Friday, September 30, 2011

Sometimes I'm Just a Spiritual Wimp!

Sometimes we all just need a little attitude adjustment, don't we? We get tired of our calling, tired of the conflict, tired of the frustration - just tired. If you're like me, your first thought in such times is not "what is God trying to teach me?"  It's more likely to be something like, "okay I've had enough, time to go!"

Sometimes I'm such a spiritual wimp! I think God must look down on me some days and just shake his head and sigh heavily.

I don't blame him.

I've been feeling like that lately: burned out, used up, completely drained of everything I need to do my work. Sometimes I just let myself daydream about winning the lottery and running away. Have you ever done that?

Since I don't buy lottery tickets the chances of me winning the lottery are...well, not good! God is faithful, though. and he knows what I need and just when to send it. I have a little book that I'm reading called
Mother Teresa, Her Essential Wisdom, that is just full of things she learned during her life of service. One struck me right between the eyes today when I read it. I have highlighted it and put one of those little sticky flags on it so I can go back and read it again and again. Here's what it says:

"Sometime back, a high government official 
said, 'You are doing social work and we also are
doing the same. But we are doing it for something 
and you are doing it for somebody.' To do our work we have 
to be in love with God."

That made this social worker sit up and take notice...and God used it to convict my heart. Sometime along the way I have forgotten who called me to this place of service, who prepared the way and opened the door for me. Because of that, I have lost sight of why I am here. My focus has become the daily, growing mountain of paperwork and policy, and I have lost sight of the mission for which he placed me here. 

I am here to serve others and bring them the love of God.

I read that quote again and realized that I have lost my focus and begun to serve my company instead of my King. I have begun to see my job as one frustration after another instead of a time for God to refine and teach and use me for his glory. 


I think I need to spend this weekend asking God to help me remember why I do what I do. I need a renewed vision, a renewed calling, a renewed sense of purpose. That's not always an easy thing to do, but as they say, acknowledging that you have a problem is the first step. As I do this I know that I can count on the following to be true:

  • God loves me unconditionally
  • God is always true to his nature and never changing
  • God is quick to forgive and restore if I will just ask
  • God's plan for me was determined before the world began - it has not changed.
  • My strength is and always will be in him - I will always be wimpy compared to him
  • He chooses to use me anyway
That's what I want. I want to be a light in a time of darkness, a voice of hope in a time of frustration, the difference that points the way to Christ for those around me. 

I have some work to do - or rather,to allow God to do. How about you? Has your perspective become warped? Have you forgotten that in difficult times, he is there with purpose and plan? 

What is it that you need to allow God to do in your life this weekend? Will you let him do it? 

Thursday, September 29, 2011

A Lesson in Humility...and Perserverance

Several weeks ago I entered three different writing contests, submitting portions of my completed fiction novel, Saved by a Stranger. I have tried not to think about them too much, but just keep writing and editing. 

Today I received feedback from the first contest. I was not a finalist.They were so nice about it, though, and wrote the nicest email note. Attached to that were the comments from the three judges who reviewed my submission. 

It was like a train wreck - I didn't want to look, but I had to...

There were things they liked:  good grammar, a nice level of suspense, a good 'voice' and some playfulness in my main character. So far so good. One judge even went so far as to say that I had a really good story. Yea!!! I loved that part. 

Well, you know what comes next. They don't call them weaknesses, the call them opportunities to improve, and there were a lot of them: too much back story, too much telling and not showing, head -hopping (I'm working on that one!). 

I had many and varied reactions. I was happy to have someone point out a problem that I knew was there but couldn't pinpoint and didn't know how to fix. I was a bit overwhelmed by the amount of editing and re-working I need to do. I was embarrassed that I had turned it in at all, and schooled on the necessity of professional editors. 

And, for a brief moment I even thought that this was probably God's way of telling me that writing was not in my future. At least fiction writing. That made me sad. 

Then God just nudged my heart a little and asked me if I was quitting just because I got some objective feedback. Hmm. 

I've just finished reading and blogging about audacious faith and prayers, and where was that audacious faith now? God never said I wouldn't have to work hard to see those prayers answered. 

