He Hears Every Prayer

by Monica Schmelter

He walked away, about a stone’s throw, and knelt down and prayed, “Father, if you are willing, please take this cup of suffering away from me. Yet I want your will to be done, not mine.” Then an angel from heaven appeared and strengthened him. He prayed more fervently, and he was in such agony of spirit that his sweat fell to the ground like great drops of blood. Luke 22:41-44 NLT

When I became a Christian, I listened to every word the pastor said. I was especially interested in learning more about prayer.

The whole idea of prayer made me nervous. What to pray? How to pray? So I started studying some of the prayers of Jesus. When I got to what He prayed in the Garden of Gethsemane, I was struck by the simplicity and substance of His Words.

Jesus was in such extreme agony, his sweat was falling like blood droplets. He prayed that His suffering be removed if possible. But then, He concluded with “Your Will Be Done.” These words teach us that we can come before our Heavenly Father with complete honesty. He will not reject our tears or fears; no apology or explanation for how we are feeling is required. As we lay our pain and concerns before Him, we can ask for relief. At the same time, we should also ultimately surrender the matter to His Lordship and pray Your Will Be Done.

This concept was especially hard for me to understand as a 13-year-old new Christian. My family was dysfunctional with a capital D. I prayed for them to be saved and to attend church with me. One Sunday, the pastor encouraged the congregation to pray BIG. With that I started to write out my prayers, again asking for my entire family’s salvation. I also asked for my then-atheist father to become so committed to Jesus that he would join the church praise team.

It would be 25 years before my parents gave their hearts to Christ.

A couple of weeks ago, my mom told me that my dad 81 year old dad had just done something surprising. He had joined the church orchestra! Since he is so advanced in age and suffers such poor health, my mom was questioning his decision.

I reminded my mom that this was an answer to one of my earliest prayers.

Forty-five years ago, I earnestly prayed for that. Of course, I was crying out for God to answer that request immediately. I wanted relief from the pain of living in a dysfunctional family. I wanted them all to change right that second. However, I eventually saw that while I could pour my heart out to God and ask for a suddenly, that I must also yield to His Lordship with nevertheless Your Will Be Done.

I never imagined that 45 years later I would sit in a sanctuary and watch my dad play the trumpet in his church orchestra! God heard the pleas of a 14-year-old girl, and He hears your cries as well. We can come to Him without fear of condemnation and lay out all our requests. When His timing or life’s curve balls make us question or doubt, we can trust His good will. We can rest in knowing He’s working everything out for our good.

God hears every prayer. You can pray BIG and trust Him, because His will is far better than we could pray or imagine.

This article is brought to you by the Advanced Writers and Speakers Association (AWSA).

About the author: Monica Schmelter is the General Manager of WHTN, Christian Television Network and host of daily television show Bridges. When people ask her why she smiles and nods so much while she’s interviewing guests she replies, “Oh that’s simple I am trying to think of what to say next”.

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You can watch Bridges on demand at monicaschmelter.com. Monica’s latest book Messy to Meaningful – My Purse Runneth Over is coming soon!

Join the conversation: Has God answered a long-time prayer of yours? Please share!

Depression: You are Not Alone

by Monica Schmelter

For we do not have a High Priest who is unable to sympathize and understand our weaknesses and temptations, but One who has been tempted [knowing exactly how it feels to be human] in every respect as we are, yet without [committing any] sin. Hebrews 4:15 AMP

For 25 years I’ve had the honor of hosting the Bridges television program. My guests have ranged from the famous to the girl next door. No topic is off limits – and the Bible is our guide. I’ve been intentional about discussing mental health on a regular basis.

Why then was I surprised to find myself struggling with depression? I tried to shake it off. I stepped up my daily Bible reading and prayer. I followed the experts’ suggestions like frequent exercise, proper rest, and nutrition. I visited a Christian counselor. I counted my blessings. None of my efforts seemed to make a lasting difference.

When I spoke with a friend she mentioned talking to my doctor about an anti-depressant. Since nothing else seemed to be working, I followed up on her suggestion. Thankfully, my Dr. recognized that I needed help and wrote a prescription.

As I journeyed forward, Hebrews 4:15 AMP spoke volumes to me. I am not alone, and neither are you. I am grateful that our High Priest, Jesus Christ, is well acquainted with what it’s like to be human. Whether it’s the pain of betrayal or false accusations or any other human trial, He’s been there, and He understands. My depression didn’t catch Him by surprise or disqualify me from being His daughter. He saw the trauma I experienced, the betrayal I encountered, and He heard my every single prayer for relief.

