Whatever you want…

It doesn’t take much research to find that the Bible encourages us that whatever we ask in Jesus’ name we will receive.

Matthew 18:19- Again I say to you, if two of you agree on earth about anything they ask, it will be done for them by my Father in heaven.

Matthew 21:22-And whatever you ask in prayer, you will receive, if you have faith.”

Mark 11:24-Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours.

John 14:13- Whatever you ask in my name, this I will do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son.

John 15:17- If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you.

John 15:16- You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit and that your fruit should abide, so that whatever you ask the Father in my name, he may give it to you.

John 16:23-24-In that day you will ask nothing of me. Truly, truly, I say to you,whatever you ask of the Father in my name, he will give it to you. Until now you have asked nothing in my name. Ask, and you will receive, that your joy may be full.

1 John 3:22- and whatever we ask we receive from him, because we keep his commandments and do what pleases him.

1 John 5:14-15- And this is the confidence that we have toward him, that if we ask anything according to his will he hears us.  And if we know that he hears us in whatever we ask, we know that we have the requests that we have

And that’s just a quick google search of the words “Ask anything you want in my name”. I’m sure there is a longer list and deeper research that can be done. But as easy as it is to search for it, it’s just as hard to have the faith it takes to do the asking. As you can see in these verses there is nothing that suggests you can ask God for unlimited monetary wealth and he will just “poof” place it in your hands. There is a limit to what we ask. As we see in 1 John 5:14-15, He shows us that we ask according to His will. And so, our faith comes in when we aren’t sure what that will is. 1john-5_15-15

We are all human, and we’ll have human “wants” that aren’t always part of God’s will. That doesn’t mean we don’t ask, it means we start out trying to discern what that will is. And although we still may not always get that part right, as we do the searching, we draw close enough to God to be content with the answers (even when it’s “no” or “wait”) God gives.

I’m slipping from my intended purpose here… but consider that an “intro” to what I’m about to say… PRAYER CHANGES THINGS! As we draw close to God, as we seek to do His will and not just our own, our prayers begin to take on a shape that changes the way we live, the way we see life, and the way we handle the life we’re given.

It’s so fitting that I’m writing this and that it will fall on my blog history right after “Mothering, the struggle is real”. The struggle is always there, but in the last 6 or so weeks since writing that (man, I need to write more!), God has done some really great things in my life.

You see, I have 4 children. As wonderful as they all are, 2 of them are pretty strong-willed. My first strong-willed child has grown out of most of the issues we had when he was younger, and is proving to be a quite the young man. But it seemed the same things I used on him are not working on the other strong  Iron-willed child. And I’m struggling, 6 weeks ago, struggling wasn’t a strong enough word… I was drowning.

Then a friend asked some advice on Facebook about how to parent a child whose heart is not changing. And I immediately remembered what worked on my 1st child that I had neglected in my current parenting struggle. And here is where I’d like to really start this blog post…

When my first-born, who was such an obedient wild child, would show these massive fits of rage when we simply asked him to pick up his books nothing we did taught him to control his outbursts. We tried giving him ways to express his frustrations… but nothing seemed to work. At my wit’s end (and at this point I had only 2 children, and was not nearly as stressed out), I began sneaking into his room at night while he slept and laying hands on him and praying. I would spend 30 minutes or more some nights, 10 min other nights. But I begged God to change his heart. To speak to the heart of my little boy when I could not reach it. Within days, his behavior changed.

The problem is, as he got better, I got worse at spending that time in his bedroom at night. Don’t get me wrong, I always pray for my children,  WITH them and in my own personal time… but I wasn’t spending that concentrated time in prayer on a consistent basis.

