Extra Strength: Pointed Persistent Prayers Prevail {Sheryll}

We leave the church building inspired and filled with Truth and encouragement each Sunday … and somewhere along the course of the week, often we find ourselves in need of a little bit of something to help us through.

Welcome to Extra Strength: a mid-week pick-you-up for the soul. Be sure to scroll all the way to the bottom for extra encouragement and challenge. 

Extra Strength

Sit, Walk, Stand: Prayer That Changes Things {Sunday, July 26, 2015}

By Sheryll Belonga

Pointed Persistent Prayers Prevail

“God please let me get a dog.”

“God please let me get a dog.”

“God please let me get a dog.”

“God please let me get a dog.”

Ugh! If you think you are ready to stop reading that imagine how my husband and I felt years ago hearing it over and over.  Every night, for at least a year, our oldest son would pray this prayer. The kid really wanted a dog but we were just not ready.

When Pastor Joe mentioned the parable that God told of the persistently praying woman I immediately thought of my son’s prayer. It also made me relate to the judge in the story. Here are the key verses that I can relate totally to.

A widow of that city came to him repeatedly, saying, ‘Give me justice in this dispute with my enemy.’ The judge ignored her for a while, but finally he said to himself, ‘I don’t fear God or care about people, but this woman is driving me crazy. I’m going to see that she gets justice, because she is wearing me out with her constant requests!’

“God please let me get a dog.”

“God please let me get a dog.”

“God please let me get a dog.”

“God please let me get a dog.”

I know. Not that again. That was how I felt too but then something else happened.  Our hearts began to soften and soon I joined my son in that prayer.  My prayer was not let us get a dog but God prepare us for a dog and gives us the financial means needed to properly care for him.

We wanted him to have a dog but we knew that it needed to be at the right time.  We told our son this but that didn’t stop him from praying every night.  He never gave up.

Pastor Joe also mentioned how he doesn’t go to God in the little things but seeks Him with the things he feels he can’t handle.  I am the same way.  If I am truly honest though, if we all are, we can’t handle anything without Him.  I agree with Pastor Joe that it is in those seemingly easy times that I feel I may need Him the most.

It is in the day-to-day living and being a wife and mom that I need Him to help me be at my best and give my best.  My husband is happy not because of what I do but because I seek God before I do it.  When I don’t seek God first it never works out well.  It is in those times that I pray, “God please let my husband be patient.” “God please let my husband be patient.”

Pastor Joe gave us four ways we are to pray:

  1. Pray in the spirit. (see Ephesians 6:18) – He tells us that the more specific and pointed our prayers the more seriously God takes our concern.
  1. Pray always. – We are to live day to day with a God consciousness. We are to know that even the little things are important enough to pray about. (see Joshua 9:14)
  1. Pray with persistence.  (see Jurrell Jr, just kidding) – We are to pray when we feel like it, when we don’t and until we feel like it. Pastor Joe told us that God uses persistent prayers to change things. We are to always pray and never give up. (see Luke 18)
  1. Pray for all believers everywhere. (see 1st Timothy 2:1)

Pray. Pray. Pray. Pray.

What have you got to lose? You may also drive someone crazy in the process. Either way it’s a win.

 

Sheryll Belonga is wife to Jurrell and homeschooling mom to their three great boys. Her desire is to glorify God in all she says and does in spite of life’s daily happenings.

 

 

 

Be Challenged:

  • Is there something big that you took to God once and just left it there? You should keep taking it to Him until He moves.
  • Are there any small everyday things that you keep trying to handle on your own because you feel it doesn’t require prayer?  You should bring that to Him as well. If we would all come to Him like a child we would realize there is nothing to small or too big that we can’t take to Him.

Extra Strength: DON’T BELIEVE THE LIES {Gracie}

We leave the church building inspired and filled with Truth and encouragement each Sunday … and somewhere along the course of the week, often we find ourselves in need of a little bit of something to help us through.

Welcome to Extra Strength: a mid-week pick-you-up for the soul. Be sure to scroll all the way to the bottom for extra encouragement and challenge. 

Extra Strength

Sit, Walk, Stand: Spiritual Warfare  101 {Sunday, July 19, 2015}

By Gracie Adamek

In church on Sunday, Pastor Joe spoke about a topic I’m sure we’d all rather ignore. He spoke about Satan. The evil one. But it wasn’t about that little red guy with a pointy beard and a pitchfork. It was about the realness of evil in the world. The kind of evil that destroys lives, families, homes.