As I committed this Scripture to memory, I began to appreciate more fully how His sinless life gives us endless hope. He is our High priest, our Advocate, and our example. This means whether it’s a sunny day, or a dark season, He is there with compassion and the power to rise above it all.

The power to rise above it all didn’t make my bout with depression dissipate immediately. What it does provide me is the comfort of knowing I am never alone and never without hope. The same is true for all who put their trust in Jesus Christ.

In our culture we celebrate instant results and quick fixes. If given the choice, I’ll take a suddenly over a slowly any day of the week. I would love to tell you my season of depression is over – but it’s not. I still have hard days, and sometimes I cry at the most awkward moments.

What I can share with you is that I am growing closer to our Savior. You can too. As we see Him as our compassionate Savior, we can open our hearts to Him with complete honesty and zero shame.

As I have opened my heart to Him more fully, He has  blessed me with a deeper sense of His presence. He is healing my hurting heart over time. He has been so patient, and He has graced me with the ability to continue to love and serve my family and work in Christian Television.

Since He is no respecter of persons, He will do the same for you. Whether it’s depression or some other malady, He stands ready as our Compassionate High Priest to receive you. You don’t have to justify or explain your humanity. He understands. Will you call on Him today?

This article is brought to you by the Advanced Writers and Speakers Association (AWSA).

About the author: Monica Schmelter is the General Manager of WHTN, Christian Television Network and host of daily television show Bridges. When people ask her why she smiles and nods so much while she’s interviewing guests she replies, “Oh that’s simple I am trying to think of what to say next”. You can watch Bridges on demand at monicaschmelter.com

Join the conversation: Have you struggled with depression? What has God taught you in that hard place?

You Are Not Invisible

by Monica Schmelter @MonicaSchmelter

One day, when I was feeling incredibly invisible and overlooked, my scheduled devotional reading included a genealogy. The last thing I wanted to read was a genealogy. Instead, I wanted a Scripture that would encourage my hurting heart. Nonetheless, I pressed forward with the day’s reading. While I read who begat who and how many thousands waged war, I suddenly had a thought I knew emanated from God.

A lineage is more than a list of hard to pronounce names. It is a written record that God sees and knows us. All of us. Every last one of us.

One of my favorite shows is Long Lost Family. Sometimes it is an adoptee searching for a birth parent. Other times the search is initiated by a sibling or birth parent. The stories are heartwarming and each one has a common thread: the human desire to be known.

We can take heart when we feel invisible, because God is the God who sees.

What is the price of two sparrows—one copper coin? But not a single sparrow can fall to the ground without your Father knowing it.  And the very hairs on your head are all numbered.  So don’t be afraid; you are more valuable to God than a whole flock of sparrows. Matthew 10:29-30 NLT

This passage speaks to your value and provides peace in Christ. When you let this Scripture radiate in your heart, you are filled with comfort because you know that you are valuable to Him. You are not invisible. Your life and thoughts are important to Him. He sees you. He loves you.

Just think about how different your life would be if you rested in the truth that you are valuable to God? He sees your life and delights in your details.

I have lived many days believing the lie that I was invisible to God and others. The ache of feeling overlooked has filled my heart far too often. Then I encountered the genealogy in my devotional reading. My initial resistance to reading the long list was replaced with the comfort that God sees me and you.

After reading that morning, I started to get ready for the day. As I brushed my hair, I thought about the Scripture where God says He numbers the hairs on our head. If you take one look at my hairbrush you can see that my daily hair count fluctuates. We are talking about some serious counting! But God is very present in every detail of our life. His careful attention to our lives means that we do not have to be afraid.

Those long lineages with hard-to-pronounce names are there to help us see that God does not miss anything. We may not get the credit we deserve at work or home. We may feel invisible in certain areas of our personal or professional life.  But God’s Word declares He takes notice when a single sparrow falls to the ground. Then He says our lives have more value than the sparrow.

When you feel invisible or overlooked, pause and reflect on His truth. He sees you and your life is of great value to Him. You have great worth in His eyes.

TWEETABLE
You Are Not Invisible – encouragement from @MonicaSchmelter on @AriseDailyDevo (Click to Tweet)

monicaheadshot (1)About the Author: Monica Schmelter is the host of Christian Television Network’s daily show Bridges. Bridges airs in over 50 million homes and is available on ROKU and online at monicaschmelter.com.

