The other night I awakened from a dream that there was going to be a fire. Anxiety quickly set in as I thought about our properties, places of business and children's homes. Next my mind shifted that maybe it was a relational fire (blow up). Often I try to think back to what I may have seen on TV that could influence my dreams. All that had been on was the news and there certainly have been fires brewing on Capitol Hill. I was a bit uneasy with these thoughts. The next day I committed to a getaway with Jesus. Working my way once again through Secrets of the Secret Place the Lord revealed in His Word there was a fire that was NEEDED. I was reminded that if I am anxious and not on fire with my faith than I am a useless witness. Reading this quote.."People are always attracted to a great fire" challenged me to make some changes.
No sooner had the lesson begun than a pop quiz was issued.
The large umbrella on the dock fell over on me. Distractions! I knew I was on to something. Next a rental pontoon pulled up right in front of our dock and anchored and a family jumped in the water with squeals of delight. Immediately I thought, "Come on. There is an entire lake out there, I am having my quiet time." Bop! "Forgive me Lord," I said, "Change my heart towards people who invade my privacy. Let me see them as You do. Jesus always had time for others." So I began to pray for these people.
Getting back to the book I couldn't take notes fast enough...
God makes his ministers a flame of fire.
Next from James 4:5
"The Spirit who dwells in us yearns jealously. The agenda of this yearning jealousy is that Christ's bride might be set ablaze with an exclusive and fiery passion for her Beloved. Do something dangerous. Get alone with God! His consuming fire will burn away all from your life, until all that's left is love itself."
What proof this whole experience was that our minds are not like God's mind. My natural inclination with the thought of fire was to focus on fear. God's was quite the opposite. Fire can be a positive in our lives.. So open the Word of God today and ask Him to strike a match in your life today and have the Holy Spirit shine brighter and with more warmth than He ever has in your life!
Discernment is a reward of persistent search for wisdom and insight.
Discernment is using good judgment in our speech and thoughts.
Discernment leads to making wise choices.
Discernment is seeing, understanding, and avoiding a potential evil and its consequences.
A wise man is cautious and turns away from evil, but a fool is arrogant and careless. Proverbs 14:16
Merciful heavenly Father, I ask You to give my dear child discernment and wisdom. In this world full of subtle evils, may he be sensitive and cautious about his decisions and directions in life!
Wisdom and good judgment live together, for wisdom knows where to discover knowledge and understanding. If anyone respects and fears God, he will hate evil. For wisdom hates pride, arrogance, corruption and deceit of every kind. Proverbs 8:12-13
Loving Father, teach this child ways he can demonstrate "wisdom and good judgement living together" in his life. Please help him to know where to discover knowledge and understanding. Lord, I ask that this child will always respect and fear You and hate what is evil. Also, help him learn to hate the sins of pride and arrogance and corruption.
Obedience puts children in proper relation to their parents-God's representative authorities.
Obedience puts children in proper relation to the outside authorities in their lives-teachers, church leaders, police, etc.
Obedience is a heart attitude that should characterize the spirit of my child; it is not just an outward act.
Obedience puts material things into proper perspective, and shields our children from the dangers of peer pressure.
Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is just and right. Honor your mother and father. Ephesian 6:1-2
"Lord, I ask that my child willingly and eagerly obeys us as his parents. Allow him to recognize and accept joyfully the fact that we are Your representatives to guide and direct him-and Father, please give us as this child's parents, wisdom. We want to be valued as precious by this child.
But if you are unwilling to obey the Lord, then decide today whom you will obey...But for me and my family, we will serve the Lord. Joshua 24:15
"Lord, cause my child to see that although many people choose not to obey You, he must make his own commitment. Give him the strength to uphold his commitment to You even when it gets tough. Father, may this child's own resolve to obey You be a shield and protection from the forces that would desire to press him into the world's mold.
Forgiveness...is God's gift to us through the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. It allows us to have new life and eternal fellowship with God.
Forgiveness...frees from a judgmental and critical spirit.
Forgiveness...is responding to evil by doing good.
Forgiveness...is the gift we must receive in order to forgive others.
Never pay back evil for evil. Do things in such a way that everyone can see you are honest clear through. Don't quarrel with anyone. Be at peace with everyone, as much as possible. Dear friends, never avenge yourselves. Leave that to God, for he has siad that he will repay those who deserve it.
