Friday, November 5, 2010

Family and Friendship Feuds

              Embrace the new day! Today, things can change!
With all the stress we carry on a daily basis it's no wonder we can lose our focus (take our eyes off of Jesus, His love and His plans) and fall into that trap of discontentment, disharmony, discord and division within our own life, within relationships and within our own soul. Often it is the very stress that we are enduring or perhaps our inability to cope with that stress that is causal to our DIS's in life.

Di-vision, dis-harmony, dis-cord, dis-couragement, dis-may and others alike. There are times when dark ploys attack the most loving family, the most connected friendships, the most organized lives and the greatest of marriages and relationships.

Whats happened?

We have lost focus and evil has come to have its way because our eyes came off the Prize, off of our Peace, off of our Joy, Hope and Life Giver. We are responsible for opening the door to the great demise of our peace when we allow others to "get under our skin", "provoke us to anger", offend us or steal our peace and joy. It takes work on our part to change our level of sensitivity and it is work to confront issues that arise within relationships that are harmful, hurtful or toxic emotionally, mentally, verbally or spiritually.

I believe communication is the key to stability, freedom and resolution. Even when the resolution is not what we want or hope for. Resolution doesnt always mean something is resolved with the ending we want but perhaps a resolve comes when it is simply discussed and released. Without communication a relationship with anyone is likend to a plant that is deprived of water and light. Thus, when we retain and suppress our hurts internalizing our emotions they are later projected onto an innocent loved one without being conscious of doing so. Suppressed emotional pain is similar to a cancer. If the cancerous cells are not removed eventually it spreads and will eat at the individual retaining them while affecting those around them. Like any toxin it must be cured, treated or removed in order to regain a healthy condition.

We must trust God in all things. Before, during and after. We do what we can and once that is done we must trust Him with the end result. But we must not take a passive attitude and trust that any resolve will come without doing something to bring resolution. God expects us to DO. 

Believe it or not it is the harboring of an offense or unresolved hurt that can rob us of our peace. The devil would love for us to walk around carrying the weight of our wounds believing they will just go away on their own. But, where the spirit of the Lord is; there is Liberty. Free yourself of the hurt, the offense, the pain! No one enjoys confrontation but do you know that there is a freedom in confronting certain issues. It doesnt mean you have a throwdown with that friend, spouse, or family member but that you choose to find resolution through love. Did you know that most people who communicate are healthier?

Note-I believe God entrusts us with the wisdom we have attained through His word and our relationship with Jesus Christ to "do something" when a situation arises. Many have taken the easy road and claim God will do this or that while I believe God is waiting for us to take the step to restoration. Jesus told Peter to step out of the boat, God commanded Abraham to do, Moses to do, Elijah to come out of the cave and face Jezebel, etc..God didnt just do all the work for those mighty valors in the Bible so what makes us think that we can just sit back and say God will this or that while we do nothing.

Yes, He fights our battles but He fights them through us!   He wants us to be doers. Hence, we must take the action necessary "in and through love" to restore what we can, build up what we can, reclaim, overcome, refresh etc. Once we have done all we can we just stand and trust the Lord with our hearts, with others and with our life. We must not take the passive road . The road to restoration takes work, love, perserverance and sometimes some tears and conflict. Yes, there is healthy conflict when it involves working through a situation do get to a healthier relationship. But, there is also an end to what we can do where we just know we have poured out in love, made the healthy attempts to get past unresolved hurts and toxic relationships and we must trust God for the end result.

Yes, believe it or not somethings must end in order to maintain a healthy mindset; not everything will always be resolved. Sometimes the resolve is the end of something if everything else has been attempted. This is when we must accept the things we cannot change. We can not change others or certain situations but we can change ourselves and we do have the Power within us to take those steps if we will lean on the strength of God within us to do so. We can! Yes, I know, it is much easier saying it than doing it. This is where we pray asking for courage and leaning our faith (stepping out of the boat).  There is a time to let go and let God; use the wisdom He has given through His word and Life to know when this should happen.

The sad thing is that most troubled relational issues occur in the midst of the trouble. Whether it is with one person or the other. Hurting people hurt others.  If we can regain focus with a clear and sound mind we can actually make a difference and work toward positive change within ourselves first and then perhaps the actual problem or relational issue that is distressed. Again, not everything can be resolved as we would like and sometimes it truly takes stepping away or stepping back for resolve.

