Thursday, May 21, 2020

What Do We Do Pray; How Do We Pray?

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This, then, is how you should pray
 Matthew 6:9 (NIV)

When we are asked to pray about a request for a friend and that request causes us great concern. How do we pray? Do we pray as that person asks?

Several years ago, I was asked to pray for a family who had lost their son because of domestic violence. A friend knew this family. The perpetrator was caught and faced trial. During the trial, another friend asked me to pray for the perpetrator, the wife of the deceased man. My second friend was acquainted with some of the wife’s family through where she worked.

I was confused about how to pray for this situation. I muddled about it for a couple of days. Then, I somehow heard the words, “Why aren’t you praying for My Will?”

Do we sometimes forget to pray for that request? I practice praying for a request at the time I receive it, be it in person or over the phone and even online.

Presently, several of my requests I place before the LORD are simply that His presence be felt by a friend who is in stage 4 cancer. Another request is that God allows His Will to guide someone who is considering relocating back to our area.

We pray for God’s Will for any request. When we pray, we pray for the Lord to intervene and allow Him to work out the perceived need according to what He wants for that person.




Monday, May 18, 2020

Joyful, Patient, Faithful

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Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer.
Romans 12:12 (NIV)
  
                Be joyful-
             Joyful means what it says-full of joy. Some would say that to be joyful means just that and nothing more. When we believe in Christ, we invite Him into our hearts, we give Him all our grievances and our sadness.

            In hope-
             In the New Testament, hope means the expectation of good. Presently, the world needs to have hope to survive the Coronavirus pandemic. Our hope is in Christ. He will guide us through this time of restrictions.

            patient-
            Patience is a gift of the Holy Spirit, the Old Testament uses the phrase, long-suffering to describe it. I love that meaning. Waiting is part of patience.

            in affliction-
            We will have difficulties come to us as we walk this earth. No one is immune from them. Jesus told His disciples,” In this world, you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” (John 16:22)

            faithful-
            The writer of Hebrews tells us that faith is “confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see.” (Hebrews 11:1) When we have hope we have to also have confidence. We must rely on God to get us through those tough times that we all will face at some time in our lives.
           
            in prayer-
            Prayer is the way we converse with God. Through this avenue, we thank Him for what He has done for us. We tell Him we love Him. We bring our requests and our intercessions for others before Him.

Added Thought:

As I searched for a graphic to put here. the thought came to me that the qualities mentioned in this verse are all listed in the Fruit of the Spirit  that Paul writes of to the Galatians.


Thursday, May 14, 2020

We Need to Humble Ourselves

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This is a repeat of an older post, with an additional thought or two.
Due to some concerns and anxieties that some of my friends and I have experienced, I found myself fretting over some issues I could not completely put out of my mind. I remembered this scripture and studied it again. Please bear with me as I explain what it means to me.

Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time he may exalt you, casting all your anxieties on him because he cares for you. 1 Peter 5:6-7 (ESV) 

Humble yourselves--when we look at our habits, our ways, and our activities, through God’s eyes and compare them to His teachings and what He expects from us, we humble ourselves.

under the mighty hand of God under God’s direction. All our thoughts, words, and actions must come through the filters He gives us. (see Philippians 4:8-9)

at the proper time, -- God will act on our needs and the requests we make when He sees we are ready. We might have to grow closer to Him to understand what is happening around us.

he may exalt you; -- He will use his discretion to lift us up. He is the One who calls the shots, makes the decisions about circumstances in our lives.

casting-- Picture a fisherman as he throws his line into the water. He reaches back over his shoulder, rod in hand, placing his arm behind him or her. The angler brings that arm across his body. The line flies across the water. The hook lands a great distance from him or her.

all your anxieties-- I find the important word here is “ALL”. We are not to withhold any fear or concern from God. Nothing is too small or insignificant for God to handle.

because he cares for you. -- God made each of us. Because of that, He loves us. When we have times when we think no one cares about us God does care.
ADDITIONAL THOUGHTS:
During this time of shelter-in-place orders, things have been rather monotonous for a lot of my friends. However, we have had more time to spend with God and reading different devotional writers.
I have had time to listen to the news journalists and discovered that there are some out there in the world who seem to believe as I do. Our world needs to know that certain thoughts we hear are not correct and we still have to stand for God and for what is right.

Tuesday, May 5, 2020

Blessed are the Poor in Spirit

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Blessed are the poor in spirit,
For theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Matthew 5:1 (NIV)

What does Jesus mean when He says this?

I know a woman and two of her sisters who are poor by the standards of society, but I have heard of this Christian woman going out of her way to help others who had less. I also witnessed this same Christian woman console one of her sisters at a memorial service for one of their brothers.
           
