The God of Heaven and Earth

The heavens and earth are our whole world. Without them, we could not exist. A one-degree change in the tilt of our axis would demolish us. One inch closer to the sun would incinerate us. The exact precision of our position in our solar system and in the Milky Way ensures the existence of mankind on the earth. We can see God’s hand in this exactitude in nature (Romans 1:20).

He is so much greater than what we deem so important in our little microcosm on this earth. Consider the heavens with the sun, moon and stars, which are the work of His fingers (Psalm 8:3). There is no man-made cathedral, which can house His amazing influence and majesty (Acts 7:49). Even the highest heavens cannot contain Him (2 Chronicles 6:18).

Heaven is God’s throne and the earth is His footstool (Matthew 5:35; Isaiah 66:1). He lays the beams of His upper chamber on the firmament around the earth (Psalm 104:3). He makes the clouds His chariots and rides on swift clouds and on the wings of the wind (Psalm 104:3; Isaiah 19:1). The windstorms are His chariot and His horses are faster and more magnificent than eagles (Jeremiah 4:13).

He often uses tornados, hurricanes and storms to remind humanity of His great power (Nahum 1:3). He uses lightening as arrows and sends them forth to do His bidding (2 Samuel 22:15). He channels the sea; and even the heart of kings and the flow of rivers follow the course, which He prepares for them (Isaiah 43:19; Proverbs 21:1).

He constructed the foundation of the universe and at His rebuke, or a blast of His breath from His nostrils everything will be laid barren (2 Samuel 22:16). His voice is like a waterfall, like a mighty trumpet (Revelation 1:15; Ezekiel 43:2; Hebrews 12:19; Psalm 93:4). Clouds and thick darkness surround Him as His canopy, and a blazing fire goes before Him (Psalm 97:2; 2 Samuel 22:12-13).

He parts the heavens and comes down with dark clouds under His feet (2 Samuel 22:10). He cautions us not to swear by heaven, because heaven is His throne on which He sits (Matthew 5:34, 23:22). He fills heaven and earth and there is no place that we could ever hide from Him (Jeremiah 23:24). The earth, as we know it, will pass away, but His Word will live on eternally (Matthew 24:35).

Prayer:
Father God, You come to us with earthquakes and booming thunder, with windstorms and blizzards and flames of devouring fire (Isaiah 29:6). Yet, You also come to us as a baby in the manger, as a servant King and as a risen Savior (Isaiah 9:6; Philippians 2:5-7; Romans 10:9). You are so mighty that our mind cannot contain the fullness of who You really are. We praise You with all of our being, because although You are the great, powerful and awesome God, You keep Your covenant of love with those who love You and keep Your commandments (Nehemiah 9:32; 1 Kings 8:23; Nehemiah 1:5; Daniel 9:4).

Thought for the Day:
Our might God rescues us and is our support in a safe and comfortable place, even in the face of a strong enemy who overpowers us and hates us and confronts us in our times of misfortune. – 2 Samuel 2:18-20

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How to Pray to God

So many people are intimidated by the concept of prayer. They hesitate to speak to God, because He is too busy with the rest of the world to be bothered by their petty concerns. They would never, ever pray in public because people might judge their efforts as lacking. Yet, prayer is as easy as talking to your best friend.

Jesus actually is our very best friend (John 15:13-15). He laid His life down for each one of us, taking all of our personal sins upon Himself. The only perfect, righteous man ever to live on planet earth bore the shame of the sins of every person ever born or ever to be born. Yet, He willingly gave up His life for our eternal security.

Praying words from Biblical passages gives us the life-giving power of the Word behind our prayers. The scriptures were so well written by people who felt just like we do. It is wise to journal in a notebook as we pray too, in order to record the issues on our heart. Then, when God answers those prayers we can verify the date in our journal, which will increase our faith.

God cannot answer the prayers of an unrighteous person (Psalm 5:4). If we harbor sin in our heart, and yet claim to be Born Again, God will not stay in our presence either (1 John 3:9). Otherwise, there is no trial too severe or concern too trivial to bring to God in prayer. We can talk to God about anything and everything that is on our mind, and then sit in companionable silence in case He wants to speak to us.

Taking time to listen to God’s answers as we pray, allows Him to communicate with us in His still, small voice in the center of our being – in our spirit. The more we sit in those quiet moments, the more we will hear from God, and the more we will come to recognize His voice (John 10:27-28; Psalm 46:10). He will lead us all through the day in this same way and confirm His direction by His Word.

Prayer:
Father God, prayer is the opportunity to speak to You, the God of the Universe. There is no being higher than You and Your ways are beyond human reasoning. You know the end from the beginning (Isaiah 46:10); therefore, listening to Your truth through Your Word and by Your voice speaking to us in times of prayer is the greatest blessing we can ever experience on this earth. Draw us to Your heart each day and remind us that You are waiting to hear our voice in praise to Your glory, contrition for our sins, and gratitude for who You are and all that You do for us each day. We find our ultimate peace and joy in Your presence in our life.