I pray that as we walk through this journey of life we realize that if hurts are not healed they become toxins within us and cause destruction to the very relationships that are so important to us and valuable to God who is the Creator of relationships. Remember unity is from Christ and division; well you know the answer to that one. Most of the time the mission of the devil is to "divide and conquer". Don't let that happen (if you can help it) to those valuable and cherished relationships. Seek to unify them, restore them or at least bring them to a place of peace and functioning.

The good thing about being given a new day from God is that we all have the opportunity to seize the moment, change things or accept the things we cannot change, make things better, work toward healing through forgiveness, mercy and love; and truly embrace the present day as another gift from God to spend in this earth as if tomorrow was not to come.

Today, I pray that anything broken within a family, friendship, marriage, relational or life issue is restored if it is the will of God and if it is healthy to your life. . And, if you are saying, "That's impossible" well then look to Christ because with man things are impossible when we do things in our way.  But, With God (Matthew 19:26), "All things are possible"!  We must all take steps for this process to progress. Change and forgiveness is not easy but it is achievable if we simply glance at the love of Jesus, His forgiveness upon us and the love we once shared with those who have hurt us or whom we have hurt. Forgiveness sets us free from the pain and opens up the door to healing. Forgiveness frees the soul from the anguish it holds.

Parents, do not provoke your children to anger; and children honor your parents!

In the midst of so many emotions, differences and things that may have caused hurt to evolve into anger we must stop and look back to why we are hurt because this is the beginning of restoration. Look back to when the friendship or relationship (with a mother, a friend, a husband, a child etc.) was good and grab a hold of that for a new beginning! Its okay to agree to disagree. Its okay to have differences as long as we all understand that we can be unified even through diversity. We have to seek understanding and realize it is through change that we grow and develop while changing our thinking patterns and acquiring positive behavioral adaptations.

God bless us all with strength, courage, peace and love.

Standing with you on this journey,

The Serenity Prayer
God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change; courage to change the things I can;and wisdom to know the difference. Living one day at a time; Enjoying one moment at a time; Accepting hardships as the pathway to peace; Taking, as He did, this sinful world as it is, not as I would have it; Trusting that He will make all things right if I surrender to His Will;That I may be reasonably happy in this life and supremely happy with Him Forever in the next.Amen. --Reinhold Niebuhr

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Bullying, Cyber-Bullying and Public Humiliation: The Pain of Sticks, Stones, Words and Pictures

I’m with Ellen; I just can't keep silent!

Bullying, Cyber-Bullying and Public Humiliation...all the same!

They all hurt inside and out leaving a person suffering in silence, feeling humiliated, and scarred with emotional wounds. It is high time to stop the madness and start the kindness! Sadly, people (kids and adults) who hurting hurt other people. Its time to start the healing!

Ellen DeGeneres recently spoke about the crisis of kids/people committing suicide after being publicly humiliated, bullied, or cyber-bullied by peers. This has been a long time topic amongst my own family and friends. Frankly, I just can’t keep silent either!

We're talking about our kids here!

The recent news of quite a few kids committing suicide over being bullied/cyber-bullied, publicly humiliated via Internet has had me weeping. It is very sad. I wept over every single “child” who chose suicide to cope with the bullying/cyber bullying or public humiliation via the Internet that they were enduring as the way to ease their pain. And, I am just as concerned for the kids who are living with it in silence and hurting terribly from what they endure.
Just think about the pain a person is in to consider dying over something. But, there are also lots of kids suffering in silence every day. Kids whose grades start dropping, kids who have behavioral changes because they are hurting from what they are holding inside, kids who just take the abuse of others quietly hoping it will end soon.

Something has to change!

Parents, if you're too busy to see it,

hear it or do something about it;

You’re too busy!

Kids are precious gifts from God and time passes too quickly not to notice and care or monitor what our kids are doing or saying on the Internet, in school and at home. It is not the jobs of the teachers in the schools to raise our kids but to teach them academically while we teach them about values, morality, and right behaviors at home. We have to take on our responsibility. Some of today's children are suffering and attacking others to lash out because of the pain they are in due to life's issues that they simply can't handle or cope with in general. They really should come first in our lives. They really need to know we care, we are there and that they are loved. Perhaps, finding out the source of their anger is the first step that might stop the bullying. I know that might be hard because sometimes it requires us as parents to look at ourselves too.

