Praying In Faith When The Answer Is Impossible

Hi Friends, This week I am busy preparing to attend The Declare Conference next week in Dallas! The Declare conference equips Christian communicators and if you would like to learn more about Declare be sure to check out my post on Going to Declare Conference 2017 and then look for a follow-up post after the conference.

As you know, I am a huge proponent of supporting other Christian Communicators, whether they be authors, bloggers or speakers.  I especially love sharing new authors and their books with you!

This past weekend I shared Loved Baby: 31 Devotions Helping You Grieve and Cherish Your Child After Pregnancy! Sarah Philpott’s book is a wellspring of hope for grieving moms, and I am blessed to be giving away two copies of this amazing gem Loved Baby in the month of October.

Today I have an extra special treat for you! I am honored to have my friend Susan Macias join me on the blog to guest post. Susan shares her thoughts about praying in faith when the answer is impossible with us. Susan launches her first book this week, Unceasing: A Parent’s Guide to Conquer Worry and Pray With Power and can be found on Amazon.com. Please welcome Susan Macias to By His Grace and be sure to check out her new book!

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Praying In Faith When The Answer Is Impossible

by Susan Macias

Do I have faith? Do I believe? Because if I do, it’s going to show up in my actions.

My despair that situations will never improve and conflicts won’t ever resolve means I have more faith in what WON’T happen, than in what God can do.

I am not believing in faith if I pray while telling Him I don’t really expect an answer, or make excuses for how God can’t answer THIS prayer. God doesn’t need me to provide Him an out.

How do I pray in faith when the answer looks impossible?

My hope is in the Lord. Let’s look at an example.

Elijah and the Rain

Elijah was always in trouble. The King and Queen of Israel were Ahab and Jezebel, and if you know anything of Biblical history, you know there were not two worse leaders. If you want to be hated, try being a prophet to evil leaders who would really prefer you to be dead.

As a prophet, Elijah felt lonely and assailed from all sides.

Then Elijah said to the people, “I, even I only, am left a prophet of the Lord, but Baal’s prophets are 450 men. (1 Kings 18:22)

Now we know Elijah wasn’t the ONLY one left. He had just been talking to Obadiah, who was also a faithful prophet. But when you are hounded from all sides it FEELS as if you are alone. Does it ever seem like it is you against the world? Don’t worry- you are in good company.  Standing for the Lord in a world that hates Him is lonely. But we are never ALONE. The fear of being the only one is a lie (not sure why it makes me feel better that Elijah also believed that lie, but it does).

At the point we enter this story of Elijah, Israel was under severe drought- and by severe I mean people-and-livestock-dying kind of drought. So even though Ahab hated Elijah, he needed him to pray for rain.

To the face of his enemy, Elijah boldly proclaimed to King Ahad, “Go up, eat and drink, for there is a sound of the rushing of rain.” (1Kg 18:41, ESV) Were there dark clouds on the horizon? Could he smell the hint of rain coming? Was there wind increasing or clouds scuttling across the sky?

Nope. It was dry. The sun beat down and lack of humidity parched their tongues.

BUT. But God.

The same Lord Who would someday calm the storm (Matthew 8:23-27) could also create rain during drought.  He is the God “Who covers the heavens with clouds, Who provides rain for the earth, Who makes grass to grow on the mountains.”  (Psalm 147:8, ESV)

Elijah heard the sound of rushing rain in his ears of faith. The answer to his prayer was so assured he could hear it.

Leaving King Ahab in the valley, Elijah climbed Mount Carmel with his servant where they could view the distant horizon. Then he humbled himself and PRAYED.

And Elijah went up to the top of Mount Carmel. And he bowed himself down on the earth and put his face between his knees. (I Kings 18:42b, ESV)

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Being honest here, I seldom bow down and place my face between my knees when I pray. And by seldom, I mean never. But think of the beautiful picture of complete submission. That posture declares, “God, You are in charge. You, Who are powerful enough to create rain where none exists, deserve my utter obedience.”

After he prayed he sent his servant to look to the horizon for rain. But the servant returned and said, “There is nothing.” (I Kings 18:43b, ESV). So Elijah prayed again and sent his servant AGAIN. Seven times this cycle repeats itself.

