The Prayer Project

“The LORD restored the fortunes of Job when he prayed for his friends, and the LORD increased all that Job had twofold.” ~Job 42:10

  
I have some friends that “stick closer than a brother” and I am so thankful. I will be participating in this challenge for them. 

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Mountains Moved

In a previous post, I wrote about the importance of recalling past victories, no matter how big or small. Our remembrance gives us hope and belief that God will continue to provide and make a way in future battles. What are some of the mountains that God has moved for you? 

Strange Fruit 

“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, long suffering, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law.” ~Galatians 5:22-23

For a long while now I have been fighting against myself and not dying daily as we are urged to do.  As a result of this, my spiritual fruits have suffered and have no resemblance to Christ. Just as a tree is known by its fruit, so is man. 

I had an epiphany the other day that I can only be who God created me to be. I have to continue being kind, thoughtful, merciful and loving regardless of how others treat me.  I will no longer allow my emotions to be manipulated. The Bible says in Proverbs 16:32 “Whoever is slow to anger is better than the mighty, and he who rules his spirit than he who takes a city.” We are expected to exhibit self control. The Lord has fully equipped with the ability to do so. We should reflect the  character of God to all we encounter. 

2 Peter 1:5-9 reads “For this very reason, make every effort to supplement your faith with virtue, and virtue with knowledge, and knowledge with self-control, and self-control with steadfastness, and steadfastness with godliness, and godliness with brotherly affection, and brotherly affection with love. For if these qualities are yours and are increasing, they keep you from being ineffective or unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. For whoever lacks these qualities is so nearsighted that he is blind, having forgotten that he was cleansed from his former sins.” With that being said I realized that I could not effectively witness for the Lord with the stench of my strange spiritual fruit rotting all around me. I was operating by flesh and not spirit and disregarding Galatians 6:7″Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, that he will also reap. For he who sows to his flesh will of the flesh reap corruption, but he who sows to the Spirit will of the Spirit reap everlasting life.” 

I was only offering love to those who loved me, I was not counting it all joy nor being content in each of my life’s circumstances, my peace was long gone, I had no concept of long suffering and was very petulant at the thought of having to wait for something, my faith tank was on empty, my gentleness depended upon my mood, and my self-control was questionable. It was obvious that I had not matured spiritually. 

I had forgotten all about the fruit of the spirit. Instead, my “works of the flesh” were evident.  But God has clearly warned us “…I tell you beforehand, just as I also tell you in time past, that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.” ~Galatians 5:21

I am glad God gave me this me this revelation. It feels so liberating to know that I have the power and kingdom of God within me because “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” Romans 8:28 

It Is Written

“Be imitators of me, just as I also am of Christ.” ~1 Corinthians 11:1

I came across this beautiful comment made by my favorite musician, Prince and thought I’d share: 

God is a generous and loving being. It is written we should act like God. There are enough opportunities. 

I am keeping my eyes open and my ears tuned for such opportunities to glorify God. 

I am thankful that Prince was able to redeem himself and find the narrow road that leads to life before it was too late. 

Let the redeemed of the Lord say so! 

Intentional 

Yesterday I received yet another medical bill in the mail. I could feel my tension rising. It’s one thing to go through an unexpected illness and more stress is added to it all when you have to help cover the cost even with the aid of insurance. 

I thought surely God is taking me through this for a reason because ALL things are working for my good. Then of course I tried to figure out how a myriad of constant medical bills could produce any good in my life. Is He trying to teach me how to stretch my money? Does he want me to learn to be thankful that I am able to keep up with bills? My inquiring, human mind wanted to know. 

I finally stopped when I realized that I don’t know the reason why but He does and that’s enough. In the words of Travis Green, “He’s intentional/Never failing.” I couldn’t agree more. 

Letter to My Son

“Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.” ~James 1:17

Last week my son went on a senior retreat  for his last year of high school and parents were asked to write letters. I thought I’d share mine as a testament to the goodness of the Lord. 

