Praying Earnestly

Are you going through a tough time, a time you do not think anyone else can understand? Are you feeling all alone, abandoned, misunderstood, or an outsider? Do you think Jesus cannot possibly understand what you are going through?

We may go through times of estrangement. We may be misunderstood by others in what we say or something we do. We may feel as though everyone has abandoned us, leaving us feeling like a castaway. But we should never think Jesus does not understand.

On the night that Jesus was betrayed, He was in anguish over what He knew was to come. He felt misunderstood. The chief priests, teachers of the law, and a large portion of the public did not understand His message nor who He was.

They were willing to come to Him as long as He performed miracles. They listened so long as He fed them. They brought their sick to Him when they had nowhere else to turn. And though He had many followers, He had far more opposers.

As Jesus prayed, His soul cried out to the Father so strongly that He was sweating. To sweat in the cool of the night requires expending a lot of energy. Not only did He sweat, but His sweat was like drops of blood, meaning they were thick, not merely drops of water. Jesus prayed as earnestly and cried out to the Father as strongly as anyone could possibly pray. But in the end, He trusted the plan God had put before Him. What a wonderful example for us to follow!

I pray we all pray earnestly during our times of anguish. I pray we seek God with our whole heart. I pray each one of us follow Jesus’ example of praying throughout our lives and trust God’s plan. Cry out to God in your anguish. Pray earnestly to God. Lay your worries and fears at His feet. Trust God. Trust in His plan.

Luke 22:44 And being in anguish, he prayed more earnestly, and his sweat was like drops of blood falling to the ground.

Jesus Understands

Do you ever feel like God has forgotten you? Do you feel like he has abandoned you? Do you just want to scream, “Why God? Where are you God?” Do you know you are not alone? Do you know Jesus asked those same questions?

We are sometimes in some very dire situations. We feel as though we have been forgotten, abandoned, discarded, left for dead. We wonder where God is when we experience those types of situations. We feel like screaming at the top of our lungs.

Jesus cried out as He was on the cross. You might say He screamed. He felt all alone. He asked why God had turned his back on Him. And here is the kicker…Jesus knew the plan. How much more do you think He understands our situation, knowing that we don’t know the full plan? He understands!

Since Jesus is God, and yet He was human, He knows how we feel when things go completely south. He knows what it feels like to feel abandoned. But He also knows that He has not abandoned us. He knows what the final outcome will be. He knows His plan for each one of us.

So, it is perfectly fine for us to cry out in anguish. Jesus understands why. But we are not to stay in that state of mind. After we cry out, after we release our frustration, we are to trust God to pull us through it. We are to acknowledge his power to overcome whatever our situation is.

I pray we all feel free to cry out to God. I pray we release our frustration and anguish. I pray each one of us trust that God has a plan for us, and it will all work out in the end. Cry out to God. Ask God why. Release your frustration. Trust God. Know that God has a plan for you.

Matthew 27:46 About three in the afternoon Jesus cried out in a loud voice, “Eli, Eli, lema sabachthani?” (which means “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”).

Ready and Willing

Are you experiencing an extremely difficult time? Do you know where to find help? Have you been turned away by people you thought you could trust? Are others unable to help? Have you cried out to God?

We may experience an extremely difficult situation. It may be a situation that no one else can help with. We may be exasperated, exhausted, and at our wits end. We may think there is no one who can help, nowhere to turn for relief.

In today’s passage, we see a woman who was in the midst of an extreme situation. Her daughter was demon-possessed. There was no one who could help. She had heard of a man who some considered a prophet. She had heard he could perform miracles. She grasped at what she thought was her last straw, her last chance for help.

The apostles wanted to send her away. After all, she was not a Jew. She was a foreigner who was disliked at best, hated by many Jews. They did not think Jesus should be bothered by her. But Jesus stopped, took time to teach a quick lesson, and cast out the demon.

