A recent website visitor just sent me this question: "How do you know God is real?" What a great question to ask! Here's my response:
Thanks so much for visiting our website. I hope you took some time to look at all we have to offer by way of books, articles, audios, videos, and music. I appreciate you sending the question "how do you know God is real?" and hope to respond intelligently.
Some people who are asking that question are merely cynical and argumentative, not really wanting the truth. When I first read your question (while at my job today), I saw your question as that from someone really searching for truth. If I'm correct, I think it's awesome you sent me your question and want to know the truth. Being a "seeker" is, in my opinion, the first step in discovering the most important truth in the universe. God says, "If you seek me - you'll find Me!" (Jeremiah 29:13 "You will seek Me and find Me when you search for Me with all your heart.")
The second thing that came to my mind as I thought, "How should I answer Nina?" is: "How do I know YOU are real?" The only evidence is this small email you sent. Then I thought about the huge letter God sent - the entire Bible - 66 BOOKS that tell me He's real - way more evidence I have than I have that you are real. Maybe some computers kinda' went amuck and threw some letters randomly together (like evolution tries to explain our existence on this planet) and somehow ended up on my website saying I had a message from Nina asking how I knew God is real.
Then I thought, "the Bible isn't the only evidence that tells me God is real." All I have to do is look around at nature - at the starry sky - at the creation all around me. It didn't get there from some slimy amoeba slithering onto the shore, sprouting legs, arms, and an intellect that surpasses all the other creatures that slithered out of the sea that became not-so-intelligent (as I write this, I wonder "How could an intelligent person actually think that???")
I could go on and on - but I may be boring you. The best suggestion is to let others who are way better at communicating talk to you. Go back to the site ... and on the video page start checking out what Lee Strobel and Ravi Zacharias have to say to answer your great question. If you want a more personal answer, let me know. I've known God is real for over 50 years.
That reminds me of another thought (before I lose you entirely): 3 scenarios: If God isn't real, an atheist and me will end up in the same place - DEAD; If God is real and I refuse to receive His provision for my salvation, the atheist and me will end up in the same place - ETERNALLY DEAD in a place God calls "Hell;" If God is real and I receive His gift of eternal life in His Son, Jesus Christ, the atheist will end up eternally dead in Hell - and I end up ETERNALLY ALIVE in a place God calls "Heaven." Hmmmm - what do YOU think is a good choice here???
It's been quite a learning experience the last few months learning (by trial and error) how to create, build, maintain, improve ... a website in my spare time. The only regret is that I don't have the time to do all the things I want to do to continue to create, build, maintain, and improve the site. Working a construction job full time leaves neither time nor energy to do what I want to do with this outreach to the Body of Christ. I not only want to provide spiritual meat for the mature, I also want some lower-hanging branches to feed those who aren't so experienced with the Word to be able to be fed.
As I consider the future of Book-Ministry, along with the scores of Kindle eBook publications I produce for Amazon.com and more recently Lulu.com (another project I so want to expand, but haven't the resources), I see two roads ahead. One road is to just do what I can, and hope for the best. The other is to do this on a full-time basis. The work involved, especially with editing and cleaning up the rough copy most of the publications require prior to publication, is tedious and labor intensive.
If there were enough interested visitors to the site that found its ministry useful, enlightening, fulfilling, and edifying, they could make this a site that doesn't only minister to them, but would allow it to reach the "uttermost" parts of the world. This requires financial resourses not only for my employment, but for advertising the sight.
Google has been an excellent means of expanding the ministry world-wide, but we're only utilizing them with a $5/day advertising budget. Perhaps through them you found this website ...and this blog. Imagine what could happen if the limitations were loosed, and we could fill each page with the bounty that's out there ready to be added and, at the same time, get more ads pointing to our site.
My determination is to take what I have and do what I can. That's all I can do. If others do the same, this website could bless so many more people, especially those who haven't the resourses to help fund it.
Prayerfully consider having a monthly financial part in this ministry. May God lead you and richly bless you as you partake of His heavenly sustenance and share it with those you care about.
