Thursday, September 29, 2005
Thank you, everyone, who has been faithfully praying for Rylee's recovery. Our God is a mighty God for whom nothing is impossible!
Wednesday, September 28, 2005
"Prayer," said E. M. Bounds, "projects faith on God, and God on the world. Only God can move mountains, but faith and prayer move God." So where does faith come from? According to Paul, "Faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God" (Romans 10:17). Really there isn't any other way for our faith to be strengthened as it is when we are being immersed in the Word of God. In society today there is a lot of book reading going on. One doesn't really need to look very far to find another new book out on how to live the Christian life, how to develop your Christian walk, how to know God in a deeper way, etc. Reading books does stir our hearts in a deep passion for faith, but it does not build faith. The Word alone is the source of faith.
Andrew Murray explained, "Little of the Word with little prayer is death to the spiritual life. Much of the Word with little prayer gives a sickly life. Much prayer with little of the Word gives more life, but without steadfastness. A full measure of the Word and prayer each day gives a healthy and powerful life."
No matter how intense one's prayer life is, it isn't complete without it being fed nourishment which is only available from God's Word. Just look through the Bible...it IS our prayer book. It is our foundation and our guide for any praying that will be effective. Delve into the prayers of Paul or read David's outpourings to God. When we block the lifeline to God's throne of grace when we neglect our daily, quiet, reading of His Word. Our being able to 'abide in Christ' is sustained through the Word and must never stop.
I cannot fathom going out to 'meet' my day being spiritually empty. I am opening myself up to all sorts of attacks by my enemy. However, if I am well fed by His Word, I am much more capable of overcoming in the hour of temptation.
Paul states, "And we also thank God continually because, when you received the word of God, which you heard from us, you accepted it not as the word of men, but as it actually is, the word of God, which is at work in you who believe" (1 Thessalonians 2:13; emphasis added). So if God's Word is effectually working in those who believe, it should carry the same impact within our prayers. When we bring His Word directly into our praying aren't we bringing His power directly into our praying? I believe so. Look at some other verses where this is confirmed. "I will never forget your precepts, for by them you have preserved my life" (Psalm 119:93). Also, '"Is not my word life fire," declares the Lord, "and like a hammer that breaks a rock in pieces?"' (Jeremiah 23:29).
So how might this be applied? As you are reading a passage of Scripture a verse or two might impress a truth upon you. Stop reading and quietly meditate what that verse is saying to you. Ponder every aspect. Evaluate how this passage may become a specific petition. Does this verse prompt you to pray for something specific? How can it be directly applied to your petition? Is it possible to use some of the words of this scripture, verbatim, as you pray? Granted some passages are not as conducive to use. However, Psalms, Proverbs, the Gospels or the Epistles are great to use.
A word of caution; do not neglect intercession, listening, praise, etc. All elements are essential and our goal is to be complete and well balanced. Just give His Word its rightful place.
Tuesday, September 27, 2005
"And He came to the disciples and found them sleeping, and said to Peter, "So, you men could not keep watch with Me for one hour?"' (Matthew 26:40).
As one reads through the Gospels we constantly find Jesus praying. He prayed anywhere, among the crowds, on the hillsides, in the upper room, among the hypocrites and alone on the mountains outside Jerusalem. Sometimes He spent whole nights praying! In His greatest need he approached His disciples and asked them to pray with Him for just one hour. Instead, they slept while He waged His war alone. Prayer is our only answer to our daily confrontations with the enemy. If Jesus prayed, how much more should we be praying?! Prayer doesn't just happen, it is a decision.
I keep a prayer notebook. I consider it my partner. It goes with me everywhere. If someone gives me a prayer request, in person, over the phone, or by email then it gets written down in my notebook with the date of the request.
Choose a quiet place for your time with the Lord. Picture yourself in an actual appointment Him! Most importantly plan for this time. You may want to block out a set time each day, or you may need to work around someone else's schedule to assure yourself of very few interruptions. The important thing? Have an attitude of expectancy (Psalm 5:3).
Whenever possible, choose the same time of day. You may have to set your alarm a little earlier but this habit becomes a link to consistency. Determine how much time you desire to spend with the Lord. An hour may seem overwhelming to you if you have never done this before. Maybe twenty minutes would be a better time frame to start with. The commitment to the specific time frame will help to make your daily time with the Lord a success. It is always so easy to sleep in, or change your plans etc. if you have not made a committed decision. In time, it turns into a strength rather than a burden hanging over you.
If you miss a day or even a week, don't beat yourself up. Just begin again, immediately. You are trying to establish a habit which takes time. Persist! Don't give up. Remind yourself of Hebrews 12:11 "No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it."
As you see the Lord begin to answer your prayers be sure to write down the date it He answered! As you look back over your year, you will see His faithfulness unfolding on the pages before you.
Every concern, hope, confession, request and thank you expressed to God has a way of etching itself into your heart and thoughts and onto the tablets of God's mind. And as we know He hears, we await His inevitable response.
