February 28, 2013

Even The Silent Prayers


Father in Heaven, hear my prayer, keep me in your loving care; Be my guide in all I do, bless all those who love me too. Amen.

I used to pray that prayer every night before I went to bed when I was little. It was the first experience I'd had with prayer. I didn't necessarily truly understand it but it got me started. As I've grown, my prayers have grown more complex and I know the Lord hears them. My prayer life is something I've struggled with throughout my life. If any of you can relate, it's almost like I forgot to pray sometimes. I've gotten much better over the years, but it's a learning process. Then you have to worry about whether you're heard or not. Prayer. It's a powerful thing. This scene from Bruce Almighty isn't only hysterical, it has a huge ring of truth to it. Watching this I can only be incredibly grateful that humans are not in charge of answering prayer requests. We all want our prayers to get answered, but not just so God doesn't have to deal with them.

Have you ever thought about how many people pray to God for answers? If you think about it, that's a lot of prayers. Just think about yourself for a second. How many prayers do you send up to God a day? How does God deal with that and how does He sort through them all? The good thing is that it doesn't matter. We aren't supposed to understand everything. The cool thing is, is that God answers a person's prayer with his/her specific purpose in mind. God knows where to lead me, He knows where He is going to lead you. It is unfathomable how God individualizes each and every response to the innumerable prayers He receives each day. His replies to your prayers mold your character into the person He wants you to become. How cool is that? And that is individualized for each person. God must love us unconditionally to take the time to sort through those prayers and give the best answer, even if we don't agree. We won't agree the whole time, but we also don't know where God wants us to be in five years. And, I said He takes the time, but it doesn't take time for Him. God does not see time as we do here on earth. He answers each prayer with love, kindness, and a wisdom beyond all understanding because He loves us all equally. That's a whole lot to be thankful for. He takes everything into account.

All of that provides a security in prayer that we only need to go to Him and voice our thoughts/concerns/praises and He will hear them and He will answer them whether it be with a yes, no, or not right now, I have something better in mind for you. We just need to trust.

" '...For I know the plans I have for you,' declares the Lord, 'plans to prosper you and to not harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart...'"
-Jeremiah 29:11-13
"...for the Lord searches every heart and understands every motive behind the thoughts..."
-1 Chronicles 28:9

February 24, 2013

My Favorite Verse

"There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under heaven:
a time to be born and a time to die,
a time to plant and a time to uproot,
a time to kill and a time to heal,
a time to tear down and a time to build,
a time to weep and a time to laugh,
a time to mourn and a time to dance,
a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them,
a time to embrace and a time to refrain,
a time to search and a time to give up,
a time to keep and a time to throw away,
a time to tear and a time to mend,
a time to be silent and a time to speak,
a time to love and a time to hate,
a time for war and a time for peace...
He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the hearts of men; yet they cannot fathom what God has done from beginning to end. I know that there is nothing better fro men than to be happy and do good while they live. That everyone may eat and drink, and find satisfaction in all his toil - this is the gift of God. I know that everything God does will endure forever; nothing can be added to it and nothing taken from it. God does it so that men will revere him."
-Ecclesiastes 3:1-14
I do believe I have finally found my favorite verse of the Bible. Today in church this verse was talked about and I smiled because I knew part of this verse was the caption for my profile picture on facebook. This verse just addresses so much. There is a time for everything, and God knows when He wants every single thing to happen. There is always a time for something to happen. Patience is something I sometimes struggle with. I get impatient and get caught up in the time limits of this world. I forget that God is timeless and does everything in His time.
Another aspect of this verse that I love is that God has "set eternity in the hearts of men" even though not everyone on this earth believes in Him. We all have something inside of us that wants to believe in something more, something powerful. The truth in that lies in the fact that we have minimal to no control over our lives and we need the comfort of someone watching out for us. Everything that happens down here in our lives will "endure forever". He knows what He is doing. Just food for thought. Thanks for reading. 

February 12, 2013

The Cobblestone Path

I always love coming across cobblestone streets for some reason. I don't come to them very often, but when I do, I tend to think of it as somewhat historic. Sometimes I think of it as a puzzle. The stones are all arranged in a particular way, yet each stone is different. They just fit together like a puzzle piece. Then I think about the work that would have gone into it. Sometimes there are different textures, different colors, different shapes, but they all form one road.

Think of the wear and tear that the cobblestone road has seen over the years. Think of the millions of soles that have pounded the ground. Think of the millions of bicycle and car tires that have traversed that pathway. Yet the cobblestone road doesn't fall apart. You can see in between the individual stones. You can see the foundation through those cracks; you see its character.