It is everywhere. The Internet has become a negative tool to some people to hurt others thinking they are in their own little world and not even realizing that once you type something and click send you have just told the entire world what you are thinking and feeling. And if it hurts another person or attacks another person or shows a picture of another person (that didn’t approve for it to be shown) you are harassing, attacking and bullying that person.
It becomes the responsibility of anyone in the public who sees it to respond to it and try to help stop it. Whether it is school officials, web site authorities, parents or the police; IT HAS TO STOP!

Cyber-bullying and bullying in general has taken over and parents, school officials and society in general have got to do something now.

All of these things are unacceptable!

Bullying/cyber bullying/public humiliation takes on various methods of attack. Whether it is sending a picture of someone from a cell phone which violates their privacy, writing something bad about a person on any web site, making threats (even if you are not going to follow through or if it is just for your laughs at the expense of the other person), saying mean and hurtful things and even a slight push in a school hall way.

Cyber-bullying is when someone chooses to use the computer via the Internet to threaten, talk bad about someone, publicly humiliate a person or curse at the other person. Anything that makes another person feel threatened or hurt because of something that is done or said is bullying.

Kids and young adults; tell someone!
Don’t deal with it alone!
We care! We love you!

If you are being bullied or cyber-bullied

(harassed, threatened, teased, embarrassed,

pushed around, made fun of, cursed at or

talked about in a negative way) by another

person physically or on the Internet;

Please tell someone.

There are laws that protect you from this and consequences for the person who is doing the bullying. Mostly, people who bully other people do not feel that great about themselves so they try to put the focus on someone else by the methods I listed above.

But, you shouldn’t suffer at their expense or their need to use you for a laugh, a good joke or a punching bag. There is always at least one person out there that you know; whether it is a friend, a parent, a relative (aunt, uncle or cousin) or pastor who will stand by you, listen and/or help resolve the problem. If you are being bullied please tell someone because you don’t deserve it and they shouldn’t be doing it.

It’s not funny and it’s not a joke!
To the kids who think it’s funny to hurt someone else with video, text messages, pictures, or words you need to stop and think about what you are doing. Bullying, harassing or embarrassing others has consequences. You too, are loved so stop hurting other people because you may be hurting or because you think its harmless fun at the expense of the person you are hurting. No one deserves to be hurt in any way.

The old saying,
“Sticks and stones may break my bones but words will never hurt me” is an untrue statement.
Words do hurt!

Put down the sticks, don’t throw the stones;

And refrain from using hurtful words!

Sticks and stones hurt and so do the words that are used to attack others. Words are powerful. Words can lift a person up or bring a person down. Yes, you can try not to allow hurtful things to wound your soul and crush your spirit but for the most part they manage to get in and accomplish the pain intended from the person who sent the wounding word. Spend more energy and time on being kind, saying nice things, and just being a kid with positive things to do and say. Your reward will be greater and better for being a kind person. It is better to be noticed for doing something nice than to be noticed for doing something hurtful.

Parents, I used to take this a little lighter and felt that kids should work it out. But, I was wrong in my thinking or old school mentality. Years ago, when I was a kid that’s how we were raised to handle it; but times have changed and as time changes so should the way we handle things according to the events that come with the changes of life and time. We now have the advancement of technology unlike when I was a child. We have cell phones that record video, take pictures and send text messages along with the Internet that reaches out to the world and around the world with the click of a button.

Bullying and cyber–bullying which is more common today has to be stopped! Its time to step in and step up! The time of allowing kids to handle it “on their own” is over because it has gotten out of control and kids are suffering because of it. Yes, they have to learn positive coping mechanisms along the way but they also need to know we are here to protect them and they should not have to endure constant and consistent verbal attacks or physical harm at the expense of another child’s thrill. It’s simply not like it used to be. Watch the news where you will find parents watching kids fight each other, kids committing suicide over peer related stress, violated privacy, bullying, cyber-bullying and other things.

Believe it or not; kids carry alot of stress!

Times have changed and with changing times must come changed ways of handling the events that are present. Kids are suffering (mostly in silence) and worse yet; dying because they simply can’t handle the unnecessary pressure and stress they feel from this kind of abuse from their peers.

