The Beauty of Asking (Matthew 7:7)

Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you.

~Matthew 7:7 NIV

634667f35147f0fc3448d7cfa26db0b3As I have been getting back into my daily routine after traveling to Michigan, I have been blessed with ample amount of time to spend in the presence of God. I just finished reading through the gospel of Matthew, and God led me to the verse above that many know but few remember.

You see, I have found myself asking questions like “How can the Spirit be more alive in my life and ministry?” and “How can I learn to love people more?” and other kinds of questions we all often have. We want a mentor or spiritual person to tell us their story, their opinion, and give us a step by step guide to our goal.

While all of that is important and often needed, sometimes we forget that God made a way for us to go to Him when His Son died for us. God tells us we can boldly approach his throne (Hebrews 4:16). Why don’t we? Why don’t we bring our questions straight to God? Why don’t we let God teach us through prayer and His word?

What has God been teaching you lately? 

If you have any questions, thoughts, or something to add, please comment below so we can chat 🙂 

Related Posts: 
  1.  Tips For a More Exciting Personal Time with Jesus
  2. Being Busy but Wanting to Go Deeper with God- How I Do It.
  3. A Secret Place
  4. Learning to Listen

Tips For a More Exciting Personal Time with Jesus

exciting personal timeI once heard it said that our personal time with God should be the most exciting thing in our lives. That can be hard to believe! How  can being cook-ed up in a room with an invisible God be anything close to thrilling?

I’ve been exploring this idea and wanting to add something special to my time with God. When you really think about it, our personal time with God is often taken for granted. We are talking to the Creator of all things, who incredibly loves us more than we could ever deserve, and He has the power to shape us into people we never thought we could be, and He can lead us to do more than we could ever imagine. Why is that not so exciting?

I won’t say my personal time is the most breathtaking part of my day. But these tips have helped me have a more exciting time with Jesus.

1. Invest more in worship.

Sometimes, we can think just reading our Bibles and saying a quick prayer is enough for a devotional. But when the disciples asked Jesus how to pray, the first thing He did was worship God! And what is usually the first thing we do in church? Worship! Add worship to your daily time with God. Play some music. Move around if that’s your nature. Shout praises to God! Thank Him for everything He is and everything He has done. Don’t just ask Him to teach you, praise him!

2. Invest more in listening.

We often get so caught up in prayer and asking for answers when we forget to stop talking and listen! It can be hard, and it feels quite strange to sit in silence waiting. But God rewards us when we wait on Him, and he answers us every time! We need to be like Elijah, and listen for that still small voice. Waiting on the Lord allows Him to speak and move, giving us answers, peace, comfort, and love. We need to be still in listen. 

3. Invest more in application.

One of Jesus’ most frequent teachings is not only listening but doing what God’s Word says. Jesus said in Luke 11:28:

“Blessed rather are those who hear the word of God and obey it.”

Take some time after each devotional and write down what God is teaching you. Put it somewhere you can see it, and review it at the end of each day for a week to keep yourself accountable of doing the Word of God. And one day, you will see your old notes and praise God for helping you grow!

Doing these three things have helped me experience God more. I pray that these have helped you!

What are your tips for a more exciting time with Jesus? What do you do in your personal time?

Related Posts:

  1. Learning to Listen
  2. A Secret Place
  3. Being Busy but Wanting to Go Deeper with God- How I Do It
  4. 5 Things I Learned the Past 4 Months at Bible College

Learning to Listen (Elijah~ 1 Kings 19:9b-13)

listening_eOne of the things I often forget is to just sit still and listen to God. As humans, we often forget that God, who can feel so mysterious and distant, speaks back to us. It’s important that we stop and listen to God when we pray. If you were talking to a friend and never stopped talking to listen to them, do you think they would feel like you even care? Just like we listen to friends, we should listen to God.

A lot of things can get in the way of us listening to God. One I am guilty of constantly, as you dear readers know, is being too busy. In this western world where time is everything, we often have schedules that are filled to the brim. My generation especially is the culprit of busyness. From early on, we were encouraged to do everything we can to create the best application for college- doing school work, sports, extracurriculars, family duties, community service, etc… the list goes on and on. We can all be guilty of not leaving any room for God. Even if we do schedule in time with God, our brains can be so wired and scattered that God’s voice isn’t heard. Elijah heard a still small voice on the mount in Horeb, after all commotion ceased:

And the word of the LORD came to him: “What are you doing here, Elijah?”