John Mark: email@example.com
Prayer is simply talking to God. Getting to know Him, and listening for His responses through the Holy Spirit. With prayer we are able to hope in Him, trust in Him and love Him. Prayers don't have to be long, drawn-out sessions that are too time-consuming and so tiresome that we lose our desire to pray. Of course, I am not saying that there is anything wrong with longer prayers, because we need those also. Prayer is and should be a true delight. When you are free to pray, you do not have to stick to man's rules about praying. We have to allow the Holy Spirit to guide us while we pray. God will even help you in what to say, when to say it, and how to go about it.
What Kinds of Prayer?
Prayer's do not have to always happen locked in a room, on your knees, or with your head bowed down. They can be short prayers, ideally, throughout the day. For example, when you are on your way to work, there is time to pray. It could be something as simple as praying that God will help you not to lose your temper with the slow traffic or with the driver in front of you who just cut you off. You can say, "Lord, please help me not to lose my temper and allow this person to ruin my morning." Or you can be in a store behind the lady who has a fist full of coupons. You're late and it's the teller's first day. You can pray, "Please help me not to be in impatient."
When you are at home all day with the kids and they are not listening to you, you can pray, "God, please help me to discipline in love. Give me wisdom in dealing with my kids." You can even pray a quick prayer in the middle of a conversation with another person. Yes, between taking turns talking.
For example, you are having a conversation with your boss, and he is not happy, and you are tempted to get overly emotional. You can pray to God, "Help me hold back these negative emotions and help me to speak words of wisdom. Help me to have a calming effect on him so the situation does not get any worse."
You can be on a walk and pray, "Thank you Lord for my life and all your blessings." You can pray anytime of any day, throughout the day. Little prayers, short prayers as well as long ones. Your eyes can be open. You can be sitting down, lying down, half asleep in bed. Yes, even the middle of the night. I like to pray having my first cup of coffee on the patio. The point is, just talk to God. You can throw in quick, pick-me-up prayers. I like to call them that because these are the immediate prayers when I need an answer quickly, or need-help prayers. These are the prayers that get me though the day.
Sometimes all I can do is say one word, "Help!" God honors this type of prayer also. He understands the word "help" and the situation behind that one word expression. You can pray when eating or before you eat. You can pray out loud or if you are around other people you can pray in your mind or even mumble under your breath. The point is, pray.
The bible says in Colossians 4:2 to "be earnest (sincere), and unwearied (not fatigued), and steadfast (firm in purpose), in your pray life, being both alert and intent in your praying with thanksgiving." (NKJV) (comments mine) You can and should not only ask for help, but you can speak affirmations or statements that are declared to be true in your life.
You should always thank God for what we have and how He is workingin our lives. We should thank Him every day. Here are great examples of these types of prayers:
Thank you for this beautiful day;
Thank you for the songs the birds sing;
Thank you for my blessed wonderful children;
Thank you for knowledge, wisdom and understanding of Your Word;
Thank you for Your kingdom.
There are many scriptures that are about thanksgiving: "Give thanks in all you circumstances, for this is the will for you in Christ Jesus." 1 Thessalonians 5:18 (NIV) "I will give thanks to the Lord because of His righteousness and will sing praises to the name of the Lord Most High." Psalm 7:17 (NIV) The Bible says that we are to always give thanks to God the Father for everything. Ephesians 5:15 (NASB) says, "Therefore be careful how you walk, not as unwise men but as wise..." vs. 19 and 20 "speaking to one another in Psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody with your heart to the Lord, always giving thanks for all the things in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ to God, even the Father."
We do not pray one time. Always pray, and pray for everything. That means all the time, for all reasons or needs that we have. God tells us not to be "anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God." Phil 4:6 (NIV)
Some religious people might tell you that you have to pray in a certain way, at a certain time of day, using certain words. People even have prayers memorized and they simply recite these prayers over, and over again. In Matthew 6:10-15 (KJV) God gave us a model prayer but He did not mean for us only to repeat the same prayer always. God likes variety. If you notice a couple of verses up in Matthew 6:7 (KJV) it says, "But when ye pray, use not vain repetition as the heathen do, for they think that they shall be heard for their much speaking. Be ye not therefore like unto them; for Your Father knoweth what things you have need for, before you ask Him."
