Sunday, April 5, 2015

Easter - He is Risen!

The journey of Lent is an opportunity to walk by the side of Jesus, as He walked toward His darkest hour.  If we truly immerse ourselves into this walk, in study and prayer, it is interesting that our lives come to mirror His walk.  Old habits, needless ways of thinking, buried lies about ourselves, disappointments in relationships, all creep into our minds and hearts. Alone.... joining our precious Savior as he prayed alone in the garden among sleeping friends.  Good Friday, the day of crucifixion, and Quiet Saturday give no hint of what is to come.  Then the brilliance of Easter Sunday....the empty tomb discovered, disbelief, confusion, doubt....leading to the truth that Christ has Risen.  He has risen indeed, transforming lives and casting out fear.  The disciples witnessed Him, resurrected, and became ambassadors of the Good News.  Thomas doubted.....and Christ met even him, in his doubt and fear, with tenderness and Grace.  Wherever we are this week, Jesus knows, and wants to shine His Light in us, making all things new.  Nothing can hinder His work in us, His saving Grace.  Sins, wounds, tragedies, shattered dreams, all healed, made new in Christ, declared so by our Gracious God!  Hope Promise Light.  We have a friend in a Savior who suffered, and has Risen, allowing us to transform our suffering into Life.  His mercies are new every day! Praise be to our Glorious Father and our precious Risen Christ!

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Loving the Overlooked ~ Advent Prayer

Hallelujah.  Hallelujah.  Hallelujah!  Christ is Born, and Father God may we be as in awe and overwhelmed by the news, as the shepherds were that cold, dark night. You loved us so much, you sent your only son to earth, as a humble babe, to rescue us out of darkness. Yes, we are in awe, and we sing our praises to you.  Lord, as we are humbled in this remembrance, we ask your forgiveness for forgetting who we are.  Forgive us for overlooking the great gift you have given to us – the inheritance of a King.  Forgive us when we act in ways that do not reflect our heritage of Light.  Forgive us for overlooking those in need around us. Forgive us now, as we consider apologies that are yet unspoken; relationships that need attention; love that needs to be extended.  

Thank you that through your precious son, we are forgiven.  As we are forgiven, so we need to forgive.  Use us, in spite of our perceived shortcomings, to reflect your great love to others.  Use our losses and failures to lift up the lives of others in need, as we unknowingly encounter them every day… at work, at the post office, at the market and malls, as we rush to prepare our homes for Christmas.  Remind us that the message of the birth of Christ is not just a celebration to be kept at home with our family, but an opportunity to reach out to those we  overlook, with the same generosity you extend to us. Make obvious to us the people who need your light in the darkness this Christmas season…..we yearn to satisfy the hungry, befriend the lonely, walk alongside the grieving, care for the ashamed, so that the reversal of Advent be true for them - in their lives- this Christmas.

Lord we pray for the overlooked in our families. Open our eyes.  Lord we pray for the overlooked in our communities, and we ask you would move our feet.  We pray for the overlooked and needy in our nation… Lord, extend our hands.  We consider the overlooked, the persecuted, the poor, the unloved, around the world.  Lord, open our hearts to include them in our daily prayers. Help us to remember to live in your great love every day.  Keep us in your word, and guide us to take steps that spread the good news of your great love.  Show us ways to shine the light of your Glory out from our homes into the community, the nation, the world, just as the angels did that Christmas night so long ago.  In Jesus’ precious name.  Amen 

Monday, October 14, 2013

Prayer for Spiritual Gifts

Father God, we praise you and give thanks that you have invited us to be your hands and feet in our world.   We are humbled by the amazing gift of your son Jesus Christ, who redeemed us and made known to us the gifts so generously given by the Holy Spirit.  Take our lives, Lord, and use us.

Father God, help us  look deep within ourselves and discover the spiritual gifts you have blessed us with.  May we take the time to direct our lives in a way that best uses our own unique combination of gifts.  May our faith guide us in realizing our gifts.  May our continuing education about these gifts help us discover where our strengths and interest lie. May we always be open to the direction of the Spirit and never forget the love you have for each of us. Lord, help us to encourage others in the talents they have.  May we not be jealous of the gifts of others, but learn to nurture and celebrate our own gifts, as part of the same body. Help us to serve others in the community and in doing so help to build up your kingdom.  Give us the strength to reach out to others in need.  May we always be willing to make sacrifices for the benefit of the common good, and do this lovingly, as Jesus taught us. Father God, guide us to continue to do our part in developing our gifts so they may be fully utilized. Keep our hearts and minds open to the direction of the Spirit, who calls us to celebrate our gifts by sharing them with others.

God we thank you for all of your blessings.  We know that all of our gifts come from you.  May we always give of ourselves, and use these gifts in a way that shows our gratitude for them. We thank you for the love you showed in giving us your son.  May we always know that you are there and that we will not be given more than we can handle.  Help us to turn to you, lean on you, talk to you, and strive to be one with you. We thank you for the discovery of those spiritual gifts that are meant to shine through us, and be light among your people …   for your Glory, and for the common good of all.
In Jesus’ precious name.  Amen

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Refreshed by the Dew of His Presence

In her very helpful devotional, Jesus Calling, Sara Young, opens a reading with the sentence, "Let the dew of My Presence refresh your mind and heart.  Those words grabbed me and have fallen on me over the past two days, which have since included my resilient enegy and plans for the week getting flattened by a virus, and two people in my life receiving devastating news about their health.  Now my illness is obviously a minor thing, and I will most likely be bouncing around before school resumes next week.  However, my high school friend, who went to the doctor for a sore arm Friday and lays now in an induced coma to study a massive brain tumor, has less hopeful news.  My brother-in-law reels from the knowledge that after extensive chemotherapy and radiation, his previously low cancer indicators are not holding.  "Let the dew of My Presence refresh your mind and heart."

