Finding God Through Personalized Prayer

By: Deborah Lovett 

Jesus with the Samaritan woman at the well, by Paolo Veronese, 1585 Used by permission from Wikipedia.

John 4:10 Jesus answered her, “If you knew the gift of God and who it is that asks you for a drink, you would have asked Him and He would have given you living water.”

I love the way the Master Storyteller weaves a story. In the verse before this, the Samaritan Woman asked Jesus the question: “How can you ask me for a drink?” The woman was talking about physical H2O that came from Jacob’s well. Jesus changed the course of the conversation by his statement above, including “if, what, who, how, and ask.” Of course, He was referring to something totally foreign to her, called the “Living Water,” or spiritual water for her soul. The metaphorical significance is important. It shows us how we can be finding God through personalized prayer today.

Isn’t it just like Jesus to totally captivate His audience? We should take notes from this Man who called fishermen to become followers, and they immediately dropped their nets when He said, “Come follow me.” The irony of this moment is that the woman thought Jesus wanted something from her. When in fact, He wanted to give her the most precious gift in life—a personal, one-on-one relationship with a man who would never leave her or forsake her.

It is also just like Jesus to answer the woman’s question with a gift! However, I’m convinced most of us aren’t aware of the gifts just waiting for us. For if we knew what they were, and Who they were coming from, we would ask more often, for that explains how we receive them! To know Him is to know His gifts and how extravagantly He loves us.

God is saying to you and me today, “If you knew the gifts of your inheritance in Christ Jesus, you would be spending a lot more time in prayer asking for them.” In this passage, Jesus is saying, “Even though you don’t know, or even understand, ask anyway!” He has given us the deepest desires of our hearts, and He longs to fulfill those desires.

Jesus Christ is the ultimate gift giver of all time. He gave His life to save us from our sins. He gave His Holy Spirit to counsel us. He gave His stories to help us understand His truth. He gave thousands of people fish and bread for dinner. He gave the disciples a legacy to pass on to others. He gave Mary and Martha their brother back. He gave the blind man sight. He gave and He gave and He gave. Actually, He gave Himself right into the grave. As we seek Him, the gifts of peace, love, and joy naturally flow from Him to us like water from a river through the power of the Holy Spirit.

On that day in Jesus’ conversation with the Woman at the Well, He was about to give her the gift of Living Water. What this particular verse offers us is the gift of finding God through personalized prayer. He was saying, “Ask for what you think you need, and I’ll give you what I know is best.” Today, don’t be afraid to ask! We pray, and He personalizes our prayer to fit us perfectly. Just believe!

See the YouTube clip below to watch a reenactment of the meeting of Jesus and the woman at the well:

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z7INnvnHrlg

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Finding God in the Arms of Love

By Deborah Lovett

Deuteronomy 33:27: The eternal God is your refuge, and underneath are the everlasting arms.

It is a wonderful thing finding God in the arms of love. What an incredible un-learning experience! Yes, I have had to deprogram myself of years of pressure, expectations, fears, and misconceptions of who God really is.  I have also had to relearn  who I am in Christ. This resting in the arms of God’s love is a fabulous gift. And it is a gift that has actually come in the silence, not in the answers. Think of holding a tiny sleeping baby, and how in the silence your heart explodes with love for that child. Now just imagine how God must exude love when we rest in His arms! How it must make Him smile!

What He has shown me is that “all things work for the good of those who love Him.” For me that has become a journey of looking for the good, in all circumstances and giving thanks as well.

The other day I heard that Christians should not say, “Everything happens for a reason.” Rather we as Christians should say, “Everything happens because God loves me, and for His glory.” You see we should already KNOW the reason! Why is this true, you might ask? All things are sifted through the Almighty Hand of God, for the purpose of disciplining us, guiding us, or perhaps testing us, with the ultimate goal of bringing us into a more intimate relationship with the One who created us. Having that in mind, we should be able to rest in the arms of His love ALWAYS!