So fast forward to what brought me to write that last post. My poor little girl is struggling hard with BIG emotions, and small coping mechanisms. And her drained momma is running out of ideas. Until I was reminded by a friend’s search for answers, that I had the answer. Well, GOD has the answer… PRAYER! This Iron-willed child of mine can be relentless at times. And now, with 4 children, all doing school, and having activities, and needing different things at different stages… I’m tired! And I need answers. And God reminds me… “In that day you will ask nothing of me. Truly, truly, I say to you,whatever you ask of the Father in my name, he will give it to you. Until now you have asked nothing in my name. Ask, and you will receive, that your joy may be full.” Oh how I need that joy… that FULL JOY! So I began that journey. I sneak into her room at night, and I cuddle up next to her. I rub her back, I kiss her face, I stroke her hair, and I pray over her heart.

“God, I’m failing! But you love her even more than I can ever love. Change her heart. Take away her rage and replace it with peace. Take away her triggers and replace it with happiness. Take away her frustrations and replace them with dependence on YOU!” I go on to pray for me as a mother. “Lord, I’ll mess up! Help my patience. Expand my heart to see where she’s struggling, and give me compassion for her during the process.” I continue to pray many things over this child.

And here’s the thing… Let’s be real. Sometimes when our children are consistently a struggle, although obviously our love for them never ceases, our “like” level starts to drop. Cuddling your sweet blessing from God when they are calm and peaceful increases your compassion and the child’s likability. And in that moment, when that peaceful little angel is sweetly sleeping, you can fight the biggest battles for her that you’ve never be able to fight in the midst of the chaos of the day.

Although it took some time of suffering before I remembered this gem of information,  I eventually began the process of praying over my sweet baby girl. And now… today… I feel I have my real child back! We’ve had our bad moments, but there is such a tangible change.

You see, I’ve tried it all. I’ve tried more sleep (her and me). I’ve tried being strict. I’ve tried letting up. I’ve tried letting her choose, complimenting more, hugging more, begging, pleading, and crying. But I had asked not, so I received not. It sounds superstitious to say, but superstition has nothing on prayer! Not only has her behavior changed, but so has mine. I’m calmer, I’m more likely to see the issues, more in tuned to how God wants me to handle said issues, and I completely see her in a new light.

God is in the business of changing hearts. And only HE can do it. We can teach our children, we can lead our children, but we can not change their hearts. And once we begin to pray for our children’s hearts to follow after God, God listens and answers.

In the midst of busy days, I’d crawl into bed finally get cozy and then realize that I had not gone up and laid hands on my child like I had in the days before. “But I’m already tucked in. God doesn’t care if I lay hands on her as long as I just pray.” I thought. So I’d pray in my warm cozy bed. Then the next night I’d do the same… slowly getting out of the habit. And just as before, her behavior began to slip. We were going right back into the Iron-will. What was happening? I mean, is it mandatory for us to have a specific formula to how we pray over our kids? A certain posture? A specific time of the night? Are our prayers dependent upon our rituals? NO! They are not. But, God was teaching ME something through this exercise and I was not in direct obedience to that. I do not understand it all. I don’t claim any top secrets when it comes to prayer. But what I do know is that God asked me to have this particular discipline and when I do, I see results, when I don’t… I see those results, too.

I asked Pastor if he thought it was possible God was using this exercise to show me something specific to the method, or was there something Biblical behind this kind of prayer and the changes we are seeing because of it. The Bible does talk about laying hands on the sick. It talks about how when the apostles laid their hands on people the Holy Spirit would come upon them. The Word of God mentions Moses laying his hands on Joshua to commission him into service to the people of Israel. There is something wonderful about laying on of hands. But also, there is something about your child waking from a deep sleep and seeing their mama praying over them. She smiles at me, cuddles up tight, and plays with my hair. She is no longer lost in the shuffle of her siblings. She no longer is a middle child who struggles to find her place in the family. She is no longer a rambunctious character who can’t  won’t sit still long enough to read a simple book. She’s the apple of my eye. Just me and her… and God!

