Butterflies.

This Jesus, He has saved me. He has died for all of my sins, forgiven me, and redeemed me from the grip of hell. He was beaten and pierced and killed for me. He came from Heaven for me, to bring me back to my Father. He is the One who loves me relentlessly and endlessly and unconditionally. Oh, this hope, this joy and love and sweetness I feel, I must tell them of it! I must tell them about Jesus.

This will convict you and motivate you and spark that fire in your bones.

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Sister.

I do not feel very bold.

I have butterflies in my stomach more often than not.

I just care too much about what people think, and I doubt my natural ability to succeed.

So my stomach is often fluttering and fretting, my palms sweaty, and my knees weak. (If you got that, let’s be friends.)

So here’s where I’m at: This past week, I’ve felt so convicted about telling people about Jesus. And listen, I do share my faith. I write about it. I talk about with my Christian friends. I post some captions of Bible verses. But I’m not talking about that… I am talking about share the Gospel, raw and gritty, with people, face to face, who don’t know Jesus and may have no desire to.

I just have this odd paradigm where my heart just fills and overflows with Jesus’ love for us and I just…

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People Matter

Danny LaRay Crider (Papa)

My grandfather passed away. It’s been just over two weeks. 

I’ve never experienced death before this. I know it’s only God that’s helped us through. I  know there will be sad days, but right now I can raise my hands and sing “It is well”, because it is. Papa is not confined to a painful, limited body. He is free to worship in the place where the Elders bow to Jesus and cast their crowns at His feet. He can endlessly sing holy to God amidst the never ceasing choir of angels… it is well.

God really is always good to us, even in pain, even when we wonder why Papa’s body had to pass from this life. We need to remember that he loved God and was living in God’s calling. 

“And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose. For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren. Moreover whom he did predestinate, them he also called: and whom he called, them he also justified: and whom he justified, them he also glorified. What shall we then say to these things? If God be for us, who can be against us?” (Romans 8:28-31)

Papa lived a good, long life. He enjoyed his kids and grandkids, stayed strong in the faith, and died in love with Jesus Christ, the God of our salvation. How wonderful.

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Everything that’s been said of him was true . 

He was a giver.

He knew how to appreciate what he had.

He cherished people.

He was always the first to bring you encouragement.

He wasn’t afraid to give all he had for the higher call.

People’s feelings were always more important to him than the material things.

Everyone needs someone like Danny,” they’d say, and every bit of it is true.

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He is an example worth following; but his life is only worth following because he followed after the One life to be followed. He lived to serve. 

In all that has been said of him, I’ve concluded it to fit into this one phrase… people matter.

That was his life song. People matter. He lived by it. But that wasn’t all he lived by. He lived to please God. He fell in love with our Savior and, in turn, desired all that our Lord desired. To Jesus, people matter. And to Papa, Jesus mattered. So, in him giving himself to serving God, he gave himself to serving others. To serving people. Because people do matter. 

Some may say, “We should be less focused on people and more focused on the living Word of God.” We need to understand, though, that to be focused on God is to be focused on people; because God is focused on people. 

Every page of our Bible speaks, “People matter to Me”.

The Gospel is page upon page of God screaming “You matter to Me. You are my people and you matter.” Jesus came to our sin filled world (Isaiah 9:6; John 12:46). He obeyed the perfect will of God. He served people. He lived to die for us. He endured unimaginable torture (Luke 9:22). He flooded past the gates of Hell and took the keys to life and death (Revelation 1:18). He came back to us to prove that He’d not leave us (Matthew 28:19-20). He gave us the power He had on this earth (Luke 24:49; Acts 1:5; 1:8). And He sent us out to serve people (John 21:15). He sent us to finish His work. People do matter.