How much faith is required to PUBLICLY pray for the impossible? How humbling is it to repeatedly send an observer to look for answers to the prayer? How hard is it to do again after the previous six prayers have not visibly been answered?

There is no duck and cover here. No secret asking, without taking the risk of others knowing what he was praying for.

Elijah kept praying and kept publicly looking for the answer.

Women Bow And Pray

Finally after seven times (a number which signifies completion in the Hebrew) the servant returned with the report, “Behold, a little cloud like a man’s hand is rising from the sea.”  (v. 44b)

Alrighty then.

Honestly, I think I would find a bit of hope in the cloud. One cloud could encourage me to keep praying, but I really don’t think I would see it as evidence of a complete answer. And I doubt that one, fist-sized cloud on the distant horizon would provide me enough faith to predict a flood.

Elijah, however, saw that puny cloud with eyes of faith. One cloud caused him to send a message to Ahab to get himself on home, because if the king didn’t hurry, his chariot was going to get stuck in the mud.

And at the seventh time he said, “Behold, a little cloud like a man’s hand is rising from the sea.” And he said, “Go up, say to Ahab, ‘Prepare your chariot and go down, lest the rain stop you.’”And in a little while the heavens grew black with clouds and wind, and there was a great rain. And Ahab rode and went to Jezreel. (I Kings 18:44-45, ESV)

All through seven years of drought, during which many prayers must have ascended to heaven, God had waited to respond until this moment, when He dramatically answered Elijah’s prayer. This account displays a vibrant example to us of the value and efficacy of persistent prayer.

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Here are my take-aways

Elijah’s bold persistence in the face of impossible odds inspires my prayer life. Here are some simple (yet difficult) lessons I need to apply:

  • Humbly bow before God, whether physically or attitudinally. He is in charge and my will is subservient to His.
  • Pray publicly for impossible things. Don’t be afraid to let people know.
  • Keep looking for the answer. Be on the look out. Be expecting. Ask others if they see it yet.
  • Have faith to interpret the smallest sign as the beginning of God’s response.

Even if the answer to my prayer looks impossible, or at the least unlikely, I need to pray anyway. I continue faithfully in prayer, asking for a solution, whether it takes seven years or seventy years.

And if, like Elijah, I am bold enough to publicly announce the request, then when it is answered, I should loudly proclaim the power of the Lord.  The main focus of all I do should be about showing WHO the Lord is.

At least that is what Elijah thought: Answer me, O Lord, answer me, that this people may know that you, O Lord, are God, and that you have turned their hearts back.” (I Kings 18:37)

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Susan Macias writes, speaks, and teaches to build strength and courage in women to faithfully follow Jesus, serve their families, and build the Kingdom. Her work has been published in national and regional magazines, and she writes weekly on her blog, susankmacias.com. Married to her college sweetheart Nathan for 33 years, she has homeschooled their seven children since 1993. Her book Unceasing: A Parent’s Guide to Conquer Worry and Pray With Power can be found on Amazon.com.

 

Loved Baby

From the moment I held my copy of Loved Baby in my hands, I knew this was an extraordinary book! A wellspring of life-giving words for the weary grieving Mother.  Today I am excited to review Loved Baby, and have two copies to giveaway!

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There are 31 devotions in all and the first one, You Are Becoming a New Creation, begins with the encouragement and love of a friend who has been there and knows exactly how you are feeling.

Dear mama, you are like this field of wildflowers. You were your bright self when all of a sudden your precious offspring left for heaven. You did nothing to cause this, yet it is far from where you thought your life would be planted in this season. Now you are suffocating. You don’t look or feel like your former self, do you? You can barely take care of yourself – much less give life to others.” LOVED Baby – Chapter 1

This is exactly how I felt the first time I lost a baby.

My hormones were raging and I was feeling very pregnant! So when I went to the Doctor’s office to hear my baby’s heartbeat for the first time, and we couldn’t find it. I was immediately overcome with shock and dismay. The test showing my hormone levels came back showing that I was indeed very pregnant, and I felt very pregnant, but we could not find my baby’s heartbeat.

