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When you don’t know what to pray (a Timeless Truths blog post)

prayerHave you ever been at a loss for words? Perhaps something happened that left you utterly speechless … something so shocking, so bizarre, so devastating … or, even, so amazing. Whatever the case may be, when you are at a loss for words, what do you do? Well, if you’re like most people, you still feel a need to express yourself … somehow. You still feel like you need to somehow convey your feelings in some type of manner … even if it’s to just “get it off your chest” … somehow. Spiritually speaking, when something happens that you know you need to pray about … but can’t find the words to pray … there is an alternative. There is a way you can express exactly how you’re feeling, exactly what’s in your heart, and exactly the right words to say … even when you don’t know what to pray. Romans 8:22-28 The Message (MSG) tells us, “All around us we observe a pregnant creation. The difficult times of pain throughout the world are simply birth pangs. But it’s not only around us; it’s within us. The Spirit of God is arousing us within. We’re also feeling the birth pangs. These sterile and barren bodies of ours are yearning for full deliverance. That is why waiting does not diminish us, any more than waiting diminishes a pregnant mother. We are enlarged in the waiting. We, of course, don’t see what is enlarging us. But the longer we wait, the larger we become, and the more joyful our expectancy. Meanwhile, the moment we get tired in the waiting, God’s Spirit is right alongside helping us along. If we don’t know how or what to pray, it doesn’t matter. He does our praying in and for us, making prayer out of our wordless sighs, our aching groans. He knows us far better than we know ourselves, knows our pregnant condition, and keeps us present before God. That’s why we can be so sure that every detail in our lives of love for God is worked into something good.” So, the timeless truth we can take away from these verses is that all we need to do is make an attempt to pray … and the Holy Spirit will make it into an effective prayer to God since the Holy Spirit knows exactly what we are trying to say … even when we don’t know what to pray.

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Multiplication (a Timeless Truths blog post)

red lightsWhat does the word multiplication make you think of? Perhaps you’re reminded of the days you went to school and your teacher had you practice your times tables … multiple times. Or, maybe the word makes you think of something different. Maybe you’re the mother of twins … and when you found out you were expecting not one, but two babies you knew your life was about to change forever … times two. In any case, the word multiplication usually refers to more than just one. Spiritually speaking, when one person accepts Jesus into their heart to be their Lord and Savior the positive changes that occur don’t usually affect just that one person … it usually has an impact on everyone that person comes in contact with … or at least it should. Matthew 5:16 (ICB) says, “ … you should be a light for other people. Live so that they will see the good things you do. Live so that they will praise your Father in heaven.” So, the timeless truth in this verse lets us know that our lives are meant to be lived intentionally and with a purpose. We need to live our lives in such a way that others around us are impacted in a positive way … and the result will be that they will actually praise God. For example, let’s say that someone you know who is not a Christian is going through a rough time. Perhaps they have just undergone a serious surgery and are in the hospital. Then let’s say the Holy Spirit puts it in your heart to go visit them and you chose to obey. At the hospital you walk up to the nurses station and ask what room the person is in. The nurse looks at you incredulously while giving you the information and you go on your way, not realizing why they had looked at you so strangely. Once in the person’s room you greet them and ask how they are doing. With tears in their eyes, they admit how low they had been feeling since no one has bothered to stop by to visit them … no one until you (even though their own family lives only a short distance down the road). They also admit that they were just hoping someone … anyone … would come by to see them that particular day so they would know God had heard their silent prayer … and then you showed up … and they were infinitely grateful and thankful to God and praised God in their heart … for you. Without realizing it, you became part of the multiplication process. Without realizing it, you were being a light for another person. Without realizing it they were seeing the good thing you were doing … and without realizing it, God was praised … and not one, not two, but three people’s lives were impacted … the person in the hospital, the nurse who you had spoken to whose faith unwittingly was restored in the goodness of mankind when you – the first visitor – showed up … and your life was impacted as well – because you were blessed when you saw others being blessed. So, today, will you allow yourself to be part of God’s equation? Will you allow His light to shine through you so it is multiplied? Say yes and be assured that God will be praised!

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Sample prayer for salvation

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Dear God,

I am a sinner in need of salvation. I believe Jesus died on the cross in my place. I believe He alone gave His life as the perfect sacrifice for my sin. I believe Jesus not only died for my sins, but was also raised again and is now living in heaven. I believe only Jesus can make me righteous before You. There’s nothing I could ever do to earn Your free gift. I repent of all my sins and ask You to make me new as I accept Your gift of salvation now. I ask Jesus to be both the Lord and Savior of my life. Come into my heart, fill me with Your Spirit, and help me to live for You. Thank You for saving my soul. In Jesus’ name, amen.

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Behind-the-Scenes (Part 5)

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The Making of Whispers to the Soul

After I finished writing Vision I knew in my soul I needed a break … an extended break from writing. I was weary and worn out and after so many things happening in my life in such a short period of time I knew I needed time to recover before I could rally my strength once again to write another book.