“So when they had dined, Jesus saith to Simon Peter, Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me more than these? He saith unto him, Yea, Lord; thou knowest that I love thee. He saith unto him, Feed my lambsHe saith to him again the second time, Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me? He saith unto him, Yea, Lord; thou knowest that I love thee. He saith unto him, Feed my sheepHe saith unto him the third time, Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me? Peter was grieved because he said unto him the third time, Lovest thou me? And he said unto him, Lord, thou knowest all things; thou knowest that I love thee. Jesus saith unto him, Feed my sheep.” (John 21:15-17)

Papa loved Jesus. Proof? He fed the lambs and the sheep. Papa taught truth to the children and spoke the Words of God to everyone around him. His children and grandchildren were fed the truth. He’d always spend time with the youth at his church and his nieces and nephews because he loved the early minds. He was feeding the lambs. He was feeding the sheep. 

Over the past few weeks, since he’s been gone, a myriad of people have come to us and told us how Papa was like a father to them. He’d make you feel so loved. He invested in the lives of the young and old. The children and the adults. The loved and the unloved. He was there for people. He showed up, and he fed the sheep. 

Papa didn’t just fill our bellies with the pleasurable things. He fed us with sustenance. He fed Jesus’ sheep with the truth. He taught us to pray for understanding in God’s Word. He taught us the way to have eternal life. He told us of the plans and path it takes to get to Heaven. When our hearts were pricked and we wondered what to do, he’d remind us of the only thing there is to do, “…Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost. For the promise is unto you, and to your children, and to all that are afar off, even as many as the Lord our God shall call.” (Acts 2:38-39). He reminded us of the promises. 

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… Danny LaRay Crider …

Papa taught unity. He taught peace. He showed us that there was something bigger than this life and it’s worth pursuing. He told us the things we needed to do, even when they weren’t the things we wanted to do. “I therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you that ye walk worthy of the vocation wherewith ye are called, With all lowliness and meekness, with longsuffering, forbearing one another in love;  Endeavouring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. There is one body, and one Spirit, even as ye are called in one hope of your calling; One Lord, one faith, one baptism, One God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all. But unto every one of us is given grace according to the measure of the gift of Christ.” (Ephesians 4:1-7). To Papa people were worth dying for. He suffered much pain and physical illness part of his life and in every season of weakness and hurt, he’d remind himself and us that God is good and that there is a higher call. His words ring in my ears. “If just one soul is save through all of this, it will be worth every bit of it.” If one life is drawn back to God and falls as deeply in love with Him as I am, every pain and tear will be worth more than I can give. That was his mind set. And I believe that far more than one soul has been and will be brought to the truth and love of Jesus through Papa’s life. 

One of my cousins spoke at the burial the day after Papa’s funeral.

He read the scripture, “But be ye doers of the Word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves.” (James 1:22); a scripture that needs to be copied down, carved in our minds, and plastered on the walls. Jake read this verse and spoke truth. Maybe I won’t quote it exactly how he did, but he said this and it stuck so tight to me. 

“It’s not enough to be doers of good. We have to be like Danny and be doers of truth“. -Jake Walden-

Not just doers of good, doers of truth. Wow. I’m awe struck by the clarity and distinction between “just good” and “the truth” It’s not enough to do the good things if we’re not doing the true things that are the infallible Word’s of the Lord. Like Papa, we must be doers of truth

One scripture that I can say his life showed over abundantly is this, “…faith without works is dead” (James 2:20). In fact, I think Papa must’ve read the book of James a lot. He lived what it teaches. He worked, and not for the vain things, but for the good things, for the true things. I feel like this verse fits into Papa’s story so well. “Even so faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone. Yea, a man may say, Thou hast faith, and I have works: shew me thy faith without thy works, and I will shew thee my faith by my works.” (James 2:17-18).

Many times Papa quoted these words, “Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.” (Philippians 4:8). That’s exactly what he did, too. He thought on the good things. He lived to love. He served people. He worshiped and loved and talked with and lived a life for Jesus. For this man I am thankful. 

. . .

“But the God of all grace, who hath called us unto his eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after that ye have suffered a while, make you perfect, stablish, strengthen, settle you. To him be glory and dominion for ever and ever.” (I Peter 5:10-11)


Our pastor, Pastor Tim Hammond, preached a message Sunday night about Papa. It’s titled “Danny’s Day”. I’d love for you to go watch it. 

