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spiritual warfare

The faintest light penetrates an inky sky as I awaken to the sounds of my husband shuffling about the house. I hear the clink of the coffeepot as it meets the edge of his mug and know that it’s time to ready myself for the day ahead.

Leaning toward the nightstand, I fumble for my glasses and then flick on the table lamp. My first impulse is to slip my fingers around the cool metal of the laptop waiting expectantly on my desk. I’ve been preoccupied lately, filling the first few minutes of the morning checking various email accounts and posting on social media.

None of these activities are wrong, but the quiet pre-dawn moments are the rare, uninterrupted  times I used to share with the Lord. Now, I’ve fallen into the habit of settling for less. Of forgetting that each day comes with its challenges. Of ignoring the importance of preparing for spiritual battle because I know I exist between the realities of the seen and unseen.

The sunrise my be beautiful, the house may be quiet, but the enemy is always prepared to infiltrate, attack, or ambush.

“The devil is working against (us). He is walking around like a hungry lion with his mouth open. He is looking for someone to eat.” (1 Peter 5:8)

Scanning Facebook instead of donning spiritual battle gear puts me at risk. Makes me vulnerable. And, worse, renders me useless as a woman living in her own strength rather than Christ’s.

If you’ve ever struggled to remain disciplined in prayer or Bible study, you understand.

But, there are souls walking around who need the hope we have. There are wounded hearts hemorrhaging for the love of Jesus. And, we are the ones called to serve as spiritual soldiers. With eternity hanging in the balance, it’s no wonder we’re told to put on the full armor of God.

I’m gearing up and strapping on, friend. Will you join me? Let’s get ready to stand our ground.

Action Step:                                                                                                                        Personalize the verses below as you pray them aloud by inserting your name in the blanks.

Finally, ______________, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power.  Put on the full armor of God, so that you, __________,  can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. For _____________’s struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Therefore, _______________,  put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. (Ephesians 6:10-13)

Peace and grace,

Tammy

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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We are God’s children set free from the bondage of slavery and delivered to a kingdom of restored hope and promise.

(This is an excerpt from the book I am currently writing. May these words encourage your heart. Blessings, Tammy)

A perpetual champion of the underdog, I regularly root for the outcast because I’ve always consider myself a bit of a David—a next-to-nothing-unknown standing in the shadow of a man who caused grown men to tremble.  A man without regard for others and even less for God.

Do you relate? Your giant may have a different name or even a label, but he is no more immune to the Father’s power and justice than the Goliath of scripture.

A Giant in the Land

You may recall the story. Goliath of Gath was the Philistine’s war hero. Arrogant and puffed up with pride, he and the other troops taunted Saul’s army for forty days and nights boasting of their strength. Stories of Goliath’s conquests were certain to have spread among the Israelite camp and God’s mighty men quaked at the sight of this giant of a man who stood nearly ten feet tall.

But, David, a pubescent boy and the least of his family, gathered his courage along with five stones and embedded a rock into Goliath’s skull. The great enemy? Conquered. The threats of the previous days? Eliminated. David’s future? Full of promise.

In the same way, I lived with a giant of my own—a 6’4”, red-haired stepfather with a protruding nose, handlebar mustache, and bulldog tattoo on his upper right shoulder. Invited into immediate fatherhood following a month’s long engagement and subsequent wedding, Doug inherited a toddler and preschooler in need of a daddy. With a penchant for randomly shouting Marine jargon, his voice boomed loud on the average day and rose several decibels when drunkenness or rage coursed through his veins like a prairie wildfire scorching everything in its path.

Like a Philistine warrior, he’d swagger through the door of our trailer house spewing curse words and condemnation. “Where are those little brats? I never wanted to be their father.” And my brother and I would squat in the furthest corner of my tiny bedroom hoping the blustering would stop with the traditional after-work six-pack.

If the ranting continued, we knew. The approaching evening would be one of continued slurs and violent combat—husband pitted against diminutive wife. Her face and body bearing evidence to the events of the night before.

