Category Archives: Living the Christian Life

Praying for Those Who Hurt Us

Forgiving others

Forgiving even when it’s hard.

Recently, I saw a poster on Facebook that said: The saddest thing about betrayal is that it never comes from your enemies!

It’s so true, because when betrayal comes from those closest to us—friends, relatives, church members—its sting is deep.

So how do we handle it? Usually, we react with a defensive attitude and a desire to strike back, but Jesus tells us to forgive: And when you stand praying, if you hold anything against anyone, forgive them so that your Father in heaven may forgive you your sins(Mark 11:25 NIV).

“But what if they don’t apologize?” you might ask.

Forgive them.

“What if they don’t repent?”

Forgive them.

“It doesn’t mean you act like everything’s fine, and it doesn’t mean you will be reconciled with them,” says Mark Driscoll. “It doesn’t even mean you overlook the offense or bless the offense. But it does mean you give up the inclination to vengeance and pass the matter up to God’s court for trial.”

Because we’re sinners, vengeance is a natural inclination, so we need to ask for God’s supernatural inclination to forgiveness. We also need to stop rehearsing the offense over and over in our mind.

We also must ask God to search our hearts so that we might see our own sin in the matter. We need to pray as David prayed: Search me, O God, and know my heart; try me and know my thoughts; and see if there be any wicked way in me and lead me in the way everlasting(Ps. 139:23-24 KJV).

Mary Geegh, a missionary to India, once faced a situation where someone had blamed her unfairly and when she asked God what to do, He said, “Face your five-percent-to-blame.”

That’s a great little motto to place over our hearts. In any situation there’s usually always something for us to confess: pride, blame, irritation, lack of love, etc.

Finally, we need to begin to pray for the one who hurt us. Pray God’s blessings for them. Pray for their spiritual growth and for God’s love to fill their hearts.

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I Want to Soar Like an Eagle

Is. 40:31

My husband and I once asked each other what we wanted to come back as if we had a choice. (Disclosure—we don’t really believe in reincarnation!) I immediately said, “An eagle!” He said, “A bear!” Our logic—he would be able to catch lots of salmon to eat on the banks of rivers. Me—I love to travel and I love high vistas, and an eagle represents a sort of wild freedom and strength to fly high above everything life might throw at me.

Lately, I’ve been struggling with some real and some imagined issues that come with aging. My body isn’t as strong as it used to be. I’ve developed pains and physical issues and sometimes I focus too much on these instead of trusting God to meet me in whatever situation I face. Continue reading

Freedom in Fasting

A fast that God approves

Many churches and individuals begin the New Year with a 21-day Daniel Fast. My church has done it for the past several years and I have participated in many of them. Last year I did not because I dreaded facing weeks of preparation reading labels, spending extra money on appropriate food items, looking for recipes that were Daniel-fast approved, etc. etc. etc.

(In 2016 I wrote a post about why this approach to fasting was troubling to me—see the link below to read that post).

To me this whole modern approach to fasting seems to be the antithesis of Daniel’s motivation for fasting. Daniel 10: 1-3 says he was in mourning because of a vision: “In the third year of Cyrus king of Persia, a revelation was given to Daniel (who was called Belteshazzar). Its message was true and it concerned a great war. At that time I, Daniel, mourned for three weeks. I ate no choice food; no meat or wine touched my lips; and I used no lotions at all until the three weeks were over.” (NIV)

Two things strike me about Daniel’s fast in this passage:

(1) Daniel’s motivation for fasting was about a Great War he saw in a vision. What if we entered our fast truly mourning the “Great War” the enemy is waging against our nation, our culture, our youth and the Church and crying out for God’s intervention.

(2) Just as Daniel entered his fast focusing on the spiritual by denying his flesh and refusing the king’s rich food—so our focus for fasting should be on denying our flesh and humbling ourselves—not spending our time focusing on what foods we can and can’t eat during the fast.

This year I am participating in the fast, but with a new freedom. I’m simply giving up what I personally consider my “choice, rich and pleasant foods” and focusing my attention on spending time drawing near to God in His Word, in worship and in prayer.

If you are participating in a fast this year, I suggest you search your motives and seek God for how He wants you to fast. Trust Him to lead you.

Click here to read my other post about fasting: The Daniel Fast: Are We Really Denying Ourselves?

Thanksgiving

It’s that time of year when we give thanks for all of our blessings—both as individuals and as a nation. Our thankfulness usually focuses on our material blessings—our daily provision of food, our jobs and homes, our family and friends and our freedom as a nation. While we should thank God for all of these blessings, how many of us ever give thanks for the trials and difficulties of the past year?

Why should we do this? Author and speaker, John Bevere says in his new book, Killing Kryptonite, that “Adversity locates the strength of our faith.” In other words, life’s difficulties are a kind spiritual thermometer that reveals whether we are trusting in our own ability to get through our trials or whether we are really putting our faith in God.  Continue reading

Online class–Lord, It’s Boring in My Prayer Closet

Join me for an online class on prayer!

I teach an online  course based on my book, Lord, It’s Boring in My Prayer Closet, for BeADisciple.com–a great online site affiliated with Southwestern College that offers a variety of Christian classes for pastors, lay leaders and all who want to go deeper with the Lord.

 

For more info see click here: BeADisciple