Pray Like Hezekiah

I had something big happening in my life. Something hurtful. Something heartful.

Darkness was closing in.

I decided to pray like Hezekiah, so I ran to the temple to my Lord.

I got alone with Him and got on my knees and got humble and got truthful.

I spread out my hands and my heart and my bad news before my God, the King of kings.

GOD, do You see what they are doing?

Do You hear what they are saying?

Do you feel the ripping of their laughter on my soul? The whipping of their insults in my spirit? The stripping of their mocking on my heart?

I prayed like Hezekiah.

I reminded God of who He is– the Great I AM. I reminded God of who I am. I am I AM’s, His child.

I poured out my hurt and my hopes and my faith and asked God to act.

“The righteous cry out, and the LORD hears them; he delivers them from all their troubles.” Psalm 34:7

And He did.  One minute THEY were in my life, large and looming. The next minute THEY were gone. Silenced.

The prayer of Hezekiah. 30 seconds. 127 words. A nation is saved. Destiny shifts. Faith blooms. Who is like our God?

Pray like Hezekiah.

Have you prayed a Hezekiah prayer? Leave me a comment; I’d love to hear from you!

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Spiritual Growth Mindset

 

I think I can, I think I can, I think I can.

We have a lot to learn from the Little Engine that Could. The Little Engine could because the Little Engine had a growth mindset. A growth mindset is when, “… people believe that their most basic abilities can be developed through dedication and hard work—brains and talent are just the starting point. “(Carol Dweck).

Just like the Little Engine.

Big things didn’t scare her. She was up for the challenge.  She had grit. She had drive. Blood. Sweat. Tears. The secret to her success? Thoughts. True thoughts lead to courageous words, which lead to bold actions. Success does not depend on talent, resources or smarts. Success is determined by mindset.

And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind[set], that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God. Romans 12:2

God is all about a growth mindset.

Spiritual Fixed Mindset

In an earlier post, we learned a Spiritual Fixed Mindset believes I can’t because God can’t or won’t. This mindset is marked by negative self-talk, playing it safe, living small, and walking in fear.

But a Spiritual Growth Mindset says I can because God can.  This mindset is about  hope, faith, dreams and Truth.

“I can do all things through Jesus Christ who strengthens me.” That’s what I’m talking about.

Spiritual Growth Mindset believes God has called and gifted each person to be highly effective and fruitful within their sphere of influence. This mindset believes God redeems all sin no matter how deep, how wide or how ugly. A Spiritual Growth Mindset also embraces the truth God uses all things for the good of those who love Him and are called according to His purpose.

Spiritual Growth Mindset is marked by:

  • God-talk. Speaking God’s words. Speaking about God’s goodness.
  • Faith. Living by faith. Thinking by faith. Praying by faith. Planning by faith.
  • Focus. Eyes riveted on God and His will. All the time.
  • Thankfulness. Thanking God for what He has done, is doing and will do.
  • Joy! Enjoying life and the work God has provided.
  • Service. People in need + you + your gifts = ministry
  • Seeking God. In good times, and in hard times. Especially in the hard times.
  • Prayer: Praying through struggles, progress, setbacks, jump-starts, trials and blessing.

Spiritual Growth Mindset says despite past mistakes, flaws, and sins, God uses anyone who is willing to follow Him. Because God is eternal and the giver of life, nothing is fatal. Nothing is final. We are never stuck or without hope. We can change, heal, and grow. The lame leap, the dumb speak and the dead live again.

Live it out.

Eliza was in my math class a few years ago. She was growth mindset waiting to happen. Eliza never met a math problem she couldn’t conquer. No, she wasn’t the SMARTEST kid in my class—she was the WORK-HARDEST kid in my class. I knew when she was struggling because she self-talked out loud. “I will get this problem. I can do this! and then she’d try and try again.

Let’s try it.

Let’s change our minds, change our words and change our destiny.

Because God is almighty and all powerful, I can beat ___________________ (name your obstacle).

With God, I WILL over come this fear of ___________________.