Giants like Goliath and Daddy Doug have a lot in common. They raise their fists to heaven, defying God and abusing his people. Empowered by the fear of those around them, they mock the weak, defenseless or powerless; mercilessly punishing anyone foolish enough to challenge them.

The Mighty Warrior doesn’t stand idly by—cooly observing calamity and chaos directed at His children without intervening.No, He was and is your Defender and mine. Click To Tweet

Friend, the Mighty Warrior doesn’t stand idly by—cooly observing calamity and chaos directed at His children without intervening. No, He was and is your Defender and mine. The giant in your land and mine may have invaded in an attempt to overthrow hope.  Plunder peace. Steal innocence. But he is no match for the one who defends His children. Just as Goliath continued his rampage unhampered for a time, your giant and mine will one day stand before the true King—his threats nothing more than blustery words evaporating in the wind.

Just as Goliath continued his rampage unhampered day after day, your giant and mine will one day stand before the true King—his threats nothing more than blustery words evaporating in the wind.. Click To Tweet

Giants cast imposing shadows and only those who’ve lived within the darkness of that shadow understand the way it stretches far and wide, nearly engulfing the landscape of a child’s spirit. Much like Saul’s men, a little one learns her position. She recognizes her own powerlessness and at the rattling of the giant’s saber, remains on the sidelines—aware that venturing beyond the boundaries not only invites danger into the midst, but guarantees she’ll be its target.

And, while witnessing turmoil from the edges of the crowd causes her knees to knock, bearing the brunt of Goliath’s hate and fury invites brutality. Reprisal. Retaliation. So the child remains in the relative safety of anonymity, praying her nonresponse will assure tacit favor. Hoping she’ll discover safety in compliance, avoidance, or aquiesence.

The reaction of the child is expected and even justified. After all, she relies on others for survival. They are the faces in the crowd that should raise up in battle against the giant—fighting on behalf of those who depend upon them for safety and protection. The parents, church leaders, and teachers. The neighbors, friends, and family members.

You may not have realized it, but there is a champion who stepped in on your behalf to wage a war for you. A rescuer who overthrew the neighborhood bully and claimed you for his own. . Click To Tweet

You may not have realized it, but there is a champion who stepped in on your behalf to wage a war for you. A rescuer who overthrew the neighborhood bully and claimed you for his own. The one who envisioned himself the great conqueror fell in defeat—his plans crumpled at the foot of the cross. Every abusive word, foul gesture, and spirit crushing blow cast aside.

When you and I lived in the land of giants, we believed we were surrounded. Unable to vanquish the enemy. But, in the power of the heavenly Champion we are more than overcomers. We are God’s children set free from the bondage of slavery and delivered to a kingdom of restored hope and promise.

We are God’s children set free from the bondage of slavery and delivered to a kingdom of restored hope and promise.. Click To Tweet

Whether you are at battle with a giant from the past or a hidden enemy like depression or chronic illness, you can trust that the battle has already been won. The foe is vanquished. Victory is certain.

This is the promise of Christ,  In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33)

 

Peace and grace,

Tammy

I often link up with the following:

#Tea and Word Tuesday and…

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Fight the good fight of the faith. Take hold of the eternal life to which you were called ...

I’ve never been a fighter.

I’m the sort of woman who gets shaky when speaking with a disgruntled parent during a parent-teacher conference. The type whose stomach flip-flops uncomfortably when an acquaintance clicks ‘send ‘and fills the in-box with angry words. The sort who can’t turn off the tears when a loved one seems disappointed or disgruntled.

I'm not a fighter, but I'm engaged in a battle.You are, too, if you've professed faith in Jesus. Click To Tweet

I’m not a fighter, but I’m engaged in a battle. You are, too, if you’ve professed faith in Jesus. While scripture instructs us to live at peace with others (Romans 12:18), we’re also instructed to “fight the good fight of the faith” (1 Timothy 6:12).

Did you notice the strange pairing of two words? Good fight.