10 He replied, “I have been very zealous for the LORD God Almighty. The Israelites have rejected your covenant, torn down your altars, and put your prophets to death with the sword. I am the only one left, and now they are trying to kill me too.”

11 The LORD said, “Go out and stand on the mountain in the presence of the LORD, for the LORD is about to pass by.”

Then a great and powerful wind tore the mountains apart and shattered the rocks before the LORD, but the LORD was not in the wind. After the wind there was an earthquake, but the LORD was not in the earthquake. 12 After the earthquake came a fire, but the LORD was not in the fire. And after the fire came a gentle whisper. 13 When Elijah heard it, he pulled his cloak over his face and went out and stood at the mouth of the cave.

Then a voice said to him, “What are you doing here, Elijah?”    ~1 Kings 19:9b-13 NIV

Elijah was feeling the stress of ministry and persecution, and needed some encouragement. So God told him to enter His presence. When we hit hard times, we need to go into His presence and know that He will reveal Himself to us just like He did for Elijah. I love having chapel everyday here at Bible college. I might be having the worst morning, but I rarely go through worship without feeling refreshed and encouraged by His presence.

Next we see God is approaching the mountain. There was a giant commotion with wind, an earthquake, and a great fire. But God wasn’t in the commotion. He came afterward. Sometimes we are surrounded by hardships, but we can know that God’s on His way. God is our deliverer, and He promises that He will come through. We need to have faith that there is a light at the end of the tunnel, even if we can’t see it yet.

If that wasn’t hard enough, we also have to step back and separate ourselves from the commotion to hear God. Sometimes I wish I could shut off my brain so I no longer have to hear it worry so much. But even when the world is falling around us, we need to stop and give the worry to God, who will take care of it for us. From there, we can breathe, stop worrying, and hear God speak to us. 

I will be posting more thoughts soon. What are some of your thoughts on listening to God? Leave ’em in the comments and let’s chat!

Till next time,

Lillian ❤

Call to Me (Jeremiah 33:3)

“Call to me and I will answer you and tell you great and unsearchable things you did not know.” ~Jeremiah 33:3

I find it so comforting that we serve a God we can call on and He will answer us. God wants to help us and is ready to answer our prayers. God answers prayers because it is us acknowledging that only He is capable of handling our troubles perfectly. When we go to God in prayer, we give it all to Him instead of trying to do things ourselves. God is faithful to help us when we pray for His help.

Life is confusing and hard at times, but if we pray to God for help and wisdom, He will give it to us. He will give us guidance and help us in times of trouble. He will show us things we never thought possible. He will help us handle our problems and we will one day look back and say with amazement, “Wow God, how did you do that?” God will teach us so many great things through our circumstances, things we couldn’t have discovered on our own. We can be confident asking God for these things because Jesus said in Matthew 7:7:

“7 Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened.”

Of course, God isn’t going to tell us everything. I believe God doesn’t reveal everything to us because without knowledge, we can have faith in Him and be humble to follow Him. Remember that we must walk by faith and not by sight. (2 Corinthians 5:7) After all, knowledge is not a right. It’s a gift. We should be thankful when God gives it to us, but be faithful and patient when He doesn’t.

So pray to God for everything in your life, and He will show you great and mesmerizing things you would not have discovered on your own. He might show you these things before, during or after your trials, but have faith that God will teach you these great things.

Renew My Strength (Isaiah 40:31)

but those who hope in the Lord
    will renew their strength.
They will soar on wings like eagles;
    they will run and not grow weary,
    they will walk and not be faint.