My Doctor was leaving to go on vacation and said we probably need to take a quick look laparoscopically and see what is going on. He scheduled me to go to the surgery center the next morning. As I walked into the cold, sterile room to slip on a gown, I began hemorrhaging. Alone, scared and confused I cried out to God for help.

Several hours later the Doctor came out to the waiting room to find my husband. He informed him that I was okay, but it was much more severe than he had anticipated. My sweet baby was stuck exiting my fallopian tube and attached to the outside of my uterus. This rare condition is known as a corneal pregnancy, and it nearly cost me my life.

Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but a desire fulfilled is a tree of life. – Proverbs 13:12

Here I was in the prime of my youth hopefully anticipating the life that was growing inside of me and dreaming of the future. To then suddenly be recovering from surgery and grieving the loss of my baby. It felt like someone had sucked all the air out of the room. I felt hopeless.

Why was this happening?

How could I continue on?

Your very roots have come undone. You wonder if you will ever emerge from this sadness. Gather close as I tell you: YOU WILL GET TO THE OTHER SIDE OF GRIEF.” – LOVED Baby – Chapter 1

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Sarah acknowledges the painful place the reader is in now and reminds you that you won’t be there forever and then points to the truth of God word from Isaiah 40:31 NASB

Yet those who wait for the Lord will gain new strength: They will mount up with wings like eagles. they will run and not get tired, and they will walk and not become weary. 

[ctt template=”2″ link=”RM4f5″ via=”yes” ]In the midst of our deepest pain and struggles, we must look to God and His promises for our life to help to see us through.[/ctt]

Each devotion is overflowing with scripture, hope, and encouragement!Sarah points the reader to the Lover of our Soul, the One who will every broken heart. And closes each chapter with a section entitled Soul Work, which is the practical application portion of the devotion followed by Prayer Time.fullsizeoutput_227cI will never forget the blessing of a sweet friend who brought me a silver baby bootie with the date engraved on the bottom and encouraged me to cherish and remember my sweet loved baby. I placed that along with several other treasured items of remembrance, like my sonogram pictures in a beautiful box that sits on my bookshelf as a tribute to my angel babies. These tangible acknowledgments have helped me to grieve the loss of those sweet babies. That is one of the reasons that I love that Fashion & Compassion and Sarah Philpott have teamed up to provide this beautiful bracelet as a symbol of remembrance.

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For a limited time Loved Baby and Fashion & Compassion have partnered together to provide a beautiful bracelet of remembrance for your Loved Baby. You can check out that bundle at Fashion & Compassion Bundle.

Loved Baby needs to be in the hands all women grieving the loss of a loved baby! Thanks to Sarah Philpott, Broadstreet Publishing, and the Blog About Network I have two copies of Loved Baby to giveaway!

The first one will be given away through my blog. Simply leave a comment below and share this post on social media to be eligible to win. The contest will run through the month of October which is Pregnancy and Infant loss awareness month.

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The other copy will be given away through social media. Make sure that you follow Misty Phillip on all social media channels and watch for the giveaway to happen in October!

Lessons from Hurricane Harvey

Hurricane Harvey ravaged the lives of millions as it swept through Houston recently. Many peoples homes across the gulf coast region were flooded. Some had a few inches of water in their homes, and others had several feet of water. There were people living in two story homes that were able to save some of their worldly belongings while others were rescued by boat carrying with them all they were able to save. Harvey came through reaping utter destruction wiping out entire neighborhoods.

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There were others whose homes were not affected at all and many of those people immediately got busy rescuing those in harm’s way and helping out in any way they could.  In the midst of the devastation, God’s people have been on the move loving, helping, and serving their neighbors. Our church has done a fantastic job of “mudding out” the houses of both church members, and non-church members that have reached out for help.

We love because he first loved us. – 1 John 4:19

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There are people who have lost everything and they are piecing their lives back together after the devastation of the storm.  Yet they still have joy because of the outpouring of the Holy Spirit through the Lord’s people. The hands and feet of God are on the move and children of the Lord are out loving on people all over the Texas gulf coast as an outward expression of the love that they have been shown through Christ.