"Dear God, I pray that this child will be willing to learn not to repay evil for evil. Help him to learn what true love is-the love that Christ has for us. Teach this child he must not try to get even, but leave that up to You. Lord, help this child see that forgiveness can break the "getting back at others" cycle and bring healing to relationships. And may this child discover how right actions can lead to right attitudes."
But when you are praying first forgive anyone you are holding a grudge against, so that your Father in heaven will forgive you your sins too.
"Lord, I know Your desire is to forgive this child when he is separated from You by sin in his life. I truly pray that he will not be a person who holds grudges but will quickly and joyfully forgive others."
Young children are easily taught. It has been such a blessing to have our grandchildren here this week and be able to pray these prayers of character directly to them.
Teachability...is developing a heart-attitude that seeks God's guidance for living to honor Him each day.
Teachability...helps our children prepare their hearts to be faithful to God.
Teachability...is having a mind that seeks truth and having ears that are sensitive and willing to hear knowledge and rebuke.
Teachability...is allowing ourselves to be instructed by the Lord.
"God and Savior, You alone are able to guide my child in the right path. I place this child in Your loving care. I ask that You would instruct him in Your truth and teach him Your way. May this child's hope be in You each and every day of his life."
...guide me in your truth and teach me, for you are God my Savior, and my hope is in you all day long. Psalm 25:5b
"Father, it is Your own Spirit that teaches us through Your Word. I pray this child will yield to Your instruction. Please protect this child from developing a stubborn or rebellious spirt. May he be a spiritual sponge, soaking up Your truth."
Then they would put their trust in God and would not forget his deeds but would keep his commands. They would not be like their forefathers-a stubborn and rebellious generation, whose hearts were not loyal to God, whose spirits were not faithful to him. Psalm 78:7-8
Humility...is thinking more highly of others than you do of yourself.
Humility...is developing spiritual greatness through servitude.
Humility...puts our children in a position to receive the refreshing grace of God.
Humility...is having a correct evaluation of ourselves.
"O Lord, develop in this child a real willingness to become devoted to others in brotherly love. Liberate this child to see the importance of putting others before himself in his life."
Be devoted to one another in brotherly love. Honor one another above yourselves. Romans 12:10
"Father, thank you that You free us to enjoy people of every status. I ask that You give this child the gift of humility. Supply this child with a correct evaluation of himself regarding those with whom he will work and play. May he not have a "know it all" attitude."
This week we are blessed to have all of our grandchildren here at Shiloh. Each day on the blog there will be a few short prayers from a book called "While they were sleeping." This book emphasizes the importance of 12 character traits in our children's lives and our role as parents, grandparents, and mentors to pray these for our children. Today's trait is kindness.
#1 Kindness...is giving up something for the benefit of another.
Kindness...is having a sensitive spirit toward others.
Kindness...is treating others the way we would like to be treated.
Kindness...is controlling our negative thoughts toward others.
"Father, may this child be willing to give of himself to help a person in need. May this child not only see the needs of others but act upon these needs in a sacrificial way. Deliver this child from holding too tightly to his own possessions. Give him a willingness to share what he has with others."
This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers and sisters. If anyone has material possessions and sees a brother or sister in need but has no pity on them, how can the love of God be in that person? Dear children, let us not love with words or speech but with actions and in truth. 1 John 3:16-18
"Gentle Father, cause this child to learn to respond to the anger of another with a gentle answer. Open the eyes of this child to see that the gentleness and kindness of speech can do far more than an unkind word to stop another person's anger."
A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger. Proverbs 15:1
"Loving, gracious Father, help this child to resolve his conflicts instead of harboring bitterness or anger in his heart. May he never shout angrily or say things to hurt other. I pray that this child will not do evil things but will be kind and loving. Give this child the desire to forgive just as You have forgiven him in Christ."
Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you. Ephesians 4:31-32
Then they cried out to the LORD in their trouble, and he brought them out of their distress. He stilled the storm to a whisper;
the waves of the sea[a] were hushed. They were glad when it grew calm, and he guided them to their desired haven.
