Friday, November 30, 2012

Starting Your Own Relationship With Jesus Christ (And Why We Need Him!)

             John 3: 16: “For God so loved the world that he sent his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.”
            God so loved the world.  He didn’t just love the world; He so loved the world.  He so loved the world that He (Jesus) would die in our place before He would miss out on an eternal relationship with us.  He knew that we would disappoint Him and hurt Him and fail Him, but He still so wanted a relationship with us that He made a way.  He knew that there would be many, many people that would reject His gift of love and salvation, but an eternity spent with those who would choose Him was worth the price of dying on the cross.  That is some amazing love!     

            Let me ask you something:  If you were to die today or if Jesus came back today, would you be ready?  Seriously!   This life, as we know it, isn't going to go on forever.  And we are not invincible.  People die every day, in every kind of way.  Are you ready to face eternity, what comes the moment after you take your last breath?  Have you figured out who Jesus is and why He matters so much?  Because this will be what matters most the moment after you die.  And, quite honestly, it's what matters most in this lifetime, too.
            Maybe right now you’re wondering how you can have a relationship with Jesus.  Or maybe you’re wondering what the difference is between having a “relationship with Jesus” and “religion.”  I believe that confusing these two things has prevented a lot of people from having the kind of relationship with Him that we were really meant to have.  So let me clearly say this: A relationship with Jesus is not the same thing as “religion.”     
             I believe that religion is best defined as “Man’s attempt to get to God.”  We try to follow all sorts of rules or traditions in the hopes that they will score us enough points on God’s big scoreboard to get us into Heaven.  If we could just be “good enough,” He has to let us in, right?  But these are our attempts to get to God.  And they won’t work. 
            Biblical Christianity, however, is all about God’s attempt to get to man.  A relationship with God is only possible because of God’s attempts to reach out to us.  And He has made a way for us to get into Heaven that isn’t left up to chance.  He’s provided a sure way, instead of leaving us to wring our hands and wonder, I hope I’ve been good enough. 
            You know, I have to ask:  What kind of good, loving God would He be if He allowed something as important as the eternal home of our souls to be decided by a vague definition of “good enough”?  If He left us to wonder if we made it in or not, not knowing until we die?  I can’t think of a crueler cosmic joke.  And yet, for some reason, humans seem to want that.  We would rather try to work our way to Heaven than to simply accept God’s sure, easy way.  Why is that?
            I wonder if it has to do with two things: our desire to be our own “master,” and our need to be in control, to feel like we are doing something to get what we want.  We don’t want to be accountable to God and to live for Someone else.  We want to live the way we want and yet still feel like we can get into Heaven.  So a “good enough” scoreboard sounds pretty good to us.  As long as we are living as decent people and we make sure the good outweighs the bad in the end, we should be able to get into Heaven without having to make Him Lord of our lives.  Right?   
            And we like the idea of working our way to Heaven with our good behavior and likable personality because we feel like we are doing something, having some control over the results.  And that makes the idea of Heaven seem more real and accessible to us.  Because to just trust that a prayer or a decision gets us into Heaven feels too implausible, too unreliable.  We don’t like to leave things up to other people, even God. 
            It would be like someone telling us that all we have to do is push this red button and then we will get world peace.  And we go, “That’s it?  Just push this button and we’ll have world peace?  That’s too easy!?!  It doesn’t seem right.  We have to do something to get world peace.  We have to work at it.  Not just push a button.”  And so we never do push the button because we just don’t believe that it works that way.   
            Well, God did provide a red button, so to speak.  We cannot work our way to Heaven or earn our way to Heaven.  But if we will trust Him and just push the button, we can be sure that our eternal resting place will be with Him in Heaven.  Because it’s not about earning enough points on His scoreboard; it’s about what He’s already done and made available to us.    
            All of history has been about God’s attempt to reach out to us.  And it will ultimately end with us getting what we wanted: an eternity with Him or apart from Him.  In the beginning, God created us because He wanted a close, genuine relationship with us.  And Adam and Eve had this with Him in the Garden of Eden. 
            And it could have remained that way if they had chosen to obey God’s one, simple command to not eat from the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil.  God knew that if they did eat from it, they would introduce severe, heartbreaking consequences.  He wanted to spare them the knowledge of evil.  He wanted to spare them the consequences that come with evil.  And He wanted to be close to them.  And so that is why He clearly warned them not to do it.  But they did it anyway. 
            They chose to disobey and they ate from the forbidden tree.  Now before this, they were unaware of evil.  They only knew good.  But by their sin, they became aware of evil and let it loose on the world.  And as a consequence, they introduced pain, disorder, and death into the human race.
            (But why did God even provide the “temptation” in the first place, you may ask?  Because if people didn’t have the right and the option to disobey - to rebel against God – then they wouldn’t have the choice to obey and to choose God.  And God didn’t want robots, forced to love Him.  He wanted people who wanted to be with Him.  Isn’t that what we all want when it comes to love - to know that someone loves us because they want to, not because they have to?)      
            Death is part of the consequence of and punishment for mankind’s rebellion.  But it is also an act of mercy, in a way.  Because if we were to live forever under the influence of and in the presence of evil, we would never again be able to get back a perfect relationship with God or to enjoy life without evil’s influence.  And therefore, we would never really rest from pain.  But through our physical death, we have a chance to leave this sin-filled life behind us and to enter again into the kind of eternity that we were meant to have.  If we choose it.
            And that’s the most important truth we could share:  We choose where we spend eternity!  And we only have this lifetime to make that choice.  And there are only two options:  God’s Team and Not God’s Team. 
            Because of the fall, we are all born on Not God’s Team.  And we will stay there unless we deliberately choose to go over to God’s Team.  We cannot accidentally end up on God’s Team.  Nor do we end up there by default.  It has to be a deliberate, conscious choice - a choice to leave Not God’s Team and join God’s Team.  And we cannot earn our way onto God’s Team.  There is no mysterious “good enough” scale.  When we stand before God, it will be “I chose Jesus as my Lord and Savior” or “I didn’t.”  It’s clear-cut and sure.         
            Of course, we can deliberately choose to stay on Not God’s Team if we want to, by refusing God and His offer of salvation.  And there are plenty of people that consciously reject Him and serve their own gods: nature, false gods, themselves, etc.  And that is their choice.    