We are instructed to fight.And if we are called to fight?Then God will equip us to win. Click To Tweet

Even the most conflict adverse among us are instructed to fight. And if we are called to fight? Then God will equip us to win.

But, what does this battle entail? How are we to know how to live up to this charge? Will we be ensured a victory?

Friend, we are to defend that which is valuable in our lives. To guard against and stand up under the enemy’s assaults.

Fight the good fight for our marriages.Our children.For a faith that makes an eternal impact.  Click To Tweet

Fight…for our marriages. Our children. Our family and friends on the prodigal road.

Fight…for the unborn. The orphaned. The hopeless and hurting.

Fight…for a faith that makes an eternal impact.

During the next few weeks, will you join me as together we prepare for battle with God on our side and our hearts and minds submitted to the word and work of the One who makes us “more than conquerors”? (Romans 8:7)

To launch this series, I’ve linked to several posts that you might find thought-provoking and helpful.

 

Peace and grace,

Tammy

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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He will direct your steps and lead you to a new land of promise..png

Three years of loss, heartache, and impossible circumstances dropped me in the middle of a wasteland experience. The questions we ask when we’re distraught, grieving and disillusioned scrawled across tear-stained journal pages and erupted from the depths of my soul when I prayed.

 If God is sovereign, how can this have happened? Didn’t he hear my prayers? Why didn’t He do something?

More frightening to me than any of my doubts about God’s power and faithfulness was the on-going, internal battle that waged in my mind.

I felt as though my faith had faded into the nothingness of the wasteland in which I wandered and, oh, how I longed for an oasis.Just one drink to quench my need for Living Water.#wildernessliving#hope#letsgetrealseries Click To Tweet

I felt as though my faith had faded into the nothingness of the wasteland in which I wandered and, oh, how I longed for an oasis. Just one drink to quench my need for Living Water. One drop of hope to lead me through the dry and dusty no-man’s land into the arms of heaven.

Unusually cynical, I only attended church at my husband’s coaxing. My prayers ranged from desperate pleas for deliverance to angry, honest diatribes and scripture seemed as barren as my spirit.

Can you relate? Have you ever been lost in your own wilderness, certain of nothing but your own unbelief?  Have you trekked aimlessly through the badlands of Fear or Doubt? Wandered in the wilds of Trial or Tribulation?

You might be in that place now, blaming your lack of faith for failing to feel God’s presence. Almost certain the Hope Giver has turned away from your prayers or grown weary of your petitions.

If He can guide and provide for a nation of people wandering for forty years, He will direct your steps and lead you to a new land of promise.#keepthefaith#choosehope#letsgetrealseries Click To Tweet

But, your wilderness days will end just as mine did. Cling to that hope, Friend. If He can guide and provide for a nation of people wandering aimlessly for forty years in the Negev desert, He will direct your steps and lead you to a new land of promise where you’ll hear his voice. Feel His presence. Remember His great love for you.

One day soon, you’ll look back on the days when you’d thought faith had died and realize He’d nurtured it instead. You’ll rejoice, claiming Hosea 13:5 as your own. “He cared for me in the wilderness, in the land of drought.”

Mint Save the Date Wedding Postcard

Promised Land Prayer Card Printable

 

Blessings, Tammy

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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HOPE Mental Illness.png

By my early-40’s I’d earned a few certificates and degrees, four children, two dogs–and the unenviable position of being diagnosed with several disorders. Anxiety. Depression. PTSD. PMDD. Even a penchant toward dissociation.

As a young woman, I’d been certain I could shed the shame of my childhood and embrace happiness. Peace. Living. But I didn’t realize that old, unhealed wounds fester and leach. That anxiety wasn’t something I could dust off like a farmer’s pair of worn cowboy boots.

I didn't realize that old, unhealed wounds fester and leach.That anxiety wasn't something I could dust off like a farmer's pair of worn cowboy boots.#mentalillness#hope#letsgetrealseries Click To Tweet

Time clicked by and, ever so gently, God nurtured and healed. Provided wise counsel and tools to help manage the tumult of soul-sucking pain. Gifted me with a husband who loved through it all. Sustained me when I wanted nothing more than to inhale the last of earth and the first of heaven.