~Isaiah 40:31

As I was looking through verses for this blog, I came across this common passage and it hit me like a bag of bricks. As many teenagers, I have been struggling with strength my entire Senior year. I had to search the strength to keep going, and to continue with my best effort.
Before this year, I saw Seniorites as a joke, but I have found it is a real problem. After 13 years of the public school system, students slowly begin to break down, like an old car. Despite this, I also know it is not an excuse. My Senior year was an internal battle between wanting to go out with a bang and not wanting to care anymore. This is why I struggled to find strength to keep going and finish high school strong. 
As my high school years come to an end, I now look back and remember the struggle of high school without God. My busy life got in the way of my relationship God on more occasions than I like to admit. Six AM Monday mornings to practices and rehearsals to late nights of homework is hard (however, I know life will never get easier). But the struggle I have gone through has taught me this for sure: No amount of coffee can compare to God’s gift of strength. 
It sounds silly, but it’s true! There is no earthly thing; coffee, drugs, motivational quotes, naps, or friends; that can compare to God renewing of my strength. Nothing can keep me happier and more productive than an active walk with Him. When I wonder from God, I can feel myself getting slower, less motivated, and miserable. God’s presence is like a drug, I crave it desperately like David did:

You, God, are my God, earnestly I seek you; I thirst for you, my whole being longs for you, in a dry and parched land where there is no water.

(Psalm 63:1)

We all need God every day and every minute. He is the Vine, and we are His branches and without Him, we can do nothing (John 15:5). We must keep our hope in Him, and He will renew our strength. With God, we will not grow weary. He will give us strength and motivate us, and keep us going. All we have to do is have hope in Him, and that hope will motivate us to keep going. 

Don’t Play With Fire~A Blog on Teen Dating (Song of Songs 3:5)

I wrote this blog post with young teen girls in mind, but anyone no matter age or gender is welcome to read it. Bringing teen girls to Christ is my calling into ministry which is what has made this blog post so personal to me, along with my story and my experiences. 

Daughters of Jerusalem, I charge you by the gazelles and by the doves of the field: Do not arouse or awaken love until it so desires.

Song of Songs is one of my favorite books in the Bible. It is a symbolic story of love and companionship filled with sweet words and wise advice. In this verse, King Solomon’s new wife tells the women of Jerusalem to wait for love until the time is right. But what does that mean?

First of all, I want to say that I write this blog not recommending a specific age or time but I write about the effort put into finding love. In almost every magazine for the ages of 10 and up, you will find articles such as How To Get Him To Like You and How to Get a Boyfriend. Girls are told that they can flirt their way into the boy’s heart. I remember trying to do this in middle school and my early years of high school. However, the verse above advises us not to do this.

Why not try to find a boyfriend? Often, it becomes a waste. You try to hard to get this boy to like you and if he says no, you get hurt. If he says yes, the relationship will not be a good one. A forced relationship often means the two are not right for each other, and the relationship can be for selfish reasons. Wanting a boyfriend because he’s cute, or you are lonely, or you want to have fun is not a good reason to start a relationship. Also, when you enter a relationship you give your heart to them, then when you give your heart to so many boys until “the one” comes, you will not be able to give a full and healthy heart to him. I know not having a boyfriend when you are surrounded by today’s media and your own friends who have relationships is very hard, but the pain of waiting is worth it. Imagine how happy your future husband will be when he learns that he’s the only one to have the privilege of loving you. Imagine that handsome prince you grew up hearing about- he’s that special to you and deserves your whole heart.

Girls try to hard to get a boy to like them, when really the best way to find love is to not look for it at all. A good example of this is the story of Ruth, who focused on God until He sent the man of her dreams to her.  If you want a wonderful relationship full of love and happiness that leads to a marriage one day, stop looking for one. Focus on your relationship with Jesus, be happy as a single woman, and when the time is right, God will send you your man and everything will fall into place. No relationship is perfect, but the relationship that was patiently waited for will be blessed.

Making It Beautiful (Ecclesiastes 3:10-11 NIV)

10 I have seen the burden God has laid on the human race. 11 He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the human heart; yet no one can fathom what God has done from beginning to end.

Ecclesiastes is another book by the wise king Solomon in which he examines what he has learned over his life. Solomon is known as the wisest man ever and towards the end of his life he tries to analyze big questions like why bad things happen to good people. The scripture above is one of many wise conclusions he comes to.

The first thing Solomon states in the passage is that life is hard. The people of earth deal with a lot in their lives, and he addresses God as the origin for many burdens of life. This is often true. However, a lot of trouble in this world and problems in our lives come from the enemy or even our own mistakes. Still, it is undeniable that some struggles in our lives happen because God lets them happen, but why?