            But I fear that far more people will end up in Hell not by “choice”, but “accidentally.”  Because they ignored the truth about God and decided to not make a decision about Him.  And they thought that it would still be okay, that they would up in Heaven by default because they didn’t deliberately choose against God.  These are the people who say, “I hope I’ve been good enough to get into Heaven” or “Sure, I’m spiritual; I believe in a God out there somewhere.”  But they ignore what the Bible says about the only way to salvation.  But even not making a choice about God is still not choosing God’s Team, and that automatically keeps them on Not God’s Team (the team we start out on).      
            People usually wonder, How can a loving God send people to Hell?  The truth is, I don’t think God “sends” anyone to Hell.  He doesn’t threaten us with Hell, as in “If you’re not good enough, this is where you’re going.”  He warns us of Hell, as in “This is where you are headed, so please take the way of salvation that I made possible.” 
            He wants all people to come to Him.  He waits patiently over the course of history for as many people as possible to come to Him, pursuing them for years and years.  And He doesn’t give up on us, because He wants us with Him in eternity.  He is far more concerned with where we’re going than where we’ve been.  Which is why He is so ready and willing to forgive, no matter what we’ve done in our past. 
            He doesn’t “send” us to Hell . . . but He does reluctantly allow us to choose Hell.  And as a matter of fact, according to Matthew 25:41, Hell was created for Satan and the angels who rebelled against God.  It was not made for humans.  It's we humans who choose to follow Satan there by choosing against God.  He allows us to choose Him or to reject/ignore Him.  And He does this because He doesn’t want to spend eternity with robots.  He wants to spend eternity with those who want to be with Him.  That’s no different from us humans.  We want to be around people who want to be with us, not who are forced to be with us.  And, as I said, I think this is a reason why He allowed evil to exist in the first place.  In order to have the ability to choose God, we had to have the right and the option to choose against God, to choose a different “lord.”   
            When Adam and Eve disobeyed, they introduced a “sin nature” into all of mankind.  And because God is holy, He cannot tolerate sin.  Because He is just, there had to be a penalty for disobedience.  He couldn’t just ignore it or excuse it.  There had to be a penalty.  We would expect any judge worth his position to demand justice and the payment of the penalty for crimes committed.  What would we think of a judge who turned a blind eye to someone who stole or murdered?  That wouldn’t be right.  There has to be a penalty that fits the crime.  This is what justice is. 
            Well, the penalty for mankind’s sin was separation from God and, at death, eternal separation.  Adam and Eve were banished from the Garden and separated from God’s presence.  And this “separation” is passed down to all of us because sin is in the human race.  We are all born on that path of separation, the path to Hell.  And if we die while still on it, we will remain eternally separated from God.  But here’s the thing, none of our attempts to get off that path on our own will work. 
            That’s the bad news.  But this is the good news: God made a way.  We can choose to get off that path of separation and into an eternal relationship with God (Heaven) because of what He has already done for us.  Yes, God is holy and just, but God is also love.  And in His love, He couldn’t bear to have us separated from Him.  He so desires a relationship with us that He made a way for us to spend eternity with Him.  And what He did was pay that penalty Himself. 
            The payment required was death (a physical as well as “spiritual death,” an eternal life apart from Him).  And so Jesus (God the Son, who took on human flesh) came down here and died a physical death that He didn’t deserve so that He could pay the price for our sins, so that we could trade in eternal death for eternal life.  This enormous act of love met the requirements of justice.
            And this is another crucial difference between religion/false religion and Christianity: Jesus Christ.  What we decide about Jesus Christ determines if we have religion/false religion or Biblical Christianity.  When it comes to religion (or a generalized spirituality), God can be anything to anyone.  He can be found in us, in the trees, in unity, in music, etc.  He can be Buddha, the universe, or a cow.  He can be whatever the person wants Him to be.  And we can get to God in any number of ways: meditation, drugs, good works, giving money, being sincere in whatever faith we have, sex, etc.  And that is what makes it religion or false religion.
            “Religion” doesn’t have to acknowledge Jesus as God, Lord, and Savior.  “Religion” doesn’t have to claim that Jesus is the only way.  “Religion” doesn’t have to believe that we cannot work our way to Heaven, no matter how good we act.  “Religion” can be whatever tickles our fancy or makes us feel good about ourselves, life, the universe, and the end.  What a mess! 
            I know that people want to believe that all religions are right, as long as the person is sincere in their faith.  But the truth is, they cannot all be right, not when they all believe different things about who God is and how we get to Heaven and what Heaven is.  If each religion has a different map . . .written by different people . . . with different directions . . . to different places, they cannot all be essentially the same thing.  They can all be wrong, but they cannot all be right.  This “all religions are the same thing” idea is a very sweet-sounding, “love everybody,” na├»ve way to convince oneself that you don’t have to make a decision about it all.  That no matter what you believe, it’s all okay. 
            But I am here to say that – like it or not - it does matter what you believe.  Tremendously!  Eternally!  While “religion” can be whatever we want it to be, a faith grounded in the Bible - Biblical Christianity - knows that “religion” will not save.  It is only Jesus that saves.  And He doesn’t save just because He was “a good person, a good teacher”.  He saves because He is God.  Whatever you do, do not say that He was a “good, wise person” unless you also claim that He is God.  Because if He isn’t God, He was either a liar (deliberately deceiving people into following Him and believing He was God) or He was a lunatic (mistaking believing that He himself was God).  When deciding who Jesus was, it’s only one of these three options: liar, lunatic, or Lord. 
            In Christianity, Jesus is God, and it is only by His sacrificial death that we are saved.  Because Jesus isn’t just another man.  He is part of the trilogy that makes up the one God of the Bible.  He is God in the flesh, the Holy Spirit is God in the spirit form, and then there is God the Father.  But they all-together make up God, the one and only God.  It’s a mystery, I know.  But this is the way it is.           
            And because of Jesus’ death - because God paid the penalty that His justice demanded - we now have the option of going to Heaven.  We can accept His payment on our behalf so that we can once again have a relationship with God.  Or we can choose to pay it for ourselves by ignoring or rejecting Jesus as Lord and Savior, and by rejecting His sacrificial death.  Thereby, remaining on that path of separation that leads to Hell. 
            But if we want spiritual life, the only option God has given is to allow Jesus’ death to pay the price for our sins.  And all it takes on our parts is a decision.  It is a decision to believe that Jesus alone made the way for us.  It is choosing to make Him Lord and Savior of our lives.  This is the “red button” that will bring us eternal peace.
            Romans 10:9 tells us what’s required to restore that relationship with God.  “That if you confess with your mouth, ‘Jesus is Lord,’ and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.”  It’s all about Jesus.    