Have you been there? Are you there now? Or, does a loved one bear the burden of mental illness?

I know the pain and I'm sorry you're hurting.#depression#ptsd#hope Click To Tweet

I know the pain and I’m sorry you’re hurting, friend. I’m sorry you don’t share openly because you fear being judged. I’m sorry you weep, cry, and grieve for the person you thought you’d become. I’m sorry that just getting out of bed or making it through one more day makes you feel as though you’re an overloaded cargo ship sinking beneath the weight of its cargo.

Whether you are the one desperate for relief, a mama longing to take her child’s struggle, or a wife desperate for the husband she once knew, you are not alone.

One in five adults understand.

One in five women with successful careers. One in five stay-at-home moms with dinners made by scratch and dessert in the oven. One in five grandmothers living the golden years. One in five women in every church pew on any given Sunday understand.

One in five women in every church pew on any given Sunday understand. #mentalillness#1in5#hope Click To Tweet

Not only are you surrounded by others who empathize, but there is something even better. It’s the four-letter word we forget in the midst of the hard.

Hope.

We have hope because of Christ, in Christ and through Christ.

We have hope because the end of our story was rewritten on the cross. Sin exchanged for restoration, tears for celebration, and death for liberation. Neither depression, anxiety, or any other illness can wrest these from your grasp because you are held tightly in His.

When you’re tempted to believe there is nothing better than what is right now, remind yourself of what you know to be true. There will be more to your story.

So we’re not giving up. How could we! Even though on the outside it often looks like things are falling apart on us, on the inside, where God is making new life, not a day goes by without his unfolding grace. These hard times are small potatoes compared to the coming good times, the lavish celebration prepared for us. There’s far more here than meets the eye. The things we see now are here today, gone tomorrow. But the things we can’t see now will last forever. (2 Corinthians 4:17-18 MSG)

 Peace and grace, Tammy

Mental Health Pain Hack Image

Mental Health Pain Hack Printable

https://kingsumo.com/js/embed.js

 

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The photo captured my attitude. Sitting at the kitchen table while my three-year-old brother tore cheerful, striped wrapping paper from his gift, I looked as forlorn as any jealous preschooler might–my sulky expression conveying the thoughts I knew I had no right to express.

Why should he have that toy? I want it! I knew he was the favorite.

Fast forward through the decades and you’ll catch a glimpse of my continued struggle with envy.

As a teen? I envied the pretty girls with boyfriends and happy families. In my twenties? I coveted the relationship my sisters had with the father I didn’t have the opportunity to know as a little girl. In my thirties? Jealousy surged when I thought of other young moms who stayed at home while I struggled to balance my husband’s deployment schedule with four children, three square meals and one demanding job.

While the objects of envy seem to alter across life's timeline, I'm not yet immune to the pinprick of unmet expectations.#contentment#problemwithcomparison#letsgetrealseries Click To Tweet

While the objects of envy seem to alter across life’s timeline, I admit I’m not yet immune to the pinprick of unmet expectations.

I expected to be a stay-at-home mom with a plate of cookies and a glass of lemonade at the ready.

I expected to raise children in a home filled with Christ, certain they would know and love Him.

I expected to love my children so well that I could guarantee “normal” only to discover that depression, anxiety, and addiction don’t play favorites.

I expected to keep a spotless home without smudges on the front windows or furniture worn thin by impromptu fort-making.

In many ways, I expected God to come through. To present my longings and desires all wrapped up with a pretty bow as if they represent His love for me.

I expected God to come through.To present my longings and desires all wrapped up with a pretty bow as if they represent His love for me.#unmetexpectations#notSantaClaus#letsgetrealseries Click To Tweet

One of scriptures most beloved stories is that of the prodigal son. You may recall that the wayward son had returned home after realizing his desperate need for the Father. For forgiveness. For restoration. But, instead of rejoicing in his brother’s return, the older son was overcome with envy. Unrighteous comparison. Ungodly anger. Unholy resentment.