Kids, your life is too important to end over someone bullying you. You have your whole life to live and too many people love you, care about you and want you around for as long as possible. One day, you will grow up and remember your school days and how great of a job you did getting through them. You are only walking through a small part of the big life you have ahead of you.

Don’t stop walking and don’t give up because you’re too important in this world.

If you are being bullied/cyber-bullied/abused or publicly humiliated please talk to someone; don’t hold it in. Someone will walk you through it or help talk to you about how your feeling.

You don’t deserve to be bullied by anyone.

You are a special person!

Remember, suicide is a permanent solution to a temporary problem.

Together with a family member, friend, or pastor you can work to find a solution that helps your temporary problem and one that will keep you here growing, learning and living!

Finally, if you’re reading this and you have bullied, cyber-bullied, threatened, harassed or publicly humiliated someone in the past; please stop here and now.

Change your thinking and it will change your actions!

Blessings of love, peace and understanding,


Friday, October 1, 2010

Striving for Excellence or Perfection?

Do you strive for excellence or perfection?

There is a difference.

Awakened early this morning with thoughts running through my mind; I heard myself ask aloud; "why do some strive for perfection instead of striving for excellence"?

Throughout my life I have watched people who spend endless amounts of energy and exhausting amounts of precious time in life striving for perfection. Yes, that too, was once me. This debilitating mentality leaves an individual seeking to perfect everything they do and everything they are; that they think will lead to some esteemed place that doesn't exist.

I think that a perfection mentality is a personality flaw. It is haughty and unrealistic. You will find that most people who live with this perfection mentality are very controlling, manipulative and condescending because nothing or anyone can measure up to their perfect little world that they "perceive" is perfect; yet this perfectionism perspective is far from reality.  I was raised in a perfectionist type home and it took me years to realize this was destroying my peace, bringing me down and ruining relationships. It has also taken me years to cognitively and behaviorally readjust and to let go of this mentality that will leave a person distressed event after failed event.

Of course, if you are operating with a perfection mentality it will be extremely difficult to even acknowledge or see anything less than perfect. So, listen to those closest to you who express their disharmony, disaffection or subtle digressions from you; because being around you makes them feel less than perfect and is a constant reminder that they cant live up to that or be anywhere near your perfect world that makes them feel like a failure. See the sign below...There simply is no perfect place and there is no perfect human being.

Why? Because perfection is a perception and not a reality.

Let's look at perfection.

To be perfect means that something or you is perfect and without flaw. This truly is our own perception; well the perfection perception. Surely someone would come along and find that what an individual deemed as perfected would not meet up to another person's  view or standard of perfection therefore ruling out the truth that something is perfect.

I know, I know. Quite philosophical and complex; some might even say that denying perfection is a defeated mentality but look again closely and think about it!!

I mean it really is quite simple.

Striving for perfection is possible. I mean the striving part. But, you will keep striving and striving and striving because the unrealistic part to that statement is that reaching perfection is humanly impossible!

It is a set up for failure. It will keep you from actually achieving excellence.

Excellence vs Perfection

In a post I recently submitted on my personal facebook page this is what I wrote:

I am perplexed at what prompted this analysis. Perhaps this journey of life and watching people (including myself, family and certain friends) struggle as they strive for perfection had me searching. My father was a perfectionist and yes I believe we inherited (lol) this perfection trait or what I now call a flaw.    I have personally came to the realization that this perfection trait had to go because it was stealing my joy and making me feel worthless.

When I let go I felt liberated and free to excel in striving for excellence instead of perfection. 

I believe striving for perfection steals our joy, our human-ness and drive for excellence. When you strive for perfection you walk passed excellence seeking that perfect you, that perfect someone or that perfect something. I like not being perfect and love striving to do my best (excellence). Those who strive for perfection actually live discontent lives unable to attain the perfection they seek from themselves and others. Most perfectionists will be lonely driving away everyone around them who they believe cant live up to their perfect world.

It seems that perfection and striving for it; leaves an individual with a fear of not fulfilling something perfectly. Fear attracts anger, frustration and chaos. We will choose not to entertain certain things in life because we will fear not doing it perfectly or falling short of it being perfect. Therefore, striving for perfection becomes a debilitating factor leaving a person feeling inadequate, insufficient, and lacking.
When we strive for excellence we can give it our all and our best knowing it is achievable because our best is our best and it will not be perfect. Someone can always do better and someone will always be worse; there simply is no perfect. Have you ever heard or seen something or someone say "There, that is perfect" only to watch or see someone else come along and do it better or find a flaw with what you called perfect?

