Monday, June 29, 2009

Do you need MORE?

I listened to Beth Moore teach today. Her topic was The Jars of Life: What's In Yours? Visit http://www.lifetoday.org/site/PageServer?pagename=bth_media to listen for free. She taught on Jesus' first miracle when he turned water into wine at the wedding at Cana. The story is found in John 2. Mary, the mother of Jesus, said 5 simple words to her son. "They have no more wine." She had complete faith that Jesus could handle the situation. She didn't have to tell him HOW!

Imagine that. Telling Jesus our problem and that's it. No suggested solutions. Can I do that? Can I stop at just telling Jesus my problem.

Jesus, I have no more ______________.

That's how I prayed this morning. I just told Jesus what I was out of. And then I stopped. I didn't tell him how to solve my need. So now I wait to see how he chooses to answer.

What are YOU out of? You fill in the blank.

Jesus, I have no more _______________

Here are some of the things you might have written:
hope
trust
energy
money
joy
hunger for the Word
passion

Or you just might have written, "Jesus, I have no more to give."

Whatever you wrote, the story of John 2 tells us that Jesus can fill us -- and fill us to overflowing. That was his first miracle, and he continues to perform it.

Tell him what you need today. And let Jesus determine how to supply exactly what you need.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Daily Walk

I'm reading through the Bible this year using "The Daily Walk Bible" from Walk Thru the Bible Ministries. The June 20th devotion said this:

"Memories, like fire, can both bless with warmth and burn with searing heat. As you look back over the first half of this year, do your memories give you more pleasure or pain?

Probably you experienced a bit of both sensations. As the psalmist reviewed Israel's history, he delighted in the faithfulness of God, who never failed his people, and despaired over the faithlessness of Israel, who repeatedly disobeyed God. The nation's history speaks eloquently of the pain of waywardness and the persistence of God in guiding his people down the path of righteousness and blessing.

If you were asked to write The History of My Life: Part 1, would it read like Psalm 106? Would it include pleasant memories of God's provision and painful memories of your rebellious moments? Have you thanked God for the former? Have you experienced God's forgiveness for the latter (1 John 1:9)? And have you learned a lesson in the process? Or are you -- like the Israelites in Psalm 106 -- repeating your errors and forfeiting God's blessing?"


I can't always control my circumstances -- some will be painful, and life will quake. But I can choose how I respond -- with despair or with faith -- with waywardness or with righteousness.

I am reminded of the words of Deuteronomy. Those Israelites had a choice, just like we do. God said to them through the prophet Moses:

Deut 30:19-20 This day I call heaven and earth as witnesses against you that I have set before you life and death, blessings and curses. Now choose life, so that you and your children may live and that you may love the Lord your God, listen to his voice, and hold fast to him . . .

Today I choose life, I choose obedience, I choose FAITH!

Our Hope Endures

A kind friend who is filled with mercy heard this song and thought of me. Are you going through a difficult time? Soak in the lyrics to this song and find comfort and hope today. I did.

OUR HOPE ENDURES by Natalie Grant

You would think only so much can go wrong
Calamity only strikes once
And you assume this one has suffered her share
Life will be kinder from here
Oh, but sometimes the sun stays hidden for years
Sometimes the sky rains night after night
When will it clear?

But our Hope endures the worst of conditions
It's more than our optimism
Let the earth quake
Our Hope is unchanged

How do we comprehend peace within pain?
Or joy at a good man's wake?
Walk a mile with the woman whose body is torn
With illness, but she marches on
Oh, 'cause sometimes the sun stays hidden for years
Sometimes the sky rains night after night
When will it clear?

But our Hope endures the worst of conditions
It's more than our optimism
Let the earth quake
Our Hope is unchanged

Emmanuel, God is with us
El Shaddai, all sufficient
We never walk alone
And this is our hope

But our Hope endures the worst of conditions
It's more than our optimism
Let the earth quake
Our Hope is unchanged

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Inertia

Websters defines inertia as "indisposition to motion, exertion, or action; want of energy; sluggishness." That describes me today. I can't seem to motivate myself to activity -- any activity. I didn't sit down for my quiet time and didn't even feel like answering the phone. Inertia -- I have a bad case of it. And now it's raining to add to my feeling of sluggishness.

Inertia snuck up on me. I think it followed an intense period of time when I had to think, feel, and problem-solve. My mind must have needed a rest. And so, my mind sits at rest. And I just sit. I don't like inertia.

When my mind is idle it tends to fill up with bad thoughts. I'm not safe with an idle mind. I need focus, I need purpose, I need direction. God gives me all of that. I've just been ignoring Him. I know He's there. I know He's ready to speak to me. I know He's ready to listen to me. His Word sits on my kitchen counter beckoning me to come sit and read and soak up some truth. I'm glad I've been treasuring His Word lately. Because even when inertia sets in, I can still recall the rich pleasure I receive when I go to God's Word. And even when I have a bad case of inertia, He still beckons me to come.

I think I will.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

God at work

My last post talked about the peace that comes through prayer. I told about 2 friends who were praying about my Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day! Well, today I discovered that God was at work behind the scenes, without my knowing it, supplying even more prayer for that day.
I received emails from 2 friends telling me they had prayed for me on Tuesday -- my bad day. One friend knew it was to be a difficult day for me, so she prayed.

The other friend sent me this email -- I am still praying for you, your ministry, and your family on Mondays. Except this week it ended up being Tuesday. Mostly I am praying for peace for you. I believe that God orchestrated it so that she prayed on Tuesday -- my bad day -- even though she had no clue what I was going through. And she prayed for peace -- which is exactly what I needed and what I experienced.