I’ve been the ‘older brother’ and just as the father did with his offended child, God patiently reminds me. “‘Daughter, you don’t understand. You’re with me all the time, and everything that is mine is yours.” (Luke 15:31)

Let that word, everything, resonate deep in your heart. Friend, He isn’t holding back or holding out. He doesn’t match up, size up, or stack us up against another. Our incomprehensible inheritance will outlive, overwhelm and surpass every unmet desire or expectation. It will extend beyond that which we can imagine for eternity.

He isn't holding back of holding out.He doesn't match up, size up, or stack us up against another.Our inheritance will outlive, overwhelm and surpass every unmet desire or epxectation.#godsbiglove#holyinheritance#nomoreenvy Click To Tweet

What, then, does the Father’s everything include?

  • His name. (2 Corinthians 6:18)
  • His position. (Ephesians 2:6)
  • His spirit. (Ephesians 1:14)
  • His home. (John 14:2-4)
  •  His life. (1 John 5:11)
  • His blessing. (Ephesians 1:3)

Oh, how the beauty of everything casts its shadow across the temporary of today’s envy. May we be reminded of our heavenly inheritance when envy attempts to squelch our contentment.

I’ve created this beautiful “Resentment to Contentment” downloadable for you. Just print and display, tuck in your Bible, or share with a friend.

Resentment to Contentment Social Media GraphicResentment to Contentment Downloadable PDF

Peace and grace, Tammy

 

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The Lord will fight for you. Just stay calm.

Fear tracks my steps like a hunter. It knows my habits, weaknesses, and vulnerabilities. Fear launches arrows of trepidation and dread when I linger too long in the wasteland of what-if-outcomes and this-seems-impossible probability.

Fear launches arrows of trepidation and dread when I linger too long in the wasteland of what-if-outcomes.#fightingfear#letsgetrealseries#donotbeafraid Click To Tweet

Like any predator, fear longs to cripple its prey, rendering her useless. Spent. Afraid to take action. As its presence draws close, it grows ever larger; assuming power over thought and imagination. Casting its shadow over hope, possibility, and a truth-based view of God’s matchless love and strength.

Fear leads to worry and worry, when coddled, leads to anxiety.#fightingfear#letsgetrealseries#donotbeafraid Click To Tweet

Fear leads to worry and worry, when coddled, leads to anxiety.  Right now? I’m precariously balanced on the line between worry and anxiety. Perhaps you are, as well. You, too, may feel as though any circumstance that confirms your fear will catapult you into the hunter’s trap and once there, you’ll live out that which you’d dreaded in the first place. Every fear realized. Every dream obliterated.

An opportunist, fear resides in different areas of your life and mine. Some of us fear abandonment, loss of security, or being unloved and unseen. Others of us struggle with the fear of never being enough, failing as a wife or mother, or being without purpose. Still others fear what might become of a loved one who struggles with prodigal living, mental illness, or addiction.

God knows our hearts tremble and quake.He understands that our knees knock in the face of real situation.Maybe the reason He sprinkled the phrase 'do not be afraid' in scripture 70 times is because He knows us so… Click To Tweet

Friend, God knows our hearts tremble and quake. He understands that our knees knock in the face of real situations or circumstances and that our imaginations run wild with what-if scenarios and I-can’t-imagine-anything-good-coming-of-this myopia.

Maybe the reason He sprinkled the phrase “do not be afraid” in scripture 70 times (along with abundant variations) is because He knows us so well. He realizes we need to be reminded again and again and again of His power, strength and faithfulness because we lose sight of who He is.

We forget His promises.

We flounder in our faith and mistake it for abandonment.

We presume that our weakness equates to a similar weakness in God and we become discouraged or distraught.