He also never said that I knew everything already and that my skill was completely honed to perfection. It's not!

In my heart I know that I have a lot to learn about writing fiction stories. I have a good foundation and some strong skills to build on, but that is only the beginning. 

The book of Proverbs is full of teachings about heeding instruction:

13:13  "He who scorns instruction will pay for it, but 
he who respects a command is rewarded."

19:20  "Listen to advice and accept instruction and
in the end you will be wise."

Here is what Peter has to say about humility:

5:5-6  "Young men, in the same way be submissive
to those who are older. All of you, clothe yourselves
with humility toward one another, because, God opposes
the proud but gives grace to the humble. Humble yourselves,
therefore, under God's mighty hand, that he may 
lift you up in due time."

There are many other pertinent verses but those are a good start. It's enough to remind me that I need to be teachable and receptive to the wisdom and guidance of those who have traveled this road before me. 

I also need to remember that the important thing is not the outcome - my outcome. The teachable moments with God are those that I am anticipating right now. I must start again and learn and work and tear down and rebuild. I must continue to seek his blessing - to seek him. 

This is but one step along the way. It will, I hope, be a life-long process. I would love to make writing a full-time job, but to do that I have to accept the whole process. It will include frustration, elation, fears, tears, anger, despair...all the human emotions.

I pray that through it all, there will also be evidence of a deep and growing faith in the hand of God working in me, and the heart of God loving me. 

It's your turn: how have you experienced this in your life? How is God seeking to hone not only your skills but your faith? 

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

COTT (Clash of the Titles) Guest Post

View Blog_Alli...png in slide show

Congratulations to Delia Latham for taking the crown in last week's Staff Clash. Two anonymous COTT staffers went into the ring and readers had another hard choice to make. Some said:
  • "This was a cruel choice!! LOL! They were both excellent."
  •  (About Delia's excerpt): "Beautiful words expressing emotion and making the reader want more."
  •  "Intense emotions on both excerpts! Great job!"
  •  "Terrific excerpts!"
  • (About Katie's excerpt): "I need to know Wulf better! I have a feeling he's dreamy."
  • "Awesome clash with two well-written, emotion-packed scenes! Great job, authors!"
Of course, nobody knew at the time that those authors were Delia Latham and Katie McCurdy.
Both are recent additions to the staff. Delia has come on board as a Blog Alliance Correspondent, and Katie is the official Talent Scout. (Looks like COTT scouted some talent when they found these two gems.)
This fun excursion was a great interjection into the usual good times shared at Clash of the Titles. This week sees another fierce challenge with nameless authors nominated by COTT staff. Be sure to head over there and vote now!
And in just 2 weeks, the party begins! Mark your calendars for October 10th and be ready to play for extra prizes all month long as COTT celebrates it's first anniversary. Your vote will determine which of the year's winning authors will receive the ultimate honor: the Laurel Award.
* by Assistant Editor of COTT, Michelle Massaro 

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Writing Projects Update

Well it's time for another project update. This time it's the writing world. Writing and trying to navigate the world of publishing has and continues to take me out of my comfort zone in so many ways...

First there was this blog...

Then I entered some writing contests...

Now I'm in a group that shares blogs and stories about - well, stories. 

I continue to believe that God is opening doors to use my writing in special ways, I'm just not sure what those ways might be right now. I have some ideas though. Here's what I'm thinking and praying about right now...

  • continuing this blog and the one I just started about hospice
  • making a prayer guide for the Season of Lent 2012 available as an e-book
  • creating something for the hospice blog to be available as an e-book
  • continuing to participate in my writer's critique group
  • continuing to edit my first two books
  • continuing to work on my three book series
  • finishing a devotional book
  • continuing to participate in groups like COTT (Clash of the Titles) that will help me learn more about writing and get to know other writers
I think that's about it for now. 

I did want to let you know that tomorrow's post will be my first COTT post. I hope you'll stop by to see what that's about. It's a bit of a departure from my usual posts, but definitely fun. 

