Maple Alps

devotional

Will I Be Still?

FaithAmanda Walter | Maple Alps3 Comments

We live in a noisy world.

A few months ago, as I sat at my desk to work, I became aware of the theme from Family Feud playing. I knew that it was Family Feud because I used to watch it with my siblings growing up (an unimportant detail). I realized it couldn’t be coming from our little apartment, since we owned no TV or loudspeakers, and I was home alone. The floor started vibrating from the intense frequencies, and it clicked that it was our downstairs neighbors, who often had the TV volume turned all the way up (or at least it sounded that way).

I relocated to my husband’s empty office, and not seconds after getting myself comfortable in his cushy swivel chair, a car alarm sounded—ringing through the air for a good amount of time before being shut off. A truck then sped out of the neighboring community. I hope whoever it was wasn’t trying to be stealthy because the whole block heard them.

I thought that just maybe, it was now my turn. My turn to have silence. However, people across the way started shouting, and a convenience store truck (I didn’t even know those existed) started driving around wailing, “The Entertainer” out of its built-in speakers. The downstairs neighbors started wrestling elephants, and an exceptionally long train drove by. Judging from the duration of the tones, I’m guessing that every train car had its own horn to toot.

We live in a noisy world - or at least I do.

 

 

7 Ways to Increase Your Prayer Life

FaithAmanda Walter | Maple Alps28 Comments

"It is possible to move men, through God, by prayer alone." - Hudson Taylor
 

"Why pray? Why love? We might as well ask, why breathe? One is as natural and necessary as the other. Where there is love, there is communication, there is prayer. It could not be otherwise." - M.L. Andreasen

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Record Your Prayer Requests and Answers

I love recording my prayer requests and answers. Just looking back at them and remembering, helps me be hopeful - especially when I’m going through a difficult situation. I know that God has led me in the past, and He has my present and future. The Bible is full of references about remembering, and this is one way I can look back and praise God for His leading.

 

Pray In Your Free Time

Find and down time in your day and use the opportunity to pray. I have a 30-minute commute, and I have started using that time to pray. It has drastically enhanced my prayer life, and it has become more natural for me to just start talking with God as I go through my day.

 

Pray When It’s Quiet

In Mark 1, it describes how Jesus rose long before the sun even had risen and went to a solitary place to pray. As we are called to be like Jesus, I take my example from Him. I have found that when I rise early for prayer, there is such a quiet and a calm and I can really focus on my time with the Lord. My whole day goes by smoother as well.
 

Make It A Habit

Be intentional about making time for prayer. Set alarms if you need to, but be consistent. I know that some people may think this may be legalistic, however, it is far from that. We schedule times to exercise, eat and wake up and work, and these things all eventually become habits with time. Why should prayer not have a special place in our day? Prayer is the breath of our spiritual life - without breath, we are dead.

 

Get A Prayer Partner

Find someone to share and pray with.

“There is unusual power in united prayer. God has planned for His people to join together in prayer, not only for Christian fellowship, spiritual nurture, and growth, but also for accomplishing His divine purposes and reaching His chosen goals.” (Wesley L. Duewell, Mighty Prevailing Prayer, Zondervan, ©1990, page 123.)

 

Write Down Your Prayers or Pray Out Loud

I used to find myself very distracted in my thoughts when praying and started physically writing out every word of my prayers in journals. I then also found that praying out loud was a great help. If your mind is wandering during prayer, why not try one of these methods?

 

Pray and Claim Scripture Promises

God has given us literally thousands of promises in His Word! They were given to us to claim in faith! Write them down and take them with you, or even better yet, memorize them so they’re always in your heart 

bible promises www.maplealps.com


 


 
 

Though the Earth Be Removed

FaithAmanda Walter | Maple Alps3 Comments

I like to consider myself a rather intellectual person. I'm pursuing my Master's (the first of two), I like technical and jargon-ridden conversation, and I'm endlessly curious. Yes, I'm book smart in the read-all-the-time-just-because kind of way, but I'm also street-smart. I have some sound common sense, and the scars to show where I veered off course. 

I say this not to brag (I'm not that smart), but to provide context.  //

The NKJV Bible contains over 100 instances of God telling His people to not be afraid. I find many of them encouraging--like, do not be afraid because God is with you (Joshua 1:9),  He will strengthen and help you (Isaiah 41:10), and because God desires to give us the kingdom (Luke 12:32). All nice things. All cross-stitch-on-a-pillow-worthy. 

But there is one passage I have not found on a pillow.

"...We will not fear. Even though the earth be removed, and though the mountains be carried into the midst of the sea; though its waters roar and be troubled, though the mountains shake with its swelling." (Ps. 46:2-3)

The first sentence is common enough, but even though? Even though Hurricane Matthew ravages land from the Caribbean to the Carolinas? Even though we're stuck in impossible political options? Even though ISIS advances bloodshed? We will not fear even though it makes sense to fear

Though the Earth Be Removed; Devotional | www.maplealps.com

The Lord has not given us a spirit of fear--so when we have it, it is not from Him (2 Timothy 1:7). The world paints fear as the reasonable response, the go-to response, the only response. How is it possible to not fear even though...?

The preceding verse: "God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear." God being very present is reason enough to obliterate all other reasons. Every. Single. One. 

But what of the smaller fears? The ones that news outlets don't cover, but our internal dialogue torture us with? I wont find the job, my children won't grow past my mistakes, my spouse won't understand, no one will respond, I can't understand it, the disease will take their life....

God is your refuge and strength, reader. He is your very present help in trouble. Therefore, based on this one truth, you have no need to fear. 

David, when being hunted by the king he would never harm, told his friends that he had put his trust in the Lord, so how could they tell him to flee? All of their fears were focused on the enemy--what the enemy was doing, what the enemy could do, what may happen. David's focus rested immovably on God (Psalm 11). He had put his trust in God and there His confidence and focus remained. //

Faith is not a departure from reality. Rather, it is a departure from the narrow view of here and human and expands to the greater reality of God's reach and love. As a college-educated wannabe-intellectual, I have faith in He who sits on His throne and brings us through every even though. For He can be trusted. Always.

Don't over-rationalize. Don't cite the news. Don't focus on your fears. For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of love, of power, and of a sound mind (2 Timothy 1:7).


To Fall on the Rock Callie Williams | www.maplealps.com

Callie Williams is a quintessential reader and writer. She's not 100% sure when to say "whom", but she's still an English teacher. She also has a thing for elephants. And the color blue. And Jesus. Mostly Jesus. You can check out her reflections at Worried Sapling.