As I delve into the scripture behind Sara Young's words, I find Psalm 46:10.  "He says, 'Be still and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth." 
1Corinthians 14:33 "For God is not a God of disorder but of peace."

I am left holding the prayers for others, not solely for their physical healing, but for their hearts and minds.  For peace.  Life surprises us....throws us a curve.....catches us off guard.  "Be still and know that I am God.  I will be exalted."  When we get down off of the big chair of our plans, we learn that God's plans for us include stillness, a refreshed heart and mind, and peace out of disorder. We feel His presence, and we begin again to exhalt Him.  We praise Him for His Holy Grace in our lives and for every hue of His creation. He is the Truth for all time.  The living waters of our soul.  Lord, let the dew of your presence fall on me, and those I pray for.  Refresh my heart and mind. Create peace where there is disorder.  Let the dew of your presence wash over my mind and heart.  In His precious name, Amen.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Answer to Prayer

Prayer is an important part of my life as a Christian, and I have had a passion for intercessory prayer for many years. My time in prayer for others is precious and important to me, and I love the connection it brings with God and with those I pray for.  Many prayers over time have been answered!  I am always so grateful and give God the praise for His loving care and specific answers.  However, there have been a few times, when I have fervently and boldly prayed to God on behalf of another, expectantly, and the prayer does NOT seem to be answered.  I say seem to be only because I do not have the mind of God, and I do not have the ability to know His plans.  But I can say the disappointment in each case of loss was huge, and therefore very confusing to me.  But I push on, knowing that God is Good, and I must obediently trust in Him.

Recently I have been interested in a bit of writing by E. M. Bounds, who is evidently, since his death, known for his amazing prayer life. He writes: "To God and to man, the answer to prayer is the all-important part of our praying. It proves that God lives, that there is a God, an intelligent being, who is interested in His creatures, and who listens to them when they approach Him in prayer."
If this is so, then I am all the more confused about what to do with "unanswered" prayer.  The Bible holds the truth, so we can turn to it to point us back to the truth.  Though confusion remains in my mind, the point is that God is sovereign.  We are to trust and obey, worship, pray, and give thanks.

These scriptures from John command us to boldly approach God in prayer:

"And I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son."
"You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you so that you might go and bear fruit—fruit that will last—and so that whatever you ask in my name the Father will give you."
"In that day you will no longer ask me anything. Very truly I tell you, my Father will give you whatever you ask in my name."
SO, for you, and to those for whom I hold on my prayer list, I boldly approach the throne of God to ask for prayers to be answered, in the name of Jesus Christ, for healing for you, in body and soul. I pray for physical healing, emotional healing, and for a keen sense of God in your life.  I pray for jobs, I pray for right relationships, and I pray for release from grief.  I pray for you and for your children.  May God be the center of your life, and may you find your utmost joy in Him.  In the name of Jesus Christ.  Amen

Monday, January 21, 2013

I Praise You, for You are With Me

Genesis 39:20 But while Joseph was there in the prison, 21 the Lord was with him; he showed him steadfast love, and granted him favor in the eyes of the prison warden."

Father God, you are so faithful.  Your love for us knows no bounds.  Like Joseph, your steadfast love is with us forever.  No matter what our circumstances, you are beside us, walking us through your plan. We cannot see the end of the story, but you are the trusted director of our lives.  How I praise you!  I am so grateful today, for your invitation to be your daughter.  I thank you that my eyes have been opened to you.  I am in awe of your love for me, so undeserved.  I am grateful for this day....for time spent with you, for sunshine, for buds on the plants, for friends, for precious family.  Your blessings on my life cannot be counted.  Even during unexpected trials, you are there..comforting, caring, smoothing the way, and preparing me for what is to come. I am yours.  Claimed.  Sealed in your love, through the power of Jesus Christ.  Your gift of unparalled mercies. How I thank you!  During times of joy, you are smiling down on me, encouraging the gratefulness and the sharing of your love out into my world. Thank you, Father.  Thank you!  In the name of Jesus.  Amen

Monday, December 31, 2012

New Year to Share God's Love

On Sunday, our  pastor helped us reflect on the past and the coming New Year with his sermon “Everlasting.”   The word is found primarily in the Old Testament, and is equivalent to the New Testament word, Eternal.  However, the two have different connotations.  While eternal  has a linear quality, as in a time that never stops, everlasting is far reaching, outside of time altogether.  God is everlasting.  If God is everlasting, therefore so are his attributes and promises, giving us great comfort. 
Lord God, what we ultimately need from you is this promise that you will be our dwelling place…everlasting…both from outside of time, and right into our moments.  As Noah, Isaiah, Jeremiah all experienced God’s everlasting love and faithfulness, this love from outside of time came down to us as Jesus Christ,  Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace, God With Us. Our hearts are full of gratitude.
And in very individual ways, Lord, you have shown your love and faithfulness to us.  Give us a thirst to take time to reflect on the ways you have been with us in this past year.  These precious remembrances give us the hope and expectancy of your presence with us in the coming year.  We give thanks for the remarkable ways you make yourself know to us, and we pray we will see you at work in our lives. 
Father God, as we begin the New Year, help us invite you in, to be with us in our ordinary moments, our significant moments, and in the unexpected.  You have claimed us for your own, and given us the wisdom, heart and character of Jesus Christ, your only Son.  Through the power of your Holy Spirit, help us shine this everlasting love out into our world, wherever we are, so the world will see and know that to know you, is to be Loved.  In the name of Jesus Christ, we pray.