A Prayer for God’s Will

“Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and He will give you everything you need.” Matthew 6:33 NLT

For the first time in my 43 years, I realized last week that I am in the center of God’s will for my life and that though I have moments that are more challenging than others, my life feels so blessed all the time and I can’t answer the question, “How are you” any other way but to say, “AWESOME!” And guess what…I MEAN it! Yes, I am awesome. And it’s not that I, Kellyann am awesome, it’s because I, daughter of God, follower of Jesus am exactly where I am supposed to be in all areas of my life and God’s blessing makes me awesome! He’s awesome and I just get to live in the overflow of His love, grace, peace and mercy. It’s amazing!

It hasn’t been an easy path getting here and it didn’t happen over night. I am where I am today because I fell so far off of God’s path for so many years that He had to put some serious roadblocks in my path in order to stop me from complete self-destruction. I gave up habits that I thought I needed to survive, love that I thought was true and a heart that felt like it couldn’t trust God and all of that had a level of pain I had to go through before I could get to this side of that pain. And all the while, God was right there healing me, calling me, loving me and bringing me to the place where I could learn to trust Him. And now that I am here, in the center of God’s will for my life today, I never want to leave it. I have traded prayers of, “please rescue me”, to prayers of , ” please keep me”. I’ve traded thoughts of, “how can I numb this pain,” for thoughts of, “how can I help show them how You will heal their pain if they’ll just turn to You.” It’s a very different life I have now and one that is so better than the one I had that I can’t even compare them and really, don’t even try to.

This week I looked up all the verses on God’s will in my concordance and wrote them out in my journal. As I was reading them, God showed me how beautifully they all flow together and make a lovely prayer. Here’s that prayer for myself and for you.

“Thank you, Lord, that you have caused my spirit to delight in doing your will and putting your law in my heart. (Psalm 40:8) May your will be done here on earth as it is in heaven which is always. (Matt 6:10) Lord, I know that is your will and desire. (Matt 11:26) Thank you, Lord, that because I am follow you and your will for my life, I am a sister to Jesus. (matt 12:50) Help me in my struggles remember that Jesus struggled with your will too yet He always had you and your will as His priority and only option. (Matt 26:39) Thank you, Father, for my life. (John 1:13) Help me find nourishment in your Word always. (John 4:34) From that nourishment in your Word, keep me from conforming to this world and keep me renewed in mind so that I am always aware of your perfect will. (Romans 12:2) Father, keep my heart bound to you and help me never seek to please anyone but you. (Eph 6:6) May my heart always be filled with knowing your will at all times. (Col 1:9) Lord, give me strength when doing your will is harder than I expect or imagine. (1 Peter 3:17) Remind me that this world ends and that I will be with you forever. (1 John 2:17) Thank you, Lord, for hearing this prayer and for the confidence in my heart that you will answer me. (1 John 5:14). Amen.”

Please put God in the center of your life and seek to walk in the center of His will whatever the cost. He will meet you where you are and He will bring you to places you never dreamed. You may be reading this thinking that your life is just fine the way it is and you don’t need God in the center. Don’t believe that lie because it is a lie of astronomic proportion. You have no idea what you’re missing. You may be reading this thinking you don’t have the strength to get God in the center of your life. Don’t believe that lie because it is a lie of epic proportion. Ask God to help you with a true heart and He’ll be right there to guide you. You may be reading this thinking you are too far away to move towards God and that He won’t take you back anyways because you can’t change to be what He wants. This is the lie that is the nearest to my heart and the one that angers me the most. Turn from this lie right now and find that God is going to grab you and pull you in before you even get fulled turned around. Lastly, you may be reading this and are in total agreement with me because you are also living right in the center of God’s will. Great! Keep sharing your life with people and drawing them to our Savior.

Love, grace, peace and mercy to all of you.

KA 🙂

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The Image of God

“So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them.” Genesis 1:27

Have you ever really thought about this verse and what it means? Which part of us is the “image of God”? I was sitting on a street bench today watching people go by waiting for my bus and I was struck with this thought. We are SO different from each other; no two alike (unless twins of course). Grey hair, brown hair, pink hair, no hair. Short or tall, fat or skinny. Laughing or sad, smiling or crying. Tattooed and pierced or conservatively dressed.  So many differences I couldn’t keep track!