But, we can engage fear and overcome it when we wage the battle on our knees and in our minds. The steps I’ve listed below are those that have proven most to helpful to me as I’ve managed my own fear fighting. I pray they encourage your heart as you stand up against fear in your own life.

Fighting Fear Power Plan

  • Prepare for Battle Read, recite and record Bible verses that address fear. These  are a few of my favorites and serve as a starting point. (Isaiah 41:13, Joshua 1:9, Psalm 34:4) As you consider the Father’s words, notice how He is personally involved in the struggle against fear.
  • Dress for Battle Fear fighting encompasses mind and spirit, therefore, we must be clothed accordingly or we’ll be vulnerable to the assaults of the enemy. Ephesians 6:10-18 provides the strategy for us to put on God’s holy power and strength.
  • Engage in Battle Pray. Get real with God about your fear and allow Him to work in your heart and situation. Journal your prayers and pray scripture back to God. You might start with Psalm 27 ,David’s response to fear.

 

Peace and grace,                                                                                                                                      Tammy

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I’ve experienced this struggle often enough and long enough to realize this is a battle won on two fronts–in my mind and on my knees.

 

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We are not human beings having a spiritual experience. We are spiritual beings having a human experience..png

After having read a number of reviews about a recently published Christian self-help book, I was struck by the number of readers desiring more authenticity. Honest sharing rather than humble brags. Heart-soothing truths realized and lived-out in the struggles to which every woman can relate. Action steps leading somewhere instead of basic, common sense fillers.

This next series, then, will be entitled “Let’s Get Real”. I don’t mind going deep if you’re willing to go with me. It’s time for those of us in the church and those who aren’t even sure about the church to allow the light of Christ to penetrate the hurting, fragile places of our hearts, souls, and mind.

During the next couple of months, we’ll delve past the surface and dive into the challenges we face or those that have followed us from the past into today. We’ll get real about fear. Abuse. Unrealized dreams. Purpose. Mental health.

In the meantime, I’d love to hear from you. What burdens your heart? What keeps you up at night? How can I pray for you?

Feel free to share your struggles and, together, we’ll meet up to realize hope exists, healing is real, and restoration is possible.

Blessings,

Tammy

Top Five 2018 Blog Posts Roundup

When You’re Not Happy and You Know It-The Struggle with Loneliness and Depressionhttps://tammykennington.com/2018/09/06/when-youre-not-happy-and-you-know-it-the-struggle-with-loneliness-and-depression-and-a-free-ebook

When You’re Not Happy and You Know It https://tammykennington.com/2018/08/09/if-youre-not-happy-and-you-know-it-day-1/

Living a Balanced Life in an Unbalanced World https://tammykennington.com/2018/07/12/living-a-balanced-life-in-an-unbalanced-world-day-2

Sitting in a Pile of Ashes? Finding Hope in Your Job Moments https://tammykennington.com/2018/03/20/sitting-in-a-pile-of-ashes-finding-hope-in-your-job-moments

When Anxiety Threatens Your Personal Peace

https://tammykennington.com/2018/02/05/when-anxiety-threatens-your-personal-peace

 

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Complete Guide to Prayers of Jesus (1).jpg

When I was crossing a corner as I prayerwalked in our small town in the Sierra Valley, I remembered the gist of a passage from Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount about not praying on the street corners to be seen by men. Instead, we are to pray privately behind closed doors.

That moment led me down a twenty-year path of studying the Bible for teachings on prayer—focusing a lot on the prayer life of Jesus. Only secondary to his teachings on eternal life, his teachings on prayer provide much direction as we strive to live a prayer-focused life.