Prayer really isn't optional. It is quite obligatory. Where there is an absence of prayer there will be an absence of power. Where there is frequency of prayer there will be continuing display of God's power. In prayer you are aligning yourself to the purpose and power of God enabling Him to do things through you that He may not do otherwise. I do not remember where I read this but it had a profound effect on me. "Apostasy begins in the closet. No man ever backslid from the life and power of Christianity who continued constant and fervent in private prayer. He who prays without ceasing is likely to rejoice evermore."
Won't you join me in rejoicing?!
Monday, September 26, 2005
Saturday, September 24, 2005
Wednesday, September 21, 2005
Monday, September 19, 2005
At 7 pm this evening (Monday) RyLee will undergo surgery for a blood clot on the OTHER side of the brain. The surgery will take approximately 2-3 hours. Thank you for your continued prayers for RyLee, Nathan, and all of the family.
Philippians 4:6 Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer andsupplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus. Praying for peace, skill, a miracle, and God's will...
Late night update: RyLee's surgery ended around 9 pm tonight (Monday) & was successful! There were no complications and it didn't cause any additional bleeding.
I've been tagged by Hey Jules over at Faith of Fiction.....
Getting to Know Me.....
5 things I plan to do before I die:
1) See James earn his wings
3) Grow in my walk with the Lord
4) Share Christ with more people
5) Enoy each day the Lord gives me!
5 things I can do:
2) Fold shirts really fast
4) Wake someone up to kill a spider ;)
5) Fly in a small airplane but only with my son as the pilot (well, and maybe my brother-in-law could be the pilot too!)
5 things I cannot do:
1) SING...I make a joyful NOISE!
2) I cannot climb up on the roof of our house...scared of heights
3) I cannot eat brussel sprouts
4) I cannot stand bugs of any kind
5) I cannot water ski
5 things that attract me to the opposite sex:
Well, I think I'll stick with 5 things that attract me to my husband:
1) His sense of humor
2) His brown eyes
3) His compassionate heart
4) His tenderness
5) His walk with the Lord
5 things I say most often:
1) Praise the Lord
3) I love you
5 Celebrity crushes:
I don't have crushes on celebrities but I wouldn't mind meeting some interesting people...
1) President Bush
2) Laura Bush
3) The apostle Paul
4) Prime Minister Tony Blair
5) Any of my blogging friends! :)
5 People I want to do this next:
2) Claire at Psalm 127
5) Joe at Joe's Jottings
We have been told to expect RyLee’s recovery to be a long-term process. First, she is still critical and might not make it. Second, her brain was deprived of oxygen for an undetermined period of time, and even a few minutes causes brain damage. For this we pray for a miracle—that God in His mercy protected her from permanent damage. Third, progress will be seen by the week, rather than daily. She will be hospitalized for several weeks. When the brain swelling goes down, they will reattach the piece of skull they removed (which is frozen). When she woke up briefly yesterday, she was able to wiggle her toes on both feet, which is a good sign, but was not able to follow the commands for her hands.That’s about all we know at this point. Nathan is holding up well—evidence of God’s grace. Pray for his continued strength, comfort, faith, and endurance. He has a knee injury and can’t run right now, and his license expired on his car the end of Aug, so it got towed from the apartment complex. He only realized it was gone yesterday, because he’s been driving RyLee’s car, so he doesn’t know when it was towed or what kind of impound fees he will be charged. So these are other things to pray about. We are hanging these verses in RyLee’s hospital room: “Find rest, O my soul, in God alone; my hope comes from Him. He alone is myRock and my Salvation; He is my Fortress; I will not be shaken. My salvation and my honor depend on God. He is my Mighty Rock, my Refuge. Trust in Him at all times, O People; pour out your hearts to Him, for God is our Refuge” (Psalm 62:5-8 NIV). We also remind ourselves of Luke 18:27, which was on yesterday's bulletin cover – The things which are impossible with men are possible with God. We love you all, Ken & Marcia
Sunday, September 18, 2005
Friday, September 16, 2005
"Whoever has my commands and obeys them, he is the one who loves me" (John 14:21).
It struck me anew this morning how important it is for God's Word to be so strongly fixed in our minds that it becomes the dominant influence in our thoughts, our attitudes, and our actions. By bringing God's Word to bear on specific situations that arise in our lives we develop convictions. By knowing God's Word we thereby know God's will in a situation. It is through God's Word alone that our minds are reshaped and our values are renewed.
A friend sent this pic to me and it flooded me with memories! When our son, James, was about this same age, he would climb up on his daddy's recliner by the window and watch for him to come home from work each day at 5:00. Our keeshond, Zeke, would be right next to him on the floor with his snout resting on the window sill!
Thursday, September 15, 2005
Revelation 5:8, "When He had taken the book, the four living creatures and the twenty-four elders fell down before the Lamb, each one holding a harp and golden bowls full of incense, which are the prayers of the saints."
Our prayers do not die. We die, at least our lips are closed in death and our heart which had felt those prayers ceases to beat. But our prayers live before almighty God and His heart is set on them. E. M. Bounds said, "Prayers outlive the lives of those who uttered them...outlive a generation, outlive an age, outlive a world."