Of course you have! Unless your in denial.

We set realistic goals and they can reached when we strive for excellence and not perfection. Perfection demands control and holds strong judgemental attitudes while excellence promotes humility, positive drive, joy, faith and accomplishment.

Those who strive for excellence will see others following them gladly. Sadly, perfectionists will drive others away and encounter loneliness, sadness and confusion as to why they are alone and why they cant seem to ever quite get it right. Simply put some of us just cant seem to keep up or live up to the perfect world that others seem to live in; idealistically!


Perhaps because this perfect world simply doesn't exist.

From my Christian perspective; and humble opinion; which I understand not everyone will agree with, I personally found that when I accepted a life in Christ and realized I am loved unconditionally in my human-ness with all of my flaws yet accepted in HIM and that HE died for me, forgave me and set me free; I was set free from being perfect and set on a road to strive for excellence until the day of perfection when I am in His perfect presence.  

As He dwells in my heart in His perfect-ness through my fallen-ness, weak-ness and human-ness I am able to achieve excellence as I progress through life striving to do the best that I can and achieving the achievable; Excellence.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

There is a cost...

Pic taken at Forsyth Park, Savannah GA.

Beautiful day outside on this Thursday, April 15.

The sun is shining, the birds are chirping, the sky is blue...and oh yes the cars, sidewalk and mostly everything else are full of pollen. As I looked around today with my itchy eyes and sniffling tingly nose I thought...there is a cost for everything. Trees release their pollen and then bloom beautifully. But, in the meantime...

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Shout it from the Roof Top!

We are...

Wonderfully created; Uniquely designed; Purposely planted;

Lovingly accepted; Mercifully forgiven; Graciously strengthend;

Prayer: The Art of Communicating to God

What is prayer?

Are there hindrances that keep my prayers from working?

Will God answer my prayers and if so; when?

Prayer that works and is effective requires Faith, Hope, Belief, Trust and Patience which are just a few of the vital virtues needed when communicating our thoughts, needs and thankfulness to God through Jesus Christ. Prayers that are are likely to receive answers are those in accordance with God's plans, purposes and timing which fulfill His will in the temporal and eternal with your life.

Relationship with, righteousness through, and repentance to Jesus Christ are important factors for answering and understanding the above questions. Humanity desperately seeks to walk this journey of life with ease and without suffering thus we pray for relief. Yet, it is the experiences, suffering, and obstacles that keep us growing, praying and close to God. The grace of God enables us; while our communication through prayer keeps us close and connected to God through Jesus Christ. Prayer maintains the connectedness which offers strength and enrichment to our lives.

Okay so what is prayer?

Prayer is the communication to God prompted by the power of the Holy Spirit within the believer through a relationship with Jesus Christ to articulate our deepest thoughts and reveal a heart of thankfulness. It also connects the believer with Christ to God. Sometimes, we can approach God with repetitious prayers (Matthew 6:7) and carnal (fleshly or self-pleasing) requests that look to meet our plans and purposes while they may not be according to His will. Sometimes we expect God to answer us with what we want when we want it instead of trusting Him with our life and what He deems good, just and purposeful.

How do we make prayer work?

The prayer of a “righteous” man is powerful and effective (James 5:16). Simply stated, the prayer of a man/woman who is right with God (being sincere and prays according to God's will in Jesus Name) is powerful and effective. Being sincere before God should be quite simple but it can become complex if the one praying is prideful and unrepentant. Confessing our weaknesses and our sins to God with a continual heart of repentance keeps the communication of prayer honest and open with God through the power of the Holy Spirit given by Jesus Christ.

An individual who is right with God is an individual who lives a life of worship, love, forgiveness, faith, belief, conviction and repentance of sinful thoughts and actions. Having a desire to bless the Lord with the purpose of the prayer that is given as a petition unto God is essential. A prayer has power because of the pure heart within the believer. The effective or working prayer is one that brings glory to God and edifies the relationship with Christ to enhance God's will and purpose in the life of the believer.

