Prayer is Listening to God

“I don’t know how to pray.”

“I’m not very good at praying.”

You may have said either or both of these sentences at some point in your life. I know I certainly have one time or another.

Praying can be intimidating for anyone. I mean, who wouldn’t be nervous to talk directly to the God of the Universe, the One Who spoke and created all that we see. We are mere humans. Who are we to talk to Him?

Listen closely to this next part…Prayer at it’s heart is simply a conversation with God. Fancy words are not required. Location is not important. It is about communicating with God. 

God wants to spend time with us. In prayer we share what is in our hearts what scares us, what we are excited about. God wants to share with us, to teach us, to show us the next step. In talking with God we learn from God.

See, prayer is at the heart of being a follower of Jesus Christ. The focus of our discipleship is having an ever-growing relationship with God. We converse with God and listen to learn directly from Him.

So, as you are on the verge of faith look to how you want to talk with God. What do you want to learn from Him? How do you want to grow as a follower?

Here’s what I recommend for you as you begin your own daily conversations with God: find what works for you. Then schedule it in your calendar like a recurring meeting.

Perhaps you fell comfortable in your favorite chair and you journal with God. 

Or you sit in a room in one chair next to an empty and you talk aloud to God.

Maybe you go for a walk/run/workout/yard work and you converse with God there.

However, it looks for you do it each day. Spend time with God alone to grow closer to Him, to learn from Him, to be with Him. Be not afraid to be with the Creator God.

Over time you’ll see prayer doesn’t feel so scary. It seems more natural. You may even find yourself talking with God outside your regularly scheduled times. That’s okay. Trust me, He likes it.

Possibly one day you might hear someone say one of those statements at the beginning of this post. If you do, share your story. Help him/her have their own story to share with someone else.

This Week’s Challenge

Find your own way to pray with God. Discover what works for you and schedule it into your calendar every day.

Discipleship Means Following the Teacher

Running is an interesting sport. It is more individual based than team focused but don’t be mistaken, it is a communal sport. When one goes out for a run s/he follows the path in front of him/her taking it one step at a time.

Being a follower of Jesus is like a run whereby the disciple goes in the steps of Jesus. The follower learns how to love as God loves; to serve as God leads us to serve. Each day brings a new lesson from God. We need to be open to receive it.

As one who is on the verge of faith be encouraged by the Apostle Matthew.  By profession he was a tax collector. He was responsible to collect taxes from his fellow Israelites for the Roman government.  As he was able he could collect more from his fellow countrymen to keep for himself.  It goes without saying he was not the most popular man in town.

So when Jesus met him one afternoon in Capernaum, Matthew was surprised that the Great Teacher was inviting him, the tax collector, to be one of His chosen disciples. And what was Matthew’s response? He got up, walked away from his tax booth and followed Jesus that day.

“As Jesus passed on from there, he saw a man called Matthew sitting at the tax booth, and he said to him, “Follow me.” And he rose and followed him.”

Matthew 9:9

Today Jesus stands before you inviting you to follow Him as one of His closest disciples. You may currently be on the verge of growing deeper in your trust in God. What will you do? Will you get up like Matthew and follow Him?

Your journey with Jesus is your own run but you are not alone. You run with a community of fellow disciples, encouraging you along the way.

“Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, 2 looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.”

Hebrews 12:1-2

Each day look for the lesson God has to share with you. Open your heart to trust the Holy Spirit and where the Spirit leads you. Love, not judge others. Serve humbly to share God’s love with others.

Over time you will see how your thoughts become fixed on Jesus. You act differently than before you began following Jesus. You will see God transforming your whole self from the inside out.

So when the winds of life try to blow you back lean into Jesus. Hold His Hand and let Him carry you through the storm.

During the times of joy give praise to our Creator God Who cares for you and the whole world.

Lastly one question only you can answer: What is your response to Jesus inviting you to be His disciple?

This Week’s Challenge

Note each day this week what Jesus is teaching you about trusting Him more fully. What is your response to those lessons?

Nobody’s Perfect. Well…He Is

Nobody’s perfect. Everyone has faults Everyone makes mistakes. No one can earn a perfect 10 for one’s life.

As this is true, then what hope does anyone have for going to Heaven?

A person has to be perfect in order to get into Heaven. If no one is perfect than what is one to do?

There is one who is perfect. Jesus Christ lived the life we are supposed to live and willingly died the death meant for us. Then He rose from the grave conquering sin, death and the devil.

It is because of Jesus’ willing sacrifice we have salvation. It is by God’s grace freely given to us that we go to Heaven. Heaven is where we are close to God without sickness, pain or death. Joy abounds. Peace teems the streets reaching all people.

Sin corrupts all things. It has power over of us that we cannot overcome on our own. The things we do not want to do but somehow we still do them. The changes we want to make but struggle to fully implement them.

Sin separates us from God. God is holy. Nothing unholy can be in His presence. Jesus steps in and bestows His righteousness on us so that we can spend eternity in Heaven with God. The great chasm that we will never cross on our own is shrunk to non-existence by God’s grace.

