4 Keys to Praying For a Miracle

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As a kid I looked forward to what Bible Story my Sunday School Teacher would teach us at church. I loved when they shared one of the “big ones.” You know the ones I’m talking about. Where God would do something epic in the narrative of history. Like when he parted the Red Sea for Moses and the Israelites, or when Jesus would heal someone of a disease or bring them back to life.

Growing up I was always captivated by these passages, and more than a little jealous of the people who got to experience them. I always wondered if God was still in the “miracle business” or if he had retired.

Have you ever wondered if God still does miracles today?

I don’t mean the kind of miracle where the Sun would stand still, an angel would appear, or God himself would speak audibly (as cool as that would be).

I mean the kind of miracle where God would do something radical in your life, like bringing restoration to a broken relationship, healing you or a loved one from an incurable illness, landing that dream job you’ve been longing for since you were a kid, for your son or daughter to finally kick their addiction, or for you husband or wife to come home.

I believe that God is still in the miracle business. I believe that He still does big things like he did when his followers of old recorded their eye-witness accounts in The Scriptures.

In Mark 11:22-25 Jesus gives us four keys to praying for a miracle in our life. Here they are:

1. Pray in faith. 

“…Have faith in God.” – Mark 11:22 (NLT).

We can’t expect a miracle from God if we don’t have faith in God.

The author of Hebrews wrote, “And it is impossible to please God without faith. Anyone who wants to come to him must believe that God exists and that he rewards those who sincerely seek him” (Hebrews 11:6 NLT).

We must depend on God for a miracle.

2. Be specific when your pray.

“I tell you the truth, you can say to this mountain, ‘May you be lifted up and thrown into the sea,’ and it will happen…” – Mark 11:23 (NLT)

Don’t pray general prayers like, “God, help me to find a great job” or, “God, please help my friend.” What kind of job do you want God to give you? How do you want God to help your friend?

Rick Warren says, “If you want specific answers to prayer, then make specific requests. If your prayers consist of general requests, how will you know if they’re answered?”

3. Believe you will receive.

“…But you must really believe it will happen and have no doubt in your heart. I tell you, you can pray for anything, and if you believe that you’ve received it, it will be yours.” – Mark 11:23-24 (NLT)

We will receive anything we ask for, provided it is in-line with God’s Will. 1 John 5:14 says, “And we are sure of this, that he will listen to us whenever we ask him for anything in line with his will” (TLB).

You won’t get what you ask for, no matter how much you believe, if you ask with the wrong motives. James 4:2 says, “Yet you don’t have what you want because you don’t ask God for it. And even when you ask, you don’t get it because your motives are all wrong—you want only what will give you pleasure” (NLT).

4. Forgive those who’ve hurt you.

“But when you are praying, first forgive anyone you are holding a grudge against, so that your Father in heaven will forgive your sins, too.” – Mark 11:25 (NLT)

God won’t answer our prayers if we’re holding a grudge against someone. We have to forgive those who hurt us and ask forgiveness from those we’ve hurt in order to experience God’s blessings in our life.

“Prayer is not a button to be pushed. It’s a relationship to be pursued.” – Carey Nieuwhof (Click to Tweet)

God wants you to reach out to him, but he doesn’t want you to take him for granted. He’s not a cosmic vending machine. When you’re praying for a miracle, make sure to express love and gratitude to him, whether he provides the miracle you want or not.

Question: What miracle are praying for in your life right now? You can leave a comment by clicking here.

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4 Steps to Letting Go of Resentment

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“To worry yourself to death with resentment would be a foolish, senseless thing to do.” – Job 5:2 (GNT)

During his sophomore year of college Kevin Benton was one of only two African-American students living on the floor of his dorm. Several white students would routinely harass and insult him, both publicly and privately.

This was Kevin’s first encounter with racism. He had trouble sleeping and eventually became so ill that he had to be admitted to the hospital for hyperthrophic cardiomyopathy, the thickening of the heart muscles. This is the leading cause of death of people under 30.