Likened to an earthly father answering yes or no to a child who asked to do something that might hurt them or alter the good course of their life in the long run; the father sees the big picture while the child wants the temporal satisfaction of the moment. Surely, God is omnipotent (all powerful), omniscient (all-knowing), and omnipresent (everywhere all the time). Thus, God knows and sees the big picture in the life of believer. This is why it is important to pray according to the will of the Father .(1 John 5:14).

Prayer should hold temporal purpose and eternal value. Consider the prayer request for wealth. Should one be praying for more monetary riches or to be content with what is there? Which do you suppose might be answered?

Consider the individual who has prayed asking God to have vengeance on someone who has wronged them; this prayer is non-productive, unjust and unloving according to a merciful, loving and forgiving God. We must remember that God is working a good work in the believer. If God chooses to answer the prayer He may answer by supplying you with mercy, patience, love and forgiveness instead of vengeance on the one who has wronged you (Isaiah 55:8, 9).

Prayer moves the believer into action, closer to God, and is motivated to seek answers through His word in the bible. Stronger faith and inner strength come to the believer through prayer. These blessings are given to the righteous man who prays in Jesus Name. Consider that many of the answers we seek from God in prayer are already established and given to us through His written word; the Holy Bible. Many times a believer will feel discouraged because an answer is nowhere in sight or evident through a change. The believer must trust in the response and the non-response from God.

Also, the believer must relinquish the prayer into the hands of God, letting go and believing God will prevail regardless of the way in which the prayer is answered or if it is answered at all. All prayers are resolved in Christ according to His will and not our wishes (effective). The powerful and effective prayer enhances the personal relationship with Christ thus leading to a satisfied heart and soul.

Praying encourages the believer, refreshes the soul, keeps communication open, strengthens the mind and body while enhancing and blessing the relationship with God. Praying stimulates and sustains intimacy in the personal relationship with the Lord. Prayer is an essential and vital part of the relationship. Prayer should not be used as something we are always asking of God but something we are giving to God. A prayer should consist of praise and worship. Prayer time should be something that is a blessing to God, a time of communication and not a time of carnal (pleasing to the flesh; self indulging) requests to make our lives easier. Prayer should be seasoned with love, intimacy and a desire to fulfill His will with this life He has given.

The heart is an open book before God (Psalm 139:23, 24).He sees and knows the heart, the motives, the intent, the carnality, the need, the want and the will. Even though God sees the various issues of life in the heart when we communicate through prayer we are vocally, mentally and spiritually reaching out to articulate our inner feelings and thoughts by expressing ourselves to our Savior. The prayer is an acknowledgement from us and a declaration to the Lord. It is the work on the part of the believer to share and participate in the relationship with God through prayer. It enhances and keeps the relationship alive and growing.

Being right with God does not mean being perfect since we are continually being perfected in Christ (Philippians-3:12) but it does mean having a pure heart (Psalm 24:4). A righteous man/woman lives in relationship with Christ to God through the power of the Holy Spirit; thus keeps prayer and petition before the Lord in accordance to His will for their life.

Christians are made righteous through Christ with the acceptance of salvation; but must also maintain a life of righteousness. This is the working out of our salvation. Not that we work for salvation; but that we work throughout our salvation maintaining our righteousness by praying, loving, forgiving, repenting, and living out His word. Maintaining righteousness means constantly removing those hindrances that keep a prayer from reaching the heart of God even though it will reach the ears of God.

What are the hindrances?

Prayers that might not be effective (working) or powerful are those that are offered with a tainted heart. We can not fool God so one must be honest with themselves before the Lord. A pure heart is one that is aligned with the character of God, is in relationship with Jesus Christ, and living in the pursuit of righteousness by the power of the Holy Spirit.

Hindrances are those things that keep us from getting to something or someone. Sin keeps us separated from the heart of God. Hindrances are sinful. Sins that keep prayers hindered are wrong motives (James 4:3), bad intent, bitterness, unforgiveness, unbelief, doubt, carnality, pride, greed, discord, disharmony, strife, and other unconfessed sins.

These hindrances are likened to a plumb line that is clogged with obstructions keeping the water from flowing through or similar to pollutants in the air that become unhealthy to inhale. When coming before the Lord in prayer and petition a heart that is cleansed of impurities is welcomed and blessed by the Lord. In the Old Testament the priests removed their sandals prior to entering the Temple; so should the New Testament believer remove any impurities in their heart before petitioning the Lord on His Holy throne with prayer.