Whatever the reason behind doing it, God is doing it. Now, multiple weeks later just as she begins having her big emotions, (and although she even lets them out for a split second) she is showing that she DOES actually have self-control. Imagine that! A fruit of the Spirit. Not only have I increased my prayer time with her, but she’s following suit and has been praying on her own. She is SIX! And she’s extraordinary!

Each child is going to teach their parents something. I could go on and on explaining all the unique things the other three have taught me. But right now, I’m learning to pray. And I’m gleaning all the benefits of God’s mighty answers to my prayers.

Prayer changes things. Ask anything in Jesus’ name, according to His will, and He WILL do it! I challenge you to try it! And please let me know the results.

pastorswifeslife@gmail.com

 

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Believe in the Magic

This is the most wonderful time of the year. I love the decorations, the parties, the full shopping malls (yes, I love a crowd). I love the family time, the excitement that comes with the anticipation and ultimately I love the meaning for this holiday, Christmas. We see in the Bible that Jesus has always been. He wasn’t merely born into existence. He has always been. And the idea that he left his eternal home, heaven, to dwell among us here on earth is such a sign of love to me.

I am so saddened when this sacred holiday is treated with such idolatry. Get ready to be offended… then take a deep breath and hear me out as I promise I speak in love (or type…), But the hype with Santa is, indeed, idolatry. Many people replace the true meaning of Christmas with the idol worship of Santa.

Idolatry:

  1. idol worship: the worship of idols or false gods
  2. extreme admiration: excessive admiration or love shown for somebody or something

(according to the Bing Dictionary)

Many people think idolatry is when you bow down to a statue, or rub a fat man’s belly before eating chinese food… but God defines it throughout the Bible.

I liked what this website said about idolatry (http://www.ucg.org/bible-faq/what-idolatry)

 In the King James Version of the Bible, there are three different words translated as “idolatry.” Each one ( teraphiym ,  kateidolos  and  eidololatria ) has at its core the concept of serving or worshipping something other than the one true God. 

So idolatry is not just venerating a statue, carving or painting. Idolatry occurs when we begin to value anything more than we value God. If we spend more time thinking about our hero than God, that’s idolatry. If our every thought is about the latest gadget or our personal appearance, that’s idolatry. If the first priority in our lives is our family, even that’s idolatry.

When God said, “You shall have no other gods before Me” (Exodus 20:3),  He wasn’t just talking about the imaginary deities that seem so ridiculous to us today. He was talking about  anything  that usurps His place as number one in our hearts”

I couldn’t have said it better. I’m not saying that these behaviors aren’t prevalent all year round. But it really roars it’s ugly head around this most wonderful, godly, and pure season.

Jesus came to earth to bring light. To be truth in physical form. He came representing truth, promoting truth, and proclaiming truth.(John 14:6). To celebrate His birth, parents lie to their children and promote Santa. Santa becomes the reason for the season. And without trying to sound like the cliché… this is a lie… Jesus is the reason for the season.

Our emphasis on Santa goes against so many concepts Jesus’ life represented.

  1.  Naughty or Nice… If your nice, you get a nice and wonderful gift from Santa… if you’re naughty, you get coal. Jesus says salvation is a gift and can not be earned. We were all sinners, we all fell short, and yet, we gave the biggest gift of all. His life. (Rom6:23) Santa promotes that we can someway earn gifts… and really, how many parents really withhold gifts when their kids are naughty? That’s just not following through on your threats, and basically that’s poor parenting. 😦

**And with this goes the faulty idea that good kids get gifts, bad ones don’t… but what if a family can’t afford gifts, but their kids are very well behaved? How does that play in? Are they being punished for the salary of their parents? Are wealthier families who are able to buy their kids bigger and more gifts families who have “better” kids than the family who can only afford a small toy car?