Next, king Solomon instantly shifts to explaining that God makes everything “beautiful” in His own timing. Life is hard and it may seem like people are drowning in trouble, however we may not be able to see it, but our situation will turn out for our good because of God. The Bible says in Romans 8:28 that “we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.

God often uses bad situations or seasons of our lives to teach us something, make us stronger, and for many other reasons, even ones we can’t understand and won’t know until we stand before Him. One example from my own life is the suffering I went through in middle school when I was bullied. I was harassed and abused by my peers through out middle school and it created me into an angry, depressed monster. However, this event brought me to Jesus and I found myself in Him. This awful season of my life made me who I am and brought me to Christ. This shows that even the darkest days can bring light into my life later on, but only by the power of God.

We can have faith in this because God “set eternity” in our hearts. This means that everyone, no matter who they are, have a feeling or belief in eternity in their hearts. So, with this internal belief in us, we can use that to believe that God has a plan and He will succeed because we can feel it. We can know that God will come through and bring good out of the bad in our lives.

As Solomon finishes, I finish saying that no one can understand the full grasp of God’s plan. Why is this? It’s simple: we are not God. We can not see everything that was and is and is to come. We can understand the story of every person we meet. We often can’t even understand ourselves fully, but God can. God sees and knows anything and everything, and He’s also in control of all. So have faith in God’s plan for you, even when you don’t understand it, and be comforted that the perfect God that can do no wrong has in all under control.

 

Get Wisdom (Proverbs 4:5-7)

5 Get wisdom, get understanding;
    do not forget my words or turn away from them.
Do not forsake wisdom, and she will protect you;
    love her, and she will watch over you.
The beginning of wisdom is this: Get wisdom.
    Though it cost all you have, get understanding.

~Prov 4:5-7 NIV

The book of Proverbs has a lot to say about wisdom, and rightfully so seeing it was written by the wisest man in history, King Solomon. The first eye-opening thing I notice about the passage above is that Solomon writes to “get wisdom” instead of “be wise”. To me, this shows that wisdom is something you attain and earn, not something you are born with. Being unwise is not part of who someone is, no matter how often they choose to make unwise decisions. It is up to each of us to develop wisdom.

Another distinction Solomon shares with us is that wisdom is not knowledge or how smart you are; wisdom is “understanding” or “good judgement” (as the NLT translation puts it) and is making good decisions.

So besides understanding, what is wisdom? Well James 3:17 describes it like this:

But the wisdom that comes from Heaven is first of all pure; then peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere.

Wisdom is something from Heaven, not from anything worldly or made by man. Wisdom is pure and peaceful with others; it is also considerate of other people but also willing to be humble and submit to correction. Being wise means being full of mercy and carrying out good for the Lord. Wisdom is unbiased and sincere in its view.

Where can we get this amazing wisdom? First, we can go to the Word of God. David says in Psalms that God’s Word “is a lamp for my feet, a light on my path.” This means that the Bible will guide us and light the path ahead for us. Also, the Bible is the Word of God so it will always give us holy wisdom that will not fail us. 

We can also seek wisdom by praying to God for it. James 1:5 says:

If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you.

If we ask God for wisdom, just like Solomon did, God will gift us with wisdom through the Holy Spirit that is inside you (1 Corinthians 12:8). Solomon was given one wish from God and he wished for wisdom, and God made him the wisest man on earth. God can give us wisdom as well, as long as we pray for it and seek it.

I close with this thought: why is wisdom so important? Well, Verse 6 above states that wisdom will protect us. I take that to mean that being wise will keep us from making decisions we will later on regret. But also Proverbs 3:13-18 says that wisdom is much more valuable than anything on this earth. So go and ask God for wisdom, and see how you and your life will change.

Why Them? (Psalm 37:1-4, 7-9 NIV)

Last week was busy for me, with Friday being opening night of the musical I was in, but with God’s help I was able to find time with Him. I often read Psalms to de-stress and help me calm down after a long day. One of these Psalms was Psalm 37 of David, which I am going to share my thoughts on a portion of the chapter with you.

One of the things I like about Psalms is the fact that it’s poetry or lyrics that are organized into stanzas. Breaking the passage up helps me process it better, so I am going to share one stanza at a time.