We'll be back in Ezekiel I think on Thursday, so don't forget to stop back by then. I'll send a friendly reminder. 

Have a wonderful day. I know God has an amazing blessing for each of us today, and he has a plan for us to be a blessing to someone else. 

What talent has he given you? What dream has he put in your heart? How can you use that to be a blessing to someone else today? 

If you'd like, please leave a comment here about opportunities you anticipate for the day.  We'd love to encourage and pray for you. 

Monday, September 26, 2011

S-U-C-C-E-S-S How Should Christians Spell Success?

Do you consider yourself a successful Christian? 
How do you know?

I read a devotional from Ezekiel this week that really made me stop and think about what God calls us to do. The focus of the reading was Ezekiel 22:30 which says:

"I looked for a man among them who would build up the wall and stand
before me in the gap on behalf of the land so I would not have to 
destroy it, but I found none."

It made me want to go back and re-read Ezekiel so I started at the beginning and read about the prophet Ezekiel whom God sent to the children of Israel; children he described over and over again as "rebellious, obstinate, and stubborn". 

So God sent Ezekiel to warn this rebellious, stubborn group of people who should not have been rebellious and stubborn at all. They had a beautiful history of God providing for them, rescuing them, and leading them. He also had proven his love for them over and over again with his grace, forgiveness and redemption. But they were a hard-headed, hard-hearted lot. 

Now I don't know about you, but if it had been me I would have preferred a group primed and ready to hear the gospel with open, broken hearts and repentant minds. I might have argued - I mean discussed - this with God a little bit. After all, I hate the thought of anticipating failure before I've even begun, don't you?

Here's the thing, though. That kind of thinking is so human, so small, and so ungodly. Why? Because it not only puts all of the responsibility for success on our shoulders, it even makes us responsible for determining the measure of success. Now that's a problem. 

Here's a new perspective: twice in chapter 2 God tells Ezekiel that he must SPEAK whether they listen or not. It may be more helpful to point out what God does not tell him to do. He doesn't say:
  • change their behavior
  • make them see my side
  • argue with them
  • punish them
  • make them feel good about themselves
He just said:  "You must speak my words to them".  Period.

We need to remember the verse in 1Samuel 15:22:

"To obey is better than sacrifice."

God never makes us responsible for another person's choices and actions. He will hold us accountable for our own disobedience. How many times during a day do we need to remember that God's agenda is far above our own. When he speaks we need to listen and obey. That is success in God's eyes. 

We need to free ourselves from the burden of being successful as we count success, and allow ourselves the pleasure and blessing of God's favor when we simply trust that he knows what he is about and obey him. 

Is God nudging you to do something that you believe will end in utter failure, is destined to crash and burn, or simply not to succeed? 

If someone offered you a million dollars if you would only TRY to find a cure for cancer, would you turn it down because you knew it wasn't possible? If all you had to do was make an effort? Or would you give it your best shot and then collect your money? 

Does that sound too good to be true? Well it is and we all know that's not ever going to happen. The great thing is, God is not too good to be true. He's better than we could ever imagine and all he wants us to do is obey and leave the results to him. 

Now, go back to that thing that God is nudging you to do. How do you feel about it now? What is keeping you from obeying?  Fear of failure? Pride? Those are the two biggies! 

Ask God to help you trust him enough to simply obey. He will be pleased and delighted with you and you will find yourself blessed in ways you can't imagine. 

Share your struggle or experience here. Post a comment to encourage or to allow us to encourage you. Go on your way today and be fully blessed in your obedience to a magnificent Lord. 

Saturday, September 24, 2011

"Do it Anyway" by Mother Teresa

"People are often unreasonable, illogical and self-centered; 


If you are kind, people may accuse you of selfish, ulterior motives;


If you are successful, you will win some false friends, and some true enemies;


If you are honest and frank, people may cheat you; 


What you spend years building, someone could destroy overnight;


If you find serenity and happiness, they may be jealous;


The good you do today, people will often forget tomorrow;


Give the world the best you have and it may never be enough;


You see, in the final analysis it is between you and God; it was never between you and them anyway. 