Olivia Fortner

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It’s All a Trust Fall

 

I stand here, blind to the evidence of human presence. I close my eyes. Take a deep breath, and let myself fall back into the empty air. My stomach tenses. My muscles brace for impact. They told me they’d be there to catch me. I know they’ll be just beyond the point of catching myself. I’m tempted to throw my leg back and stop the fall, but no. I’ll prove that I have trust.

And just before I hit the ground, as soon as I fall too far to bring myself up again, I sink into their embrace. A breath a relief floods. I knew it! I told you I trusted. I did it. The worst part is over and I know within myself that I can do a trust fall.

 

Trust is Faith

 

This life takes trust. It takes a whole lot of surrender. Living this life takes surrendering our entire selves to God. We have to trust He’ll protect us in our surrender. Because trust— is faith.

Trusting God is hard. It’s hard because we are people who have to see it to believe. It’s hard because trusting God takes hearing, and we’ve been let down too many times by someone who didn’t keep their word. We’ve tried trusting by hearing. We’ve heard them say we could trust them; but the words we heard never happened. Hearing just doesn’t work for us. We want to see.

Trusting in God is hard because people are not always trustworthy.

People have let us down so many times, until we stand back up and decide that we will not trust again. Our walls climb high keeping us from trusting anyone. We will trust no one but ourselves.

 

I know, at the beginning God told me He would be here. He told me He would be with me. He’d be right behind me if I needed to lean back.  I can trust He’ll catch me before I fall. He said He wouldn’t leave. Everything was so clear. I could trust. His voice was so close, I knew He had to be right there with me. But it’s been a while since I’ve heard the nearness. I don’t hear Him shuffling behind me. I can’t see Him. What if He’s not standing to catch me? It will hurt too badly to fall. Oh, please be here God; please be here to catch me. 

 

God is not people.

 

Trust the promises. Trust that He’ll be there. He said He would, and He will.

 

So, we ask the questions like, “How do I trust when my faith is weak?” or “How can I trust His words when I don’t even know what His words are?”

“Faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God.” Romans 10:17

Dig deep into your Bible. It’s there. The words of God are there for you to hear. And when you hear, you will receive faith and your faith will be your trust.

 

 

“For we walk by faith, not by sight.” -II Corinthians 5:7-

 

“The God of my rock; in him will I trust: he is my shield, and the horn of my salvation, my high tower, and my refuge, my saviour; thou savest me from violence.”  -2 Samuel 22:3-

 

“Ye that fear the Lord, trust in the Lord: he is their help and their shield.” -Psalms 115:11-

 

“Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding.” -Proverbs 3:5-

 

“Every word of God is pure: he is a shield unto them that put their trust in Him.” -Proverbs 30:5-

 

“The Lord is good, a strong hold in the day of trouble; and he knoweth them that trust in him.” -Nahum 1:7-

 

“Some trust in chariots, and some in horses: but we will remember the name of the Lord our God.” -Psalms 20:7-

“It’s not easy. Don’t give up. It takes everything you have when you’re called to Love.” -Echoing Angels-

 

-Olivia Fortner-

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What is Trust?

Trust is the action taken to get to Faith. “For without faith it is impossible to please God.” Hebrews 11:6. 

 

The opposite of faith is fear. 

 

The backbone of faith is trust. 

 

The legs of faith is obedience. 

 

When we have to know all the details about a trial, we’re walking by sight; but when we trust God while we cannot see the outcome, we’re walking by faith. When we trust and accept without question, we move into a dimension of greater peace and intimacy with God. When it looks like there’s no way out for you, just trust, believe, and pray. 

Faith is born in the storm, and conceived in the impossible. Don’t give up. Don’t quit. Don’t stop short of the prize. The greater the conflict the greater the victory. “Commit thy way unto the LORD; trust also in Him; and He shall bring it to pass.” Psalms 37:5.

Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct thy paths.” Proverbs 3:5-6

 

Verse six tells us our reward for trusting the Lord. He will direct us in our lives and help us travel in the right direction. Sometimes we hear people say, “I wish I knew what I was supposed to do in this situation.” What they need to know is that the Lord will direct all of us if we will trust and acknowledge Him. 

People trust in things everyday. We go to our light switch and flip it on, expecting the lights to come on. We don’t even think about the electricity coming through the power lines. We trust, if we have paid our bill, that the lights will come on when we turn on the switch. We should have that same trust in God to supply our needs. 

If we pray, fast, and believe, it is the equivalent of paying our power bill. The power is there for our benefit if we have done what we need to do.

“The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.” James 5:16

So pray and trust. 

-Rebecca Crider-

 


 

Rebecca Crider first and foremost loves God. She loves her husband, children, grandchildren, sons in law and all of her family. She is so devoted to them and their wellbeing, spiritually as well as physically. She is a prayer warrior and an encourager to many.

If her family is well and happy, she is happy (also the beach; that makes her happy too). Her goal is to be with Jesus for eternity and take somebody with her. 

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Thank you to my lovely grandmother for writing this guest post.

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Trust that He will meet you there. Great post by Madyson Grace.

MADYSON GRACE

Therefore, return to your God, Observe kindness and justice, And wait for your God continually. Hosea 12:6

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I want to encourage all of us to stop simply waiting, and start waiting upon. To start waiting for.

Waiting is stationary. Waiting uponis an action.

Waiting is staying in the same place. Waiting upon is reaching for more of God.

Waiting is a spiritual excuse for inaction. Waiting upon is pressing into God when you don’t know what to do.

Waiting implies we sit still. Waiting uponmeans that we might not physically be moving but spiritually we are drawing closer.

Waiting upon God is an action. It is a consistent pressing into the presence of God. It is a determination to set our eyes on the Only One who can give us direction.

Waiting on God does not mean we don’t take action. It does not mean we don’t take…

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Fear is Afraid?… Of What?

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Trust.

Let all the fear flow out of your fingertips. Let it all flow out of you.  

Fear. We don’t need it. What we need is trust; but it’s hard to trust when this fear is captivating. Sometimes it gets a grip on us. Sometimes fear twists our stomachs into knots and tries to kill all hope of trusting. 

This fear is hard to fight. We throw our fists at it over and over again and don’t seem to gain any lead way. Why can’t we get ahead? I know that fear is no weak creature. I know it’s strong, but it’s not the strongest.

Imagine us without fear. Stop for a moment. Close your eyes, and imagine yourself if fear touched you no more. Don’t imagine how you’d be if fear had never entered you heart. That fear was necessary for who you are. Just imagine life without fear, beyond this point. Go ahead, do it…

Wow. Awe struck. Right? Yea, me too. But guess what, it’s even better than that. Your life withoutl fear is better than you can imagine because it’s a life with full trust in God. Utter surrender to the God above all gods (Psalm 135:5), the God who really loves you and just sits, giddy everyday, waiting for you to come and talk. He looks at you and says, “Wow, I love that wonderful human of mine.” 

What about fear then? How in this world do we accomplish a life without fear? 

Fear itself is more afraid than any of us have imagined we could be. Why else would it be trying to keep us from our potential? Fear is afraid of what will happen if we step into our Higher Calling. Fear knows that if it will ever let us free, even for a moment, it will face complete destruction and annihilation. 

Strange to hear. Fear is afraid. Ha! You’d never expect it, but it’s true. 

 

“And the Lord, he it is that doth go before thee; he will be with thee, he will not fail thee, neither forsake thee: fear not, neither be dismayed.”

-Deut. 31:8-

We can overcome fear through Christ, Jesus. “For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind,” 2 Timothy 1:7. God is more powerful than all things. He’s not the one giving us fear. He’s giving us the power to overcome it. The Lord is our light and He is our salvation. Who can we be afraid of then? God is the strength of our life. Who will we fear? (Psalms 27:1) 

 

It is time to live in victory over the fear that has haunted us for so long. Let the Fear be afraid of us because we have overcome it.

