When God Answers Your Prayers

** Post includes the March Bible Reading Challenge schedule in printable form.

This weekend I attended the Re:Write Conference, a conference designed to assist Christian fiction and non-fiction writers in their writing journeys. The conference truly lifted my heart and my pen as I enjoyed both the inspirational moments and practical lessons on the art of writing.  I never enjoy leaving my husband and children at home to go away for a few days, regardless of the reason and honestly, I felt a bit apprehensive about leaving for this trip. But I knew I was supposed to go. So I prayed. That’s usually what I do when I feel uneasy.

Now I’m going to be really honest here and just spell out a few of the things I prayed for on this trip. You may think I’m crazy. You may think it’s silly. But this is what happens when God answers your prayers. Yes, even still today.

Prayer 1

At one point when I arrived in Austin on Friday, I knew my phone was almost dead and I had planned to meet my friend, Jennie Allen, for lunch. When I got in the rental car, I didn’t have a confirmed time or place to meet up with her. With a dying phone, I had a brief thought that we probably wouldn’t get the chance to connect, but I prayed, literally, “Lord, show me.” And my phone rang; it was Jennie! We met together and  Jennie encouraged my heart so much that I can’t even tell you how much I appreciate and love that girl for her words to me. God answers prayer. Not just the “God, my phone is dying and I really need you prayers” but the bigger prayers, like “Please give me a friend who understands.” He will do that for you!!

Prayer 2

I received some bad news just after this wonderful conference ended and I sat in my room. The moment I had been anticipating the next day, that magical time of stepping off the plane and seeing my wonderful husband and babies,had been delayed. In fact, my flight not only had been canceled, it was rescheduled for the NEXT day, 8 hours later than the original schedule. That had never happened to me by a whole day. So I stayed on hold with the airline for 4 hours into the wee hours of the morning. No luck. There simply was nothing else available. I decided to head to church! No better place to get your perspective, right?

I sat in a restaurant parking lot after church and said, “Ok, Lord, what do I do now?” And I felt him whisper, “Go to the airport.” Now I knew I was taking the chance that nothing would change, but I turned in my rental car and went to the airline counter, where 135 people were ahead of me. And I waited. And waited. And waited. For over 4 hours. The end result was that the airline had nothing and I would have to stay overnight.

BUT

Here’s what happened while I was in line. And you won’t believe this!!!

I overheard a conversation between two women right behind me and I began listening to them. I know, you shouldn’t eavesdrop, but I couldn’t help myself. These ladies were speaking my language. Now I won’t go into every detail, though I’m very tempted, as it is quite miraculous. Long story, short, one of these dear women was simply visiting her friend at the airport. I knew by their conversation that these ladies were Christians. Not just Christians, but STRONG Christians. One of the things I overheard was:

I really wanted to hear the Holy Spirit speaking to me more. So I prayed, “God, I want to hear your spirit more in my everyday life.” And God impressed on me: “Then feed my Spirit.”

This is not usual airport conversation, folks. Just in case you haven’t noticed. I turned and introduced myself to these two ladies and they graciously allowed me to join their conversation. And you know what God did? He used this dear woman to make herself available to me. She offered to take me to my hotel. She even bought food for me and brought it back to the hotel for me. Once she heard a little more of my testimony, she prayed for me. And I wanted to take a picture of her so I could post it to the blog, she was so humble of spirit, she really didn’t want to. She said, “Don’t look at me. Just look to God and see His provision.”

I felt like Elijah fed by the ravens, friends. I just had to share with you once again that God answers prayers.

Prayer 3

6 years ago, when I first believed that the Holy Spirit was whispering to my heart to begin writing a Bible study and share it, I didn’t really know how to do any of those things. God and I had a lot of conversation, ok, arguments,  because I just didn’t feel qualified nor did I see the logistics of how I could dare to think I’m capable of being an author. Since my meeting with my friend on Friday, I knew I was supposed to be asking God for boldness in my walk with him. So I had been asking. One of my requests was for God to really show me how little ol’ me had the right to be bold. And as I sat in the conference on Saturday night, I felt the Lord whispering to my heart:

“No matter what happens with the book- whether you sell 5 copies or 5 million copies, whether you bare your heart and you do not see any immediate results, whether you work your guts out and the numbers do not equate, hear this:

You are my miracle.