                             Mother Teresa

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Just Call Me...

We finished our week of revival last night and our worship leader talked about some of the ways you know someone is saved. It all has to do with how much like Christ we become. This can be seen in our
attitudes - actions - countenance - the fruits of our lives, and it should be consistent in every area of our lives. 

It reminded me of a post by Allen Arnold that posed the question, "What if you didn't have a name?" Click  here to read the short post. 

What if you didn't have a name? What if instead, you were known by what you did and your attitude in doing it? What would we call you? 

Would you be happy with the description? Would I? 

Every day we have an opportunity to be different, to shine a light 
in a dark world; one chance to be a "Little Christ". 

At the end of the day, what label would you give yourself? What do you think others see? If you are less than pleased with the answer don't be discouraged. It's never too late to allow God to touch your life, your heart, and your attitude and change them into things he can use for his glory. 

Take a few minutes right now to take inventory of this past week. How did you do? What do you need to take before God for his touch and blessing? Take time to do that now, pay attention during the day, and be in constant prayer. Most importantly, trust him to do a good work in you today. 

It's your turn: what would you like your label to be? Post it here. 

prayer warrior                       helper                    kind neighbor                 LEADER

              Godly parent          encourager                wise counselor              FRIEND

PROVIDER                       teacher                          peacemaker                           faithful             


Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Wrapping It Up - What You Need to Remember

Today is the final day of my review of SUN STAND STILL: What happens when you dare to ask God for the impossible, by Steven Furtick. I hope these short looks at the concepts Steven discusses have given you a desire to read the whole book, but even more, I hope it has given you the desire to begin to pray audacious prayers. 

Here to wrap things up is a list of 5 truths of and 5 steps to Sun Stand Still prayers. Post them somewhere to help you remember them, and begin to exercise your audacious faith as you ask God to do God-sized things in and through you. Here you go...

5 Truths of Sun Stand Still Prayers

  1. They are audacious 
  2. They are specific
  3. They don't have to be permanent - they can be short term
  4. They may be too personal to share
  5. They thrive with a team

5 Steps to Sun Stand Still Prayers

  1. Activate your audacious faith
  2. Approach God with boldness
  3. Ask specifically for what is humanly impossible
  4. Advance toward the answer
  5. Give God all the glory
This is not a magical formula for getting some really cool stuff. It is a guide for helping you to develop a deeper, more trusting, more fruitful relationship with God. It will require you to move out of your comfort zone, step out when you can't see the ground beneath your feet, allow God to change the way you think about prayer and your purpose in life. 

Remember that God said even with faith as small as a mustard seed you can accomplish impossible things. That's because it's not you doing it - it is God, and nothing is beyond him to accomplish. Above all, remember that God is good and has a perfect plan for you. 

Steven ends this chapter with Isaiah 25:1. It's a good one to commit to memory. 

"O Lord, you are my God;
I will exalt you and your name,
for in perfect faithfulness
you have done marvelous things."

Perfect faithfulness. Can you think of a better description for God? Do you trust him enough to be bold in your faith and your prayers? What has he put on your heart? Take a chance on him. He will not let you down. Read Jeremiah 29:11 and his promise of a perfect plan for you. 

Let our faith be audacious and our prayers be bold!
Gotta' say "Amen" to that! 

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

"The Story Behind the Glory"

This chapter is about what happens between the promise and the fulfillment of that process and why God allows the wait. Think about this...

"If all God wanted to do was get right to the happy ending,
you'd be in heaven right now." (p.196)

That's a pretty good indicator that God has something else planned. Review the story of Elijah after the great victory over the prophets of Baal. He prophesied that it would rain, then went to the mountain to wait for it. He sent his servant to the sea shore to look for signs of rain. Six times. No sign of rain, not even the tiniest cloud. Elijah didn't give up. He kept praying. The seventh time the servant saw a tiny cloud - tangible confirmation that God would fulfill his promise. 

It wasn't God's fulfillment of his promise that built Elijah's faith. It was the waiting and seeking between the promise and the fulfillment that did it. 