            And I have to say, that’s a mighty fine option - letting Jesus’ death do all the work of getting us into Heaven.  And all we have to do is choose it, like accepting a gift.  How merciful!  It is so much easier than we make it out to be with our “good enough” scoreboard and our efforts to earn Heaven.  (As a Christian, “being good and living right” isn’t something we do to get into Heaven.  But it is how we will want to live after we accept Jesus, living out our thankfulness, our love, and our desire to honor Him.)   
            This life is not all there is.  And this life isn’t really about this life at all.  Our time on earth is our deciding ground.  It is the time for God to build His eternal kingdom, His eternal Family.  But the choice is ours.  We can reject Him.  We can ignore Him.  Or we can choose Him!  We can choose eternal life, because of what He has already done for us!     
            Now, maybe you are not ready yet to accept Jesus as Lord.  Maybe you don’t really believe yet.  But maybe you want to believe, or you want to want to believe.  These are good, important steps.  He will meet you wherever you are at.  If you sincerely reach out to Him and open the door to Him - even a little bit - the truth will begin to be revealed to you.  And the more you seek, the more you find. 
            But it has to be a sincere, genuine attempt to find Him.  If you are only pretending to look for Him, hoping that you will find nothing, you will get what you are looking for:  nothing!  But if you really want to believe (or want to want to believe), then the best thing you can do is tell Him this.  Simply say out loud something like, “God, I don’t know if I really believe in You.  But I want to know if You are really there.  Please, show me if You are real.”  Pray this sincerely and often, and keep your eyes open.  And when the desire to give up comes, push past it and pray this prayer again.  And then see what happens!  Keep your eyes open and you will begin to find Him.         
            “But I still have doubts!  How can I become a Christian?” you might be asking.  The way that I see it, we can choose to believe in God and Jesus . . . even with doubts.  In fact, the only way that we can believe in God and Jesus is while we still have doubts.  Because whether we admit it or not, we all have doubts and unanswered questions, all the time.  (We are just more unaware of them when life is going peachy.)    
            This is why we have to step out in faith.  God says that faith is absolutely necessary.  If we wait until we have no doubts, we will never choose God.  But we can choose, as an act of our wills, to accept that He is telling us the Truth in the Bible.  Faith isn’t saying, “Wow, I am totally convinced of You and my need for You.”  (Although that would be wonderful, of course.)  Faith is saying, “God, I don’t understand everything.  But I will choose to take You at Your Word, even though I have doubts and questions.  Help open my eyes and help me believe.” 
            And here’s a secret:  Faith isn’t something that we have to drum up within ourselves or force ourselves to have.  It is actually a gift from God.  God wants us to choose Him.  He wants us to accept Him.  But He knows that we humans are full of doubts, questions, sin, rebellion, the need to be in control, and the need for absolute proof.  And so, left to ourselves, we would never come to God. 
            But just as He made the way for us to get into Heaven, He also gives us the necessary “tool” to accept His way into Heaven:  Faith!  Galatians 2:8-9 says, “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith - and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God - not by works, so that no one can boast.”  What this means is that we get to Heaven only by the fact that He made the way and that He develops our faith in Him.  We do not get to Heaven by anything that we do.  It’s all Him! 
            Our part is not to climb our way to Heaven; it’s simply to accept His gift of faith and eternal life, turning our face toward Him and saying, “Okay, I choose You.  I want to believe.  Help me!  Give me faith!”  If we will just open the door to Him - honestly telling Him where we are in our level of faith and doubt, and asking Him to help - He will grow our faith, our understanding, and our belief in Him.    
            And as we walk with Him, we will learn to trust Him more and to believe in Him more.  And we will come to know that doubts and questions are a part of life and the Christian journey.  And when they come up, the best thing we can do is not to feel bad about ourselves and doubt our faith, but to take those doubts to God in prayer and ask for His help.
            Remember, our feelings follow our thoughts.  Our thoughts follow where our mind goes.  And our mind goes wherever we decide to let it go.  If you will choose to put your faith in the Bible and in God even though you don’t “feel it” - if you let your will and your ability to decide lead you - your feelings will eventually get in line.  And as you walk with God and watch Him work in your life and dig deeper into His Word, your faith in Him will be strengthened.  But it takes a decision to believe first, instead of waiting until all your doubts are gone.
            Skeptics need to see before they believe; but faith demands that we believe before we can see.  People who don’t want to find God won’t.  People who don’t want to believe in Him will not find “proof” of Him.  But people who do will find Him - if they have the eyes to see and ears to hear.                   
            God is doing all He can to reach out to us - through nature, through His Word, through Jesus coming here in the flesh, through knocking on the door of our hearts, through implanting within us a deep sense that Someone is out there.  He gives everyone the chance to come to Him.     
            He says in Romans 1:20, “For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities - his eternal power and divine nature - have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse.” 
            No one will be able to say, “But I didn’t know that God was real.”  Because God says that we will not have any excuses when we stand before Him and He asks, “Why didn’t you believe in Me?” 
            He will hold us all accountable for the choice we make (or don’t make).  And in the end, He will give us what we asked for.  If we ask Him to cover the penalty for our sins, He will do it.  (He already has!)  But if we ask to be left alone, He will allow it.  He won’t like and it will grieve Him; but He allows it because He has given us the freedom to choose.      
            Now, to put some people at ease, I do believe the Bible teaches that there is an age of accountability, an age when we are old enough to choose or reject Jesus’ sacrifice.  If a child dies before this age, they are under His grace and mercy and automatically end up with God in Heaven for eternity . . . because they never made it to the age where they became accountable for their choice.  But after that age (I have no idea what age that is), we are held accountable for the choice we make or don’t make.  But if you lost a baby or child, I believe that you can rest assured that they are already safe in His loving care and will be there to meet you when you get there.      
            Now, if you want to choose Jesus’ payment for your sin - so that you don’t have to pay it for yourself with eternal separation - it doesn’t take any real effort on our parts.  It was all done by God already.  All we have to do is accept it in prayer.  All it takes is a genuine desire to turn to God and a prayer that expresses it. 
            There is no magic formula for the prayer, but as I already said, if you “confess with your mouth, ‘Jesus is Lord,’ and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.   For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you confess and are saved. . . . ‘Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.’”  (Romans 10:9-10, 13)   
            If this is something that you want to do, here is a prayer that you can pray.  (Or use your own words.)  It doesn’t have to be fancy; it just has to be real. 

