Archive | January, 2016
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Praying to God Our Promise-Keeper

30 Jan

wendy blight

Do you believe in the power of prayer?

Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective. James 5:16 (NIV)

I invited my friend Wendy Blight to share with you today about Praying to God Our Promise-Keeper.

Knowing God by name. Calling upon God by name. Praying His Word … His Promises … back to Him are powerful and effective ways to usher God’s life-transforming work into our lives because our God is a Promise-Keeper.

But prayer is hard. It doesn’t come naturally to most women. I know it didn’t for me. The thought of praying out loud intimidated me. Made me feel uncomfortable.

But I have also learned that without prayer, we will never get to know the promise-keeping side of God. In order to know our Promise-Keeper, we’ve got to interact with Him. Pray to Him. And more than just pray, pray His promises … His Word … back to Him. It’s the substance of His promises that transform our prayers to be those powerful and effective prayers James talks about in James 5:16.

This truth came alive to me last year at a women’s conference in Houston.

The women’s ministry leader invited me to share my testimony. It’s a hard story for me to tell. In 1986, just days after my graduation from Baylor University, I fell victim to an armed, masked man hiding in my apartment. The horrific events of that June day locked me in a prison of fear for years. I hated God. I felt abandoned and forgotten by the One I grew up believing loved and cared for me.

A few weeks after my attack, a friend gave me this promise: “Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the LORD your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you” (Deut. 31:6, NIV). But at the time, it meant nothing. In fact, I saw it as a lie. He had forsaken me. He sat on his throne in heaven and watched what happened to me and did nothing.

Thankfully, God did not leave me in that dark place. As time passed, my heart slowly opened to God’s Word. It was a long and arduous journey, but over a decade later, through much prayer and the transforming power of His Word healing came. Freedom came. My test became a powerful testimony.

As I closed my message and stepped off the stage, a woman walked up and shared her story. Little did I know it was my story too.

She had been a student at Baylor at the time of my attack. She was part of a ministry whose leader invited them to pray for the young woman who had been attacked (me). They prayed a passage from Psalm 62 over me every week … for two years!  They prayed the promises of the Promise-Keeper.

Grasp the miracle here. At the very time I felt abandoned by God, He had raised up believers to pray. And not just pray, but pray God’s Word. His promises. She showed me her Bible. Yes, she still had it! Next to the passage was 1986 and my name.

As I read the passage, I saw clearly how each promise had come alive in my life. My promise-keeping God had honored each and every one.

I pray my story not only encourages you to pray but also opens doors for you to invite others to pray. Because you never know what God is up to in the midst of all those prayers!

Will you join me in praying God’s Word back to the One who is our Promise-Keeper? He always honors His Word. In fact, Isaiah 55:11 promises His Word will never return void and will accomplish everything He desires and achieve every purpose for which He sent it … even thirty years later!

 

In addition to God Our Promise-Keeper, there are hundreds of Names of God. I invite you to visit Wendy’s blog to get a sneak peek of her newest Bible study, I Know His Name and also sign up for her FREE companion devotional, “5 Days to Knowing God More Intimately.”

 

Here is a link to Wendy’s public page.

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Current and Future Goals and Dreams

28 Jan

3

Here are some of my dreams and goals for this year that are in line with my one word for the year – Savor.  You can read about my one word here.

1  Spend more time with my Lord in prayer and Bible study.

2  Savor the marital moments we have together.

3  Spend more time with our two children and their spouses.

4  Make fond memories with the two grandsons.

5.  Serve more at church.

6.  Find more time to write.

7.  Enjoy walking and exercise more.

8.  Savor the coffee moments.

Joining 52 Lists for this week 4.

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I Know His Name: Jehovah Shalom

25 Jan

Names Of God - Peace

Are you ready to experience God in fresh new ways? Then you are in for a treat today!

I Know His Name: Discovering Power in the Names of God is a new Bible study written by my friend Wendy Blight. Wendy teaches how the very names of God reveal His character and heart.

I’ve invited Wendy to share with you today about Jehovah Shalom: The One Who Brings Me Peace.

A few years ago I found myself in one of those busy seasons of life. You know, the kind where your calendar is void of white space. Where you spend your days trying to balance the daily tasks that have to be done with the fun events that keep you a well-adjusted, delightful-to-be-with co-worker, girlfriend, wife, and/or mom.

