Tag Archive | Journey of Faith

Not of This World

Linking up today with Five Minute Friday. Today’s writing prompt: WORLD

I woke up this morning with the following verses from Romans 8 on my mind, probably partly because I was reviewing them yesterday on my Bible Memory app. When we stand for Christ in the midst of a world that is hostile to His message, we will experience suffering.

“The Spirit himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, then heirs—heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, provided we suffer with him in order that we may also be glorified with him. For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us.” Romans‬ ‭8:16-18‬ ‭ESV‬‬

When Paul wrote these words, he knew from personal experience what it was to face opposition and suffering for simply sharing the message the Lord Jesus Christ had called him to share. Before coming to Christ, he had been one who persecuted followers of Christ, and now he was one of the persecuted. Sharing the good news of salvation through the death and resurrection of Jesus does two things. It changes lives for those who believe, and it stirs up opposition from those who reject the truth.

As the Christian message in our nation becomes less and less acceptable, we need to be prepared for the fact that standing for Christ will sometimes mean ridicule, slander, and emotional pain in our lives. For some in our nation, it is now meaning loss of their businesses and even being put in prison for standing for the truths Jesus taught. But we need to learn to see that suffering in light of eternity. As Peter said in 1 Peter 4:6, “If you suffer as a Christian, do not be ashamed, but praise God that you bear that name.”

Today, I want to encourage you to stand strong in your faith, to be a witness for Christ regardless of what it costs you. You are not of this world. If you have surrendered your life to Jesus, you are now in a different kingdom… one that makes no sense to unbelievers. Opposition to the truth has been a part of the Christian life since the early church, and we live in a time where it is again becoming a fact we need to be prepared to deal with.

Importunate Prayer

Do you ever go to a prayer meeting – or open our God-Living Girls with Chronic Illness Prayer Group page – and wonder why the requests seem so familiar? Why the same or similar requests keep coming up over and over again? In the case of our prayer group, one reason for this may be the fact that all of our members deal with chronic illnesses, which means new issues constantly need to be dealt with. Another, the fact that God uses our difficult circumstances to do a work in our lives that He counts as more important eternally than an immediate healing.

As I was praying about this characteristic of our times of prayer, I came across a concept I knew little about, that of importunate prayer.

In his book The Necessity of Prayer, E.M. Bounds defines importunate prayer and explains why it is important.

“He prays not at all, who does not press his plea. Cold prayers have no claim on heaven & no hearing in the courts above. Fire is the life of prayer, and heaven is reached by flaming importunity rising in an ascending scale.

“Importunate praying is the earnest, inward movement of the heart toward God. It is the throwing of the entire force of the spiritual man into the exercise of prayer. Forceless prayers have no power to overcome difficulties, no power to win marked results or to gain complete victories.”

Jesus spoke of the need for persistence in prayer in two parables that are recorded in the book of Luke. In Luke 11:5-8, immediately after teaching the disciples how to pray according to what we call the Lord’s Prayer, He shares a story about a person who goes to his friend for help feeding unexpected visitors.

“Suppose one of you has a friend, and goes to him at midnight and says to him, ‘Friend, lend me three loaves; for a friend of mine has come to me from a journey, and I have nothing to set before him’; and from inside he answers and says, ‘Do not bother me; the door has already been shut and my children and I are in bed; I cannot get up and give you anything.’ “I tell you, even though he will not get up and give him anything because he is his friend, yet because of his persistence he will get up and give him as much as he needs.

In Luke 18:2-8, He shares a second parable to encourage us to not lose heart in prayer. This time, the story involves an unrighteous judge who did not fear God or respect people, and a widow who is seeking legal protection, which he gives her, not because he cares about the widow but because of her persistence in asking.

“In a certain city there was a judge who did not fear God and did not respect man. There was a widow in that city, and she kept coming to him, saying, ‘Give me legal protection from my opponent.’ For a while he was unwilling; but afterward he said to himself, ‘Even though I do not fear God nor respect man, yet because this widow bothers me, I will give her legal protection, otherwise by continually coming she will wear me out.’ And the Lord said, ‘Hear what the unrighteous judge said; now, will not God bring about justice for His elect who cry to Him day and night, and will He delay long over them? I tell you that He will bring about justice for them quickly. However, when the Son of Man comes, will He find faith on the earth?'”

