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The Power of Prayer (Forgiveness)

Recently I found myself very disappointed in someone I considered a good friend. They did something to me that I felt (and still feel) was totally unacceptable and it was hard for me to swallow. I knew that I needed to forgive them and let it go but I just couldn’t wrap my head around it at the time.

Not wanting to hold a grudge, I began to quote any and every scripture I could remember (and maybe a few I made up) on forgiveness. But it seemed the moment I stopped quoting scripture, I got mad all over again.

Throughout that week, I kept rehearsing what happened and when I shared it with my husband and my sister, I got even angrier – it was like every time I told the story, the fire was being fueled. So I decided that I needed to stop talking about it because that was not helping the situation.

I’m sure you have all been there before …maybe it wasn’t a friend, perhaps it was a sibling, a co-worker, a neighbor or even someone at church. Whoever it was, they crossed you in some form or fashion and raised your blood pressure. You found yourself on this never ending cycle of anger because you couldn’t quite let it go.

In time, I realized that forgiveness is very hard in our own power… and at some point, I cleared my head and took it to God in prayer …and yet again, God amazed me with his ability to bring an inner peace in the midst of any situation.

Prayer is by far the greatest weapon we have. Prayer causes you to change your perspective on things.

While in prayer, God reminded me of the many times I had turned my back on Him. The many times I had disappointed Him. Yet, not once has He held back his forgiveness towards me.

He also reminded me that no one except Him is flawless, so I must not put people on a pedestal or expect them to never let me down. Yes, we expect certain things like respect from our friends, however at some point, we have probably all disrespected someone we cared about. How is it that we expect people to always be willing to forgive us but when the tables are turned – watch out!

Through prayer, I realized it was alright for me to be hurt by the situation, but it wasn’t alright for me to dwell there. God healed my wounds and gave me the courage to step back out and not allow this situation to dictate my mood, attitude or behavior towards the person who offended me.

There is something to be said about the power of prayer …next time I won’t wait so long to use it!

Written by Tanya James, Founder and president of The Master Plan. Tanya James is the author of From Promiscuity to Proverbs 31: Getting Off the Fence of Sexual Immorality. For more information about Tanya, log onto www.armedanddangerous.biz or www.themasterplan.biz.

Karma…does it always apply?

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This week’s topic of the week…Karma…does it always apply?
I mean…negative things happening…does that always bring negative things back around?
I read this story in Cosmopolitan about four best friends…one was about to get married…they had a bachelorette party. At the home the girl grew up in. There was a pool in the back yard. All four of the girls grew up playing in this pool. Their favorite thing was to push each other in the pool and splash water on each other when someone was trying to stay dry for whatever reasons.
Anyway, at the bachelor party they had fun with each other as always, but this particular time, when the girl who was getting married the next day, got slightly nudged into the pool…she fell awkward and hit her head. Her body went numb. She floated to the surface and realized she could not feel anything. She was paralyzed. She missed the wedding, because she was in the hospital for the next five months. Ten years later she is still in a wheelchair, but she got married anyway and is celebrating the tenth anniversary of marriage and the accident.
I wanna know if you could forgive your best friend? You know the push was innocent. You know it was no harder than you all had done a hundred times before, but that one time…changed your life forever. I don’t mean forgive her, because you know it’s the right thing to do…but, forgive her because you know it hurt her just as much as it hurt you. It changed her life…just as it changed yours. Will you secretly hate her in the back of your mind when you have to summon help…just to wash yourself?
Even more so, if it happened to your husband or wife, to be…would you still marry them? Would you love them the same? Could it be…still, to death do us part? No matter what changed or how hard it got…would you stand by their side?
Tough…huh? Karma

A Stumper of A Question

This post is courtesy of I Spy God

One Sunday afternoon, my kids told me they asked their Sunday school teacher a question that she didn’t know the answer to.

“What did you ask them?!!”  I blurted out, slightly fearful of what topic they dared to breach…
“Does God love the devil?”
Wow.
Now there’s a question.
I can only assume that the Sunday school “teacher” they asked was one of the teen helpers and not the actual teacher, because I am sure the teacher has an answer to their question…but it made me think and wonder if what I thought was correct.
“Well, what do you think?” I asked back
“NO!” they almost simultaneously screamed… “he’s bad and so naughty!”
Great point.
Great question.
Does God love the devil?

“And God saw everything that he had made, and behold, it was very good…”   Genesis 1:31

God made the devil.  And if he made the devil, then the devil is part of the “everything” Genesis 1:31 is talking about.

“… You have made heaven, the heaven of heavens, with all their host, the earth and all that is on it, the seas and all that is in them; and you preserve all of them …”   Nehemiah 9:6

“For by him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things were created through him and for him.”   Colossians 1:16

The devil was the most beautiful of God’s angels.

