This Powerful thing called Prayer

I wanted to share a piece of my life so that maybe one of you would be encouraged by the message I want to share with you today.

Recently, I have been drowned in my own pain. I have been finding it difficult to get out of bed, to go through the motions, go to class, and to do focus on my studies. I struggle with dealing with my sadness and depression. It is all that I think about now. My thoughts are overwhelming, as if they are screaming at me. I feel that I am losing hope. Anyone else feel like that, or is it just me?

This weekend, I cried, swallowed up in my sadness, feeling completely and utterly alone. I knew in my mind that the only comfort that I need is God himself. I did not know how to speak to God for I didn’t feel his prescence in my pain, but I know He could hear my thoughts and my silent cry for help.

I prayed asking, “How much longer Lord? How much longer will I feel this way? Am I truly alone in this journey I’m facing?”. As I kept praying for answers, I heard the Holy Spirit respond, “Don’t forget Who Your Father is”. I immediately fell in awe and moved by God’s love

Our sinful nature make us forget some things. We live in a negative world here on earth, so we tend to let the world control our attitudes and affect our perspective see each day. The world tells us what to think, how to act, and what to choose. This is Satan tempting you and telling you to forget the many many promises God has made for all of us. Let us not forget that each day we wake up, we are alive, we are breathing, and God has provided for us! Isn’t that amazing?! Praise God for letting us live anew because of His gracious love.

God is working in us. All of our skills, abilities, strengths, and achievements are not our own gifts, but gifts and blessings that were given to us from God Himself. He gives us these gifts so that we may use them in the glory of His name.

If you are having a bad day today, I want you to stop and think about five things you are thankful for today. Even if you are having a good day, this is a good exercise for you too. If you can’t think of five, just find at least one thing that you are thankful. Write them down and pray to God how thankful you are for those things. I challenge you to continue to do this so that maybe, just maybe, our heart will grow farther away from our sin but closer to the joy in Christ Jesus that we strive for. I understand that there are days where we struggle in our misery and in deep anguish. But, our pain is being used for good. There is meaning in our misery. God is with us in every step of suffering- remember that. For God knows what we don’t know and God sees what we don’t see. If we commit our faith to God when we suffer, not only will we overcome it, we will also grow from it and we will learn from it for God gives us purpose to our struggles. We may not know the purpose while we are in our struggles, but all that matters is that God will provide.

Therefore: “Be joyful always, pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus” (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18).

And if you aren’t sure what to pray, here is an acronym that can help:

PraiseThank God for the blessings He has given you.

Repent. Ask for forgiveness of your sins and ask for him to take away any darkness that is in your heart.

Ask. Ask for His help in anything in your life that you may be struggling with right now.

Yield. Surrender yourself to God. Allow yourself to be led by the will of God.

If this doesn’t help you, don’t forget about this prayer:

Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come, your will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Give us today our daily bread. Forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors.And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one” (Matthew 6:9-13).

I pray that you may also keep praying even when it gets hard. God can still hear our cries even when we struggle getting the words out. GOD ANSWERS PRAYERS. It may not seem like it from time to time but He is answering our prayers. They may not seem like immediate responses or solutions, but He does answer them in His own time. This is where we should continue to trust in His will for us.

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him,and he will make straight your paths” (Proverbs 3:5-6).

It’s OK to Mess Up – Romans 7 Devotional

Are you a perfectionist?

There’s nothing wrong with aiming for a 4.0 GPA or perfect attendance or any other accomplishment. But sometimes aiming for perfection can leave us feeling miserable if we don’t quite reach the bar we set.

It’s discouraging to give 120% on an assignment only to receive a lower-than-expected grade. Then I end up with a “Why bother trying?” mentality which is definitely not good.

When it comes to faith, I think every Christian desires to honor God. But once we become a Christian, our sinful nature doesn’t automatically disappear. There’s a daily struggle between choosing to live for our sinful nature or for the Spirit.

I don’t think there is such a thing as a perfect Christian life, at least in the sense that we will never sin. God doesn’t love us based on our perfection or goodness. He loves us regardless of what we do, but is right there to help us stay on the right path. Even the Apostle Paul struggled with sin.

I absolutely love Paul’s honesty in Romans 7:15-25 (NLT):

I don’t really understand myself, for I want to do what is right, but I don’t do it. Instead, I do what I hate. 16 But if I know that what I am doing is wrong, this shows that I agree that the law is good. 17 So I am not the one doing wrong; it is sin living in me that does it. 18 And I know that nothing good lives in me, that is, in my sinful nature. I want to do what is right, but I can’t. 19 I want to do what is good, but I don’t. I don’t want to do what is wrong, but I do it anyway. 20 But if I do what I don’t want to do, I am not really the one doing wrong; it is sin living in me that does it. 21 I have discovered this principle of life—that when I want to do what is right, I inevitably do what is wrong. 22 I love God’s law with all my heart.23 But there is another power within me that is at war with my mind. This power makes me a slave to the sin that is still within me. 24 Oh, what a miserable person I am! Who will free me from this life that is dominated by sin and death? 25 Thank God! The answer is in Jesus Christ our Lord. So you see how it is: In my mind I really want to obey God’s law, but because of my sinful nature I am a slave to sin.”