As I watched people walk by I started to ponder which part of us is God’s image, trying to drill down to the level of the common denominator. In the end I decided that our souls are the only true commonality. Through our faces and our body language we communicate the current state of our soul. If we’ve had a bad day, we may look sad or stressed. If we’ve had a good day, we may look happy and smiley. The question I had to ask myself was regardless of the kind of day I’ve had, do I convey God’s love because I am made in His image? Does my face cause people to ask themselves why I look so relaxed, happy or loved? Am I making eye contact with people and smiling through the two-second interaction as we pass each other on the street? Am I looking for an opportunity to reach out and share God’s love with someone through a smile, a “hello”, or perhaps a hand stepping off the curb?

The world is full of people who don’t know the love, grace, peace and mercy of God and I need to be open to sharing Him. I need to remember that I am made in the image of the God of the universe which means that I am actively seeking to love people as He loved me. He loved me, and each person I encounter, so much that He sent His only Son to die for my sins just so that we could have a relationship. That’s news worth sharing and sharing loudly!

This week, try to remember that you are made in God’s image and that His image is full of love for all people. Let me say that again, God’s love is for ALL people and you are made in the image of God and so is everyone else. Show each other love, grace, peace and mercy to each other and see what happens to your soul.

Dear Lord, guide us in Your love and help us share Your love with everyone around us. Remind us that we are all made in Your image and that You have given us souls that are meant to love and be loved. Love Your world through us. Help us show those around us Your image.

Live in God’s love, grace, peace and mercy,

KA 🙂

You Are Noticed

“And a great crowd followed him and thronged about him. And there was a woman who had had a discharge of blood for twelve years, and who had suffered much under many physicians, and had spent all that she had, and was no better but rather grew worse. She had heard the reports about Jesus and came up behind him in the crowd and touched his garment. For she said, “If I touch even his garments, I will be made well.” And immediately the flow of blood dried up, and she felt in her body that she was healed of her disease. And Jesus, perceiving in himself that power had gone out from him, immediately turned about in the crowd and said, “Who touched my garments?” And his disciples said to him, “You see the crowd pressing around you, and yet you say, “Who touched me?”” And he looked around to see who had done it. But  the woman, knowing what had happened to her, came in fear and trembling and fell down before him and told him the whole truth. And he said to her, “Daughter, your faith has made you well, go in peace, and be healed of your disease.” Mark 5:24-34

This passage has 3 awesome characters in it and so much to learn from each: the disciples, the woman, the Healer. I love the disciples because they are just your average people who don’t understand all what Jesus is capable of and what’s even better is that they KNEW Him and spent every day with Him and still didn’t get Him! Don’t you just know that once again, they likely thought Jesus was crazy because of what He was saying. Here they are in a huge crowd with people all over the place trying to get to Jesus. I picture a crowd like that at a concert with general admission seating where everyone is pushing their way to the best seat. Getting as close to Jesus as possible was the best seat and everyone wanted it. And in the midst of what feels like a chaotic situation, Jesus turns to the people closest to Him and asks, “Who touched me?” If I had been standing there I would have looked at Him and said, “Really? Who touched you? Well let’s see, we’ve got more people than I can count standing around with at least 20 within reaching distance of you so you take your pick on who touched you.”  The disciples only saw what was immediately in front of them and that was alot of people and strange question. They hadn’t yet gotten to the place where they practiced trying to see the world through the lens of eternity and Jesus’ power. Instead of stating the obvious answer, they should have tried to dig in a little deeper and ask another question like, “How are you at work, Jesus, so we can get on board.”

The second character in this story is the woman. This woman had been bleeding for 12 years straight! That meant she was unclean for 12 years of her life. Unclean in her world meant that not only was she considered dirty, everything she sat on, the bed she slept on, her blankets, her clothes and everything she touched was also unclean. Can you even imagine that amount of disgrace and sadness this woman felt? And then on top of just the obvious pain of the shame of uncleanliness comes the physical and emotional burden of bleeding every day for 12 years. Both of these are enough to make me want to climb under a rock yet add to them that she had spent all her money trying to get help from doctor’s who couldn’t help her. Somehow, and I can’t imagine how, the Word says that she got worse! Yet  in the midst of all this physical and emotion strain she had a hope. Her hope was based on her faith that Jesus could heal her. She clearly didn’t want to bother Him or talk to Him, all she wanted to do was touch His clothes. Do you get how much faith she had on such a small act? She didn’t want Him to touch her, she didn’t want Him to talk to her, she only wanted to be able to reach out and touch His clothes! How many times do we ask and sometimes even demand that Jesus do something big for us to help us have faith and yet this woman believed that if she just touched His clothes He would heal her.