‭‭These parables don’t teach that God is reluctant to answer our prayers. He delights in answering the honest requests of our hearts. But at times, God’s timing is not the same as ours. At times, God wants to deal with an unconfessed sin in our lives before answering or to build some positive character quality in our lives that will only grow under pressure.

Importunate prayer is first and foremost prayer that keeps asking, that is persistent in asking a God who sometimes delays the answer, not because He is indifferent to our needs but rather because He wants us to learn how to walk in faith and consistency.

Importunate prayer is the opposite of lazy or lukewarm prayer. It is prayer that comes from a trusting and godly heart, a pure conscience, and a determination to keep praying until we have an assurance that God has heard and will answer. It is prayer that is built on the foundation of the goodness and faithfulness of our God, and persists in praying until an answer is received.

I Am Doing A New Thing

For the last two years, God has clearly put a specific word on my heart for a Word of the Year. In 2016 it was JOY. I learned that JOY is found in our relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ. And I began forming a new habit of CHOOSING JOY when I didn’t always feel it in my emotions.

In December 2016, I again received clear direction from God for a Word of the Year for 2017. HOPE was the word I heard repeatedly in prayer, as 2016 came to an end. Again, it proved to be a very appropriate choice, during a year that turned out to be one of the most difficult we’ve recently been through. I shared some of the things God has taught me this year about hope in my recent blog post: https://readywriterbr.wordpress.com/2017/12/26/exploring-our-theme-part-2-still-anchored-in-hope/

As December 2017 began, I again began asking God what word He wanted me to focus on for 2018. For the whole month I prayed, but no one particular word stood out to me. Then as I was reading my Bible and praying this final morning of 2017, I sensed God speaking not a word but a phrase to my heart: A NEW THING. I did a search using one of my Bible apps, and Isaiah 43:19 jumped out at me as a clear word from the Lord.

I’m not sure what lies ahead of us in 2018, but there are definitely some signs that God is at work. My husband has an appointment on New Year’s Day that has the potential of being a major breakthrough in his dream of producing Christian movies – or possibly a total detour from God’s plan. We are moving forward with expectancy that the Lord will make His will clear.

Some of the major issues we have dealt with in 2017 are now behind us, others should be behind us in the next few weeks, and still others present longterm issues that are unlikely to be resolved any time soon. 2017 has definitely been a year of walking through the wilderness, but at no time have we been alone. God has clearly led us through this year, bringing us into a place of increased obedience to the precepts of His Word and a deeper knowledge of His nature. As 2017 comes to an end and 2018 is on the horizon, I’m taking hold of this promise that the Lord is making a way in the wilderness and will provide streams in the wasteland.

And as the new year draws closer, God is continuing to speak to my heart. REST. My new Word of the Year. This is a year to learn to REST in the Lord and in His work in my life. To REST in His promises and His character.

Waiting Can Be Hard!

Have you ever been on an airliner that was in a holding pattern? I don’t like flying, so this would be a really stressful situation for me. Your trip is almost over and now you’re ready to land, get off the plane, and relax. But the pilot announces that there will be a delay in landing. You don’t know the reason. And while the aircraft is low enough that you can see the ground, you keep flying in a circular pattern, waiting for landing clearance.  If were on that airplane, I would be more than ready to get off!


As I was praying and journaling on Monday morning, the above picture came to mind. For almost a year now, my life has been in a “holding pattern.” In the summer of 2015, my pain management doctor decided to see if an cervical epidural steroid injection would give me some relief from pain. Unfortunately, the injection had the opposite effect. Since July 2015, I have experienced severe pain (worse than before the injection) in both my cervical and lumbar spine. And my relatively mild disability increased to the point where I to use a wheelchair for any outings to church or out to eat.