We should pray in our own words, using the model prayer as an example when we pray, like a conversation with someone. We wouldn't call our friend and start a reading from a script saying the same words over and over every time that we call, would we? No, that would not make sense. Why would we think that God wants to be spoken to in that way? We definitely want to speak to God from our heart.
When to Pray?
You can pray anytime of the day. I feel, for myself, it is beneficial for me to pray when I first get up in the morning. However that is not a rule that I or anyone else has to follow. If you feel more alert in the morning, go for it. If you do your best thinking at night, do it at night. Prayer in the morning is good because you can start your day off right, being filled with the Holy Spirit, then continue throughout your day. It helps us have a good attitude no matter what Satan throws our way.
Why Prayer Is Important
Have you ever had a close personal relationship with someone you have never talked to? It just never happens. Even people in your own family can pull away from you emotionally if there is no communication. So how can we expect to be close to God if we never talk to Him or if we just go through a list of things that we want? We are just pretending to have a relationship with Him. The Bible says in James 4:8 (NIV) "Come near God and He will come near you." Prayer is imperative for a close, real connection with God.
The other reason prayer is important is that without prayer we leave ourselves open to the attacks of the devil. When we pray, the Holy Spirit becomes active in our lives. He keeps us from harm, protects us from people, situations, and our own bad attitudes and actions. We need all the help we can get. I know that I can't let this world get me down. So I have to pray often.
How God Answers Prayer
God always gives us an answer when we pray. It may not be the answer that we want to hear, or it may seem that He is not answering us at all. God hears all our prayers and is interested in answering us back. God's answer is always either yes, no, or not now. We love the yes, hate the no's and sometimes do not understand the why we have to wait. Especially when it seems like a good plan to you. But no matter the answer, it is the best one for us at that time. Some people say "God said to me...”, or “I heard from God.” These types of statements used to scare me a little because I thought they we're talking about hearing real, audible voices coming from the heavens. God can and does occasionally speak to us in this way, but it is not His normal way of speaking to us. He speaks to our hearts, not usually in a booming, loud voice, but in a gentle whisper in our soul. See 1 Kings 19:12. Some even call it our conscience. The knowing of good and bad, way deep down inside us, in the pit of our stomach.
What I do is pray about a situation or a problem. Maybe I need to know the best direction or next step to take in my life. So first I pray and ask God for His answer. That's where the yes, no or not right now comes from. However, how do I know what is yes, no, and not right now if I cannot hear a real voice from heaven spelling it out for me in clear understandable vocal words? That's when I stand back and meditate on the situation. I have to make a list of pro's and con's, but most significantly, I have to have peace one way or the other. Ask yourself, "Do I have peace when I think of taking this action or direction?" Sometimes if I don't feel peace either way with it, I'll just wait and not make a decision at all. While I am waiting, I keep on praying for God to answer my prayer.
Other times, I take a step of faith, and I make a move in the direction I feel is best. If I am wrong the Holy Spirit will re-direct me back into God's will for me. I put my faith in the fact that He wants to be part of every decision I make, big ones and little ones. No matter how often you pray, how long you pray, where you pray or even what you pray about, just pray! Hoping in Him, trusting in Him, loving Him ... He will always make our paths straight. Remember He is the source of all life. He cares for you immensely and He wants what is best for each one of us no matter where we are spiritually. Prayer is something that no one, not even the devil, can take away from us.
Don't let up in prayer; don't give up. When the answers don't come as quickly as we think they should, have faith and courage when we wait on our prayers to be answered. Never stop praying. It is your life-line to God. God put it in my heart to write a book on prayer that people can understand and relate to. You don't have to be seminary student or a pastor to pray successfully. We can all pray like professionals. We just need someone to explain the, who, what, where, and the how to do it. This book of prayers is easy to use. Just look up the subject, and turn to the section and pray along with the passage.
I hope these prayers will encourage and enlighten you, like they have me.
By Kristine Mulholland
Something that I have learned recently, and has been staring me in the face for years, is the question of why we wait. I knew that I had trouble with waiting, but, I guess, I did not really know how badly I needed to have this exposed in my life. But God knew.