            Dear God,
            I admit that I am a sinner and that I have been living life apart from You.  But I don’t want to do that anymore.  I want to spend eternity with You.  And so today, I am turning to You.  I am choosing to accept Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior.  I believe that He came here and died for my sins, and that He rose from the dead, proving that He is God.  I ask for forgiveness for my sins, and I choose today to make Him Lord of my life.  I open up my heart to You and ask You to fill it with Your Holy Spirit, so that I can live the rest of my life for You.  Thank You for Your sacrifice for me, and thank You that because of it, I can spend eternity with You.  In Jesus’ name,  Amen 

            If you chose to pray this, tell someone about it.  Telling others is an outward testimony about what has gone on in your heart and it helps to cement your decision to turn to God.  And get a Bible and start reading, and find a good, Bible-believing church so that you can grow alongside other believers.  And welcome to the Family!

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Why I Wrote This Blog!

            My reason for this blog:
            “. . . to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim freedom for the captives and release from darkness for the prisoners.”  (Isaiah 61:1)

            The goal for all believers:
            “He called a little child and had him stand among them.  And he said: ‘I tell you the truth, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.  Therefore, whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.’” (Matthew 18:2-4). 

            Well, hello there!  My name is Heather and this is not a blog.  Okay . . . yes, it is.  But not really, because there is no place for comments like on normal blogs.  But what I have put here are some resources that I hope will encourage and inspire other Christians on their walk with the Lord.  There is a section that explores “God’s Will,” where I share how I understand His “Will” and what it means for Christians.  There is a “Bible Study” that I put together, intended for people who have been walking with the Lord for a while.  There are some random, thought-provoking posts: questions to ask God and others, and a post on why we eat what we do.  And, in the October posts, there are two books that I spent the last five years writing.  And I am inviting you to read them for free.  Yep, that’s right . . . totally free!  
            Free?  That’s outrageous, you say.  Why would you do that?  And surely there must be some catch!   Honestly, there really is no catch.  Both books are free and both are here in their entirety.  In the “Why These Books Are Free” post, I explain more about why I put five years’ worth of work out there for free.  But for now, let me say that when God helps heal the damage caused by your past and when He gives you insights into how that happened, you want to share it with others.  To help them find healing.  To help them in their relationships – with themselves, with others, and ultimately, with God.  And this is why I am giving these books to you.  
            The first book, Child of Mine:  My “Sweetly Broken” Journey, is about  . . . well . . . my journey to being sweetly broken.  It’s about the good times and the bad as I have gone through the different stages of my life so far, from naive child to cocky young adult to smug married woman to confident mom.  And then, it’s about the fall that I took from that high horse.  It’s about the hard lessons I have learned and the beautifully-painful trials that have moved me from fearful self-sufficiency to being a “sweetly broken” child of God.  But mostly, it’s a story about how God can take broken pieces and make something beautiful. 
            And my story is not too different from so many other people’s stories.  We all have pasts full of pain and heartache and longing.  We all have fears and doubts and insecurities.  And whether we acknowledge it or not, these things affect our relationships – with ourselves, with others, and with God.  And I hope that by honestly sharing my story, you may find something of yourself in it, something that resonates with you and that helps bring you some encouragement or insight or healing.    
            But instead of just writing my story, I went a step further and wrote Through the Furnace:  Your “Sweetly Broken” Journey.  I took the lessons and insights that I gained during my “time in the furnace” and I put them into a workbook-style devotional guide to (hopefully) help you work through issues from your past and any hindrances in your relationship with God right now. 
            As a licensed counselor, I love helping others gain insights into their lives and overcome their hurts, scars, and fears.  I believe that my role as a counselor is not to tell people what to believe, but to gently encourage them and to walk beside them as they explore their lives and sort out truth from falsehood.  I believe that most of us just need some gentle guidance and some fresh perspective in order to overcome the things that weigh us down and to find the truth that is there.  With God’s help, of course. 
            And that is what I hope Through the Furnace does – that it helps you explore your own life and fears, with God’s help.  So that you can find God’s Healing and Truth and Love and have a more authentic, fulfilling relationship with Him.  Nothing would fill my heart more than to know that someone was helped by something they found in these books.  [Actually, what would fill my heart the most is to know “that my children are walking in the truth.” (3 John verse 4)  But this is right up there with that.]   
            And just to let you know, both books can be done with other people, like a book club.  I provided some questions for each chapter of Child of Mine that you could print up and use as discussion questions.  They are in the "Child of Mine Fellowship Questions" post at the end of the Child of Mine book.  I recommend reading the chapter and answering the questions on your own first, and then getting together with your partner or group to discuss your answers over some wonderful snacks.  Good food and good fellowship!  Can't beat that!  

            Now, I’m going to say this up front so you know what you’re getting yourself into:  I am a rock solid, Bible-believing Christian.  So when I say “God,” I am not talking about some mystical, New Age version of God.  A god that is whatever or whoever we want it to be.  I do not believe that all roads lead to Heaven.  I do not believe that we can make up our own rules. 
            When I say “God,” I am talking about the God of the Bible.  I am talking about God the Father.  And the Holy Spirit.  And my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ . . . who provides us with the only way to Heaven.  And in order to have the most abundant and rewarding life here on earth and in eternity, we need to seriously consider our relationship with Him.  Because in the end, only what we do for Him and His kingdom will last.  It is my sincere hope and prayer that this blog will help you on your journey to the most enriching, complete relationship with Him possible.  Well, this side of eternity, at least.
Take care and God bless you!  And to God be all the glory!!!  Your friend in Christ,
Heather K

250 Questions to Ask God

            A thought hit me last night as I went to bed.  A new idea.  Something I thought was a fun, exciting idea.  I would love to write a list of questions that we can ask God, one a day.  Questions that we might not normally think to ask Him.    
            I am passionate about learning to walk and talk with God, not just talking at Him.  And in the John Eldredge books I have been reading, he talks about going off into the wilderness and spending personal time asking God a question.  And then waiting for the answer.  I love that idea, especially since I believe that it is so important to practice hearing God and to deliberately invite Him into our days and our thoughts.  But it is so easy to let a day slip by just being busy with life. 
            And so I thought it would be great if there was a book of questions that would help us do that.  Now, there probably is a list like this out there somewhere, but I haven’t seen it.  And so I figured, I’ll make my own.  I’ll compile questions that I think are important to ask God, for the sake of learning to listen, to obey, for abiding in Him, and for walking with the Spirit more throughout every day.   
            I really, really want to learn and to help others learn to listen to Him more.  It is so easy to get stuck in a one-way relationship with Him where all we do is thank Him or complain or place our orders with Him about what we want.  But there is so much more to a real relationship with Him.  We can be living daily in closer communion with Him if we remember that He whispers to us, that He is willing to speak to us and to guide us and to lead us into a deeper, more dependent relationship with Him.  But we have to work at it.  He doesn’t just force His messages on us; He whispers and He waits.  He looks for those whose hearts are willing to respond to Him and to heed His whispers. 
            And so, I am making this list for myself, but I want to put it out there for others who might like it, too.  I’m actually making it part of my new “challenging myself” project for the next phase of my life.  I am going to pray and ask God which question He would like me to tackle for that day.  And then, I will ask Him that question in prayer and as I go about my day – doing dishes and laundry and talking with Him – I will try to listen for His answer.  I’m going to journal what He says, do my best to obey as needed, and simply learn to walk with the Spirit each day.  And if I notice any resistance to any question, I will try to spend time with God figuring out why.  There is so much to learn as we go about our spiritual lives, if we just take the time and make the effort to listen to our Heavenly Father.
            Personally, I think that there are at least five core questions that are important to ask regularly, every day if possible (not that I always do it, but I wish I could remember to.  I’m just not that organized yet.):

1.  Is there any Bible passage You want me to read today?
2.  What do You want me to do today? 
3.  What do You want to say to me today?  I’m listening.
4.  What do You want me to pray about today?
5.  Is there any sin or wall I need to address today?

