Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Prayer of the Heart

Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.  I Peter 5:7
Most people who know my momma do not realize that she comes across to her children as a worrier.  She seems to feel that if you don't worry, you don't care.  However, I cannot see into her mind or heart to know if she truly carries the worry with her or not.  That being the case, I will not say that she is as such.  However, because we grew up believing her to be and took her actions to mean that you must not care if you do not worry, it has been very difficult for me to hurdle this obstacle in my life. 
For the first several years of my marriage I worked to make it the best I knew how.  The problem was, I only had my vision of what a really terrific marriage was.  I envisioned myself in beautiful dresses, my hair laying perfectly and my husband swooning over me.  Now, before you start giggling too profusely, remember that I was only 18, though close to 19, when I married.  Suffice it to say, my life was NOT what I envisioned.  Instead, I found myself knee deep in laundry, dust, and bills to pay.  When almost two years had passed, our first child was born.  Arguments ensued because I couldn't seem to keep from calling my mom for advice, and that rang up (pardon the pun) quite the telephone bill.  Now I was still knee deep in those other things, but had added diapers, spit up, crying (mine mostly) and higher bills.  I began to feel like my world was crumbling at times.  Rather than pour out my concerns to God and leave them with Him, I would hole up in a pity party and cry out to God to take me home with Him.  Talk about selfish!!  I reacted this way for the next several years whenever things didn't go my way.  I worried and fretted and pitied myself, which, believe it or not, did NOT make things better!! 
One day, I do not know when, I decided it was time to find out what God had to say about marriage and child rearing.  This wasn't a difficult decision, because I love to read and study.  Why I hadn't done so sooner is beyond me.  However, I started reading Dr. Dobson's books on child rearing as well as Zig Ziglar's "Raising Positive Kids in a Negative World," and Dr. Lehman's books and compared them to Scripture.  I began to spend more time enjoying my children and our family became much happier.
I then started digging in to marriage.  I first read "Men are From Mars, Women From Venus."  What an eye opener!  I learned to speak "man-speak" and it made a world of difference in my understanding of what my husband was trying to tell me.  He felt the need to fix every problem I presented, when all I needed was to talk the problem out.  I began phrasing things differently and ending with the solution I had thought of and then asked his opinion.  He no longer felt I was heaping my problems on him, so felt free to tweak my solutions rather than come up with them himself.  Wow!  I began to discover that God knows a thing or two about marriage as well as rearing children!
I also read "The Five Love Languages."  I went in to it with the idea of discovering my husband's love language.  Mine was easy - touch.  I knew for a fact that it was not his, because he didn't even want to hold hands.  I wanted to know what I needed to do to get him to understand how very much I loved him, because he just didn't seem to get it.  He was jealous and insecure it seemed to me.  When I discovered his love language was service, I about jumped out of my chair in excitement!  It hit me how extreme his love for me really was!!  He is always doing things for me.  If I simply mention something would be nice, he strives to bring it about.  Did I ever begin to feel special!!  I started seeking ways to serve him.  If he was working on the car, I asked what I could do.  If he was painting, I got out a brush and asked where to start.  The amazing thing was, he started holding my hand, putting his arm around me, hugging me close and even giving me a quick kiss in public and I never had to say a word about my love language being touch!!
I write all this to simply say, God knows what he's talking about, is never wrong and has all the answers to every situation.  However, we must seek Him out on it.  This is where prayer comes in.  I am beginning to learn how vital prayer without wavering truly is.  When we pray, we must really want an answer.  In other words, we cannot ask for God's help and then try to fix things on our own.  We must refuse to worry and trust Him with the results.  When we do this, the answers He gives will astound us.  I know this to be true, because he has always been faithful to me, even when I have been disloyal to Him.
Father, You have every solution to every problem that ever existed.  You would think we would know that by now, but we are still rebellious in so very many ways. Forgive us and continue to teach us to pray.  You have shown us how, but we are loathe to follow through.  We don't even understand why we find it so difficult to give You an ounce of our time when You have so willingly given us all of Yours.  Grant us wisdom and understanding that we might come to You boldly, seeking Your answers rather than our own.  May we exalt You as we stand amazed in Your presence.

