1. Where to pray
“And when you pray, you must not be like the hypocrites. For they love to stand and pray in the synagogues and at the street corners, that they may be seen by others. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward. But when you pray, go into your room and shut the door and pray to your Father who is in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you.” -Matthew 6:5-6

-Sure some people are very gifted in how they pray in public. Group prayer is not bad, but there are those who try to pray in order to seem holy and in order to draw attention to themselves.  They are not praying with a true heart, but for prideful intent. When you are to pray, we should do it privately.  It is really cool to think that our Father is in secret and when we pray in secret to Him, He is the only one who will see you and knows your heart. That’s so wonderful.

2. Length of Prayer
“And when you pray, do not heap up empty phrases as the Gentiles do, for they think that they will be heard for their many words. Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him.” -Matthew 6:7-8

– When I was 13, I used to pray at night with my mom in her room. I’d pray for a good 30 minutes.  She would fall asleep as I’d pray.  It is better to pray short prayers from the heart and say little, for the burdens you have in your heart have already been heard by God.

SONY DSC3. What to Pray (Matthew 6:9-13)
“Pray then like this: ‘Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name.”

-Recognize who God is and where He is. Acknowledge His holiness and mightiness.

“Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.”

-Long for the establishment of God’s kingdom to be here in how you live and as you live.  There is great peace in heaven, and to long for that here on earth is beautiful!  We should live what we hope should be here.  Make sure that God’s will is always first.  We need to seek Him and His kingdom first.  This is so important!

“Give us this day our daily bread,”

-He knows your needs.  Ask for them to be provided for you.

“and forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors.”

-We do wrong every day. We need to acknowledge our sin and long for freedom from it.  Because He forgives you of these things, you must also forgive people who have sinned against you, no matter how hard it is. For God doesn’t hold anything against us when we are forgiven, nor should we.

“And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.”

-Pray that you do not have the ability to even be led into temptation that leads to sin.  For when we are tempted, our testing of our faith can come about and we might get trapped and ensnared.  We should not want Satan to have any hold on our lives at all.

4. Important conclusion
“For if you forgive others their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you, but if you do not forgive others their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.” -Matthew 6:14-15

-This is extended from the Lord’s prayer’s explanation a bit.  Can you imagine how powerful forgiveness is here? Jesus saved us from sin and we are called to be like Him. He did not kill those who physically accused Him or killed Him at all but instead forgave them. In living like Jesus and being like Him, we need to definitely do this.  Imagine not being able to be forgiven simply because you held things against others? That’s intense! We should live this out!


yourwillbedoneI struggle so much lately.
With people. With myself.

The most valuable lesson I’ve been learning over the past few months is something I’ve been struggling with like crazy: to focus on my own relationship with Christ & to show love to others, meeting them where they are.

What does this struggle look like?
Jesus loved me and everyone so much that He wanted to prove to us all that He is Truth, that He is God, that He loves us and knows our hearts.  That’s the kicker there: He knows our hearts. I don’t know the hearts of others as He does.

We are told to seek His kingdom first (Matthew 6:33). We can encourage others to do so as well.  We can’t however think that we know better than others or know where they may or may not be growing or stumbling.  We need to think as Jesus did. While He was hanging on the cross to die, and through all that was done to His body beforehand, and the fact that He did no wrong at all, He didn’t look down on us or show anger towards us or hold our sins against us.  Instead He said, “Father forgive them, for they know not what we do.” (Luke 23:34) That’s what we need to have an attitude of.  Forgiveness. Everyone is seeking for answers and they/we don’t know what we do time and time again.

I sometimes wonder where others stand with God. This is not what we are called to do.  I can’t change people’s minds and hearts, only Christ can. I have done wrong in having this attitude and it is being worked on now. Today.  I can show compassion on all and try to help them, but I am not to believe that I know where they are in their faith.  I don’t.  I also don’t have the answers for everything. I can only point to Christ. May they seek Him out and may He transform us all. I am sorry for hurting people with the old mindset I once had, for I truly did not know what I was doing. I want to look at everyone for now on and know that Jesus loves them and that I must also, no matter how difficult it might be. May His will be done here on earth as it is in heaven (Matthew 6:10).

