Prayer and learning

Today, I was reading a devotional about perservering in prayer.

It isn’t easy.

Often, I find myself praying and praying and praying, with nothing but silence and dead ends.

Other times, I see with awe God moving in ways that only prayer and that quiet connection to God can bring.

I have been discouraged recently. Not so much in my faith that God can do whatever He promises and states in the Bible, including answering my prayer…but, discouraged because of my own impatience.

I create my own discouragement–not God.

The other day, I was praying about some goals I have for the coming year, asking for God’s blessings and favor on them. I also prayed for people I care about very much, their relationships with God and that His blessings and hand of protection be on them.

With regard to my goals, I will try to not be my own discouragement and will remember…God’s timing and His will are perfect.

In that, I can be fully confident.

Since, I didn’t do a Sunday Song this week…here is a song that I have been hearing a lot on the radio the past few weeks. It, I think, hits on what I’ve been thinking a lot for a while:

(I was going to link the devotional that I receive by email, but when I went to the Web site, THIS was the devotional…different from what I received, but just as important, if not more, given what I wrote above.)

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SUNDAY SONG

Isaiah 41:10
…fear not, for I am with you;
be not dismayed, for I am your God;
I will strengthen you, I will help you,
I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.

John 5:17
But Jesus answered them, “My Father is working until now, and I am working.”

SUNDAY SONG

Psalm 139:1-6
O LORD, you have searched me and known me! You know when I sit down and when I rise up; you discern my thoughts from afar.
You search out my path and my lying down and are acquainted with all my ways.
Even before a word is on my tongue, behold, O LORD, you know it altogether.
You hem me in, behind and before, and lay your hand upon me.
Such knowledge is too wonderful for me; it is high; I cannot attain it.

To read the entire psalm, please CLICK HERE.

No one knows me better than God. He sees all of my joys and victories. He sees all of my failures. He witnesses all of my hurts and disappointments. God knows my heart.

RUTH 2

In Ruth 2:3 it states that Ruth “happened” upon Boaz’s fields.

So she departed and went and gleaned in the field after the reapers; and she happened to come to the portion of the field belonging to Boaz, who was of the family of Elimelech.

If you ever speak to a true believer in Christ, especially based on his or her own life experiences, that believer will tell you that there is nothing of chance or coincidence that happens in life.

If I were to give you all of the “events” of my life and the blessings they led to, you’d see that belief in action.

Entwined with that belief is that our steps are set for us, and that we are led, by God, to accomplish His will. It is when we do things out of our own selfish desire that we end up off track.

Ruth was on track: She had been faithful to her mother-in-law, and Ruth showed by her actions that she was faithful to how God wanted her to honor those around her, by following her new land’s laws (which were God’s laws) and by making sure Naomi’s needs were met.

So, Ruth “happened” upon Boaz’s fields to glean the remnants of the grain provided for the poor if they worked for it.

Boaz took notice of her and, as he had heard of her background and of her via one of his employees, he showed her grace. He also allowed for her protection from harm.

Ruth was faithful, and God provided someone, in her path, to bless her in a way she could not even fathom. Remember, she was from Moab…she was lower than dirt, an outcast. Everything she did was at risk to her own safety, both physically and socially…but Boaz showed her favor.

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Chapter 2 convicted me in a couple of ways:

1. As I stated earlier in this post, God does provide a path for us. That is because He has walked before us to plan that path. Whether it be through existing relationships or ones that God provides to get us where we are going, I firmly believe this to be truth. I also believe that God uses our circumstances to either keep us in place or to get us up and moving. Ruth is an example of all of that.

2. Grace…God used Boaz to bestow upon Ruth blessings for her faithfulness. She of all people, given her societal status at that time, should have been shunned at best. Instead, Ruth’s behavior and deeds were rewarded by one of the biggest names in town.  God uses whoever He pleases, as He pleases.  You could have a past that you think God would and could never use.  God says otherwise.

All of this should be encouragement to stay faithful given who and what God has provided in our lives.

SUNDAY SONG

Psalm 139:13 -14, 17, 18
“For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well. How precious to me are your thoughts, O God! How vast is the sum of them! Were I to count them, they would outnumber the grains of sand.”

Ephesians 3:16-21
“I pray that from his glorious, unlimited resources he will empower you with inner strength through his Spirit. Then Christ will make his home in your hearts as you trust in him. Your roots will grow down into God’s love and keep you strong. And may you have the power to understand, as all God’s people should, how wide, how long, how high, and how deep his love is. May you experience the love of Christ, though it is too great to understand fully. Then you will be made complete with all the fullness of life and power that comes from God.

Now all glory to God, who is able, through his mighty power at work within us, to accomplish infinitely more than we might ask or think. Glory to him in the church and in Christ Jesus through all generations forever and ever! Amen.”

When I feel like I can’t possibly measure up and be what I hope to be to others–a blessing and thought of with love…I have to remember that Jesus loved me enough to die on the cross for me.

That truth puts everything in perspective.   There are times when those negative feelings arise, but I know Jesus loves me…He is the end all, be all, and that’s what matters most.