Friday, July 19, 2013

Peace, Be Still....

What today is the most important thing God would have me do with my life?  I am waiting to know.  Should I be still and wait?  Inwardly, yes, but outwardly I will continue doing my every day chores.  As I wait, I pray that my heart may be still within me listening, always listening, for that still small voice that would guide me in the direction I should take next.  He says, “Be still, and know that I am God;
    I will be exalted among the nations,
    I will be exalted in the earth.”
  Psalm 46:10
I am getting ready to begin a new journey in prayer.  During this time I want to be as still in my heart as is possible in this loud, raucous world we live in.  This means my mouth will be more silent than usual and my thoughts will be focused on praising Him - at least this is my hope.  I am going to fast the words of my mouth, so to speak.  This does not mean I won't speak at all, it simply means I will do my best to speak when necessary only.  Women have a tendency to want to talk much and often.  It is difficult for us to learn to quiet our thoughts and mouths, so I begin deeper training in doing so.
There is much contention in the Church (and I mean this as the entire body of Christ) in this era.  This should not be so.  It has always been difficult for me to have to stand by and watch people in disagreement.  My heart cries out to each individual to admit they could possibly be wrong, agree to disagree and get back to work.  That is the mercy motivation within me.  I realize that others are motivated differently than I, so I have been learning (the hard way) to keep my mouth shut.  On occasion I have forgotten the importance of keeping it closed and have caused further disturbance.  Today, I have determined to stay out of other people's disagreements (except through prayer for them)  and focus on God's desire for my contribution in serving Him.  The hardest part in doing so is knowing that odds are in favor of others being drawn into these debates who have no business being there.  I must be obedient to Christ though and allow Him to take charge of these battles.  The most extraordinary thing is, if someone reads this and thinks I am writing about them, they will automatically want to discuss it with me.  So I want to make certain to inform anyone reading this that I am not talking about any particular disagreement, but Christ's body as a whole not being in unity.  Therefore, as I fast my words, quiet my heart and listen for His voice, I will be praying for God to open the minds and hearts of his people to see that division within causes repulsion without.  May we all learn to do as God's word teaches, beginning with me:
Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.  Philippians 4:8 

So then let us pursue what makes for peace and for mutual upbuilding.  Romans 14:19
Flee also youthful lusts; but pursue righteousness, faith, love, peace with those who call on the Lord out of a pure heart.  But avoid foolish and ignorant disputes, knowing that they generate strife.  II Timothy 2:22-23

Lord, make me an instrument of your peace,
Where there is hatred, let me sow love;
Where there is injury, pardon;
Where there is doubt, faith;
Where there is despair, hope;
Where there is darkness, light;
Where there is sadness, joy.
O Divine Master,
grant that I may not so much seek to be consoled, as to console;
to be understood, as to understand;
to be loved, as to love.
For it is in giving that we receive.
It is in pardoning that we are pardoned,
and it is in dying that we are born to Eternal Life.

Monday, July 15, 2013

Wanna Wrestle?