It's like that with us isn't it? If every prayer we prayed was instantly answered exactly as we wanted we would never seek, never question, never know the blessing of finding a deeper walk with God. 

Steven says:  
"The process is a time of strengthening. The process is the place where 
you lay down your pride and learn to rely totally on God. Most importantly,
the process is the way we grow to know God. And that's really 
the whole point." (p.195)

It is the whole point, isn't it? We must never lose sight of the relationship in our pursuit of the answer to prayer. After all, prayer is communication with God. Communication is a necessary factor in relationships, and our relationship with God is what changes us, heals us, redeems us, and sweeps us into His grand plan for the world. 

What concerns have you brought to the Lord in prayer that have not yet been resolved? Instead of letting this discourage you, ask God what he wants to teach you. Ask him to give you a deeper understanding of who he is and let that be a treasure for you to cling to as you wait for him to fulfill his promise to you. And he will do that. He has to be true to his own nature and he always, always keeps his promises. 

The book is SUN STAND STILL: What happens when you dare to ask God for the impossible, by Steven Furtick. Tomorrow wraps up our review of this book. I hope you'll come back and share with us. 

Monday, September 19, 2011

Sweat Equity and Prayer

Okay, this chapter is for all of us who could - without any trouble - be spiritual couch potatoes. What's that? Well, a spiritual couch potato is someone who prays and prays and prays for God to do something, work a miracle, but never takes any steps to make that happen. You know what I mean...

"God help me get out of debt," as you pull out the credit card for another impulse purchase.

"God help me lose weight," as you reach for a third piece of pizza instead of reaching for your walking shoes.

"God please help me pass this test," as you watch TV instead of cracking a book to study.

"God, I need a better job," as you refuse to learn a new skill, or update your resume, or apply for better jobs.

"God please help me to know you better," as you choose sleep and other activities over designated time with God.

"God please help my family to be closer," as you choose other activities over spending time with your kids.

Get the picture?  Painful isn't it?

We are all guilty of one or more of the above, and others, if we're honest. The point of this chapter of SUN STAND STILL, by Steven Furtick, is not to berate and pummel us into whimpering, helpless little puddles, but to encourage us to act audaciously as we pray that way. 

Consider this statement:

"Praying Sun Stand Still prayers isn't about thinking audacious thoughts. It's about activating audacious faith. It's about making you move. Pushing while you pray." (p.180).

Think about this: You wake in the middle of the night to the smell of smoke and the roar of fire in your home. Do you 1) gather your family together, find your bible and begin searching for scriptures relevant to the situation, get in a circle and hold hands as you pray and ask God to rescue you and your family from the fire and keep you safe, or...2) grab your family and get the heck out of the house and call 911?

The correct answer is #2, and choosing that option does NOT negate the power of God to save your family, nor does it make you less spiritual and obedient for acting without waiting for a specific directive from God. You actually already have one. 

God gave us a brain, the ability to reason and think, and common sense to identify cause and effect scenarios and take action based on what we know will happen. Consider the examples above. It does little good to pray for God to bless your financial situation when you aren't prepared or willing to be responsible with what he's given you. Likewise, it will be colossally ineffective to pray for God to make you healthy when you refuse to exercise and continue to eat like a garbage disposal. 

Okay, enough meddling...

In this chapter, Steven talks about the difference between STANDING in hope, and WALKING in faith. He goes back to the story of Joshua to point out that Joshua's greatest victory came AFTER  1) God had promised the victory and THEN Joshua and his men marched - all night - in the dark - in enemy territory - uphill. 

The story doesn't provide us with specifics about that march and what those men were thinking and feeling, but we can guess: exhaustion, fear, uncertainty and doubt, a strong desire to quit and go home, the thought that the prize they fought for might not really be worth it, anger (at their leader and at God), feelings of inadequacy and ineffectiveness. 

What else can you add to that list? 

How does this relate to your life situation? What are you praying about, needing a miraculous, audacious answer for?

Are you praying? If not, start today. If you are, what do you need to be doing to move this situation along? 

I love this quote. What do you think about it?