The fact that you are sitting right now in a room full of authors is a miracle. I took you on that journey. I showed you each step over the last six years. Has the journey been long? Yes. Did you want to give up on writing a book because it is so stinkin’ hard? Yes. Did you fear failure? Yes.

But I am the God of heavens. I am with you; I have always been with you and to follow the steps I have outlined for you, to get to this point where you are sitting? You are my miracle. Not just a miracle. I created you and you are mine. You have accepted my calling and have been obedient. You don’t have to know everything about the future. You simply need to continue to obey my Word and my Spirit.

All you need to do is take one more step.”

 

One More Step

Can you believe it? Here’s the book cover for One More Step: Finding Strength When You Feel Like Giving Up!! This book has been a true labor of love for the last year and I just couldn’t do this without strength bigger than mine.  The book releases October 20,2015, but I could hardly wait to share a little piece of it with you!! So many of you have been on this journey with me and I wish I could tell you that I’m a professional, but you know better! I wish I knew exactly what I was doing in this journey. But I don’t. I just rely on the Lord each step of the way and he provides the strength to keep going.

My encouragement for you is to  do the same. He’ll show you, Friends. I know he will because he does it for me, little ol’ me. The girl who grew up in the state with the lowest literacy ranking has written a published book.

God loves to do things that make people stand and wonder!

If you’re reading along with us in the March Bible Reading challenge, I’ve added the schedule to Friday’s post! It’s a little printable you can take a pic and save it to your phone or print it out to share, whatever you’d like. In words similar to that of my new friend, “You want more Spirit? then feast on God’s Word.”

Have a marvelous Monday!

Rachel

Keep Going

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There are times when life gets really tough and putting one foot in front of the other is all you can do. Perhaps you are going through a relationship difficulty and it’s making life more than hard. Maybe you’re in the middle of unemployment and have more month than money. Or perhaps personal or family health problems are causing major distress.

Whatever it is, today I simply want to encourage you to keep going. God sees and knows! He has not promised us that we will not have trouble in this world; but he has told us to take heart; he has overcome the world. He will not leave you and is with you every step of the way.

Today I wanted to share 23 keep going quotes. For those times you need to hold on to a few words as a reminder that you will get through this in Jesus’ strength.

Courage doesn’t always roar, sometimes it’s the quiet voice at the end of the day whispering ‘I will try again tomorrow.- Mary Ann Lamacher

Whatever God is urging you to give away cannot be compared to what He ultimately wants to give to you.- Beth Moore

When we’re bombarded with doubts and fears, we must take a stand and say: “I’ll never give up! God’s on my side. He loves me, and He’s helping me! I’m going to make it! – Joyce Meyer

Failure is only the opportunity to begin again- only this time more wisely. – Henry Ford

The past is where you learned the lesson. The future is where you apply the lesson, don’t give up in the middle.- unknown

God would give up His only son before He’d ever give up on you! (John 3:16) – Max Lucado

Discipline weighs an ounce; regret weighs a ton. – unknown

Courage comes from a heart that is convinced it is loved.- Beth Moore

It takes as much energy to wish as it does to plan. – Eleanor Roosevelt

Will we ever exit this pit? Yes! Deliverance is to the Bible what jazz music is to Mardi Gras: bold, brassy, and everywhere. – Max Lucado

Hardships often prepare ordinary people for extraordinary destiny.- C.S. Lewis

Once you choose hope, anything’s possible.- Christopher Reeves

Optimism is the faith that leads to achievement. Nothing can be done without hope and confidence.” – Helen Keller

The brave do not live forever; but the cautious do not live at all. – Princess Diaries

Never give up on anybody; miracles happen every day.- unknown

Courage is fear that has said its prayers and decided to go forward anyway. – Joyce Meyer

Just when the caterpillar thought the world was over, it became a butterfly. – unknown

Even though you may not understand how God works, you know he does. – Max Lucado

Love like there’s no tomorrow, and if there is, love again. -Max Lucado

There is not a single darkness in your life that God cannot bring his light upon. – Beth Moore

Make up your mind that you’re not going to quit until you see the fruit of what God has placed within you.- Joyce Meyer

It’s hard to beat a person who never gives up.- Babe Ruth

And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up.- Galatians 6:9

Be sure to check out these 12 Bible verses for when you feel like giving up!