Mentally, I felt like I was balancing it all well. Reading my daily devotional and praying my neatly ordered list of prayers.

But physically, my body said otherwise.

My spirit felt uneasy. Anxious.

My heart beat erratically.

My symptoms escalated with each passing day.

Night after night, I lay awake counting my heartbeats, faster and faster they came. Lack of sleep led to exhaustion. Exhaustion to withdrawal. I felt disconnected from everything around me.

One morning I stepped into the shower.  Within moments, I struggled to breathe. Inexplicable panic ensued. I flung open the shower door, enveloped myself in a towel, and collapsed on the tile floor. Tears poured forth uncontrollably.

What was happening to me? I felt as if my life … my faith … the very core of who I am was unraveling. I felt like a failure.

I mustered what little faith I could find and dropped to my knees. It was weak faith, but it was there. I needed more. More of Jesus. More of His peace.

My sweet Savior met me right there on the carpet. He turned my eyes to my bedside table where my unopened Bible lay.

My heart ached. I had not opened that precious book in weeks. I had been reading my daily devotional. Reading what another woman had to say about the Bible. But I had not been in my Bible, listening for what Jesus had to say about His Word … to me.

I had been spending very little time with Jesus.

I crawled over to my precious Bible and opened it. With each turn of the page, truths spilled into my empty, thirsty heart … truths to cling to … to pray … to quench my empty, thirsty heart.

Truths I want to share with you today.

From the Old Testament:

For to us a child is born … And he will be called … Prince of Peace.” Isaiah 9:6 (NIV)

You will keep in perfect peace those whose minds are steadfast, because they trust in you.” Isaiah 26:3 (NIV)

From the New Testament, not forgetting our verse for today (John 14:27):

I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”
John 16:33 (NIV)

Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:6-7 (NIV)

Jesus is our Prince of Peace, and His Peace is ours. It’s a fruit of God’s Spirit that lives and breathes in those of us who are children of God.

Believe it.

Claim it.

Now let me share the key to believing and claiming it:

Personalizing and praying these truths. When we pray God’s Hebrews 4:12 living and active Word, His Word comes alive in us. It infuses every part of our being.

So, how do we go about personalizing and praying God’s Word?

Here are a few of my prayers:

Wendy, I will keep you in perfect peace when your mind is steadfast, because you trust in Me. (Isaiah 26:3)

Peace I leave with you, Wendy; My peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your heart be anxious, troubled or afraid.
(John 14:26-28)

Wendy, when you stop being anxious, when you give everything to me in prayer, My peace, which transcends all understanding, will guard your heart and your mind in Christ Jesus. (Philippians 4:6-7)

Want to learn more about Jehovah Shalom: The One Who Brings Me Peace? Wendy teaches about this Name of God in Chapter 5 of her newest Bible study, I Know His Name: Discovering Power in the Names of God. I invite you to visit Wendy’s blog to get a sneak peek of I Know His Name and also sign up for her FREE companion devotional, “5 Days to Knowing God More Intimately.”

Here is a link to Wendy’s public book page.

 

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The Gift of Being Present

22 Jan

oceanc

I’m participating with Kate Motaung and Five-Minute Friday today.  The prompt is present and to write for five minutes.

That word present applies to all of us I believe.  For a moment I thought not my husband because he is not into any kind of social media, although with two grandsons he has had to change to an i-phone to see pictures of those boys.

I try to be careful now when my two toddler grandsons are visiting.  I try to not pick up my laptop to check on my Bible study groups, my blog, or Facebook.  Sometimes it is hard and hey it should never be hard to put away electronics (unless we are working from home) and enjoy their presence by being present.  For the most part I have been able to wait until they are napping.  What kind of example am I setting?  Not a very good one sometimes, but I am still working hard on it – to be present in the floor, to be present watching Mickey Mouse, to be present reading a book.

Now back to my husband, and all the men out there.  How present are they when a hunting show or a fishing show is on television?  Or for your guys it might be football, basketball, baseball, a detective show or Star Wars.   Yes, they can be just as out of presence as a person with their electronics.

