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Persevere ~ A Lesson from Gethsemane

As we draw closer to Easter weekend we remember the time Jesus spent preparing for the last meal He would eat with His disciples before His death. Throughout the day Jesus tried to explain to them what was to come – of His imminent betrayal and eventual death. His disciples didn’t get it. Jesus washed their feet, explained to them about serving others, and asked them to join Him as He prayed in the garden. He never gave up trying to teach them of God’s love for them.

When evening came Jesus gave us such a beautiful yet heart wrenching picture of perseverance. Jesus knew He was about to be betrayed and executed. He had lived a perfect life. In all His interactions with those who opposed Him Jesus never sinned. Yet He would be ridiculed and hung on a cross to die the most painful death for all people who believe that He is Lord and Savior.

His heart must have been so heavy, yet He persevered.

Jesus Gethsemane

Jesus went to the Garden of Gethsemane that evening to pray for God’s will. Matthew’s gospel tells us that Jesus prayed, “My Father, if it is possible, may this cup be taken from me. Yet not as I will, but as you will.” He didn’t receive an answer so He prayed again, “My Father, if it is not possible for this cup to be taken away unless I drink it, may your will be done.” Jesus prayed a third time in the same manner, persevering for an answer from His Father for what He was facing.

The outcome of Jesus’ perseverance was not His deliverance from the coming ridicule and death. It was not what He desired but for Him it was more important for God to be glorified than for Him to be comfortable. Because Jesus persevered and completed the purpose for which His Father sent him to earth we reap countless blessings. Every year as we remember Jesus’ sacrifice for us we are reminded that if He had not persevered through His times of tribulation we would not have the gift of eternity in Heaven with Him.

Each one of us has challenges to work through and overcome. While yours may not seem significant to the world it is significant to you, therefore it also matters to God. Whatever you are facing as you read this I pray for your perseverance. Don’t give up – on yourself, a solution, and especially your faith that God will bring good out of your circumstances. And as you persevere remember that through Jesus’ gift of salvation we can have the blessing of peace that passes all understanding.

blessings and peace to you as you persevere today,
Paula

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It’s Not Complicated

Sometimes I make prayer so complex. I look for formulas and methods to make sure I am optimizing my prayer life.

But the truth is, it’s not complicated!!

1 Thessalonians 5:17 tells us “Pray without ceasing”.

But is that possible? We can’t stay on our knees all day..or keep our eyes closed.

praying

So let’s look at it from a different angle:

When something exciting happens, what do you do? Do you text or call someone or post it on Facebook?

If something makes you sad or angry you probably find someone to vent to.

When God is the one you tell, you are praying!

But does God really care if you can’t find a parking space or someone hurts your feelings? Isn’t God too big to deal with every little detail of each of the billions of people on the earth?

Well…

When you really care about someone could they tell you anything that would be insignificant to you?

Is there anything you wouldn’t tell your closest friend because you think it’s not important enough?

When you care about someone, what is important to them is important to you.

just_hugging_stick_figure_decal

 

God created us. He cares about us so much that there isn’t anything we could say that would be insignificant to Him. When we hurt He hurts. When we are excited, He is excited.

It seems so simple, but really it’s not complicated.

Praying without ceasing is as simple as carrying on a conversation with God throughout our day. Concentrated times of directed prayer are important, but as you draw closer to Him you will find your conversation carrying on through the day. You’ll talk to Him as you drive to work and as you walk the dog. You’ll vent to Him when you encounter a frustrating person and thank Him as you soak up the sunshine on a summer afternoon. Before you know it, you’ll be talking to Him all day…praying without ceasing.

and you’ll see…it’s not complicated!

 

blessings and peace to you…
Paula

 

 

 

 

 

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Prayer Changes Things

Today is the National Day of Prayer. It’s a wonderful reminder for Christians to renew our commitment to pray for each other, our country, and our world.

Lately I have been studying prayer and learning to grow closer to God as I spend more time with Him in prayer. The Lord still has much to teach me but I thought today I would share some of what I’ve learned about how prayer changes things.

prayer2

When I started seeking to deepen my prayer life I hoped to see God change things around me as I learned the ‘right’ way to pray. He has certainly changed things…just not exactly the way I thought!

Here are some changes I’ve seen so far:

A change in PERSPECTIVE
As I draw closer to God in prayer and allow Him to purify my heart and open my eyes I see things differently. Through prayer the Holy Spirit shows me things my human-self can’t see. Hidden hurts that are masked with anger or intimidation, growth in others I don’t allow myself to see without His perspective, and many other things I never expected.  I see God’s grace for me and want to extend that grace to others around me.

Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God.  ~ Matthew 5:8

 

A change in POWER
When I devote myself to prayer and seeking God’s will I gain power that is greater than my own. The power of the Holy Spirit flowing through me allows me to love others who aren’t always likable and face fears and failures I am not strong enough to conquer on my own.

The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective.  ~ James 5:16b

 

A change in POSTURE
In order to see any changes through prayer I must first change my posture. Bowing down and looking up are vital to seeing changes in any area of my life. Recognizing (sometimes several times a day) that I must become less and God must become more within me if He is going to do anything through me.

If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land.  ~ 2 Chronicles 7:14

 

I pray for each of you today, that you will allow God to make changes in you through prayer and drawing closer to Him each and every day.

blessings & peace to you!

Paula

 

 

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Gethsemane ~ A Lesson in Perseverance

You need to persevere so that when you have done the will of God,
you will receive what he has promised.

                                               Hebrews 10:36

As we draw closer to Easter weekend we remember the time Jesus spent preparing for the last meal He would eat with His disciples before His death. Throughout the day Jesus tried to explain to them what was to come – of His imminent betrayal and eventual death. His disciples didn’t get it. Jesus washed their feet, explained to them about serving others, and asked them to join Him as He prayed in the garden. He never gave up trying to teach them of God’s love for them.

When evening came Jesus gave us such a beautiful yet heart wrenching picture of perseverance. Jesus knew He was about to be betrayed and executed. He had lived a perfect life. In all His interactions with those who opposed Him Jesus never sinned. Yet He would be ridiculed and hung on a cross to die the most painful death for all people who believe that He is Lord and Savior.

His heart must have been so heavy, yet He persevered.

Jesus Gethsemane

Jesus went to the Garden of Gethsemane that evening to pray for God’s will. Matthew’s gospel tells us that Jesus prayed, “My Father, if it is possible, may this cup be taken from me. Yet not as I will, but as you will.” He didn’t receive an answer so He prayed again, “My Father, if it is not possible for this cup to be taken away unless I drink it, may your will be done.” Jesus prayed a third time in the same manner, persevering for an answer from His Father for what He was facing.

The outcome of Jesus’ perseverance was not His deliverance from the coming ridicule and death. It was not what He desired but for Him it was more important for God to be glorified than for Him to be comfortable. Because Jesus persevered and completed the purpose for which His Father sent him to earth we reap countless blessings. Every year as we remember Jesus’ sacrifice for us we are reminded that if He had not persevered through His times of tribulation we would not have the gift of eternity in Heaven with Him.

Each one of us has challenges to work through and overcome. While yours may not seem significant to the world it is significant to you, therefore it also matters to God. Whatever you are facing as you read this I pray for your perseverance. Don’t give up – on yourself, a solution, and especially your faith that God will bring good out of your circumstances. And as you persevere remember that through Jesus’ gift of salvation we can have the blessing of peace that passes all understanding.