Got a junk drawer? Ever find yourself stuffing stray items in there without thinking? Monica’s book, Messy to Meaningful, will help you sift through and sort out the unnecessary spiritual things weighing you down. Stop holding on to so much junk that you can’t fit in the good things the Lord is calling you to. Monica and co-authors Rhonda Rhea and Kaley Rhea will take you through your junk drawer and make you laugh along the way. Find yourself some beautiful…free.

Join the conversation: Have you ever struggled with feeling insignificant or even invisible?

 

When Life is Tough

by Monica Schmelter @monicaschmelter

God is our refuge and strength, a helper who is always found in times of trouble.                                                                                                                                             Psalm 46:1 CSB

When it comes to having tough times, it’s not a matter of if, but when. So it’s helpful to be prepared and pliable. As the proverb says, “A prudent person foresees danger and takes precautions. The simpleton goes blindly on and suffers the consequences.” Proverbs 22:3 NLT It’s a caution to keep an eye on our lives and what’s around us.

One way to prepare is to know the firm ground on which we stand. The following biblical truths are essential for a firm foundation.

God is good.

God is near.

God is working.  

God is Good.

“But God showed his great love for us by sending Christ to die for us while we were still sinners” (Romans 5:8 NLT)

God’s heart toward us is always good. He loves us. His love does not prohibit tough seasons of life, but will see us through. His love provides a foundation for us to stand on during every season of our lives, in chaos and in peace. In your tough season, let the fact you are unconditionally loved strengthen and encourage you.

God is Near.

Even in the middle of our toughest seasons, God is near. He stands ready to help us when we need it the most. There is no place we can go that He has not gone before us. He understands completely.

“So then, since we have a great High Priest who has entered heaven, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold firmly to what we believe. This High Priest of ours understands our weaknesses, for he faced all of the same testings we do, yet he did not sin. So let us come boldly to the throne of our gracious God. There we will receive his mercy, and we will find grace to help us when we need it most” (Hebrews 4: 14-16 NLT).

Allow this Scripture to speak directly to your heart. I am in a very tough season of life. When I read this Scripture, I ask God to help me in the way He sees to be best. Even when I feel alone or abandoned, I believe His Word is truth—He says He is near, full of grace, and willing to help. I believe His Word over what I see, think, and feel. As we dare to believe His Word over our circumstances we grow and mature in our faith.

God is Working.

He is working on our behalf whether we can see or understand it.

 “And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them” (Romans 8:28 NLT).

If you’re in a tough season, dare to believe His Word. He promises that He is working on our behalf. He promises that He is bringing good. Dare to believe His promises.

God has a way of maturing our faith through hard times in our lives. Of course, we are responsible to do what we can during those seasons, but for all the things outside of our control, we trust in God’s goodness, in His nearness, and dare to believe He’s working all things for our good.

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When Life is Tough – encouragement from @MonicaSchmelter on @AriseDailyDevo (Click to Tweet)

monicaheadshot (1)About the Author: Monica Schmelter is the General Manager of WHTN (Christian Television Network) and host of the daily television program Bridges. You can learn more by visiting monicaschmelter.com.

Got a junk drawer? Ever find yourself stuffing stray items in there without thinking? Monica’s book, Messy to Meaningful, will help you sift through and sort out the unnecessary spiritual things weighing you down. Stop holding on to so much junk that you can’t fit in the good things the Lord is calling you to. Monica and co-authors Rhonda Rhea and Kaley Rhea will take you through your junk drawer and make you laugh along the way. Find yourself some beautiful…free.

Join the conversation: What foundational truths are helpful for you in times of trouble?

You Don’t Have to Hide Anymore

by Monica Schmelter @monicaschmelter

I’ve spent a lot of my life in hiding. I try to mask my insecurities, faults and shortcomings. Quite honestly, it’s grown to be a heavy load.

Can you relate?

I find I hide because I fear rejection or judgment. What makes you want to hide? Whatever the case hiding is nothing new. Adam and Eve hid because of sin. Gideon hid out of fear of the enemy.

One day, when my “if people really knew the truth about me” fears were overwhelming me, I happened on these Scriptures in the book of Colossians.

“You were dead because of your sins and because your sinful nature was not yet cut away. Then God made you alive with Christ, for he forgave all our sins.  He canceled the record of the charges against us and took it away by nailing it to the cross.  In this way, he disarmed the spiritual rulers and authorities. He shamed them publicly by his victory over them on the cross (Colossians 2:13-15 NLT).