One day a janitor walked by and prayed for Kevin aloud. After the janitor’s prayer Kevin realized that the condition of his physical heart was directly connected to the condition of his spiritual heart. In order for him to get better he needed to forgive the students who hurt him.

Three days after letting go of his resentment Kevin walked out of the hospital. “If I hadn’t forgiven them, I’d be dead,” says Benton.

Resentment is like drinking poison and waiting for the other person to die. (Click to Tweet)

Each one of us has been hurt by someone in our lives. It could be the boss who fired us, the spouse who cheated on us, the parent who mistreated us, or the friend who betrayed us.

In Matthew 18:21-35 Jesus tells the Parable of The Unforgiving Debtor. In this parable Jesus gives us four steps that will help us forgive others and let go of resentment. Here they are:

1. Realize that forgiveness is a process.

“Then Peter came to him and asked, ‘Lord, how often should I forgive someone who sins against me? Seven times?’ ‘No, not seven times,’ Jesus replied, ‘but seventy times seven!'” – Matthew 18:21-22 (NLT)

Forgiveness is not a one-time event. Often times in life we will need to forgive the same people for the same things over and over again.

This doesn’t mean we should keep trusting them. If someone repeatedly breaks your trust, your possessions, or your heart it would be unwise to continue to have a relationship with them or put your trust in them.

God doesn’t want you to trust in someone who isn’t trustworthy. The Bible says in Proverbs 18:24a, “One who has unreliable friends soon comes to ruin.”

Forgive the people who hurt you, but don’t allow them to keep hurting you. (Click to Tweet)

2. Relinquish your right to get even.

“But the man fell down before his master and begged him, ‘Please, be patient with me, and I will pay it all.’ Then his master was filled with pity for him, and he released him and forgave his debt.” – Matthew 18:26-27 (NLT)

Forgiving someone who hurt you doesn’t mean you condone what they did to you. Forgiveness is saying they no longer owe you.

The king in the parable didn’t say that it was OK that the debtor didn’t have the money he owed him. He acknowledged that what the debtor did was wrong, but released him from the debt.

Stormie Omartian, author of The Power of a Praying Wife, says, “Forgiveness doesn’t make the other person right; it makes you free.”

Forgiveness is more about freeing yourself than it is letting the one who hurt you off the hook. (Click to Tweet)

3. Reflect on how much God has forgiven you.

“Then the king called in the man he had forgiven and said, ‘You evil servant! I forgave you that tremendous debt because you pleaded with me. Shouldn’t you have mercy on your fellow servant, just as I had mercy on you?’ “ – Matthew 18:32-33 (NLT)

It’s easy for us to read this and think, “How could someone be so blind and unforgiving?” But the truth is we do this all the time. We make the same mistakes over and over again and expect God to forgive us. But when other people do the same thing to us we typically don’t extend them the same grace that God extends to us.

CS Lewis once said, “Everyone says forgiveness is a lovely idea until they have something to forgive.” We love to be forgiven, but we have a hard time being forgiving.

Andy Stanley says, “In the shadow of my hurt, forgiveness feel like a decision to reward my enemy. But in the shadow of the cross, forgiveness is merely a gift from one undeserving soul to another.”

It’s easier to forgive others when we remember how much God has forgiven us. (Click to Tweet)

4. Remember that God will forgive you the way you forgive others.

“Then the angry king sent the man to prison to be tortured until he had paid his entire debt. ‘That’s what my heavenly Father will do to you if you refuse to forgive your brothers and sisters from your heart.’ ” – Matthew 18:34-35 (NLT)

Are you forgiving others the way you want God to forgive you? Because, according to these verses, that’s exactly what He’s going to do.

If you’re struggling to forgive someone, pray this prayer: “God, I’ve held onto this hurt long enough. Please give me the strength to overcome this and forgive______________. God please change their heart. Like me, __________________ is a sinner who needs your grace. Help them to know Jesus personally. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.”

