Sunday, February 15, 2015

How to Pray

When I used to teach Bible Study for middle and high school students a common question came up when it referred to prayer. Many didn't know how to pray or even what to pray about. What is prayer? Simply put prayer is us having a conversation with God. Prayer is us going to God and just pouring out everything to him, our hopes, our desires, our praises to Him, our thanksgiving and it’s also God speaking back to us. Even if it’s the smallest thing we can go to God and tell Him about it. In fact God desires for us to have communication with Him, He wants to have a relationship with us where we can know Him and become more like Him.

Just like a relationship with friends, families or a spouse. The more time we spend with someone the more we pick up some of their traits, that’s why it’s important to hang around the right flock of people. Have you ever heard the saying “birds of a feather flock together?”  Such is true with our relationship with God. If we are not continually going to God in prayer to be recharged and filled with His Grace, then life will start to get overwhelming. We will start to get irritated and then our flesh will start to take over because we are not walking by the Spirit anymore.

We’re like a battery and God is the source that we must go to to be recharged again and again. This life will come with trails, but no trail is hard enough for God. With every obstacle we face if we go to God we will be sure to be set on the right path.

Regarding prayer there are a few important things we must know about it from Scripture.
We know that God does not listen to sinners. He listens to the godly person who does his will. John 9:31

The LORD is far from the wicked, but he hears the prayer of the righteous. Proverbs 15:39

So according to these verses we must be believers in order for God to hear our prayers. That doesn't mean that a sinner who sincerely repents to become saved won’t be heard, but what this does mean is that in order for our prayers to hold any merit or power, we have to be living for God and in His will. We can’t be willfully living in sin and expect God to bless our mess, it doesn't work that way with God.

I will punish the world for its evil, the wicked for their sins. I will put an end to the arrogance of the haughty and will humble the pride of the ruthless. Isaiah 13:11

For if you live according to the flesh, you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the misdeeds of the body, you will live. Romans 8:13

Also when we pray to God it’s important for us to be honest to Him. Though we shouldn't always come to God complaining about everything we should also be able to go to Him with our concerns. God tells us to cast our burdens to Him (1 Peter 5:7).

I find when I’m overwhelmed after going to God I leave with a peace that surpasses all understanding, but it’s important to stay consistent with our prayer to God because we don’t want to be up and down with our emotions. We need to learn how to continually be in that perfect peace and that takes a daily relationship with God and also constant obedience to Him as well.

When we pray we need to also remember to give God thanks.
Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. Philippians 4:6

So when it comes to prayer we can see that God does have some requirements for certain promises in the Bible that He’s made.
We must be in His will, and we should regularly be praying. It’s also a good idea to set aside a quiet time daily with God, whether it be 30 minutes to an hour. Jesus was always in communication with the Father, and it was one of the reasons why Jesus was able to complete the mission he was assigned to do on the earth realm. It takes God for us to be effective in our lives. So go to Him when life seems overwhelming because God has the perfect road map to the destination He desires for us to take. You can do this!

God’s grace is limitless,

Shaniqua Snowden*

Saturday, January 17, 2015

A Crooked & Perverse Generation

When I first became a Christian I noticed how sinful I was in need of a savior to make me clean. I remember feeling very bad for my sins because I knew I was disappointing God. I literally felt like I would die if I continued to live an immoral lifestyle against God so I surrendered to Him to help me to become pure and Christ like. As I allowed God to cleanse me and make me new I began to feel free from bondage and I no longer wanted to do the things that were displeasing to God. Of course I had to remove things from my life and people from my life to stay on track, but the fact of the matter is that we can live a life worth pleasing to God and we can live righteous.

Do not present your members to sin as instruments for unrighteousness, but present yourselves to God as those who have been brought from death to life, and your members to God as instruments for righteousness.  Romans 6:13

See my post here on Is it Possible to Stop Sinning?

So once I got saved I was on fire for holiness and righteousness because God had put His Spirit within me. I quickly began to notice that the world around me hated God and most of all they hated living the way God required of them to live. Many people like to make excuses for their sins and say “God will forgive me, stop judging me, etc.” I’ve pretty much heard all of the excuses used for a person who claims to be a Christian to live in sin, and it doesn’t surprise me anymore.