Genesis 32:22-32
Jacob wrestled with God until he was crippled and blessed. 
This passage of Scripture has always made me walk away shaking my head in wonder.  My biggest question has always been, "Why did God wrestle with him in the first place?"  He didn't have to.  He proved that by touching Jacob's leg in such a way that it was literally driven out of socket the rest of his life, making him walk with a limp.  He could have simply said, "Who do you think you are?  You are a mere human which I created.  Do you really think you can win this battle?"  However, if He had, Jacob would not only have gone away defeated, but would have lost all hope left within himself.
Jacob had been reminding God of how He had promised to make a great nation out of his family line.  Now (at least in his imagination) his brother Esau was on his way to kill him and take all he had.  Why?'s basically what Jacob had done to Esau years before when he tricked their father Isaac into giving himself Esau's rightful blessing.  The human response to injustice is usually to perform retribution.  It is not what God wants of us, but it is human nature.  Jacob refused to let go of God's promise, even in the face of possible death.  He clung to God in a choking grip.  He wanted that blessing no matter the cost.  He received it, with a price.  He became handicapped; mildly, granted, but handicapped all the same.  God would never have gone back on His promise to Jacob, but Jacob evidently needed convincing.  So God wrestled with him.  Sounds funny to us, but God is smarter than we are and knows exactly what it takes to get us where He wants us to be.
My next question then becomes, "What do I want badly enough to cling to God and His promises no matter what the cost in my personal life?" 
Knowing that my greatest enemy besides Satan himself is myself, I recognize that in many ways I am weak.  Yesterday in Sunday School we were discussing how knowing Jesus has changed our lives.  My oldest grandson asked how it had changed mine.  I told him that before I accepted Jesus as Savior and Lord, I walked in fear.  He asked what kind of fears I had.  I explained that I was afraid to walk down the street for fear I'd be kidnapped or attacked by an animal; afraid to go to sleep because I might not wake up; afraid to ask the neighbor to borrow a cup of sugar because the husband might answer the door and call me "babydoll." I don't know why, but that absolutely terrified me.  I no longer have those fears.  I then asked, "What's the worst that could happen to me?"  They answered, "Murder."  I then said, "I'd just end up in heaven."  Then my oldest grandson said, "Capture and torture and not dying."  I told him that , yes, that was probably the worst, but what do I know that anyone would need to get from me that I wouldn't freely tell them?  God will always give us the strength to face what we must.  That ended the conversation and we went on to finish our projects.  However, I admit that many times in my life I have cried out to God that if I were ever tortured for my faith, He would give me the strength and grace to endure to the end.  
The one thing I want more than anything else in this life is to see my children and grandchildren and even great grandchildren walking with the Lord with everything they possess.  I wrestle with God on this on occasion.  What is the cost?  I must set the example.  Am I willing?  Will I hang on, clinging tightly when the battle gets tough or will I let go and blame God, claiming it must not be His will?  I pray it may never be so!!
Lord, grant me the inner strength to keep clinging to You and Your promises all throughout my life so that I may be a testimony to my children, grandchildren and even great grandchildren of the wealth hidden in Your word through faith in Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord.  May Your Spirit grant me wisdom and knowledge daily as I strive to do my best in serving You.  Keep me from giving in to weariness of soul in order to gain the prize at the end of life's battle as I enter eternity with You.  May my life be a beacon drawing every family member into Your kingdom regardless of what I must personally endure, that they might find refuge in You.

Saturday, July 13, 2013

Morning Blahs

This morning I woke with that "Ugh!" feeling.  The thought of exercise, study, cleaning, shopping, virtually anything other than sitting or lying down made my stomach turn.  So I got out of bed, got dressed and went and walked a mile, came in and did my quiet time while eating breakfast and then went back to bed and slept almost an hour.  Do I feel better, physically not much, but knowing I made myself get up and go makes me happy, because I know I didn't give in and stop.
There are many things in life that make us want to give up and quit.  Losing a loved one, illness/disease, disappointments, etc., but giving in to them is becoming a loser.  Victors always keep going.  I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.  Philippians 3:14
This is not to say we shouldn't take care of our physical bodies.  If we need rest, we should rest.  If we need medicine, we should take it.  However, simply feeling that "Ugh!" feeling is no excuse for stopping. 
Last evening we started to replant green beans.  I was swarmed by mosquitoes.  I wanted to quit then, for certain.  I had at least 5 or 6 landing on me at any given moment and I was swatting left and right to no avail.  If I killed one, two more appeared.  The temptation to wait until morning when they are not so prevalent was great.  Instead, I went inside, put on some Cutter's repellant and went back to work.  This morning I am extremely glad I didn't give in.  The amazing thing about this is, I didn't get bitten by even one of them.  I thought about the ten plagues and told my husband that God had protected me.  He just said, "yup," but he is better about believing without seeing than I.
 There are so many ways that I am still that little child.  I still throw temper tantrums, you just can't see them.  I know God tells us, "Come now, let's settle this," says the LORD. "Though your sins are like scarlet, I will make them as white as snow. Though they are red like crimson, I will make them as white as wool."  Isaiah 1:18, but with me He sometimes needs to use a little stronger hand to remind me that I am His and need to act like it.  Today He had to be firm and practically shove me out the bed.  The results of listening, even though froth with complaint where marvelous.
While walking I was able to thank God for getting me up and going, for keeping me going with the green beans, for giving me such a beautiful day for walking when I felt so blah inside, and for loving me even though I scream inwardly that I don't want to cooperate.  He is so marvelous, patient, understanding and loving - I am to imitate Him.
Lord, I apologize for being so belligerent at times.  This morning is a case in point.  Please forgive me.  I thank You for loving me through each and every time this happens. You know my heart and that I don't want to be this way, so I ask that You continue to discipline me in love, which reminds me that You love those You chastise.  Thanks for loving me so abundantly.