You can see the darkness all around. And I was reminded of this today as I sat in a funeral service for my best friend’s uncle. He was an alcoholic who took his own life in a hotel room. The evil crept in, whispered lies, and convinced him to do the unthinkable.

That’s the thing about Satan. He doesn’t come at you, loud and proud. He doesn’t shake your hand and say “Hi, I’m here to make your life unravel.” No. He’s sneaky. He slides in when you’re not looking and subtly chips away at you.

But here’s the thing about Jesus: He is so much bigger than Satan. Luke 19:10 is ringing in my ears as I type. “For the Son of Man came to seek and save the lost.” No matter what, no one is too far gone. There is no grip so tight that God cannot get a hold of our hearts.

So as I sat in that funeral service today, I realized it was nothing like it should have been. It should have been absolutely dismal. But because God is God, there was hope beyond compare.

Yes, this man gave in to the lies, but he had been praying and accepted Jesus. We have confidence that he is with our Creator. And that is how The Light wins.

Gracie Adamek attends the College of Lake County and hopes to one day be a special education teacher. She likes to sing, act, knit, and write. She hopes you enjoy your time here, reading these blogs, and is very grateful for the opportunity to glorify God through her words.

 

 

Be challenged:

What lies are you believing that may be drawing you away from God’s light. Turn to Him and let Him turn those lies into truth.

Extra Strength: SUBMISSION {John}

We leave the church building inspired and filled with Truth and encouragement each Sunday … and somewhere along the course of the week, often we find ourselves in need of a little bit of something to help us through.

Welcome to Extra Strength: a mid-week pick-you-up for the soul. Be sure to scroll all the way to the bottom for extra encouragement and challenge. 

Extra Strength

Sit, Walk, Stand: Submission God’s Way {Sunday, July, 12, 2015}

by John Worth

Well this past Sunday morning two areas that take up much of my life flashed across the screens: marriage and parenting. I knew it would be a morning where I’d have to really pay attention.

As I reflect on Sunday’s message, a couple things stand out to me even several days later. The first is that Paul instructs wives to submit to their husband as the “head” or authority of the relationship. This is not new to me having spent my entire life in the church; however, I’ve been thinking of it in a different light this week. If my wife is submitting to me as the leader or authority in our family that means I alone am ultimately responsible for the outcome of our relationship and family.

Much like the general of an army I have to make the final call and must take responsibility for the outcome. The longer I internalize this the more I realize how extremely weighty this responsibility is. If we are to act in the same way Christ did and emulate the way He treats His bride, the Church, I quickly realize how far off the mark my efforts really have been. That time I secretly blamed my wife for a decision we made together or the time I chalked up my less than ideal behavior as just being stressed, even the time where I worked on my computer so I wouldn’t have to deal with the kids– all of those times I see how little I was taking the role of authority seriously and instead was trying to sneak to the back of the responsibility line.

That then brought up the second thing that hit me out of nowhere. If that imperfect authority title applies to me more often than I’d prefer to admit then I’d better be asking for God’s help in being like Jesus for my family and not looking down on others who might seem to have it less together than I do. The song we sang “Broken Vessels” by Hillsong Worship, reminded me how little I really have to offer my family apart from God’s grace in my own life. There were three people that came to mind when I was thinking of how God can take broken mothers and fathers and make them whole. These three have not been ideal mothers or fathers and to my knowledge are far from God, but they don’t deserve any less grace than I do. God can take any family and help us not only understand what submission truly means but to live it out as well.

Jesus made the ultimate submission of His will to God because of His love for the Church and we should strive for no less in our families. This week I will be continuing to look at the way I am submitting in my marriage, as a parent and as child in order to better follow the example of Jesus that Joe walked us through Sunday.

 John Worth is a lifelong attender of Immanuel and husband to Hyacynth. John’s two boys keep him and Hy on their toes most evenings. When he’s not nose deep in spreadsheets at work John enjoys helping others navigate the waters of life.

 

 

 

 

Be Challenged:

  • As you think about your role as a husband as it relates to submission, where do you feel that you are falling short? Ask God to point those areas out to you so that you can bring them before Him to be chipped away.

Extra Strength: TRUE AUTHENTICITY {Martha}

We leave the church building inspired and filled with Truth and encouragement each Sunday … and somewhere along the course of the week, often we find ourselves in need of a little bit of something to help us through.

Welcome to Extra Strength: a mid-week pick-you-up for the soul. Be sure to scroll all the way to the bottom for extra encouragement and challenge. 