 

“Let the darkness fear.” -Rend Collective-

 

-Olivia-

“Wobbly Leg” Prayers

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Let us pray. Let us come to God and pour our mind out to Him, so He can fill it up with Him.

Let us give all of ourselves to Jesus, so He can turn us into something useful-

and better-

and lovely-

and spectacular-

and loving-

and giving-

and make us adventurous.

Let us pray. Let God guide us down the trail and show us how to explore. Let us stack the fire wood, while God helps us light the campfire. 

Let the motivation come. Let us be inspired. Let us be active and put all of this to work. Let us create. Let us build something utterly beautiful. Let us build a prayer life.

That’s why prayer is spectacular. Prayer is life. When we pray, it’s like drinking from the fountain of life. Our body is refreshed and our soul becomes alive. We feel healthy in our mind and we’re ready to face the future. With fearless eyes, we look at the unknown and know that we are able to overcome the fear that comes with it.

We’ve all  got those big ideas. Those dreams that we can’t quite put words to, but we know it’s what we must pursue. Robert Frost explained poetry the same way I’d explain a dream; it starts as a lump in your throat. If “poetry is when an emotion has found its thought and the thought has found words”, then a Dream is when the emotion or conviction has found its thought and the thought has found its action. The action turns it into reality and it all becomes something bigger than ourselves.

Dreams are lifeless without our intentional actions toward them. That’s why we must begin with prayer. Prayer is turning the dream into a goal, and sticking a plan to that goal. It is the biggest step you can possibly take toward your dreams; but prayer is not one big step. It’s a bunch of baby steps that grow you. 

Your “wobbly leg” prayers turn into “strong walking” prayers. With those prayers, your leg span grows and the strength in your muscles becomes greater. Eventually, your praying “quick running” prayers; you get even further with each one. Finally, after much learning and growing in your prayer life, you look back at the little steps. You look at the times it felt like you were dragging yourself across the floor and the times you were sprinting wide open in your prayers. When you look at all of that in the whole of the journey you’ve taken, you see that it was prayer that took you miles farther than you thought you could go in a life time. All of those steps, large and small, stretched across a nation. They pulled you from wondering how this dream could happen to the living your dream. Prayer is what kept you faithful to the work. It’s what will continue to keep you committed and keep you trusting in God. 

Prayer is worth the struggle it takes to begin. It is worth it. Stay faithful. Be committed to prayer and the rest will come. Begin today. 

Praying for you,

Olivia

I Surrender All

“And this is the confidence that we have in Him, that, if we ask any thing according to His will, He heareth us:” -1 John 5:14 KJV

Nothing lies outside the reach of prayer except what lies outside the will of God. God will only answer the request He inspires. You see, prayer is surrender- surrender to the will of God. It’s cooperation with His will.

We pray because Jesus commanded us to. He wants us to be a part of the process. So, when God puts a burden on our heart for someone or something, we pray. And then we see God do the impossible. We see Him do the things that are answers to those prayers. 

Man is nothing without God; but we serve a powerful God and when our lives become in sync with Him, nothing is impossible (Philippians 4:13). That’s why we should pray for an awakening within ourselves. When we realize the power of ‘impossible’ we can start to see what happens when we apply it. If we have such a power, we can fix the problems of this world. When we wake up ourselves, we can powerfully pray for a Great Awakening in our nation. Prayer can, will, and does really change whatever we apply it to. 

When we pray for the gospel to go out and for people to believe on Jesus, we are praying according to God’s will. And guess what, He really does hear us.

Why?

Well here’s why… 2 Peter 3:9, “The Lord is not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.”