Do not fret because of those who are evil

or be envious of those who do wrong;

for like the grass they will soon wither,

like green plants they will soon die away.

This stanza reminds me that sometimes life is unfair. There are plenty of people out there that are attaining success by the wrong means and are getting away with it. I know for me in high school it seems like a lot of my peers are having fun going wrong things, yet it doesn’t seem like they feel guilty at all. As Christians, we may be trying to be righteous for God but it looks like the “wicked” are reaping all the blessings. But this passage tells us to not focus on those people and remember that God will take care of them. It is not our job to judge but instead we need to stop being envious and stop worrying about it.

Trust in the LORD and do good;

dwell in the land and enjoy safe pasture.

Take delight in the LORD,

and he will give you the desires of your heart.

We need to trust God, even when it feels like we are not being blessed for our hard work. God promises us blessings for the good we do, so we need to trust Him and keep going. Remember, that God is keeping us away from hurt and danger with His law, like a parent who forbids their child to run in the road. It may feel like we are only suffering, but go to the Lord for joy! Be comforted knowing that God will have His way with both us and those who do wrong. When we keep trusting Him, no matter the situation around us, He will give us the desires of our hearts.

Be still before the LORD

and wait patiently for him;

do not fret when people succeed in their ways,

when they carry out their wicked schemes.

When our suffering continues and others still succeed, we need to remain calm and keeping trusting in Him. Hang on to His promises, and remember God will bring your blessing and their punishment when the time is right.

Refrain from anger and turn from wrath;

do not fret—it leads only to evil.

For those who are evil will be destroyed,

but those who hope in the LORD will inherit the land.

This passage is not saying that it is okay to wish bad on our enemies. In fact, Proverbs 24:17 says the opposite. We are not to be angry with them, instead, just forget about it! Trusting God also means letting it go. God has it all under control, don’t waste time by letting it get to you. Remember the last verse above, which is God’s promise to us, and keep doing good having faith that God will being his blessings.

When God Is Silent (Job 6:24 NIV)

Teach me, and I will be quiet; show me where I have been wrong. ~Job 6:24

Many people know the story of Job very well. Job was a great man of God who was living a blessed life when it all fell away from him in one day. After loosing his family, his livestock, most of his servants, then getting painfully sick, Job was broken and miserable. His friends all told him he must done something against God. But Job had done nothing wrong!

Job turned to God and spoke the verse above. He never cursed God through all of his suffering, but he didn’t understand why he was being “punished” as his friends said. Job was loyal to God even in his suffering;  he was asking Him to speak to him, and submitting to Him humbly. Yet his suffering continued and God was silent.

When people go through suffering and it brings them to God. But what happens when we turn to God and He doesn’t do anything? Job suffered for a long time after he submitted to God. Like Job, sometimes we may pray but it doesn’t feel like He’s coming through.

Whenever I’ve reached a time in my life where God is quiet, I discover He’s trying to teach me something. In Job’s case, I believe it’s possible that God let Job go through this to teach him humility. I think this because Job was a man of great wealth, which means he could have been a business man who needs to control his property and finances. He was a great man of God and God definitely blessed him before, but I think it’s still possible he enjoyed control. Maybe God let the devil mess around with Job’s life to show him that he’s not really in control at all.

God may let bad things happen to us to teach us important things we need to know. Whether its humility like Job, or grace like Peter, or anything else in our lives, God teaches us so we are prepared for what He has in store for us. God never lets bad things happen because he doesn’t care, but instead he cares enough to prepare us for what’s ahead and make us stronger.

Thankfully, Job did not suffer forever. God healed Job and blessed him twice as much as He did before. Likewise, we can have hope that God will come through because the Word says, “weeping may stay for the night, but rejoicing comes in the morning.” (Psalms 30:5). Remember, you don’t plan when the sunrise is. It may feel like the night goes on forever, but you can’t rush the sunrise. In fact, God controls the sunrise! God has perfect timing because He knows everything that is going on around us. We can’t judge when it’s time because we don’t know everything, only He can. And in time He will heal your brokenness and He will restore you like He did for Job. 

Wait for the Lord;
    be strong, and let your heart take courage;
    wait for the Lord

~Psalm 27:14