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

I'm Dreaming....Please Wake Me

It's amazing how a simple dream can affect your life.  I woke yesterday morning feeling hurt, angry, scared and betrayed.  Why?  I dreamed.....In that dream we had taken all seven grandchildren with us to a park I used to go to as a child.  The children had all taken off in different directions, some to play baseball, some to climb trees and boulders, some to play in the creek and some to arts and crafts.  Suddenly it was time to go.  It made total sense in the dream, even though we had just arrived.  I started rounding everyone up while my husband sat and talked with other adults.  As I found each child, I brought them to him to keep together while I continued my round up.  I found all but one child in what seemed like a moment and an eternity at the same time.  The last child I could not find.  I called and called his name, asked people if they had seen him, giving a fairly good description, but he was nowhere to be found.  I went back in tears to tell my husband I needed help only to discover he had allowed the other kids to go play again until I found the last child.  I threw my purse at him, deliberately missing, but I was extremely angry.  I felt betrayed and hurt.  It seemed he cared nothing for what I was going through.  I began to waken, but didn't want the dream to end this way, so I began to change it to where the final child came to me and told me he had been in a tree and didn't hear me calling.  After this I allowed myself to wake up.  However, I still felt the hurt, anger and betrayal.  I realized that I could choose to carry this with me or I could deliberately make the effort to remove those feelings from my person.  I reached over and hugged my husband and told him how much I love him.  The feelings immediately began to dissipate.
Dreams can seem so real at times.  I wonder how many times we carry the effects of them with us into reality.  I have experienced children telling me stories that never happened, but in their minds and emotions they did.  Have I ever allowed a dream to influence my behavior toward another person?  Have I allowed it to affect my prayer life? 
I started a new study simply called "God's Best."  It was after going over the first week's material that I had this dream.  It is all about, and I quote, "Thinking about how to show love to those who mistreat you."  Of all the people to dream about mistreating me, I dream about the one person who treats me with utmost love and respect.  Though it was only a dream, I still had to choose; do I harbor this against him and confuse him beyond belief, or push the emotions from the dream out of my way and allow love to reign? 
There are times in this life that things happen that seem so important at the time that we become distressed when they do not go according to our personal plans.  We choose frustration, anger, bitterness, resentment and allow our day to be completely ruined. The goofy thing about this is, a few years later we look back with wonder why we were so upset about such a trivial thing.  If a child breaks our favorite picture frame we want to yell and (women) cry and act like that frame is more important than the child. The frame is like my dream, lasting for moments, seeming so real and important, when in fact it is simply a mist in a moment. The frame is temporal, the child eternal. The child is part of our actuality.  We can purchase a new frame, maybe even an exact replica, but we can never replace the child.
Let it be known that if something like this dream ever really happened I would be, well, let's say angry.  My husband has told people, "She's very hard to make angry, but when she is....You really don't want to make her angry."  He's right.  While I won't use foul language, call names or even bring up the past, I will give a tongue lashing that won't soon be forgotten.  I admit that it is followed by a hug and explanation of why I became so angry, but people need never wonder if I am angry....they'll know.
Father, there are times in our lives that we feel angry and betrayed from events that seem so real to us, but are really only a mist we must walk through.  They fog up and try to warp our vision so that we do and say things we would not do otherwise.  Lord, in times like this I ask You to wipe away the fog that clouds my mind and help me to see clearly the difference between temporal and eternal, real and imitation.  Help me react in a manner that is pleasing to You and that will be of positive eternal value in the lives of those affected by the things I say and do.