God, because You are on my side, I will not bow down, walk out, give up, or turn back on __________________.

God is working _________________  for my good and His glory.

God, because I know You’ve got this, I will by faith _________________ (name a next step).

With a growth mindset, the Little Engine made it over the mountain to the sunshine valley on the other side. Use your Spiritual Growth Mindset and speak to that mountain. Tell it in the name of Jesus to get out of your way.

Action Steps:

  1. Watch your words and thoughts. Quit with the defeatist words and attitudes. NOBODY likes to listen to a pity-party—especially God.
  2. Get you some God words and thoughts. Find a few Bible verses that speak truth into your situation and say and pray them as often as needed.
  3. Keep on keeping on. Never give up. God is the victor and He always wins. The more Word you put in your heart the more you will be changed.

A changed mind leads to a changed heart which leads to a changed life. Leave me a comment and let me know how your life is changing. I’d love to hear from you!

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Good Friday: Jesus and Judas

Good Friday is a day of quiet reflection and meditation.

As Christians, on this day, we are often torn between sorrow and thankfulness. We are sorrowful because Jesus suffered and died on the cross, and thankful because Jesus took our place and suffered and died on the cross. As I was studying to write this devotional, I learned something new about Good Friday—Jesus wasn’t the only one who died on Good Friday, Judas died as well. As I considered these two deaths, I began to contrast them in my mind.

Judas Jesus
killed himself sacrificed himself
his will His Father’s will
hanged on a tree hanged on a cross
guilty innocent
died for his sins died for our sins
destruction salvation
Potter’s Field an empty tomb
30 pieces of silver the blood of Christ

The life of Judas.

When I was younger I used to hate Judas because he betrayed our Lord for thirty pieces of silver. As Christians, we would never do that…or would we? Haven’t there been times when we have chosen other things over Christ? Time with Christ can be easily replaced with controversial TV programs, questionable movies, and provocative books. However, we don’t always replace time with Jesus with bad things; time with Him can be replaced with good things as well, such as exercise, music, knitting or reading.

Now that I’m older I feel fear and sorrow over the life of Judas.

Fear, because one could walk so physically close with Jesus and still not have a heart for Him; sorrow, because Judas’ life did not have to end the way he chose. Jesus went to the cross for Judas as well. Instead of turning to Christ to solve his guilt and sin problem, Judas turned to death. The legacy of Judas could have been one of grace and forgiveness. Have you placed anything above God in your life? How can you fix this error?

Prayer:

Dearest Holy Father,

Thank you that Jesus went to the cross for every one of my sins. Thank you that but may boldly come  and confess my sin to You. You are faithful and just to forgive me of my sin and to cleanse me from all unrighteousness.

Thank you, Jesus, for going to the cross in my place. I accept your death on the cross as payment for my sin. Help me to love You and follow You all the days of my life.

In Jesus Holy Name, Amen.

(If you have not yet accepted Christ as your personal Savior, please take a moment and ask Him to come into your heart right now. There is no better time to become a Christian than Easter time!)

By Mary Kane

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Spiritual Fixed Mindset

“Guess what?! I just got an email! The book I submitted is going to be published!”

Hey! I have great news! I’ve just been asked to speak on a Christian women’s cruise to the Bahamas! I sail January 15th!”

Have you ever been jealous of a brother or sister in Christ? I have too. When I’ve  seen all the fabulous things others have accomplished, I have felt less. I used to think God wouldn’t use a person like me; He’d only use super Christians. You know, those people who got saved at three, baptized at four and went on their first mission trip at five. I was too messed up. Too broken. Too unlovely. I believed in Jesus, but I thought I could never change. Wrong.

What about you?

Do you think you’re too messed up, trapped in your addiction/codependent relationship/shopping habit/food problem/embarrassing sin to ever be transformed?  Do you think you will always be stuck right where you are, battling the same old stuff? Then you are suffering from a Spiritual Fixed Mindset.

