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Keep Knocking and Ask the Neighbors

Have you wondered why some people seem to live in the Lord’s (God’s) presence 24/7/365 and others only step into it from time to time? How we seek time with the Lord will greatly influence how much time we spend in His presence. All too often we come to His door, knock once maybe twice and then convince ourselves that “no One” is home and we will try again tomorrow, walking away without ever stepping into His presence or hearing His voice. The problem with allowing ourselves to think this way and putting off seeking God until “tomorrow” is that tomorrow never comes…it is always “today”. The more we put off seeking God and settle for the “no One” is home answer, the easier it is to become luke-warm to His Spirit and in our spiritual walk. What we should do when we feel like “no One” is home is KEEP KNOCKING until He answers. If you knock long enough and hard enough, he WILL answer, just like the friend in Luke 11:5-13.

The other night someone told to me they were unable to hear from the Lord recently, because when they sit quietly in prayer and meditation all they hear are “crickets” instead of the Lord. When they hear crickets it feels like no one is home to listen and so they walk away with the “promise” they will try again later. The question is does “later” ever come, or does it take something happening in their life to take them back to that spot on their knees? Unfortunately for most people, it takes the “something happening in their life” before they return to try knocking again. Hearing crickets when you are seeking the Lord can be frustrating, because you do not feel like the Lord is listening…Do not fret, He is listening to your every word! He is waiting for you to knock and knock and knock until you “knock” the door open. During these “cricket” periods (some may call it a wilderness); we must continue to pray it through until we hear the answer and know the Lord is there with us.

When our two sons were younger, they would go to a friend’s house down the road and knock on the door to see if their friend could play. If no one answered the door, they would keep knocking for a period of time and maybe even look in the windows to see if anyone was home. If that did not create the result they were looking for (someone answering the door), they would go to the neighbor’s house and knock until someone answered that door. Once they found someone home, they would ask if the neighbor knew where their friend went and when they would be home. They would complete their mission by returning to the friend’s house at the time they were scheduled to return (if the time was known) to knock again, until the friend answered the door or repeat the process again. It did not matter that the friend did not answer the door the first time they knocked; they kept returning to knock until someone opened a door and gave them an answer. This is the persistence we need to have when we seek the Lord.

Our time with the Lord should be a “scheduled” appointment we would not miss for anything, with enough “buffer time” created on the end of the appointment to allow overflow if the Lord chooses to keeps us in His presence. When we seek the Lord, we must surrender our timeline, our desires, and our answers. We must be willing to knock and knock and knock and not give up or put it off until a later time. He will reward those to diligently seek Him (Hebrews 11:3).