If we contemplate the awesomeness of God and consider His will and purpose then we can pray this way: 

:: A Prayer ::

Our Father is Heaven, You are holy. Let you kingdom come; let this earth be the place where You dwell. Jesus, let this place be a realm where Your will and Your desires be fulfilled. Make my will to be like Yours; God pour Your will into me. Make my thoughts like Your thoughts. I give You all of  my plans, dreams, and life. I pray that You will order my steps, my thoughts, and my ways according to Your perfect will. In Jesus name, Amen. 

-Lydia Fortner-


Lydia Fortner is a traveling preachers wife. She home schools both of her kids and is always on the search for a new adventure. She follows her husband across the country while he preaches the Gospel of Jesus to any and all.

Her “happy-place” is being snuggled up in fluffy pajamas, a good book in hand, and huddled around the fireplace with her family. 

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Thanks for writing the guest post, Mom. Love ya. 

The Crisis of Our Prayer Life…

“The crisis of our prayer life is that our minds may be filled with ideas of God while our hearts remain far from Him.” -Henri Nouwen-

 

This must be true, because even Jesus speaks of it in His walk on the earth. His words in Matthew 15:8 were, “This people draweth nigh unto me with their mouth, and honoureth me with their lips; but their heart is far from me.”

 

So we must get our hearts to God. 

Let’s build a relationship- a real love relationship with God.

 

The other day, I was reading though some of the first things I posted on this blog; and this post seemed to fit right in to this month of prayer. So, today, I’m pulling out an old one. 

 

 

What’s this life all about anyway?

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Maybe to some it’s about success in the world.

“One day I’ll be rich and famous,” or “Someday I’ll live out my dream.” Well life is not about anything in this world. We live this life to purchase our ticket to the next.

The life we are living right now is determining our future. Our goal is to know God. Without knowing Him and Him knowing us, without a mutual love relationship with God, how can we enter into the Kingdom of Heaven?

“Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven. Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.”                                                                                                                   Matthew 7:21-23

So, if knowing God and God knowing us is what it takes to get to Heaven, how do we accomplish this? How do we get God to know us?

What do we do when we want to get to know someone?

First, we introduce ourselves. A short chat might follow introduction and you’ll be on your way. That’s not a deep relationship though. To really become someones friend you’ll talk to them again and again, all the while finding out what they like, common interests, and growing to like the things that they like. If you grow to love them you will want to please them and give them what they desire, their will.

will

noun \ˈwil\

:  a particular person’s decision or choice <It’s the king’s will that he be jailed.>
 
Verse 21 says, he who does the will of God shall enter into the kingdom of Heaven, but a prayer or just a calling on God is not enough.

“Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven. (Matt. 7:21)

Now that we know we must have an intimate relationship with God, we know how to get Him to know us, and we know that we must do His will above all else, we need to know what God’s will is for us.

“For I came down from heaven, not to do mine own will, but the will of him that sent me.                                                                                                                                       And this is the Father’s will which hath sent me, that of all which he hath given me I should lose nothing, but should raise it up again at the last day.  And this is the will of him that sent me, that every one which seeth the Son, and believeth on him, may have everlasting life: and I will raise him up at the last day.” John 6:38-40

 
God wants you to be saved and to know Him. Just fall in love. Don’t be afraid. What if you love it?
 

1 John 2:3-4 says, “And hereby we do know that we know him, if we keep his commandments. He that saith, I know him, and keepeth not his commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him.”

Do God’s will.

He is what’s important.

Don’t fall for the tricks of evil.

This thing does matter.

 1 Peter 3:17, “For it is better to suffer for doing good, if that should be God’s will, than for doing evil.”

 

Let’s build relationship with Him through communication of reading the Word of God and through prayer. Our hearts will grow nearer to Him. It takes discipline but we can do it.

-Olivia-

Learning to Build Your Own Fire

A few posts back, I talked about learning how to start your own fire. Learning to put that motivation deep in your own soul. We need to learn to gather the twigs and limbs, chop the logs, and carry the weight of the wood, even when it means splintered arms. We must learn to build our own fires. 