Thought for the Day:
Although God may not give us the answer we requested in our prayers, He will always give us something better; even if it does not seem like it at the time.

That Feeling of Intimacy

So many people tell me that they no longer feel God’s intense presence like they once did, and they want that feeling back. They say that God left them alone in the wilderness, and they cannot find His presence. This is impossible. God lives within us (Colossians 1:27). There is no way that He would ever leave or forsake us (Hebrews 13:5).

If we do not feel His presence it is for one of two reasons. Maybe we sinned and grieved the Holy Spirit. When this happens, God turns His back because He cannot look upon sin (Habakkuk 1:13). The other reason is that He is enjoying some companionable silence with us; and in our insecurity, we fail to realize that He is still and always will be right here within us.

God is constantly near us. He sees us no matter where we are or what we are doing (Psalm 139:8). He fills the heavens and earth, and this includes the lives of those who put their trust in Him (Jeremiah 23:23-24). The first step in restoring our intimacy is to allow God’s Spirit to search our heart (Psalm 139:23-24). He will point out to us any idol or sin, which is blocking the connection between Him and us.

The second step is to relax and enjoy God’s companionable silence. We do not need goose bumps, constant revelation from His Word or His still, small voice within us in order to believe that He is with us. We have His promise that He is there, and that is all we really need. Rather than seeking a feeling, just spend time praising God, because our connection with Him can never be lost.

Prayer:
Father God, You inhabit the praises of Your people (Psalm 22:3). There is no quicker way to connect to Your presence in us than to praise You with an obedient heart full of gratitude and trust. Remind us that once we are free from unconfessed sin, empty of all known idols and trusting in Your goodness, we will bask in the waterfall of Your love, which You pour over those who rest in Your will.

Thought for the Day:
Never allow Satan to convince you that this perceived “dry spell” means that God is withholding His presence from you; confess known sin and then enjoy His companionable silence by sitting still and knowing that He is Your God now and forever. – Psalm 46:10

All Part of God’s Plan

God’s wrath over sin fated Jesus to a brutal crucifixion before the creation of the world (Revelation 13:8; 1 Peter 1:20). Jesus became sin for undeserving sinners like us (Isaiah 53:10). As we confess Him before our Father, He becomes our Lord (Philippians 2:11; Isaiah 53:11). His words of life bring us joy (John 15:11). He is our eternal life, and our fulfillment is in His presence both now and in eternity (Psalm 16:11).

When we come to the awesome revelation that not one thing occurs in our life that is not part of God’s plan for us, we can relax and go with His flow and follow His directives during each situation, just like Jesus did (1Thessalonians 5:18). This absolute truth allows us to live in His perfect peace. Our joy is no longer affected by our circumstances, but simply by the presence of Christ within us (Colossians 1:27).

During our lifetime our thoughts, words or deeds may cause us to reap negative circumstances, but God even uses this to discipline and mature us as His Saints. The Lord is God, He made us, and we belong to Him (Psalm 100:3). He gave us Jesus as our Way, Truth and Life (Johan 14:6). God never leaves us, so our joy is always complete (Hebrews 13:5; John 15:11).

God calls His children to live with gratitude to Him in our heart in every situation, which life throws at us (James 1:2-5; Hebrews 12:3-13; 1 Peter 2:20-21). Due to God’s goodness, mercy and everlasting truth, words of thanksgiving and praise fill all of our days (Psalm 100:5). This gives us continual victory. In our gratitude to Him, we sing songs of praise and we serve Him with His joy as our strength (Nehemiah 8:10).

Prayer:
Father God, we always give thanks to You, in the name of Jesus, for everything in our life, even the negative aspects (Ephesians 5:20). You did, You do and You will always do so much for us, for which we thank You. Thank You that Jesus gave His body, broken for our redemption (Luke 22:19). Thank You for Your Holy Spirit, who keeps us from living on this earth as orphans (John 14:18). Thank You for Your presence in our life. We look forward to dwelling with You in eternity (John 17:3).

Thought for the Day:
We live in praise to God, because He promises that He will work out all things, even the negative aspects of our life, for our good. – Romans 8:28

Strengthened by God’s Might

One benefit of an eternal relationship with Christ is that we have the fortitude to face the issues of life here on earth. He strengthens us to accomplish everything He calls us to do (Philippians 4:13; Ephesians 2:10). When we are weary and weak from prolonged trials, God fills us with His the power of His might (Isaiah 40:29).

In times of sorrow, God’s Word gives us hope (Psalm 119:28). His mighty power within us makes us strong (Ephesians 6:10), because His power is perfected in our weakness. His grace is sufficient to see us through every test (2 Corinthians 12:9-10). Our heart trusts in His power and protections, because He always helps us.