Monday, July 8, 2013

Whispered Lies

Satan himself masquerades as an angel of light.  II Corinthians 11:14. 
Most women have the same problem: our mothering instinct causes us to want to change people.  We somehow get it in our heads that we are all powerful in this particular area and set out to change all those we love. Satan whispers in our ear what sounds good and true, "Your love will change him/her.  Love covers a multitude of sin."  (I Peter 4:8We allow Satan to deceive us and lie to ourselves in this regard, because we still have Adams' (man and woman at creation up until the fall of man) blood flowing through our veins.Peter does indeed tell us that our love for each other will cover a multitude of sin, but he is not saying we should condone the sin.  He is saying we should continue loving people even when they sin, not because they sin.  Should we point out sin?  Yes, not out of self gratification or frustration, anger, resentment, jealousy, etc. (as those things too are sin), but out of our great love for the person and our desire to see them set free.  Should we nag, irritate and try to drag them into submission, obedience and deliverance? 

Fathers, do not exasperate your children; instead, bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord. Ephesians 6:4
When we see someone in sin, it makes us like a parent to them.  We know better, they do not, or like a child choose to do it anyway.  Nagging and trying to force a change only makes matters worse.  What do we do then?  After saying something along the lines of, "I love you and wish you wouldn't do things that are detrimental to your health and well-being," we set the example in the way we live and continue walking in love through prayer and thanksgiving.  If it is literally our child, then we must discipline in a means that encourages them to stop and repent, rather than discourages them from listening to us ever again.  We also need to examine our own lives on a continual basis.  Is there any sin I am addicted to that I need to say "no" to from this point forward?  Do I over eat?  Am I addicted to caffeine or chocolate?  Am I persistently late, robbing people of their time?  Am I a slob and totally disorganized?   This list could go on forever.  We must examine ourselves deliberately and constantly if we truly want to set the example for those we love and help them mature into well-rounded, well-adjusted, fulfilled and devout believers in the one true and living God, our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.
Father, walk with me as I strive to examine every aspect of my life daily.  Point out to me the things that I overlook deliberately or simply miss that need mending, correcting, or cleaning out.  Help me remember that I am no better than those I love and desire to see set free other than possibly the fact that I have You in me helping me face my day to day trials and to cleanse me from all unrighteousness.  Without You, I am nothing, but with You I have everything I could ever want or need.

Friday, July 5, 2013

Saran Wrapped!!

"The Lord our God said to us at Horeb, 'You have stayed long enough at this mountain.  Break camp and advance into the hill country of the Amorites; go to all the neighboring peoples in the Arabah, in the mountains, in the western foothills, in the Negev and along the coast; to the land of the Canaanites and to Lebanon, as far as the great river, the Euphrates.'"  Deuteronomy 1:6-7

Have you ever felt weighed down?  Once I wrote a paragraph about sometimes feeling like left overs and my grandchildren were saran wrap.  It didn't matter how tired I was, they would wrap their little arms around my legs and still expect me to be able to move.  That was when I was watching 4 of them every day: a 5 year old, two 3 year olds, and a newborn.  Don't get me wrong.  They were and still are amazing and I wouldn't give away those times with them for anything or any amount of money this world could offer; but I was exhausted at the end of each day. 
Working within the church community can sometimes make you feel the same way.  When it becomes noticed that you have a heart for service, it is assumed you will be willing to serve any and every where you are asked.  The problem is, the things you are asked to do are only sometimes the things God wants you doing.  It is so easy to ask the same people to do what needs to be done when you know they are willing, that it becomes habit.  This makes the servant feel like they are wrapped in saran wrap and each activity placed on them makes the wrap thicker and it becomes harder to breathe.  There is a solution: pray before giving an answer and listen for God's response. 
Recently I was asked to take on another responsibility; a huge one that  made me feel blessed that I was being trusted to do such a thing, but I was pretty sure what God's answer would be.  I went in prayer for two days and knew I should say no and this was verified by my husband's response when I told him.  A simple nod and, 'Good,."  was all he said.  Later I was asked to take a different job.  I told them that if I had to respond right then, my answer would be no, so I needed to pray about it.  I did so and asked God to give me an idea if He wanted me to take this on and immediately I knew what needed doing.  So this time I said yes and my husband agreed once again.
It isn't difficult to know when to stay encamped where you are and when to move forward.  All we need do is ask the One Who has designed us for each individual task and He will tell us what to do.
Father, there is a time to move forward and a time to rest where we are and regroup.  Help your people remember that it is vital for us to remain in fellowship with You through prayer in order to know when to do which so that victory remains ours at each and every turn for Your glory and honor.