  • Pray simple prayers. The purpose of the Lord’s Prayer (Matthew 6:9-13) was to teach us to pray simply. Jesus prefaced the prayer by telling the listeners not to babble on and on (Matthew 6:7-8). As a former journalist, I find this refreshing and reassuring, because I believe in short and simple. Jesus taught us that we do not need elaborate vocabulary. We cannot impress God with the number of our words. After all, he knows our heart already. The simple fact that we go to him is a prayerful act already.
The simple fact that we go to him is a prayerful act already. Click To Tweet
  • Pray with a clear conscience. Forgiveness seems to be crucial to answered prayer. Jesus said that if we do not forgive others, our Father will not forgive us (Matthew 6:14-15). He also said we should be reconciled with others before making an offering (Matthew 5:23-24). I know that if I’m harboring ill feelings toward someone, I’m focused on myself—not God. So forgiveness shifts me from my single viewpoint to God’s bigger one. If we want the Father to forgive us, we need to forgive others’ offenses toward us, but we also need to be proactive in seeking others’ forgiveness when we have hurt them.
...if I'm harboring ill feelings toward someone, I'm focused on myself-not God. Click To Tweet
  • Be persistent. In Luke 18 Jesus told a parable about a woman who kept bugging a judge to make a decision in her favor. Because she was persistent, that unjust judge granted her request. Jesus said, “And will not God bring about justice for his chosen ones, who cry out to him day and night?” (Luke 18:7). The Father wants our hearts to bend to him—persistence in prayer makes that happen. No matter how bleak a situation looks, our Father wants us to continue to take our heart cries to him.
No matter how bleak a situation looks, our Father wants us to continue to take our heart cries to him. Click To Tweet
  • Pray boldly. God also wants us to pray beyond our reach. Jesus said, “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you” (Luke 11:9). Big, bold prayers are statements of our big, bold faith in our God who can do the impossible (Matthew 19:26). Last year I had a HUGE prayer need relating to the restoration of a relationship. Things looked bleak, and I had about resigned myself to a negative outcome. But then one day I saw a wooden sign that said “pray big.” So I bought that sign and kept approaching God boldly with my prayers. A couple months later in a series of the miraculous, the relationship was restored. Don’t pray small: pray big.Don't pray small_ pray big..png
Don't pray small: pray big. Click To Tweet
  • Pray with faith. When Jesus healed a boy from demons after the disciples had failed, he said that we can move mountains if we have faith as small as a mustard seed (Matthew 17:14-21). Faith is belief and trust in a God who has created and sustained all living things. We need not trust in the miracle; we simply have to believe God can do the miracle. One of my life verses is Matthew 19:26: “With man this is impossible, but all things are possible with God.” We simply need to believe that God can move that mountain.
We need not trust in the miracle; we simply have to believe God can do the miracle. Click To Tweet

I do not pray aloud on street corners in my little town; I pray silently for whatever God puts within my eyesight. And I’ve been privileged to see marriages saved, sick people healed, and hearts moved to faith. Jesus prayed, so I do, too.

Janet gold at rock wall.jpg

Janet Holm McHenry is a speaker and the author of 23 books, including the best-selling PrayerWalk and her newest book, The Complete Guide to the Prayers of Jesus: What He Prayed and How It Will Change Your Life Today (Bethany House, June 5 release). A former educator, she lives in the Sierra Valley in northeastern California, where she prayerwalks for her town and where she taught high school English. Featured in Health, Family Circle and First magazines for her prayerwalking, Janet is convinced that prayer is the best problem-solving strategy.

 The Complete Guide to the Prayers of Jesus is the only comprehensive guide to the prayer life of Jesus. It is an engaging, vivid journey through Jesus’ prayers, as well as his teachings on prayer and his prayer practices. With reflection questions for small groups, it is available at local bookstores and online sources.

https://www.facebook.com/JanetMcHenryAuthor/

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He will give you strength to endure this moment. This hour. This day.

The elderly man posted mournful adoption ads and flyers in bus stops and places about town.

“Lonely old man in his 80s. Strong-bodied. Can shop, cook and take care of himself. No chronic illness. I retired from a scientific research institute in Tianjin, with a monthly pension of 6,000 RMB (USD1344) a month. I won’t go to a nursing home. My hope is that a kindhearted person or family will adopt me, nourish me through old age and bury my body when I’m dead.”

Struck by the man’s plight, I wondered how many of us can relate to this man and his heart’s cry.

