The Biggest Lie

Lies of the World suck Joy right out of us!!! The lie is that we cannot obtain Holiness – that it isn’t possible.

We as Christians do this to ourselves. We act like it isn’t actually possible. We believe that it was for past generations, but not us.

I went to a class reunion over the weekend. There was a great deal of joy and sorrow in the group, but believe me as a Christian. I was nervous to attend. I wanted to be Holy in God’s eyes, but part of me thought I would fall short. It is possible through the Holy Spirit to obtain joy and Holiness.

If only we surrender to God. Don’t let the world or distractions get to you.

Point to Ponder: You cannot get closer to God if you accept the lies of the world.

Proverbs 13:5 – “The righteous hate what is false.”

When did you stop believing holiness was possible for you?

Jesus we ask that you help us to overcome the lies of this world. Help us to tear down the barriers that separate us from you Lord. Remind us of our great destiny.

Amen.

Chapter 26 – Lord, Train Me to Speak Only Words that Bring Life

Matthew 12:34 – “If we fill our heart with God’s truth and God’s love, that’s what will come out.”

That is so very true – our words are affected by our life and the language we hear around us.    My husband says, I complain a lot, but my reaction to that is – no I don’t.  I am just commenting on my environment or things around me.   The realization that I am a negative person – I don’t think I am!   So we may not see the plank in our eye, but see the complaining in someone else.   I am praying today and everyday forward that I can be a positive person and not be negative in my actions or words.

Philippians 2:14 says – “do all things without complaining and disputing” – If we complain it shows lack of faith in God.  Does it prove that I do not believe God or trust him?   It shows me that my pray life is lacking – I am not praying for growth in this area.

Let me take the 8 good thins to think about and take them to heart Lord.  Help me to speak only words of encouragement, comfort, wisdom and love.

Think:  1.  Whatever things are true 2.  Whatever things are noble 3. Whatever things are just 4.Whatever things are pure 5. Whatever things are lovely 6.  Whatever things are of good report (no gossip)  7.  Whatever things are virtuous.  8.  Whatever things are praiseworthy.

Amen.

Chapter 25 – Lord, Use Me to Touch the Lives of Others

We will never know everyone we touch, but we’ll plant seeds and harvest some for others.   It is God’s plan that we serve him and by doing that we should ask him to help us touch others lives.

The first time I shared the Gospel, the young lady and her family became Jehovah Witnesses… so I am not sure I am a great evangelist, but then again.  I am not sure I asked God to help me in the situation either.  I think at the time, I was unsure of the Holy Spirit and it was before I was even baptized.

As I mentioned before – I am a work in progress as everyone else is.  The young lady since then as been lead back to the truth.  So someone else watered and fed her to bring her back into the faith.  Over the years, I have continued to pray for her and her family.   So we never know what seeds we will sow unless we ask God to help us touch lives and lead them to Christ.  I  believe our prayers are the most effective.

Our mission is not to go alone into the world and make disciples.  We are to ask God to help us to go into the field and grow up people in the faith.

We must always think of the persons basic needs first and then never neglect to pray for them.  The things we help them with first, food, shelter or guidance may be temporary,   but our prayers may affect their entire life.

Our relationship with God has to move past what is in this for me?  To what I can do to serve God and bring people into relationship with him.  We have to move past the selfish desires an pray for others in intercessory prayer.

As Stormie ends the chapter she says “The greatest blessings will come to you when you ask God t use you to touch the lives of others.”

“And let us not grow weary while doing good, fr in due season we shall reap if we do not lose heart.”
Galatians 6:9

Amen.

Chapter 24 – My ungodly Fear – Pray God takes it Away

This is another chapter that speaks to me.

I have fear, which causes anxious feelings.   So we are moving back to Rock Island and I was a nervous wreck last week.   Most of it was out of my hands and I had no control, so I did ask my friends on Facebook to pray for me and they did.  I felt God’s strength flowing in me.

My sister, Jane said, I have to believe what I pray.  Oh boy, you means when I ask God, I must believe he’ll follow through….  Trust comes up in my head.  This book is revealing to me that I may have trouble truly trusting God.   So again – I am a work in progress.

Stormie says – we should not live in ungodly free, God never intended us to be tormented like that.   That means we need  care more about what God says than what anyone else says.  We must look to Him for approval and guidance not people.  Again, we must put him first in our hearts and believe him.

“The is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves torment.  But he who fears has not been make perfect in love.”    1 John 4:18

Chapter 23 – Lord, Heal Me and Help Me Care for My Body

Ok – again with this taking care of my Body.  God is pointing these type ideas in me to realize that this Body God gave me to glorify him.  That  is one area that I am weak.