Thursday, July 4, 2013

Dinner Time!!

For the word of God is living and powerful, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.  Hebrews 4:12
Years ago God laid it on my heart to let no man be my teacher, but the Holy Spirit.  "But you have received the Holy Spirit, and he lives within you, so you don't need anyone to teach you what is true. For the Spirit teaches you everything you need to know, and what he teaches is true--it is not a lie. So just as he has taught you, remain in fellowship with Christ." I John 2:27Not for a moment did I think this meant I was never to sit under anyone's teaching, but rather that I was to always use Scripture to discern whether what they were saying was truth or supposition.  As a matter of fact, Learning from others is a vital part of my life, especially where children are concerned.  I learn more from them that I have ever learned from adults.  Maybe it is because they are fresher from God, maybe because God has ordained it to be so, "Do you hear what these children are saying?" they asked him. "Yes," replied Jesus, "have you never read, "'From the lips of children and infants you, Lord, have called forth your praise'?" Matthew 21:16, or perhaps it is God's way of keeping me humble (or all of the above).  Whatever the case, watching and listening to them teaches me the joy of living with a heart that is free from dwelling on the sinfulness in the world and sets its sights on seeking things to be joyful about.God's word is alive.  It walks this earth in believers hearts if they are learning to absorb it daily.  This is what it means to feast on God's word. "Look to the LORD and his strength; seek his face always." I Chronicles 16:11  Hungering for God is not a term to be used lightly.  There is a hunger inside every individual.  Some try to fill it with literally eating and tend to make themselves gain unwanted weight in the process.  Some try to fill it with material possessions, always wanting more, yet not having the ability to store it or sometimes even use the things properly.  Some try to avoid it through the use of drugs and alcohol.  Others try to avoid it by becoming angry, selfish, bitter and alone.  The problem with these things is, while they make you feel like you are doing something about the hunger, they are actually devouring you little by little until you are no longer the person you once were, but a facsimile of skin and bones with no meat.  When it is discovered that the hunger inside us is a hunger to be filled by God's Spirit, the choice must be made to be satisfied by feasting on His word, or to remain aloof, determined to do things our own way.  Even true believers must make this choice, as can be seen by the millions of angry, hurting, frustrated believers in the world today, continuing to fight their own battles and becoming disillusioned when they fail.God's word will put healthy meat on the bones of our spirit man.  We may not appear any different on the outside, but inwardly we will shine with the joy of being completely satisfied.  What we must remember is that our physical bodies are representative of what is going on inside.  We don't eat one day and then go our way, never eating again.  We would physically die.  Rather we eat in the morning and as the day progresses and we use up the energy gained from the calories consumed, we must replenish our supply.  Feasting on God's word daily is vital for a healthy Christian walk.  It nourishes our spirit and gives us strength to face the battles that confront us with determination.  When we become fatigued and feel as if we cannot go on, we must turn back to His word to feast again and again and again.  Just as a child cannot grow without eating healthy foods that nourish his/her body, neither can we grow into mature well-adjusted Christians without the nourishment that comes from God's word.Lord, help us recognize the burning sensation within us that cries out for more as being the call of Your heart to ours that it is dinner time and we must feast or perish from hunger.  Help us choose to feast on the promise of Your word and delight in it  daily.