At the same time, I was just finishing up a painting project I had decided to undertake of painting the walls of two bathrooms and a bedroom in my home. With that nearly completed came the desire to get a new clock for one of the bathrooms new décor. I looked around town but couldn’t find the style I had envisioned. Not wanting to travel an hour away or order something online I decided to check the local thrift shop hoping maybe they had something I could use.

Tired, I approached the front door of the thrift shop only to see a Help Wanted sign staring me right in the face. I couldn’t miss it. Going inside to look for the clock my mind began to whirl, thinking about the potential job opportunity even as I simultaneously argued with myself against such a foolish notion seeing how exhausted I truly was. In any case, I didn’t find a clock and I didn’t mention anything about the sign to anyone while I was in there either – I just simply went home empty-handed.

Then, for some unknown reason to me at the time, the idea of a potential job wouldn’t leave me alone. My mind was thinking of all kinds of possibilities about how it could be a good thing and something I could do while I was on my break from writing. Seeing as it was only part-time I also thought maybe I could still write and work too after my writing break was over (whenever that might be.) I prayed about it and tried to surrender my will to God’s will – whatever that might be – remembering that His will didn’t always make logical sense.

Needless to say, the idea wouldn’t go away and I felt like I should apply for the job as soon as possible since I didn’t know how long the sign had been in the window. So, I updated my resume and took it with me the next morning to apply for the job. Once there, I found out a little bit about the job itself, filled out an application and gave it back to the lady – then the waiting began to see what their decision would be.

In the meantime, I continued to finish my painting project and continued to go back and forth in my mind whether or not I actually wanted to do the job – all because of something the lady had told me while I was there about how much weight I’d have to be able to lift.

I knew I couldn’t lift that much in my own strength – but even so I didn’t want to admit it. I prayed about the whole thing again and still didn’t have any peace about what I should or shouldn’t do. Somewhere along the line I had the thought that maybe someone could help me lift the amount of weight I needed to lift (like help me carry a box or something), and I went back and forth between hoping to get a call telling me I got the job to dreading having to answer the phone and having to decide what to do. It seemed like forever went by and still I had not received a call one way or another.

While all that was going on I started thinking about other possible job opportunities if that one didn’t work out and began exploring my options. Eventually, I got tired of waiting and actually went back to the thrift shop to ask if they had hired anyone yet. So far they hadn’t I was told by the same employee I’d spoken with previously.

Then, I courageously decided to ask about how often I’d have to lift the amount of weight she’d mentioned and if it would be possible for someone to help me or not. She basically told me it would be pretty much an ongoing thing and no, I couldn’t have someone help me as there was not enough manpower around.

With that in mind, I had to accept the fact that even if they did want to hire me I couldn’t take the job as I knew I wouldn’t be able to do it. So, instead, I applied for one of the other jobs I’d come across (all the while praying for God’s direction). I even decided to drive out of my way past the location of another possible job opportunity to see if I might like to work there, but I had a bad feeling about that one so I didn’t pursue it any further.

I continued to wait to hear something from someone about whether or not I would at least be able to get an interview, but time went by and I didn’t hear a word from anyone. Still not sure what to do I continued to try to pray about it to find out what God wanted me to do.

Then, through the process of seeking God’s will, I came to learn some insights I hadn’t realized before. One of which was how I could choose to take things a certain way if I really wanted to; how I could focus on all the big, obvious signs that appeared to be confirming my decision to pursue whatever goal or dream I wanted to pursue and how I could ignore all the little, subtle “voices” that appeared to merely be doubts – or at the very least negative comments/negative thoughts – thinking once again that they were just distractions from me attaining the desired favorable outcome I imagined to be best (through exercising the faith I “fed” because I wanted to feed it).

I realized I could choose to do all those types of things and I could be wrong (in the decisions I made) – even when I thought I was trying to obey God’s will for my life – and the only way to tell the difference was to humble myself and get to the end of myself and sincerely pray and seek out God’s answers and God’s real and genuine truth – remembering that His answers often came as a whisper to my heart; to my soul.

As I remembered that God often spoke to me in a whisper (not in the earthquake or the fire like it talks about in 1 Kings 19:11,12), I remembered that I needed to be quiet and still to actually hear what He was trying to say to me – or what He may have been trying to remind me of – or what He may have been trying to confirm to my weary battered heart (soul) to soothe all the stress I had been under from so many things over-stimulating my mind, body, soul, and spirit. I realized I really did just need time to get back to basics and rest – so I could hear Him.

And, after all that, God’s Spirit would testify with my own spirit what His truth really was; what His will really was for me, personally (and then I could see all the whispers that He had whispered to me when I was unaware – not really paying attention.)

So, as it came to be, I realized I really wasn’t supposed to get a job anywhere after all – I was actually supposed to rest instead … and then eventually use the experience as I believe God intended – as a catalyst to be the inspiration for the book I have now written entitled Whispers to the soul.

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