Many people carry the title of a Christian, but the sad reality is, most aren't. It’s by faith that we are saved, but just like I mentioned in my previous post, faith without works is dead. We have to live out what we believe as Christians.

As I browse the internet each year I see the world getting more and more wicked. Things which were once an abomination are now being deemed as acceptable. But when I read the Bible it already foretold that things like this were bound to happen, but we as children of God must remember to always stand for righteousness even when everyone around us maybe standing for unrighteousness. If we are truly a child of God we will believe what God says versus what the world says is right.

That ye may be blameless and harmless, the sons of God, without rebuke, in the midst of a crooked and perverse nation, among whom ye shine as lights in the world; – Philippians 2:15

So you see as children of God we have a duty. A duty to be blameless and pure.
When you look up blameless in the dictionary that means to be free from guilt or shame. Synonyms for blameless are faultless, clean, pure, innocent and perfect.

Despite what it may look like it is possible in this crooked and perverse generation to be blameless unless God would have never commanded us to do so. God would have never given us so many morals or standards to live by unless it were possible to do so, and it is possible to live God’s way by using God’s strength.

As a person who loves God with my whole heart and desires to please Him in all of my ways I know I will say things that may offend people. But the point of me saying those things are not out of hate, but out of love. Just like a parent warns their child of something that will harm them, God’s people are messengers to warn others that sin leads to death, sin leads to hell.

I read an article today that affirms all the more that this world is only getting worse before the return of Jesus Christ. The article was about how an unnamed woman would be marrying her father soon and that they would be having children together. Crazy huh!? If you would like to read the entire article you can do so by clicking here.

As I read it I couldn't help, but to feel the need to speak more about Christ and the awesome freedom he offers from sin and death. I think somewhere in the future it will be OK for this woman to marry her father, as long as both parties are consenting adults right? Same sex marriage is already making that a reality because sin opens doors to even more and more sin.

Although Christians today are called homophobes, gay haters, and other childish names because we believe in the Biblical definition of marriage we must still stand for God’s truth in love. People who identify as homosexual just like any other sinner can be delivered from their innate desire to sin.

The world may get darker, but God’s light remains the brightest and we are kept by His love and grace as long as we remain in His truth. So I encourage all my brothers and sisters out in the world to remain strong even in persecution.

Training us to renounce ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright, and godly lives in the present age – Titus 2:12

Always remember to be a light in this dark world. You can do this!

God’s Grace is limitless,

Shaniqua Snowden*

Saturday, January 10, 2015

Dead Faith

In my previous post I talked about my goal to having a more self-disciplined lifesyle. And you better believe a test came right after I declared that it was no more of me being lazy and putting off things this year. The very next day I posted my goal I woke up that Sunday morning very tired and with a sore throat. I didn’t feel like going to Church at all and I told my husband that he would be going to Church alone. But as I laid down about to go back to sleep God spoke to me and this is what He said.

God: Why aren’t you getting up to go to Church?

Me: Lord I’m tired and on top of that I’m not feeling well.

God: But if you believe and have faith that you can be more self-disciplined you are going to have to get up and put works with your faith. If you just get up (works) and believe (faith) I will empower you to succeed in your efforts by My strength.

I continued to lay down and think about what God had just said to me. As I thought about it more I suddenly began to gain more strength. Then I came to the conclusion, God is right! As God always is right of course! If I truly believed that I could be more self-disciplined I was going to have to make those steps in every area of my life to achieve that.

I knew that if I was to go back to sleep I would sleep the rest of the morning away and fall right back into my same slothful routine because I had already started off on a bad foot. I wouldn't have been exercising my faith. So I got up and went to Church and there was a reward for my obedience. The service at Church that day was very encouraging. Not only was it awesome, but the message was confirming of what God was teaching me.

The Lord spoke to me confirming to me that the change started now! I was reminded that I must continue to make the steps to get to where I’m supposed to be going. If I keep making backtracks then I was just prolonging my goals and would never reach them.

Don’t get me wrong I’m still a work in progress in this area, but the point is that I’m making those steps to get where I need to go and I can’t go back, I must continue to go forward. Although some steps maybe small, sooner or later those steps are going to add up and I will soon be to the finish line of this particular race of self-disciplining myself with my time.