"Hope is a desire. Faith is a demonstration. Hope wants it to 
happen. Faith causes it to happen and acts as if it's already done."  (p.181).


"Audacious faith is not passive. Neither is audacious prayer" (p. 177)

Neither of these statements is meant to shift the focus from God to us. It is and always has been about what God will do through us. It does mean that we don't need to bother to pray audacious prayers of faith if we are not prepared to act. As Steven says: 

"If you're going to ask God to make the sun stand still, you'd better be ready to march all night." (p.175)

So the question for you today is, are you doing your part to bring about the miracles for which you are praying? What step of faith do you need to take today to put feet to your faith? And...


Friday, September 16, 2011

Permission to Pray Practically

"...pray about your needs according to God's will with
full confidence that he cares about all the impossible needs 
in your life - in every single area of your life.
So go ahead: Pray. Pray imaginatively. Pray unstoppably.
And expect a miracle." (p.165)

     We all go through it: the doubting and wondering whether God hears our prayers. Or worse, we don't pray them at all because we just know that our little issue is not nearly important enough for God to take notice of, much less do anything about. 

Fortunately we have permission from the Father himself to bring our concerns before him. 

So let us keep on coming boldly to the throne of grace, so that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need. Hebrews 4:16. 


A merciful God might hear a prayer and say "no" - he might say "wait a while". But a merciful God would never punish or denigrate us for asking. He knows our hearts. He knows every weakness we have. In other words he knows we are human with all the accompanying flaws and failures. In spite of and because of that he tells us to come before him with our requests. 

That doesn't mean we should come flippantly or with disrespect, but it does mean that whatever is on our hearts is of interest to him. Maybe that's because he knows that when we seek him out and bring requests to him we are open to hearing from him. 

God is all about relationship. When you love someone you care about the things that are important to them. If we as flawed, imperfect humans can care, how much more does God care. He loves perfectly without condition, without judgment, without exception. He even loves without reciprocation from us. 


If you believe that then you can, without fear, without reservation, bring your requests to him and expect that while his answer may not be what you expect, it WILL be what you need.

How can you tell if you're doing this? Take a moment and make a list of the things that occupy your thoughts doing the day. List everything and try to rank them in order of importance (or time spent on each). Now, go through your list and if you have actually spent time praying about that issue place a check next to it. 

Do you have a lot of checks? Do you have any?  If not, or if you only have one or two, you may have some praying to do. Look at your list. What is keeping you from praying about those things? God is interested. He's interested in you and the things that occupy your mind, heart and your time. What would happen if you took this list before God today? Why don't you try it and see?

It's your turn: Today be especially aware of how you are praying. Are you saying what you think God wants to hear or are you praying what's on your heart? Take a chance and tell him what you need, tell him the desires of your heart. See what he does. Audacious isn't it? 

The book is SUN STAND STILL: What happens when you dare to ask God for the impossible, by Steven Furtick.  

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Pray like your God is able!

We've been talking about audacious faith which is grounded in the Word and fueled by audacious prayer. But what exactly is audacious prayer?

Chapter 14 of Steven Furtick's book, SUN STAND STILL: What happens when you dare to ask God for a miracle, is entitled, Pray Like a Juggernaut.

A juggernaut is, in short, a massive force that crushes anything in its path. It is unstoppable. So it is with audacious prayer. But can the average person pray that kind of prayer?

Well, we have to remember two things:

1) First we're all the 'average person' - there are no spiritual giants here
2) It's not about the pray-er - it's about the One to whom we pray

Remember this verse from James (5:17):

"Elijah was a man just like us. He prayed earnestly that it would
not rain, and it did not rain on the land for three and a
half years"  (emphasis mine)

Did Elijah have the power to hold back the rain for three and a half years? or three days? hours? minutes? Not anymore than we do. His God did, though. His God who, by the way, is our God. The same yesterday, today, and forever!