The third character, of course, is Jesus. Jesus is pressed in on all sides with likely many people yelling at Him to get His attention. He’s drawing a huge crowd because many people want to be healed, they want to recieve a touch from Him that will change their lives. He is here for something so much bigger than just physical healing yet He has compassion on everyone around and heals as many as He can while still bringing His message. And in the midst of this noisy, chaotic, mob-like situation, He feels someone touch His garment in a way that is completely different from the others around. He feels His healing power leave Him through His clothes! Now, in my mind here’s what I see happening next. This small woman walks up to Him, head bent, eyes cast down and hands covering her face. She has lived the last 12 years in shame and she doesn’t know who to stand up straight anymore. She drops to her knees, face down, her body is shaking as she sobs and tries with all her might to tell Him her story. I have no doubt she’s apologizing along the way. The crowd has pushed back and created a circle of solitude between Jesus and this woman. Jesus bends down and lifts up her face, with eyes that are pouring out love on this unloved woman He tells her that she can have peace now because her faith in Him has healed her. Oh man! I want to cry right now just picturing that face of His! Can you even imagine how she feels as she makes her way through this crowd and heads home knowing that her life is now changed forever? Jesus, in the midst of chaos and people, noticed this woman’s faith, met her need and healed her.

Jesus is waiting to do that same thing for you and for me. As we move through the crowds in our lives, as we hold fast to our faith that He is a healer, as we reach out to just touch His garments, He notices us and he heals us. Does this mean He always heals us physically? Nope. But He will always change our lives in a major way and He will always bring about some type of healing even if it isn’t quite what we expect. For this woman, the bigger outcome is proof that her faith was placed in the right person, Jesus. Place your faith in Him, reach out at all cost, be determined to touch His garment and He will notice you and He will meet you in your need. Nothing in your life is too big or too small that Jesus doesn’t want to be your Healer.

Live in His love, grace, peace and mercy. If you need a prayer partner, email me at kaprayingforyou@gmail.com.

KA 🙂

Balance (April 2012)

Over the course of the past several months, I’ve had several friends ask for prayer in finding balance in their lives. I don’t know about you, but when I think of the word balance, I think of something that is weighted equally on all sides and is steady. Or I think of the Yin/Yang symbol with it’s swirling appearance of black and white with two perfectly centered dots. No matter what imagine is conjured up in your mind at the word balance, there is a sense of harmony and peace that allows us to feel like our boats aren’t rocking any longer and we are just easing through the water. My question in response to the desire of my friends to find balance is what does God say about balance?

My first thought was of course God must want balance because balance feels like peace and why wouldn’t God want us to feel peaceful? However, if we are truly going to seek God’s answer on balance for our lives, we have to look to his Word. I started to think about the people I’ve become acquainted with in the bible who lived their lives for God but had nothing that looked like balance in those lives. If balance means all sides being equal, then that means that I play a role in keeping things balanced and I have a level of control that is contrary to scripture. God calls us to be 100% devoted to Him and following His will. 100% devoted to God…there’s no balance in that because He wants it all! He wants us to completely depend on Him to meet our needs and then watch as He does.

In Matthew 16:24, Mark 8:34 and Luke 9:23-24, Jesus tells us that in order to follow Him we have to deny ourselves  and follow Him completely. What?! That doesn’t sound very balanced! Lord, can’t I just give you some free time that I have on Tuesday morning? The answer, of course, is sure, He’ll take that time you have considered “free” but He wants ALL your time. Not balance, just surrender.

In Luke 9:3 Jesus calls His disciples to go on a journey spreading the Good News and taking NOTHING with them! He wanted them to completely give over their needs to Him and watch how He would care for them. Not balance, just surrender.

In Matthew 19:16-30, Mark 10:17-31 and Luke 18:18-30 Jesus tells us a parable about a rich man who comes to Him asking what he has to do in order to follow Jesus. After they together establish that this young man has been following the law, Jesus shatters his dreams but telling him that lastly he must sell everything he has, give the money to the poor and then come and follow Jesus. This young man’s heart is broken and his choice is to walk away from Jesus because giving hm everything is just too much. Not balance, just surrender.

Right about now you’re probably thinking geez Kellyann, thanks for all this positive information…NOT. Many of us go for many years not fully living in the promise of God because we can’t quite fully give Him every aspect of our lives like He wants. It’s a frightening idea to give your life over to someone else in complete and utter abandon and surrender. And through ourselves, it is impossible to do this but through the power of God, nothing is impossible. (Matt 19:26)

If you decide to jump off what you consider your safe place and pray for God to take over your life and live recklessly abandoned to the God of the universe, here’s what He promises:

* He’ll be your salvation and strength: Isaiah 12:2, “Behold, God is my salvation; I will trust and will not be afraid; for the LORD God is my strength and my song, and he has become my salvation.”