Jesus willingly took our wrongs and wiped clean all records of them. He nailed them to the cross and utterly obliterated them. By doing this, He disarmed and shamed the spiritual rulers and authorities with His victory on the cross.

Our enemy, Satan, and his army of fallen angels have been disarmed. They are deprived of power over us. The Cross is our safe place. The cross beckons us out of hiding into His love and into the Community of faith. With the cross as our safe place, we can enjoy an honest relationship with Jesus Christ – and with one another.

With the cross as our safe place we hear “You don’t have to hide anymore.” All those fears, like God can’t forgive me or what will people think dissipate at the cross.

I can almost hear some of you saying yes, I can accept the cross as my safe place, but the whole community of faith thing? That is another matter. I struggle with that as well. Take a look at the truths below for help in living in community and building healthy relationships.

Trust Christ Completely

He is the only One who will never let us down. When Christ is our anchor, our ship does not sink when people disappoint us.

Realign Your Expectations of People

When we lean into Christ fully our expectations of people are realigned. This means we are free to enjoy community in a brand-new way. No longer do we rely on people to fully meet our needs, affirm our value and strengthen our faith.

Develop Relationships Over Time

You can learn a lot by listening to what is said, as well as what is not said. It takes time to build rapport, confidence, and trust. It isn’t wise to trust and bear our deepest issues to everyone, but there are safe people in this world. Look for and be a safe, trustworthy person. None of us were meant to do life alone.

The next time you find yourself wanting to do life alone – or go into hiding for fear of judgment or rejection, take a moment to reflect on the Cross as your Safe Place – and remember You don’t have to Hide anymore.

TWEETABLE
You Don’t Have to Hide Anymore – encouragement from @MonicaSchmelter on @AriseDailyDevo (Click to Tweet)

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About the author: Monica Schmelter is the host of CTN’s daily television show Bridges and also the General Manager of WHTN, Nashville TN. Bridges airs in over 50 Million Homes and also airs on ROKU. To learn more, go to monicaschmelter.com.

Got a junk drawer? Ever find yourself stuffing stray items in there without thinking? Monica’s book, Messy to Meaningful, will help you sift through and sort out the unnecessary spiritual things weighing you down. Stop holding on to so much junk that you can’t fit in the good things the Lord is calling you to. Monica and co-authors Rhonda and Kaley Rhea will take you through your junk drawer and make you laugh along the way. Find yourself some beautiful…free.

Join the conversation: Are you spending your life in hiding? What keeps you there?

 

 

 

Doubts? Get Back to Basics.

by Monica Schmelter @monicaschmelter

For the Lord is good.
    His unfailing love continues forever,
    and his faithfulness continues to each generation.  Psalm 100:5 NLT

In seasons where prayers go seemingly unanswered, you may find yourself riddled with doubts and questions. At least that’s how it is for me.

I’ve been praying over a prodigal for over ten years, and despite my fervent prayers, she continues to make excruciatingly painful choices. I find myself asking God a lot of doubt-filled questions. Why God? When God? How did we get here God?

When I think my prayers are going nowhere and questions and doubts are mounting, I find it incredibly helpful to return to the basics.

For me, that means I cease and desist with the questions, and start digging into God’s Word. As I begin reading its truths, I rediscover a Heavenly Father who is faithful and good. I am reminded that He hears every prayer. His Word assures me He is answering my cries, even if I can’t see or feel Him doing it. And as I soak in those truths, my questions and doubts dissipate.

Going back to the truth helps me to stop my faulty thinking. It inspires me to stop going off on my own and abide once again in Him.

Recently, as I struggled with my prodigal’s situation, God led me to John 15:5: “Yes, I am the vine; you are the branches. Those who remain in me, and I in them, will produce much fruit. For apart from me you can do nothing” (NLT). The verse reminded me that going ahead of God, demanding that He do things my way and on my timetable, is the opposite of resting in Him. It’s counterproductive, because He is the source of anything good that can be accomplished. Remaining in Him gives me strength to live out the truth. Ultimately, I can accomplish nothing on my own.

But as vital as it is to our spiritual health, the whole remaining in Him thing is easier said than done. So I tackle that challenge in much the same way as I do those doubts and questions. I post encouraging Scriptures on paper sticky notes, on my computer screen, and my cell phone. So when challenges to trusting God resurface, I go right to those prompts to remind me of the truth, which encourages me to stay on course. It keeps me from allowing unbelief to fester.