            If we skipped all of the other questions in this list, and simply asked these same ones every day (and listened for and responded to the answer), I believe that we would experience a more vibrant, Spirit-filled life.  But I would also like to challenge myself with the other questions in this list, questions that I wouldn’t normally think to ask.  Some are for fun, some are for healing, and some are really challenging.  But all are to help us deepen our walks with God and learn to listen to the Spirit.  And so, here they are, if you are interested. 
            Tackle them as the Spirit leads, and wait on Him until the answer becomes clear.  (And just know that He doesn’t speak just because we tell Him to.  There may be a lot of questions where He doesn’t answer us, but these can be used to help us converse with God and explore our own hearts.)  Never rush off with the first thing that pops in your head unless you are sure it is from Him and it does not contradict Scripture in any way.  If we rush with whatever answers we make up in our own heads or we accept only the answers that we want to hear, then we will miss out on the Truth that will lead us to greater growth, that will set us free, and that will have the greatest impact possible for God’s kingdom.  (And if you want, make this a project to do alongside a friend.  It is always an extra blessing to have a godly friend to walk with.  But if you do not have this kind of friend, know that God walks with you.  And that’s all that matters, because this is all about our relationship with Him anyway.) 
            And just know that whatever God reveals is meant for your own good and His glory.  And He will help you do whatever He asks of you.  But do not go into this lightly, because when He does reveal something, we are responsible to obey.  And be aware that you will face opposition from the enemy, because he hates God’s truth and he’d love nothing more than to keep us from whole-heartedly pursuing God and from finding comfort and healing in Him.  Keep your spiritual armor on!
            Some questions are variations of others because the truth doesn’t usually come all out in one sitting.  So it’s worth asking again at a different time or from a different angle.  (And some are from Through the Furnace.)  And remember that these are meant to be prayed, to be asked of God.  Do not just write down whatever comes from your own mind.  Wait for His answer. 
            But when things do come up in your thoughts or feelings, talk to God about them.  Our responses to these questions and the things that they might spark in us can become great conversations with God that open the door for Truth, healing, inspiration, and insight.  So be thoughtful about these questions and always talk to God honestly about whatever they spark in you. 
            I’m just starting with these questions myself, sometimes not getting any answer at all.  But I want to share about one answer I did get.  One morning, I was sitting there in prayer and looking at this list of questions to see which I should ask.  And I found this one, “Do You have a new name for me?”  That question seems so huge to me, so exciting to think that maybe God would have a meaningful name picked out for me that He might share with me.  And even though that seems like a “save the best for last” kind of question, I decided to ask it.
            And so I prayed, “Lord, do You have a new name that You want to give . . .”  And even before I could finish the sentence, a name popped into my head.  It didn’t just vaguely float to the surface; it POPPED.  I have to admit, I was rather shocked.  I know God answers prayer and I am learning to discern His voice over my own thoughts; but I was surprised that it happened so quickly.  And funny enough, I was a little disappointed.  I didn’t expect it to be over so soon.  I thought that I would sit quietly with that question in prayer for a few minutes, the anticipation building, until God revealed the name to me.  Like opening a present on Christmas morning.  But – boom – there it was.
            I knew that this name wasn’t from my own thoughts, because I hadn’t even been thinking about it.  I wasn’t even ready for it.  I hadn’t even finished my prayer.  And so considering all of that, I knew that this was the name God wanted to give me.  And it just so happened to be the name of a plant that I have always loved.  But I never would have pictured myself with that as a name.  It is much too frilly and fluffy, and frankly, ditzy for me.  It didn’t fit.  It wasn’t “me.”  While I loved this plant, it was a little bit of a disappointment and a wonder that this was how He saw me. 
            And so I began trying to think about why God might have picked that name.  I began to explore the qualities and characteristics of that plant.  Maybe this name means that I am resilient like this plant?  Maybe God thinks I can bounce back easily?  Maybe it’s because it stands straight and tall?  On and on I went, thinking of how this name might fit me. 
            When I couldn’t come to any satisfactory explanation, I decided to pray about it.  “Lord, why did You give me this name?  What does it mean?”  And when I didn’t get an answer, I prayed it again.  While the name came to me very quickly, the explanation did not.  I ended up praying this prayer for about two weeks before God answered it.
            One morning, I was sitting in the car waiting to pick someone up when this prayer popped into my head again.  I had just about given up on the idea that God would give me special insight into this name, but I decided to pray again. 
            “Lord, I know that this plant is really nothing special.  It’s actually more like a glorified weed.  But, I don’t know why, it just means so much to me anyway.  I just delight in it so much and it brings me so much joy.” 
            And that’s when the answer hit me.  It wasn’t a voice or anything, but the clear sense that God was speaking this message to my heart and mind:
            “Exactly!  The way you feel about this plant is how I feel about you.  You bring me so much joy and I delight in you so much.  You are My fill in plant name here!”  (I’m just saying “plant” here because I feel like the name is really just between me and God.  It means too much to me to share it with others.)
            Since then, I have often thought fondly of this plant.  And every time I see one or a picture of one, I smile.  Because I am reminded of God’s love for me and that I mean something to Him, even if I usually feel like I’m “nothing special, just a weed, really.”  So even if God never answers another of these questions for me, this one answer has so enriched my days and my life.  So go ahead.  Ask a question or two.  Wait for God to answer.  And see how it enriches your life.  Take care and God bless!  And enjoy the journey!

250 Questions to Ask God: 
1.  How do I view myself really?  And how do You view me?  (These are some of the biggest ones you could possibly ask.  So take time for each one.) 

2.  How do I really view You?  And how should I view You?  (Same goes for this one.)

3.  In what ways am I afraid to be “the real me”?  Why? 

4.  What would change if I lived more honestly with myself, others, and You? 

5.  Are there any “lies” or self-defeating beliefs that I have adopted along the way?  (Like “I’m such a loser,” “This kind of stuff always happens to me,” “I don’t deserve . . .,” “God doesn’t care,” “No one is here for me,” and other things like that.) 
            (Follow up questions:  How have these thoughts affected my life?  And how do I perpetuate them, making them more “true” and strongly embedded?)

6.  What or who am I blaming for the problems in my life?  How am I actually responsible? 

7.  At this time, is there any wrong that I need to make right because of my dishonesty with myself, others, or You? 

8.  Is there anything that I need to confess or admit to You right now?  (Sins, fears, doubts, judgments, etc.)  

9.  Can I accept forgiveness?  If not, what blocks me from doing that? 

10.  Can I accept love?  If not, why?

11.  Can I love?  If not, why?

12.  Do I have any idols in my life?  Anything that has taken my focus off of You or that I pursue more than You? 

13.  Is there anything in my home that is displeasing to You and that I should get rid of?

14.  Is there any habit of mine or something in my life that You want me to give up?

15.  Is there any cross that I am failing to bear with grace?

16.  What do I need to change to be more glorifying to You and to live a more holy life? 

17.  Is there anyone You want me to contact or reach out to for any reason?

18.  Is there anyone I need to fully forgive?

19.  Is there anyone I need to seek forgiveness from?

20.  How has my past shaped me, for good or bad?  What do You say about it?

21.  Is there any issue from the past that I need to go back to, with You?  (Follow up with “What do You want me to do with it?”)