The pain management doctor and my PCP had no idea what was going on, so next a saw a neurologist. After testing, she said the damage to my spine was so severe that all she could do was refer me to a neurosurgeon. In February, my condition grew even worse. I started having severe headaches, nausea, vertigo, ear pressure, shakiness in my hands, and frequent brain fog, and the pain in my neck, upper back, and shoulders became worse. On March 10, 2016, I saw the neurosurgeon, and after a thorough exam he said I needed surgery both in my cervical and lumbar spine. After much prayer, we decided to move forward with scheduling the first surgery, the one on my cervical spine. More doctor’s appointments and tests, numerous phone calls, and over three months later this surgery is still in the process of being scheduled.

The message on my heart today: Waiting is hard! Even though people are involved in this long time of waiting, I believe God is in control of my life and of the timing of my surgery, so I see this ultimately as a season of waiting on the Lord. I believe that God has a purpose in this whole situation, and I choose to trust in His timing, but this doesn’t make waiting  any easier. We are hopeful that the surgery will help, but waiting is even harder when we are uncertain about the outcome. We’ve tried to walk through this season in a way that pleases the Lord, but for some reason this week have been extremely hard emotionally, as well as physically.

I don’t know how much longer the wait will be, and I’m feeling drained. So how do I keep waiting on the Lord, in a way that pleases Him? What does Scripture say about this? I invite you to join me in my search for the answers to these questions.

  • One of the most familiar Scriptures about waiting on the Lord is found at the end of Isaiah 40: “Even youths shall faint and be weary, and young men shall fall exhausted; but they who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint.” (Isaiah 40: 30-31 ESV)
  • First, this is a promise of renewed strength. After a long season of waiting, we need strength to keep going – physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual. God promises renewed strength as we wait. God keeps His promises! This is a basic truth we need to hold onto during a season of waiting.
  • Some simple word study of the Hebrew word translated “wait” in this verse increases our understanding. The root word means “to bind together, as by twisting.” Waiting on the Lord, then, is  binding ourselves together with God. To do that we must trust that God our safe refuge in this storm.
  • This reminds me of Jesus’ words in Matthew 11: “Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”” (Matthew‬ ‭11:28-30‬ ‭ESV‬)‬ As believers in Christ, His yoke binds us together with Him.  And remember, it is an easy yoke, nothing to be afraid of.
  • So waiting on the Lord isn’t passive. There are some choices we must make. The other definitions of the word include “to be strong” and “to expectantly await.” In a situation such as mine, strength isn’t going to come from myself. Paul said in 2 Corinthians 12: “”My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong.” (‭‭2 Corinthians‬ ‭12:9-10‬ ‭ESV)‬  Therefore, while waiting we must choose to rely on God’s grace and His strength.
  • We are also to wait with expectation. Paul was in prison waiting for deliverance, when he wrote to the Philippians: “For I know that through your prayers and the help of the Spirit of Jesus Christ this will turn out for my deliverance, as it is my eager expectation and hope that I will not be at all ashamed, but that with full courage now as always Christ will be honored in my body, whether by life or by death.” (Philippians 1:19-20 ESV). His goal was that Christ would be honored in his situation, which is a good goal for us to adopt during seasons of waiting.
  • Another key to waiting as God desires is found in Romans 8:25: “But if we hope for what we do not see, we wait for it with patience.” So we see that patience is another important factor in waiting for God to move on our behalf. We need to recognize that God sees the whole picture, and that He loves us and wants the best for us. So His timing may be painful, but we can trust it is for our benefit. This helps us to choose patience when we are waiting.

As I prayed today and allowed the Lord to lead me in my study, God clearly brought the above Scriptures to mind. Most of them were not ones I had associated before with waiting on the Lord, but God used them to speak to me. Yes, waiting is hard.  No, I still don’t know when this time of waiting wil be over. I am still in a holding pattern,  which could end next week or next month or even later. But this study has renewed my mind – and hopefully yours too. I feel more prepared to continue this lesson on waiting, until God releases me from it.