Drawing My Circles: Part 3

Hi everyone!

I’m sorry it’s been so long since my last post. There’s been a whole lot going on around here, lately! Our church has finished VBS (vacation bible schcool), some of our family came to visit the week before that, and I finished my environmental biology class that same week (which I can prouudly announce that I made a B in, and believe me, that’s a mirale all by itself!). Also, our church’s youth group hosted a conference (pretty cool story about that, coming up!), so there’s been a lot of things happening, and a lot is changing, but hopefully that won’t keep me from posting as often!

As you probably can imagine, I’ve finished the 40 Day Prayer Challenge by now, and can I just say, it was definitely one of the hardest things I’ve ever done. Not only that, but it was so worth it! So today, I just wanted to share a few more things I learned over the last days of the challenge.

  • Pray specifically

It’s too often that we find ourselves rambling in our prayers and wondering why God won’t answer them. We need to be reminded of this simple truth: God won’t answer vague prayers. When our prayers aren’t specific, God doesn’t get glory from it. Sadly, a lot of times our vague prayers can be the result of our lack of faith. Mark Batterson writes: 

“Your lack of faith will keep you from going out on a limb to lay your true request on the line. The more faith you have, the more specific your prayers are. And the more specific your prayers are, the more glory God recieves.”

The goal for our prayer lives is this: to discern what God wants, and to boldly yet humbly ask Him for it. Whatever promises God has placed in your heart, you need to spell them out. And if you don’t know what they are, get into God’s presence and ask Him! You’ll never know until you do. 

  • When God answers your prayer, share it!

If and when God gives you an answer to your specific, audacious prayer, you need to let it be known. No matter how big or small, you need to turn that answer into a praise! The sad thing is, if we don’t we may end up turning His answers into our pride. If we don’t share what God is doing in our lives, people may very well think that He’s not in our lives at all. Testimonies are such a powerful way to express to others what a powerful, wonderful God we serve. 

They also need to be shared because you never know who needs to hear it. There are people out there who may be experiencing the same things you’ve already been through. Not sharing your testimony robs God of His glory and you of the opportunity to witness to others who are struggling with the exact things that have held you back. 

Testimonies are pretty much like our secret weapons. They’re powerful, and the enemy wants them to remain secret. Sharing them with others will not only seal the victory that we have in Christ’s death and ressurection, it will remind us, and more importantly the enemy, that the war has already been won.

  • When you pray for others, make sure there’s someone praying for you

The devotion for this day was a powerful reminder that your prayers don’t need to always be about yourself. I’ve personally found that I pray for myself and my needs a lot of the time. Not that praying for yourself is a bad thing, but if I’ve learned anything from this challenge, it’s that your prayers don’t always need to focus on you. What you need to do is find specific people to pray for, to help hold you accountable, and just to do life with in general.

We often forget that the act of true intercesory prayer is spiritual warfare. Prayer is HARD. There’s going to be times where we won’t have the faith, ability, strength, or will to pray for ourselves. That’s where we need friends who will step up and contine praying for you when you can’t. 

Now, I know that it can be hard to open up to people sometimes and tell them what you’re dealing with. In fact, I’m still working on that myself. But friends, it is so important to have people who will come beside you to pray and help you when you can’t help yourself. Never do life alone.

  • Don’t worry about numbers when it comes to church

I mentioned earlier that our church hosted a youth conference. The first night before the service started, we were a little discouraged at the number of people that were there, or weren’t there, rather. There was a significant number that attended last year that didn’t show up this year. So we had our service, and by the end of the night, 40 kids raised their hands to recive Jesus as their savior. 

We sat there in amazement, thinking, “Why in the world were we so worried about the numbers again?” It doesn’t matter how many show up and fill the seats, it matters that God shows up. And He most certainly did! 

It truly is amazing, because when you think about it, God almost always used a small remnant of people to work His wonders. All it takes is a faithful few to rise up and pray for revival and start a reformation.

Well you guys, that’s the end of Drawing My Circles! I hope you’ve enjoyed and learned from these blogs as I’ve posted them, and I pray that you will continue to circle God’s promises and that you will be encouraged to grow your faith in Him. 

“Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.” — Galatians 6:9

Until next time,

Katee

Drawing My Circles: When Things Go Wrong

Hi everyone!