Pray with me:
“Our heavenly Father, I truly know that I am in need of work.  Help me to seek you out. Help me to go to your Word for guidance on my life rather than focusing on the people around me.  Show me how you love others. In your son Jesus’ name, Amen.”

psalm119Throughout the past year, Rob & I have fell in love with the Pentateuch and the commandments throughout it.  I used to believe God’s Word was filled with rules and burdens for my life, because I didn’t want to give up myself at all (while proclaiming praise to Him).  I didn’t like the idea of sacrificing myself or allowing Christ to sacrifice Himself as an offering so that I might live in His light and know His peace.

I have found peace! In His law, I have found a great love and ease in life.  I feel like the weight has been carried off.  His blood has only increased on my life over the years, but now, I have a reason to give back to Him and serve Him through how I live by abiding in Him and obeying Him.

Psalm 119: 172-176 expresses:
“My tongue will sing of your word, for all your commandments are right. Let your hand be ready to help me, for I have chosen your precepts. I long for your salvation, O Lord, and your law is my delight.  Let my soul live and praise you, and let your rules help me.  I have gone astray like a lost sheep; seek your servant, for I do not forget your commandments.”

I am weary of hearing many Christians shrug off the Law and long to live for themselves (and finding these things to be natural, while living just as the unbelievers do).  As I tell my own sons to change their underwear daily, to be kind to others, to brush their teeth, to not steal one another’s toys; I see how much more natural the law is for our lives to become accustomed to.  I pray that we will all be willing to reflect and know the laws and live them while being willing to be shown by Christ which ones He has covered with His sacrificial blood that we no longer have to worry about, and which ones we need to continue to practice!  I no longer feel a burden, but a great joy!  I am excited about what God has revealed to us through His Word! It is so exciting!

“Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them.  For truly, I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not an iota, not a dot, will pass from the Law until all is accomplished. Therefore whoever relaxes one of the least of these commandments and teaches others to do the same will be called least in the kingdom of heaven, but whoever does them and teaches them will be called great in the kingdom of heaven.” -Matthew 5:17-19

squaredbedI had a dream last night about my husband as if my life were different; with him being in the background as just a guy who was not-so-interested in me. When I woke up, the first thing I did was touch him to see that he was there; to know he is mine.  I smiled and felt so much better. Then right afterwards I thought about the memories I have with him from when our relationship began. My mind was fast forwarding through so many things.  It led to thoughts of sex. My mind slowed down.  I tried to let him know some of the thoughts right away (he told me not to since he was getting ready for work & didn’t want distractions).  My mind is so warped that I function most of the time thinking about sex with Rob.  The feelings build up in me throughout my day away from him, that I am about to explode once I do see him again, wanting to pounce on him. Thankfully, he is my husband, so these thoughts are not bad, but my heart is not being drawn enough to Christ. Instead it is being drawn to a gift given to us by God. I yearn more for pleasures with my husband instead of pleasures involving Christ. I feel horrible for doing so and repent this to you all reading this.

Jesus actually says in Luke 17:3 to “Pay attention to yourselves!” when dealing with temptations leading into sin. What sin did I commit, you ask, since I am married? I honestly have been in dream-mode about Rob more than I have been to God’s Word and His role in my life. This is maybe not a big deal to other people, but I had Rob as an idol for a few years and pushed God aside (almost completely) when I was 18-22. I don’t want that to ever happen again, so I caught myself before going into that mindset as I once had done.

If I didn’t catch it, I would hope a brother or sister in Christ would rebuke me on it.  The rest of the verse said by Jesus was, “If your brother sins, rebuke him, and if he repents, forgive him, and if he sins against you seven times in a day, and turns to you seven times, saying, ‘I repent,’ you must forgive him.” 
I know a lot of Christians lately who say, “God doesn’t want us to judge anyone!” Or they will say that they are doing right by not forgiving someone because they need to “think of themselves”.  Jesus just said right here to rebuke sin in others and on a regular basis even if they don’t confess it to you (maybe they don’t even recognize their own sin as I did). Forgiveness has to follow EVERY TIME. No matter how many wrongs are done to a person or in our own lives, we need to forgive and love. Jesus said so.

Nathan rebuked (in a beautifully loving way) King David for his sin of murdering Uriah & having an affair with Bathsheba.  Then I think about King Solomon (their son) who was given the most wisdom, greater than any other man ever.  What did he do even being the wisest man to ever live? He turned to his wives’ idols instead of having obedience to God, who says to have no other gods but Him. Solomon could have used a Nathan in his life, but instead God appeared to him twice in 1 Kings 11:9, showing anger towards Solomon, telling him that he was disobedient.  Because He is God, He has the ability to discipline if He so longs to, but He did show mercy on Solomon because his father David was so humble.  God does use His people to help us know when we do wrong. This is a blessing, yet today so many people want to call people “judgmental” when one is trying to help us towards righteousness!

