Friday, September 24, 2010

Abiding is One Year Old!

I am amazed as I reflect on this last year's journey with the Lord. Since the 4th grade, I have loved writing, but I had never found that "chunk of time" to sit down and write a book. But as every important journey begins with a single step, God began showing me how to take that first step.

Last September after attending the AACC (American Association of Christian Counselors) World Conference with my husband, I was so inspired that I launched this blog the day after my return. Blogging would enable me to share as I write, and to publish immediately! 

As God amazes us, we pass it on to others. He has given each of us gifts to be developed and used for His glory and He says we shouldn't hide our light under a bowl (Matt. 5:15). It was fun to realize I don't have to feel guilty when I can't get everything else done – because using His gifts is a higher priority than many of those things I thought were so important!

When I launched Abiding, I made a goal to write a post a week – and though I fell a little behind, I see that I have made much more progress than sitting back and waiting for that "chunk of time." He has stretched me and encouraged me and I'm having so much fun!

Blogging also appeals to me because it is interactive. As I listen to the Lord and share what I learn, I also want to hear from you in the comments section. Can you relate? Are you, too, striving to abide in Him daily? What does that mean to you? Let's encourage one another and take that walk together! 

When you read what I write, I hope you'll feel free to jump in the conversation. Share your thoughts, questions, wisdom and insights. I've been following some experienced bloggers – two of my favorites are Lysa TerKeurst (Proverbs 31 Women) and Jennie Allen (Untangling God and Ponytails); click on their names to check out their blogs and see how both have a wonderful way of seeing God's hand at work and engaging readers in conversation.

If you are reading this via e-mail (only a handful of you), I would encourage you to join in by taking the link directly to Abiding so you can comment and also read what others have written.

So... what is your next step to an important goal or dream?
Dear God, I pray your blessing over each one reading this blog. Thank you for the amazing way You lead us. Thank you for this wonderful way to connect with kindred souls all around.

Join in the conversation. How has God been amazing you and growing you this past year? How has He encouraged you?

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Persistent in Prayer

The Great Smoky Mountains of Tennessee in Spring
A long unanswered prayer gnaws at my heart again... "Why not now, Lord?" I wonder. But deep down, I know God wants me to press in and be persistent in prayer, knowing His timing is perfect.

All through the gospels, Jesus commends those who have faith. He rewards those who earnestly seek Him. Like the friends of the paralytic (Mark 2:1-5) who lowered their buddy through the roof to get him close to Jesus. Like the centurion (Mark 8:5-13) who knew Jesus could just give a command and his servant would be well. Like the hemorrhaging woman (Mark 5:25-34) who reached to touch the hem of His garment to be healed.

Oh, how I want to be like these people! I want to trust God wholeheartedly.

I feel like the man who brought Jesus his son, possessed and made mute by an evil spirit. The man admitted some doubt..."I do believe; help me overcome my unbelief!" (Mark 9:24)

After Jesus cast out the spirit the disciples were unable to dispel, they were again alone with Jesus and they asked Him why it did not work for them.

Jesus replied, "This kind can come out only by prayer."

What was Jesus was saying?
  • That there are different kinds of spirits and that this really tough one will only listen to Me? No, because He expected (v. 19) the disciples could have driven out the spirit.
  • That they should not only command the spirit to come out, but they should also pray? Yes, I believe Jesus meant the disciples should pray, which connects them to the Father -- upon whom they depend for answers. They should not for one minute forget Who was doing the work. It was not by their own power, but by the Lord's.
When Jesus said this can only happen by prayer, He was saying,  
"Stay connected, keep trusting, keep depending, keep looking to Me...persist in praying it through."
Many, many, many in the Bible had long unanswered prayers. We are not alone. If we did not have these great needs and prayer to draw us close, we'd start to think things happened by our own power.

But, by our simple act of obedience (prayer), we do draw closer to God, we become more connected, we increase our faith, our trust, our dependence. We see Him at work in us and around us, and we know that all will be well. Our prayer journey becomes sweet time with the Lord and the answer is worth the wait!

Dear Lord, You call us to be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. (Romans 12:12) I pray You would strengthen our faith and keep our eyes on You. You are the God of the universe and we trust in Your perfect plan.

Write a comment. Do you have a long unanswered prayer? Let's be persistent together in prayer!

Saturday, September 4, 2010

My Prayer of Surrender

Bowman Lake at Glacier National Park
Before my feet even hit the floor in the morning, I'm working on surrendering all to the Lord. Today my prayer went something like this:
Lord, I surrender to You...
  • All the details of projects engaging me, of challenges perplexing me, of opportunities awaiting me...because I want You to set my priorities for today. (Exodus 9:16 NIV)
  • All the words I speak too critically, all my words that flow too freely, all my words I guard too carefully...because I want you to guard my lips for today. (Ps. 141:3 NIV)
  • All the doubts that discourage me, the distractions that crowd me, the temptations that derail me...because I want to live in faith and follow You and You alone today. (Is. 7:9 NIV)
Lord, I empty myself of...
  • Needing to be strong, needing to be right, needing to be sharper, younger, thinner or better in some way... because You love me as I am and You are working in me and through me when I am submitted to you and abiding in You.
Lord, now fill me with Your Love, Your Hope, Your Grace, Your Peace, Your Power and may Your Will be done through me today. Amen.

Write a comment. Can you identify with any of these? What kinds of things are you working on surrendering these days?