The simplest prayer is no prayer at all. It is loving and being loved. It is looking into the eyes of the Father while trying to say thank you. You may try, but when his love floods your soul, the best you can do is smile through your tears. No words have to be spoken in a moment like that. The words are necessary for other times, but when you are locked into the heart of God, the best you can do is try to absorb it all. He knows that and it’s OK. In fact, you may go through seasons were all you do is weep when you think of him. It does something inside. I’m not sure what, but I feel it. Sometimes I choose to be wordless with him so I can just sit in his peace. Other times I couldn’t speak if I had to. The loving, the listening, the tears, and the wonder – it’s all prayer and it all matters.
God’s Great Plan decreed our inheritance before creation. “He chose us before the creation of the world.” Ephesians 1:4
His Great Plan laid the foundations for a supreme sacrifice. He knew. And he came. He wanted us to be with him. He wants us to be with him. All his desire is for us to be with him. All our desires should answer his. Imagine the unbounded greatness – the meeting of our great desire with his. Like worlds and galaxies colliding. The shockwaves of love that move mountains and shake the stars. Imagine living within the hub of that intensity in perfect peace. No harm. No fear. Not easy, but no fear. Life is still messy, but inside the hub is light and peace.
But there’s only room for one. We must each love him to the edges of our desire, our own worlds colliding with his. Only after we attain the hub do we join together to create an even stronger unity. Is it correct to say we live in a hub? He is a strong tower, a fortress, a wing of protection. I think hub fits.
Let the collision begin.
Why is it that we love hero stories? We seem to especially love super hero stories. There must be inhuman odds of the hero ever finding success. The earth itself must be in peril. The greater the opposition and difficulty of the hero to even survive makes the story that much better. This is not a recent phenomenon. Hero stories have lasted for thousands of years. There’s something about them that we humans love.
I think it has to do with something that we’d never associate those stories with. I think it has to do with the very nature of God. It is the nature of God to overcome evil. His goodness banishes evil by Him being good. Consider this, God breathed life into Adam. That breath of God contained the essence of the Godhead. It gave life to the spirit of Adam so that we retain, how ever minute, the essence of God within us. We love stories that overcome evil because God put that desire in us. They inspire us to live above our humanity.
But is it real? Is Superman real? In a sense yes. With God, all things are possible. ALL THINGS. Nothing is impossible. When we stand against evil, we become heroes in the kingdom. That doesn’t happen when we confine our Christian experience to church attendance and potluck socials. It only happens when we stand face to face against cancer, terrorism, sex trafficking, massive floods, death and destruction.
How do you release your super powers? By standing in the authority that God gave you. He did not say, pray and ask me to heal the sick. He said, “Heal the sick, cleanse the lepers, raise the dead, cast out demons.” (Matt 10:8) That’s super hero stuff, and every believer that is filled with the Spirit of God has it in him to do. We are capable of so much good, if we only believed it. We can stand against the very tide of evil and turn it back with a word, just as Jesus stopped the storm. He left us with the command to do as He did. (Jhn 14:12)
I believe that we will face an accounting for what we did with the power that Jesus gave us. Like the talents buried in the ground, we waste so much of what we’ve been given. And the unprofitable servant will be cast into outer darkness where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth. (Matt 25:30) Is that scare mongering? Perhaps, but it is also truth and plain as day in the Bible.
God did not expect us to allow the world to be overrun by evil. He gave us the power of His Spirit for a reason — to heal, bless, and release the kingdom of God everywhere we go. Whenever we stand against the devices of the enemy, the real Super Hero within us is released in power to effect His good. And He doesn’t mind us enjoying stories that inspire us to do that.
I learned to pray the hard way. Sometimes we just find ourselves in seasons where we need help. When it hit me, I thought I knew what to do: trust God. Jesus said, Therefore I say to you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink; nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food and the body more than clothing? (Mat 6:25) He said He would take care of us.
So when I ran out of money and couldn’t find a job, I trusted God. I would spend my devotional time telling Him how much I trusted Him, that I knew He would take care of me, that He would open doors of opportunity. I trusted Him. But nothing changed. Small jobs would come my way, but nothing that would help significantly. It frustrated me because I believed I was doing what He wanted me to do in that position. The problem was, I was still looking at my problem.
Then something changed in my attitude. Instead of telling Him how much I trusted Him, I began telling Him how good He is. I filled pages in my journal praising Him and loving Him. I poured out all the greatness that belongs to Him in every way I could think of. It wasn’t an action that I felt I had to do, it was genuine and loving.
Almost immediately money started coming my way. I knew that I’d need to continue to rely on God’ provision going forward, but it was going to be ok. It was amazing.
As I sat back and thanked Him for all that He was doing for me, I began to think about a nice hot chai latte. I love chai lattes, but I had not allowed myself any indulgences because all my money had to go to paying expenses. I heard the Lord say, “Go get one.” I said, No, I can’t. I still have bills to pay. “Do you think I will stop providing for you if you spend $5 on something that will please Me?”, He said. Why would it please You?, I asked Him. “Because it is a form of worship when you obey Me.”
This astounded me. He has promised to give us life abundantly, but the only way we can enter into that is to trust Him and enjoy who He is and what He is doing for us. I would never have considered spending $5 on a chai latte as a form of worship, but because I could trust Him to continue to love me and provide for me, He wanted me to enjoy something that He knew I would love. So I did, and I loved it, and I praised Him for it.
This lesson that I learned was to seek first the kingdom of God, and all these things will be added to us. It’s true and it works. Take you eyes off the problem and look to God’s amazing goodness. Then watch what He will do.