Spiritual Fixed Mindset: a belief that basic qualities like intelligence, flaws, sin and talent are fixed traits, therefore a person can never change, grow or overcome challenges or sins. This is the way I was born, This is the way I am, are the mantras of people trapped in a spiritual fixed mindset.

People trapped in a fixed mindset believe God gifted some people and not others.

They spend their time documenting their failures and sins. They believe talent alone creates success—without effort. They believe there is something wrong with them that can never be fixed. They are stuck. People with a fixed spiritual mindset constantly try to prove their worth. They are very sensitive to criticism, always anxious and prone to self doubt.

Spiritual Fixed Mindset is marked by:

  • negative self-talk
  • second guessing decisions (and third and fourth guessing)
  • focusing on self
  • seeing only failures and replaying them in living color over and over
  • condemning self
  • hiding gifts
  • keeping head down and playing it safe
  • walking by sight

The poster child for the fixed spiritual-mindset is the man with one talent.

14 “… a man going on a journey, who called his servants  and entrusted to them his property.15 To one he gave five talents, to another two, to another one, to each according to his ability. Then he went away. 1He who had received the five talents went at once and traded with them, and he made five talents more. 17 So also he who had the two talents made two talents more. 18 But he who had received the one talent went and dug in the ground and hid his master’s money. 19 Now after a long time the master of those servants came and settled accounts with them. 20 And he who had received the five talents came forward, bringing five talents more, saying, ‘Master, you delivered to me five talents; here, I have made five talents more.’ 21 His master said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant. You have been faithful over a little; I will set you over much. Enter into the joy of your master.’ [ …] He also who had received the one talent came forward, saying, ‘Master, I knew you to be a hard man, reaping where you did not sow, and gathering where you scattered no seed, 25 so I was afraid, and I went and hid your talent in the ground. Here, you have what is yours.’ 26 But his master answered him, ‘You wicked and slothful servant! You knew that I reap where I have not sown and gather where I scattered no seed? 27 Then you ought to have invested my money with the bankers, and at my coming I should have received what was my own with interest. 28 So take the talent from him and give it to him who has the ten talents. 29 For to everyone who has will more be given, and he will have an abundance. But from the one who has not, even what he has will be taken away.” Matthew 25: 14-21, 24-29

What did the One-Talent Servant do?

He was afraid and he hid his gifts. He did not use them for the benefit of his master or anyone else. The One-Talent Servant was not punished because he tried and failed—but because he did not try. I believe pride was at the bottom of his failure to launch. He didn’t want to look bad in the eyes of the world. He was walking by sight and not by faith.

How about you (and me)? We’ve got gifts. We’ve got talent. We’ve got treasure. We’ve also got calling. Go forth. Make disciples. Whatever your gifts, serving, loving, mercy, cooking, cleaning, fixing, babysitting, acting, blogging, gaming, sewing, doing hair and make-up, fishing, hunting, turning a wrench, there is a need for it in your church/community/housing project/town. Get going!

Action Steps:

  1. Think: What do you love to do? Where is your passion? As long as it isn’t against God’s word, there is a way to use it for His kingdom.
  2. Pray: Ask God to show you how He wants you to be involved and to open doors for you.
  3. Start: Do something today to start using your gifts. Make a call, share your vision, take a class, or join another group.

Tip: You won’t find the will of God apart from the word of God. When I got serious about following Jesus, new giftings and interests seemed to pop up from no where, so did new opportunities.

Let me know your thoughts about Spiritual Fixed Mindset, how you plan to use your gifts and how I can pray for you, by leaving a comment in the comment section below!

God is good!

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Fresh Start: Get a Fresh Spirit for 2017

I love January because it represents fresh starts. All possibilities are open. Usually at this early point in the year, I haven’t made too many glaring mistakes or committed a hoard of selfish sins yet. Of course, as a Christ-follower, I can confess sin and receive fresh power of the Holy Spirit any time of the year. But there’s just something special about January. I’ve got a wide-open fresh canvas of a year ahead of me.

So for this month, I want to focus on the theme of a fresh start.

