Are You At the End of Your Rope?

Sometimes it can be frustrating to have unanswered prayers. Even the message behind praying for stuff is convoluted somewhat. Some Christians believe that you shouldn't pray for "stuff" and that if you do, that it's a form of idolization -- for instance, you'd rather "things" more than a relationship with God. But biblically speaking, that's just not true at all. A lot of pastors will try and say that you should ask for deeper things and to only use prayer to praise God. Well, yes---praising God and being grateful for what we have now is important. But God wants us to go to Him for everything else too. It's up to Him whether or not those 'orders' get fulfilled. If our own earthly loved ones can provide "stuff" for us, then what makes us think that God can't?

In Luke 11:9-13, it clearly states:

"And so I tell you, keep on asking, and you will be given what you ask for. Keep on looking, and you will find. Keep on knocking, and the door will be opened. For everyone who asks, receives. Everyone who seeks, finds. And the door is opened to everyone who knocks. You fathers---if your children ask for a fish, do you give them a snake instead? Or if they ask for an egg, do you give them a scorpion? Of course not! If sinful (all people) know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to them who ask Him?"

What about this scripture?

"You have not because you ask not." --James 4:2

The other day I was reading a devotional, and part of it made me realize why some people feel bad for asking God to help them. Many of the messages that Christians or clergy give out, even if they say it's biblical, can be a little confusing.

Part of the devotional stated this:

"Do not seek Me primarily for what I can give you. Remember that I, the Giver, am infinitely greater than any gift I might impart to you. Though I delight in blessing My children, I am deeply grieved when My blessings become idols in their hearts. Anything can be an idol if it distracts you from Me as your First Love. When I am the ultimate Desire of your heart, you are safe from the danger of idolatry. As you wait in My Presence, enjoy the greatest gift of all: Christ in you, the hope of Glory!"

Many people rely on these devotionals because they're easy to read and it gives them a new message for the day. But sometimes, they're not so biblical as one may think. They're not word for word biblical statements. Compare the biblical scriptures I provided above to the devotional section. It doesn't match up. And if you are asking God (being a devout Christian and believer) -- that is not idolatry. It's asking your Father for help, even if it's financial. Why wouldn't God want the best for you?

But there is a bigger picture than just money...

Many people live their lives just to save and save and save more money so they can be *comfortable*, during their lifetime and especially for retirement. And of course it's okay and good to have wealth and to live comfortably---I'm not saying otherwise. But some people spend their whole life working their tailbone off, towards a goal that's only a fraction of their entire life. They miss out on 'today' and focus on that small tiny timeline of their retirement and golden years. They miss out on family, friends and just life in general. They have no concern about the afterlife---or that when it comes, it comes. But listen to this pastor named, Francis Chan who explains this so beautifully.

If you cannot see the video below, please click HERE.

There's gotta be more to this life, right? Like what's the point? Are we here to leave a mark? Are we here to help people? Are we here to just have fun and never get out of our comfort zone? Nobody---and nobody really knows their mission in life, unless they've seen their life affect millions....or perhaps, even just five people. God may have put you here for just a few people and you have no idea. We all have no idea.

A friend of mine asked me an interesting question yesterday. I always take advice from her being that she's a highly intelligent businesswoman. Her brain goes right to the business side of anything. So with my writing or other side freelance projects I have going on, she likes to give her suggestions which I appreciate.

She asked, "Why so much 'God' and serious stuff in your work? You're so funny--why not focus on that and gain popularity?"

She also made an observation about my personality. If you know me personally, I kinda have a funny sense of humor, and I'm not perfect in the least. I'm just somebody who has a great deal of faith in God due to my past experiences as well as upbringing. I can see logically how anyone can ask that question. My personality hasn't changed---if you read through my work, and every single article I have ever posted, you can see how much passion I have about topics such as mental health issues and how God has saved me from my worst tragedies. I can't leave God out because that would be a lie. My faith is my passion---it's the most important part of me---it's my core.

"Well, don't you want to make money?"