“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.  For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him. – John 3:16-17 ESV

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God loves the world so much that He made the ultimate sacrifice by sending Jesus His one and only son to earth to save humanity. Then Jesus humbled himself by subjecting himself to the frailty of human flesh, by taking on a human form, and the sin of the world and bore our sins on the cross. In order to live among us, teach us and provide the ultimate example of how we should live.

Loving and serving others is an outward expression of the great love of the Lord that lives within us because we are his disciples. We don’t work for our faith, but we work because of our faith. We love others because we were first loved.

[ctt template=”2″ link=”XESza” via=”yes” ]We don’t work for our faith, but we work because of our faith. [/ctt]

We see the perfect parallel of Christ’s love for us in the example our Pastor David Fleming gave at Champion Forest Baptist Church the Sunday after the Harvey. We see the example of sacrifice in the service of the men and women who risked their lives, leaving safe locations to go out in the storm to rescue those who could not save themselves. Much like what Christ did for us. He left the perfection and peace of Heaven to come to earth to rescue the lost and needy because all of us are in need of a savior.

My prayers go out to all the families still dealing with the aftermath of Harvey and now the aftermath of Irma, the fires in the Northwest, monsoons in India and the earthquake in Mexico.

[ctt template=”2″ link=”QGrbZ” via=”yes” ]We live in turbulent times and there is no better time than the present to turn our eyes to Jesus.[/ctt]

 

 

Going to Declare Conference 2017

Eek! I am so excited!! I can’t wait to attend the Declare Conference!! The Declare Conference equips women in their calling as digital evangelists and Christian communicators, and this will be my first year to attend! The Declare Conference is held at The Laurel in Grapevine, TX  October 2-4, 2017 where I will gather with many dear friends and make new ones too. Jesus girls are the best!

I’m Attending Declare 2017

In preparation for the conference, we were given these 7 icebreaker questions to answer to get to know each other better. I look forward to reading everyone’s post.

1. When did you feel called to be a digital evangelist, what’s your main medium (podcast / blogging / books / speaking / social media / etc.), and how long have you been doing it?

The Lord began pricking my heart to write, blog and speak a couple of years ago. In 2011 I started speaking for Texas Right to Life after my son Liam was still born due to complications from Trisomy 18. However, I was a homeschooling mom of three boys, life was busy and I was afraid to take the leap of faith. But then in January 2016, I got brave!

I asked my husband what he thought about me going to the She Speaks Conference in Charlotte, NC in July of that year and he immediately responded with a resounding YES! My family rallied around me, and once I signed up for the conference, I began the writing and blogging journey and the rest is history. I started to run the course and never looked back.

My blog is MistyPhillip – By His Grace where I share my heart for the things I love! My tag line is Seek Jesus, Study the Word, & Grow in Grace. Isn’t that really what life is all about?

At By His Grace, I blog about pretty much whatever strikes my fancy. However, most of what I write is about my life with the Lord and all he is teaching me through the seasons of life in hopes that it will encourage other women to love Jesus and love their families more each day. My first line of ministry is to my husband and family, and everything flows outward from there. I believe a woman’s highest calling is to love God and make him known, by loving and serving her family and others with her gifts and talents. Our homes should be an extension of that ministry and should be a beautiful and inviting space that is a comfortable place to learn and live and grow and extend hospitality and grace to others. I enjoy speaking and teaching women and accept the opportunity as often as my schedule allows.

You can find me on most social platforms, FacebookInstagramTwitterPinterest and LinkedIn. As a member of the Blog About Network, I love supporting other authors and sharing their books with my tribe. I am a contributor to the

As a member of the Blog About Network, I love supporting other authors and sharing their books with my tribe. I am a contributor to the Philanthropy Fashion Blog, an amazing clothing store with a heart for the Jesus, and His people. I love my church and my life group and am honored to serve the Biblical-Literacy  class, by writing prayer point devotions.

Podcasting someday is on my to do list. I have everything I need to begin podcasting but haven’t taken that leap of faith yet…

2. What is your life scripture?

Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding in all your ways acknowledge Him and He will make your paths straight. – Proverbs 3:5-6

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3. What are your passions?