It’s been a while since my last post, and that’s because a lot of things have been going on. I have an online summer class that I’m working hard on, packing for Ecuador, and trying my best to continue following where God is leading me. 

I truly feel my heart being pulled toward Ecuador, but I so happen to be missing a pretty crucial thing that I need to get there… my passport. 

Yes, yes, I know, you’re probably looking at your screen going, “Katee, what on earth?!?” Believe me, I’ve been asking myself the same question for about a week now. The scary thing is, our group is leaving in about a week. So, as you can imagine, My family and I have done just about everything we can to find it, and currently, to no avail. We’ve also been looking for a way to get a copy of my passport, but that’s going to end up costing a LOT of money. 

So, that’s where I’m at. Stuck between a rock and a hard place. It’s really difficult, and I’m starting to wonder if God really wants me to go or not. But, you know what? This is just what I’ve been reading about in the 40 Day Prayer Challenge: You need to work like it depends on you, and pray like it depends on God. 

This is a direct quote from what I read in my devotion this morning: “Sometimes we need to be willing to give something up to God in order to get it back from God.” This is talking about God giving us a dream or desire (i.e. me going to Ecuador), then us giving that desire back to God. 

Now, you’re probably saying, “why would God do that?” Well, sometimes, like with our sins, we can end up putting God-given desires and dreams before God. He wants to test us and make sure they aren’t becoming idols in our lives. If that is the case, those dreams and desires may need to die so that God can resurrect them. 

“God often takes things away to give them back so that we know they are gifts to be stewarded for His glory.” — Mark Batterson

And if I were to be completely honest, I feel as if that may be what God is trying to tell me. Maybe I’ve been putting my desire to go to Ecuador before the very God who gave me that desire, and the thought of that breaks my heart. So, this has become my prayer: If God still wants me to go to Ecuador, I will find my passport before the end of this week. If I don’t, then I will know God wants be to stay home and give that dream back to Him. 

I’ve been told that this 40 Day Prayer Challenge is going to be one of the hardest things I’ll do. I’m only halfway through it, and it’s already proving that. I need to remember that even though God has placed this desire in me, it is nothing that needs to take His place in my life. I honestly feel closer to God then I ever have before. I truly am thankful for that. Now, I want to ask if you will join me in this prayer: for our team of people who will be going to Ecuador. We need to pray that God will minister through them and that all the lives they touch will be changed by God. 

“Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfector of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.” Matthew 12:1&2

Drawing My Circles: Part 2

Hi everyone! I hope you’re having a great weekend so far! Today, I’m going to be continuing my series of posts from my experience reading “Draw the Circle” by Mark Batterson. I can honestly tell you, it’s already getting harder, but I have a feeling that it will be so worth it in the end!

Here are a few things I’ve learned since my last post:

  • Be persistent in your prayers 

We can pray about as many different things as we want to, but if they aren’t persisent, what good are they, really? If we don’t put any more effort into praying about something, how much effort should we expect God to put into answering that prayer? 

Going back to my last post, I didn’t really know what God wanted me to do with my life. I would pray about it, sure, but then I would go about my life just doing what I normally did and I forgot about it. I wasn’t being persistent with my prayer. Then I would find myself stuck in the same place, and I would pray about it again, and then forget. It was a never ending cycle. Then I realized the power behind persistent prayer, and He has now done greater things in my life than I could have ever imagined!

Sometimes we don’t put any more effort into it because we’re afraid that God won’t answer, but that is exactly the risk of prayer. If we DON’T ask God, there is a 100% likelyhood that He will NOT answer. He wants to give us blessings, breakthroughs, and miracles. We simply need to ask Him with persistent prayer. When we do, He will give us our answers. Not only for that, but so that His name will be glorified.

  • When God reveals something to you, write it down!

Over the past 10 days, this has been SO important for me. It is so necesary because (I’m not sure about you, but) I tend to forget things. That makes me think of the Israelites as they were wondering in the desert after being freed from slavery in Egypt. God performed so many miracles and miraculous wonders, and the Israelites were amazed at the time, but it didn’t take them too long to forget about it and start complaining. We need to write these things down so we can look back on them and give God glory for what He has done in our lives! 