Here's a quote from Steven we need to consider:

"The tragedy of our time is that we have taken what was 
meant to be ordinary and made it exceptional. We've put 
audacity on the highest shelf, out of reach, and declared
it off limits." (p. 152)

What about this one:

"...Elijah and Joshua had the audacity to pray prayers that lived
up to God's character, God' heart, God's resources, God's will, and
God's abilities." (p.152)

WOW! When was the last time you prayed a prayer like that?

How do you pray prayers like that?  Three things to remember:

1) We have to reconcile our dreams to God's plans.The power is in praying according to his will.

2) We need to remind God of what He knows and has promised us. Not that he forgets, but we need to be reminded. Pray scripture. That's very powerful.

3) Don't pray and ask God for what you deserve. I don't think I need to clarify this. Really. But just in case...Jesus died on the cross for us specifically so we would NOT get what we deserve. Audacious praying is not about getting all of the blessings we've somehow earned. It is about unleashing the power of God in our lives to fulfill his purpose and glorify his name. Let's don't forget that!

So many good quotes here but I'll leave you with this one:

"Sun Stand Still prayers aren't about changing God's mind. They're
about changing your heart, activating your faith, and
developing your confidence in God's Word and character." (p.162).

How do our prayers stack up? If you're like me, you have some work to do - or rather to allow God to do. Remember, it's not about you. Ask God today to guide you toward audacious praying. Trust him to do that, and ask him for a heart that is open and willing to hear and obey. 

It's your turn: Is God leading you to pray an audacious prayer? What is stopping you? Find a scripture promise that you can pray as part of this prayer and expect God to live up to his promise to you. 

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Chapter 13 - When the Sun goes Down!

This is a difficult chapter because it is about those times that God answers our audacious prayers with a "NO".

It is about learning to walk in audacious faith " matter what comes your way." (p. 136).

I think this is a critical message at this point in the book. If we're not careful we can take a left turn here and step into the "name it and claim it" sort of mindset. That is, if we pray the right words with all the right feelings we somehow back God into a corner so he HAS to answer our prayers and give us whatever we ask for. 

That's a very dangerous - and disappointing place to be. 

Audacious faith is just that: FAITH that makes no sense in circumstances that seem to indicate that God is not paying attention. It is about trust in God even when we can't figure out what he's doing and why. 

Here are some key points from this chapter:

  • God is not controlled by my faith
  • Audacious faith doesn't protect us from crises, it allows us to see the glory and power of God IN every crisis
  • Joshua would not have needed the sun to stand still if he had not been in a heated battle with the enemy of God
  • In times of adversity you have 2 choices: abandon your faith and get beaten to a bloody pulp, or stand in awe as you watch God fight for you
  • Throw the first punch: see every crisis as an opportunity to see God fight for you
  • Don't stop swinging: don't give up, compromise, or abandon your faith
  • See your crisis in the light of eternity and claim 2 Corinthians 4:17 "Our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all."
  • Sometimes we get to see the miracle - sometimes we get to be the miracle
  • God is working even when our prayers don't seem to be
God has a plan for each one of us. For many - if not all - of us, that plan includes adversity and trials; not to punish us and give us what we deserve, the Cross assures us that we will never get what we deserve. It is to allow us the privilege of being used by God to show his glory and might. To take that light to a world that needs to see him. .

If we can really wrap our heads and hearts around that, it will revolutionize our prayer lives. 

Does God have some sun stand still moments for us? Probably. He never does anything half-way. Will those moments be what we expect? Maybe, maybe not. 

Our job is to keep praying - communicating with him, keep trusting, and remember that whatever his answer to our prayer may be, it is the perfect answer, at the perfect time, to move toward the perfect fulfillment of his perfect plan. 

That much perfection only comes from God. He sees the big picture, he's directing the entire show. 

Next time you pray an audacious prayer and God doesn't seem to be answering, ask him to help you see his answer in light of his plan for you and for the world. Ask him to give you a deeper knowledge of himself, and ask for his help in remaining faithful so that others may see his light in the darkness of your adversity. 

The book is SUN STAND STILL: What happens when you dare to ask God for this impossible, by Steven Furtick. 

Tomorrow, chapter 14: Pray like a Juggernaut

It's your turn: what prayer have you been praying that God has not answered? Ask him for a deeper understanding of him through this time and speak your trust in him, not because you "feel" it, but because you trust in his promise. 