And yet, I do make money by freelancing and writing articles for other websites, like BetterHelp and non-profit organizations who want what's called "link placements" added onto my blog so they get more exposure to a a topic that's related to their services. They mostly deal with mental health or cancer fundraisers. Does it make me rich? No, but it does make me happy that I'm paying my bills by possibly helping other people out there in the world who either need to read an article about my experiences, or those who clicked on a link to get help from the sites I provide. I never wanted to be 'rich'---I mean, if I won the lottery, sure that's great and I could just throw it in the bank and call it a day, but my life has never been focused on money and I do alright.

Even God has mentioned the dangers of wealth in the Bible and how when we only focus on money, we let it become an idol.

"Then Jesus said to His disciples, 'I tell you the truth, it is very hard for a rich person to get into the Kingdom of Heaven. I say it again---it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich person to enter the Kingdom of God!'" --Matthew 19:20-24

This was a story about a rich young man who had everything. He was asking Jesus about his eternal life and how he kept all of the commandments. But having faith and believing in God is much more than keeping the commandments. Faith without works is dead. And what that means is---your actions prove your loyalty. "You will know by their fruits." So the rich man said, "What else must I do?"

Jesus said, "If you want to be perfect, go and sell all you have and give the money to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come follow me." But when the young man heard this, he went sadly away because he had many possessions.

This story isn't saying to give up all you have. It's basically saying to give freely, to help others and to put others first. Nobody has ever gone poor by giving---and that's a fact. When people place money over their own faith in God---over their own destiny in the afterlife, it only proves that there's a huge lack of faith somewhere. For me, I will never compromise this website or what I do in order to gain popularity or money. I can write freely from the heart, not being dictated by some "company" that I don't fully stand behind. The companies that support me in my writing and other social media aspects---I stand behind them firmly due to how many people they have helped as well. My sponsorships and employers are not huge "profit makers" (sponsors) so much as they are helpful to various communities who are suffering, from either cancer or mental illness. That to me is worth very second of writing.

"If you gift is to encourage others, do it! If you have money, share it generously. If God has given you leadership ability, take the responsibility seriously. And if you have a gift for showing kindness to others, do it gladly." Romans 12:8

One of my favorite scriptures says this:

"This should be your ambition: to live a quiet life, minding your own business and working with your hands, just as we commanded you before. As a result, people who are not Christians will respect the way you live, and you will not need to depend on others to meet your financial needs." --1 Thessalonians 4:11-12

I want to know that when I leave this earth, I want to be sure that I left a mark, not only for myself, but to encourage others of how real God is. I want people to read my work years and years after my death and say, "Wow, this has changed my life." I have a friend from years ago I met when my book first came out. She was inside her car in the garage with the doors closed, contemplating suicide. I asked her to please just hold on and to read a few pages from my book to show her what I went through and how God had helped me. She went back inside and never thought of suicide again. Today she is happily married and living her best life. That's because God worked through me to help her understand how important she was. Even if it was to help one or two people, it was so worth it.

The Starfish Story

Once upon a time, there was an old man who used to go to the ocean to do his writing. He had a habit of walking on the beach every morning before he began his work. Early one morning, he was walking along the shore after a big storm had passed and found the vast beach littered with starfish as far as the eye could see, stretching in both directions. Off in the distance, the old man noticed a small boy approaching. As the boy walked, he paused every so often and as he grew closer, the man could see that he was occasionally bending down to pick up an object and throw it into the sea. 

The boy came closer still and the man called out, “Good morning! May I ask what it is that you are doing?” The young boy paused, looked up, and replied “Throwing starfish into the ocean. The tide has washed them up onto the beach and they can’t return to the sea by themselves,” the youth replied.

“When the sun gets high, they will die, unless I throw them back into the water.” The old man replied, “But there must be tens of thousands of starfish on this beach. I’m afraid you won’t really be able to make much of a difference.” The boy bent down, picked up yet another starfish and threw it as far as he could into the ocean. Then he turned, smiled and said, “It made a difference to that one!” --adapted from The Star Thrower, by Loren Eiseley (1907 – 1977)

Going back to the video above, what are you doing in the middle of your 'rope'---the LIFE portion that'll affect your eternity portion? Or are you just living for this world?

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