I’m worth something. I’m willing to work for love and acceptance. I’ll give all that I have for just a crumb of kindness. An ounce of approval. Won’t someone love me? Just a little?

 Have you, too, experienced loneliness? Felt isolated?

Most of us recognize the sense of abandonment that invades a needy soul during such times. Once in a while, these are the difficult feelings that remind us of our need for others. The importance of connection rather than Facebook pretension. The value of friendship rather than selfish ambition.

At other times, the Father may lead us to a lonely place where we’ll be reminded of the One who extends beyond the human longing for relationship and leads us toward spiritual fulfillment. Away from loneliness into the arms of a loving Father. Out from under the shadow of rejection into the everlasting promise of holy adoption.

Consider these words from scripture,

I will be a father to you, and you shall be sons and daughter to me, says the Lord Almighty. Click To Tweet

“I will be a father to you, and you shall be sons and daughters to me, says the Lord Almighty.” (2 Corinthians 6:18) Oh, the relief and joy of total acceptance and complete love!

Sometimes, though, instead of clinging to the words of scripture, we settle into our emotions and hide in the shadows. Messages birthed by the Enemy are given shape in our darkest imagination.

You are unwanted. Unworthy. Unlovable.

 Rather than guiding us toward hope, the taunts of the Deceiver grow ever larger—filling the space once occupied by living. Laughter. Love. And we begin to despair as depression assumes headship.

Like the pounding of a hammer against a nail, the thought rings loud, “Isn’t there more than this hurt? This grief? This aching, incessant pain?” And we scoff at the familiar Sunday school song, ‘If You’re Happy and You Know It’, doubting happiness even exists.

 If you are hiding in the shadows, Friend, convinced that life is purposeless and that pain is your lot, please know:

You are loved. (Psalm 86:5)

You are seen. (Genesis 16:7-12)

You are heard. (1 Peter 3:12)

 

You are chosen. (Col. 3:12)

You are treasured. (Duet. 7:6)

You are a delight to God. (Zeph. 3:17)

Loneliness has a cruel habit of cloaking truth while depression obscures hope.  Click To Tweet

Loneliness has a cruel habit of cloaking truth while depression obscures hope. This is the position in which the Liar of old wants us to reside. Unlike our Eternal Hope, he comes to “kill, steal, and destroy”.

Raise your hands to heaven, dear one, and cry out to the God who bends low to hear even unuttered prayers. He will give you strength to endure this moment. This hour. This day.

Loneliness is a silent soul killer and depression crouches next door. If you struggle with depression and its neighbor, I encourage you to take the If You're (Not) Happy and You Know It Challenge.  Click To Tweet

 

If You’re (Not) Happy and You Know It Challenge-Day 4                                          Loneliness is a silent soul killer and depression crouches next door. If you struggle with depression and its neighbor, I encourage you to take the If You’re (Not) Happy and You Know It Challenge.

  1. Reach out to a trusted friend, family member, pastor or counselor. Clinical depression requires a network of people who will provide support and prayer.
  2. Schedule one or two proactive, depression busting activities each day. For example, set and hold to a regular sleep schedule, exercise regimen, or healthy eating cycle. Add one more positive habit to your “to-do” list every few days to aid in eliminating unhealthy choices (i.e. not eating enough, eating too much, spending hours in front of the screen, avoiding interaction with others).
  3. Volunteer Offering to help others boosts the feel-good centers in our brains and boosts our ability to meaningfully connect with others.
  4. Seek medical assistance. If you’re consumed with thoughts of self-harm or have a plan to hurt yourself, call the suicide hotline at 1 (800) 273-8255. Give yourself the opportunity to rediscover happiness. You are worth it!

Download or share my gift to you, an ebook (also available on Kindle), Moving From Pain to Peace–A Journey Toward Hope.

Moving from Pain to Peace-A Journey toward Hope1From Pain to Peace-Journey Toward Hope

Peace and grace,

Tammy

 

 

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