Sometimes when we are out to eat we look around and so many people are on their phones and it is not for just a moment – it will be the entire meal.    WHY?  Can we not put down our devices and be present? Honestly, my phone stays in my purse unless I am expecting a call from one of our kids. Life is too short and too precious not to be present.

One thing I know Christ is our example and we are to be like Him. He is right here with me no matter what I am doing – even when I’m on all these crazy devices.  He is always there every moment waiting for me to acknowledge Him.

Put down the cell phones.  Be present – be a gift to your loved ones.

 

 

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I Know His Name: El Roi

22 Jan

El-Roi-drip

Do you have a desire to move beyond simply knowing about God to really knowing God in a very personal way? Then you are in for a treat today!

I Know His Name: Discovering Power in the Names of God is a new Bible study written by my friend Wendy Blight. Wendy teaches how the very names of God reveal His character and heart.

I’ve invited Wendy to share with you today about El Roi : The God Who Sees You.

She awakened with a quick trip to the grocery store in mind. She pulled her hair back in a ponytail, slipped on her flip-flops, grabbed her keys and ran out the door.

My girlfriend, Karen, and I also planned a trip to the local market that day. As we approached the check-out lines, we found ourselves behind an older woman waiting on someone to arrive. She impatiently motioned for us to go ahead. Before I had a chance to move my cart forward, a young woman scooted past me to join her.

Immediately my heart beat erratically; my hands trembled uncontrollable, and I felt a leading from the Lord … buy her groceries.

What?

It overcame me again … the racing heart rate … the trembling, this time accompanied by a sweet whisper, “Love her. Buy her groceries.”

I hesitated. Such a strange request.

She doesn’t look poor. It appears she’s with her mother. She can help her if she needs money, Lord.

Instead of dissipating, my symptoms increased.

Okay, Lord, I hear you.

I reached out, tapped the young woman on the shoulder and spoke the words God put in my mouth: “I know it sounds strange, but God told me that we are to buy your groceries.”

She looked at me quizzically and then graciously accepted, tears filling her eyes.

A few moments later, they walked out the door.

Not long thereafter, as Karen and I were checking out, the older woman returned. She identified the young woman as her daughter, Micah. She shared how Micah suffered at the hands of an abusive husband who had recently walked out on her, leaving her alone with a young son, feeling unloved and unworthy of love.

She could barely make ends meet and felt abandoned by everyone, but most especially God. In fact, her mother told us that just a few days before our God appointment in the grocery store, Micah and her mother had prayed. Her mother prayed: “Lord, draw Micah back to You.”

But Micah’s prayer is what astounded us. She had prayed, “God if You are real, if You love me, show me that You have not forgotten me!”

As her mother shared these words, the reason for God’s urging in the checkout line became so clear. God wanted to extend unconditional love to Micah … to offer something to her for which we expected nothing in return.

In the midst of Micah’s deepest sorrow and desperate cries for love, God saw her. God responded intimately and personally.

This, my friend, is the magnificent, intimate work of El Roi. The God Who Sees. He sees us in our place of pain. Need. Hurt. Betrayal. Doubt. Confusion. And He comes.

Micah’s mother left us with these words, “Micah now knows that God has not forgotten her!”

God saw His child in need, and He came to her. He provided for her needs. He loved her unconditionally. He answered the cry of her heart.

And He used us! On an ordinary day, in an ordinary store, performing an ordinary chore, God called my friend and me to an extraordinary task. He crossed our paths with one of His girls who needed to experience His extraordinary love.

Yes, it was a great day for Micah! But what a day it was for Karen and me. Our obedience to the Lord’s prompting touched Micah’s life in such a powerful way that she knew God was real. God loved her. And He had not abandoned her.

As we close our time together today, never forget these truths. God hears our cries. He intervenes. He answers prayer. He orchestrates divine appointments … anywhere … everywhere … anytime … even in a grocery store.

God met Micah, and He met me, in the grocery store that day.

Want to learn more about El Roi: The God Who Sees You? Wendy teaches about this Name of God in Chapter 2 of her newest Bible study, I Know His Name: Discovering Power in the Names of God. I invite you to visit Wendy’s blog to get a sneak peek of I Know His Name and also sign up for her FREE companion devotional, “5 Days to Knowing God More Intimately.”

Here is a link to Wendy’s public book page.

 

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