My favorite part of these roads is the character behind them. I know that may sound weird. But think about a newly paved road. Sure, it's perfect on the outside, but through the years of exposure it cracks, it fades, and it develops imperfections that have to eventually get re-paved. I get tired of that perfection sometimes. I feel it's what this world always strives to be when we all know it's not. The cobblestone road has its flaws, but it still holds together. The foundation is strong enough to show through and each of the stones has its purpose.

I think our character as Christians should be like that. It's okay to have cracks in our exterior.  We all should have those cracks. But our foundation in Christ should shine through those cracks. It should be the glue that holds everything together. It's alright to have those ruts along the way, but our character, coming from our changed heart in Christ, should not alter in the world's constant, negative influences (not all are negative, I'm just talking about the negative ones here - we all know they exist!). It's okay to not to have the glamorous exterior of a newly paved road. That's what this world expects to see. We, as Christians, know better. We are not above the world, we are in the world. And that's okay, but we need to live in it with Christ as our foundation, shining through our outward cracks. I need to keep this in mind as much as anybody. I forget it from time to time. As I walk through life, Christ is the glue that holds me together. What kind of character do you want people to see in you?

"So then, just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live your lives in him, rooted and built up in him, strengthened in the faith as you were taught, and overflowing with thankfulness. See to it that no one takes you captive through hollow and deceptive philosophy, which depends on human tradition and the elemental spiritual forces of this world rather than on Christ."
-Colossians 2:6-8

February 3, 2013

It's Time To Think About The Past

Everybody is always talking about the present, the future. You hear a lot of 'it is time to think about your future'. Sometimes, though, I think it's good to look at your past. Looking at the past and living in the past is a different thing. But it's not a bad thing to think about where you've been, what you grew out of, which people are still your friends, which people left a lasting impact on your life, what you learned from somebody in your past, how much you've grown into your own personality...

I could go on, but my point here is this. Where has God led you? What has God brought you out of? Who did God bring into your life? Where did God open your eyes so you could learn something? Where did God carry you instead of letting you go? I've been so many places mentally in my life, some good, some bad. It's hard to get out of that mental trap of thinking you can do things all by yourself. Goodness knows, I've struggled with that. I still do. But, it's time to think about your past. Look at where you are now compared to how you graduated high school. You may be the same person, you may not. I'm going to say a little bit (okay, let's be real, quite a bit) about where I find myself today, but I encourage you to look at your life and where you've come. What has God gotten you through? Where were you four years ago?

I like to say I haven't changed much, but it's a lie. I really have. In high school, especially my junior and senior year, I harbored bitterness towards my dad and that was so hard to get rid of. I threw myself into the things I loved thinking I could get past it all by myself. Having the gift of being able to look back four years ago today, I realize that I had put God on the backburner. Yet, He was still there, waiting for me to come back faithfully. I also realized that God was gently, yet firmly sustaining my heart so I could stay on a good path. He put people in my life that helped me grow in my morals, my faith, and my self control. I realized when I went to college, I was just completely worn. I was ready for something different. God showed me that in a weird way. I stopped swimming, just like that. I didn't know anybody coming to TCU. I made great friends, just like that. I trusted in my ability to succeed in classes and He humbled me, real quick. I was struggling with seeing my self worth, and He put people in my life to tell me otherwise, just like that. I had a pattern of keeping everything inside me until it blew up, and He inspired me to start a blog to whoever would read it and want to listen. And I've noticed just recently that He has gradually been erasing my bitterness towards people, including my dad, piece by piece. It doesn't feel as evident anymore. He has given me a gift of a heart willing and wanting to serve people which has served me well in my major and friendships. He has also been with me through my persistent, clinging apathy towards my Diabetes over the last few years. There is a reason He gave this to me to deal with. I've grown in Him, come back to the freedom He has given me in my life. I can't help but think he has given me the opportunity to reach out to people through my future profession, through my time growing up.

My past has made me into the person I am today. These last few years, the walls I built around my heart have been falling down. I guarded myself from so many things - from hurt, from letting people in, from the sting of failure, from my own faults - it has finally stopped. Obviously, these things still creep up on me sometimes, but looking back at my past, I know God never left me there. He never left me more mortar and bricks for my wall and said, "Good luck, Morgan, I hope you find a way out." No, it was more like he kept walking behind me, taking off the top layer of my wall every time I added one. God works in mysterious ways. It's just funny, seeing where I was a few years ago compared to now. I feel different, but not in a superficial way. My heart has been slightly changing, and I know who is behind it. Thanks for reading.

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