Jesus made the point to His apostles that no one is beyond His help. He is always available to help those who are desperate, distressed, or in dire straits. Jesus is waiting for each of us to cry out to Him in our times of trouble. He longs to rescue us when we have nowhere else to turn. But He is also available to us at all times—good or bad.

I pray we all turn to Jesus when we experience difficulty. I pray we remember Him in good times. I pray each one of us will rely on Jesus every moment of every day. Turn to Jesus. Rely on Jesus. Cry out to Jesus in your need. Trust Jesus to answer. Know that He is ready and willing to help.

Matthew 15:22 A Canaanite woman from that vicinity came to him, crying out, “Lord, Son of David, have mercy on me! My daughter is demon-possessed and suffering terribly.”

Cry Out to God

Are you being overwhelmed by current circumstances? Do you wonder how you will ever overcome them? Does it feel as though they will completely consume you? Do you just want to cry out in a loud voice and ask why?

We may experience times of overwhelming bad news. We may be fired from our job, lose a loved one, a relationship may go south, or receive a bad medical report. Experiencing circumstances such as these can cause us to be distraught.

When facing situations that are extremely bad, we need to release our frustration. Many of us have grown up believing we should not blame God. It is true that God does not cause bad things to happen, but He does understand them and work in the midst of them.

There is nothing wrong with us crying out to God. There is nothing wrong with asking God why our specific situation is happening. There is nothing wrong with asking God when He will answer or if He is ignoring us. King David did that very thing in several of the Psalms he wrote, including in today’s passage.

Though there is nothing wrong with crying out to God, pouring our heart out, speaking our pain, asking our questions, we should not stay in that state. King David always returns to his faith and trust in God. Just a couple verses after crying out to God and saying He doesn’t answer, King David states that God saved the people.

Lamenting our troubles to God can cleanse our souls. It can clear our conscience. It can release our frustration and open our hearts for the answer God will provide. God does hear our cries. He works in our lives, even when we do not see Him working.

I pray we all cry out to God in our anguish. I pray we lay all our troubles at God’s feet. I pray each one of us will present our frustrations to God and trust Him to provide the answers we need. Cry out to God. Tell God your frustrations. Ask God why. Believe God understands. Trust God to answer. Hold on to your faith in God.

Psalm 22:2

My God, I cry out by day, but you do not answer,

by night, but I find no rest.

Hunger and Thirst Satisfied

Do you long for the feeling of satisfaction? Does your heart long to be filled? Are you hungering after Christ? Do you thirst to know Him more fully? Do you know your hunger and thirst can be satisfied?

Jesus tells us that we will be filled if we hunger and thirst for righteousness. That righteousness only comes through Him. He is the One who will fill us. Jesus states multiple times that He is the bread of life and living waters will flow from those who believe in Him.

But…do we hunger and thirst for righteousness? To earnestly seek after righteousness we must put aside our worldly desires. That doesn’t mean we don’t work, go to school, nor live in this world. It does mean we make Jesus our top priority.

When we earnestly seek Him, He is there for us. He welcomes us with open arms. He fills us with His Spirit. He guides us through this life, down the path He has prepared for us.

Our spirit longs for a close relationship with God. That close relationship comes through the Holy Spirit, who Jesus sent to be our guide, comforter, and strength. Jesus knew we would need help along the way. He sent the Holy Spirit to be our helper. He is always with us. Will we seek to follow His guidance and live the abundant life?

I pray we all hunger and thirst for righteousness. I pray we earnestly seek Jesus. I pray each one of us will accept the strength of the Holy Spirit, follow his guidance, and accept his comforting arms being wrapped around us during difficult times. Be filled. Have your hunger and thirst satisfied. Seek to know Jesus. Listen for the Holy Spirit. Follow the path God has for you.

Matthew 5:6 “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled.”