 “You were the signet of perfection, full of wisdom and perfect in beauty. You were in Eden, the garden of God; every precious stone was your covering, sardius, topaz, and diamond, beryl, onyx, and jasper, sapphire, emerald, and arbuncle; and crafted in gold were your settings and your engravings. On the day that you were created they were prepared. You were an anointed guardian cherub.”   Ezekiel 28:12-15

And as with all of God’s creation, He allows free will, and like the Coke Zero commercials, the devil wanted more.

“How you are fallen from heaven, O Day Star, son of Dawn! How you are cut down to the ground, you who laid the nations low! You said in your heart, ‘I will ascend to heaven; above the stars of God I will set my throne on high; I will sit on the mount of assembly in the far reaches of the north; I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will make myself like the Most High.’ But you are brought down to Sheol, to the far reaches of the pit.”   Isaiah 14:12-15

And again as with all creation, choices come with consequences… the devil and his angels were punished.

“… God did not spare angels when they sinned, but sent them to hell, putting them into gloomy dungeons to be held for judgment;”   2 Peter 2:4

But praise the One who is forgiving and longs for us to accept it.

“The LORD is good to all, and his mercy is over all that he has made.”   Psalm 145:9
“… not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance.”  2 Peter 3:9

“Yes” I said.

“…  God is love.”   1 John 4:8

Block Haters

 
The Christian that turns their nose up to other Christians that are not in their opinion saved enough or saved at all are not being godly or spiritual, but they are in fact being worldly (ungodly).

Whether you turn your nose up in private or prideful in public, God still sees the direction in which it’s in.
Good relationships are hard to come by and keep when your heart is rooted and grounded in prideful, judgmental hate.

If this is you, do everyone a favor and start loving yourself so that you may love others and God.

1 John 4:19-21
 We love, because He first loved us. If someone says, “I love God,” and hates his brother, he is a liar; for the one who does not love his brother whom he has seen, cannot love God whom he has not seen. And this commandment we have from Him, that the one who loves God should love his brother also.

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God!!!!! Im Lonely

There are times when I just feel low. When I feel as if no one around me is truly seeing me, and recognizing what I am going through. I imagine that if I died at that given moment, no one would care except for my immediate family.

I sure your reading this and thinking, “Wow!! What an emo post. ” But I sure that everyone has moments like this, when you just feel disconnected from the world around you.  When you think that everyone is treating or looking at you differently because of a wrong you committed.

Fortunately, a recent passage I read in devotion makes me hopeful. I will keep this passage in my memory bank for hard times.  The passage is from Deuteronomy 32:10, and highlights the fact that despite how horrible we are (or think we are) there is someone out there that loves us unconditionally and is always with us.
“In a desert land he found him,
in a barren and howling waste.
He shielded him and cared for him;
he guarded him as the apple of his eye…”
~Deuteronomy 32:10 NIV

This text refers to Jacob, Jacob the deceiver; Jacob the con artist; Jacob the thief. A coward who decides to flee from the drama he orchestrated. Despite this, Jacob is someone God went looking for. In the desert where he hides, God comes to him and shields him from harm. In spite of all his crimes God still sees him as the apple of his eye.
After reading this passage, I compared myself to Jacob. I wanted to see the differences between us but then realized that there is no difference.  NOTHING….how many times do I envy someone for something I lack? How often do I do subtle things to bring others down to the level I feel they should be? (Yes, I am horrible)
However, through all this, God is reaching out for me. He is searching for me in the wasteland of my sinful, blemished life.  He is caring for me, shielding me from harm. Despite my nasty (selfish) character traits, God still sees me (and you) as the apple of his eye.
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A Brutally Honest Letter to God

A young lady I have a blogging friendship with posted this and I found it so touching and felt so many may be able to relate in one way or another that I had to share. All of her post are so honestly revealing so if you get a chance check out her blog but for now I share this post:

My Brutally Honest Open Letter to God

written by Paramourinwaiting

Dear God,

I don’t know how to address you, especially after all this time. I can’t imagine you this bearded old man (or woman) in the sky. I can’t imagine you perched in pages of someone’s testament. I can’t imagine you in a deep and unfamiliar voice that boldly sprouts from nowhere. So I write to you instead. My mother used to write you. She never knew this but as a child, I used to read her letters to you in her Bible. I know that was a violation of privacy but I’ve always been in love with words penned on pages. They tend to be more candid—or at least in our case. Her letters were uplifting and full of wonder; other broke my heart. Her faith quivered but I could tell that it was still there. I probably also thought that I could understand you more through her.