We all wait. We wait in traffic, we wait in lines at the grocery store. I can recall many times that I would get into the slowest lines, with the slowest tellers and with the lady with a fist full of coupons. We have all been there! We wait on our children to be born, and then wait for them to grow up. We wait at the department of Motor Vehicles for hours. We rush to the doctor to be on time just to have to wait for an hour to get into the back room, and then wait another half an hour for the doctor to actually come in. I can remember hating going to the doctors because I could not stand just sitting there for so long. I can remember fighting the urge to open the door and yell out, "You know I am in here don't you?" or, "You haven't forgotten about me have you?" It is sad to say I have acted on that a few times too. I knew I was behaving badly, but I just couldn't help myself, I was a bad waiter. As I was maturing, I started noticing that I had a big problem with waiting, and so I started to pray to God that He would put me in places that wouldn't make me have to wait. I thought the problem wasn't the waiting, but the circumstances behind the waiting. I would have loved for God to part the cars on the highway like he parted the Red Sea. I think I daydreamed about that. I would ask God to help the slow doctor to just hurry up, but nothing like that ever happened. I wanted God to eliminate the waiting process all together.
When I think about it, I was even irritated at God, from time to time, because He would wait until the last moment before He would step in. I think back to when I was single and I wanted to get married. I prayed for a husband for six years. I thought that was excessive, but in looking back on my life I couldn't see how God was working for me.
After years of waiting I finally had a revelation. I was sitting there listening to a Joyce Meyers' program on T.V. when Joyce said something that changed me forever. She said that we are all going to wait. We cannot get away from it. "It's not an issue of whether or not we wait but it is how we wait that is important to God." It's our attitude about the waiting that counts. We can either wait with a good attitude or with a bad attitude. God wants us to wait with a good attitude. No sighing or tapping your foot allowed. I know that is none of you, so I will just preach to myself.
I was shocked. A revelation hit me. It was the simplest concept, but for some reason I had never thought about it in that way. You mean that I am going to wait anyways, so I might as well just decide to wait well, and do it God's way? To you this may seem crystal clear, but for me it wasn't clear, not at all. It was news to me.
Getting over this was not an easy job. After this understanding, I realized how bad my problem with waiting was. I remember how I would get mad at the traffic. I always got behind the slowest car on a one lane street. I also found myself stuck in heavy traffic. I would shut my mouth and I felt like I was going to explode trying to keep from yelling out my window at some inconsiderate driver. I progressed. I even unfolded my arms and stopped sighing in the lines at the store.
God has made progress with me in this area, and it is getting easier every day. I can see why Satan is so successful in this area. This world is extremely busy and we want everything fast food fast, if you know what I mean. Today, when I pray, I don't ask God to take away the waiting itself, but to help me to be a great waiter, cause I'm gonna wait.
2011 Copyright - Kristine Mulholland
I believe it was Hudson Taylor that said: "God's work done God's way will never lack God's supply." I believe that is true. I've seen examples of that being fulfilled. I also am convinced what we try to do here with this website fits into that.
Recently we used a coupon that provided $100 worth of "ad words" - Google's way of getting websites noticed. It brought quite a bit of traffic to the site, averaging 30 to 40 visitors per day from the U.S. and several foreign countries. It's been exciting seeing how many people are bringing us into their homes. Some only view it a mere second or two; others take more time to check us out. Some even sign the guest book and get in touch with us.
One blessed brother saw a need and donated a Kindle Reader. I've been publishing eBooks for Amazon for several months and had never seen my product in real life. That really encouraged me to move on and keep producing material for the edification of those who'll receive from this small attempt at ministry.
The ad money ran out, and the traffic is showing it. The question is: "Is there a need for this?" I believe there is and will continue to spend the time and energy to publish what I believe to be the best of the best.
All readers are encouraged to take advantage of what is here. Go out on a limb to read or listen to someone you've never heard of or may be having trouble concentrating on. I remember years ago - and sometimes more recently - having trouble concentrating on the material. Then as well as now I remind myself, "It's better to get 5% of what's here than miss out on it." With practice and continued attention, the more I spend hearing and reading this material, the more I hear the "Great Shepherd" speaking to me. He has a lot to say - and I need to listen.
So - my point? If this is God's work being done His way, it won't lack His supply.