I read of a Christian speaker and author tell of preparing to speak at a writer’s conference as he recovered from cancer treatment. He sent up a prayer to God saying, “Lord, I can’t do this.” The answer he received was simply, “You can’t, but now I can.”

As I compose this essay, I am reminded of times when I have ventured out ahead of the LORD and then got into trouble. Was that being poor in spirit? Definitely not.

Being poor in spirit simply means that we realize that we can’t do anything without the LORD guiding us.

As we await the time for re-opening our local church, some of us are hearing from different sources of information giving us conflicting dates. Some of us have decided we need to leave that decision up to the LORD.
 
How many times have we felt that we were in control and could do something without the LORD’s guidance? I know I have thought this and acted like I knew what I was doing. Only, my ‘plans’ failed.            

All our plans must go through God. It is His decision that is paramount in all our lives.



Thursday, April 30, 2020

April Reflections

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April came and is almost history. This has been the most unusual month of my life.

I have not written much this month. My experience with a medical boot was not a positive one. (Think 15-pound weight on your leg.) The nicest thing I can say about that apparatus is that it was a nice neutral color-a pale gray. It would go with all my sweatpants. On April 20, after some discussion with Hubby, I chose to come out of it and put on a regular shoe.

I received a phone call from the orthopedics office on April 30th. They had to reschedule my appointment again. My new appointment is on May 28th. That is just short of three months since I fell.

I have been journaling throughout this time. Some of the entries are thoughts on certain scriptures. Others are about Coronavirus and its effect on people.
I have spent this time reading devotional books.

1.)    From Suffering to Salvation. It incorporates writings of Henri Nouwen and thoughts by Christopher Klofft.

2.)    Walking Together in Our Faith Journey assembled by our pastor and his wife, containing devotions written by a few of us at our church and pastor friends and mentors they have had.
Our Sunday school class will continue working through these at such time as we can meet for worship and study. I am re-reading the daily entries.

I am slowly doing research on the Apostle Paul. I am stymied on what foods a Roman prisoner would eat.  

Those of us who live in my state, Indiana, will find out on May 1 whether our shelter-in-place restriction will end and if we will have a schedule for the re-opening of our state.

Our prayer ministry group has been meeting via conference call about twice a week. It is a time we all look forward to.

Our street is the main route to a hospital. Usually, traffic past our house is steady. Of late, that traffic has been sparse. When the weather is nice and warm, I sit on our enclosed front porch for a few hours.

On Easter Sunday, those of our church who could created a parade and drove past our pastor and his wife’s home to tell them how much we appreciated them. I recently saw pictures of the signs the participants created to convey words of thanks to them. One of the Indy channels received word of the plans and sent a photojournalist up to record the event. We made the newscasts for about a day and a half.

As we await the decisions about our lives reopening, let us all remember Who is ultimately in charge.
Peace and Blessings to you all.

Tuesday, April 28, 2020

Rest and Guidance

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 He makes me lie down in green pastures,
He leads me beside quiet waters.

 Psalm 23:2 (NIV)


What does this verse mean to us who live in the 21st Century?

He makes me lie down
 God allows us time to rest and recover from those times when we have suffered loss or have been harmed. When a family loses a loved one, Our Father allows them to grieve the loss.

 in green pastures
As children, we may have laid down in our yards and watched the clouds in the sky. I remember rolling down an embankment of grass and squealing with delight that it was a fun thing to do.
 what He can do for us.

 he leads me beside quiet waters.

God takes us, as He took David, into calming settings in order to talk to us. Have you ever watched fish in an aquarium?

When my stepmother underwent radiation therapy, the lobby of that area had two fish tanks built into the walls. I found it peaceful to watch as I waited for her daily treatment to be completed.

As we wait for the stay-at-home orders to be lifted, we must listen to God’s voice as He guides us through each of our days.



Tuesday, April 21, 2020

Blessed

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,
Blessed are those who mourn,
For they shall be comforted.
Matthew 5:4 (NIV)

These words, spoken by Jesus, bring comfort to many people who grieve the loss of a loved one.

When a person goes into mourning, Jesus stands beside him or her, and brings comfort. He wraps His arms of love around each of them, draws them close, and whispers needed words into his or her ear.

This scripture speaks volumes to people in our nation during this time of the pandemic.

Those who mourn during these days could not be with their loved ones during their final hours on earth. This adds to their grief.

We don’t know how this Coronavirus got such a hold on our world. Another addition to their grief.

Many of those who lost their lives were elderly and unable to ‘fight back’. I find this personal. I lost a cousin to this disease. I have a couple of friends who each have mothers who are in the same health care facility.

Whatever the source of grief those who are mourning, may they find comfort in these ten words spoken by our LORD Jesus Christ.

What Do We Do Pray; How Do We Pray?

Crosswalk.com This, then, is how you should pray   Matthew 6:9 (NIV) When we are asked to pray about a request for a friend and ...