Yesterday, I noticed a boat struggling to pull into its slip. The water was rough as a storm was brewing. A beach ball flew from the boat and headed out the cove to the main channel. You could hear the child onboard cry out for his ball. Within minutes thunder, lightening, blinding rain, hail and high winds abounded and this boat driver had to abandon his efforts and just pull up alongside a nearby dock, tie off and run for shelter. The rain was so heavy I could no longer see the boat, but screamed for my husband as I looked up to see the winds swirling the top of our trees in circular motion and large limbs and even halves of trees come crashing down. The dock and patio furniture went flying as well. A large cushion flew across the entire patio past our windows. I cried out, "Lord, protect us and this house!" My mind flashed to the Wizard of Oz and how Dorothy felt when her house took flight. In a matter of moments our plans for that evening and the next few days were changed.
Over the years I've answered phone calls which rocked my world instantaneously...your brother has drown, your nephew has cancer, your mother has cancer, your son has been in a serious accident and you must come now. The severity of those times brought about a protective covering from God, which seemed to anesthetize me...like when in the eye of the storm. Then that wears off, like for us this morning, and you have to get up and get out and face the recovery process.
We are never alone in the storms of life. God is always present and his angels are watching over us. We give thanks this morning that there is no structural damage to the buildings on our property. It could have been much, much worse. We are also very thankful there is not a wedding, a party or a church service at Shiloh today. I do wish our strong house guests with teenage boys, who were here last weekend, were here or that an angel with a chainsaw, truck and chipper would appear. My poor husband has been out all morning with his chainsaw and is drenched in sweat.
Paul understood the struggle of believing God could love us. Imagine, his passion had been killing Christians. One of the major hindrances to people coming to Christ and actively serving him is being so ashamed of their past and not being able to comprehend how God could possibly love them or want to use them. Think simply of the people who ridicule Christians, calling them names and making fun of them. How hard it would be to make the turn around and humble themselves before this God and accept his love. God is all about the turn around business. Turn arounds are Jesus' specialty! They thrill God's heart.
Paul's message to the Ephesians is a good one to print off and put on our bathroom mirrors to read each day.
For this reason I kneel before the Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth derives its name. I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.
Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen. Ephesians 3:14-21
Lord, help us today by faith to grasp the power and dimension of your love. In Jesus' name, Amen
After walking through infertility issues with our daughter, I find it a privilege to pray for women in similar situations. Today at 9:45 two embryos will be implanted in the womb of a wonderful young woman whom my husband had the honor of baptizing here in the Lake several years ago. She and her husband long to have a child (or two). Would you please pray for these babies to flourish and grow up to love and serve the Lord!
Have a wonderful weekend.
Next week I will have all my grandchildren here and want to do a special week long series of praying character into our children/grandchildren. We will see if the Holy Spirit leads the way or has another plan!
The Lord is fine tuning me and it has been a difficult process. Just yesterday I failed the same test twice. Make it Home Before Dark is the book I am studying right now by Crawford Loritts on God's call to holiness in our walk with him. Repentance is the key ingredient in this process. Whew, thank the Lord, because I seem to miss the mark everyday. Loritts states, "...a Christian's journey to wholeness takes a lifetime to complete." I often feel I will not get the reward of heaven until some major improvements are made here on earth and I pass a couple specific tests.
Last night I dreamed I had decided to go back and finish the requirements for my pilot's license which I began working towards in my twenties. (Believe me, that is not on the radar of priorities right now.) Anyway in the dream I am riding with the instructor, who actually was my boss when I worked for hospice, and another student. (For the full picture, Moses was in the plane with me.) The girl flying lost control of the plane and we began to nosedive into a residential area in the Roanoke Valley. In the dream, I am elated and saying, "Jesus I am so ready!" Oh, well. We all survive. So back to the whole holiness process!
David was an awesome repenter and a man after God's heart. Listen to David in Psalm 51:1, 6, 17
Be gracious to me, O God, according to Your lovingkindness;
According to the greatness of Your compassion blot out my transgressions...
Behold, You desire truth in the innermost being,
And in the hidden part You will make me know wisdom...
The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit;
A broken and a contrite heart, O God, You will not despise.
Loritts says, "He(David) recognized that brokenness and repentance were the keys that opened the possibility of restoration-and that a forthright acknowledgment of his sin was the beginning of the entire process. Not so with Saul. He was the master manipulator. His legendary ability to twist the facts finally was his undoing. He would not sincerely repent of his sin. He seemed to be constantly looking for ways to justify or his disobedience. Saul's stature as the king of Israel stood in the way of an honest, transparent walk with God...he was more concerned about the favor and opinions of man than he was about the approval of God. Because he would not genuinely repent, he never experienced the forgiveness of God."