* He’ll be your arm every morning: Isaiah 33:2, “O LORD, be gracious to us; we wait for you. Be our arm every morning, our salvation in the time of trouble.”

* He’ll be with you: Isaiah 41:10, “Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.”

* His love is steadfast: Isaiah 54:10, “For the mountains may depart and the hills be removed, but my steadfast love shall not depart from you, and my covenant of peace shall not be removed,” says the LORD who has compassion on you.”

All of this is to say that I pray you stop seeking balance and instead start seeking God and to be completely surrender to His will. It’s a scary idea to give Him everything but He’s there to catch you and work out all things in your life. Make Him your primary relationship and then everything else will fall into place. It may not happen overnight, and actually likely won’t happen overnight, but it will happen. You can surrender your life to Him. He will not forsake you, instead He will carry you to a deeper relationship. And as you travel through life and find that sometimes you stumble and take over your life again, just pray for His help to give it back. He’s there waiting for you. 🙂

If you want prayer on this, please let me know and I’ll partner with you in prayer and support you. We’re meant to be in community so this is not something you need do alone.

Blessings 🙂

KA

Inextricably Reliant

“And when he got inot the boat, his disciples followed him. And behold, there areose a great storm on the sea, so that the boat was being swamped by the waves, but he was asleep. And they went and woke him saying, “Save us Lord; we are perishing.” And he said to them, “Why are you afaid, o you of little faith?” Then he rose and rebuked the winds and the sea, and there was a great calm and the men marveled, saying, “What sort of man is this, that even the winds and sea obey him?” Matthew 8:23-27

“And a great windstorm arose, and the waves were breaking into the boat, so that the boat was already filling. But he was asleep on the cushion. And they woke him and said to him, “Teacher, do you not care that we are perishing?” And he awoke and rebuked the wind and said to the sea, “Peace! Be still!” And the wind ceased, and there was a great calm. He said to them, “Why are you so afraid? Have you still no faith?” And they were filled with great fear and said to one another, “Who then is this, that even the wind and sea obey him?” Mark 4:37-41

“And as they sailed he fell asleep and a windstorm came down on the lake, and they were filling with water and in danger. And the went and woke him saying, “Master, Master, we are perishing.” And he awoke and rebuked the wond and the raging waves, and they ceased, and there was a calm. He said to them, “Where is your faith?” And they were afraid, and they marveled, saying to one another, “Who then is this, that he commands even winds and water, and they obey him?” Luke 8:23-25

I love the picture in my head of these three accounts of Jesus’ experience with His followers. Can’t you just picture the disciples watching this storm hit, frantically trying to keep afloat while their boat fills up with water, getting sea sick from the dramatic tossing about of their ship, fearing for certain they are dead. These fishermen knew what to do in a storm and yet THIS storm was wrecking them physically as well as emotionally. In the chaos of the situation, I imagine no one even thought to ask where Jesus was, I bet they figured He was somewhere on the boat panicing like they were. And can’t you just see that someone, out of the corner of their eye, looks in Jesus’ direction and realizes He’s lying there not moving. Oh man, you can bet the first thought was that He must be dead! And as this disciple gets closer he realizes that Jesus isn’t dead, He’s SLEEPING!! What?! Sleeping?! Can you even imagine how you would feel? Take just a moment to picture this scenario in your mind and feel the emotion behind this discovery.

If it had been me, I would have been mad. I would have been thinking who on earth is this guy that we follow Him and yet He’s asleep at what is our last hour! And anyways, what kind of a person can sleep through this storm? He must be suicidal and has given up any hope of living and so He’s ready to die and sleeping through the torment here. I would be beside myself with confusion and anger and sadness. Confusion at how He could sleep, anger at why He would sleep and sadness at that He would sleep. What would you be feeling?

When a storm hits in our lives we see it and react through the lens of human nature and that causes fear. However, when a storm hits our lives God sees it and reacts through the lens eternity and that causes peace. Jesus wasn’t being rude or trying to hurt the feelings of His followers by not responding how they expected, He was simply responding to the storm in light of eternity. He knew that His life was in the hand of His Father and so there was nothing to worry about! His faith was fully and inextricably reliant on God and in that there was no room for fear. There was no need for fear. There was no purpose in fear. There was no fear.