While you're here, click on the "CONTEST" tab at the top for details on winning a copy of Jody Hedlund's newest book, THE DOCTOR'S LADY. 


Tuesday, September 13, 2011

But You Don't Know What I've Done!

Has your life taken a wrong turn somewhere? Maybe there's something in your past that no one knows about, something that happened years ago, in another lifetime. Maybe it was something you did - or didn't do - just yesterday. You really messed up!

First of all, welcome to the party! You're in good - or bad as the case may be - company.

Second, if you haven't already done so, read yesterday's post so you can be reminded that it's not at all about you.

Third, take heart. People like you are just the people God is looking for to demonstrate his grace and his ability to take the bad and the ugly and make them beautiful and useful tools for his kingdom. 

That's what chapter 12 of SUN STAND STILL, by Steven Furtick, is all about- God turning our mistakes into his miracles. 

In this chapter you will meet Norm, one of God's miracles. His story will humble and encourage you as it demonstrates the concepts of grace, forgiveness and restoration. 

Here are my two favorite quotes from this chapter:

"Nothing you've ever done is so repulsive that God can't redeem your potential
and love you through it."  (p.135)


"God's grace is so audacious that he will use the failure itself  to
show off just how capable he is." (p.129)

Well there is one more quote that I want to leave you with. Read it, consider it, and ask for God's guidance here. 

"The most powerful sin in your life is the one you haven't confessed yet." (p. 135)

It's your turn: What do you think of this last quote? Is there something big, bad and ugly that has a grip on you and won't let go? The only way to escape that is to bring it to Jesus. It will be forgiven the moment you ask and accept the pardon. 

Time to let go and let God redeem you and restore you so he can bless and use you!

Don't forget to post a comment and enter to win a copy of Jody Hedlund's newest book, THE DOCTOR'S LADY. 

Monday, September 12, 2011

Watch where you step!

Chapter 11 of SUN STAND STILL, by Steven Furtick, is about "The Solid Ground of Audacious Faith"

It makes sense that before you go praying audacious prayers and stepping out on audacious faith to do audacious things you want to be sure where you're stepping, and on what. Right?

Speaking only for myself here, although I believe that I'm in good company, I get it wrong so often, without even realizing it. Here's how...

When I face a crisis, a task, a project, a ministry opportunity my first thought is:

  • am I good enough to do this?      NO
  • do I have ALL the skills to do this?    NO
  • have I prayed enough to do this?    NO
  • do I have enough scripture memorized to do this? NO
  •  have I been a faithful enough servant to do this? NO
  • do I have control of the outcome of this? NO
Okay, are you seeing a pattern here? Let me show you. 

Any time my questions begin with, "do I", "have I", "can I", "am I" the answers will always be "NO". Always. 

When my questions are: "Does God", "can God", "will God", "is God"  the answers are always "YES"!

  • Is God always faithful?  YES!
  • Can God make this work?  YES!
  • Will God provide what I need? YES!
  • Does God know about me? YES!
  • Can God use someone like me?  YES!
I need to post this everywhere I go so I don't forget it. 


Here is my favorite quote from this chapter:

"My faith is in Jesus, the Son of God, the Savior 
of the world. My faith isn't even in my ability to
believe in Jesus, because sometimes I won't be able to
perceive him. Sometimes I won't be able to 
feel him. Sometimes I will have doubts. But my faith
isn't in any of that. My faith is in his faithfulness." (p.123)

I think that if I can really get my head around that it will be life changing for me. That is my prayer today...that God will help me to be always conscious of the fact that it is always him. It is never me, even on my best day. 

I know this is my head and don't disagree with it at all. I pray that God will embed it in my soul.

It's your turn: what is it that you are trying to do on your own? Ask God to show you in your life what you need to release to him, and ask him for the courage to do it. He will. He is always faithful. 

Don't forget to leave a comment which enters you in a drawing to win a copy of Jody Hedlund's newest book, THE DOCTOR'S LADY.