Our joy comes when we lay it all down at the foot of the cross and say "Yes, Lord" to whatever his will is for us.
Song: Yes, Lord
I'm trading my sorrow
I'm trading my shame
I'm laying it down for the joy of the Lord
I'm trading my sickness
I'm trading my pain
I'm laying it down for the joy of the Lord
And we say yes Lord yes Lord yes yes Lord
Yes Lord yes Lord yes yes Lord
Yes Lord yes Lord yes yes Lord Amen
I'm pressed but not crushed persecuted not abandoned
Struck down but not destroyed
I'm blessed beyond the curse for his promise will endure
And his joy's gonna be my strength
Though the sorrow may last for the night
His joy comes with the morning
One who loves a pure heart and who speaks with grace will have the king for a friend. Proverbs 22:11
We have a niece who is due to have a baby August 1. She Facebooked the other day that she was not going outside until the baby was born because 95 degree weather is no place for a pregnant woman! :) It is no place for a lot of us, so retreating to an air conditioned movie theatre is a great alternative to outdoor play. The movie The Tree of Life won the Cannes Film festival this year. Intriguing is a good word to describe this film. Two hours and nineteen minutes describes its duration and it certainly leaves you with a lot to talk about as you try to figure it out. I was captivated by some of the early lines on grace (lines were few in this film) by the female character, Mrs. O"Brien, who loses a son.
"The nuns taught us there were two ways through life-the way of nature and the way of grace. You have to choose which one you'll follow."
"Grace doesn't try to please itself. Accepts being slighted, forgotten, disliked. Accepts insults and injuries.
"Nature only wants to please itself. Get others to please it too. Likes to lord it over them. To have its own way. It finds reasons to be unhappy when all the world is shining around it. And love is smiling through all things."
"The nuns taught us that no one who loves the way of grace ever comes to a bad end."
"I will be true to you. Whatever comes."
Check out these definitions of grace and relate them to your life.
Grace: unmerited divine assistance given humans for their regeneration or sanctification; a virtue coming from God.
Approval, favor; mercy, pardon; a special favor : privilege; an act or instance of kindness, courtesy, or clemency; a temporary exemption : reprieve
A charming or attractive trait or characteristic
I am not sure where I found the following passage on grace, probably an online devotional, but I liked it enough to file it away. It is an excellent summation of "grace". Whew,wee...I thank God for his grace each day!
"Grace is the most beautiful word in the Bible other than Jesus. Grace is why God loves us when there is nothing lovely about us. We are not loved because we are valuable. We are valuable because we are loved. 1 John 4:10 says, “Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins.” That, friend, is God’s amazing grace. We are justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus. I love Him for His grace. It is all Jesus. It’s not the church. It’s not good deeds. Amazing grace is in the Lord Jesus Christ. He loves you. He died for you."
The grace of the Lord Jesus be with you. 1 Corinthians 16:23
Oliver, the cat (who is much more like a dog), lives next door to me. Yesterday, while visiting with his owner, I missed an opportunity to win America's Funniest Videos. This cat took his paw and pinned my neighbor's little black poodle down and began to clean her face. Black hair usually falls across the face of this dog, but by the time Oliver finished with her she not only had a shiny clean face, but also a wet mohawk sticking straight up in the air and no hair across her eyes.
There are times in life when we need a friend who is willing to enter into a sticky situation and help clean us up. Thinking back on my life I give thanks to God for the friends who have come and were willing to "lick" my wounds after the birth of babies, during illness and the deaths of loved ones. Also, there have been times like children's weddings, Sunday church services, and a ministry called "Docksiders" that I needed the hair pulled back away from my eyes to see my way clear through exhausting events and friends where there to lend a helping hand.
The most amazing times are when I've told no one about a "low tide" pulling me down and God sends a friend unexpectedly through the door to pin me down for a cup of tea, a boat ride, or another simple distraction wherein they offer comfort without even knowing it.
Lord, today we give You praise and thank you for the friends in our lives who love at all times. When You prompt us to go to someone's side may we be quick to obey.
"Do not forget to entertain strangers, for by so doing some have unwittingly entertained angels." Hebrews 13:2
We had the blessing this past weekend of hosting an eight year old from the Ukraine. Dear friends, who are like family, are considering adopting this young lady. I fell in love with her the moment she ran out of the car into my arms. There is a Christian organization out of Georgia, which orchestrates 5 week visits for orphans from this country to expose them to Christian homes. Please pray today for the 300 who are in the US right now!