Filled to Overflowing

Have you ever skipped meals and became very hungry? Have you fasted for a day or two or more? Do you remember what it was like to eat the meal following that? Have you been parched? Have you been in the heat of the day without a drink for hours? Do you remember that cool drink of water afterwards?

We all get hungry and thirsty. We may even feel as though we are famished or parched. The feeling becomes especially strong if we have done without for some time. The first bit of food and water we eat and drink following such a time taste extra good.

Our spirit’s long for God in much the same way. We need spiritual nourishment. We need spiritual food. We need spiritual drink. Jesus is our bread. He is our life-giving water. Jesus nourishes our spirit’s.

Jesus tells us in John 7:37-38 that anyone who believe in Him will have rivers of living water flowing through them. Doesn’t that sound amazing? Our spirit’s long for it, even if we do not consciously recognize it.

Make no mistake. This does not happen by mere belief. It happens when we devote our lives to Him. It happens when we commit ourselves to Him. Jesus fills His followers to the point of overflowing. Then our spirit’s pour out His blessings on others.

I pray we all hunger to know Jesus. I pray we thirst for the life-giving water He will provide. I pray each one of us believes Jesus will fill us to the point of overflowing so we can bless others. Hunger for Jesus. Thirst for life-giving water. Believe Jesus will satisfy you. Accept the overflowing of the Holy Spirit.

John 6:35 Then Jesus declared, “I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never go hungry, and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty.”

Weathering the Bad Times

Are you struggling through this life? Do you wonder if things will ever get better? Would you like to be convinced there is a brighter future? Will you take comfort in the promise made? Will you believe in the Lamb of God?

We go through many struggles during our lives. There may be times when we wonder if we will ever get through a rough patch. It is during those times our faith can waiver. We may doubt the promises made by God.

It is during the good times we must build our faith. Unfortunately, during the good times, we often think we have everything under control and do not need God. The better approach is to use the good times to study God’s Word, strengthen our faith, become closer to God building our trust in His promises.

The stronger we build our faith during the good times, the better prepared we are for the bad times. The more we know and trust God’s promises, the more likely we will remember them and hold onto them when it seems the world is against us.

We see in today’s passage a promise for all eternity. The promise is that all will be well. We will no longer be hungry or thirsty. This is not just a promise regarding our physical hunger and thirst, but also our spiritual hunger and thirst. We will be in the presence of God who will supply everything we need. We will be eternally satisfied.

I pray we all read God’s promises. I pray we trust God’s promises. I pray each one of us will spend time boosting our faith in good times to better weather the bad times. Be prepared for bad times. Know God’s promises. Trust God’s promises. Know that God will satisfy you. Look forward to eternity with God.

Revelation 7:16-17

“‘Never again will they hunger;

ever again will they thirst.

The sun will not beat down on them,’

nor any scorching heat.

For the Lamb at the center of the throne

will be their shepherd;

‘he will lead them to springs of living water.’

‘And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes.’”

Living Water

Are you looking for a higher power? Do you wish you had an inner strength to provide you the boost you need? Are you looking for guidance? Are you need of being comforted? Have you turned to Jesus? Have you asked Him to fill you with His Spirit?

Having an inner strength to carry on when we are going through difficult times is wonderful. It can be the difference between being ready to give up and continuing to battle through. That inner strength is available to us when we believe in Jesus Christ.

Not only is the Holy Spirit given to us to provide an inner strength, but he is given to us to reveal God’s Word, his will, and his desire for each of us. By believing in Jesus and listening to the Holy Spirit, we can gain direction for our lives. We can live out the life God has planned for us rather than aimlessly pursuing a life without a purpose.

The Holy Spirit also flows through us to others. By that I mean the Spirit’s blessings flow into us and out of us to bless others. His awareness of the needs of others reveals them to us and prompts us to bless them. His guidance helps us to do the good works God has prepared for us to do.

Finally, the Holy Spirit is our Comforter. When we experience sadness, grief, or despair, the Holy Spirit is there to comfort us and grant us peace. He carries us through those trying times when we do not know where to turn for the help we need.

