Monday, November 30, 2015

Prayer is Never a Waste

Prayer is Never a Waste - The Cozy Nook

Have you ever prayed for something or someone and felt like your prayers fell dead?

Perhaps your prayers felt like they were never answered.
Perhaps you saw little to no change in the circumstance or person.
Perhaps you felt discouraged to pray again.
Perhaps you felt like your prayers were just a waste of time and energy.

When we think about prayer, we can’t just think about it as if it were a financial transaction. I spend = I get. I pray = I receive … and now!

Prayer is much more than that. Prayer is the means God established for us to commune and connect with Him.

Prayer is never a waste.

It chases the heart of God, changes the hearts of men, and challenges our priorities.

  • Prayer chases the heart of God.

When we pray, we pursue God’s purposes. We humble ourselves and say, “God, here we are. God, please move in this situation. God, have Your way.” The act of prayer puts running shoes on our feet and sets us into action with God’s heart. Praying people chase the heart of God!

  • Prayer changes the hearts of men.

Sometimes we pray because we want to see other people’s hearts changed, and that is good and proper, lining up with God’s desires. However, in the process, our own hearts are changed as well. Prayer changes the hearts of those who are prayed for, in addition to the hearts of those who pray. Even though it may take a while for us to see someone else’s heart change, our own hearts can be conformed and transformed in an instant when we avail ourselves to prayer. All the more, our hearts are changed long term as he fashions us into His image.

  • Prayer challenges our priorities.

Life is full and busy, and it can be easy to get caught up with the activity of life, leaving the precious gift of prayer in the background. Choosing to pray tells the rest of our lives that God and His kingdom are important.

But seek first the kingdom and His righteousness and all these things shall be added unto you. Matthew 6:33

Prayer helps us to keep our priorities straight, seeking first God and His will for our lives. Prayer helps us to embrace the things in our lives that are good and meaningful and get rid of the fluff that exists.

If you have felt discouraged about your prayer life,
lay your discouragement aside and pursue God.

Chase his heart. Be changed. Be challenged.

Prayer is never a waste.

It chases the heart of God, changes the hearts of men, and challenges our priorities.

Sunday, November 8, 2015

Living Through Difficult Times: Remembering God Has a Plan and a Purpose!

The Cozy Nook - God Has a Plan and a Purpose

I was dragging a bit today. My mind was mulling over the past month’s difficulties and feeling a bit discouraged…

  • My pastor’s wife passed away.
  • A loved one was in the hospital.
  • I came down with pneumonia and am still fighting it.
  • Due to the pneumonia, I missed traveling out of state with my family to watch my son play in a national homeschool soccer tournament.
  • My father-in-law was rushed to the hospital yesterday, just as we were preparing to celebrate a wedding, and is now in critical condition.

I feel a bit worn out – physically, mentally, and emotionally.

I was trying to rest and regroup, as I usually do on Sundays, and needed to tackle the bills. As I stepped into my role of responsibility, a thought came to me:

God has a plan and a purpose for you right now, and that is what you need to focus on.

It’s so true! In the midst of all of life’s icky, sticky messes, God has a plan and a purpose for our lives, and that is what we need to cling to.

“For I know the thoughts (plans) that I think toward you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope.”
Jeremiah 29:11

We have to remember that GOD has plans for us. He always does. No matter what life looks like and what is going on around us, GOD has a plan for us, and it is His plan that will prevail and weave through the fabric of life.

God has a plan. He is not surprised by the mishaps and bumps in the road. He is prepared. He knows just how to help us. He is able to strengthen us. He desires to carry us and fill our hearts will peace and fullness of joy.

Not only does he have a plan for our lives, actively working with us and through us in all circumstances, He has a purpose for everything.

“And we know all things work together for good to those who love God.”
Romans 8:28

God has a purpose for ALL THINGS. He is working it all for good.

We only see a slice of the cake, a piece of the puzzle, but God… He sees it all! He sees the whole picture, and He creates His masterpiece with every little bit, with a perfect purpose in mind!

When life is difficult, we have to get our minds off of the natural and dig deep into our souls, reminding us of these precious truths.

God has a plan and a purpose!

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Parenthood: Standing in the Gap with Grace for Your Children

Standing in the Gap with Grace for Your Children - The Cozy Nook

Many times we have expectations for our children. Many times our children fall short. They are human after all, just like us.

We want them to be able to do certain things and achieve certain goals, and sometimes it is easy to focus on what isn’t getting done rather than what is getting done.

In the end, we have to accept where our children are in life and make up for their lack with the strength, wisdom, love, and knowledge we have.
That, my friends, is parenthood.

God the Father is a great example of this. All He asks is that we do our best, that we follow Him the best that we can, that we love Him the best that we can, and He makes up for the rest. He asks us to trust, rest, and lean on Him.

He fills in the gaps of our lives with His grace and mercy and helps us succeed in life.

That is what we must do for our children.

I realize how much I need the Lord to fill my life with His grace. I realize how much I lack and need Him to carry me. In the same way, I want to support my children.

They may take longer to grow into certain habits that I desire for them, and I want to have the endurance to walk alongside of them patiently -- teaching, training, and loving them into maturity.

They may be weak in some areas where I wish they were strong. I pray I may be strong for them, supporting them and loving them as God fashions them and shapes their weaknesses into strengths.

They may need extra assistance and extra tender loving care. I hope that I will be a gracious and generous mother, giving from a heart of abundance.

The true nature of good parenthood is to give. It is the heart of a good parent to give fully to her children so they may benefit and grow up well.

May God give us the power and strength to fill our children’s lives with His grace and mercy, just as He so lovingly does for us.