Living out the truth is an expression of our trust and love for Jesus Christ. His Word says if we love Him, we will obey His commandments. When doubts and questions about unanswered prayers are looming, our immediate obedience might be thwarted. It’s hard to obey someone you can’t trust. Certainly, there is nothing wrong with taking our doubts and questions to God. But allowing doubts to remain unchallenged is destructive.

Are you are in a season where you’ve been praying for someone or about something for a long time without an answer? A journey back to the basics might be helpful. When you start with the truth, remain in the truth, and live out the truth, you will be much more aware of your Heavenly Father present with you and be able to lean into His goodness and faithfulness to every generation.

TWEETABLE
Doubts? Get Back to Basics – @MonicaSchmelter on @AriseDailyDevo (Click to Tweet)

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About the author: Monica Schmelter hosts the daily television show Bridges on Christian Television Network. In her spare time, she searches for delicious and decadent calorie- free chocolate. You can find out more about her on FacebookPinterestTwitter, and Instagram.

Got a junk drawer? Ever find yourself stuffing stray items in there without thinking? Monica’s book, Messy to Meaningful, will help you sift through and sort out the unnecessary spiritual things weighing you down. Stop holding on to so much junk that you can’t fit in the good things the Lord is calling you to. Monica, and co-authors Rhonda Rhea and Kaley Rhea will take you through your junk drawer and make you laugh along the way. Find yourself some beautiful…free.

Join the conversation: What truths about God encourage you the most?

 

When Life Hurts

by Monica Schmelter @MonicaSchmelter

I get lots of calls, letters, and emails requesting prayer.

Each request is different.  Some requests just really stand out.  One of them was “Frieda” who asked for prayer. After 16 years of marriage, her husband wanted out.  He’d met another woman online. He felt “alive” with the other woman and wanted a new life.

Frieda’s case is especially complicated: her husband was a pastor. She had worked by his side for years, supporting his ministry and raising their children. But despite her tears and prayers, the marriage ended.

Why such needless suffering? The events brought pain not only to Frieda and her children, but to their former congregation. With more questions than answers, they did their best to move forward, but the profound sense of loss and suffering persisted.

When it comes to suffering, there are no easy or pat answers. However, when life hurts, we can trust His Word. It assures us of His promises, purpose in our lives, and offers godly perspective.

 God’s Promises

What a comfort it is to know He stands ready to help! He says we can come to Him in total honesty and receive mercy and grace when we need it most. Hebrews tells us that Jesus the High Priest “understands our weaknesses, for He faced all of the same testings we do, yet he did not sin. So let us come boldly to the throne of our gracious God. There we will receive his mercy, and we will find grace to help us in our time of need” (4:15-16 NLT).

God’s Purposes

God will use suffering to accomplish great things in our lives. Suffering has a way of helping us to realize just how helpless we really are. And as we cry out to God in our pain, He will use that moment to draw us into a deeper, more trusting relationship with Him. we are in a good position to go deeper in our trust of Him. He will also use suffering to develop and transform us into the image of Jesus Christ. And make us a better reflection of who He is to the world around us. As we trust and obey Christ amid suffering, He will accomplish great things in our lives.

God’s purposes in our lives are accomplished as we yield to Him in our pain. Hebrews tells us that even Jesus was perfected through suffering: “For it was fitting for Him…to bring many sons to glory, to perfect the author of their salvation through sufferings” (Hebrews 2:10 NASB).

God’s Perspective

While it may seem like an eternity as we struggle through pain, we can know that it will not last forever. God’s eternal perspective is a comfort, as well as giving us hope that one day everything will be made right. Our earthly life may be limited, but life beyond the grave will be forever.

As Paul wrote: “That is why we never give up. Thought our bodies are dying, our spirits are being renewed every day. For our present troubles are small and won’t last very long. Yet they produce for us a glory that vastly outweighs them and will last forever! So we don’t look at the troubles we can see now; rather, we fix our gaze on things that cannot be seen. For the things we see now will soon be gone, but the things we cannot see will last forever” (2 Corinthians 4:16-18 NLT).

If you are in a season of suffering, take some time right now to reflect on God’s Promises, Purposes, and Perspective. Allow His Word to encourage you and fill your heart with hope. You can trust Him to use your right now for good.

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Getting through a season when life hurts – insight from @MonicaSchmelter on @AriseDailyDevo (Click to Tweet)

monicaheadshot (1)Monica Schmelter is host of the daily television show Bridges on Christian Television Network. In her spare time, she searches for delicious and decadent calorie free chocolate. You can find out more about her on Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter, and Instagram.