Imperfect Prayers: Spirit of Hope

How I desire to be infused with a spirit of hope on this bleak gray overcast chilly winter morning. After another fitful night without restorative sleep there is no comfort for my pain. Why do I wake up in anguish? Oh how I struggle with the winter blues—Lord bless me with your healing and graciously fill me with the light of your presence.
Father-God I’m trying not to let the troubles of those I love keep me in despair. I fear for my children, my family and friends. As I listen to their concerns, receive multiple prayer requests, scan the headlines, I confess my worries about the evil oppression that surrounds us. I must look away from my weakness and let go of the burdens. I will focus my thoughts on your promises* to deliver us from this world. I seek you early as I renew my mind continually in your Word. Transform me from the inside out so that I might live in peace with hope.
Although I feel vulnerable in today’s desperation I trust it will not be like this always. There is hope even in the darkness. The faithfulness of God’s love continually returns as tender mercies with every prayer. I could not live without His comfort and strength.
There is relief for my soul—the present discouragement fades as I pray:
“Why are you in despair, O my soul? And why have you become disturbed within me? Hope in God, for I shall again praise Him For the help of His presence.” Psalm 42:5 NASB
“The faithful love of the LORD never ends! His mercies never cease.
Great is his faithfulness; His mercies begin afresh each morning.
I say to myself, “The LORD is my inheritance; therefore, I will hope in him!” Lamentations 3:22-24 (NLT)

“For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.” Jeremiah 29:11 ESV
“And I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God’s love. Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow—not even the powers of hell can separate us from God’s love.” Romans 8:38
There is nothing that can defeat the rising of hope. There is nothing that can separate us from His love and from one another. I will keep the faith and keep my hope in God.

1.12.16 – I made a new year’s commitment to blog again after a grief recovery hiatus. Although all I can offer for now are bits and pieces of my brokenness; I will do my best to imperfectly blog every 12th day of each month in 2016.

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OVERCOME by Renewing Your Mind

Romans 12:2

I need victory over my thoughts every day…I wake up and know immediately I am empty. Sometimes I get a great start and then boom! I am bombarded with bad news or stressors. I fight the battle of allowing circumstances or people to drain my energy and take away my power. I don’t want to let fears or worries entangle me. Most of the time, it isn’t even about me—it is about precious people I love—their pain and struggles. Or it is broken people behaving immaturely or spewing their emotional trash.

Do you have problems controlling your thoughts? Perhaps you struggle with negative, ungodly thoughts. It is vital not to carry the burdens, nor to give in to the suffering in this world. What you think determines where you end up in life, so it’s vital that you learn to master your mind. But how do you overcome the hurts in this life?

Time after time, I have to learn to be content by allowing God to “transform my focus.” I know I need “to take every thought captive to the obedience of Christ.” 2 Corinthians 10:5 If I give in to my troubles then I am even weaker. If I choose to focus on God’s mercy and power then I gain strength. If I ask for wisdom He is more than willing to give it to me generously.

So I pray with my gut-wrenching cries…Lord help me—God have mercy on us! Especially when we feel abandoned and the difficulties seem to multiply. Father I know you are present…let my dear friend experience your love, your compassion and your love. Give us wisdom to make the best choices.

Oh Lord grant us the serenity to accept the things we cannot change,
the courage to change the things we can and your wisdom to know the difference.

Hear our prayers and more importantly open our minds that we may hear your answers.

How many times have I patiently listened, counseled or coached someone who needed to vent but who really needed to receive God’s gracious favor. What can you say or do when someone is unable to experience God? All I know to do is to intercede and pray for them. All I know is to remember WHO God is and what He has done for all of us.

There is great power in listening to God through His WORD. When the hidden scripts of the past or the insidious lies creep in it is time to stop and transform your focus. First you have to come to an awareness of what you are proclaiming. Is it truth? Or is it an accusation, condemnation or a lie? Do you know the truth? Can you change the circumstances? Possibly or maybe not; but you can change your thought patterns. If it is a conviction from God’s Spirit then pay attention. Admit your weakness, confess your bad attitude or your transgression. Do you need to forgive or be forgiven? Do you need to release you anger and guard your reactions? Do you need to let go of your self-pity and loathing? Stop blaming and take personal responsibility in God’s strength.

If you’ve done something wrong, the key is to turn away from the temptation and by God’s grace do whatever it takes to make it right. Let us turn to the Bible which clearly reveals the vital importance of allowing God to control our thoughts and to transform our focus.

This is a spiritual exercise that I have used to renew my mind:

1.  “Seek the LORD while you can find him. Call on him now while he is near. Let the wicked change their ways and banish the very thought of doing wrong. Let them turn to the LORD that he may have mercy on them. Yes, turn to our God, for he will forgive generously. My thoughts are nothing like your thoughts,” says the LORD. And my ways are far beyond anything you could imagine. For just as the heavens are higher than the earth, so my ways are higher than your ways and my thoughts higher than your thoughts.” Isaiah 55:6-10

2. Be aware of your “Mistaken Thinking”: deceptions, lies, hidden messages, life scripts

“You are mistaken, not understanding the Scriptures, or the power of God.” Matthew 22:29

3. Search God’s Word for TRUTH: “You shall know the truth, and the truth shall set you free.” John 8

“All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness; that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work.” 2 Timothy 3:16,17

4. Identify the Stronghold: What is keeping you from trusting God, confess the lie, repent and turn away from whatever it is…

5. The TRUTH: what does God’s Word say regarding this…what is the truth?
“We use God’s mighty weapons, not worldly weapons, to knock down the strongholds of human reasoning and to destroy false arguments.  We destroy every proud obstacle that keeps people from knowing God. We capture their rebellious thoughts and teach them to obey Christ.” 2 Corinthians 10:4-5

Example: Why should I fear days of adversity or times of trouble?

The Lord is my light and my salvation; Whom shall I fear? The Lord is the defense of my life; Whom shall I dread? Psalm 27:1-3

He will fulfill the desire of those who fear Him; He will also hear their cry and will save them. Psalm 145:18-20

Do not fear, for I am with you; Do not anxiously look about you, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, surely I will help you, Surely I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.’ Isaiah 41:9-11

Your turn: What “stinkin thinkin” is holding you captive?
Let God renew your mind with His truth…

As the Holy Spirit empowers us… we can set our minds on the things above, not on the things of this earth. Colossians 3:1-3 To have the mind of Christ means that we share His values and begin to think like Him 2 Corinthians 2:16 We can be renewed in the likeness of God as we hold our mind captive to His Word and surrender our will over to God.

We must prepare by being alert

“Sow a thought, reap an action;

 Sow an action, reap a habit;

Sow a habit, reap a destiny.”

1 Peter 1:13