Noteworthy of mentioning, God honors the repenting soul thus if there is sin you have confessed; the hindrance or blockade between your prayer and the heart of God is removed. Since hindrances are sinful thoughts and actions as listed above it is essential to keep them before the Lord continuously asking for forgiveness and remembering to forgive others as well. God is blessed by honesty and sincerity (1 John 1:9).

If I am upright with God; does this mean all of my prayers will be answered?

Maintaining and keeping communication open through prayer with God does not guarantee that our prayers will always be answered when we want or even according to what we want but according to His will for the faithful follower of Jesus Christ. A believer must trust that once a prayer is petitioned to the Lord we can let go and trust God with the result knowing He intends good for our lives with great eternal value and reward. The answers to prayers will normally have a divine purpose to them such as: a purpose to love, a purpose to live, and a purpose that reveals Christ and glorifies God.

Although we articulate our thoughts that are communicated to God through prayer; the intent, purpose and usefulness of our prayer is what God is most likely to consider. God looks deep into our soul beyond what we can see or even think; thus He truly knows the intent, motives, need or desire and the true purpose of what the prayer will accomplish.

Even at a time when a believer is desperately seeking an answer to prayer for a certain situation to alleviate temporal suffering; the Lord may see that it is the process of the suffering that will do greater good in the long run. Hence, the answer may come with God bestowing grace, strength and peace to the one suffering or enduring; and may not answer by removing the pain or circumstance (Romans 5:3-5)

Worth remembering is that God will not leave nor forsake His children. The answers we seek will come from a loving God who knows our past, strengthens us for the present and is the Hope for our future and eternal life. When He answers He will give strength, comfort, love, mercy and direction for our lives. He intervenes and reaches through humanity answering with human relations, financial provision, emotional, mental and spiritual healing and growth while comforting the suffering soul. He is a loving and just God who answers to bless us with the endurance needed to overcome temporal obstacles when they fulfill a divine purpose.

Important to the prayer life of every believer is the genuineness of the prayer and the divine purpose with the prayer. It is important to remember to pray according to His will which is what we are saying when we seal the prayer “In Jesus Name”. We are essentially saying “Thy will be done”.

Again, we may not receive the answers we expect from God; nor we will receive answers all of the time; but we can expect good in our lives because we serve a loving God. His answers may come by giving us more strength, supplying us with His grace, sending someone to comfort you with the same comfort they once received, giving you boldness in His word, giving you peace that surpasses your own understanding in the midst of a storm, increasing your faith, producing patience, and sending an encourager into your life along with other virtues and fruit of the spirit. These are the some of the greatest answers to prayer that sustain a believer on the journey of life as they trust in the Lord.

Remaining in fellowship with other believers, staying accountable to one another and staying faithful to the word of God can help a Christian maintain a healthy, powerful and effective prayer life. Remember, dig deep for the real purpose of the prayer. Look to see that it builds you in Christ, shares Christ, or will bless and glorify God.

Regardless of the answer one may or may not receive it is important to pray without ceasing (Thessalonians 5:17) since prayer is the communication we have with God through Jesus Christ who empowered us with the Holy Spirit. Trust in the Lord with all of your heart and lean not on your own understanding (Proverbs 3:5).

Understanding Anyway Love

Do we love others because of or anyway?

I have placed an article by Gary Thomas titled "Anyway Love" at the bottom of my note which prompted my thinking and confirmed my feelings.

I have found that loving "anyway" is not easy but it is achievable when we accept Gods love for us and realize that He loves us just the way we are and not because of any particular thing we do. I have realized in life to love someone "Anyway" is exactly how God loves me so how could I not love others the same.

I am so flawed and imperfect; how could I only love another if they were a certain way; or just because they did certain things for me. This even pertains to friendships and other relationships; with our own children and families. We have to stop expecting people to be something their not, or to do something we think they should do when they don't; or hoping they will change to our liking and "love each other anyway". Yes, the words are easier to say than the actions necessary. But with God it is possible and attainable. Obviously, this does not mean that we accept poor behaviors, unhealthy relationships or harmful situations. Those must be balanced with wisdom. It means that we love past human flaws and not willing and hurtful actions toward us.