Dearest Chad, 
God allowed me to have a dream about you a couple of months before you were born. I dreamed about a beautiful, big, brown-eyed baby boy with dark wavy hair. And true to my dream, this is exactly what you were. You have always been the child of my dreams. I knew I loved you before I met. 

I remember your first night at home. Quiet, you gazed about your new surroundings, your luminous eyes taking it all in and your little rosebud lips forming a perfect O. I thought that you were the most precious, exquisite, and adorable thing that I had ever had the fortune to behold. And I still see you this way. 

I remain so thankful that when God chose a baby from the Cabbage Patch (my version of the birds and bees) that he handpicked you just for me. There are no words in the English lexicon adequate enough to express the depth of my love or the amount of pride I have for you, though pressed to choose, magnificent comes to mind. 

You are one of the best blessings God has so graciously bestowed upon me. If God gave me a choice of sons I would still choose you a thousand times…and then one more.

There are so many things I love about you. I appreciate how kindhearted, polite, funny, respectful, inquisitive, insightful, intellectual, and intelligent you are. One day you will make some lucky young lady a good husband. 

I am proud of you for making a choice daily to do the right things despite the worldly society we live in. To paraphrase Proverbs 31:29, “Many sons have done well, But you excel them all.” Chad, raising you has been a pleasure. Now if I could only get you to keep your room clean!

I pray fervently that God may forever keep You in His shadow. Always remember Matthew 5:5 “Blessed are the meek; for they shall inherit the earth.” I love you to infinity and beyond (in my Buzz Lightyear voice)!

 

Mom

 

The Missing Pieces

“I will put My trust in Him.” ~Hebrews 2:13

It feels so good to trust in the Lord and lean not to my own understanding. 

I often liken life to a billion piece jiggle saw puzzle. Each event, experience, trial, blessing, etc. in our life represents one piece-thus it rarely makes sense to us. 

But God…literally and figuratively speaking, the Creator of the puzzle, has already put it together and can see the big picture. Trust Him my friends. 

  

When God Speaks, Do You Listen? 

“Yea, and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution.” 2 Timothy 3.12

This story made me feel some kind of way. We live in such a contradictory time. It’s okay that American currency boasts In God We Trust or that our local newspaper prints a daily prayer. At the first sign of trouble people have no qualms about calling on the name of God. And let’s not forget what happens when one is sworn into office or when we testify in a court of law. 

Yet it seems we are not welcomed to ever mention Him outside of those few circumstances. We must be politically correct at all times lest we offend the masses. 

I get it that he was at work, however, are we supposed to pick and choose when we are Christian? 

The trooper stated that God told him specifically to  address her. Was he supposed to ignore the voice of the Lord because he was on duty? Richard Waples, the civil rights attorney involved in the case stated “When he’s engaged in the official acts of his job, especially when he’s a police officer, those kinds of stops are inherently coercive. That is not the time to be talking to people about their religion.” My question remains, when is the right time? He may have never encountered that lady again. 

I sometimes have my Bible on my desk at work and there is even one on my classroom bookshelf. From time to time a student will say “You can’t have that on your desk.” I simply explain  that I can as long as I’m not teaching from it. Most of my students know that I am a Christian and if they ask me a question about my religion, I answer truthfully. However, I do not bring it up unless they do in fear of violating somebody’s civil rights. Or offending them in our extremely sensitive environment although the Bible admonishes us not to be overly offended. 

Trooper Hamilton spoke with a local news station regarding his termination and did not feel as if he did anything wrong. “Oh well…I’m just following what the Lord told me to do and you can’t change what the Lord tells you to do. So if the Lord tells me to speak about Jesus Christ, I do.” 

What would you have done? 

Hannah’s Prayer

“O my lord! As your soul lives, my lord, I am the woman who stood by you here, praying to the Lord.” 1 Samuel 1:26

Today I was reading scripture when I came across Hannah’s prayer. I was really struck by it so I thought I would share: 

My heart rejoices in the Lord; My horn is exalted in the Lord. I smile at my enemies, Because I rejoice in Your salvation. 

