Prayer, Plain and Simple

Prayer, Plain and Simple

Turning on a Dime – The Chance of a Lifetime

posted by Mark and Jill

“After this, Jesus went out and saw a tax collector by the name of Levi sitting at his tax booth. ‘Follow me,’ Jesus said to him, and Levi got up, left everything and followed him.” Luke 5:27  

This is a story of a scoundrel  who was making a lot of money by cheating people and kissing up to the Roman occupying government. He turned on a dime (a denari) and changed his life, leaving behind wads of cash and any chance to return to that lucrative occupation. Contrast this with the young, rich leader who just couldn’t part with his stuff, his gods.

To fully follow Jesus there can be nothing in our lives that is more important than wholehearted apprenticeship to his teaching, his ways, and his love, for we must love Him with ALL our heart, soul, and strength.

If Jesus invited me right now to walk with Him, would I follow as Levi did? Would I make the split second decision to leave everything behind to pursue Him? Or would there be that one thing that I would not be able to abandon, leaving him to leave me behind as he left the rich young ruler?

Jesus walked on. He didn’t beg. He didn’t wait.

If I leave anything and everything to follow Him, I can know for certain that the joy and fulfillment, the pleasure and the adventure will be far superior to anything I’ve found on my own. That’s a covenant guarantee. Jesus’ purpose for coming to redeem us was that our joy would be complete and His joy would live in us. Joy is the aim of life in Him. Joy is calling me today, but it is calling me to leave behind the stuff that tempts me with tentative, temporal pleasure.

Jesus, You are calling my name this very moment. Give me courage to let go of the little gods I hold dear, little gods that can offer me much of nothing, only diminishing returns. Let there be nothing in my grasp that I cling to but Your hand. And let’s walk this road together, You and I. I have so many needs and so much to learn, and You have so much to offer — all wisdom, counsel, and knowledge is Yours. And as of today, I am Yours, too. Make something of my life. Amen.

Sometimes Jesus Just Doesn’t Seem To Make Sense

posted by Mark and Jill

Jesus said to Simon, “Now go out where it is deeper, and let down your nets to catch some fish.”

“Master,” Simon replied, “we worked hard all last night and didn’t catch a thing. But if you say so, I’ll let the nets down again.”

And this time their nets were so full of fish they began to tear!

Luke 5:4-6

Jesus was a Rabbi, not a professional fisherman. But a professional fisherman named Simon took his advise, counter-intuitive as it was, and caught the catch of a lifetime. It’s time to start listening to Jesus! He knows how to run your business, your life, your family, your finances, and your time! Your little kingdom needs the King. Open up his word and open up your heart; gain some knowledge, and apply it today. Let’s pray!

Jesus, I open my mind, my eyes, and my spiritual ears to your voice. Speak to me and guide me. And give me the heart to respond like Simon:  “If you say so!” I will obey! Take me deeper, Jesus. Amen

If you want to hear more about this passage, here is a link to a Beliefnet audio blog that we recorded several months ago. This is what we love to do together in the morning; and in this audio blog we let you in on our morning chats:

http://www.beliefnet.com/columnists/thesupernaturallife/2013/02/11/fishers/#post

The Day We Forget To Remember Is A Sad Day for God

posted by Mark and Jill

“Oh how they grieved his heart in that dry wasteland. They did not remember his power…they did not remember his miraculous signs…” Psalm 78:40,42,43

I’m forgetful. The other day my friend asked me how my weekend was, and I couldn’t even remember what had taken place two days before. But what of the miracles and graces and provision of God? How often do I forget what He has done for me, the miracles He has accomplished, the prayers He has answered? Let us pray for a good memory!

My Father,

Forgive me for grieving your heart by not remembering and contemplating the blessings you have given me. True, I am still waiting on answers to specific prayers, but while I’m waiting I can remember the truth of what you have already done for me. It’s so easy to pull up the negative stuff, the offenses, the pain, the trauma and then to forget the positive, the healing, the miracles, the forgiveness. Help my mind to stay on you, dearest Father, and on your Son, Jesus my Messiah, who has redeemed every wrongful and wicked act in my life through the gift of His life, death, and resurrection. With the help of your Holy Spirit, I will keep Jesus at the front and center of my thoughts and meditations today. It’s in His name I pray and ask these things. Amen

I have set the Lord continually before me; because He is at my right hand, I shall not be moved.
Therefore my heart is glad and my glory [my inner self] rejoices; my body too shall rest and confidently dwell in safety.
Psalm 16:8,9 (Amplified)

The Art of Comparison

posted by Mark and Jill

“The people are taller and more powerful than we are.” Deut. 1:28

At the edge of the Promised Land, poised to enter and equipped by God to thrive, the Israelites met the challenge — for there were battles to win — with fear. They compared themselves with the task they were facing and quaked in their boots. Demoralized, immobilized they shrank themselves smaller still, threw up their hands and gave up, thinking it far better to go back to slavery than face the fact that they themselves were small, ill-equipped, and barely out of bondage. They were forgetting Who went with them. Forgetting Who fought for them. Forgetting Who loved them.

When Paul, on the other hand, met a challenge, doomed by the expert sailors to a certain death in the eye of a hurricane on the Mediterranean Sea, all he had to say to the crew was this:  “Take courage! For I believe God. It will be just as he said.” (Acts 27:25) The whole ship was miraculously saved and Paul went on to his destination in Rome just as God had said he would.

What are you facing today? Financial crisis? Trials with your children? A doomed marriage? Crumbling health? Pending loss? Hear these words and take them, receiving them as God’s words to you:

“Don’t be afraid! Don’t be discouraged! Don’t be shocked or afraid! The Lord your God is going ahead of you. He will fight for you, just as you saw him do…just as a father cares for his child…Trust the Lord your God, who goes before you…guiding you…” (Deut. 1:21,29,32,33)

Do you believe God, my friend? For if you do, nothing will be impossible for you. Believe Him today. Don’t compare yourself with the challenge you are facing. The art of comparison is this:  compare your challenge with the immense greatness of God! There is no comparison! The all-powerful Creator of the universe will fight your battles for you. You don’t have to face them alone.

“For nothing is impossible with God.” Luke 1:27

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