Do you know what inextricably means? Just in case you don’t here’s the definition: so entangled as to make escape impossible (dictionary.com).  Isn’t that a great word! I don’t know about you, but I want my life so inextricably reliant on God that I can’t escape His love, grace, peace and mercy. I want to be asleep during storms in my life not because I dont’ want to feel them or deal with storms, but because my peace is so amazingly produced by God that I don’t even register that a storm is taking place.

Are you now saying to yourself, no way can I ever produce that kind of faith. I’m not able. I’m too nervous. I’m too anxious. (Are you getting anxious even thinking about trying to NOT be anxious!?) Here’s the awesome thing about God: you can’t do it without Him. Jesus says in John 14:27 that He gave us a gift of His peace! You and I, if we are living our lives surrendered to Jesus, have His peace. We can be asleep during the storms of our lives because He’s given us the gift and power to be inextricably reliant on His, and our, Father. Let that permeate your thoughts right now and relax.

God doesn’t put us through anything we can’t handle and He knows us better than we know ourselves so He knows what our limitations are and He uses storms to grow our faith. Maybe you’re in a storm right now and you are seeing your ship fill up with water and you are certain you are going down this time. Reach out to Jesus and ask Him to calm your storm and remember that you have His peace available to you. Maybe you’re in a calm place right now and you know that the way you’ve reacted in the past to storms isn’t peaceful. Start praying about how to react peacefully in the next storm now and build your faith through God’s Word. Maybe you’ve never considered giving your life to Jesus and feeling His peace. Turn to Him now and He’ll be right there to give you His peace.

Jesus, thank you for having so much faith that Your peace allowedyyou to go through storms asleep. Thank you for giving us Your peace. Help us remember to turn to You in our storms and know that You have us and the situation under control. Remind us that we can’t do anything without Your power and Your peace. Take our lives Lord, and help us be fully surrendered to You and live in Your love, grace, peace and mercy. You are good all the time and You never leave us alone. Help us to never leave you alone. Amen.

If you need prayer, please email me at kaprayingforyou@gmail.com. Live in God’s love, grace, peace and mercy because it’s the only way to truly live.

Love, grace, peace and mercy to you,

KA

Ask. Seek. Knock. (July 2012)

“Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and the one who seeks finds, and to the one who knocks it will be opened. Or which one of you, if his son asks him for bread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a serpent? If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask Hiim! ” Matthew 7:7-11

It had been a very rainy week. Keep in mind that I live in the Seattle area so I’m used to rain and so for me to say “very rainy” means it was more than usual. I was moving over the weekend and I was bummed by seeing all the rain. My one shining light was that I had ordered a rental truck so at least my things wouldn’t get wet. I had also asked God to please allow for a small window of time during the hours my friends were coming to help me to stop the rain. The day before the move I found out that the rental truck wasn’t going to work out. My reservation I had made online was not being honored so the time I could pick up the truck was later than I had needed. I had a moment of panic! What was I going to do?! People were already scheduled and I had already signed my lease so not moving wasn’t an option. Very quickly I turned my panic into prayer and asked God to show me how He was going to work this move out. I knew that the move was in His plan for us so I knew He was in the midst. Panic wasn’t going to do anything but rock my faith and why let that happen?

The next day all the friends showed up and we loaded up a trailer, a couple trucks and many cars. Guess what? We didn’t need the rental truck afterall! All of our things fit in all the vehicles we had and we didn’t even need to make a second trip!! You know what else DIDN”T happen that day? RAIN. God took a stormy, nasty, rainy week and He gave me a day of dry weather so that my belongings didn’t get drenched along with my friends.

How many times in life do we forget to ask God to help us? We don’t seek Him in the situation and we don’t knock at the throne of the Father and share our need. Yes, God knows all and He sees our needs but the asking is important. The asking, the seeking and the knocking all allow us to put down our own strength and acknowlege that we can’t get through a situation without Him and we need Him to meet out need. I could have chosen to get stressed out about the rain and the lack of a rental truck and that would have only hurt me because I would have been miserable and worried. Instead, I gave my situation to my Father in heaven who loves me beyond my dad here on earth and that’s alot because my dad here is full of love towards me. By giving my stresses and concerns to God, He is able to show His steadfast love and mercy to me and ultimately, I am able to praise Him and give Him glory. I don’t ever tell the story of my moving without sharing how good God is and how faithful He was to meet my every need.

Ask. Seek. Knock. Remember that you are asking your Father in heaven who is the God of the universe and He is just waiting to pour out love, grace, peace and mercy on you. Remember that second part of that passage that describes the character and nature of our Father. If we, as fallable human parents, still meet the needs of our childern AND still bless them, don’t forget that our Father in heaven is bigger and perfect and will do so much more if we’ll just ask, seek and knock. God is interested in your rainy days and He’s interested in your lack of a rental truck because He is interested in you.