As we realize our need for a Savior and humbly surrender to Jesus we begin to live our new lives in Christ in freedom.

“And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” – Matthew 28:18-20

You are on the verge of living your new life in Christ. all it takes beginning the day seeking what God’s Will is. Start now. Pray, “Lord, how do You have me to serve You today?”

Live in this freedom with joy. Be not afraid of the adventure. Show your gratitude by sharing why you love Jesus. Love as God loves you. Share freely as God has freely shared with you.

As you are on the verge step into the new life with open arms Jesus chose to die because He loves you. He rose from the grave so you, me, every person in the world can spend eternity with Him, God the Father and the Holy Spirit.

This Week’s Challenge

How has God blessed you?
Go share the blessing with someone today.

Who is this Guy Jesus?

If someone says s/he is a follower of Jesus it is safe to assume that individual has a relationship with Jesus. So it begs the question how does someone get to know a man who lived two thousand years ago?

There is little debate about the historical Jesus. Scholarly thought across the board agrees a man from Nazareth named Jesus lived and taught. What is debated is whether He is the Son of God. Some think He is the Son of God. Some think He was a great teacher and that was all.  Others say He was a lunatic.

The writer CS Lewis renowned for The Chronicles of Narnia and his books on Christian thought states a person’s decision on Jesus this way,

“A man who was merely a man and said the sort of things Jesus said would not be a great moral teacher. He would either be a lunatic on a level with the man who say he is a poached egg, or else he would be the Devil of Hell. You must make your choice. Either this man was, and is, the Son of God; or else a madman or something worse.”

As you decide for yourself who Jesus is consider this no body was ever found after His death (even though it was guarded by Roman soldiers to prevent theft). He appeared to His disciples and up to 500 people at one time over the course of 40 days.  Also, instead of the movement fading away it only grew after His death and resurrection.

For any person who is on the verge of growing deeper in faith saying for one’s self who Jesus is important. Reflect on times God was beside you in joyous times and difficult times. Remember how God provided for you in all circumstances.

As we read through the Gospel of Matthew in this series let us see how Jesus lived through loving all, showing us how to serve one another.

Look at Matthew 8. In this chapter we read 4 different stories of how Jesus had authority over disease, death, nature and spiritual world. Could a mere man do this on his own?

Jesus was fully man and fully God. He experienced the highs and lows of life. He understands what we are going through in our own lives. We can go to Him with our questions, our fears, our worries. He walks with us through it all.  #resolvedfaith

Go to Him with your questions. He loves to answer them. Give Him your fears. He will calm them. Trust Him. He will teach you great things.

While you may still have questions who Jesus is hear God the Father speak to who Jesus is:

“While he was still speaking, a bright cloud covered them, and a voice from the cloud said, “This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased. Listen to him!” (Matthew 17:5)

Who do you say Jesus is?

This Week’s Challenge

Journal who you say Jesus is.  Explore why you love Him.  Ask Him to help you grow in your relationship.

On the Verge of the Adventure of Your Life

Is this all there is?

Is there more to life?

We search for meaning, a purpose to the daily humdrum of life. It can be easy to slip into a rut and forget the big picture. To be reminded of our why helps to encourage us on those days we want to run away from it all.

We begin a new series together exploring being from on the verge of going deeper in our faiths with Jesus Christ. Whether you have been journeying with Him for decades, or a couple of years, or you are beginning your journey today, we are all on the verge of a deeper faith in Jesus.

Over the next several weeks together we will hear from God in the Gospel of Matthew of how we are created in His image and each called to serve wherever we are in His name.

“Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the Kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven.” (Matthew 7:20)

Each of us has been created in the image of God.  Meaning we are akin to God enabling us to have genuine fellowship with God. God knows us fully. We are able to grow in our relationship with Him because we are created in His image.

Though we are created in His image it does not mean we can ‘rest on our laurels’ and feel entitled to go to Heaven.  It is from our humble repentance and God freely giving His grace that we live and serve.  We live in the freedom of being fully forgiven of our sins.

As followers of Jesus we live from the image of God (imago Dei). We are empowered to serve the Lord with joy. What we do and say reflects Jesus to others. We are His representatives here on Earth.  

It is exciting to know we are created in the image of God. We know our identity is from God alone. Peace abounds within us because we know we belong to God. Joy fills our hearts as we go forward serving the Lord. 

“‘Come, follow me,’ Jesus said, ‘and I will send you out to fish for people.’ At once they [Peter and Andrew] left their nets and followed Him.” (Matthew 4:19-20)

At the beginning of His ministry, Jesus called His disciples to learn from Him.  In this verse Jesus invites two brothers Peter & Andrew to leave their family’s fishing business to follow Him with their whole lives. 

Jesus stands in front of you today saying the same words He said to Peter and Andrew, “Come, follow me.”

He is inviting you to serve Him with joy.

He is inviting you to step from being on the verge to a closer walk with Him. 

Will you join Him?

This Week’s Challenge

Write in Dry Erase marker on your bathroom mirror one way you want to grow closer to Jesus. Be practical in how you will live it out.  As you get ready each morning schedule it in your day to do it.