God shapes the world by prayer. The more we pray the more we can impact the evil forces in the world today. I've heard it said that prayer is a disinfectant and a preventive. It purifies the air and and destroys the contagion of evil.
There is one condition regarding prayer. That is we need to ask God. The Lord desires a praying people who are willing and obedient.
"I will surely tell of the decree of the Lord...Ask of Me, and I will surely give the nations as Your inheritance, and the very ends of the earth as Your possession. You shall break them with a rod of iron, You shall shatter them like earthenware" (Psalm 2:7-9, emphasis added).
Our prayers strengthen the next generation. It is a sad day when one finds his "coffers" empty of the incense of prayer. If we have been too busy to pray or too unbelieving to pray, think of the consequences of leaving an empty heritage. Hopefully, we as parents have indeed left a rich legacy of prayer for our children for they will then not only be fortunate but wealthy besides.
Tuesday, September 13, 2005
"Call to me and I will answer you, and I will tell you great and mighty things, which you do not know" Jeremiah 33:3.
Why is it that we fail to hear what He is saying? Is it that we believe it is a totally passive experience? That we should just sit and absorb what is being said to us? I believe good listening is an active endeavor requiring both attitude and action. Shouldn't we approach God confidently and expectantly, anticipating that He will communicate with us? I believe that is an expression of faith where we demonstrate that we believe His promises.
One thing we must do is approach the Lord with an attitude of patience (Psalm 40:1). I know I am not one who is thrilled with waiting but I do know that often God doesn't tell us everything at once. Sometimes we are not ready for everything He wants to say and He withholds information until we are prepared to listen. Other times He may be s-t-r-e-c-h-i-n-g our faith.
There is another attitude which involves action...listening actively. I love what Colossians 3:16 says, "Let the word of Christ richly dwell within you, with all wisdom..." We are to be rich, abundant, and overflowing with the truth of God's Word. This comes about by meditating on Scripture.
Listen humbly and submissively for we must understand how absolutely dependent we are upon the Holy Spirit to reveal truth. Whether God speaks through Scripture, circumstances, prayer, or other people, it is the Spirit who enables us to hear.
Monday, September 12, 2005
I have a dear blogging friend who recently lost her aunt. She shared with me how everyone in the family thought she was a woman to be praised. Every one of her children praised this woman. When our lives are over how do you hope to be remembered? Have you ever contemplated what you will leave behind as a legacy to the people who know you? We all leave a legacy whether we desire to or not.
Too often I meet people who are more often concerned about the number of years they will live rather than how they live. Besides the people that are involved in our lives having an interest in us, God, Himself is interested in what we do with the time He has given us. What will be the message of your life?
Too often, we minimize who we are and the potential God created in us. We seem to leave God out of the equation of our life. But He has a plan for each of us which He fully intends for us to fulfill. As we move through this gift of life there will come a point where He will call us home and when that happens what kind of legacy will we leave to others? What affect will it have on them? Any at all?
What is our legacy? Some people would think it is our material possessions, our property, and our money. That isn't it at all. It's our life, the influence we have, along with our testimony that is our legacy. That testimony can be good or bad, strong or weak, rich or poor. This very minute in time each of us are building a legacy and we will continue to do so every day that we live.
"Living for today" is a common theme throughout our culture today. Sometimes people don't even need to say the words, it's lived out in their life by the choices they make. However, as Christians we need to realize that the way we live affects more than just 'today.' Our thinking, conduct, and conversation will become our legacy, impacting others when we are no longer here.
Scripture tells us that we should be involved in His work (Ephesians 2:10) and that we are to bring Him honor and glory (1 Corinthians 6:20). It really doesn't matter the number of years we live. It is much more important to think about how our lifetime is invested. What we choose to do this very day....the priorities you demonstrate through your use of time and resources, as well as the way you handle relationships...will leave a witness for either good or evil.
If you have children, hopefully, they will be able to remember their parents reading the Scriptures and talking about how God spoke to them through a passage. How will they learn to love and trust the Word unless you demonstrate how you value it. Unless you hand down to them a stalwart faith in God's Word, you leave them vulnerable to the world's empty philosophies.
Another important area is prayer. How often do your children see you crying out to the Lord during trials for His strength and perseverance? How often do they hear you praising Him for His blessings? Your visible and audible prayer life becomes a picture indelibly imprinted on their minds, an image critical to their future reliance upon God.
Also, there is the area of our Christian witness. Do you actively share your faith? Do you encourage other's efforts to share the good news? How do you react to persecution, suffering and pain? How do you treat others in time of need? Do you value every human being you come in contact? Do you view that person as another of God's creation, to be valued and respected?
Oh yes, we leave a legacy to our children but also to the 'world'....our friends, relatives, coworkers and neighbors. They all are observing Christians to see if their claims are credible. Don't just think about your impact right now but view it in terms of eternity.
Saturday, September 10, 2005
Thursday, September 08, 2005
I'm so glad the good Lord created families. I can't imagine going through life without a family. They come along side you when you're down, they are there to help you celebrate life when things are good. You build each other up and encourage one another along life's way. There is joy and laughter in the time spent together.