Oh, one last thing about this moving experience! I couldn’t really afford the rental truck and I wasn’t sure how I was going to cover the vacation we had planned the very next week. I believed that God wanted us to go on the trip and so I knew He would provide the spending money needed. He provided that through the lack of the rental truck. If I had gotten mad or worried about the lack of the truck, I would have also missed the blessing of the spending money we needed. God is good, all the time!

Live in His love, grace, peace and mercy. Ask. Seek. Knock. Watch God move and work in your life and you surrender each and every concern. He may not answer the way you expect but He will answer.

KA

Who I Am (June 2012)

“But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of the darkness into his marvelous light. Once you were not a people, but now you are God’s people; once you had not recieved mercy, but now you have recieved mercy.” 1 Peter 2:9-10

Let me bring you into my inner circle for a moment and share a secret: I don’t think very well of myself sometimes. I am haunted by the feeling of being a complete and utter failure in life and I don’t very easily see the good that’s going on right away. I see the good in other people all the time! I just don’t extend that vision and grace to the person I see staring back in the mirror. It’s something I’ve been praying about fervently for the past several months and something which God has miraculously answered!

We all find arrogant people challenging to be around but I think that part of arrogance is a self-assurance that most of us don’t have and so maybe the reason we find it annoying is because we can’t relate. The self-image of someone arrogant is that they are fantastic and right and awesome and it just manifests itself in behaviors that make some of us repel. I think I’m in opposite of arrogant but in a bad way. I know, it is usually that the opposite of arrogant is humble and how can that be bad, right? Well I think sometimes humble has behind it a sense of inadequacy and judgement that we need to correct. Or at least I need to correct.

In 1 Peter chapter 2, my favorite disciple is telling the reader to understand and embrace who they are now that they are believers of Jesus. In the first few verses he’s telling people to put away the negative attributes of self and seek after a life that is nourished by “spiritual milk”, God’s Word, so that they grow in their faith. He then goes on to call the reader a “living stone” and then “chosen and precious”. That’s amazing! Peter, who is this super-real person in the scriptures, one who makes some pretty decent mistakes, is telling us all that we are CHOSEN and PRECIOUS! And it’s not him just saying those beautiful words but the God of the universe feels this way about us!! GOD CHOSE US AND WE ARE PRECIOUS! Say it like this right now, “God chose (your name) and I am precious.” Do I sin? Yes. Do I struggle against my human nature? Yes. Am I forgiven? Yes. Am I chosen and precious? YES! YES! YES!

In verses 9-10 Peter further defines who we are as believers. Royal Priesthood. Holy Nation. God’s possession. A people. Receivers of mercy. If God sees me as all of these amazing things, and He knows every single fiber of my being and not only that, but He knit me together, how can I ever feel that I am anything but blessed and lovely in His sight? To think so little of myself that I am a failure and not worth anything really just flies in the face of what God is telling me in His Word. And based on His feelings toward me, my response is also called out by Peter in that I am to “proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light.” If I’m only looking inward at my flaws and my past then it’s like taking a flashlight and putting it against my stomach. It does no good whatsoever because the light is blocked completely. Only when I accept my calling to a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a possession of God, a reciever of mercy can I turn the flashlight around and shine His light on the people around me who are still in the darkness.

If you’ve asked for forgiveness and truly repented of your sin, then remind yourself that God has made you, “white as snow” (Isaiah 1:18). Not beige, not brown, not muddy…white! Don’t let the past take away the light that God has called you to be. Move the flashlight away from pointing inward and point it out so that others can see the remarkable work God is doing in your life and be drawn to His light. Proclaim his excellencies don’t recite your failures. If you find this challenging, let me know and I’ll pray for you and I’ll also share the verses I pray through to get my light shining brighter.

Father God, thank you that You love us and that You chose us to be Your possession. A possession has no choice but to do what the owner wants and what it was created to do so help us proclaim You and shine Your light as we were intended from the beginning. Don’t let us get in the way by dwelling on the past. Draw us to repentance and forgiveness and help us truly accept Your amazing forgiveness. Love us more when we can’t love ourselves and bring us into Your light. Amen.

Love. Grace. Peace. Mercy.