My parents always spoke of religion and you interchangeably but I could never fully embrace it. There seemed to be so many holes in religion and I feared coming off as the spawn of the devil if I dared to ask. A part of resented them for making me believe in notions that I did not seem to cling to. They seem so stifling and I imagined you as free and uninhibited as my thoughts. I’ve seen you in contagious laughs and spellbinding smiles of children, in kind eyes, in good thoughts and deeds, in poetry, in music, in art, in tears, in happiness, in every “I love you”, in every changing season—somewhere in the stillness swirling furiously and touching everything and everyone that crossed your path.

I guess you’ve noticed that we haven’t talked much in a while. I think I brushed off nearly all of your presence after you did not come when I needed you the most—as I was being raped. I began to see you differently. But I did talk to you sporadically—mostly as a promiscuous teen begging not to become pregnant. I promised that I would change my ways if you just granted this one prayer. That one prayer morphed into several more. It was our recurring storyline. I eventually realized that perhaps this wasn’t the type of prayer that you really wanted to hear. I mainly saw you as the modern day Plan B pill. I did not take you seriously. I saw you as a convenience and wondered if I somehow became a nuisance—an ungrateful child tugging on you.

When my sanity fluctuated, I asked you why I was born. I never hesitated to let you know how much I hated fragments of myself and life. After a couple of half-hearted suicide attempts as a teen, I contemplated a nonexistence throughout my entire adulthood. My guilt, self-destructive behaviors, and the lack of courage were the driving forces that kept me here (or so I thought). I wanted to prove to you that you weren’t as awesome as others pegged you out to be. I decided to disregard you. I rarely thanked you. I infrequently acknowledged you. I silently mocked those who were delirious in their love for you. You were that elephant in the room that I made sure I always tiptoed around in the dark to avoid. They say elephants never forget; neither did I no matter how hard I tried.

I was humiliated. I knew if I faced you, I would reek of disappointment. Disappointment would ooze from my pores and flood my entire being. I could picture the literal disgust on your figurative face. I could imagine you holding your nose and avoiding all eye contact. I had to spare myself from further embarrassment. I’m so filthy and can’t possibly see myself in you. Sure, I have some noble qualities but not too much of me is pure—especially my intentions. I am always faltering. I can’t even trust myself sometimes. You’ve tried to reach me through others. I’ve watched their lips move but wasn’t open to the vessel of truths that cascaded from them. You felt inaccessible to me. It’s like you’re in the VIP section and I’m on the outside watching you fulfill others because I was not properly dressed to grace your presence. It’s like you’re flying first class and I achingly peer through the curtains to see others licking their lips from the champagne of your being. I feel as though I cannot afford you. I feel spiritually bankrupted. I feel snubbed. Maybe I’m the one who has been snubbing you this entire time and for that I am sorry.

I am finding my way back to you. I’ve been away for far too long. Please forgive me for resenting you all these years. Please help me to forgive myself. Help me heal so I can forgive others. Help my find purpose. Help me to love myself. Help me to live my life without fear because I feel so consumed by it. Help me see the splendor of life. Save me from my destructive behaviors and thoughts. Lift me up because I’m tired of falling apart at the seams. I’m tired of doing this without you. I’ve treated you and myself with reckless abandon. I need help to make it up to the both of us. Thank you for the things that you’ve already done for me that I have so blatantly ignored. I will be more appreciative and receptive towards you.

With Love,

Nisha

 

Scripture Meditation

When my soul fainted within me I remembered the LORD: and my prayer came in unto thee, into thine holy templeJonah 2:7
Prayer can take us from hell to heaven in the blink of an eye.
Here Jonah had run away from God, disobeying His command to preach to Israel’s enemies in the city of Nineveh. Jonah’s ship was therefore caught in the midst of a great storm that God brought his way. Jonah was famously thrown from the ship and swallowed by a great fish.
As he languishes in the unimaginable discomfort and horror of the fish’s belly, Jonah describes himself as being in “the belly of hell” (2:2). Jonah was in this predicament because of his own disobedience and rebellion. He felt as though he had been cast away from the presence and watch care of God (2:4). Yet, he says, “I will look again toward thy holy temple.”
When we find ourselves suffering for our own sins, we are sometimes tempted to avoid God. Out of a sense of guilt, or pride, or embarrassment we turn away from God rather than turning to Him in prayer.
But, as Jonah observed, afflictions are sometimes sent to draw us to God, to deliver us from our sinful path: “I cried by reason of mine affliction unto the LORD.” The very affliction is what brought Jonah to cry out to God.
God has never yet turned away any sinner who prayed to Him in repentance. Jonah found that, even as he suffered “in the belly of hell” he was able, through prayer, to come to God in His holy temple.
If you find yourself far away from God today, rush into His presence through prayer and bask in the glow of His abundant forgiveness and love.
Courtesy of A Good Thing