ISIS has a lot to offer a young man looking to find his way in life — a chance to be part of something big, something powerful and growing, something with tremendous impact. It offers brotherhood and camaraderie. It offers a way to become great.
But ISIS is not the only way to find those things. You don’t have to kill people to become great. You don’t have to kill people to be part of something powerful. You don’t have to kill people to belong to something big.
Most people joining ISIS don’t even understand the religious aspect of what ISIS stands for. God seems to be behind the ones with the guns and bombs and the ruthlessness to use them. My guess is that most people don’t want to kill, they want to matter. For those who want to make a difference without violence, there’s another way.
Looking for greatness in God is not entirely incorrect, just misguided in who to believe. Before joining ISIS, look to Jesus. See what He says. See what He has to offer. When we become believers of His grace, we become sons and daughters of the King of Kings, royal heirs. The God of the universe becomes our amazing Father. The life that Jesus lived on earth is a model for us to live today. Everything He did, we have the ability to do. Can ISIS raise the dead? Can ISIS heal cancer? Can ISIS restore broken lives and relationships? Does ISIS provide love, joy, peace, and kindness?
Carrying a gun does not make you great. Living the life you were meant to live with all your gifts and talents leads you into the greatness of God. Anything else will always bring pain and loneliness. Jesus can make your life matter in ways you can’t even imagine. I’m not promising that life will be easy. There is still evil in the world to contend with, but Jesus will always make a way. He will always be there when you need Him. He will be everything that you need Him to be.
All you have to do is ask Him into your life. It’s that simple. He hears you and He knows you. When you pray, you will hear His voice in your heart. Learn to trust Him, He knows how to take care of you. If you have questions, let me know. People care about you. You’re not alone.
Everyone feels little confident that they know what faith is. Intellectually, we understand that faith is trust. I’m going to talk about what it is to trust in God. For most of my life, I agreed with what just about everyone else believes, that faith is trust. I believed in God and counted that as faith. I prayed. I believed that God would, and should, answer my prayers because I trusted that He would. Did He? Not as often as I wanted. Why? Because I didn’t actually have faith.
My knowledge of God was not the same thing as trusting Him. My knowledge of a political party does not make me an active participant in that party. I have to believe their core values and act on them. It was a shocking burst of reality when I discovered that all my years of “believing” only amounted to years of “knowing.” When my faith called me to believe, I had a meltdown.
Now faith is the confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see. (Heb 11:1) That’s the tricky part — we don’t like having to trust in something we can’t see. Yet, that’s exactly what God wants from us. That’s what faith is all about. It means that you will trust and not worry. Will the money come in? Trust and not worry. Will your son be ok in the military? Trust and not worry.
And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to Him must believe that He exists and that He rewards those who earnestly seek Him. (Heb 11:6) It starts with believing that God exists. When we know that, we have to understand His nature. If we seek Him, because we want to find Him, He rewards us with what we need and blesses us even above that. Once we understand who He is, trusting Him gets easy. Read His Word and see just how generous and kind He is.
Here’s my challenge to you: check your heart and judge if you think you have faith, or you know you have faith. The way to determine that is checking your worry meter. If you worry at all, then faith is absent. If you turn to God and believe that He will do what He’s promised to do, then faith is active. Try it. Don’t beat yourself up if you’ve been worrying. Repent. Ask God to forgive you and ask Him for more faith to trust Him. Then try it out. See how far it takes you. We grow from faith to faith, always trusting Him more. If worry sneaks in because it’s been a habit, repent, ask for forgiveness, and move on.
Faith will save your life if you allow it. It is definitely God’s plan for you.
If you have ever had the privilege of standing on a hillside away from city lights at night and looked at the expanse of stars in the sky, you know the wonder of our God. The massiveness of His creation and the beauty of it all should open your heart to want to know Him more. What is astonishing is that He wants to know us even more. But how can that be? How can the God of creation not know me?
That is the wonder of our relationship with Him. From the very beginning, before the first star was released to the vast expanse of space, God wanted to know me. He knew my name, He knew my heart’s desires, and He knew my weaknesses before a single atom was made. He knew who I would be, but He wanted to know my heart as I revealed it to Him. He wanted to be my Friend.
This is a concept almost too deep to bear. How can I be friends with God? How can I approach Him without fear and trembling? Well, He is God and He knew our fear so He revealed His great love for us through His prophets and through His Son. When we understand and establish in our hearts that God loves us more than we can comprehend, we can respond back with our human love. It is smaller and more fickle than His love for us, but it is where we start.
In that love that we feel from Him and for Him, we become friends. There is a comfort and boldness to go to Him without trembling. We can know Him as Papa and run to Him in joy. When we sit in the quiet place to listen to Him, He also listens to us. He wants us to pour our hearts out to Him. He wants us to tell Him about all the loss and pain that happens in life. If we don’t tell Him, then we hold it in and it hurts us. When we talk to Papa, we release it to Him and there is room for healing and joy.
And after we let go of our hurts, Papa crooks His finger at us to follow Him. There is more that He wants us to have. There are treasures of darkness and hidden riches of secret places to find. He lays out a treasure hunt in the heavenlies and invites us in to scamper and find His delights. Yes, it sounds fanciful, and yes it is real. After every delight, He crooks His finger again and draws us deeper. There is no limit to the wonder of knowing Him. The only limits are those we allow. We stop when others stop. We stop when we think others will judge us or not understand. God is waiting for those who will press in to know Him more.
He wants to know us. He wants us to know Him, and there are no boundaries in that knowing, only further possibilities. The more we reveal our heart to God and not hold back because we are embarrassed of our selfishness or greed, the more He can replace those harmful attitudes with His goodness, and His goodness reveals more of Him to discover. Our friendship with God is the reason for all creation. He is my Friend and I am His.