Today we will look at one aspect of this, seeking a fresh spirit. Exactly how can we welcome a fresh breath of the Holy Spirit in our lives? I’d like to suggest a few ideas:

1. First of all, pray each morning for the Holy Spirit to fill you with His presence. Then listen and watch for His leading and guidance in your life throughout the day. How might He do this?

  • Conviction. He may prod your conscience that something you’re about to say or do may not be the wisest choice.
  • God appointments. As you’re out and about, you may find yourself with unexpected opportunities to offer an encouraging word or prayer for a friend or even complete stranger. You may make a business connection that you didn’t see coming.
  • Equipping. When you pray and commit your needs to the Lord, the Holy Spirit equips you for the difficult tasks at work, home, school, or church that you need to accomplish.

2. Another way to get a fresh spirit is to pick a characteristic or habit that you want to cultivate and choose a scripture that matches that need. For example, perhaps you are feeling jealous of a friend’s recent success in an area that you have been striving for yourself. You don’t like this feeling that has overtaken you, so you choose to memorize Proverbs 14:30 “A heart at peace gives life to the body, but envy rots the bones.” (That’s direct, isn’t it?!) As you commit this verse to memory, repeat it often, especially when those envious pangs hit your heart.

To take it a step further, you could also write this verse in your journal and meditate on it, asking the Spirit to show you how you can personally apply it in your life. Write down any special instructions you receive. Maybe God directs you to write a note to your friend, congratulating her on her success. As you follow through and actually do these things, you’ll begin to experience victory in this area. Stick wth the verse until you feel you have worked your way through this challenge and are experiencing the freedom you desire.

3. A third way to get a fresh spirit is to choose a book to read that addresses an area where you would like to see spiritual growth. It could have something to do with the topic you have picked for your memory verse, or it could be entirely different. For example, over the last two years I have been in the “dream-birthing” process in my life. I am slowly working through a book by Beth Booram called Starting Something New: Spiritual Direction for Your God-Given Dream (this is an affiliate link). I purchased a journal just for this book, being sure to capture all the insights God is giving me.

So, choose a book for the first part of this new year and commit yourself to growth. Don’t feel you have to rush. Take as much time as you need to thoroughly digest the book and extract from it all the goodness and ideas you can. Make sure you find concrete ways to apply what you’re learning by giving yourself actions steps and setting goals that have dates attached to them.

Instead of setting a goal that is vague like “I want to open an online store,” make it specific and actionable: “By March 1, I will open an Etsy store featuring my knitwear designs.” Then take the goal and break it into all the smaller steps you’ll need to do to get there, like choosing the designs you’ll feature, knitting the designs, researching how to photograph your items for the store, reading through the online tutorials, and so on.

4. Cultivate a spiritual discipline. Spiritual disciplines have been around just about as long as the church has, but I’m not sure that we pay enough attention to them. Let’s make 2017 the year we change that. Choose a discipline and learn about it and how to include it in your life. Maybe you feel like you could use some silence and solitude. Perhaps you feel convicted to add fasting to your spiritual repertoire. Maybe you want to learn how to deeply examen your life. It could be that you want to understand more about prayer or explore how to do sacred reading. The spiritual disciplines add a depth of richness  and intimacy  to your walk with the Lord and are well worth the time you invest in them.

What about you?

What other ideas do you have for acquiring a fresh spirit for 2017? I’d love to hear what you think. Just leave a comment below and …

Pray on through 2017!

 




Short & Sweet: Road Trip

road-tripSo Abram went, as the LORD had told him, and Lot went with him. Abram was 75 years old when he left Haran. He took his wife Sarai, his nephew Lot, all the possessions they had accumulated, and the people he had acquired in Haran, and they set out for the land of Canaan. When they came to the land of Canaan, Abram passed through the land to the site of Shechem, at the oak of Moreh. At that time the Canaanites were in the land.” Genesis 12:4-6

Abram was born in the land of Ur, a city dedicated to the worship of the moon god, Nanna. Because the Amorites invaded Abram’s homeland, Abram’s father moved the family out of Ur to Haran. It was in the city of Haran that Abram (later renamed Abraham) heard the call of God to journey to Canaan, the Promised Land.