One paragraph that Stormie wrote spoke volumes to me:
“Many of us tend to think, “Everything I have is the Lord’s except for my eating and exercise habits.”

My life is the Lord’s, but I will hold on to my body thank you.  I can eat whatever I want.  I can do whatever I want with my body…. But when we are the Lord’s we need to surrender everything to him.

He wants us to care for our bodies.  This journey through life is a learning experience.  So we aren’t going to get everything right all the time.  But trust in the Lord and he’ll take care of our needs.

“Therefore, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.”  Amen

So the journey I am on is one of choices, but I choose to give all to the Lord.  I am working on the good habits to make that happen each and everyday.

Chapter 22 – Lord Enable Me to Resist the Temptation to Sin

I have written my response to this Chapter about 3 times.

I wanted to tell you about all my sin over the years, but so many of us have the same story.

It is easy for us to fall in temptation, especially sexual temptation.   We all have been lonely, we all have been tempted by these things.   I believe that is why he wants us in a marriage where we are loved and can have those kind of relationships in the safety of marriage.

So I am not going to dwell on my own sins or anyone else.   I believe God brought Don to me, a Godly man who has helped me to grow spiritually and emotionally.   I love him more today then 15 years ago.

You can resist temptation if there is nothing barring you from it.  If you have God first in your life, you will not have a hard time resisting.  If there is something else in the way, then you may find yourself focusing on your earthly needs.

As Stormie says – ask God to enable you resist temptation to Sin – he will lift those things off your heart.

“Blessed is the person who endures temptation; for when they have been approved, they will receive the crown of life which the Lord has promised to those who love Him.” James 1:12

Amen.

Chapter 20 – Set Me Free from Negative Emotions – Power of a Praying Women

Chapter 20 – Depression
I have to agree to disagree with Stormie on this one.  Depression is real and it can create havoc in our lives.  Even Christian’s lives!   I agree that being in relationship with Christ helps us deal with everyday depression or mood swings, but disagree that you can pray away Depression and Anxiety.
Yes God does tell us not to worry – ‘be anxious for nothing’ and ‘do not worry about your life.’   Wonderful to remember, but those suffering from clinical depression cannot even pull themselves out of bed some days.  It isn’t something they have any control over.
Depression is not a character defect, a spiritual disorder – it isn’t a choice.    It isn’t about having enough faith!   It is a medical condition that requires medical and mental health assistance.     We cannot tell fellow Christians to get over it; it is a condition that they must have treated.  Mental illness is not a sin.  It can be caused by sinful actions, but it is not a sin to have mental illness.   It can be caused by sin of attacker or a choice to use drugs.   Mental illness is not a sin – if viewed that way, it can prevent individuals from seeking treatment.
We have to as a church  family encourage and support people who suffer from these illnesses.  It can be anyone within our church bodies – including pastor’s sufferings from depression.
Most churches probably have the very best intentions dealing with these issues, but like many in society, we may not truly understand these conditions and respond in negative ways to those suffering from them.
If anyone reading this is suffering from depression, please know that I too suffer from anxiety and know how it can cripple me at times.  I do believe that my relationship with God has helped me to overcome some aspects of my anxieties, but medication has allowed me to perform over all in my life at my best.

I do agree that asking God to take away negative emotions and negative thoughts is a positive step, but those who suffer from depression or anxiety, may not have the forethought to pray.   When you are deep in the bowels of depression you may not even get out of bed.   I do pray for God to deliver us all from our depression and our anxiety, because we best serve him when we are free of these things.

This chapter was not all about depression, it was about negative emotions – so her ideas on getting rid of negative emotions are good.  We have a choice to listen to them or not.  But for me to refuse to be anxious is like putting kerosene on the fire.  I may explode.

We can choose to not be dissatisfied with our lives, we can choose to not to be angry or envious of others.  We can stop ourselves from feeling bitter and letting it consume us.  We can refuse to be hopeless as well.

Let us pray, Lord, help us to live in peace and joy.   Help us to give everything to you and ask for you to heal us, help us to find doctors who can treat our illness and people to talk to about our feelings of depression.  Shield us from these feelings – help us to serve you.  Help us to serve our communities where others are hurting.  Help us to have understanding and compassion to our brothers and sisters dealing with depression.

We pray these things in your blessed Son’s name – Jesus.  Power in his name, Christ Jesus.

Chapter 19 – Power of a Praying Women

Deliver Me from Evil – The Lord’s Prayer comes into mind:

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.

