and little action? Ask God to reveal where you might not fully know his love and power in your life.

If you are a dream lifter who trusts God and you are executing on your dreams if only in small ways— celebrate! God is able to do more than you can think, ask, imagine, or dream. But what is it that you are you contemplating, dreaming, and imagining? Is it big enough for God?

 

Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.
-Ephesians 3:20-21

the Sin of Familiarity… do you have it?

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Have you ever had a friend that can encourage someone and help the person be changed forever? Do you know someone who can pray over a complete stranger and healing happens immediately? Ever griped and moaned about your church while others envy your pastor? Do you have Biblically grounded friends, but seek Biblical counsel from unknown others?

Continue reading “the Sin of Familiarity… do you have it?”