I apologize to my husband for being so obsessed with him, that I forget to have an obsession that far exceeds that with Christ.  I apologize to people who have seen my obsession and have perhaps wanted to tell me about it (please do) so that I work towards pursuing Christ on a regular basis and filling my life with Him!!! I long and long for Christ and want to please Him!!

I used to care deeply about politics. I used to write lengthy posts on my old livejournal about why people should or shouldn’t vote for a candidate (this was once I was allowed to vote).  It used to actually make my heart race to debate and to feel superior to other people because of the things I would find out. Honestly, that is the attitude I had. It was a terrible thing and I want to apologize to all the people that I hurt in the process of making sure I was vocal about my political stances.

Rob and I have been discussing politics much more lately.  I do get huffy-puffy sometimes at his outlandish remarks, but usually afterwards I think, “Rob’s actually completely on the dot about that.”  In a recent debate with Rob, I told him that we should simply want to focus on fellowshipping with other believers, spreading the gospel of Christ and ultimately living for Him in how we love, not about any structure of government. It was pretty much what we both decided on. The person I once was when vocal about politics was anything but this. Politics actually started to drive a wedge in my relationships with others and they had a bad taste in their mouth about Christianity.

With the last presidential election I actually convinced a few people to register to vote and helped them decide to vote for who I believed was the “lesser of two evils”.  A friend’s mom even privately let me know that she voted for the person I voted for and to not tell my friend.  I was fuming with anxiety and anger and emotion when Rob told me, “I voted for Chuck Baldwin” who was the Constitution Party candidate for president four years ago. It was my birthday on that day and I said that he ruined my birthday by voting for someone with no chance at winning.  He said that the lesser of two evils was still evil and that he couldn’t vote for evil.

When this coming election was closing in, I had a candidate I was excited about, but when they dropped out I felt hopeless and at a loss. I was putting my trust in the leadership of the country and the people in the country instead of Jesus Christ who sees a larger perspective of everything.  Rob convinced me that the Constitution Party candidate had beliefs based on the Bible and that they are against things like pornography.

Rob had been more outspoken about voting for the Constitution Party and I would sit back and just pay attention to everyone fighting and debating and arguing on facebook and twitter. I only spoke up on someone else’s post a couple days ago, and that was it. It made me realize that many people have an idol in politics. Some have an idol called government. They make it so important that if someone doesn’t see as they do, they get really upset and sometimes cut people out of their lives.  Where is the compassion and love of the believers such as I read about in the Bible? Where was Jesus? I didn’t and still don’t really see it with politics.

I grow weary of my own parents yelling at me about wasting a vote or allowing “the other guy” to win if I didn’t vote like them.  My dad even said that if Elmer Fudd were up against such-and-such person, he’d vote for Elmer Fudd and that I am stupid for not doing the same thing. It really hurt me deeply. I see now that there was a constant fear in people who are believers in Christ. They are so afraid of what will happen to our country. They want to stand for their beliefs and stand up for governmental liberty and freedoms but forget to live out the gospel!

“But the Jews were jealous, and taking some wicked men of the rabble, they formed a mob, set the city in an uproar, and attacked the house of Jason, seeking to bring them out to the crowd. And when they could not find them, they dragged Jason and some of the brothers before the city authorities, shouting, ‘These men who have turned the world upside down have come here also, and Jason has received them, and they are all acting against the decrees of Caesar, saying that there is another king, Jesus.’ And the people and the city authorities were disturbed when they heard these things. And when they had taken money as security from Jason and the rest, they let them go.” -Acts 17:5-9

If you are to be a radical for Christ, be a radical. So that’s what we decided to do; just like the early day Christians and those currently in our world who stand up for righteousness as they are persecuted and killed for the Lord.

I have no fear. I have a king who rules over me. I have mentioned before here how I see Jesus as King and worthy of honor and glory.  I started to realize that no matter who wins any elections anywhere, God knows what is going on. He has control. He cares for us and is going to help us no matter what goes down or what evil might come about. I have to just trust in Him. There is no better place than to put my hope and trust in Him. And a peace poured over me. No more anger or rage regarding politics as I once had. No more hurting others except by disappointing them for not seeing things their way. I am going to look to Christ. When our new pastor echoed this on Sunday, it helped confirm what Rob and I have already been speaking out about.

