He knows 

I had an opportunity recently to be around a few hundred women at a conference. Two themes stood out: people feel stuck and people don’t feel like they know how to pray. I’ll address feeling stuck another time, today I want to talk about prayer.

Overall, great preachers and televangelists have done the “average” person a great disservice by speaking lofty prayers. You know the prayers I’m talking about, lots of “Oh Heavenly Father God”spoken with an orator’s tone that could be heard from one end of the country to the other. Big words, big sentiments, big requests and while those move us to tears, they set us up for a disappointing personal prayer life. Somewhere along the line we decided that’s what prayer should be like and it sets a really high bar that quite honestly, isn’t realistic.

There is a secret to prayer and if you can capture it fully, it will transform your prayer life. Are you ready for it? He knows. Jesus already knows your heart, what you need and what you want. There are no lofty words required, as a matter of fact, there are no words required at all! He know you, lives with you, walks with you, is crazy about you, seeks to bring you abundant joy…He knows. 

I love the passage in John 16 where He has just dropped a bomb on His friends and they are confused. They are talking amongst themselves trying to figure out what He meant and something is stopping them from asking Jesus. He knows they are confused and instead of waiting for them to ask Him, speak the perfect words,  He reaches into their confusion and brings clarity. He didn’t wait for them to pray a lofty prayer or the “right” prayer, He just answered. 

Prayer is about relationship. Prayer is about moving into a moment with Jesus where you seek to spend time with the One who knows you best. Prayer is both talking and being silent. He knows, so you don’t need to worry about how you are phrasing things. He knows.

Shalom,

KA 

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Permanent Resident

Abide. Not a word we hear alot in today’s language and yet, it is a really powerful word. When God first started speaking to me through John 15, “abide” had a different impact than it does today. A few years ago, the defintion of yielding without objection, doing what I was told without complaining resonanted deeply with me. There was a comfort because that sentiment was deeply part of my story. Today I’m realizing a different peice of the defintion resonates: permanent resident.

People who live together see each others strengths and weaknesses and either choose to stay or leave. A permanent resident has seen the good and the bad, weighed the options, and decided that there is more good and therefore they will stay. They don’t have any pie-in-the-sky dreams that their co-residents are perfect. They honestly don’t even think in terms of striving because they are comfortable with each other. They may have conversations where they ask for certain changes or accommodations, but there is a commitment to the relationship.

In John 15:4, Jesus is inviting us to live with Him in permanent residency; us in Him and He in us. He already knows all of the bad habits we have and He doesn’t care. There may be actions that come up where He sits us down and invites us to new ways of doing things, but this living arrangement is permanent so He’s not leaving. And just like roommates, we make a choice to spend time together. We always live together, but just how much time we spend together is a choice. The beauty of this particular arrangement is that Jesus is always home, waiting and eager to spend time with us.

I’m suprised at the new way this verse is landing today. I have spent alot of energy striving for perfection or doing what I’m told so that I don’t create waves. I’ve lived alot of years in fear that if I make a mistake, the person I love will leave or will make me leave. Today, I’m finding a new invitation from Jesus, “Will you live with Me forever? I want to live with you forever.” I’ll be honest, there is a level of extreme discomfort and fear in this new invitation. It’s going to take a new level of faith to believe that He won’t leave or send me away. Am I willing to put that much faith in Him? Yes, yes I am.

It’s time to believe all of the promises of God that say He never leaves, never forsakes, always provides and always loves. The promises that say He is always with me no matter what decision I make, and that His desire is permanent residency in my life. ♡ This is a step into a new journey, it isn’t a one time decision. It’s a kick off into a new season.

Shalom,

KA 

Pruning

This is a repost from August 2015.

“Any branch in Me that does not bear fruit [that stops bearing] He cuts away (trims off, takes away); and He cleanses and repeatedly prunes every branch that continues to bear fruit, to make it bear more and richer and more excellent fruit.” John 15:2 AMP

Pruning is an interesting process. After doing a little research (thank you www.sicktree.com for your information!), I found that that are 3 primary reasons to prune a plant/tree: 1) training the plant/tree to grow a certain direction, 2) controlling the size, and shape of the plant/tree, and 3) improving the quality of fruit in the future. There are 2 primary pruning cuts: heading, which removes the head and stimulates growth at the spot of the cut and thinning, which is meant to provide more light penetration which allows for new growth. In both types of pruning, healing follows naturally.

Pruning is necessary for a plant to grow as strong as it is meant to be and bear as much quality fruit as possible. It requires a master’s touch in order for pruning to accomplish the perfect outcome. God is that Master Gardener in our lives. He looks at all the branches of our lives, our friends, personality traits, habits, etc., and prunes us to help us grow and bear higher quality fruit for His glory.

Pruning is a continual process, not a one-time act. As we grow up and life changes, we are introduced to more outside influences that cause us to either grow closer to God or turn away from God. In each situation, our responses are like branches that sprout. Some of the branches are good and may just need a little trim now and then in order to keep growing well. Other branches begin to move us in a direction contrary to God’s plan and must be thinned and removed to bring us to full health in Christ.

I’ve been going through a season of thinning pruning. God has been removing my reliance on myself and my career. Removing my need for the approval of those around me. Removing my desire to feel my self-worth based on my career and my income. He’s also been showing me areas in my personality that need thinning like taking things personally, feeling shame over past mistakes and feel like I don’t matter. He’s been showing me that all I need is Him and the more I see that, the more all I want is Him. I can feel the light penetrating through the darkness and I know that if I continue to abide where He has me, I’m going to produce quality fruit for His kingdom. That’s exciting!!!

I love that in nature, healing begins immediately after pruning! God has set it up that at base level, pruning and healing happen hand-in-hand. God will never prune you without bringing comfort and healing. Pruning may feel like a punishment but it is critical that we grasp the truth: pruning is an act of love with a desire for healthy growth. No gardener cuts back a rose bush because they are mad at it, they cut it back so that it produces beautiful roses the next season! When God is pruning you, remember it’s an act of love and in your best interest.

Here’s the last thing to think about when it comes to pruning: the plant/tree has no choice. No plant yells at the gardener and tells it to stop. The plant simply exists to produce the fruit and has a natural ability to heal and keep growing. When God is pruning areas of your life, don’t fight it and don’t get angry. Seek His healing comfort and know that He is preparing you for quality growth in the future so that you will receive all that He has for you.

Live in God’s love, grace, peace and mercy. If you need a prayer partner, email me at jesusreliant@gmail.com.

KA