No one is holy like the Lord, For there is none besides You, Nor is there any rock like our God. 

Talk no more so very proudly; Let no arrogance come from your mouth, For the Lord is the God of knowledge; And by Him actions are weighed. 

The bows of the mighty men are broken, And those who stumbled are girded with strength. Those who were full have hired themselves out for bread, And the hungry have ceased to hunger. Even the barren has borne seven, And she who has many children has become feeble. 

The Lord kills and makes alive; He brings down to the grave and brings up. The Lord makes poor and makes rich; He brings low and lifts up. He raises the poor from the dust. And lifts the beggar from the ash heap, To set them among princes, And make them inherit the throne of glory. 

For the pillars of the earth are the Lord’s, And He has set the world upon them. He will guard the feet of His saints, But the wicked shall be silent in the darkness. 

For by strength no man shall prevail. The adversaries of the Lord shall be broken in pieces; From heaven He will thunder against them. The Lord will judge the ends of the earth.  

He will give strength to His King, And exalt the horn of His anointed. 


Testimony

 “It seemed good to me to show the signs and wonders that the Most High God has done for me.” Daniel 4:2

We all have a story to tell that would glorify God and serve to bring others to Christ. You never know just who is in need of your  edifying words. A testimony can provide hope for the hurting and broken-hearted.  Importantly, it is expected of us Christians to encourage others “May the God who gives endurance and encouragement give you the same attitude of mind toward each other that Christ Jesus had.” Romans 15:5 Through the reading of the Word, we are capable of encouraging others, “The Sovereign LORD has given me a well-instructed tongue, to know the word that sustains the weary.” Isaiah 50:4

However, exactly how do you go about sharing your story with others? Testifying requires transparency and truth. You have to be willing to expose your inadequacies and flaws to the world without fear of judgment. Your motive for testifying must be pure as well-least you make a mockery of God. You can’t be vague and noncommittal in your sharing. How could that possibly give God the credit for your victory? You shouldn’t leave any listener with a doubt or question about who did what for you. 

God will even supply you with what to say. He has done this countless times for others throughout the Bible. Jeremiah: “Then the LORD reached out his hand and touched my mouth and said to me “I have put my words in your mouth.” Jeremiah 1:19…Moses: “You shall speak to him and put words in his mouth; I will help both of you speak and will teach you what to do. He will speak to the people for you, and it will be as if he were your mouth and as if you were God to him.” Exodus 4:15-16 …Disciples: “But when they arrest you, do not worry about what to say or how to say it. At that time you will be given what to say, for it will not be you speaking, but the Spirit of your Father speaking through you.” Matthew 10:20 

Others may not like your testimony or even have an issue with it though you can’t concern yourself with their opinions. Jesus tells us in Luke 21:14-15 “But make up your mind not to worry beforehand how you will defend yourselves. For I will give you words and wisdom that none of your adversaries will be able to resist or contradict. 

Testifying is indeed a vulnerable thing but very necessary. We simply have to count it all joy.  So I’d like to encourage anyone who is afraid to share their testimony with the following verses: James 5:10 says “As an example, brethren, of suffering and patience, take the prophets who spoke in the name of the Lord.” And 1 Peter 3:14 “But even if you should suffer for the sake of righteousness, you are blessed and do not fear their intimidation, and do not be troubled.” 1 Peter 3:14 …but if anyone suffers as a Christian, he is not be ashamed, but is to glorify God in this name.” 1 Corinthians 4:10 “We are fools for Christ’s sake, but you are prudent in Christ; we are weak, but you are strong ; you are distinguished, but we are without honor.”  Lastly, “For we do not preach ourselves but Christ Jesus as Lord, and ourselves as your bond-servants for Jesus’ sake.” 2 Corinthian 4:5. 

May your glory be to God and God alone!