Tag: inspirational

I am the Lord and there is none beside me.

sunflower/reflection/i am God

God’s sovereignty during COVID

“I am the Lord and there is none beside me,” Isaiah 43. This is one of the most wonderful chapters in all of scripture. (Of course, I say that about a lot of chapters.)

But what draws me to this particular chapter is how many times God draws attention to his own lordship. God is not capable of arrogance as these words would sound coming from human lips.

I am the Lord and there is none beside me/handrawn flowers

He’s doesn’t repeat this time after time for his own benefit but for ours.

He is reminding us that he and he alone deserves to be called the one and only Lord.

He goes on to recount his creation of all living things on this earth, we humans in particular. Paul quotes Isaiah 9b, “Will the clay say to the potter, “What are you doing?” In Romans 9: 20-21, it states that we are his to shape and mold as he sees fit without question.

Giving up control isn’t easy

To give someone else control isn’t easy. Giving our government control over our actions right now isn’t easy. None of us like being told where we can or cannot go.

But maybe we can use this restriction on our lives as a way to remind us that this is how we are supposed to place ourselves in the Potter’s hands to do with as he wishes.

Think of this portion of scripture the next time you bristle about your restrictions and confinement. Let those feelings of irritation remind us ,remind me, that we are usually wrangling with God over these same control issues.

God’s molding of us will only draw us closer to him and his purpose for our lives, no matter how much we dislike being squeezed.

Right relationship with God important

If we are not in the right relationship with God, he will have to continue taking us back to that starting point as a rough lump of clay. We will have to remold us all over again, many times over. There is an optimal time to be molded.

Doesn’t it make sense to cooperate with him the first time around?

I am the Lord and there is none  beside me/sunflower

Let’s allow God to really shape us during this shut-down. Let’s think through our reactions about giving up control and try and determine if we treat God this way sometimes. Is there a correlation? Can we learn from this how it feels to give God control?

I wonder why we are all looking for something to do. But I wonder, why are we trying to occupy every minute?

Taking time to reflect

I’m guessing it’s because we’re scared and being busy helps. But I’m not sure that’s so good. So while I, too, am getting bored and want to fill every moment, I’m also trying to make sure I have plenty of contemplative time. I want to think about this crisis and how it can make me stronger in my faith walk.

Yes, it’s probably our way of dealing with this pandemic. But maybe now is the time to sit back and just reflect. We need to speak those word out loud, “I am the Lord and there is none beside me. “

What about you? Are you taking time during this quarantine to simply think?

I know I am. I can truthfully say, COVID has promoted some good changes in my life.

God bless and stay safe.

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confused looking prairie dog /disappointed in someone

When disappointed in someone. Four questions that help.

When we are disappointed in someone there are four questions that can help.

When I say disappointed, I mean those times when you just can’t figure out why someone behaves the way they do.

adorable prairie dog near hole on sunny day/when we are disappointed in someone.

We’ve all been there. We have been disappointed but we have also disappointed. Usually, it’s someone we care a lot about because we just don’t give that kind of attention to someone we care little for.

When we are disappointed

However, you might not be like that at all. If my husband doesn’t “get” someone’s behavior, he is able to identify it and move on. Me, not, so much.

I love researching the mind, motivation, happiness, what makes people tick, all that. It’s probably why I am taking online life-coach classes. I find people fascinating.

Plus, as a Christian, I feel if I can understand people in my life, I can pray better for them. So, I’ve come up with some observations that can lead us in the right direction when we are disappointed and confused by others.

The first question is, “What exactly am I disappointed about?”

Are you disappointed because there seem to be some contradictions? I think that’s probably the main reason we get disappointed. We think we know someone and then they do something that makes us question.

A good example of this would be someone who is extremely frugal but gets caught up in a scam and gives away money to a stranger. Another might be someone who doesn’t drink alcohol and suddenly they start drinking heavily. So it’s good to identify what you are disappointed about. In these examples, it would be a sudden change of behavior.

It’s a good idea to identify what has disappointed us. And if we can, that may be enough to move past it. Sometimes we expect too much of others at times when they aren’t able to give it. That’s what grace has done for us and what we must do for others.

The second question, does my disappointment affect our relationship?

Is the disappointment causing me to distance myself because I’m trying to figure out how I could have been so wrong? Is the confusion got me scratching my head wondering if I need to say or do something?

However, whether to address your disappointment depends on whether or not this is a continual problem or simply a person acting out of the ordinary because they are merely human. If that’s the case, obviously we overlook and forgive.

But when it’s a continual problem, then there is no choice but to address it. But because that takes two willing people, that’s not always possible. At those times, we have no choice but to move on. Jesus did.

An example of walking away.

The rich young ruler disappointed Jesus. What did Jesus do? He moved on. He saw an unwillingness. When we see an unwillingness to change, we have no choice. We forgive them and wish them well. But we choose to guard our heart, according to Proverbs 4:23. There is no scripture to support putting ourselves in harm’s way time and again.