Bible Study!! I love God’s word, and I geek out on biblical studies. I love my family and enjoy spending time with them. At home I love to cook, the kitchen is my happy place. I love to create, and the holidays are just the excuse I need to freshen up my home and invite people over. I love hospitality and entertaining because life is better when we share it with friends.

4. What is your favorite candy and/or food?

Berries of all kinds, avocados, and chocolate!

5. Where is your happy place and what’s it like?

If I am not in my kitchen, my happy place is in the mountains or on a trail in the woods! We love to hike, especially in the mountains! Our favorite places to go are GTNP in Jackson Hole, Wyoming, or Vail, Colorado. I love the smell of sage brush, the beauty of the aspen tree, the crystal clear reflection of the mountains off of a lake, the roaring rush of waterfalls, the beauty of freshly fallen snow and the rugged terrain of a mountain side teaming with wildflowers and wild life.

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6. Are you working on any exciting projects that you can share about? If so, please share!

I am currently writing a Bible Study and can’t wait to see what the Lord does with it!!

7. How can we pray for you as you prepare for this year’s conference?

I desire to please the Lord in whatever I do. My heart is to encourage women and share his great love with them. Please agree with me in prayer that the Lord would make the path ahead of me clear and that he would open only the doors he would like me to enter and close all of the other doors in his perfect timing.

I look forward to learning, growing, and collaborating with everyone. If you are attending the Declare please leave me a comment so that we can connect and meet up at the conference! 

 

 

 

In the Midst of the Storm!

Storms in life come, and sometimes they come and hit us out of nowhere! They can leave us dazed and confused. Life can change at a moments notice and can leave you feeling shaky, filled with fear, and anxiety. Take heart, we do not have to face the difficulties of life alone. God is always with us.

In Luke 8:22-25, Jesus was asleep on the boat with the disciples when a dangerous storm blew in.  They woke Jesus in verse 24 saying, “Master, Master we are perishing!” Jesus rebuked the wind and the waves, and there was calm. In verse 25 Jesus asks the disciples where is your faith?

Aren’t we just like those disciples sometimes when the storms in life come?

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We can take our eyes off of the master, and focus on our circumstances, our problems, and the storms of life threaten to sweep us away instead of keeping our gaze firmly fixed upon the master!

[ctt template=”2″ link=”lscj8″ via=”yes” ]We do not need to fear Jesus is with us in the midst of the storms![/ctt]

The winds and waves don’t make Jesus anxious or afraid in fact, he calms the storm. The wind and waves obey Jesus. Not only is He with us in the midst of the storm, the Lord goes before us, he doesn’t leave us or forsake us.

The winds and waves don’t make Jesus anxious or afraid in fact, he calms the storm. The wind and waves obey Jesus. Not only is He with us in the midst of the storm, the Lord goes before us, he doesn’t leave us or forsake us.

 ” It is the Lord who goes before you. He will be with you; he will not leave you or forsake you. Do not fear or be dismayed.” – Deuteronomy 31:8 ESV

[ctt template=”2″ link=”3pZ1n” via=”yes” ]We do not need to be afraid! The Lord is always with us, and he strengthens us.[/ctt]

Daily putting on the armor of God, we need to lift up our shields of faith so that when the storms of life come, that we can hold on to the promises of God. He loves us and cares for us, and He knows intimately everything that happens in our lives. Lift your eyes up to the hills where your help comes from. Your help comes from the Lord. (Psalm 121) He loves you, he will never leave you or abandon you.

Psalm 46:1 tells us that, “God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.”

We cannot escape trouble, stuff happens. Life is hard, and sometimes bad things happen. In John 16:33, Jesus warns us that as long as we are living and breathing here on planet earth will have trouble, the storms in life will come. However, we do not need to be afraid, in fact, Jesus tells us to have peace.

” I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world, you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.”

Praise the Lord He has overcome the world! We can trust in Him in our time of need, and when we abide in Him, we have peace.

I would love to hear from you! How has God shown himself mightily to you in the midst of a storm?