So in all of this I’m learning the importance of having faith that is alive! Having a faith that produces fruit, because in the end real and authentic faith will produce works and that will show. On the other hand dead faith is the opposite.
What does dead faith produce?

No works
James 2:17 Even so Faith, if it hath no works, is dead, being alone. - KJV

When our faith is dead we don’t want to work for those things which God has for us. We may have heard God say something in the past that he has for us, yet we don’t see it manifested in our lives yet, but it could be due to the fact that our faith is wavering. You may say well I believe what God says He has for me is for me, I have Faith, I do believe, why isn't it here yet? I've been waiting and waiting…

But Faith is not just about waiting for God’s promises to manifest in our lives, we also have to have works with our Faith. God may have something for us, but first He wants us to be equipped and ready to receive what He has for us. Just like Jesus had to be prepared first before he did his ministry, hence him fasting for 40 days and 40 nights and being tempted by the devil in the wilderness.

In order for us to be trusted with the gifts and great things God has for us we must first be tested and tried. We are no better than Jesus. If Jesus had to be cultivated first then we will have to do the same as well. Faith and works go hand and hand with one another, so if we have real faith then we will put action with our belief and it will be shown.

It’s the same for when we become Christians. If we now believe by Faith that we are children of God, we are going to start behaving like children of God. That means we are going to get rid of the sin and bad things in our life that we know is not pleasing to God. When we put works with our Faith, God’s strength will empower us to be victorious in our walk with Christ, and in our life as a whole.

We need to constantly examine ourselves to see if we are living that real and authentic faith that the Word of God speaks about. That goes for every area of our lives. Don’t allow yourself to never see God’s promises in your life because you were just sitting down waiting for God to do something. He’s already empowered us to do it and trust Him in the process. You can do this!

God’s Grace is Limitless,


Saturday, January 3, 2015

What Are You Doing With Your Time?

It’s 2015 and I decided that it would be a great opportunity for me to reflect on areas in my life that need to be perfected by God. If I’m honest with myself the greatest area I struggle in is self-discipline, in particular self-discipline with spending the time God has given me the best way possible.

When it comes to everyday plans and activities I admit I can choose laziness vs. hard work quite often. It’s not something that I’m proud about and I believe this has caused me to miss out on many opportunities that God has for me. For example I published my first novel “Leaving Jade” in May of 2014. By now I was hoping to have novel #2 already available, but due to my lack of disciplining and managing of my time book #2 has been delayed. Lack of self-discipline has also caused me to put on hold other goals that I have set out to achieve, but as I write this post I am declaring that “it’s no more!” It’s no more of me wasting time and putting off what I know God has called me to achieve.

As I pondered this subject, dealing with what I’m doing with my time the Lord lead me to some very convicting yet encouraging scriptures to get me on my way to a more disciplined lifestyle.

And he said to them all, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me. – KJV, Luke 9:23

The soul of the sluggard desireth, and hath nothing: but the soul of the diligent shall be made fat. –KJV, Proverbs 13:4

Slothfulness casteth into a deep sleep; and an idle soul shall suffer hunger. – KJV, Proverbs 19:15

So as I read and studied God’s Word I’m reminded that my life is not my own. When I may want to lay on the couch for a brief rest or search the internet, I should stop and be more focused on the things God desires for me to do that day. I’m not saying that it’s not OK to have a rest once in a while, but first we need to be concerned with the responsibilities we have and get those successfully completed first.

Instead of putting things off, it’s time to get those things accomplished now. It will certainly pay off in the long run. If we desire a certain goal we must put action with our faith. We can’t accomplish anything by doing nothing.

My goal for my entire life, not just a year, is to remain focused on God’s plans for me and not my own plans. In order for us to attain what God has for us we have to show ourselves as good stewards, not just by being a good Christian, but also good stewards over our precious time on this earth that God has blessed us with. Before God blesses us with more He wants to be sure we can handle the little that we have. It’s time for me to stop just saying and start doing!

In future post I will be giving practical tips and documenting my own journey to a self-disciplined life. I know it’s possible because God has already freed me from so much! I’m praying that you all have a great new year’s. Be blessed and know that whatever your goals or visions God can see you through it, as long as we obey and put forth the work as well.

God’s Grace is limitless,

Shaniqua Snowden*
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