Pray Without Ceasing – Revisited

Pray Without Ceasing – Revisited

This is never a fun thing to say, but I have to say it.

I was wrong.

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In February 2015, I wrote a post called Pray without Ceasing?  in which I questioned necessity of praying over and over for the exact same thing.  In this post, I said that after hours of searching, “I found only one valid example [in the Bible] of a person praying multiple times for the exact same thing.”

And I left it at that.  For two years, the content of this post was in the back of my mind, but I never found an example (other than Paul) of someone who repeatedly came to God about the same issue.

keep asking

A few days ago, I read Luke 18 which tells the story of a begging widow and an evil judge.  The judge had no concern for the widow’s wellbeing; he “neither feared God nor cared what people thought” (verse 2).  Because the widow was desperate for justice, she came to the judge regularly to plead her case.

She came regularly.  The exact translation says, “she kept coming to him.”  She didn’t make one earnest plea.  She didn’t hang her head and walk away.  She came, and when he denied her, she came again.  She kept coming.

After some time, the judge thought to himself, “Even though I don’t fear God or care what people think,  I will see that the widow gets justice, so that she won’t eventually come and attack me!”

Jesus explained the parable this way in verses 6b-8a:

Listen to what the unfair judge said. God will always give what is right to his people who cry to him night and day, and he will not be slow to answer them.  I tell you, God will help his people quickly.

If an evil judge is willing to help a poor widow, surely our compassionate Father will help His children.  This parable shows we can keep coming before the throne of God.  We can keep asking over and over again.

Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.

-Hebrews 4:16

 

P.S. – Pine Cove just posted an article that I wrote on their blog!  Go check it out 🙂

Finding Whose We Are: Bought With A Price

Finding Whose We Are: Bought With A Price

Today I am writing about a topic that is often difficult to believe…mostly because I am a little bit like all of these people.

 

 

However, the truth is that I don’t have the right to do whatever I want.

Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own?  For you are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body and in your spirit, which are God’s.

– I Corinthians 6:19-20

I spent my entire shower tonight trying to find the correct way to explain this passage (we all know that the best ideas come in the shower), and I am going to use a short, fictional story to teach this truth from God’s Word.

Once upon a time there was a young slave boy named Caliban.  Caliban’s master, Cy, was very cruel, and Caliban suffered greatly as Cy’s slave.  One day, a woman of the village named Gracella saw the hardship that Caliban endured under the lordship of Cy, and she felt very sorry for the boy.

Boldly, she approached Cy.  “I would like to buy Caliban from you,” she said. 

Cy gave a haughty laugh. “You don’t want this boy!  He is useless!  Besides, you could never afford to buy him from me.”

Gracella did not relent.  “How much would I have to pay to buy him?” she asked.

Cy scratched his head, as if he were thinking hard.  “I would say that he is worth 50 gold coins.” 

“Ah!”  Gracella was shocked at the high price.  She had 50 gold coins to her name.  If she bought Caliban, she would be completely money-less. Yet, to Cy’s amazement, the woman handed him every coin that she owned.

Gracella took Caliban back to her home, and she fed him.  Although she had paid so much for him, she never treated him like a slave.  She raised him as her own son, and he was free to live as he pleased.  Gracella never asked Caliban to do anything for her.  Yet, he was constantly with her.  Even when she grew old, he cared for her day and night.  He served her more carefully than he had ever served Cy.

The same story is true for us.  I Corinthians 6:11 says,

And such were some of you: but you are washed, but you are sanctified, but you are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God.

We were once enslaved to the devil, listening to his endless lies.  Then we were bought with a price–a high price–the blood of Christ.  Now we are free from bondage to sin.  Because we have been bought with such a high price, we should desire to serve our new Master, the Master that set us free.  This service is rooted in love, not obligation.

Redeemer

Christ is my Redeemer.  I am bought with a price.

Finding Whose We Are: Reconciled

Finding Whose We Are: Reconciled

Last week, I shared my first post in a series that I am writing with Emily and Naomi, and I discussed finding identity as God’s Workmanship.   God personally made every individual that is on the earth, but not everyone can find their identity in Him because not everyone has a relationship with Him.

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Wait and See

Wait and See

Miss Shoaf, Will we use the Chromebooks in Science today?

Miss Shoaf, How many chapters of Holes will we read this afternoon?

Miss Shoaf, When will you grade our tests?

Miss Shoaf, Who gets to be the Math Magician today?

Miss Shoaf, Can I solve number 3 on the board?

Miss Shoaf, Will we have a substitute in P.E. next week?

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My answer to all of these questions is the same:  we will have to wait and see.

The constant barrage of questions I get as a student teacher can be annoying if not overwhelming.  Yet, I sit on the floor of my dorm room tonight, and I exhale my relentless questions to God.

  • Will I pass student teaching?
  • What will I do after I graduate?
  • Should I pursue Option X?
  • Why am I even a student teacher in the first place?
  • What is the purpose of all of this?

Just Wait and See

Suddenly, those words that I say to my students without a second thought are the worst words in the world.

WAIT and SEE

I don’t want to wait.  I want to know now!  Yet, I must trust that God has my best interest in mind, just as I seek the good of my students.  As hard as it is, I know that God wants me to learn and grow.  He knows that I don’t need to know yet.

And so I wait. Very impatiently.

Hello, My Name Is Jonah

Hello, My Name Is Jonah

I have never heard God as plainly as Jonah did in Jonah 1:2, but if I did, the conversation would probably go like this:

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God: Kat, before you were born, I made an amazing plan for you.  I want you to _____(fill in the blank)____.

Kat: Yeah, I know You are sovereign and all that, but what You want me to do sounds hard and dangerous. Can’t I just stay here?