God was at work -- even when I could not see Him. And He graciously revealed this truth to me -- just so I'd remember next time. When I cannot see Him -- He is at work.

My daily Bible reading took me to Psalm 77:19 which talked about God leading the Israelites through the Red Sea. "Your path led through the sea, your way through the mighty waters, though your footprints were not seen."

I did not see God's footprints on my very bad day.

Nevertheless, God was at work!

Friday, June 12, 2009

Peace be with you

I had a tough day on Tuesday. I had to do something emotionally exhausting -- something I never thought I'd have to do. It reminded me of the children's book "Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day." I've always loved that book title. Ever had one of those days?

But, even on my worst days, God is at His best. I asked for help, and He arranged for a dear friend to come pray with me. This is a friend I prayed with for 8 years in a weekly prayer group. She knows me well, so she understood my hurting heart and helped me turn over my burdens to God.

Then another friend called and prayed with me over the phone. She knew what I was facing and didn't want me to face it until she'd brought my situation before the throne of grace.

So I faced my worst day with prayer support, and I saw the words from Phil 4:6-7 come alive.

Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

I had peace when I had every reason to be anxious. The God of the universe heard the prayers of three women -- prayers for peace in the midst of a storm -- and I experienced the calm that comes when God says "Peace be with you."

If I hadn't had the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day, Iwouldn't have asked for help.
If I hadn't experienced the worry, I wouldn't have known the peace.

Lord, thank you for that day and the worry for they resulted in your peace.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

God is interested in YOU

I have a loved one who is not very interested in God at this time in his life. Today I was reminded that no matter how uninterested in God we might be, God is VERY INTERESTED IN US! In fact, there is not a single moment in time that God is not extremely interested in us. Does that give you chill bumps just thinking about it? Or perhaps you're doubting my statement is true. Perhaps you're in the midst of a LifeTremor and it feels as if God has abandoned you to your circumstances. I've felt like that before.

How do I know God is very interested in you?
Through Experience:
I received an email from a dear friend. She told me about being awakened in the middle of the night to pray. Being sensitive to the Spirit of God, she felt the need to pray for several people, including MY loved one. Did you understand the significance of what I just wrote? God -- the God who created the universe -- the Only True God -- nudged her to pray for my loved one -- the one who is uninterested in God. I love knowing that no matter how indifferent to God we might be, God always cares about us. God cannot be indifferent. God cannot be uninterested. That would go against His very nature.

Through His Word:
God's Word tells us that He loves His people with an "everlasting love." (Jer 31:3)
But that's the Old Testament.

What does the New Testament say?
Rom 3:11 says there is "no one who seeks God"
1 John 4:19 says "We love because he first loved us."

Basically God's Word is saying even when you are totally uninterested in God, He loves you. There can be no mistake -- God is most interested in YOU.

Such knowledge is astounding and comforting.
Such knowledge helps me to persevere in prayer for my loved one.

What about YOU?
Are you interested in God?

I am certain of this: He's interested in YOU.

Friday, June 5, 2009

Distractions

I'm not writing spiritual thoughts today. This post is about something so simple and so practical -- distractions. Most often we find them annoying, but sometimes we need them. Distractions.


During a LifeTremor my mind can be fixed on my problem, while my brain is on overload trying to solve it. I can't shut off those consuming thoughts, so I feel trapped in my LifeQuake. Some days I just need a distraction -- something to grab my attention and take my focus off the LifeTremor.


Today I've planned a distraction. There's a quilt show in town, and I love quilting. My grandmother quilted, but my mom did not. So, somehow I feel connected to my grandmother when I quilt, and the past merges with the present.


I love to look at the beautiful colors of the fabric and the variety of designs. Some quilts are old with a unique history and some are newly created with a story yet to be written. I love to think about the quilter and her inspiration. I get lost in the quilts and think of nothing else.


Now I know I can't avoid reality and escape my LifeTremor forever. But, for a time . . . for a few hours . . . my LifeQuake ceases to exist in my thoughts and I am momentarily free. Not a permanent fix, but a simply reprieve.


Thank you Lord for allowing me this sweet distraction!









Thursday, June 4, 2009

Praying Friends

Today I'd like to testify to the gift of praying friends. They are essential whether or not my life is quaking. When I stepped out into a speaking ministry, a wise friend suggested I form a prayer team. I thought that was a great idea. But, then I began to have some other thoughts. Who would pray for me? Isn't that asking a lot? Isn't it selfish to ask for prayer for myself? After all, everyone needs prayer.

However, the thought of speaking without prayer support scared me so much that I reached out and asked a couple friends to pray for me. They've been meeting together monthly for one year now to pray for me and the ministry God has given. They are committed, they take this responsibility seriously and consider it a privilege. I am humbled.

Next I began to ask others to pray for specific events, and an email prayer team was formed. Now a number of women receive prayer requests before and during each speaking opportunity I have. Afterwards, they receive a praise report that shares how God touched lives and hearts. I am blessed.

I've come to believe that my praying friends are the most vital human part of this speaking ministry -- even more necessary than me. After all, God spoke out of a burning bush, through the lips of a stutterer, and from the mouth of a donkey. God can use any means to speak a message. So I ask you -- who is more vital, the speaker or the pray-er? The speaker needs God's power, and God's power is unleashed through prayer. That's God's plan -- that's His way.

So, I am thankful for praying friends.

Friends who:
  • lift me up when I am down
  • ask for courage when I have none
  • ask for peace and calm when my stomach is in knots
  • cry out for wisdom when I don't know what to say
  • plead for love for a roomful of strangers
  • pray for women they might never meet

All because they are my friends
All because they love God
All because they are obedient
All because they know the power unleashed by prayer

My friends, I thank you.