A friend of ours told me four years ago that he really loved the book by Shane Claiborne called Jesus For President.  Our friend either actually voted for Jesus on the ballot four years ago, or didn’t bother voting. I felt this was ridiculous, but kept it in mind. Shane Claiborne’s book The Irresistible Revolution actually changed my heart big time about three to four years ago and gave me a new perspective on so many Biblical things, so I respect the author. I have yet to read Jesus for President, but will do so.

This morning I decided to look up quotes from the book Jesus for President. I shared them on my facebook and to Rob privately.

“When the church takes affairs of the state more seriously than they do Jesus, Pax Romana becomes its gospel and the president becomes the Son of God.”

“This is what Jesus had in mind: folks coming together, forming close-knit communities and meeting each other’s needs– no kings, no major welfare systems, no presidents necessary. His is a theology and practice for the people of God, not a set of suggestions for empire.”

“One by one, these disciples would infect the nations with grace. It wasn’t a call to take the sword or the throne and force the world to bow. Rather, they were to live the contagious love of God, to woo the nations into a new future.”

Shane Claiborne recently stated this as well, which I shared:
“So, we may vote on November 6. But we will also vote today, and tomorrow, and the next day. We are convinced that change is not confined to one day every four years. Change happens every day. We vote with our lives. And we are convinced that voting for a new President may be little more than damage control. For Presidents and Caesars do not save the world. But there is a God who can…Enough donkeys and elephants… long live the Lamb.”

It makes complete sense to me. Why vote? Why live as the rest of the nation? Why bicker and argue about something that just causes anger? If we are to stand for our beliefs, we’ll do it, not for anyone but Jesus Christ. We should be most outspoken about Him than any candidate at all.  One of my best friends said that she couldn’t even find it in her heart to vote without feeling guilty.  Rob was going to stop to vote before going to work, but after I told him about these quotes, he let it out he never stopped to vote. He said, “I have decided that due to the fact that I have no God or King other than the one true God and His son that I will not be voting today.” It touched my heart so much. I will also not be voting. I am not worried about who wins or loses because in the end Christ wins and this earth will pass away. I love being at peace! There is only ONE WAY, ONE TRUTH, and ONE LIFE. Everything must direct towards Him for His glory. I am extremely grateful to coming to this realization and for Christ changing my attitude and heart.

I’ve come to realize I set my standards too high for my writing on this blog. My desire to be excellent with my writing of interesting topics has left me at a state of complete neglect of new posts. I have this idea in my head that I’ll only write a post when I have that awesome everyone-will-read-it article that I’ve completely ignored the fact that it isn’t MY job to be excellent, but God’s alone.

I think it also relates to how I am at work. I’m quite honestly VERY soft spoken about my beliefs. Too soft spoken. What it comes down to is I need to stop expecting to be the deliverer of an amazing word (Mario Savio style) and to just be the lips that part to say whatever God has for me to say, however short. Jarrid Wilson’s blog for instance has relatively short but awesomely inspiring posts relating to simply living in The Way. I encourage everyone to check out his blog as well. Yes, he seems a bit of a hipster (and I mean that in the BEST ways possible, I’m a bit of one too) but don’t let it deter you. We are about more than Earthly classifications anyway, right?

Many Christians today believe it is their duty against sinfulness to attend  what has been called “Chick-Fil-A Day”.  If you were to go to a Chick-Fil-A today, would it have made you a follower of culture’s new Christian fad rather than being a follower of God’s Word? For some that may be the case and others perhaps not. While many people believe they are doing right in going, I don’t think I could personally do it at all without feeling guilt ridden of my own sinfulness and want to fall on my knees crying out while ordering whatever is served at Chick-Fil-A .

Imagine that I entered a Chick-Fil-A and saw a few very overweight citizens of the US who claim to be Christians who were sitting at a Chick-Fil-A. I don’t believe it would be right for me to approach them and say, “You are in sin, for your are gluttonous!!! How dare you eat here while in sin and boasting your pride in standing up against homosexuality!”  They would probably feel highly judged and insulted and then want to find a sin of mine to point out. I do not know what is really going on and why they are overweight just as they wouldn’t know why I am in the sin they’d point out to me that I have.  How would I know that one of them may have just come to join their friends but have been working out for months and eating more properly while trying to attain a healthy diet and change in their life? I wouldn’t, unless I had sat down to get to know them. For all I know they’d be open to tell me about what they were going through if I were forming a relationship with them.