I pray we all believe in Jesus Christ. I pray we ask for and listen for the Holy Spirit to be active in our lives. I pray each one of us experience the strength, guidance, and comfort of the Holy Spirit. Believe in Jesus. Receive the Holy Spirit. Gain inner strength. Hear the guidance. Be comforted. God is always with you.

John 7:37-39 On the last and greatest day of the festival, Jesus stood and said in a loud voice, “Let anyone who is thirsty come to me and drink. Whoever believes in me, as Scripture has said, rivers of living water will flow from within them.” By this he meant the Spirit, whom those who believed in him were later to receive. Up to that time the Spirit had not been given, since Jesus had not yet been glorified.

By the Grace of God

Do you work hard? Are you working hard to impress your boss or your spouse or someone else? Do you think you need to work hard to impress God or to gain his favor? Have you thought that God works through you by his grace?

We often work hard to get a raise or climb the ladder at our workplace. We work hard for our families to provide and care for them. We try to impress someone we want an intimate relationship with. Not that any of those are bad, but they do require work.

With our focus on working at all the above, we don’t think about God working in us. His grace provides us what we need when we need it. It is God’s grace that makes us what we are. Does that mean God causes the bad things? No! It is by his grace that we are as good as we are, that we do the good works he was prepared for us.

We are saved by grace. We are given another day by God’s grace. It is because of his grace that we are gifted with the talents and skills we have. It is by God’s grace that we are given another day. His wonderful grace sustains us and overwhelms us.

It was God’s grace that made the Apostle Paul who he was. God’s grace saved him from the path of persecuting Christians and caused him to plant churches all throughout Asia Minor and parts of Europe. God’s grace gave Paul the message he needed and altered his life forever.

I pray we all recognize it is God’s grace is bigger than we think. I pray we know that God’s grace saves us. I pray each of us trust that by God’s grace he is working in our lives. Imagine how great God’s grace is. Know his grace is a gift. Know that his grace sustains you. Give God thanks for his amazing grace.

1 Corinthians 15:10 But by the grace of God I am what I am, and his grace to me was not without effect. No, I worked harder than all of them—yet not I, but the grace of God that was with me.

Wellspring

Have you ever been thirsty? Have you been parched? Have you been so thirsty you were willing to drink just about anything? Did the drink you received taste wonderful? Do you know there is wonderful drink you can have every moment?

We all get thirsty. We get a drink of water to satisfy our thirst. But we will be thirsty again. We satisfy our thirst momentarily. There is a need to continually drink. Our bodies need water to survive. Without water…we die.

Sometimes we are parched. We have been sapped. Just the other day, our family went to a Cardinals vs Yankees baseball game. The temperature was only 89 degrees, but the heat index was over 100 degrees. Sitting in the sunshine was oppressive. With the sun beating down on us, we could almost feel it sucking fluids from our bodies. We needed lots of water to replenish what the sun and heat was taking out of us.

This world can zap us in much the same way. It can drain us of our resolve to follow Jesus. But Jesus tells us that when we drink from Him, He gives us, not just a drink, but a wellspring of water. He gives water than doesn’t just satisfy once but satisfies forever.

How do we drink from Him? We read His word. We hear His voice. As we earnestly seek to know Him, the Holy Spirit continually wells up inside us and satisfies our thirst. Our soul experiences the peace that goes beyond understanding. We experience life in a totally different way. We see the world in a different light…the light of Jesus.

I pray we all seek to know Jesus. I pray we ask Him for the wellspring of water He is willing to give. I pray each one of us experience our thirst being satisfied for eternity. Do not go on being thirsty. Satisfy your thirst with Jesus. Seek the wellspring He will give you.

John 4:13-14 Jesus answered, “Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks the water I give them will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give them will become in them a spring of water welling up to eternal life.”