KA 🙂

Bless the Lord (June 2012)

I had a roller coaster day yesterday. And really, as I type the word “roller coaster” I realize that isn’t actually accurate. I started the day on a steep downward track and kept that downward momentum until noonish and then I started my ascent up. And my downward track was turned around by one simple act: I asked a friend to pray for me. I have this extremely bad tendency to go it alone. When I’m down or beating myself up or listening to Satan’s lies, I go into this mode of inward focus and that’s just a bad place for me to be. Once I asked a friend to pray for me yesterday, God rained down so much love on me my tears of sadness and pain immediately turned to tears of joy! All of the sudden God was speaking to me from many different sides and telling me how much He loves me. I’m sure, because I think He has a sense of humor, each “I love you” was followed by “duh”.  I had been praying all morning but on my own it wasn’t enough. I wasn’t turning to God’s word, I was just firing off these “help me” prayers, which are good to do, but I wasn’t actually turning to God. It was like I was standing in the mud with my hands down at my sides sinking further and further down and screaming, “HELP ME!” yet I wasn’t reaching for the branches hanging above my head. I wasn’t striving to get out of the mud that would eventually draw me under. My branches, God’s word and the people he had placed in my life, can’t always come to me I have to go to them. I’m a slow learner on this but the value of the slow learning for me is that I’m learning to see and hear God at work. As soon as I lifted my hands yesterday to reach for a branch, I stopped sinking. As soon as I reached out to my friend to pray for me, I stopped sinking. As soon as I opened God’s word, I started lifing. By the time the day ended I had shared time with another believer at work and spent time in the evening talking about how much God means to me. I started the day in tears of frustration, sadness, and pain. I ended the day with tears of joy at the telling of the remarkable love of God.

I woke up this morning and my only goal was to pray a Psalm of thanksgiving. So I did a Google search like any good person of my generation and was lead to one that so deeply touch me this morning I want to share it with you. It’s Psalm 103 and this is the way I prayed it.

Bless You Lord, O my soul, and every part of me bless Your holy name. Bless You Lord, O my soul, don’t let me forget all that You have done and do and will do for me. Thank you for forgiving ALL my sins and making me clean. Thank you for saving me from hell both here on earth and after I’m dead. Thank you for filling my life with Your amazing love and mercy that never go away. Thank you for giving me good things and renewing my spirit. Thank you for being righteous and saving me from oppression. Thank you for speaking to us for all these thousands of years. Thank you for being merciful and gracious. Thank you for not reacting in anger but showing me your amazing love. Thank you that when You do get angry with me, you don’t keep Your anger against me for very long. Thank you that you don’t do to me what I deserve or hold my sin against. Thank you that I can’t reach heaven in this body and that I can’t go outside Your love for me. Thank you for taking my sins so far from me that I can never get to them again. Thank you for a compassionate earthly father who shows me that though he loves me so much, You love me even more. Thank you for knowing me, Kellyann, and all my flaws and the fact that I am really just dust. Thank you that though my days are like grass and flowers that are so temporary Your love goes forever without end. Thank you that everything is under your rule in heaven. Bless You Lord, O my soul, thank you for all the heavenly beings who do Your will, who listen to You and minister for You. Bless You Lord, and all you do for me and that there is no where I can go that You aren’t in control. Bless You Lord, O my soul.

My prayer for you today is that you feel just how much God loves you. He loves you enough to remove your sin, “as far as the east is from the west” (103:12). That’s complete removal since the east and west never meet and go in completely opposing directions. God is not sitting in some big throne piling up all your wrong and waiting to throw lightening bolts at you for sinning. “He does not deal with us according to our sins, nor repay us according to our iniquities” (103:10). Thank goodness!! Feel God’s love for you today. Read Psalm 103 and really take in what He is saying to you. Read it like a letter God is writing to you.

If you need prayer or a prayer partner please don’t hestitate to email me at kaprayingforyou@gmail.com. Reach out to the many branches God has put around you to save you from the muck and mire of this life.

Love. Grace. Peace. Mercy.

KA

Love. Grace. Peace. Mercy. (June 2012)

Love.  Grace. Peace. Mercy. Say these four words in your head a few times. Love. Grace. Peace. Mercy.

I live every day in love, grace, peace and mercy. These four words float through my brain and my prayers so much that I’ve come to believe they are part of my dna. I can’t imagine my life without love, grace, peace and mercy. And not just those for aspects as random, but those four aspects as gifts from God. Everyday I know God loves me, I see it is the people around me and I see it in my daughter. I feel God’s grace every time I make a mistake and He picks me up and says, “You are my daughter, keep going, I love you.” I feel God’s peace whenever I have turmoil in my head and heart and I cry out for it to stop and I feel His peace wash over me like warm water. I feel God’s mercy every day I get up knowing that my sins should have me in the depths of life yet His mercy has saved me from the punishment I deserve.