22.  Is there anything that I am trying to hide from You?  What do I fear will happen if I admitted the truth?  And what do You have to say about it? 

23.  Do I have any expectations of myself that are not fair and reasonable?  What is Your response to them? 

24.  Do I have any expectations of others that are not fair and reasonable?  What is Your response to them?

25.  Do I have any expectations of You that are not fair and reasonable?  What is Your response to them?

26.  What kind of person do You want me to be?  Is there anything else I can do to become that person? 

27.  How do You define humility?  How can I better live it? 

28.  What do You love about me?  (If there is resistance to even wanting to ask this question, then ask God, “Why is it hard to let myself be loved?”)

29.  Lord, can You give me a word picture for how You see me?

30.  What animal/insect/living thing do I most remind You of?  Why?

31.  What movie character/person do I most remind You of?  Why? 

32.  Do You have a “new name” You want to give me?  What does it mean for me?

33.  Have I ever quenched the Spirit along the way or refused to obey in something?  If so, what?  And is there anything I can do about it now?

34.  Are there any priorities/focuses that I need to change to be more God-glorifying or to get on the path that You are on?

35.  What would others say about my relationship with You if they looked at my life?
36.  Is there anything You have been wanting to say to me? 

37.  How do I normally face or handle trials that come up?  How do You want me to face them? 

38.  Psalm 37:7 says, “Be still before the Lord and wait patiently for him. . .”  What gets in the way of me being able to “be still” and wait on You? 

39.  How well do I obey?  And how do You want me to change in this area?

40.  How well do I listen to You and for You?  And how do I need to change? 

41.  Do I really believe that You can be trusted, that You are good, and that You love me?  What do You want me to know about these things?  

42.  Is there anything that the Bible says about You that I can’t seem to grasp or understand?  What do You want to tell me about it? 

43.  Can I sense Your leading and conviction?  If not, why? 

44.  Am I failing to obey in any area right now?  What do You want me to do about it? 

45.  Am I doing any wrong “little things” that I am trying to get away with?  Or any wrong “big things” that I am rationalizing?

46.  What kinds of situations do I disobey most in?  And how do I typically rationalize my disobedience? 
47.  Are there any “little things” that I believe You want me to do, but that I am failing to do?  Any big things?  

48.  Am I more concerned with my service to You than I am with my relationship with You?  

49.  Where does “bringing You glory” and “drawing others to Christ” come in on my list of priorities?  Is there anything I should do differently?     

50.  Is there any area of my life that You want to challenge me about?  What do You want me to do about it?

51.  Is there anything that I need to ask Your guidance about?  What do You want to say about it?

52.  Do You have anything to say to me concerning my view of or use of the Bible? 

53.  What fears or doubts do I have about prayer?  What do You want to say to that?   

54.  Do I edit my prayers for any reason?  To sound holier?  To hide doubts?  To cover up for sin? 

55.  Am I transparent with You?  If not, what am I afraid of?

56.  When it comes to prayer, what do I need to do more of? 

57.    When it comes to prayer, what do I need to do less of?

58.  In what ways do I steal Your glory? 

59.  What needs to change for me to be able to praise You regardless of my circumstances? 

60.  How has my past shaped how I relate to You?  What do You want to say to that?

61.  When I was younger, how did I feel/think about myself?  How does that affect me still today?  And what are Your thoughts about it? 

62.  What are my relationships like with my mother, father, or care-givers?  Do You want to say anything about them?

63.  What are my current relationships with others like?  Do You want to say anything about those?

64.  When it comes to relationships, what am I looking for or aching for?  What do You want to tell me about that? 

65.  What fears and doubts do I have when it comes to relationships?  How does this affect me?

66.  How do I currently think/feel about myself?  And what do You think about me? 

67.  What is my relationship with You like right now?  How do You want it to be different? 

68.  What am I pursuing or relying on besides You? 

69.  What are the unhealthy things – my shortcomings - that need to change? 

70.  Do I put other people over You in any way? 

71.  What kind of person do You want me to be and how can I start to be that person?   

72.  What are some qualities that I am lacking or need more of? 

73.  If I had to describe my deep-down view of You in one phrase it would be ________.  How does this affect me and my relationship with You?

74.  What are my fears and doubts about You?  And what do You want to say to those?

75.  Deep down, how do I think You see me?  How do You really see me? 

76.  When, in my past, did I ever shut the door of my heart to love?  Do You have any words of healing for that wound?

77.  Is there anything I am angry or disappointed with You about or any reason I might be afraid of You?  Is there anything You want to say about it? 

78.  Deep down:  Do I feel like I have to earn Your love/blessings?  Like You expect too much out of me?  Like You’re unfair?  Like You don’t really want to be close to me or care about me?  What do You say about this? 

79.  Do You have anything You want to say to me regarding my view of the supernatural/spirit world? 

80.  Do You have anything You want to say to me regarding my view of eternity? 

81.  Do I live with enough/too much/too little awareness of the spirit world?  Of eternity? 

82.  The Bible says that there is a spiritual battle going on all around us, all the time.  The Bible also says that we need to be outfitted with spiritual armor.  Lord, how am I doing in each of those?  (Read Ephesians 6:10-18) 

83.  What doubts, fears, misconceptions, sins, etc., do You want me to lay down at Your feet right now?

84.  Have I rebelled or disobeyed anything that You have asked me to do?  What should I do about it?

85.  Are there any areas where I am resisting You or hiding from You? 

86.  Am I teachable, Lord?  Do I have a soft heart?

87.  Am I chasing after anything, when I should be chasing after a real relationship with You: recognition, money, security, praise, a particular answer, etc.?  Once again, what are my heart idols?

88.  Am I overly focused on anything right now: finances, house, impressing others, a relationship, depression, pleasure, spiritual experiences, etc.?  How do You want me to shift that focus? 

89.  In what ways am I seeking earthly pleasures over Heaven’s treasures? 

90.  In what ways am I disgracing You or engaging in immoral or un-godly behavior?

91.  Am I lazy in my spiritual disciplines?  (Or have they become items on a To Do list instead of using them to draw nearer to You or get to know You better?)  Am I comfortably living my nice, little life when I should be passionately pursuing You?  How do You want me to change this? 

92.  Is there any part of my heart/life/past that I have not opened up to You? 

93.  What is my attitude towards other people right now?  Anger, resentment, bitterness, jealousy, unloving, disrespectful, gossipy, etc.?  What do You want me to change? 