This passage doesn’t mean that sin is inevitable. For our human nature, it is.

But since Jesus has freed us from sin and death, sin loses its power over us.

In Romans 8, Paul explains that when we live in the Spirit and focus on what God desires, we don’t have to be bound to sin. Through the Holy Spirit, we are free.

That doesn’t mean we’ll be perfect, but we no longer have to be enslaved to our sinful natures. When our full focus is on living for Christ, that frees our mind from sinful thoughts. Through Jesus, we have forgiveness from chance and peace in life.

It’s freeing to not have to strive for perfection.

It’s freeing to let the Holy Spirit control our lives.

It’s freeing to know that God still loves us when we mess up.

It’s freeing to live fully for God.

Chains Will Break

“But I do the very thing I hate…”

Sin is always so appealing. Whether it’s cheating on an exam to get that grade you want, stretching the truth to earn trust or approval, spreading gossip, it could be anything. The attraction lies in the benefit. A satisfaction seemingly so good that boundaries are crossed, mistakes are made, lies are told, tracks are covered, and consequences are ignored. A temptation that is so strong that we no longer care what is right or wrong and then we cave in.

I know I can relate to this. I try to break a habit and soon find myself returning to the very habit I was trying to break. I understand the error of my action, realize the mistake, and what do I do? The very sin I thought about and considered the error of. Why? Why do I return to my sin? Why do we do what is wrong even though we’re aware of the error? But the more concerning question is, even though I make the same mistake over and over, can I still find forgiveness?

About 2000 years ago, Paul wrote a letter to the Romans that holds undeniable truth that is relevant still today. A letter that sparked a revolutionary fire in many souls through the message it shares. A Gospel message of conviction, redemption, and freedom. In the middle of this letter, Paul shares with us something I believe we all can relate to. Romans 7:14-15 says, “For we know that the law is spiritual, but I am of the flesh, sold under sin. 15 For I do not understand my own actions. For I do not do what I want, but I do the very thing I hate.” Here, in this Scripture, Paul expresses his understanding of the very same issue I face.

We all struggle with sin. I mean, Paul, a well known apostle and example for the Christian faith confessed to this, which is proof that even the strongest heart faces times of weakness. The expectations of God lie within our Spiritual strength and persistence, but this world we live in and the bodies we’ve been given have been stolen by sin. The flesh in which we reside is a weak, disobedient, sin-tainted flesh. A flesh that is bound and destined to make mistakes.

So, now that we have an idea of why we continue life in sin, we need to consider the next question. Is there hope for us to hold on to?

I sure hope so, because if there isn’t, then I’ve got a lot to worry about! The beauty of the cross is the sacrifice made for my sins (and yours). The renewed grace, mercy, and love of God are given to us unconditionally. Well. There is one condition: That it is received. God knew that we would stumble and He knew that we would make mistakes. That’s the whole point of the death and resurrection of Christ. The fulfillment of a promise of hope and restoration. A works-based faith doesn’t work because our sinful nature makes it impossible for us to be “good enough,” and what a relief that is! Praise God that we don’t have to meet that requirement on our own, because I know my track record certainly speaks of my inability to. All we have to do is ask for and receive the forgiveness He has for us. The robes of Christ cover our sins. When we ask for forgiveness, we are no longer responsible for due judgement. The wrath of God was satisfied by the blood of Jesus, and, as Paul later mentions in Romans, “I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” NOTHING can EVER separate us from the work of Christ so long as we are willing to accept the free gift offered to us.

That covers two questions. Now that we are beginning to understand why we continue to sin and have reflected on the forgiveness always available to us, there is one more question to answer. How do I respond to all of this?

Despite the forgiveness we receive, sometimes we still hold on to a feeling of guilt, or maybe even God-given conviction. The consequences of our sins still remain. Lies can hurt and actions have consequences. How can we begin to heal if we have to face the result of our sin? Despite what you may feel, keeping it secret is not the answer. I am convinced that silence is a tool of the Enemy to keep us from true Spiritual healing. Silence is a fear-driven response. To find peace and joy, there is only one answer, especially when considering those sins which are exceptionally binding. To confess. James 5:16 says to us, “Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working.” Though it might be the most terrifying option, there has never been a time that I regretted bringing my sin to light. Every instance brought forth a response of love and acceptance, but more importantly, people who are willing to walk with me and carry me when it gets hard and when I stumble. Even if there is healing for our mistakes, should we live like they don’t matter? Again, we can look at Paul, in Romans 6:1-2, where he responds to this very question with, “By no means!” Instead, we should follow the direction of 2 Timothy 2:22 which tell us to, “Flee youthful passions and pursue righteousness, faith, love, and peace, along with those who call on the Lord from a pure heart.”

So, don’t let yourself be discouraged by the struggles you face. There is forgiveness. Don’t let your sins be kept in secret. In confession is healing and unmatched peace, joy, and freedom through the prayer and support of those who love you. Break the chains that bind you through the strength of the Lord. Lean on those around you, and know that as I type this, I am praying for this message to reach into the depths of your heart and soul that you may find the abundant love of Christ and grow in ways you never thought possible.