It’s also important to write prayers down, too. I often find myself praying about something, and then that will be the last time I pray about it for a very long time. That way, when God has answered your (persistent!) prayer, you can go back and remember His faithfulness.

  • Don’t just pray, take action! 

When you know that God has placed a dream in your heart, you don’t just need to pray about it, you need to do something about it. God will be honored when we act as if He is going to answer that prayer! Once you have prayed, take a step in faith. Wait actively for God to answer. 

This brings to mind Mark 16 verses 14-20. This is where Jesus gives His disciples His final instructions: the Great Commission. He tells them to go and continue preaching and teaching the Good News and to make disciples of all nations. He also told them of all the miraculous things they will be able to do in His name. Then He assended into heaven.

The disciples could have easily just sat there and waited for Jesus’ return all by themselves. They could have neglected teaching and preaching for fear of punishment. However, they knew and understood what they had to do; they had to step out in faith. And that is exactly what they did! It says in verse 20 that “they went out and preached everywhere, while the Lord worked with them and confirmed the message by accompanying signs.” 

If God isn’t moving in our lives, maybe it’s because we aren’t moving. A lot of the time, we wish that God would make the first move, but that is completely backwards! Take your first step in faith. Faith is not a noun, it’s an action verb! If you don’t pray and then take action, you’re not going to get very far. The first step may be long and awkward, (it normally is, especially in my case!) but, if you act in your faith with obedience, God will follow up! 

Now, a word of caution for this part:

If your thought or dream is not the will of God or it isn’t for His glory, then, it’s only going to be a waste of time. You need to be sure that what you are asking for is what God wants, not just you. If you go on that route, you might end up doing more harm than good. 

  • Pray with boldness

This is a quote from Draw the Circle: “The viability of our prayers has more to do with intensity than vocabulary. It has more to do with what we do than what we say.” That is absolutely true! The key to any miracle or blessing is crazy faith. When people do everything they can to get to God, He honors them.

There are plenty of examples of this in the Bible: David when he defeated Goliath, Daniel when he was thrown into the lions den, Elijah when he called on God to rain fire down from heaven, Hannah when she prayed for a baby, the list goes on and on. These people were in situations that most of us today would think are impossible. They prayed with boldness and did everything they could to get through to God, and He answered to their prayers. He honored their boldness.

And here’s the craziest thing: He still does it today! 

We often make the mistake of thinking that it may offend God if we ask for something audaciously. The thing is, He’s probably offended by anything less! Now, its not that He doesn’t care about the little details in your life. He knows every last one of them! Its just that when we pray impossible prayers, they reveal our faith, honor God, and reveal His glory. If we serve a God that can do absolutely anything, then, why on earth don’t we pray like it?

Well, that’s it for Drawing My Circles: Part 2! I hope you enjoyed it and I pray that encourages you to dig deeper into your relaitonship with God, and to draw circles of your own. Thank you! 

“For by grace you have been saved through faith. and this is not of your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast. For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.” — Ephesians 2:8-10

What Happens When God Tells You “No” 

Man. When I wrote down this title a month ago, I never expected to be able to apply it to my life so quickly. It’s just proving that drawing circles in your life is no easy task.

As many of you know, I was blessed with an incredible opportunity to travel to Guayaquil, Ecuador. I was beyond excited, and couldn’t wait to see what God would do through our team that was going. The days, weeks, and months have passed, and I couldn’t hardly stand the wait! Finally, it got to two weeks until we leave, and I begin to pack what I needed. I managed to get everything together (in a carry-on, mind you!), and then I realized, I had no idea where my passport was. So, my parents and I began a frantic search all over our house, looking for it. A week later, there was no sign of it. 

It finally came to the point that I was beginning to question if God really intended for me to go to Ecuador at all. So I brought my uncertainty to the Lord, asking Him to help me find it or be able to replace it before its too late. I drew my circle around this situation, and today, I recieved my answer. 

No.

He told me “no.”

Do I understand why that was His answer? Absolutely not. But, you know what? I don’t have to know why He did it. I don’t have to have all the answers. The Bible says in Romans 8:28

“And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good…” 

I don’t understand what God did this for, but I do know that He has a reason for everything, and my faith in Him will be stronger than ever before. No, it doesn’t make sense to me right now, but someday it will. I asked God for His answer, He gave it to me, and now I need to accept it. 