We jump for joy and sing God’s praises, because He works on our behalf (Psalm 28:7-8). Even young people find life daunting at times and they stumble and fall; yet, if they trust in the Lord, they will soar on wings like eagles and not grow weary or faint (Isaiah 40:29-31). God is not only our strength, but also our salvation both through trials and for eternity (Psalm 118:14).

God is gracious to us, and He renews our strength every morning (Isaiah 33:2). He gives us the ability to traverse the mountain of issues we face each day as easily as a deer frolicking on a mountain slope (Habakkuk 3:19). He is our shield, our helper and our glorious sword (Deuteronomy 33:29). His arms strengthen us and keep us secure at all times (Psalm 18:32; Ephesians 3:16).

Prayer:
Father God, You are our light and our deliverance; therefore, we have no need to dread anyone or any circumstance, which life brings our way. You are our strong tower, so we do not have to be afraid (Psalm 27:1). We find our joy in You, because You help us to ride triumphantly through life and to feast on Your glorious provision (Isaiah 58:14). We thank You for calling us into Your family and for putting Your desires into our heart (Psalm 37:4).

Thought for the Day:
Only the Lord provides us with salvation in hard times and the power to live through them; so those who turn their back on God or rail against him will not receive His help and will live in utter shame. – Isaiah 45:24

Friend of God

So many people are so burdened by what they want, and don’t have; rather than being thankful for what they have, that they never knew they wanted! The more we complain, the less joy we experience each day. However, the more we give thanks, even for the negative issues of life, the more we live in peace and contentment.

This goes against our normal, human behavior. We almost feel dishonest to say that we are fine when we know we have something negative going on in our life. However, this earthly realm is not reality. Paul said it best. We brought nothing into this world, and we will take nothing with us in the end, so we can live in Godly contentment (1 Timothy 6:6-7).

In fact, giving God the first fruits of our time, love, esteem and attention decreases our trials as it honors God with the praise that is due His name (Psalm 69:30). God supplies all of our needs – physically, emotionally, mentally, financially and spiritually (1 Timothy 6:8). This allows us to give thanks for anything life throws at us (1 Thessalonians 5:18).

As we view our trials as joyous opportunities to enjoy intimacy with God, we watch His miraculous provision for us in and through them. This allows patience to have time to perfect our soul – our mind, will and emotions (James 1:2). Our faith grows during trials, as we see God’s mighty hand working all things out for our good (Romans 8:28). God is awesome, generous, full of loving kindness and the best friend we will ever have.

Prayer:
Father God, our unity with Your Spirit will enable us to hear Your voice to deal with lost glasses, what to fix for dinner, what to take with us before we leave the house and how to witness to the crying lady sitting across from us in the doctor’s office. Just a few moments of refocusing in Your presence will make all the difference in our positive attitude. Your faithfulness is our measuring rod, and Your friendship means more to us than we could ever express in words.

Thought for the Day:
What a privilege it is to live our days as a friend of God, because this relationship brings so many benefits to our life; some are even “out of this world”! – John 15:14-15

The High Praises

As we praise the Lord, we exalt Him and bless His name each moment of our day, for as long as we live and then on into eternity. He is great and so worthy of all of our adoration. His greatness is incomprehensible to our finite mind (Psalm 145:1-3). His name will endure for eternity and every generation will know Him as Lord (Psalm 135:13).

Everyone that has breath praises Him in worship, in nature, with musical instruments and with dancing (Psalm 150:1-6). Each generation will communicate His works to the next, and they will declare His mighty acts to each individual, as well as to the nations, which He blesses (Psalm 145:4-6, 21).

Therefore, we should sing praises to the Lord our God, while we live (Psalm 146:1-2). The Lord longs to be gracious to His people. He makes every effort to show compassion to us. He is the God of justice and mercy, and we are blessed if we wait for His timing in everything we say and do (Isaiah 30:18). Singing His praises is good and beautiful.

God is the stability of all times, and we can trust in Him. He is a wealth of wisdom, provision and deliverance to those who put all of their faith in Him. Honoring the Lord is the key to receiving this treasure (Isaiah 33:6). We praise Him for His great mercy, which He gave us through His new birth; and for His living hope, which He provided through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead. (Psalm 147:1).

Prayer:
Father God, we bless You, because You hear our prayers. You are our strength and protection. Our soul trusts in You, because You are always ready to help us. Our heart exceedingly rejoices in the beauty of Your holiness and we give thanks to You in continual praises (Psalm 28:6-7). You are enthroned between the angels and You alone are the God over every kingdom and nation of this earth, which You created (Isaiah 37:16).

Thought for the Day:
The high praises of God are in our mouth, and His Holy Word is in our hands, as we hide it within our heart. – Psalm 119:11, 149:6; Hebrews 4:12