Morning Prayer Summary for  Thursday, May 25, 2023

Morning Chapel Prayer Playlist

Pastor Heather…

Good morning, everyone. Welcome to Morning Prayer. I thought I’d just start out by encouraging everybody and then share something the Lord put on my heart. For those of you that don’t know, I’m Pastor Heather Sibinski.

I want to share something that the Lord put on my heart. And like always, we will get into prayer. But I think it’s good to kind of set our sails and create an environment to enter into His presence. And so this is what the Lord put on my heart.

God, where are you?

I noticed there’s a lot of people right now, Christians, that I think they’re feeling like “Where is God?” Or they’re having a hard time connecting to His presence or feeling His presence or experiencing His presence. And I’ve noticed that just from a lot of people that I had talked to. And even being a pastor, there are times where you go through seasons where you feel like, “Okay, I know you’re there. I maybe don’t feel that you’re there right now, Lord, but I know that you’re there.” And, of course, that’s what faith is, right? Just trusting that God is who He says He is, even when you don’t feel it. And so that’s a big thing just to remember. We can’t be led by our feelings.

Why are there seasons when you feel near and seasons when you do not feel near?

But there was a season in my life that I did feel like, “God, where are you in this moment?” And so as I was praying and just seeking Him, like, “Why are there seasons that we just feel like you’re so close? And then there are seasons where we feel like you’re not so close.” We’ll put it that way. And so this is what He showed me. I just wanted to share it and I pray that it encourages you today, especially if you are going through one of those seasons where maybe you’re not feeling God close. And of course, again, we’re not led by feelings, but it sure is nice when we can feel His presence too.

He’s beckoning us to move out deeper in Him…

So here’s what I have. I noticed there are times I feel closer to Jesus. Times I feel His love and presence wash over me in waves, and I feel overwhelmingly loved and held. Then like a wave washes away from the shore, there are also times I feel distant from His presence. Dry. Sometimes even a little lost or alone. I ask the Lord why I felt this way at times. I was frustrated with myself. I’ve been a Christian for over 25 years, and what am I not doing right? I know He never leaves me or forsakes me, so why do I feel distant and alone at times? I don’t feel like I did anything different or walked away from His presence. I felt that I stayed in the same place, so why do I feel far away? I felt Him speak to my heart that I did stay in the same place and that was the problem. I stayed in the same place. He’s beckoning us to move deeper. The times that I feel dry are because I’m still on the shore waiting for another wave of His love and goodness to wash over me. But He’s out deeper. He’s past the shore and He’s beckoning me to come. I want to stay where my feet are firmly planted and feel His presence and love in my place of comfort.

God’s not too concerned about our “comfort zone”

But He asked me to step out and to trust Him and to walk out past the waves of the shore into the deep where I can’t feel the safety of the shore under my feet. God will not pacify us in our comfort zone. I’ve found surprisingly enough that He is actually not too concerned about my comfort zone. He’s concerned with my growth. The Holy Spirit is my comforter. Why would we need a comforter if we were supposed to stay in a comfortable place? We need a comforter because He calls us out of our comfort zone. Comfort does not produce growth. Comfort does not require trust or faith or much action on our part at all. Make no mistake, God always loves us and He always meets us where we are when we call out to Him. But I believe if we choose to sit on the shore of our comfort, sometimes He will lift the sense of His presence. He’s there, but we can’t sense or feel His presence. This draws us out of our comfort to search for Him where He is leading us. In other words, He hasn’t left us, but He is forging forward on the path that He has laid out for us. We’re the ones that are standing back in the sand. We’re the ones that have stopped moving.

My trips to Target with my kids…

And so I wanted to share this analogy because the Lord put this on my heart when I was going through this season. And it helped me. And so when my kids were little, I would take them to Target or whatever. And you know, I’d always give them instructions as we go into the store and I’d say, “Okay, we’re going to go into the store. You need to stay close by me. Okay? So when I say it’s time to move on to another section, you need to stay close by me.” “Okay, mommy. Okay. Okay. Okay.”

So it would never fail…

We would get into the store. We’d get into the toy section and immediately I would lose them. So they’re in the toy section and they’re looking at this new toy that flashes and it’s sparkly and it has all the noises and they’re pushing buttons and they’re playing. And I was like, “All right, guys, come on, we’re going to go.” They’re not listening. They’re fascinated with whatever’s in front of them and they’re still playing. I’m like, “Come on, guys, we’re going.” They’re still fascinated with their toy.

Don’t judge me as a mom…

So then what I would do… Don’t judge me as a mom! I would go and stand around just the edge of the aisle. And I would just peek around, and I would see how long it would take them to realize that I had left and they weren’t by my side. They were safe. I was watching them. But I would wait because they didn’t obey. Right? They’re just standing there and they didn’t do what I asked them to do. They didn’t stay close by me. And so I’d be watching around the aisle and I’d be peeking. And sometimes it would be a minute or two minutes or longer where all of a sudden they would look around and they would realize, “Mom! Mom!” And as soon as they called out my name, of course, I would come around the corner and be like, “I’m right here. What did I tell you? You need to stay by my side.”

He’s always watching over us…

And I feel like the Lord can be a little like that with us sometimes. You know? It’s like we’re always safe. He’s always there. He’s always watching over us. But sometimes we’re so sidetracked or fascinated with this thing that we want, that we’re not staying close to Him. And then all of a sudden, we kind of come to our senses and we look around and we’re like, “God, where are you?” He’s like, “I’m right here. Come on. Stay close.”

