Hearts and Minds

Sometimes when I pray I wonder if my words go any farther than the ceiling. In my heart, I know Jesus hears every word but my mind questions and doubts.

If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God,
who gives generously to all without finding fault,
and it will be given to you. 
But when you ask, you must believe and not doubt,
because the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea,
blown and tossed by the wind.
James 1:5-6 NIV

I know in my heart that God is a generous and giving God but my mind often listens to what the world has to say. This saddens me. I have no reason to doubt Him. His word is true and without deception. I have much reason to doubt the world. The world is full of contradiction and lies. I have not been hurt by God but I have been hurt by the world.

Such people should not expect to receive anything from the Lord. 
Their loyalty is divided between God and the world,
and they are unstable in everything they do.
James 1:7-8 NLT

Though my mind questions and doubts my heart is strong and committed to Jesus. I have orange-631354_640faith and hope that even my doubting mind cannot deny.

Faith is the confidence that what we hope for will actually happen;
it gives us assurance about things we cannot see.
Hebrews 11:1 NLT

For now, that is enough; I pray and wait.

In the morning, LORD, you hear my voice;
in the morning I lay my requests before you and wait expectantly.
Psalm 5:3 NIV

Blessings this day of grace,
patricia

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Count It All Joy

Life can be full of difficulties and troubles. We are not promised that we will be spared trivial problems or serious hardship. We are told we will have suffering and sorrow. That is the way life is in the world we where we live. We are not left with the negative, though. We are also told;

Dear brothers and sisters, when troubles come your way,
consider it an opportunity for great joy.
For you know that when your faith is tested,
your endurance has a chance to grow. 
James 1:2

It may seem troubles are simply that, troubles, things that make life difficult and unhappy. But the fact is trouble tests our faith and helps us to grow strong so we can continue on our journey of faith with courage and tenacity. When our faith grows and matures we lack nothing.

So let it grow, for when your endurance is fully developed, sparkler-677774_640
you will be perfect and complete, needing nothing.
James 1:3-4

I try to remember this when I start to complain about struggles with adversity, anxiety, distress, problems, illness, pain or any of the other woes that are common to mankind. I know that my struggling is minor compared to what many experience every day. Still, I complain and have a hard time to count it all joy.

So be truly glad.
There is wonderful joy ahead,
even though you have to endure many trials for a little while.
These trials will show that your faith is genuine. 

1 Peter 1:6-7a

I am learning that trials and troubles aren’t all bad. True, sometimes there seems to be no reason or sense to them but if I endure one day I will see the meaning of it all.  I have only to endure the testing of my faith to prove it real. I need to remember that all the things that seem dark and dreadful have a bright side, wonderful joy.

Blessings this day of grace,
patricia

All scripture from NLT

Live in Harmony and Peace

I consider myself pretty even tempered and easy to get along with. I rarely get angry to the point of raising my voice or interrupting others when they are saying things I don’t agree with or like. I try to listen and consider what others have to say before I respond. When no agreement can be reached to a mutual satisfaction I can agree to disagree and not be mad or hold a grudge.

My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this:
Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry,
because human anger does not produce the righteousness that God desires.
Jas 1:19-20

However, this has been tested recently and I have had to talk to Jesus about an issue that concerns many people and is causing conflict among friends and neighbors. Tempers have flared and angry words exchanged. I have my opinion that tends to align itself with one side of the conflict but I understand the concerns of the other side. Conversations have become contentious…and loud. I have done fairly well keeping my comments fair and quiet, but I have been complaining! Jesus is clear about this,

Do everything without complaining and arguing, so that no one can criticize you.
Live clean, innocent lives as children of God, 
Phil 2:14-15a

Interesting that I can pat myself on the back for being so reasonable and able to see bothheart-1463421_640 sides of the issue and yet complain about the advocates on both sides. Seems I have some work to do on my attitude.

In a few days, this will be decided. Some will be happy and some not happy. All will be well in the eyes of those who have their thoughts confirmed and those who do not will be upset and angry. I wonder what the cost of this controversy will be. Loss of friendliness and goodwill, cordiality and peace?

Live in harmony with each other.
Do all that you can to live in peace with everyone.
Ro 12:16a,18

To live in harmony understanding of our differences is needed and to live in peace acceptance of our differences is needed. Jesus tells us how we are to do this and I am praying that we will listen and take to heart what He has to say.

So now I am giving you a new commandment: Love each other.
Just as I have loved you, you should love each other.
Jo 13:34

Blessings this day of grace,
patricia

All scripture from the
New Living Translation

Learning To Pray

When I first started talking to Jesus I didn’t know Him and like it is with any new acquaintance I was careful what I talked about and how I talked. I wasn’t sure what we should talk about, what was acceptable and what was off limits. After all, I didn’t want to shock Him or anger Him or for Him to think I was stupid or silly. I wanted Him to like me. Just shows you how little I knew about Jesus, doesn’t it?

At first, I was shy and timid trying to say and do the right thing and not to offend this new person in my life. How was I to pray? Should I kneel or sit? Should I talk out loud, whisper or be silent? How was He to be addressed, how to begin the prayer and how to end it?  Howbaby-1606572_640 long should I pray and was there some order or formula? What if I couldn’t think of anything to say or what if I talked too much? All these questions I worried over thinking I had to pray in a certain prescribed way.  I didn’t know that Jesus wanted to hear my prayers, (Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done.Phil 4:6) that He wanted me to sit with Him, that there were no special rules or conditions to follow. All I had to do was…be with Him.

Ever so slowly I grew to be comfortable with Jesus.  He is my Lord and Savior and He is my friend and wants to talk with me. (Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you. Ja 4:8). I can talk to Him about anything and everything, important and trivial, good and bad, happy and sad, in anger and with laughter. My words don’t have to be eloquent or beautiful or grammatically correct. Sometimes there are no words at all. Doesn’t matter the time or place I simply have to call out, whisper or think, Jesus, and I know without a doubt that He is listening. Not only does He listen, if I am quiet He usually has something to add to the conversation.

Why am I telling you all this? Because I remember my first steps of faith and I remember all the times I faltered and stumbled. Because I still have times of uncertainty and questions, times when I am afraid, times when I fall. Sin is always a part of my life. Perfection is a work in progress and as with all work, there are good days and days I should have stayed in bed. I am telling you this because I want you to know that Jesus isn’t around just on the days when everything is good and only for those who never weaken. Jesus never leaves those He knows and loves. (God has said, “Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.”Heb 13:5b) No matter who you are, where you are or where you’ve been, what you are doing or what you have or haven’t done, Jesus is with you and wants to talk with you.

There are no long distance or roaming charges and you won’t get cut off or disconnected. Just say, “Hello Jesus.”

Blessings this day of grace,
patricia

Image:pixabay

James 5:16 nas

balloon

We are to be open and honest with one another, transparent.
This is especially important when praying for healing.
Whatever healing is needed physical, mental, emotional, relationships…
it is all of our heart, our spirit.
When we know each other without conceit or hypocrisy
we can pray with greater effect. 

When you ask someone to pray for you who do you ask,
someone you know and have a connection with or someone
who is a mystery to you?

Blessings this day of grace,

patricia

Image: morgueFile