Extra Strength

Sit, Walk, Stand: Reflections On A New Life {Sunday, July, 5, 2015}

by Martha Jackson

“I don’t really understand myself, for I want to do what is right, but I don’t do it. Instead, I do what I hate.” Romans 7:15

Paul wrote this and I’m so glad he did. As a sinful person, this is what I do. It doesn’t mean that I’m not in Christ but it does mean I have some growing up to do.

“Authentic” is the new buzzword these days in our culture. It is a must to live as authentically as possible. As I understand the culture’s definition of authenticity, anything you choose to be, is authentically who you are. By that definition I’m my most “authentic” self when I’m screaming at my kids for the fourth time to get into bed. I’m authentically angry. And I guess I’m free to be authentically angry and scream at my kids. I mean, hey, it’s a free country.

By Webster’s definition authentic means of undisputed origin; genuine or made or done in the traditional or original way, or in a way that faithfully resembles an original or based on facts; accurate or reliable. As I see it, every human who has ever walked the face of the planet has lived an authentic life.

“We have all sinned and fall short of the glory of God”.  Romans 3:23

The best news though, is that through Christ we can have freedom of self and freedom from self at the very same time. Because of Christ, I can be free to truly authentically be who he created me to be, and be free from the old me. There is hope for me and you to do what is right and not do what is wrong. I think the lie that I have bought into from the culture and the evil one is that I must be all one or the other in order to be authentically anything. The truth is that I am an undisputed, genuine, traditional, original sinner who hopefully more and more resembles the original Christ.

 

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Martha has been a wife for 17 years and is the mother of three children ages 10, 9 and 5.  When she’s not folding laundry, cooking meals, helping with homework, kissing boo-boos, grocery shopping, cleaning house and running errands; she loves to hold babies at Immanuel MOPS!

 

 

 

Extra Strength: Let Yesterday’s Worry Be Today’s Confidence In Christ (Anita)

We leave the church building inspired and filled with Truth and encouragement each Sunday … and somewhere along the course of the week, often we find ourselves in need of a little bit of something to help us through.

Welcome to Extra Strength: a mid-week pick-you-up for the soul. Be sure to scroll all the way to the bottom for extra encouragement and challenge. 

Extra Strength

Sit, Walk, Stand: The Mystery of the Church {Sunday, June 14, 2015}

by Anita Everly

I am a worrier.  I know, I shouldn’t be, but the truth is, I am.  I’ve come a long way, but that is often my default.

It wasn’t until a friend of mine was talking about a daunting project at work that I realized I needed to grow in the areas of surrender, trust, and peace.
Her entire office was highly pressured regarding the details of this project when a co-worker asked her, “Trish, why are you not stressed out by all of this?  How come you are so cool and calm about it all?”

Her answer?

“Honey, I used to worry myself to death about stuff like this, but not anymore.  I’ve given this whole project to God.  It’s not mine anymore and I can’t worry about it.  I just gotta do the work and let Him do the rest.”

She went on to say how it was such a great moment of sharing how Christ can change a life, not just for eternity, but in the mundane tasks of every day.  It was in that moment that I realized my worry was not proving that Christ was alive in me.

As we think about our influence for Christ in the world, I think we often have the most impact in how we react to the common issues in our lives.

As Pastor Joe pointed out, “Perspective makes all the difference.”  Not only for us, but for those around us!

People take notice of any out of the ordinary reactions and interactions, and when they do, we have the perfect opportunity to point to Christ’s transforming power in us.  That’s “the mystery to the world” that Pastor Joe was talking about.

Do you care about the salvation of that unsaved family member?  What about the friend who is just a delight to be around?  The sweet man at the grocery store?  The neighbor who has annoyed you more times than you can count?  The boss who is wretched and demanding?

Either way, we should all pray to care more and to share more of Christ to our corner of the world.  He didn’t put us in the places of life with the people He did on accident.  No matter what we do or where we are, we are to share the Good News and the grace of the Gospel to the world.

He’s told us to go (Matthew 28:19).  He’s told us He will equip us for the task (Matthew 4:29).

We can live with full humility in ourselves and our shortcomings, and full confidence in Jesus Christ and His power to save and transform lives through our willing hearts and surrendered hands.

Now, go on!  Get out there, Church!

Anita Everly is the wife of David and mom to their three sons.  She can be found watching the lives of her men unfold, creating a home, and encouraging other women in life and motherhood.  She is striving to live life on purpose because she is crazy in love with the One who is crazy in love with her.

 

 

 

Be Challenged

  • Is there something you have been wasting your energy worrying about that you need to release to God? If so, hand it over to Him this week.
  • Think about where God has placed you and around whom He has placed you. Ask Him how can you share His word more in those places and with those people this week as well as how you can extend His grace.