What about our sin? Well, obviously God doesn’t approve of our sin. Ultimately God will bring us closer to Him, when we confess and repent whole heartily. Regardless of the depth of our sin we need to remember that the ground is level at the foot of the cross. His forgiveness and His love is found there and His arms are outstretched even more so.

This resting and waiting phase of believing that God is the overseer of all things has brought me to a place of ultimate rest in my everyday trials and temptations. Knowing not only that I love Him, but that He loves me even more! I see His glory more, I experience His love more, I can hear Him even in the silence now as I rest in His everlasting arms.

My prayer for you today is that you will be found finding God in the arms of love. I also pray that as you rest there, you will be able to release all unforgiveness, resentment, bitterness and ugliness in your life. Love is patient, so don’t run off to quickly. God will wait as long as it takes.  Cast all your burdens on Him today, He is waiting with the everlasting open arms of love that can handle anything you bring.

Watch this toe-tapping Gaither rendition of Leaning on the Everlasting Arms.

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Finding God in a Bird

By: Deborah Lovett 

Here’s how I am finding God in a bird.

My dear friend suggested I get a bird. She commented on how peaceful and calming they were. Thoughts of a partridge and a pear tree started rolling around in my head. I thought how cool: finding God in a bird at Christmas time! So I asked for a bird this past Christmas. However, my family talked me out of it, reminding me of our animal house; two horses, two cats, and our 135 lb. golden retriever! Instead I received a bird book for Christmas; not hardly the same, but hey, it was a nice thought.

God stepped in though, as He knows the desires of our hearts. He sent me a cardinal. Yes, my very own red bird! And seeing I am from Ohio, and that the Cardinal is our state bird, I could only smile at His attention to details. Bird, cardinal, red, Christmas…oh my!

It came and perched himself on my kitchen screen daily, spreading his tail feathers for all to see. The whole thing was pretty impressive.

After watching him for a while, I noticed he had a daily custom. First, he perched on the kitchen screen, then he would fly to the kitchen door and bang his head up against it a few times as if trying to get in for dinner. (Don’t let this fool you–it’s was probably take out or microwaved!) Then he flew off. At first I thought, “Wow, God sent me a beautiful, peaceful bird.” After a while, I realized He sent me a bird with mental problems.

Since I never beckoned my redbird with a feeder or food, I did a little research and found out they love sunflower seeds. So I started spreading some seeds out, hoping to spare it some aggravation. Sorry to say, it continued its practice of perching, banging and only then, stopping to get a bite to eat. Honestly, it was a bit frustrating.

Then to my surprise, little redbird found himself a girlfriend. That’s right, I am guessing God sent me an early Valentines gift? So I named them, Lucy and Desi, and am proud of my lovebirds from heaven. But Lucy has some explaining to do, because she bangs her head up against the door window right along with Desi!

So what insights can we glean from this whole experience? First off, God wants to give us the desires of our hearts, one-way or another. It is not always the way we think, for His thoughts are so much higher and deeper than ours. Secondly, Lucy is following a birdbrain! Monkey see, monkey do, only in this case, bird see, bird do. We tend to follow others too easily and we need to be observant of who we are following. We cannot call ourselves followers of Jesus Christ if we are following someone else. Thirdly, we too can bang our heads up against the wall, or in the case of the birds, the door, looking for food. The only difference is that we are looking for answers, love, protection, comfort, satisfaction or even some kindness, through status, power, addictions, money, attention, our children, our husbands, or even our ministries. Our food is so very accessible as well. The Word of God! We are blessed to have it so readily available.

Who are you following today? Are you banging your head against the wall, looking for answers? Is there confusion all around you? Do you feel as if you are on the outside of God’s family looking in? Have you neglected reading and soaking in God’s Word?

Perhaps we all need to be finding God in a bird, or maybe a pair of red cardinals to remind us to pray and ask the Holy Spirit to lead and guide us through God’s Word this coming year.
It is well with my soul, (and my birds!) May I suggest a One Year Bible for Christmas this year?

While we recommend that you read the Bible next year, why not start by reviewing the Bible in a minute?

Also, enjoy the cardinal starring in Jingle Birds, this Youtube video:

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