Question: Who do you need to forgive in your life right now? You can leave a comment by clicking here.

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3 Keys to Plugging Into God’s Power For Your Life

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“For the Kingdom of God is not just a lot of talk; it is living by God’s power.” – 1 Corinthians 4:20 (NLT)

To thrive in life we need to plug-in to God’s power for life. Just like your computer, tablet, and smartphone won’t work if they’re not plugged in to an electrical socket to recharge, you need to plug into God in order to recharge every day.

In Joshua 3 we read about the Israelites getting ready to cross the Jordan River and enter the Promised Land. There are three things they did to plug into God’s power. If you and I want to plug into God’s power we need to do the same three things they did.

Here they are:

1. Deal with any sin in your life. Joshua gives instructions to the people by saying, “Purify yourselves, for tomorrow the Lord will do great wonders among you” (Joshua 3:5 NLT). Sin blocks our connection with God. We can’t connect with His power FOR our life until we deal with the sin IN our life.

2. Pray and listen to God. Joshua continues in vs 9: “Come and listen to what the Lord your God says” (NLT). We need to come to God in prayer and listen to what He says in the Bible. Prayer is how we talk to God. Scripture is one of the ways God talks to us. Spend time reading God’s Word and praying so you can deepen your relationship with him.

3. Obey God in faith. In vs 13 God tells Joshua, “As soon as their feet touch the water, the flow of water will be cut off upstream, and the river will stand up like a wall” (NLT). Notice that God promises to part the river AFTER they walk into the river, NOT before. We need to obey God in faith BEFORE He will give us His power.

God wants to give you His power to live on. Use these three keys to connect with God and plug into His power for your life.

Where do you need God’s power in your life right now? What steps can you take to plug into His power? You can leave a comment by clicking here.

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6 Questions to Evaluate Last Year and Start This Year Right

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“Let us test and examine our ways…” – Lamentations 3:40 (AMP)

This time of year is great for reflecting on last year and dreaming and planning for the year ahead.

Socrates once said, “The unexamined life is not worth living.” We must make time to reflect on the past in order to prepare for the future. If you want to be successful you need to ask and answer the right questions.

Here are six question to help you evaluate last year and start this year off right:

1. What was great about last year? 
This can be anything from getting a new pair of shoes to getting a new job, staying up late to catch up with some old college friends, a great vacation, getting a raise, getting out of debt, etc. It doesn’t mater how big or how small. What matters is that it was great to you.

2. What wasn’t great about last year? 
Author and speaker John Bradshaw says, “You can’t heal what you can’t feel.” What were the disappointments, hurts, and regrets that you experienced last year? Acknowledging these set-backs can help you heal and move forward in a healthy way.

3. What major lessons did I learn? 
Novelist George Santayana said, “Those who fail to learn from history are doomed to repeat it.” Boil the big lessons you learned last year down to a short sentence or two so you can make the necessary course corrections in your life.

4. What do I need to START this year? 
Think of the things you know you need to get to but just haven’t yet. Make a list and sort it in order of importance. Tackle the top 3-5 items on your list. Once you’ve accomplished those things, work on the next 3-5 until the list is complete.

5. What do I need to STOP this year? 
Some examples of things to include on this list are binge watching Netflix, eating junk food, holding a grudge, worrying, and being in an unhealthy relationship. Get rid of what’s holding you back so you can thrive in the year ahead.

6. What do I need to CONTINUE this year? 
Date nights with your spouse, family nights with the kids, going to church, reading, meditating, praying, journaling are all great habits to continue cultivating in your life. Put them on your calendar before something else crowds them out.

Make some time in the next few days to reflect and respond to these questions. Write your answers out and keep them someplace that you can refer to often. This exercise will help you bring closure to last year and start this year off right.

What were your biggest accomplishments and life lessons from last year? What are you hoping to accomplish this year? You can leave a comment by clicking here.

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