Friday, April 10, 2015

Hope Gives Peace

I was reading 1 Samuel 1 recently, and this passage about Hannah made me think about what it means when another comes alongside you to agree with you in prayer before the Lord. It means hope. Hannah's response to Eli's words, “Go in peace, and the God of Israel grant your petition that you have made to Him.” (1 Samuel 1:17, ESV) was, "Let your servant find favor in your eyes." And then she "went her way and ate, and her face was no longer sad." 1 Samuel 1:18 (ESV)
 
Think about it. Someone, though, not at first, agreed with her sorrowful pleas before the Lord.
 
Her husband's other wife didn't. Instead, she “provoked her grievously to irritate her.”
 
Even her husband didn’t. He said, “Hannah, why do you weep? And why do you not eat? And why is your heart sad? Am I not more to you than ten sons?” Logical and reasonable questions, but just not coming alongside.
 
Although Eli at first questioned her, thinking she was drunk, after hearing her heart, he came alongside her.
 
That’s what I love about praying with other moms. They hear my heart as I pray for my child. AND then they come alongside me in prayer.

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Heaven

Lots of stories are being told about heaven these days. One popular story was recently admitted to be false by its adolescent storyteller. But, the truth about heaven is available to every person in Bible.

In fact, Jesus told one story that gives us just a glimpse of what is in store for people when they pass from this land of the living into eternity albeit this story was told by Jesus prior to His crucifixion, resurrection, and ascension.

Take a moment to read His story out loud to yourself from Luke 16:19-31 in the Voice—

There was this rich man who had everything—purple clothing of fine quality and high fashion, gourmet meals every day, and a large house.  Just outside his front gate lay this poor homeless fellow named Lazarus. Lazarus was covered in ugly skin lesions.  He was so hungry he wished he could scavenge scraps from the rich man’s trash. Dogs would come and lick the sores on his skin.  The poor fellow died and was carried on the arms of the heavenly messengers to the embrace of Abraham. Then the rich fellow died and was buried and found himself in the place of the dead. In his torment, he looked up, and off in the distance he saw Abraham, with Lazarus in his embrace. He shouted out, “Father Abraham! Please show me mercy! Would you send that beggar Lazarus to dip his fingertip in water and cool my tongue? These flames are hot, and I’m in agony!” But Abraham said, “Son, you seem to be forgetting something: your life was full to overflowing with comforts and pleasures, and the life of Lazarus was just as full with suffering and pain. So now is his time of comfort, and now is your time of agony. Besides, a great canyon separates you and us. Nobody can cross over from our side to yours, or from your side to ours.” ”Please, Father Abraham, I beg you,” the formerly rich man continued, “send Lazarus to my father’s house.  I have five brothers there, and they’re on the same path I was on. If Lazarus warns them, they’ll choose another path and won’t end up here in torment.” But Abraham said, “Why send Lazarus? They already have the law of Moses and the writings of the prophets to instruct them. Let your brothers hear them.” “No, Father Abraham,” he said, “they’re already ignoring the law and the prophets. But if someone came back from the dead, then they’d listen for sure; then they’d change their way of life.” Abraham answered, “If they’re not listening to Moses and the prophets, they won’t be convinced even if someone comes back from the dead.”

Though not stated outright, the implication is clear that Lazarus listened to Moses and the prophets and believed and that the rich man did not.

Jesus tells us clearly that when we die, we either go to a place of agony or to a place of comforts and pleasures. The writer of Hebrews echoes this finality, "…it is appointed for men to die once, but after this the judgment." (9:27, NKJ) Between the two places is an impassable canyon of separation. "Nobody can cross over from…"

The decisions we make here, today, will ultimately on our final breath determine our eternal future. Just like the rich man in Jesus' story, there comes a day when we die and all opportunity is ended. As Paul reminds us repeatedly in the book of Hebrews, "Today is the day of salvation." Every day we have is an opportunity to listen and believe. At the end of his life, the thief at the cross chose to do so and was told by Jesus, "Today you will be with Me in paradise." (Luke 23:43, NKJ)

Praying moms, that is why we fight in prayer for our children. That is why we wrestle against the "principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places" with our prayers "using the sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God." (from Ephesians 6)

That is why we don't give up. That is why we put aside our wants for how to spend our time to join our voices together with other moms for our children and for theirs. The most important thing in a child's life is the decision where he/she will spend eternity. Will that be heaven in the Presence? Prayer is that which makes the difference in the battle.