No matter where we are in our faith – we must realize that Jesus even had to take time to pray.  He taught us to pray “Deliver us from the evil one.” Matthew 6:13.  He would not have instructed us in that manner if we didn’t need to do it.

He gave us all the things we need to know about living life.  We have to remember he paid the enormous price so we could be free.   “if the Son makes you free, you shall be free indeed” John 8:36.  No matter how difficult your struggles, God’s power to deliver you is stronger.

Here are a few good points:  Praying for yourself or by having someone else who is a strong believer pray with you, or spending time in the Lord’s presence.

Recently before I was selected for the new position in Rock Island, I spent several days home sick, but during those days, I was constantly in prayer.   I prayed for God’s will be done in my life and that whatever the decision about staying or leaving Virginia was in God’s hands.

So many people at Springfield today asked why am I leaving and the answer is simple.  It is God’s will that Don and I move on.  Now are job isn’t finished here – we have several weeks left to leave them with a great impression of faith and how we all should live.  Seeds have been planted here and God is in charge.

If the devil’s words ever cloud your judgment, drown him with Praises to God.  Thank God that He is your deliverer and you are being delivered even as you praise Him.    Don’t be discouraged, the deliverance we are receiving from God is an ongoing process.  We all are works in progress.  God does complete work, and He’ll see it through to the end.

Praise God, when we are delivered it isn’t a matter of us being changed, but a matter of us being released to be the person God wants us to be.

Call upon Me in the day of trouble; I will deliver you, and you shall glorify Me.  Psalm 50:15

Chapter 18 – Lord, Give Me Wisdom to Make Right Decisions – Power of a Praying Women

Ok – Stormie – did you write this book for Cathy Merritt and her alone.

This journey the last 3 years has been one of trusting and obeying God, but was it really his will or decision.  Well if I would have been as connected to God 3 years ago as I feel I am now I would listened to his voice more clearly.  As Stormie points out – God’s view of things is much greater then little old me, he sees all because he is above all.

Connecting with him each and everyday – to guide us and help us not to fall. He leads us to safety like in the last chapter, but he leads us to the right decisions too.

If we do not seek his guidance, then how can we know it is His will for us.  We sometimes choose what is best or us, rather than what is God’s best.  So the dilemma for many of us is that we think we know God’s wild, but without asking him or praying him for wisdom and guidance how can we know.

We have to ask – a few of ways to know you are walking in wisdom:

1.  Be in the Word of God

2.  Pray for Wisdom

3.  Acknowledge the Lord in everything

4.  Value wisdom above all.

Most importantly – Seek the wisdom of God not the wisdom of the world.

I encourage you to read this chapter – she gives 10 reasons to ask for wisdom too.   Amen Stormie – you sure you didn’t write this Chapter for me?

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Chapter 17 – Lord, Protect Me and All I Care About – Power of a Prayer Women

I truly believe God has always looked out for me.  I have done my share of crazy reckless things, especially in my youth.    I have had someone draw a knife on me, push me down stairs and yet other then that, I have been kept safe from harm.

When I was 20, I was driving back from Chicago on a Friday afternoon to Clinton, Iowa.   I looked up in the Chicago sky line and saw a airline fall from the Sky – May 25, 1978.   It was so surreal.  The investigation revealed other DC-10s with damage caused by the same faulty maintenance procedure. The faulty procedure was banned, and the aircraft type went on to have a long passenger career. It has since found a second career as a cargo airplane.  I even flew on a DC-10 after that crash.  Over 270 people were killed, even two people on the ground.

As Stormie, I believe God looks out for us and protects us from harm far more than we realize.  We cannot take this for granted.   We need to pray about his protective arm around us often.  I always pray for people’s safe travel.   It is important to remember to pray, but even more importantly it is important to know that part of being protected by God has to do with obeying Him and living in His will.

So almost always before I fly – I pray for protection and God’s will in my life.  I pray and talk to Jesus as I drive the car, I get on the bus or the metro.  I recently started praying again on the metro train, because recently someone was killed and others injured by a young man.

Proverbs 14:26-27

26 Whoever fears the Lord has a secure fortress,
    and for their children it will be a refuge.

27 The fear of the Lord is a fountain of life,
    turning a person from the snares of death.

Keeping focused on God, keeps us in his safe and watchful eye too.

The imagery I have is of God’s angels surrounding me and Jesus standing there with his loving arm around me.  Psalm 91:11 “He shall give His angels charge over you, to keep you in all our ways.”  Amen