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The Natural World vs. God’s Kingdom

Recently, when I was talking to a friend, we were talking about God’s unconditional love. My friend said something like, “I don’t know how God could love me with all I’ve done.” I knew she wasn’t serious, but many people respond similarly when hearing about how much God loves them. The Bible is very clear about God’s great love for us. I John 4:10 This is love: not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. Romans 5:8 But God demonstrates His own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us. I John 3:1(b) See what great love God has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God!  And that is what we are! So, what’s with thinking of ourselves, our lives and what we have or haven’t done when we hear about, or think about, God’s love for us?  Our minds immediately go to our faults, sins, shortcomings and failures when confronted with the thought of God’s glorious love for us. Why don’t our minds go to how deeply thankful we are that God loves us?  Why don’t we picture ourselves as His child, sitting on His lap with Him smiling at us and looking at us with eyes filled with love?  Why don’t we think about how He can’t wait to hear our prayers, praise, worship, requests for guidance and communion? When it comes to God’s love for us, we have to think with our heart, not our head. Our minds can never grasp the things of God. Our heart, or spirit, that has been born again by the power of God, can comprehend the things of God. Paul said, “ comprehend…the love of Christ…” (Ephesians 3:18, 19) We need to focus our thoughts on our great God and His amazing capacity to love and not go down the rabbit hole of: “Am I worthy of His love? How could He love me?”, etc. It’s all about Him. It’s all about who He is. It has nothing to do with us. The Lord just spoke to me as I’m writing this!  He says that these responses to His love, such as “I’m not worthy”, “But I haven’t done ___ “, or, “But I have done ____”  are all “works-based” responses.  He says that in this natural world, (1) we have to do something, say something, behave a certain way, accomplish ____  and; then, (2) based on our performance, we earn or deserve love, friendship, a paycheck, a good grade, a gold star or whatever the situation calls for. However, in the spiritual realm – in God’s kingdom – it works completely different and we cannot apply the rules from the natural realm to God’s realm.   That would be like playing Scrabble with the rules from Monopoly!  God says that just as the natural realm is worksbased, God’s kingdom is giftbased.   In the spiritual realm, in God’s kingdom, there are (1) God’s gifts, such as salvation, grace, love, answered prayer, the baptism of the Holy Spirit and many, many more; and then (2) there are works of service.  These works of service, the Lord says, are not done out of a motivation to earn anything.  The motivation behind these works is that of a servant’s heart that is full of love, gratitude, respect, loyalty and an attitude of worship toward the Giver, God. And, of course, this doesn’t just apply to God’s gift of unconditional love, it also applies to anything God gives us – forgiveness, salvation, grace, kindness, answers to prayer, the baptism of the Holy Spirit, the gifts of the Spirit and so on. In the natural realm, this world we live in, if someone gives us a gift, we don’t ask for their “to do” list, so we can earn their gift.  Likewise, the Lord is weary of us trying to earn His gifts!  There is no act/s, performance/s, to do list/s or any other works-based thing we can ever do that will be able to earn God’s gifts!  They’re gifts! The Lord wants us to understand how the spiritual realm, His kingdom, works in contrast to how this natural realm works, so that we can better understand Him and receive from Him.

What I See When I Pray

What I see when I pray has been an interesting journey for me, one in which I’ve grown and changed. I have actually only recently become aware, and come to the realization, that I even “see something” when I’m praying. What I see is directly connected to growth in faith and the gifts of the Spirit, and the calling on my life. I have been a born again Christian for 41 years now, so I’ve had plenty of time to grow and change. Okay, so here’s my journey and as you read, think about what you see when you pray.

When I first became a Christian, I usually always closed my eyes when I prayed. I would often kneel and/or bow my head. When I prayed, I saw absolutely nothing.

As time went by, I prayed when standing, walking, driving, sitting in class, cleaning the house, etc. During this time, I often saw my prayers going up hitting the ceiling and bouncing back at me. I knew – from reading the Word, going to church and attending Sunday school – that Christians were supposed to pray, but I wasn’t so sure the Lord was actually hearing my prayers; and, that’s okay. We need to give ourselves grace and mercy as we grow. It’s a process, a journey and Christian maturity doesn’t happen over night. As Christians, we should be growing till the day we go home to see our beautiful Lord. In the natural, physical realm, we are grown at about age 18, but in the spiritual realm, we are in a continual growth process. As I prayed, at this point in my walk, I pictured the words coming from my mouth and hitting the ceiling because I didn’t know if God was listening or if He would answer my prayers.

As my walk with the Lord continued, I became more serious about prayer and instead of praying as I went about my day, I began setting aside time to pray. I would often pace or walk slowly around my bedroom, or around the house as I prayed. I liked praying this way, however, I needed to keep my eyes looking downward. I quickly discovered that looking around as I walked completely ruined my prayer time as I was so distracted by things I saw in my house. As I looked around, I would think, “Oh, I need to dust that,” “Gosh, that needs to be cleaned,” “I’ve gotta vacuum this room,” etc., etc. It was impossible to keep myself focused on praying because my mind kept going to all of the things that needed to be done around the house. (Maybe I should have made it a practice to clean before praying!ūüėā) So, it was pointless to set aside prayer time when I was surrounded by distractions, however, if I kept a downward gaze and just focused on praying, I gradually began to see my prayers rising up to heaven like incense. Also, during this time in my walk, I began to feel led by the Lord to pray for certain things or specific people on a more regular basis.

