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The One Weapon We Need

Ephesians 6:18 – “Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints.”

It has been quite a month. We have had some tough things going on in our family life that has really been challenging. Cancer has struck our immediate family. And it’s the kind of cancer that has no known cause. Not that any cancer has a specific cause, necessarily, but there are some cancers in which you can trace the origins. This one, a brain tumor, has no known etymology. It is just cells gone bonkers. And that is frustrating.

When things like this come into our life, we want someone or something to blame. We seek out information that attempts to tell us who or what to blame. But in this case, it just isn’t there.

So, what do we do? We fight. We fight fiercely. But the one problem we, as a family, have been faced with is how? How do we fight? We don’t have the skill set or knowledge to remove this thing from our loved one. We don’t know the right combination of medication, chemo or radiation that is needed to destroy this foe.

But we have something way more powerful than medication, chemo and radiation. We have the Creator of all things in our corner. We have a direct line to His ear. For those of you who are familiar with old hymns, we have a Royal Telephone available to us. We have a weapon that is available to us 24/7 with no interruptions, failures or dropped calls. We have prayer.

And prayer is what is getting us through this period of uncertainty in our life right now. Prayer from family, friends, coworkers, church members, strangers (to us) in the community are all being lifted up for my family. And I am eternally grateful. Just knowing that someone is praying gives me strength, gives me hope and gives me peace.

Prayer truly is a weapon. It is a weapon that we can wield when all else is failing. It is a weapon that can be used before the battle begins, when it is raging and when it is finally over. Prayer is what holds us together, sometimes. Prayer is what connects us to one another – knowing that we can count on someone that we can see and touch to stand in our corner for us. People aren’t called Prayer Warriors for no reason. They will stand and fight (pray) through it all and in spite of it all.

So today, I encourage you to fight. Fight with prayer. Do your battles on your knees. And remember, if you pray while driving, don’t close your eyes. 🙂

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Seeing the Super

Ephesians 3:14-19 – “For this cause I bow my knees unto the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, of whom the whole family in heaven and earth is named, that he would grant you, according to the riches of his glory, to be strengthened with might by his Spirit in the inner man; that Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith; that ye, being rooted and grounded in love, may be able to comprehend with all saints what is the breadth, and length, and depth, and height; and to know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge, that ye might be filled with all the fulness of God.”

Do you enjoy superhero movies? I do. I love watching movies about people who can do extraordinary things yet are able to completely blend into a crowded street.
Why do followers of Christ act any different?
Have you ever thought for a moment about the fact that we are empowered by the Holy Spirit to do the work of God in every day life? Seriously, think about it.
Now, how often do we engage our “super power”?
When Paul was writing this to the Ephesians, there were no movie theaters down the street showing the latest film about someone who could fly or lift semi trucks with one hand. No, these were every day salesmen and women, farmers, weavers, moms, and young people who were doing their best just to survive. Yet, here is Paul asking God to strengthen them in His Spirit and to know and comprehend His love that is seemingly unthinkable. He was asking God to show these people God’s super power.
When times like a career change or big move comes up in our life, we are quick to look for God to move and work. We know that He has control of our future and we quickly desire to see Him at work. We are 100% confident that He will provide the strength and wisdom to do what He wants us to do.
But what about the every day stuff like paying for someone else’s drink in the drive-thru or letting that person who waited until the last minute to merge in or dealing with the animal that loves to gnaw on your pillows outside – how do handle those situations? Do we engage our super power then? Do we ask God how to handle those situations? Do we trust Him to give us what we need not to honk at that person?
You see, Love is a super power. It has the ability to conquer a multitude of issues and problems – 1 Peter 4:8 – “And above all things have fervent charity among yourselves: for charity shall cover the multitude of sins.” (If you aren’t aware, “charity” is the Old English word for love.) Love has the ability to go out there and pay for someone else’s drink without them knowing who did it. Love has the ability to calmly allow someone in front of you in traffic. Love has the ability to not get mad at the crazy animal that chewed up your pillows and to be grateful that it only chewed up 2 of them. Love has the ability to allow God to work in the biggest and most life changing issues you face because you know in the deepest part of your heart that He can do all things.
So what I want to encourage you to do today is to engage your super power of Love. Let God have His way and to show you His love. Look for it like you would look for that last dime you need to get coffee at the gas station. Search for it diligently. And ask God to strengthen you in His love and guide you in His wisdom. He is just there waiting for you to ask Him to engage your super power.