94.  What does it mean to “abide in You” and how can I do that?

95.  What does it mean to “walk in the Spirit” and how can I do that?

96.  What is the next step You want me to take in my life (even if it’s just to keep on doing what I am doing)?

97.  What do I have a hard time accepting/believing about You?

98.  What do I have a hard time accepting/believing about myself?

99.  What is one thing I should do differently?

100.  Are there any blessings You want me to have that I am denying myself? 

101.  Is there anything I haven’t forgiven myself for?  What do You say to that?

102.  What godly trait do I need to pursue/develop more?

103.  Is there anything You want me to do differently in my relationships with others? 

104.  What am I doing that’s not good for me right now?  What should I do instead?  (And what am I doing that is good for me, and that I should keep doing?)

105.  Since You know what’s best for me, what do I need most right now?

106.  In what area(s) am I not trusting You right now?

107.  Is there any area You are trying to tell me “no” in? 

108.  Is there any area You are trying to tell me “yes” in?

109.  Is there any area You are trying to tell me “stop” or “wait” in?

110.  Do I watch, listen to, or read anything that is not glorifying to You?

111.  In what area do I need to be more content?

112.  How can I best share my faith with others or be a witness for You?  (Is there anyone in particular You want me to share my faith with?  How?)

113.  Knowing that my body is a gift from You that You want me to take care of, is there anything You want me to do differently for my health? 

114.  When do I feel the closest to You?  And how can I add more of that to my day? 

115.  What are a few words that describe my relationship with You?  What are the words that You want to describe our relationship?

116.  Do I run ahead of Your guidance or fail to seek Your guidance in any area? 

117.  Do I have expectations of how You answer prayer or guide that might be preventing me from seeing how You are actually answering or guiding? 

118.  Is there a hobby I should pursue or something that I can add to my life to enrich it?

119.  Do I have any unmet “needs” or longings?  Is there anything I can do about them or do I simply need to learn to be more content with them? 

120.  Have I let the enemy in through anything?  What do You want me to do about it?

121.  Am I doing anything that doesn’t come from faith?  (Romans 14:23:  “. . . everything that does not come from faith is sin.”)  What should I do about it? 

122.  Am I failing to do some good thing that I know I should do?  (James 4:17:  “Anyone, then, who knows the good he ought to do and doesn’t do it, sins.”)  What should I do? 

123.  Is there anything hindering my prayers right now?  What should I do about it?

124.  Is there anything I’m doing that is grieving the Spirit or that hinders me from sensing Him?  What should I do about it?

125.  Is there anyone I should be praying for?  What do You want me to pray? 

126.  Do You have a “key word” that You want me to apply to the next phase of my life?

127.  Do You have a Bible verse that You want me to meditate on and apply to my life?

128.  Is there a song that You want me to meditate on and apply to my life?

129.  Is there a social/moral issue that I should engage in or take a stand on?

130.  What can I do to be more of a blessing to society/others? 

131.  What can I do to be more of a blessing to God’s kingdom?

132.  In what ways do I need to stop trying to live in my own wisdom, power, or self-sufficiency and to submit to You?

133.  Is there any area that I am afraid to try in?  What do You want me to do about it? 

134.  If 1 is total self-sufficiency and 100 is total reliance on You/humility, where am I on the scale?  How can I move closer to humility and being more reliant on You? 

135.  In what ways are You pleased with me?

136.  In what ways are You not pleased with me?  What do You want me to do instead? 

137.  Is there an old wound where I need Your healing?  Please go back to that wound with me and heal it, Lord.

138.  What goal am I aiming for that I shouldn’t be?  And what goal am I not aiming for that I should be?

139.  Is there anything that I should be giving more thought to?  Less thought to?  What do You say about these? 

140.  Is there any doctrinal/moral issue that I need to think about more or that I need to reconsider my position on?  What is Your opinion about it? 

141.  Am I living in an awareness of Your holiness?  What in my life might show that I am not?  (Disobedience, not seeking after You, no sense of conviction, etc.)

142.  Am I living in an awareness of Your love?  What do I still need to learn about Your love?

143.  Is there any prayer that I know I should pray but that I am hesitating to do so?  Why?  (Prayers such as:  “Lord, help me forgive so-and-so . . . May Your Will be done . . . Forgive me for . . . Make me an instrument . . . Grant me wisdom about . . . Give me strength to . . . How am I responsible . . . Open my eyes to the needs of others . . . etc.”)  Lord, help me to pray it!
144.  What are some unanswered questions that I am currently struggling with?  Lord, help me see it through Your eyes. 

145.  Is there a way that You want me to display more love or is there someone You want me to love more?  (Lord, help me love more!)

146.  Is there an area of my life or heart that needs to be filled with joy?  What advice can You give me to make that possible?  (Lord, replace my discontent with Your joy!)

147.  Where in my life or heart do I need more peace?  How can I find or add it?  (Lord, I give You my unrest now and ask You to fill that area with Your peace.)

148.  Where in my heart or life do I need to be more patient?  How can I do this?  (Lord, slow me down and help me to rest in Your goodness and timing.)

149.  Is there someone I need to reach out to in kindness?  How?

150.  How can I apply “goodness” to my life more?

151.  Where am I lacking faithfulness?  What do You want me to do about it?

152.  In what way do I need to be more gentle?

153.  In what area(s) do I need to exercise self-control more?  How?

154.  What does the “fear of the Lord” mean for me and my life?

155.  Is there anything I am avoiding that You want me to do?

156.  What do I need more of in my life?

157.  What do I need less of in my life?

158.  Am I harboring any bitterness?  What do You want me to do about it?

159.  Am I angry about anything right now?  What do You want me to do about that?

160.  Am I upset about anything?  What so You say about it? 

161.  Am I confused about anything?  What is Your Truth about it?

162.  Is there anything I am hurt about or heartbroken over?  What do You say about it?

163.  Is there anything I am overly concerned about?  What do You want me to do about it?

164.  Is there anything I am afraid of?  What do You say about that?

165.  What blessings am I forgetting to be thankful for? 

166.   What am I overly proud about that I need to give You the glory for? 

167.  What are some of the greatest passions/talents that You have given me and how can I use them for Your glory and Your kingdom?

168.  What else am I serving that is not You?  What other “gods” do I have? 

169.  Do I sabotage relationships with others in any way?

170.  Do I sabotage my relationship with myself in any way?

171.  Do I sabotage my relationship with You in any way?

172.  What do I most complain about and how does this affect my life and heart?

173.  Is there any disappointment in my life that was actually a blessing in disguise?

174.  Is there a time in past when I didn’t think You were with me . . . but You really were?

175.  Is there anything You’ve been trying to show me or tell me that I haven’t been able to hear yet? 

176.  Is there an area of my life where I need to live with more integrity?  How can I do that? 

177.  How can I be more gracious? 

178.  In what area do I need to walk more righteously?

179.  Do I need to change how I treat others, in order to treat them the way You want me to?

180.  Who do I need to begin seeing through Your eyes?  Is there anything You want me to do for this person?

181.  In what areas or ways am I “luke-warm”?  What do You want me to do about it?

182.  Who do I most resemble from the Bible?  Why?

183.  Who from the Bible do You want me to imitate more?  In what way?

184.  In what ways am I failing to acknowledge You?

185.  How can I live this verse more?  Matthew 6:33:  “But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.”  

186.  How can I live this verse more?  1 Thessalonians 5:16-18:  “Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.”