I’m cheering you on.

Just one more step.

Rachel

 

Proverbs 13-20 Bible Reading Challenge Summary

Whenever I think of Proverbs, I think of rich truth. Solomon, the wisest man to live, desired to leave a written legacy of wisdom to his son. What a privilege that we are still reading it today as God preserved this wisdom as His written Word! So let’s look over the chapters we read this week:

Proverbs 13

Chapter 13 covers a variety of topics. From laziness to lying tongues, from poverty to leaving an inheritance for your children, each verse sheds instant light on truth. The verse that seemed to summarize this chapter for me:

The teaching of the wise is a fountain of life, that one may turn away from the snares of death. Proverbs 13:14

Which verse summarized or highlighted this chapter for you?

Proverbs 14

Ok, you might laugh. But this verse was so appropriate for Saturday. Our family had quite a few things going on. And on Valentine’s Day, of all days, I was focused on the urgent cleaning that needed to be done. Sometimes that cleaning sense of urgency makes me think that our family needs to simplify, but when you have as many bodies in a house as we do, it’s really not so much the amount of “stuff” but the number of people who have any amount of stuff.

Where there are no oxen, the manger is clean, but abundant crops come by the strength of the ox. Proverbs 14:4

I’m guessing you get the analogy. No blessings in the form of children=no mess to clean up. Perspective for cleaning day.

Proverbs 15

Many verses in Proverbs focus on seeking wisdom and controlling the tongue, but chapter 15 centers on these topics. One of my favorite verses:

To make an apt answer is a joy to a man, and a word in season, how good it is! Proverbs 15:23

Many verses discuss the importance of watching your words and the speed at which they fly out, but the flip side of that is not only holding your tongue, but learning to use empowering words to others. This is something I feel that I’m constantly working on. Perhaps you too?

Proverbs 16

Everywhere we look in today’s culture and society, the center is self. “Have it your way.” “I want it my way.” Proverbs 16 helps us grasp the difference between man’s way and God’s way. After we see the contrast between the two, I believe Solomon is pointing us toward understanding that if we simply begin with God’s way, we’ll encounter fewer problems in life. The following verse summed up this point for me:

The heart of man plans his way, but the LORD establishes his steps. Proverbs 16:9

How would you explain this verse?

Proverbs 17

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There’s a pivotal word in this verse: “when.” The moment of “when” holds the critical decision. Am I going to let it fly or filter with love? I must have read this verse ten times on Tuesday. I can hear Solomon saying to his son :”It really doesn’t take much to convince people you are smart. Just keep your mouth closed.”

Proverbs 18

In chapter 18, I believe the author is reinforcing the foundation he set in chapter 17. So much of the focus is on truly using our words in a wise manner. Something you may not know about me: I consider myself a foodie. If I wasn’t a Christian blogger chic, maybe I’d be a food critic. Who knows? But the point of explaining that to you is that verse 8 of this chapter made me think:

The words of a whisperer are like delicious morsels; they go down into the inner parts of the body. Proverbs 18:8

Everyone likes to eat good food, right? So if we think of our words as food:

Would you rather have a day old cheeseburger that’s been sitting on the counter or beautifully prepared filet mignon?

Would you rather eat a fresh chopped salad or wilted iceberg lettuce leaf?

Would you rather drink brewed coffee or instant?

And we can’t even go near the chocolate department or I’ll go overboard.

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Proverbs 19

Sometimes “discipline” is considered a bad word. But the art of being disciplined is the focus of this chapter. One of the most noticeable characteristics of a disciplined person is? They listen well. 

Listening is an art, a skill and a science. I believe that listening is an art because it is an expression of what is beautiful. It’s also a skill because it takes practice to do it well. And it surely is a science because through listening, you acquire knowledge using observation and interpretation.

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Don’t forget the 7up prayer challenge this weekend! My kiddos expressed that they want to be involved; so while I’m shopping today, I have to look for a 12 pack of 7 up. Remember to use the hashtag #7upprayer .

Sorry for the post getting up late; internet was down here last night. Rumor has it that it froze. ha.

Can’t wait to hear from you this week! What did you learn?

Have a great weekend!!

Rachel