But the third question, what if it’s you who has been the disappointment?

What if it’s you that has been the “disappointer”. Or at least someone feels you have.

If you’re interested in continuing the relationship, you apologize and don’t repeat your behavior. But some people look for disappointment and no one ever measures up. If the same person is often telling you you have disappointed them, it might be them. Some people expect way too much.

Idolizing and being idolized in relationships

That was me at one time. A number of years ago when I was reading about idols in Jeremiah 10. I realized I was making idols of some people. I had never thought of peoples being idols. before. Now when someone disappoints me, I immediately remember those verses and remind myself that God must always come first in my devotion, my time, my talents, etc. That is also how we guard our hearts.

When the Potter shaped my clay he also didn’t want me to become an idol for others. In reality, that’s out of my control. All I can do is make sure I’m not presenting an image other than that of a work in progress. I don’t want to make an idol out of anyone and I don’t want anyone to do that to me. It’s way too hard to stay on a pedestal.

Fourthly, can the relationship be repaired?

But if both of you are continually disappointing each other, the relationship isn’t working. And it’s probably due to a lack of honest communication from one or both parties. When we aren’t honest and put up a front, people can’t get to know us and we can’t get to know them.

No mutually rewarding relationship survives between strangers.

But don’t just give up on a long-term relationship (not talking marriage) without doing everything you know to do while at the same time being true to yourself.

Our Responsibility

Perhaps the most important question is, have I lived up to my responsibility? If you have, then you need to find a way to let the situation rest. Keep praying and staying open to the Holy Spirit to lead. “In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will direct your path.” Proverbs 3:6. If things don’t change you will have to decide the future course of the relationship.

Relationships can be difficult. They fluctuate like the weather. Whether you get through the storm or not depends on both of you. But when you’ve done your part, move into the sunshine. Don’t sit under the clouds of sadness when there is nothing more you can do. There are people everywhere needing friends. You can be that friend.

Conclusion

When we find ourselves questioning a relationship or a friendship, we should always be praying about it. We are to take our disappointment to God first.

The Bible s pretty clear on how we are to treat each other. Colossians and Ephesians contain a lot of good information about relationships.

The disciples had some problems with each other, Paul had some problems with John Mark. Euodia and Syntyche didn’t get along. And don’t forget all the relationship issues in the Old Testament! It is resplendent with them. In other words, people run into rough patches all the time. People’s behavior hasn’t changed much over the centuries.

Make it your goal to try and repair relationships, always remembering though to be prepared if things don’t go as you would like. Most relationships can be repaired. Most relationships are worth saving.

God bless and have a good day.

woman meditating in close up view/feeling intimidated in prayer

Feelings of intimidation in prayer? Four ways to handle.

Estimated reading time: 6 minutes

How do we handle our feelings of intimidation and insecurity in prayer? Four ways. Sometimes we feel insecure when we hear other people pray. These suggestions should help.

woman meditating in close up view/How do we handle our feelings of intimidation in prayer?

Overview: Intimidation in prayer

How do we handle our feelings of intimidation and insecurity in prayer? Especially when praying in front of others. I know how it feels because I’ve been there myself. Makes me just want to keep quiet. I sometimes feel inferior especially because I’ve been praying for a long time. It would seem that would not be a problem. But, at times, it still is. Where do you suppose that comes from?

One thing is for sure. It doesn’t come from God. It comes from within us but only because Satan found our weak spot. Satan is not God. He is not all-powerful or all-knowing. He can’t make us feel inadequate unless he finds an open door. We are the ones who open the door.

So don’t open the door!

Praying out loud is my main focus.


Remember, I am referring in this article to praying out loud in front of others. But maybe it will help in your private prayer life as well.

The danger of feeling intimidated about praying out loud is that it might carry over to your personal prayer life. So that’s why it bears discussion because whether or not you ever pray out loud in front of anyone is not a problem.

So what do we do? In this post,

I will describe four ways to handle these feelings of insecurity. First, we learn from them. Secondly, we remember those intimidating-sounding prayers are based on personality and background. Some people are just gifted in speech and the ability to express themselves. They are who they are; we are who we are. The only person we should imitate is Jesus. He is our model. His priestly prayer in John 17 is a good model to follow as well, of course, as is the Lord’s Prayer.

“Pray then like this: ‘Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name. Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.

Give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors.

And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.

Matthew 6:9-13

Thirdly, we don’t let intimidation get the best of us. We don’t allow feels of insecurity to steal our joy. And fourthly, we ask ourselves, “Why?” Why are we intimidated?

First, we can learn from others.