187.  How can I live this verse more?  Romans 12:1-2: “Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God - this is your spiritual act of worship.  Do not conform any longer to the pattern of the world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.  Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is - his good, pleasing and perfect will.”

188.  What part of my life or heart needs to be sanctified, set apart for You?  What should I do with that part?  

189.  Is there anything that I am holding onto too tightly that I need to release to You?

190.  Psalm 23: 3:  “. . . He guides me in paths of righteousness for his name’s sake.”  (Emphasis is mine.)  How do You want me to apply this verse to my life?

191.  When it comes to the things I pray for, do I have any wrong or selfish motives? 

192.  James 5:16: “The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective.”  How can my prayers become more powerful and effective? 

193.  Is there any part of the Lord’s Prayer that You want me to meditate on?  What do You want me to know? 
            [Our Father in Heaven, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come, your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.  Give us today our daily bread.  Forgive us our debts (trespasses), as we also have forgiven our debtors (those who trespass against us).  And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one.  (And something we often add . . . For yours is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, now and forever.)  Amen]

194.  What can I do for You that would warm Your heart?      

195.  Do I need to apply this verse to my life in any way?  Mark 11:25: “And when you stand praying, if you hold anything against anyone, forgive him, so that your Father in heaven may forgive your sins.”

196.  Do I need to be reconciled to anyone?  (Matthew 5:23-24:  “Therefore, if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother has something against you, leave your gift there in front of the altar.  First go and be reconciled to your brother; then come and offer your gift.”)

197.  Proverbs 21:13:  “If a man shuts his ears to the cry of the poor, he too will cry out and not be answered.”  Is there any way that You want me to be more attentive to the needy?

198.  Do You have anything to tell me about these verses?  1 John 3:21-23:  “Dear friends, if our hearts do not condemn us, we have confidence before God and receive from Him anything we ask, because we obey his commands and do what pleases him.  And this is his command: to believe in the name of his Son, Jesus Christ, and to love one another as he commanded us.” 

199.  How can I live these verses more?  “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. . . . Love your neighbor as yourself.”  (Matthew 22:37, 39)

200.  Read Malachi 3:6-12.  How can I apply this passage to my life? 

201.  “I am the vine; you are the branches.  If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.”  (John 15:5)  How can I “remain in You” the way You want me to? 

202.  “ . . . whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.”  (1 Corinthians 10:31)  Do I?  Or is there something that I am doing for my own glory?

203.  “Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.”  (Psalm 46:10)  In what area or way do You want me to “be still”?

204.  What do You want to tell me about this passage?  “Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves.  Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others.”  (Philippians 2:3-4)

205.  Ephesians 4:29:  “Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.”  What do You want to tell me about this?

206.  “He called a little child and had him stand among them.  And he said:  ‘I tell you the truth, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.  Therefore, whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.’” (Matthew 18:2-4).  What do I need to know about this passage?

207.  Deuteronomy 4:29:  “But if from there you seek the Lord your God, you will find him if you look for him with all your heart and with all your soul.”  Is there anything You want to share with me about this? 

208.  Like rainbows reminding us of God’s promise, what else should remind me of You whenever I come across it? 

209.     Psalm 51:17:  “The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not despise.”  Is there any part of me that needs to be “broken”?   

210.  Lord, speak to me about this passage:  “Love is patient, love is kind.  It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud.  It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.  Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth.  It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.  Love never fails.”  (1 Cor. 13:4-8)

211.  Proverbs 12:22:  “The Lord detests lying lips, but he delights in men who are truthful.”  Speak to me about this verse and my life. 

212.  Matthew 5:8:  “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God.”  Is my heart pure?  How can I get a more pure heart?

213.  Psalm 139:23-24:  “Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts.  See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.” 

214.  Colossians 3:23:  “Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men.”  In what area do I need to apply my whole heart, for Your glory?

215.  Speak to me about these verses and how I can apply them to my life more.  (1 Peter 3:10-12)  “For, ‘Whoever would love life and see good days must keep his tongue from evil and his lips from deceitful speech.  He must turn from evil and do good; he must seek peace and pursue it.  For the eyes of the Lord are on the righteous and his ears are attentive to their prayer, but the face of the Lord is against those who do evil.’” 

216.  Luke 6:28:  “bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you.”  Who do You want me to bless and pray for?

217.  Lord, help me see how this relates to my life: “Most discontentment comes from feeling like God owes us something that He isn’t giving us.  When in reality, we owe Him everything that we already have.”

218.  Matthew 7:7-8 says “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you.  For everyone who asks receives; he who seeks finds; and to him who knocks, the door will be opened.”  Is there any asking, seeking, or knocking that I need to do?

219.  Micah 6:8:  “He has showed you, O man, what is good.  And what does the Lord require of you?  To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.”  How can I apply this verse to my life?

220.  Luke 16:10:  “Whoever can be trusted with very little can also be trusted with much, . . .”  Is there any “little” thing that I need to be more trustworthy/faithful about?

221.  What job or task do I need to focus on right now the most?

222.  How can I better let my light for You shine?

223.  Do You have a word or image You want to share with me?  What does it mean?

224.  What do I need to learn to be content with?

225.  What can I do to enjoy my life more, for the gift that it is?

226.  How do I best worship You? 

227.  Is there a gift or blessing that You want me to just accept?  To pass on to others?

228.  What do I need to know or understand more about You?

229.  How can I be more kind to myself?

230.  Is there something about me that I see as a negative thing but that You see as a positive thing?

231.  Is there something that I need to take more responsibility for?

232.  Is that something that I need to stop taking responsibility for?

233.   What am I too hard on myself about?  And what do You want to tell me about it?

234.  What about me makes You smile?

235.  What about me makes You sad?  What should I do about it?

236.  What about myself do I need to be more accepting of?

237.  Is there anything that I need to finally let go of or get past?  Lord, I give it to You now!

238.  Is there something that You want me to do with my life?

239.  1 John 3:16: “This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us.  And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers.”  How am I living this verse and how can I live this verse more?

240.  Who/what do I need to put in Your hands right now?

241.  Is there anything coming between me and You right now?

242.  How can I be a better friend to others?  Anyone in particular?

243.  In what area do I need to be less concerned with what others think?

244.  Lord, open my eyes to a blessings/gift You gave me this past week and to a time when You used me as a blessing to others.

245.  What do You most want from me right now? 

246.  What do You most want for me right now?

247.  What word or phrase best describes my future, my life’s purpose? 

248.  What question do You want me to ask You?

249.  What question do You want to ask me?

250.  In what way(s) do I need to become more like Jesus?