I go back to the last time I felt His presence…

So just be encouraged if there is a season that you’re going through that and ask yourself. When this happens to me, I always go back to the place where I last felt His presence. Or is there a place that He was speaking to me to do something and I didn’t obey? We all have those moments, right? Maybe He tells you to start something or to stop something and I have to go back to that place. I have to ask myself, okay, was there something that He prompted me to do that I didn’t do? And sometimes it’s just real subtle things. Sometimes it’s more obvious things. But when you go back to that place, He’s always there. He never leaves us nor forsakes us. But He’s ever pushing us to be a better version of ourselves. He loves us where we are, but also He doesn’t leave us that way.

And that’s a good thing, right? Those of you that are parents, you love your kids no matter what, but you really want them to be everything they can be. And you’re not going to just encourage them to just lay around and do nothing with their lives. You love them no matter what. And you see that potential, but you’re ever coaching and pushing them to be that full potential that they have inside of them.

Ask yourself, where did I veer off?

And so I just thought, if anybody is struggling with that, like not feeling the presence of God or maybe you’re just in a place where you have a lot of questions. Maybe you have more questions than answers. Just know God is always there. And you ask yourself, “Okay, Lord, if I’m in a place right now where I can’t feel your presence, where did I veer off? Where did I stop growing?” Or is this a season where you are just wanting me to trust that you are who you say you are without that feeling? It could be one of those two things.

Just trust that God is who He says He is…

So just seek that and press into Him because He’s good. He’s faithful. He is who He says that He is. Even when we don’t feel like it, even when we don’t see it with our eyes, we don’t see it in the natural. And that’s what faith is. Just trusting that God is who He says He is. Even when it doesn’t look like it on the outside to us. It doesn’t look like it in the natural. He is who He says He is, and He always will do what He says He will do. Amen?

Two things that will get you out of the funk…

I want to share two things to get you out of that funk. Maybe you’re in a spiritual funk. We can all get into a funk sometimes. We live in a world where there’s a lot happening around us. There’s a lot of things that pull for our attention. And sometimes that can just be emotionally draining too. And so how do we stir that up inside of us? And there’s two ways we can do it.

The first thing…

The first thing is to just remind yourself of God’s goodness. And so from time to time, I like to go… I keep everything in my phone, my notes. I like to go through my notes and I like to read if anybody prophesied over me or spoke over me, or if the Lord gave me a word in a season. I will type that down. And then if there are times that I need to encourage myself or fire myself up, I go through and remind myself of all those words that were spoken over me. I remind myself of all those scriptures that were like Rhema words and a hard time for me. I remind myself of all those times that God came through when I wasn’t sure how He was going to come through, or how we were going to do it, or how we were going to make ends meet, how I was going to get over this doctor’s report. You remind yourself of those times of His goodness and faithfulness. And that does something in in you that creates this expectancy, just reminding yourself of His goodness.

The second thing...

And then just make yourself expectant again. And sometimes that takes an effort on our part to get that expectancy going again. It’s just like a person that runs a marathon. Those last couple of miles. Woo. Those are the hardest, right? But what do they do? They’ll fire themselves up. “We’re almost there. We got this.” And it’s like this, this walk that we have here on earth can feel like a marathon some days. And some days we’re tired. We’ve been through some battles. We’ve had some bumps and bruises along the way, but what do we do? We stir up that expectancy again, and we remind ourselves of His goodness and faithfulness. He did it then. He’ll do it again. He did it for them. He’s going to do it for me. And just reminding yourself of His goodness.

And so I just wanted to read scriptures about expectancy, and so I thought that would be good to just fire ourselves up today before we go into prayer and just remind ourselves of His goodness and stirring that expectancy up. So all you have to do is listen. You can close your eyes. But just let these words of the Bible just wash over you and just stir up that expectancy inside of you as I read them.

Expectancy scriptures…

Psalm 31:24. “Be brave. Be strong. Don’t give up. Expect God to get here soon.”

Psalm 14:2, “Yahweh looks down in love. Looking over all of Adam’s sons and daughters. He’s looking to see if there is anyone who acts wisely, any who are searching for him and wanting to please him.” That’s us! Amen.

Psalm 119:73–77, “With your very own hands, you formed me. Now breathe your wisdom over me so I can understand you. When they see me waiting expecting your word, those who fear you will take heart and be glad. I can see now, God, that your decisions are right. Your testing has taught me what is true and right. Oh, love me. And right now hold me tight just the way you promised. Now comfort me so I can live, really live your revelation is the tune I dance to.”

Romans 5:3–5, “There’s more to come. We continue to shout your praise even when we’re hemmed in with troubles because we know how troubles can develop passionate patience in us and how that patience in turn, forges the tempered steal of virtue, keeping us alert for whatever God will do next in alert expectancy such as this for never left feeling short changed. Quite the contrary. We can’t round up enough containers to hold everything God generously pours into our lives through the Holy Spirit.

Romans 8:15–17, “This resurrection life you receive from God is not a timid grave tending life. It’s adventurously expectant, greeting God with a childlike “What’s next, Papa?” God’s spirit touches our spirit and confirms who we really are. We know who he is and we know who we are, Father and children. And we know we are going to get what’s coming to us in an unbelievable inheritance. We go through exactly what Christ goes through. If we go through hard times with him, we’re certainly going to go through the good times with him.

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