But we can learn from others without negatively comparing ourselves. For example, I’ve learned to express thanks in better ways, offer my requests better, etc. I have a friend who still uses “thee”, and “thou”. At first, I found it strange. Now, I find it refined and respectful. I have another friend who begins her prayer,”Dear God, it’s me, (she says her name). She ends her prayer, “That’s all I got.”

Between the two of them, I have found a happy medium for myself.

Secondly, prayer is not a contest.

We are supposed to sound like the vessel God has filled. And he fills us all differently. I know some very mature Christians who find it difficult to pray out loud in the presence of others. Some who have been brought up in church often have no difficulties. It’s natural for them. But for some of the rest of us, not so much.

We don’t have to feel insecure when praying.

Praying is not a contest and we shouldn’t be comparing our prayers to anyone. They are our prayers. When God hears our prayers, he hears only our prayers. No one else’s. So quit comparing.

Thirdly, don’t let intimidation get the best of you.

Remember, it isn’t about them; it’s about you and your growth. I’ve been there. Sometimes, I still am. So you know what I do? If I’m feeling uncomfortable and insecure for some reason, and I’m in a group where everyone is taking turns praying out loud, you know what I do? I don’t pray. Not out loud anyway. Only if I truly feel the Holy Spirit is leading me to do so. This is new to me and here’s why.

We can choose to remain silent.

I’ve finally decided to pray to God is so personal and private, I’ve decided I can choose to remain silent. Matthew 18:20 states that where “two or where two or three are gathered in my name, there am I with them.” NIV

However, this verse doesn’t say we have to pray out loud. Don’t get me wrong. I believe if we feel led and are comfortable, praying out loud, it is good to do. Sometimes, we need to step out of our comfort zone. But of all the excuses not to pray, this not one of them that deserves too much attention. It is one of those easiest ones to put behind us.

picture of a praying gopher/How do we handle our feelings of intimidation in prayer?

I believe as you grow in faith and God calls you to pray in a group setting, you will. But I also believe that if you never do, that’s OK, too. One’s heart relationship with God is far more important than whether or not we pray out loud in a group setting. I know, for sure, that I have never thought twice if someone in a group I’m in, remains silent.

Fourthly, though, why are you feeling insecure when you pray?

I think there are two reasons we might feel intimidated and insecure. One we’ve already covered. We sometimes feel intimidated when we compare our prayers to others. But remember, it’s not a contest. There’s not a winner and a loser.

But the reason may well be we are not sure where we stand with God. Accordingly, we wonder if we are good enough, have enough faith. So because of those feelings, we doubt our standing with God. If you have given over your life to God, don’t doubt any of this. That’s Satan talking that way. You are secure. You are God’s child. Don’t let your own very transient feelings get in the way. You need not let initiation defeat you.

I think we have all been there. And the truth is that some days, we feel closer to God than on other days. This is normal. And we all need to grow spiritually every day.

However, unconfessed sin and engaging in continual sin can also make us feel reluctant to pray. This is something you need to examine and take care of. Unconfessed sin is the biggest barrier between us and God. Take care of it immediately.

Concluding:

In summary, I hope you can see that whether or not you can pray out loud shouldn’t get in the way of your private prayer time. Your private prayer time is strictly between you and God. You don’t have to feel intimidated when you pray.

Make sure you are not comparing your prayers to others and that you have no unconfessed sin in your life. After that let it go.

God bless and have a great prayer day.

old clipboard/great garage sale find

Great garage sales “finds.” One in particular.

I found some great garage sale finds this weekend. One, in particular.

First, I found these plastic tablecloths. No, they are not meant for the table. I try to keep plastic tablecloths around for all kind of painting projects. They are not as slippery as plastic. I bought two of them for seventy-five cents each. Score! I love me some cheap shoppin’.

Here’s some tips for garage sale shopping.

I am a good garage sale shopper. If you want someone who can bargain, I’m your gal. However, I never take advantage. But I know the value of things, and more importantly, I know what it’s worth to me. I’ve walked away from many purchases because I know what I want and how much I’m willing to pay for it.

plastic tablecloths/great garage sale finds

Next, I found this bulb planter for a dollar. I had just bought bulbs over the weekend and so this was a God-thing in my opinion. Otherwise, I would’ve used a spoon. The books were fifty cents apiece. Another score.

two books and a bulb planter/great garage sale finds

But then there is this!My best garage sale find.

I’m probably the only person I know who gets this excited about “old”. But this clipboard is just that. It was a dollar as well. Another score. I mean look at all that “oldness”. Just want to hug it.

I have no idea what I will do with it, but I love the size. I’m thinking I may not paint it which is my first inclination for everything. I’m thinking I will either add an original piece of art or just some cool printable. What do you suggest?

old clipboard/great garage sale find

You will find a lot of Monday morning posts from me about some great garage sale finds I’m excited about and I expect to find many of them of the summer.

I’m a garage-sale aficionado.

That’s it for today. I hope you all have a blessed one.

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