Prayer Risk

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There are times when we may feel as thought the riskiest thing we can do is pray and leave the results up to God. Praying is risky in human terms, because it is stepping out in faith and leaning in on God to accomplish far more than we could simply try to accomplish on our own. Prayer is an everyday risk. A person who devotes the early morning hour(s) in prayer is taking a risk – a risk that the hour could have been spent sleeping, working, striving or trying to make things happen on their own. Martin Luther said, “I have so much to do that I shall spend the first three hours in prayer.” Now that’s a risk taker and a praise maker. Luther had such strong faith in a great God who desires to answer prayer, that he risked three hours of his busy day on his knees!

When we look at some of the women in the Old Testament, we find several women who prayed and listened to God’s direction. Take Deborah for instance. You can find her story in Judges 4 & 5. Deborah had an extraordinary faith and ability to lead. Her giftedness seemed to stem from a woman who had an intimate relationship with God. She heard Him. She recognized His voice. God told her to go into battle, and He told her how to do it. We don’t know exactly how God spoke to Deborah, but we do know that she listened to Him. Her risk was not based on her own crazy ideas. The risk she took was based on the very words of God. There’s a lot of crazy opportunities in our world to take big risks, but let us be wise and move on the foundation of God’s word as well as looking to Him for direction.

Recently, a friend of mine struggled with some family members and their unwise choices. She wanted to fix them and change them, but she also realized her limitations to do so. As she prayed about the issues, she began to realize she was powerless to make a difference in her family member’s lives. She also realized that although she was powerless, God was powerful and able to do what she could not do. Instead of trying to fix the broken parts of their lives, she took the risk of pulling her hands off the situation and instead putting her hands together in prayer. She prayed consistently and emphatically that God would do the work and fight the battle.

Where do you need to take the risk of listening to God and praying for His direction instead of trying to fix things on your own?

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This is an excerpt from Positive Leadership Principles for Women.

 

Photo by Myles Tan on Unsplash

Secrets to a Happy Marriage

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This week my husband and I celebrated our 35th wedding anniversary. While no marriage is perfect, there are a few things that can strengthen the relationship between husband and wife. Here’s my short list of ways to increase the happiness in your marriage and keep the home fires burning.

Positive Practices

  • Communicate in a loving tone
  • Pray together every day
  • Forgive, forgive, forgive – continually
  • Maintain hope
  • Listen well
  • See the best in your spouse
  • Smile, laugh, go on dates together
  • Build on your common interests and hobbies
  • Appreciate the differences
  • Overlook the small stuff
  • Greet your spouse with joy (take a lesson from your dog on this one)
  • Reflect on what brought you together in the first place
  • Agree to disagree at times
  • Be a content and joyful person
  • Find your identity in Christ, not your spouse

 

Some Don’ts:

  • Don’t use the words “always” or “never”
  • Don’t demand your own way or think you know it all
  • Don’t nab and nit-pick at each other
  • Don’t hold on to past offenses or grudges
  • Don’t let technology isolate you and diminish your communication
  • Don’t depend on your spouse for your own personal happiness

 

The apostle Paul described love this way, “Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous or boastful or proud or rude. It does not demand its own way. It is not irritable, and it keeps no record of being wronged.  It does not rejoice about injustice but rejoices whenever the truth wins out. Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance.” (I Corinthians 13)

I don’t know about you, but I fall short of that description of love in many ways. The good news is, this description of love gives us a picture of God’s love toward us. How wonderful to know that God genuinely loves us and that we can ask Him to pour His love through us. May His love be very real in your life today.

True Positive: Day 20 – Big Picture

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There are times when life circumstances seem immense and overwhelming. Whether it is a deadline, or a sudden life change or simply a difficult person, challenges can loom large in our minds. In these moments, it is important for us to step back and gain a broader perspective. Consider asking yourself the question, “In light of eternity, how does this effect my life and the lives of those around me?”

If you ever sat too close to the screen in a movie theater, you know what I’m talking about. Sometimes we must look at the whole picture instead of what is right in front of our eyes, distorting our perspective. When challenges come our way, they may look like mountains for a moment, but step back and gain perspective and recognize that your circumstances are only part of a bigger life story.

Father, teach us to number our days that we may gain a heart of wisdom (Psalm 90:12). Help us keep our eyes on your love and presence in our lives no matter what the circumstances.

True Positive: Day 18 – Patience

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“Patience” may not be your favorite topic of conversation, but there is a unique beauty in learning to wait. Impatience only stirs up anger and frustration, but if we can develop the positive quality of waiting, we experience peace and joy. Being patient with others brings them blessing. The Bible reminds us that God is patient and slow to anger with us.

What is the first attribute of love listed in 1 Corinthian 13? Patience! When we love people, we bear with them and recognize that God is still at work in their lives. While we are waiting on circumstances or on people, it is a good idea to pray and look for something productive you can do. I always keep a book in the car with me, so that I can occupy myself while waiting. Whether waiting for the right job or the right spouse, we can always find something productive to do while waiting.

Don’t be afraid to ask the Lord to give you patience. It’s a positive and beautiful quality

True Positive: Day 17 – Forgiveness

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Dr. Randy Kamen, psychologist and author of Behind the Therapy Door, says, “Forgiveness transforms anger and hurt into healing and peace. Forgiveness can help you overcome feelings of depression, anxiety, and rage, as well as personal and relational conflicts. It is about making the conscious decision to let go of a grudge.” Additionally, Harvard researcher and physician Dr. George Vaillant describes forgiveness as one of the 8 positive emotions that keep us connected with our deepest selves and with others.

Jesus gave His followers the clear message of forgiveness. As we extend forgiveness toward others, we demonstrate that we understand the forgiveness God has toward us through Christ. Forgiveness doesn’t mean we allow someone to trample over us again and again. We must learn to set wise boundaries. Forgiveness means we are releasing the right to hold something over another person and handing it over to a just and loving God.

Psalm 36 is one of my favorite passages:

Your unfailing love, O Lord, is as vast as the heavens;
your faithfulness reaches beyond the clouds.
 Your righteousness is like the mighty mountains,
your justice like the ocean depths.

It reminds me not only of God’s unfailing love, but also His great justice. When we turn our hurts and pain over to Him, we can trust that He will take care of it. Think of the ocean depths – there is a lot of life happening in the depths of the great deep. There is joy, peace and freedom when we release our grudges and allow God to deal with it. He sees, He knows, He is at work.