 

I really understood the necessity of prayer a few years ago, when I saw the role it played in my grandmother’s daily routine. She’d committed to it. Prayer was the first thing in her morning. She wouldn’t go a day without it. Even in the busiest of times, she’d turn the alarm clock back even further so her time spent in prayer would not get lost in the rush of things. 

So I wondered; what is prayer? There’s got to be something to it for someone to remain so consistent in it. This wasn’t a short lived New Year resolution. It was a commitment. Sometimes hard to keep up with, not the easy way out, time sacrificed for it, heart poured into it. So I wanted to learn what prayer really was; because my idea of prayer was different and maybe I should be committing to what she had.

 

This one thing has made the difference in why I pray and motivated me to do so. Prayer is simply this, communication with God. 

 

That leaves me with a few good reasons to want to pray.

I.

God loves the long conversation.

He so enjoys those mornings on the couch; steaming black cup of coffee in hand, squinted sleepy eyes, and deep conversation. The kind where you pour over that thick leather bound book as He speaks so clearly through it that you can nearly hear the sound of His voice.

We are the children that He created when He felt alone and wanted deeper relationship. He wants us to show Him He is loved by choice, not by force. He longs for relationship with us. 

Those long and clear conversations are not the only thing He loves though. He sits, waiting anxiously everyday to hear your voice. The short and broken prayers- yea, He loves those too. Don’t you see? You are His love and He’s committed to that. No matter what, He loves your prayers.

II.

Prayer is powerful.

My grandmother is committed to prayer because it is powerful. It changes situations and leads us on a different path; a better one. Prayer changes us.

Prayer is our direct connection to God. 

Think about it. What if someone told you that you had the ability to communicate with a God? Not just any man made god, though; you had a chance to talk to the God more powerful than all the rest. 

You and I do have the ability to talk to God and He listens. We get to communicate with Him. We are able to ask Him questions and get to know Him. He listens. He answers.

That is prayer; communication with our Savior.

III.

This is how we build the fire. 

Do you ever have those days where you just don’t accomplish anything because you simply don’t know where to start? I know I do. There have been tons of things I would’ve accomplished sooner if I’d just started.

It’s pretty hard to “begin” when we have no motivation to do something. It’s hard to start when there’s no fire. 

 

In all of my procrastinating and then finally starting, here’s what I learned. Everything begins with prayer. Even when we don’t know where to start on prayer, we should pray. 

I keep relating to building your own fire. I like the metaphor of a campfire, but we know that the fire I’m referring to is that desire deep down in our gut. The desire to do something for the good of mankind. That selfless, beyond imaginable, insane idea that we can’t stop pursuing. The feeling that there is something bigger than all of this and how we know we want to be a part of it. The assurance in our minds that we’d do whatever it would take to be a part of such a thing, if it even existed. Well,it does exist (I like to think of it as The Higher Call. More on that later).

We’ve got to keep building that fire. Living like it’s a thought in the back of our mind that we’ll pursue someday, will lead to a thin stream of smoke and pile of ashes. Pursue those wild things racing around in your head. They’re not beyond your reach. “I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.” -Philippians 4:13.

But what about when we feel like the burning motivation is gone with the breeze and the sparks don’t fly up into the sky any more? What about when the wood we’ve gathered is soaked from the rain and we just don’t know how to start a fire?

 

We pray.

It’s always time to pray. I Thessalonians 5:17-18 “Pray without ceasing. In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.” Prayer, communication with our Savior, is how to start the fire. 

Praying is finding the dry leaves to light, gathering the wood and twigs, stacking the logs together, and saying “Yes, I believe I can build a fire now. This looks like a way to catch a flame and keep it glowing.” And then, knowing your box of matches is empty, you remember that you have something better…  a God who answers by fire (1 Kings 18).

You see, we must do the work we can do, and then trust God to send the flaming spark. During the building, in the mean time, and while the fire is burning, we pray. And when we pray with faith, God will consume what we’ve created and we will be left with the brilliant, powerful fire. 

 

Today our goal is to look up to Heaven and get into a real conversation with our Savior.

 

I’ll see you around the campfire,

Olivia

 

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