 

Glow in the dark

By Jason Grey

Sometimes the world feels like a mess. Full of drama, full of stress. And life puts a fist right in your ribs. You can hide if you choose to. And no one would even blame you. Or you can let them see how you deal with it

That even in the darkest place. His love can make you radiate

Doesn’t matter how deep, how dark the night is. Keep hoping, keep on shining. And they’ll see His light burning in your heart. And if the road gets rough, just keep your head up. Let the world see what you’re made of. That His love’s alive in your deepest parts. Like a flame, like a burning star you can shine right where you are. He made you to glow in the dark

Don’t be ashamed of your past. If you’re shattered like a piece of glass. The more broke you are the more the light gets through. Show your wounds and your flaws. Show them why you still need the cross. Let them see the work He’s doing in you

That even in the darkest place. His love can make you radiate

Doesn’t matter how deep, how dark the night is. Keep hoping, keep on shining. And they’ll see His light burning in your heart. And if the road gets rough, just keep your head up. Let the world see what you’re made of. That His love’s alive in your deepest parts. Like a flame, like a burning star you can shine right where you are. He made you to glow in the dark

I don’t have a lot to say about this today. I think that it is pretty self explanatory. I just want to encourage you to “Glow in the dark”!

Day 1

‭‭2 Timothy‬ ‭2:15‬ ‭KJV‬‬ – “Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.”

And so it begins…..

Today is the first day of school for my kids. My son will be in 11th grade and my daughter will be in 10th grade. Where, o where, has the time gone?

It is my prayer today that they be an example of Christ through their service to others. They are both in student government and and in another club that focuses on service. I am blessed that we are able to send them to a Christ-centered school. I know that today they will pray and be encouraged in God’s word.

I have this verse on a chalkboard at the top of the stairs at my house. I know that it has been there so long that they probably rarely see it. But it is something that they need to remember. It is something that we all need to remember.

In fact, let me relate this to another matter. I went back to see a patient yesterday that I had not seen in a couple of months. He was expressing to me that his arm strength just wasn’t enough to help him do what he wanted to do. When I asked him if he was completing the arm exercises I gave him when I left, he replied “no”. Now, how in the world did he expect to get any stronger if he didn’t complete the exercises I gave him?

How in the world do we expect to get any stronger in our faith if we don’t study? How in the world do I expect my children to be successful in school if I don’t encourage them to study and do their homework?

It takes work and effort to be successful. It takes work and effort to make time to be in God’s word. It takes work and effort to apply the information that we learn in our studying. It takes work and effort.

I think that is a point of break down in things. Too many people don’t want to put in the work and effort – at school or in their relationship with Christ. If it doesn’t come easy, then some people just don’t want it. And that is sad. There is great reward and encouragement in a relationship with Jesus Christ. There is great reward and satisfaction in a job well done and/or a goal accomplished.

So this year, as kids all across the nation get ready to go back to school, let’s take this time to use their new start as a new start of our own. Let’s make a commitment to get more into His Word and more into His will for our life. Let’s put in the work and effort that we so easily shy away from into our relationship with Him. Let’s make this Day 1.

Balm for my soul

‭‭Psalms‬ ‭122:1‬ ‭KJV – “I was glad when they said unto me, Let us go into the house of the Lord.”

Yesterday was a tough day for me. I was tired from traveling all weekend. I had lots of work to do. But also, yesterday was the one year anniversary of the home-going of my grandpa. It was also the day that we had a funeral at our church for a local family whose 2 year old daughter drowned last week. My heart was super heavy.

Yet, we had Ladies’ Meeting last night. I brought a lesson on Hannah. We shared some laughs while getting God’s work done. It was good.

As I was sitting there listening to the wrap up of the meeting, my heart was just overwhelmed at God’s love toward me. He knew that I was tired. In fact, we were all tired. The majority of the ladies there had served at the church all day long trying to provide a meal for the huge amount of people who attended the funeral. God knew that we were all spend – physically and emotionally. Yet, He brought us all together to give balm to our souls.

Some people have the misconception that church is boring and doesn’t do anything but tell you all the ways that you are wrong. Well, that’s not true. Church is a “called out body of believers”. Church is a place where your additional family abides. Church is a place to be lifted up and encouraged. It is a place to share your burdens with others and receive comfort in knowing that someone is praying with you and for you. Church is a place to develop eternal relationships – with God and His people. And sometimes, church is the place where God brings us to remind us where we have gone wrong but at the same time to provide us with the opportunity to make things right.

You see, I have found that when I am obedient to His Word and attend a service of some sort whenever it is offered, I am blessed in one way or another. Even when things are tough or down-cast or joyful or bewildering, I am brought closer to Him when I am with His people in our local New Testament church. And that makes me want to say – “I was glad when they said unto me, Let us go into the house of the Lord.”