Psalm 141:2a May my Prayer be set before you like incense…

Revelation 8:4 …and the smoke of the incense, with the prayers of the saints, rose before God from the hand of the angel.

As I continue spending time in prayer, I sit in my favorite chair and pray. At this point, I know the Lord had called me to intercessory prayer. Intercession is praying for others and their situations. As I pray, I feel led by the Lord to pray for specific people and groups of people, like pastors, political leaders, children, parents, single parents, people in prison, the unsaved, Christians without churches, etc. Now when I pray, I see myself in the throne room before God the Father, Jesus and the Holy Spirit. My prayers are being spoken directly to them. They, the Trinity, are listening and answering.

John 14:14 If you ask Me anything in My name, I will do it.

Matthew 7:7 Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you shall find; knock, and it will be opened to you.

Practicing Gratitude

The Lord ‘deals‘ with me about things in my life that need improvement or correction.¬† Does God deal with you or talk to you with words of correction?¬† I ask the Lord to show me attitudes, motives, thoughts, words or actions in my life that don’t line up with His Word, so He can show me what and where I need to change. His ways are above our ways and we need to continually be open to learning from Him in order to change and grow.¬† When people correct us, it’s often harsh, critical, judgmental, and/or selfish; but when God corrects us, it is kind, caring, gentle, considerate, loving, in our best interest and it doesn’t even feel like correction!¬† It makes you feel LOVED, CARED FOR, CARED ABOUT and ENCOURAGED.¬† Only God could correct you and make it an awesome experience!

In Hebrews 12:7 the Bible says:

You must submit to and endure [correction] for discipline;  God is dealing with you as with sons.  For what son is there whom his father does not [thus] train and correct and discipline?

Lately, the Lord has been dealing with me about a better way to live a life of gratitude.¬† In the past, I have shown gratitude by:¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† (1) mentally or verbally thanking the Lord sporadically for things, but I didn’t do this on a regular basis. For instance, Monday I may thank the Lord 3 times for various things or people in my life; Tuesday, I may thank the Lord once for something He’s done for me; and, Wednesday I may be so focused on something else or distracted by life in general and not verbally or mentally express gratitude to the Lord.¬† Even when I did express gratitude, verbally or in my mind, it wasn’t something I really thought about or meditated on, it was just, “Thank you, Lord, for ____” and then the thought faded.¬† Kind of like when you’re driving down the road and see a really cool car, it’s awesome in that moment and then it’s forgotten;¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† (2) Then the second way I’ve shown gratitude is by making lists of all the things I was thankful for at that point in time.¬† I would read through the list, but not think about it throughout my day.¬† Usually, after a few days, I would forget about the list.¬† Then a month or 3 months later, do the same thing – make a list, read through everything and after a few days, forget all about it.

The Lord has been dealing with me lately, though, about doing gratitude or thanksgiving in a totally different way.¬† He doesn’t want our gratitude to be like the cool car we pass on the road.¬† He wants it to be like the cool car¬†we’re¬†driving around¬†in!¬† The Lord wants our gratitude to be mindful, intentional and focused.

This is the¬†plan for practicing gratitude daily – with mindfulness, intention and focus – that the Lord is giving me:¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ++each night or morning (depending on whether you’re a night owl or a morning person) choose one thing you are thankful for;¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ++then the next day, or that day, every moment you can think your own thoughts, think on the thing you are thankful for.

At first, you may only think about what you are grateful for 2 or 3 times a day, but the more you practice this, the more you think about it.¬† The awesome results I’ve experienced (and I hope you do, too) are that I feel closer to the Lord; I’m much more aware of His presence with me; I feel happier, in a better mood and feel more satisfied with life; and, I am generally more focused on the Lord throughout the day.

So, go forth and practice gratitude in a new way and let me know how it goes.
Please feel free to contact me at with comments, questions or prayer requests.

¬† ¬†Talking About My Beautiful Jesus

ABOUT THE BLOG: I will be sharing general posts about my walk with the Lord and the lessons, prophecies, visions and messages that I’m honored to receive from Him.  I won’t be sticking to a specific Christian topic or theme.  I just want to share what He’s sharing with me. 

ABOUT ME: I accepted the Lord into my heart at the young age of 17 and am now 59 years young.  The Lord has always dealt with me, throughout my life, about a huge variety of things, so I want this blog to reflect that.  The Lord speaks to me in many ways, including: scripture, friends, preachers/teachers, visions, Christian books, through my writing, through dreams, nature and through His still, small voice – that isn’t always still or small.

I’m a retired speech language pathologist.  I worked in the public school system.  I was born in Kentucky and continue to live in this beautiful state.  I’m married to a wonderful man, a “man’s man.”  We’ve been married for 26 years.  We have one awesome teenage son.  We also have 3 dogs and a cat.

MY SALVATION EXPERIENCE:  When I was a teenager, I was asking all the big questions – “Who am I?, Why am I here?, What’s my purpose?”, etc.  I wasn’t coming up with any answers and gradually fell into a deep depression that lasted throughout most of my teenage years.  On Christmas Eve night, 1978, my parents, my younger sister and I all went to church.  As I was standing there in the midst of those beautiful wooden pews, I cried out to the Lord in desperation, “God, if you’re out there; please help me!”  Immediately after praying that prayer, I felt the presence of God in front of me so strongly!  I felt I could reach out and touch Him.  He spoke to my mind and said, “Can I come into your heart?”  I responded, ” Yes.”  The glorious presence of God that was in front of me, came into my heart.  As I walked out of church that night, I was a completely different person than the one who had entered an hour ago.

God bless you!

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