If only…

Have you ever played that mind game with yourself, “If only….”? Maybe you have even played it with your closet friends talking aloud or seeing someone win the lottery on the nightly news.

If only, I lived there instead of here. If only, I had a million dollars I could follow my dream. If only, I were thin and beautiful like her I would have a lot of friends. If only, I were different than who I am now.

What it means to follow Jesus

There have been plenty of times, I played the “if only” game throughout my life. I wondered why God placed me in the most useless place or circumstance. As I measured myself against others, I would sigh and wonder when it would be my turn to be happy, to be at peace, or to feel fulfilled. It is so easy to fall into this “if only” game with social media showing us how much fun or how happy others seemingly are by their vacation, party photos, and joyous announcements.

The “if only” game is a trap we must avoid at all costs.

“From that time on Jesus began to explain to his disciples that he must go to Jerusalem and suffer many things at the hands of the elders, the chief priests and the teachers of the law, and that he must be killed and on the third day be raised to life.

Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him. “Never, Lord!” he said. “This shall never happen to you!” Jesus turned and said to Peter, “Get behind me, Satan! You are a stumbling block to me; you do not have in mind the concerns of God, but merely human concerns.”

Then Jesus said to his disciples, “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me. For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will find it.” Matthew 16:21-25 (GW)

Jesus never measured His life by how or where He was the greatest use. He did not think the way we do, but how God thinks. He never defended, argued back, or vindicated Himself because He knew God’s character and understood His purpose.

What then is my purpose where I am planted now?

“So I can guarantee that God’s angels are happy about one person who turns to God and changes the way he thinks and acts.” Luke 15:10 (GW)

I find it freeing in Jesus’ example of never defending or arguing about God’s character. He went about the purpose God put Him on earth to accomplish. He suffered and died for me to save me from my sins. Why must I complain? We never have to play the “if only” game with God. Christ accomplished our “if only.”

”If you are insulted because of the name of Christ, you are blessed, for the Spirit of glory and of God rests on you. If you suffer, it should not be as a murderer or thief or any other kind of criminal, or even as a meddler. However, if you suffer as a Christian, do not be ashamed, but praise God that you bear that name. For it is time for judgment to begin with God’s household; and if it begins with us, what will the outcome be for those who do not obey the gospel of God? And “If it is hard for the righteous to be saved, what will become of the ungodly and the sinner?”

So then, those who suffer according to God’s Will should commit themselves to their faithful Creator and continue to do good.” 1 Peter 4:14-19 (GW)

I must never measure my life against another person. God is the director of my life. We each have our own place and purpose for the glory of God. When I refuse to play the “if only” game as a follower of Jesus, I am totally incapable of judging where I am to be. I satisfy His heart when I make others strong and mature in God.

mulberry tree

My Prayer

“I thank you, my Heavenly Father, through Jesus Christ, Your dear Son, I pray that all my doings and life may please You. For into Your hands I commend myself, my body and soul, and all things. Let Your holy angel be with me, that no evil may have power over me. Amen.”

(Adapted from Martin Luther’s Morning Prayer)

Getting to know God

I have been writing in a journal since I was a young girl. I have kept a prayer journal over the last ten years to draw closer to God. Are you waiting for answers? Draw closer to God.

The Prayer Journals Facebook page provides prayer journal prompts and inspiration. Please join me there or on Twitter @prayerprompts.

God’s Blessings to You,

sheri-clear-glasses
Sheri

© 2016-2020 All Rights Reserved

Our Faith is Not a Test

“Be careful not to let anyone rob you of this faith through shallow and misleading philosophy. Such a person follows human traditions and the world’s way of doing things rather than following Christ.” Colossians 2:6-8 GW

An Easter Reflection

As the deadly coronavirus wages on and I am safely inside my home, I have taken the time to reflect on my Lenten experience through the glory of the resurrection of Easter Sunday. As I sit here day after day, I wonder of what use am I?

What is happening in my life and around me that is fitting into His big picture?

How can I see things from His perspective?

Will I be a child of God or will I go back to having a meaner, common sense attitude of this world?

I am not responsible for the circumstances that I am in or in this current pandemic. I am responsible for the way I allow any circumstance to affect me. I can either allow them to overwhelm me, or I can allow them to transform me into what God wants me to be.

Am I sinking my roots into Jesus Christ to build on Him?

God engineers everything. He has engineered me for a specific purpose. Wherever he puts me even if it is safely inside my physical home, my one great aim is to be wholeheartedly devoted to Him in whatever that specific work might be.

Am I totally unemployable in spirit?

Am I so spiritually weak that I refuse to do anything unless I am spiritually inspired?

A person’s character determines how one interprets God’s will. The determination and devotion to remain true to God’s will in my life is not to be true to my own convictions and traditional worldly beliefs, but to remain true to God and obey Him.

The proof of my relationship is right with God when I do my best whether I feel like it or not. I refrain from declaring my faith by saying I will do anything or go anywhere as Peter said to Jesus. I will not ask God to test my faith in that way. Instead, I will remain true to God as Abraham did in the Old Testament. I will ask God to lead me into the knowledge and heart of Himself. If I remain true to God, I know God will take me through any circumstance to a better understanding of my specific purpose.

“Come to me, all who are tired from carrying a heavy load, and I will give you rest.” Matthew 11:28 GW

How can I stay in lockstep with God?

How can I perpetually look in the face of God and know that I am moving in the right direction?

 “We must become prayer: prayer incarnate. It is not enough to have moments of praise; our whole life, every act, every gesture, even a smile must become a hymn of adoration, an offering, a prayer. We must not offer what we have but what we are.” ~ Paul Evdokimov

“The more you know the Bible, the more effective your prayers will be.” ~ Rick Warren

What is the standard I use when I decide whether something is true?

What’s in my attitude then that needs to change toward those who disagree with me?

“Let Christ’s word teach and instruct yourselves about God’s kindness. Sing to God in your hearts. Everything you say or do should be done in the name of the Lord Jesus giving thanks to God the Father through him.” Colossians 3:16-17 GW

“Blessed is the person who does not
follow the advice of wicked people,
take the path of sinners,
or join the company of mockers.

Rather, he delights in the teachings of the Lord
and reflects on his teachings day and night. 

He is like a tree planted beside streams—
a tree that produces fruit in season
and whose leaves do not wither.
He succeeds in everything he does.”
Psalm 1:1-3 GW

Trusting God

My Prayer

Dear Lord, I give you all the praise and glory. If sincerity means that the appearance and the reality are exactly the same, may others see my appearance and reality be exactly the same as being true to You. I pray Lord that I am not just an empty husk blowing across a barren field but bearing fruit from Your living water. I pray Lord for all essential workers and those who in sincerity are healing and comforting the world in this global pandemic. Put me to use Lord in whatever capacity that people may see Your healing hand for all that hurts a fallen world. May I be true to the light that sacrificed all for eternal life. In Jesus’ name, I pray. Amen

Getting to know God

I have been writing in a journal since I was a young girl. I have kept a prayer journal over the last ten years to draw closer to God. Are you waiting for answers? Draw closer to God. 

The Prayer Journals Facebook page provides prayer journal prompts and inspiration. Please join me there or on Twitter @prayerprompts. If you have a specific prayer request, please email me in confidence at theprayerjournals.com@gmail.com.

God’s Blessings to You,

sheri-clear-glasses

Sheri

© 2016-2020 All Rights Reserved