What I am finding more fascinating about these four words is that they are circular and collaborative together. God loves me and because He loves me He extends to me grace (unmerited favor) which allows me to feel His peace in my life and accept His gift of mercy. Wow! The God of the universe, the Creator, the Supreme Being and God of gods wants me to know He loves me, He provides grace for me, He bestows peace on me, and He gives mercy to me. Once I got a grip on that, how could my response to Him be anything but thank you…take my life!

Love: Lamentations 3:22a “The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases.”  Do you live as if you truly believe this? Do you get that this is saying that not only is God’s love steadfast, or unwavering, it is FOREVER! We have a God that loves us through ANYTHING and FOREVER! Even if you don’t get the grace, peace and mercy, get this point because it is critical.

Grace: John 1:16 “And from His fullness we have received grace upon grace.” We didn’t just receive grace once, we receive it over and over and over and over. Grace upon grace! Heaps of grace. More grace than we can ever use up. Unmerited favor that is unending.

Peace. John 14:27 “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you.” The peace of Jesus. This is the man who fell asleep in the boat while a huge storm was raging and his disciples were completely freaked out and certain they were going to die. I want this peace, don’t you? This is peace that says to the storm, it’s good, you can stop now.

Mercy: Lamentations 3:22b “his mercies never come to an end.” The next verse goes on to say that they are new every single morning we wake up. Just as we receive grace heaped upon itself, we also receive mercy that never stops coming. Once we accept Jesus as the Lord of our lives, we never receive the punishment we deserve. Unending mercy.

May God’s love, grace, peace and mercy be overflowing in your life today. 🙂

Complete Surrender (June 2012)

I used to think that God would take what we can give Him of our lives and be happy. “Oh look, Kellyann has given me Sunday morning isn’t that awesome!” I am becomming more and more sure, however, that while God will take what we can give Him as a start, it is not where He wants us to stay. He wants us to get to the place of complete surrender. And I use the term “want” very loosely because I actually think He demands that we give Him everything and He works with us to get us to that point.

Jesus last words to the disciples while He was alive are intense and two passages in particular seem to be saying to me that God wants it all. John 15:4-11 is the description of the vine and the fruit on the vine. Verse 4 says, “Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me.” As long as the branch is connected to the vine, it has no choice but to do the will of the vine and produce fruit. It’s what the branch was made to do! A branch on the ground is nothing more than garbage as it can’t fulfill it’s calling, it’s inner purpose…it can’t produce fruit and just withers and dies. Jesus is our vine and if we want to live the life He has created us to live, we must be completely surrendered to Him and fulfilling His callingin our lives which is to produce fruit that brings glory to God. There is no choice. Just as a branch isn’t going to one day decide on it’s own to jump off the vine, we must live so dependent on God that we will neither choose to disconnect from Him nor will he choose to cut us off the vine.

In this same conversation Jesus talks again about complete surrender.  John 15:13-14 says, “Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends. You are my friends if you do what I command.” In these 2 verses, Jesus isn’t just saying He’s our friend because He is going to lay down is life for us. He’s defining friend as someone who is willing to give everything they have, lay it all down, for another person. The flip side of Jesus giving His life for us is us giving our lives for Him. Laying down our life for Jesus to show that we are His friend. That’s complete surrender. That’s not just Sunday morning, that’s all day, every day, 365, 24/7. If I am to lay down my life for my Friend, I am dying to anything I had planned for my life and saying, “You take me where you want me to go because my only desire is you, God. My life no longer belongs to me, it is yours.”

Nothing about complete surrender is easy except that once you start heading in that direction you experience a life that is exactly how God intended and that is close to Him. You may find that those dreams of yours start coming true the closer you get to God because they were put there by God in the first place. Or, you may find that those dreams of yours start to change and look different because they are conforming to the dreams and plans God has for your life. There may be some pain as you are transformed into the person God created you to be but the pain is temporary and is used to mold you and shape you. In the end, God’s plan for you is created out of this amazing love for you that truly, we can’t wrap our brains around.

Trust God. God is not flawed like humans are so whatever hurts you may have had in the past that are stopping you from complete surrender you need to pray about and ask God to take them and heal them. Trust God. What you may think is best in and for your life may turn out to be only a garbarge heap compared to what God wants to do with your life. Trust God. Give Him everything so that He will be your everything and make your life exactly in tune with His purpose and will.

Complete surrender is the only option to a life truly fulfilled.