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

On Being a Mentoring Mentee

I have a wonderful mentor - my mother-in-law.  I told her once that I considered her my mentor and she just smiled, shook her head and said, "Oh.............." She is a very wise woman.  She has had to be in order to rear six children.  I have no doubt that she cried out many times for wisdom, because God has given her much!!  I am able to go to her with concerns and she never judges.  I can tell her how I am feeling and she can explain why I feel that way.  I could go on and on about how wonderful she is and how very much I love her.  I am tremendously blessed to have her in my life.  I wish every woman had someone like her to go to.  There are times it is simply comforting to be in her presence saying nothing.  Her silence can speak volumes and her generosity knows no bounds.  She exemplifies what mentoring is all about without even trying.
I admit that being asked to be a mentor can be a little scary.  Being responsible in helping someone to grow in their personal walk with the Lord means that when you make a mistake, you have to own up to it and apologize.  When I first started teaching children in Sunday School, I was sixteen and didn't even really think about it.  They were preschoolers, so what did they know?  As I grew older and a bit wiser in God's word, I realized that I was being diligently observed by these small people and they were absorbing all I said and did at a much quicker pace than adults ever could.  Children latch on to those they love and want to be like them.  Then I read the verse in James that told me "Not many of you should become teachers, my brothers, because you know that we who teach will be judged more severely than others."  James 3:1 and became more than a little frightened.  Why did I accept the calling to teach if I was going to have a much stricter lifestyle than those around me.  However, through the years I discovered that, not only do I absolutely love to study and teach what I have learned, but I welcome the discipline of my heavenly Father.  It demonstrates His great love for me in that He desires me to be the best I can be, especially in order to benefit those around me who are watching my life.  "For the LORD disciplines those he loves, and he punishes each one he accepts as his child."  Hebrews 12:6
I have also learned that when my heart desires to become more for His glory, He is more than able to comply and give me all the tools I need to serve Him in that capacity.
Lord, help us to refuse to walk in fear when You ask us to take on a particular responsibility.  Help us remember that You would never ask without giving us everything we need to accomplish the task and that You will be with us every step of the way.
"Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.”  Joshua 1:9

Monday, July 1, 2013

The Opportunity of Prayer

Therefore, I beg of you that before all things, you will offer supplications to God, prayers, intercessions and thanksgiving, for the sake of all people...I Timothy 2:1

This is from the Aramaic Bible in Plain English translation.   I love it because of how it starts, "before all things."  We need to pray before really starting our day.  Each morning we should begin our day by thanking God for giving us another chance to serve Him.  We should then put that service to practice by lifting others in prayer.  There is no greater opportunity to serve others than by praying for them.  Then, if God lays something on our heart to do for them, do it.  Then we should seek His will for the day and ask Him to fulfill that will in us and to protect us from the temptations that will come our way.  It is only when our hearts are right that we can pray, study and share with others effectively. 
This morning I woke up with thanksgiving for salvation on my heart.  I went in to do my devotions and discovered the first one was on the Holy Spirit being our down payment for salvation.  He is our guarantee that payment has been made and we now belong to God.  If we don't have His presence in our lives, then we are not yet God's child, but can become one simply by asking and receiving.  

As I walked I felt led to pray for others' salvation, but that first I needed to get my slate washed clean.  Yesterday I was pretty lazy and needed to admit the fact and some other things that might seem petty to some, but get in the way of my personal communication with the Father, so I asked forgiveness and went on with my prayer, knowing He forgave even before I asked, because He knew I would seek Him on it. 
Sirens started blaring, letting me know someone was in danger.  A fire truck was headed out.  I immediately asked God to protect those involved and surround those in danger with His presence.  What an honor to be given that chance.  If I had given in to the laziness that tried to overcome me again this morning, I would have missed it!!
I love the way God will start our day if we let Him.  I am not perfect, therefore, there are days when I allow "stuff" to get in the way of my time with Him.  I ALWAYS regret it.  My day becomes frustrated and so do I.  God does not start throwing things at me to get my attention.  I simply open the door to frustration by not turning from it to God in the first place.  My fault, not His.  I get to choose and He grants me that right. He is always there quietly nudging me to just ask for His help!!  What a relief when I do.  He is always there, ready and waiting.

Lord, help us remember that prayer is not simply a duty to be performed, but an opportunity for service, not only unto others, but also to ourselves.