“And my God will meet all your needs according to his glorious riches in Christ Jesus.” – Phil 4:19
“These things I have spoken to you, so that in Me you may have peace. In the world you have tribulation, but take courage; I have overcome the world.” John 16:33
God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear, though the earth should change and though the mountains slip into the heart of the sea; though its waters roar and foam, though the mountains quake at its swelling pride. Selah. The LORD of hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our stronghold. Selah. Psalm 46:1-3,7
‘Do not fear, for I am with you; do not anxiously look about you, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, surely I will help you, surely I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.’ Isaiah 41:10
For God did not give us a spirit of timidity (of cowardice, of craven and cringing and fawning fear), but [He has given us a spirit] of power and of love and of calm and well-balanced mind and discipline and self-control. 2 Tim 1:7 (AMP)
I have set the Lord continually before me; because He is at my right hand, I shall not be moved. Psalm 16:8 (AMP)
Cast your burden on the Lord [releasing the weight of it] and He will sustain you; He will never allow the [consistently] righteous to be moved (made to slip, fall, or fail). Psalm 55:22 (AMP)
He only is my Rock and my Salvation; He is my Defense and my Fortress, I shall not be moved. Psalm 62:6 (AMP)
Casting the whole of your care [all your anxieties, all your worries, all your concerns, once and for all] on Him, for He cares for you affectionately and cares about you watchfully. 1 Peter 5:7 (AMP)
The Lord is good, a Strength and Stronghold in the day of trouble; He knows (recognizes, has knowledge of, and understands) those who take refuge and trust in Him. Nahum 1:7 (AMP)
“The steadfast of mind You will keep in perfect peace, Because he trusts in You. Isaiah 26:3
There is an endless song Echoes in my soul I hear the music ring
And though the storms may come I am holding on To the rock I cling
How can I keep from singing Your praise
How can I ever say enough
How amazing is Your love
How can I keep from shouting Your name
I know I am loved by the King
And it makes my heart want to sing
I will lift my eyes In the darkest night For I know my Savior lives
And I will walk with You Knowing You'll see me through And sing the songs You give
I can sing in the troubled times Sing when I win
I can sing when I lose my step And fall down again
I can sing 'cause You pick me up Sing 'cause You're there
I can sing 'cause You hear me, Lord When I call to You in prayer
I can sing with my last breath Sing for I know That I'll sing with the angels
And the saints around the throne
if My people who are called by My name will humble themselves, and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land.
Hannah’s Prayer in 1 Samuel 21 And Hannah prayed and said: “My heart rejoices in the LORD; My horn is exalted in the LORD. I smile at my enemies, Because I rejoice in Your salvation.
2 “No one is holy like the LORD,
For there is none besides You, Nor is there any rock like our God.
Moses prayed in Numbers 14
17 And now, I pray, let the power of my Lord be great, just as You have spoken, saying, 18 ‘The LORD is longsuffering and abundant in mercy, forgiving iniquity and transgression; but He by no means clears the guilty, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children to the third and fourth generation.’19 Pardon the iniquity of this people, I pray, according to the greatness of Your mercy, just as You have forgiven this people, from Egypt even until now.”
4 I'm asking God for one thing, only one thing: To live with him in his house my whole life long. I'll contemplate his beauty; I'll study at his feet.
5 That's the only quiet, secure place in a noisy world, The perfect getaway, far from the buzz of traffic. 6 God holds me head and shoulders above all who try to pull me down. I'm headed for his place to offer anthems that will raise the roof! Already I'm singing God-songs; I'm making music to God. 7-9 Listen, God, I'm calling at the top of my lungs: "Be good to me! Answer me!" When my heart whispered, "Seek God," my whole being replied, "I'm seeking him!" Don't hide from me now! 9-10 You've always been right there for me; don't turn your back on me now. Don't throw me out, don't abandon me; you've always kept the door open.
My father and mother walked out and left me, but God took me in. 11-12 Point me down your highway, God; direct me along a well-lighted street; show my enemies whose side you're on. Don't throw me to the dogs, those liars who are out to get me, filling the air with their threats. 13-14 I'm sure now I'll see God's goodness in the exuberant earth.
Stay with God! Take heart. Don't quit. I'll say it again: Stay with God.
Listen to my instruction and be wise; do not disregard it.