Change of Heart

The Lord is so amazing! He knows our every need and our heart’s true desire. If we are willing to open our hearts and minds to His perfect will, He will never “let us down.” The one thing we always need to remember is that He NEVER lets us down, even when we “feel” like He is. It is so very important that we not get caught up in how our emotions feel at any given moment. Emotions can be deceiving and are easily used by our enemy, the Devil, to move us away from what God wants to do in our life. The other day the Lord reminded me that it is not about how long we pray, how hard we pray, or how many people we have praying for us (on “our” side), it is about making sure we are praying (asking) according to His will. When we pray, we must ask that the Lord answer according to His will and to conform our hearts to His, that we may see His will manifested in our lives. 1 John 5:14-15 says, “Now this is the confidence that we have in Him, that if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us. And if we know that He hears us, whatever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we have asked of Him.” Too many Christians get this scripture twisted and say that the Lord will give us anything we ask for, but that is not it at all. This scripture tells us that the Lord will give us whatever we ask for…if it is according to His will. He is not some gumball machine we can stick a few prayers into and turn the knob to get our ‘prize’. He is GOD and our Heavenly father who loves us and desires to bless us more than any earthly father could even think or imagine, “Or what man is there among you who, if his son asks for bread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will he give him a serpent? If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask Him!” (Matthew 7:9-11) About three weeks ago, I had a strong desire for something to happen in my life and the Lord told me to “pray it through.” At first my prayers were geared toward what I wanted to happen and what I thought “should” happen, but I made sure I always ended the prayer with ‘if it’s according to Your Will.’ Then about a week and a half into my period of “praying it through,” my prayers began to change as I prayed for ‘His will’ in the situation, rather than for something specific. The final change in my prayer was to pray for the Lord to have His will in the situation and prepare my heart for whatever the outcome (answer). Looking back it is amazing how He changed my heart and prayers, transforming my desires to His will in the situation. When the answer finally came, it was not surprising or upsetting, since I knew I prayed it through and He heard my prayers and I was ready for whatever happened. Had the Lord not prepared my heart and desires to His answer, I could have been very upset and confused with His answer. When we pray for something or someone, we are not to just repeat the same words over and over or throw a fit like a toddler trying to get our Parent’s attention. We are to pray from our heart according to His heart. We need to listen to what the Spirit is telling us and ask for Him to show us His will. We are to change (conform) our minds and will to His, not the other way around. All too often we get into a rut, praying to force an answer we “think” we want, only to find out it really was not the best thing for us. We must let go of the reigns of our life and trust Him to do what is best for us and the situation at hand. Once again, it is all about surrendering our will to His. Once we surrender our wants, our desires, and our will, He can work wonders in our lives no one has ever seen before…but first we must let go and surrender. What prayers do you need to surrender? How many times have you repeated the same prayer, trying to force an answer from the Lord? Are you ready to surrender it to Him? Are you willing to accept His answer, His best will for you? Start praying for His will to happen and for Him to change your heart and will to His…surrendering to Him. Remember, the Lord hears our prayers the first time we pray, but we still need to “pray it through” to the end until we have the answer, allowing Him to change our hearts and desires in the process. Prayer is about changing us from the inside out, not about changing Him…He will never change, “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever.” (Hebrews 13:8)


Rainbows of Life

Recently a child described the peace in our home as “rainbows”, which opened my eyes to how wonderful our Lord is and how He can be with us always and everywhere if we invite Him. We are able to weather each storm in our life through love – our love and trust in Him. 1 John 4:18 says, “There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves torment.” If we love the Lord, we trust Him, and if we trust Him we have no fear, even in the midst of the strongest storm. The storms of life can be used to draw us closer to Him, growing our love and diminishing our fear.

Before we can see the Lord’s saving grace, we must first weather the storm safely in His arms. The Lord safely locked Noah and his family in the ark and did not allow anything to harm them. They were safe in the palm of His hand in the midst of the storm swirling all around them. After the storm, God place a rainbow in the sky to signify the storm had passed. Rainbows bring peace after a storm, a calming in our heart. Most Christians know the rainbow is a reminder of the covenant between God and every living creature, telling us He will never destroy the earth again by flood. What most do not know is that a rainbow is also how the Glory of the Lord is described in Ezekiel 1:28 and Revelation 4:3. When we see a rainbow, we are seeing an image of God’s glory on earth and in our life. Isn’t that amazing, that the Lord allows us to see His glory in our life, both in the Spiritual and in the Natural!

What storms have there been in your life? Have you put your strength and trust in the Lord to carry you through? Or have you continued through the storm on your own? The poem “Footprints in the Sand” is one of my favorite poems. It describes how the Lord carries us through the hard times. Even when we “think” we are all alone, He is there with us in the midst of the storm…carrying us through to safety. We must learn to surrender to Him daily and allow Him to carry us through all of our storms.

Remember that each storm will pass, and with each passing storm comes the opportunity to see the Glory of the Lord in the gift of the rainbow. Though storms are never fun or easy to go through, they are needed to stretch us and teach us about our reliance upon Him. Without the storms of life, we would have no need for rainbows!


Footprints in the Sand – Poem

One night I dreamed I was walking along the beach with the Lord.
Many scenes from my life flashed across the sky.
In each scene I noticed footprints in the sand.
Sometimes there were two sets of footprints,
other times there were one set of footprints.

This bothered me because I noticed
that during the low periods of my life,
when I was suffering from
anguish, sorrow or defeat,
I could see only one set of footprints.

So I said to the Lord,
“You promised me Lord,
that if I followed you,
you would walk with me always.
But I have noticed that during the most trying periods of my life
there have only been one set of footprints in the sand.
Why, when I needed you most, you have not been there for me?”

The Lord replied,
“The times when you have seen only one set of footprints in the sand,
is when I carried you.”

Mary Stevenson

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