Becoming

‭‭Mark‬ ‭1:17‬ ‭KJV‬‬ – “And Jesus said unto them, Come ye after me, and I will make you to become fishers of men.”

Last night, one of the guys at my church brought a message partially centered around this verse. He did a great job.

I had listened to a podcast earlier in the day about becoming who you are. Of course, it was a secular thing and there was really no spiritual meaning attached to anything they said, but I believe that God brings things into your life to teach you and grow who you are, no matter the source.

So, those things together got me to thinking about becoming. What does it actually mean? Off to Dictionary.com I went. Here is the definition I found – “to come, change, or grow to be (as specified)”. The 1828 Webster’s definition is this – “to pass from one state to another; to enter into some state or condition, or by assuming or receiving new properties or qualities, additional matter, or a new character”.

I am not the same person I was yesterday. I will not be the same person tomorrow that I am today. I should be growing and changing and becoming closer to the person God would have me to be.

When Jesus called out His first disciples, they were a ragtag bunch of men that really had no significant background. They were fishermen who had probably been fishermen since they came into that area. It was what they did and who they were. They weren’t great scholars or problem solvers or men of renown. But Jesus saw something in them that made Him call them away from their nets and everything that they had ever known.

And they weren’t great missionaries straight off the starting line. It was something they had to grow into. It was a pattern of growth from one state to another by the learning of new qualities and the refining of pre-existing qualities. But it required challenges and choices and being thrusted into situations that were confusing and combative. It wasn’t an easy growth period to be sure. But each one became someone different, someone better, someone who would advance the Kingdom of God beyond all human comprehension.

Where does that leave me? Have you ever heard that song “He’s still working on me”? That’s where I am. I am still becoming. I am still becoming the wife, mother, employee, blogger, daughter, friend, occupational therapist (and whatever other word to describe me that I’m currently leaving out) that He wants me to be. I’m a process – a work in progress. I need a sign some days.

I guess what I want to send out to everyone is this – be patient with yourself and with others. We are all becoming. We are all works in progress. It might take a while to get where God wants us to be, but one day, we will get there.

All of me

‭‭Mark‬ ‭12:30‬ ‭KJV‬‬ – “And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength: this is the first commandment.”
We were challenged this weekend to love God with all that we are. Easy concept, right? Umm, no. Not so much. Not when you really take a good hard look at yourself. And that, my friend, is no fun. 

The challenge began with “Who is #1 in your life?” Well, I’m at church, on a Sunday night. The Sunday school answer is “God”, right? But when the question was asked again at the end of the challenge…the answer wasn’t God, if I was being honest with myself. And that is tough stuff right there. 

Love God with all my heart. What does that mean? As I have thought about it, I see it as loving God with all my emotion. Our heart is the center of our emotional state. When I love God with all my emotion, I make everything about Him. I choose to see His hand at work in my life. I allow Him to change and mold my attitude. Now, does that mean that I go around gushing and acting all cheesy? No. I believe that you can love God with all your heart by acknowledging Him every opportunity you get. You are deferring your emotion to Him. You are choosing to allow Him to guard and guide how you feel and respond. Loving God with all my heart.

Love God with all my soul. I think about this in this way – loving God with my eternity. My soul is something I can’t see; I can’t touch; but it is something I can give. I can give my soul back to it’s Creator by choosing Jesus as my Savior. I can allow God to have control over my eternity. Loving God with all my soul.

Love God with all my mind. Some days, I do okay with this and others days, it’s just plain ugly. In my way of thinking, this is loving God with thoughts. This is allowing God to control my thoughts. This is choosing to see things in the scope of eternity. “What would Jesus do?” It’s not wearing your heart on your shirt sleeve but rather seeing all things in the light of the love of Christ. Letting Jesus control my thoughts. Loving God with all my mind.

Love God with all my strength. To me, this is my actions. These are the things that I do or don’t do on a daily basis. This is reading my Bible. This is going to church when the doors are open. This is preparing for VBS. This is the physical action of the group. This is loving God with all my strength.

There are times when I get parts of this challenge spot on and there are times when I fail miserably. But you know what, God wants me to try my hardest. He wants me to make the choices to do things right and to seek Him daily. He knows when I am doing the best I can and when I am doing just enough to get by. This is where grace and mercy come into play. This is where I really need grace and mercy. And praise God, they never run out.

So this week, ask yourself “Who is #1 in my life?” And don’t just give the Sunday school answer. Really look hard at yourself. Ponder where your priorities really are. Happy Tuesday.