Why did God tell Abram to leave the land of Ur?

Because He wanted to bless Abram and all other nations through Abram’s family line. Sometimes in order for God to bless us, we have to leave some things behind; things that stand in the way of God’s best; things that obstruct our relationship with God; things that prevent our progress, keep us shallow and make us small. Things that make us less when God wants to make us more. Things like false gods, bad habits, and generational sin. Sometimes God uses a change of scenery to change a life.

“Then Abram journeyed by stages to the Negev.”

He started in Ur.

Stage 1, Ur (Genesis 15:7) In the original Hebrew, Ur comes from a Hebrew word that means light, revelation. Just as God met Abram in his everyday life, God meets us in the middle of our mess and calls us to walk with Him in the light.

Then Abram live in Haran.

Stage 2, Haran  Haran means, dried, parched, angry, shriveled. Do you have any dried up places in your life? Any relationships or circumstances that drain you of life, joy and energy? Haran also means to be burned, scorched, charred, shriveled up, to be angry, to burn with anger. When we burn with anger, we scorch everything around us, even our own souls.  God never wants us to live a life of anger. Small wonder God called Abram out of the Haran, the “land of anger.” God had a better way of life for Abram. His way. The only Way.

After Haran, Abram had to get out of Shechem.

Stage 3: Shechem  Shechem means back, to turn the back, a place where blows fall. In order to walk with God, Abram had to turn his back on his old way of life. He had to walk away from his idols, wrong relationships and bad habits. To walk with God, we will have to back away from some things.

Then God led Abram to Moreh.

Stage 4: Moreh Moreh means teacher, early rain.  In order to progress in our relationship with God, we need sound biblical teaching. As we let the living water of God’s word rain down on us, we will grow in the wisdom and knowledge of the Lord.

Finally Abram was ready for the Land of Promise.

Stage 5: Cana’an Cana’an literally means lowland. It also means: to humble, to bend the knee, to humble oneself, to bind together. The land of Cana’an is the place where we humble ourselves before God, and on our knees, admit our great need for Him. It is a place where He binds our heart to His. Cana’an is aka the Promised Land. A Land of Promises.

“I will never leave you nor forsake you.”

“I will be your God and you will be my people.”

“You shall be white as snow, though your sins are as scarlet.”

Those are some good promises.

I need the Land of Promises.

How did Abram get from Haran to Cana’an? He followed God closely down the road of obedience. He depended on God’s instruction for each step of the journey. Abram walked so close to God he could hear Him whisper, This is the way walk in it.

 My own journey with God has been marked by stages. I’ve been to Ur and back. I had an extended stay in Haran. I know every nook and cranny of Shechem. Stages of joy, peace, hardship, struggle, pain, growth and suffering. You name it I’ve been there with God , and He has used it for my good and His glory.

The key to progress?

 Keep walking. Never stop. When you fall, GET UP. With God there is always a next time, always another stage, and always a second chance (and a third, fourth, fifth etc.).

I’m glad God changes us in stages. If He had shown me everything that was wrong with me the first day I started following Him, I would have died of shame. He is good. You can trust Him. Keep following Him.

Action Points:

  1. Where are you? Look at your life. In order to make progress, you have to know where you are. Are you in Ur, at the beginning of your walk with God? Are you on a detour? Lost? Ask God to show you.
  2. Get up. Maybe you have blown it. (I have several times). Or maybe you have been wandering around not really getting anywhere. It’s time. Get up. Get going.
  3. Ask for directions. What do you need to do next to keep walking with God? Add something? Leave something? Wait for something? Pray and ask God to show you.
  4. Help someone find their way. Maybe you’ve been walking with God for a long time and you have a little road-worthy experience to share. Find someone who needs your help and show them the way.

Where are you in your journey with God?

Leave me a message. I’d love to hear from you!

Life is sweet! Road trip!

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