Forgiveness is the key to door of loving anyway. We have to learn how to love each other ANYWAY...and not BECAUSE. But this is a process and it wont be easy. It requires understanding and accepting how God loves and forgives us. How HE accepts us right where we are and how we are. This truly is a sacrificial love. An unconditional love that keeps on loving regardless. When someone asks how or why you love ...our answer shouldn't be I love them because; our answer should be ; I love them anyway! Love each other "anyway" and not simply "because" they do or dont do; or because they wont. Place your expectations in Christ ; you will never be let down; never forsaken; never abandoned; never alone. He loves you "anyway".

Perhaps you have allowed a friendship or relationship to end "just because". Did the relationship with a family member, friend or spouse end based on "BECAUSE" of what they did or didnt do; or because your expectations werent met; Would it have flourished if you loved "ANYWAY"?

With my heart,


Heres the article by Gary Thomas...Enjoy!

Anyway Love by Gary Thomas
To love anyway is to love like God – and to learn about God's love for us.
Note: Names have been changed.

On Valentine's Day, Meg* went all out, giving her husband, Peter,* his favorite candy and tickets to a hockey game. Later that night, she wrapped herself in a special outfit purchased just for the occasion.

Peter got her a card.

At the grocery store.

That he purchased on the way home from work.

He didn't add anything to it, either. He just signed it, "Peter."

A couple of days later, Meg tried to explain that she felt a little taken for granted. Apparently, Peter misunderstood her intent because two months later, when they celebrated their anniversary, Peter didn't get Meg anything.

"How could you not get me anything for our anniversary?" she asked Peter the next day. "Especially after our conversation about Valentine's Day."

"Well, I thought about getting you something, but it didn't work out," he replied. "And then I knew not to get you a card because you said you didn't like that last time."

"It's not that I didn't like the card. It's that the card alone seemed a little sparse. But even that is better than nothing ..."

Several months later, Meg had a birthday. This time, Peter got her a present – a kitchen tool set. Several weeks before, Meg had asked to borrow Peter's tape measure and screwdriver. Peter figured that Meg should have her own small set of kitchen tools so she didn't have to borrow his.

Meg recounted all this and then explained how she had tried to get her husband to read several how-to books on loving your spouse. He would read the first few pages, lose interest and never pick the book up again.

"I've realized this is never going to change," she confessed. "But I love him anyway."

Because ...
That last statement of Meg's, "but I love him anyway," is one of the most profound theological statements on marriage I've ever heard. Most of us base love on because, not on anyway. I love you because you're good to me. I love you because you're kind, because you're considerate, because you keep the romance alive.

But in Luke 6:32-36, Jesus says we shouldn't love because. We should love anyway. If we love someone because that person is good to us, or gives back to us, or is kind to us, we're acting no better than anyone else. In essence, Jesus is saying you don't need the Holy Spirit to love a man who remembers every anniversary – not just the anniversary of your marriage, but the anniversary of your first date and your first kiss. Any woman could love a man like that. Or if you love a wife who lavishes you with sports gifts, who goes out of her way to make you comfortable when you get home from work and who wants sex anytime you do – well, you're doing what any man would do. There's no special credit in that!

But if you love a spouse who disappoints you, who can be a little self-absorbed – now you're loving anyway. In doing that, you're following the model of the heavenly Father, who loves the ungrateful and the wicked.

... Or Anyway
Will you love only because? Or are you willing to love anyway? Will you love a man or woman who doesn't appreciate your sacrifice? Will you love a husband or wife who takes you for granted? Will you love a spouse who isn't nearly as kind to you as you are to him or her?

Just about every faithless marriage is based on because love. Christians are called to anyway love. That's what makes us different. That's what gives glory to God. That's what helps us appreciate God's love for us, because God loves us anyway. He gives and gives and gives – and we take Him for granted. He is eager to meet with us, and we get too busy to notice Him. He is good to us, and we accuse Him mercilessly when something doesn't go just the way we planned it.

But God loves us anyway. To love anyway is to love like God – and to learn about God's love for us.

That's love, the way God intended it.

This article first appeared in the Couples Edition of the January, 2007 issue of Focus on the Family magazine. Copyright © 2007, Gary Thomas. All rights reserved. International copyright secured. Used by permission.

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