I decided to read Romans 1 & 2 today just for a review, because I always have appreciated what these chapters say.  While the Bible clearly states that homosexuality is wrong in Romans 1, the follow up in Romans 2 is something we can’t blindly ignore!

Romans 1:18-28 explains how God reveals Himself to a person and the sins they indulge.  He also reveals His wrath to these people.  Regardless of what God has tried to warn us about throughout the scriptures and regardless of Him sending Jesus to atone for their sins, they do not acknowledge Him as God and do not only continue in their sin, but pat people on the back for being sinful.  The culture today is exactly like this.  God then lets those people continue in their own way since they long to disobey and He won’t force us to change from our natural sin nature unless we are willing to surrender to Him.  Homosexuality is included in its own paragraph in Romans 1 as being wrong.

When we don’t want to cease from giving our sins up for Jesus to save us from, we become what Romans 1:29-31 states, “They were filled with all manner of unrighteousness, evil, covetousness, malice. They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, maliciousness. They are gossips,  slanderers, haters of God, insolent, haughty, boastful, inventors of evil, disobedient to parents, foolish, faithless, heartless, ruthless.”

Are there any things on this list that you yourself are guilty of? I am.
For years I boasted about the things I stayed away from. For instance, I had never even had a sip of soda before, but last week God convicted me of my own pride and said that my abstaining from so many types of drinks did not give glory to Him at all, but to myself. Therefore I was self-seeking.  There was this pride of how cool I was for staying out of things that are not even considered sinful. Paul had boasted in his sins and how Christ saved him from those things, which encouraged others to do the same.  I rarely see Christians being outspoken about how God saved them out of certain lifestyles, but the ones I have met who have, you can see a complete difference in their lives and how Christ touched them.  I had written semi-recently a gigantic post about how I was once involved in a homosexual lifestyle and how Christ saved me from sin, and now that I see people standing up against the sin by deciding to go eat at a restaurant owned by an outspoken person, it made me realize that there is no glory truly given to God in this choice, but more of a legalistic decision much like mine to not have any soda.  Eating at a restaurant will not change hearts or make one convert. Jesus does that on His own!

Romans 2 talks about righteous judgement.  If you are in sin but instead of solving the issues of your own sin you like to talk against others who are in sin and tell them they are wrong without being open to correction about your own sinfulness, then you are in for a taste of God’s wrath.  That’s right.  Verse 3-5 explains: “Do you suppose, O man—you who judge those who practice such things and yet do them yourself—that you will escape the judgment of God? Or do you presume on the riches of his kindness and forbearance and patience, not knowing that God’s kindness is meant to lead you to repentance?  But because of your hard and impenitent heart you are storing up wrath for yourself on the day of wrath when God’s righteous judgment will be revealed.”

You will find yourself going through a cycle of being judged and being called names as you work to point out the sins of others who are not Christians (as 1 Corinthians 5 explains quite a bit about).  If you are a proclaiming Christian, you are called to help encourage and rightfully judge those who are to obey God’s Word, who say they believe in Jesus, but you have no right to just call people out who have no understanding of His Word and are of the world. Those are people in need of being reached out to and shown compassion (without being pat on their back for being in sin, key thing there). Verses 14-16 say, “For when Gentiles, who do not have the law, by nature do what the law requires, they are a law to themselves, even though they do not have the law.  They show that the work of the law is written on their hearts, while their conscience also bears witness, and their conflicting thoughts accuse or even excuse them  on that day when, according to my gospel, God judges the secrets of men by Christ Jesus.”

The rest of the chapter goes on to say that if you teach the Word and if you are going to preach against adultery, you better not be an adulterer yourself.  If you are going to preach about homosexuality being wrong, you better not be a homosexual yourself.  The reason why you shouldn’t do this is because it is a bad testimony and defiles God’s Word completely.  Now it makes complete sense why this could be a problem on Chick-Fil-A Day.  There are many people who might view homosexual pornography or are involved in homosexuality themselves but talk about it being wrong without taking their sins to Christ to be redeemed and confessing it to others.  This is why so many people hate Christians: hypocrisy, which is what Romans 2 talks about.

Whether or not you decided to go to Chick-Fil-A today, is between you and God, but I know I have seen so many Christians posting pictures all day on Facebook of how they went there which didn’t make them seem righteous at all; just A-Fil-In their bellies.

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