God: It will be hard, but it will also sanctify you.  In the end, this plan is for your good. Now go!

Kat: Um…sure…I’ll get right on that…

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Instead of completing whatever task God had asked me to do, I make my own plans and fulfill my own desires.  A few months later, we would have this conversation.

Kat: Hey, God! I’m, uh, feeling a little stuck here.  I can’t seem to get out of this mess.  Can You throw Your daughter a line?

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God:  I watched you the whole time you were making that mess.  Why didn’t you just do what I told you to?

Kat: I already told You!  The task that you had for me was hard.  Swimming into deep water seemed much easier.  But now I realize that I was wrong! I am drowning, but if you pull me out, I will go work on the job you planned for me.

God, in His grace and mercy would save me and give me a second chance to obey Him.  Full of piety, I would do what He told me to do and see the results He planned.

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Kat: So, uh, God? It’s Kat here.  Did you happen to see what Marci did last week?  You really should punish her for that.

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God: Yes, I saw her mistake.  She slipped, stumbled, and fell.  But the next day, she cried out for forgiveness, and I pulled her to her feet, just like I pulled you from the pit.

Kat:  Ugh! Don’t You see, God?  THIS is why I didn’t want to obey You at first.  I knew that You are gracious and merciful.  I knew that if I let You use me, You would expect me to be gracious and merciful too.

God: What good is your self-pity doing? Should I not care for Marci who has a soul with an eternal destiny?

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You see, my conversation with God would be very similar to Jonah’s conversation with God.  Like Jonah, I think that my own plan is better than God’s sovereign plan, and I want to be the judge of who deserves forgiveness.

Jonah’s story shows us that we will always fail when we go against God’s sovereign plan.

How will you respond when God calls you to do something hard?

Why I am not worried that Trump is Our President

Why I am not worried that Trump is Our President

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At 11:45 on Tuesday night, I turned off my computer and crawled into bed.  At that point, Trump had more electoral votes than Hillary, but I had a suspicion that Hillary would pull ahead as more states submitted their results.  Although I was curious about who would lead our country for the next four years, I was too tired to join the thousands of individuals who were guzzling caffeine simply because they wanted to know the results.

Just under seven hours later, I rolled over and looked at my clock.  Sure enough, it was Wednesday.  The apocalypse had not happened.  America had lived to see another day.  Before even reaching for my phone, I said a prayer.  “Lord, no matter who won the election, let them lead our nation with integrity and wisdom.”

I powered on my multiple electronic devices and selected the tab titled “2016 Election Results.”  To my astonishment, the majority of the progress bar was red. Donald Trump had been elected to lead our nation.

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I am neither condemning or condoning Trump.  I would probably be writing the same post if Hillary had won the election.  I do not care if our president is a male or female, a republican or a democrat, a Caucasian or a minority, a Christian or an Atheist, a politician or a businessman.  I will always vote for the individual that I believe will best lead our nation, but I will not “freak out” about the results of the election.

My lack of care is not due to ignorance, illogical hope, or “millennial apathy.”  My peace is due to Romans 13:1.

…No one rules unless God has given him the power to rule, an no one rules now without that power from God.

Even in a democracy, God is the one who appoints leaders.  He chooses to use the citizens’ votes to do so, but He is supremely in charge.

This means that ultimately, Trump is not answerable to the nation.  He is answerable to God.

Rulers are working for God and give their time to their work.

-Romans 13:4

So do not dismay.  As a new man moves into the White House, the same God is orchestrating eternity.  Our president is simply “God’s servant to help [the nation]” (Romans 13:4).

Dear God

Dear God

 

Dear God,

In light of my upcoming college graduation (only 7 months away!), people often ask me what my plans are.  But, God, I don’t know what the plan is. Since You haven’t let me in on that information yet, You might still have time to change the plan, so here is some information to help You out.

I really love taking pictures, and I have experience as a camp photographer.  If You could just make Your plan for me be that I will travel and take pictures the rest of my life, that would be great. 

Yet, for some reason, You led me to major in elementary education.  God, here’s the thing:  I don’t really want to be a regular classroom teacher, so if Your plan is for me to use that degree at an elementary school, can I be an art teacher?  Or maybe a P.E. teacher or computer specialist?  Thanks.

Also, I prefer to be outside, and I hate being cold, so can you keep me in the Southeast?  I really don’t want to go too far from my family.  If you want me to move, I will go to Texas or Arizona, but don’t make me go to New England.  I would freeze to death. 

And while You’re at it, I want a healthy paycheck (I promise I will still tithe), and good grocery stores.  If Aldi and some thrift shops are within 10 minutes of my house, I will be happy. 

But really God, that’s all I am asking.  That’s not too hard is it?

Most nights, this is the prayer I want to pray.  I want to give God my list of personal desires and requests for my future.  In search for worldly happiness, I want to bend Him to my will.

Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own, for you were bought with a price.

I Corinthians 9:19-20

But I am not my own…

For you are His Workmanship created in Christ Jesus for good works which God hath before ordained that you should walk in them.

Ephesians 2:10

…and God’s plan for me has been set from the foundation of the world.

What is more pleasing to the Lord, your burnt offerings and sacrifices or your obedience to his voice?  Listen!  Obedience is better than sacrifice.

I Samuel 15:22

He doesn’t need Kat to plan her own future, despite her type-A personality and attempts to be perfectly organized.  What He desires is for me to be obedient, whatever the call, wherever the place.  As terrifying as that faithful obedience is, I know that His plan is much better than mine could ever be.

For this is the will of God, even your sanctification.

I Thessalonians 4:3a