With all that being said, I’m not going to Ecuador, but we have found someone to go in my place. So, thankfully there won’t be an empty seat on that plane, and they will be able to experience God in a new and incredible way. 

I know that this whole thing may seem trivial to you, but, for me, this has been the hardest thing I’ve been through since I started this journey, and it has changed me in so many ways. 

The best thing I’ve learned is that maybe this “no” God has given me may actually be a “not yet.” My time to go to Ecuador may not be now, but someday (maybe next year!) I’ll pray about this, and the “no” of this year will turn into a “yes” in the next!

Yes, my heart still wants to be in Ecuador, and I’m still a bit upset about it, but I’m not going to allow this to hender my relationship with God. I’m going to take the answer God has given me, and rest in His promise that I will see His goodness in all of it. I’m so excited and can’t wait to see what th future holds!

“I believe that I shall look upon the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living! Wait for the Lord; be strong, and let your heart take courage; wait for the Lord!” — Psalms 27:13-14

All my love,

Katee

(P.S. Another moral of this story: put your passport in a lockbox so that you always know where it is!)

Drawing My Circles: It’s Only the Beginning

Hello all!

I am so incredibly excited to share my very first blog post with you! (Side Note: Please bear with me, I’m really new to this thing!)

Today, I want to share with you some things that God has been revealing to me throughout this week. We had a graduation Sunday at my church (Tanglewood Church of God. Go look it up!) last Sunday, and each of us graduates got the book, “Draw the Circle: The 40 Day Prayer Challenge”, by Mark Batterson. I had heard so many good things about this book, and I was so excited to take a step deeper into my relationship with God.

Its only been day 4, and God has already done such big and incredible things in my life! I wanted to put together a little compilation of things that God has shown me throughout these past few days.

  • God’s plans are only revealed in His presence

(Now, that’s actually a paraphrase from the book, I didn’t come up with that by myself.) If I’m gonna be completely honest, I had absolutely NO clue as to what God wanted me to do with my life for the longest time. I would always see my friends being offered amazing opportunities and having such clarity as to what they’re doing with their lives, and I’m just here going, “Okay, anytime now!”

Not that I wasn’t happy for my friends, but I was just so stuck, I felt like I was skipped over by God’s blessings. That’s when I finally got on my knees and started praying about it! I’ve been getting up early in the morning to spend some time focusing on my relationship with God, and reading His word. The whole time, God has been pointing out things that I need to work on in order to get to where He wants me to be. Now, I’m still not exactly sure what God wants me to do, but I definitely feel more confident that God is putting me in the right direction towards it! Sometimes, prayers have to take time to be answered, and that’s okay.

  • Spending time with God requires sacrifice

This statement is most definitely true! Being in God’s presence and learning more about His will is a sacrifice of time, patience, and your own will. Most of us will see our Bible sitting on a shelf thinking, “Oh, I’ll read it later. Besides, I’m way too busy right now!” Friends, can I just tell you that that is a lie? Spending time on your relationship with God is far more valuable than anything else you’re spending your time on.

I hate to admit it, but, I’m pretty guilty of this myself. Actually, more often than not, I find myself being lazy, and just not putting any effort into it. But when I do, it’s the most wonderful thing I could do for myself all day! Find yourself a time and a place to be with God, to pray, and read His word. You won’t be sorry!

  • Learn how to discern God’s voice

Granted, I’m still working on this one, too. When you’ve had so many thoughts and distractions vying for your attention, it’s hard to tell what God is saying. But, when you do hear Him, and he tells you what to do, do it without hesitation! Like our Connections pastor Mitchell Sugg says, “Delayed obedience is still disobedience.”

It may push you out of your comfort zone, and you may not like it one bit, but if you don’t do it, you’re only getting in the way of God doing big things in and through you. It might be scary, but trust me, when you obey God’s will, He will do things that you never thought were possible!

Well, friends, this is the end of my first blog post. I truly hope you enjoyed it, and I pray that it encourages you to pursue your relationship with God with everything in you. I’m going to continue writing posts about my journey through the 40 Day Prayer Challenge, and, if you haven’t yet, I urge you to do the challenge too!

“Now to Him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think according to the power at work within us, to Him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever. Amen.” Ephesians 3:20

Until next time,

Katee