2.  Being “Nice”… Many have a little elf that reports back to Santa the behavior of the household (lies always breed more lies). We teach our kids to think about everything they do and be sure their actions, thoughts, and emotions are pleasing to God. We emphasize that we do all things for His glory, not to please men… yet Santa promotes (only at THIS time of year) to be good so you can make it to his Nice list. During the celebration of Jesus, and His life, children are asked to behave in a manner to please some lie.

3. anti santa

If this isn’t idolatry, I must know nothing. It seems at this time of year (again, I remind you is supposed to be a time to celebrate Jesus’ birth, His life. ) so many people want to give credit to Santa. Sorry, Charlie Brown, but Santa had nothing to do with your blessings. He did not come to die for your sins, to give you the gift of salvation, and make a way for you to have a home in heaven. Santa broke into your home, ate your cookies, and left material gifts…  James 1:17 reminds us that “Every good and perfect gift is from above”  No one NEEDS Santa. But everyone needs JESUS!
Credit is given where credit is not due. My husband works hard all year round. Mommy cuts coupons, buys second hand, and does without so we can bless our kids at Christmas time with a gift. Santa had nothing to do with it. Jesus blessed us financially to be able to afford to buy a gift for all 4 of our children (and each other most years), and we give HIM glory for that provision. Santa had nothing to do with it. We worship idols when we give Santa credit for what God clearly provides.

4. Lists a mile long. Children are encouraged to make lists of what they want. Commercials are increases so we can add to our never ending lists of what we want. me me me, more more more. Colossians 3:5 lists covetousness and greed as idolatry. I’m not saying it’s wrong to say you want this or that on occasion. What I’m focusing on the emphasis we put on this covetousness this time of year. Christmas has become so much about the gifts, and less and less about WHO THE GIFT IS.

Idolatry is when we put anything above God. When something has taken the place of God, it crosses over into idolatry. When we change the meaning of Christmas to mean something outside of the celebration of Jesus’ birth, we’ve made an idol. I’m aware not everyone is a Jesus lover, and for you, you have a different meaning for “Christmas Magic”. And to you, this entire message was not written. But for those of us who strive to live for Jesus. Let’s be very cautious of not making Santa above Jesus.

I am totally against lying to my children. I remember when I learned the truth about Santa. I sat and brought up all the different lies I was told about him, and I was devastated that so many adults lied to me, and some told some mighty elaborate lies.  Then I questioned what else they had lied about. If I had never seen Santa, but those I trusted told me he was real… how do I know they are telling the truth when they tell me that I need to just “believe” that Jesus is real?

My husband began to ponder the “lies” as acceptable. If adults were allowed to lie, surely he was allowed. If it was okay as long as no one got hurt, then he could begin to tell others lies… as long as no one got hurt. And basically neither of these scenarios  are what we’d choose to teach our children.  But even beyond the lie… Santa has become an idol. Many say it’s a fun game… I say it’s inconsistent to what we choose to teach our kids all year round.

We teach our kids about the Christmas magic.

Magic: the power of apparently influencing the course of events by using mysterious or supernatural forces.

The birth of our Savior;  the one who came to save a flawed people was a supernatural experience. His power changed the course of events. When Mary brought forth life, that life extended into our lives today .He came to proclaim good news to the poor. He was sent to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim freedom for the captives and release from darkness  the prisoners. THAT IS MAGIC!

The world’s Christmas slogan is to “Believe”. When we believe in the falsities of Santa, we are worshipping idols. Use this season to teach your kids to believe in the true Magic. The birth and life of a sinless savior who gives what we do not deserve, who is the giver of all good and perfect things, and who gives us all we need, and many things we even want.  Don’t let the season get wrapped up in make believe, but instead be sure the light shines brighter on the Light. (the Way, and the Truth).

And Merry Christmas to you, I pray it’s the most joyous time of year for you all. I pray you all feel His Magic during this sacred season.jesus-the-true-light-of-christmas

 Feel free to leave me a comment, just know I speak in love, and would appreciate you do the same. 🙂