We must pray, not for ourselves only, but for all saints. Our enemies are mighty, and we are without strength, but our Redeemer is almighty, and in the power of his might we may overcome.
Wherefore we must stir up ourselves.
Matthew Henry


 


 

Friday, March 20, 2015

Change Just Is

An email from a Christian radio station this morning made me think about change. The writer used telephones as an example. Referring to Star Trek and Captain Kirk, he wrote—

Let’s take a trip in the way back machine for a moment, to 1996. Did you have a flip phone?
Matt Stockman

Yes, we did have flip phones. But in 1966, the year Star Trek debuted, no, we didn't. And going back further—remember Dick Tracy?—we didn't have watch phones either. But, now we do. And as Matt pointed out, flip phones can be bought "by the shoebox full at Goodwill."

Change is. It just is.

Change happens all around us every day. It is especially apparent this time of year as the trees go from bare branches to flourishing with leaves.

Change happens in us as well. We grow; then stop growing—well, except our hair and nails. But we are still changing, our bodies getting older. Wrinkles and gray hair become more visible and other things which don't need to be named.

And change happens in us in other ways. As believers we grow from faith to faith as we walk in step with the Spirit in this land of the living.

We can't help, then, to recognize that change is reality. But how often go we overlook that change is necessary in our children, too. Oh, I know we notice their physical changes and their intellectual changes. But do we consider and pray about the changes they will have in life and need to go through to develop into the disciples of Christ that He wants of them?

So all of us who have had that veil removed can see and reflect the glory of the Lord. And the Lord—who is the Spirit—makes us more and more like him as we are changed into his glorious image.
2 Corinthians 3:18 (NLT)

It is often our mom-sense in life to protect our children in such a way that we hinder the change that the Spirit wants to bring about. We want them like our old land line phones, receiver attached to the telephone base with a cord. Or it might be that we want them too soon to become a smart phone and push them into places they are not ready for. Either way, we get in the way of the Spirit whose work is to create the change He desires.

…so we are being transformed, metamorphosed, into His same image
from one radiance of glory to another,
just as the Spirit of the Lord accomplishes it.
2 Corinthians 3:18b

My prayer for us is that we will participate well in the change the Spirit desires to produce in our children.



Monday, March 16, 2015

So Others May Live

This morning while having coffee with a friend, I noticed a truck in the parking lot with these words across its tailgate, "So Others May Live."

At the same time, my friend was telling me about a testimony she'd heard on a Jim Cymbala teaching video. It was the testimony of a woman in her early 20s who had grown up in New York, the daughter of an alcoholic mother who practiced voodoo. This young woman was involved in gangs, violence and drugs. At the invitation of a friend, she had come reluctantly to a Brooklyn Tabernacle Church prayer service bringing with her the demons—literally—who possessed her. And, just prior to going, she had downed a bunch of pills. When she entered the church, she walked toward the front and stopped a few feet from Pastor Cymbala. A few church members stepped forward to join him in praying for her. When someone began to pray, "Oh, Jesus," right away the demons reacted. She attacked him violently and had to be forcibly held to the ground by several people. The demons screamed and yelled at everyone, claiming her as theirs. But when Pastor Cymbala continued to pray, "Come out of her in the Name of Jesus Christ," she was freed immediately. She knew that Jesus Christ had delivered her and became a believer. The demons were ousted and the Holy Spirit took their place.

In short, the people around this young woman had battled spiritual forces in prayer in the Name of Jesus. As a result, she was given new life—free of the demons and also of the effect of the pills.

Do you comprehend, praying moms, that this—this—is the power of our prayers?

There's a life and death battle going on. Our prayers made in faith in the Name above all names, Jesus Christ, are powerful for deliverance. Sometimes the results are immediate, as in the case of the woman. Other times, there is a long wait. The drama may not often be this strikingly visible to us, but it is still there. You can be sure of it.

Christ left us on this earth with the responsibility and even obligation to engage in this battle through our prayers. We are to do that with the strength of His power and might. May we never give up but resolve to fight until we reach victory! "So Others May Live!"

This young woman is now a member of the Brooklyn Tabernacle Church and is a prayer warrior herself.


…God is strong, and he wants you strong. So take everything the Master has set out for you, well-made weapons of the best materials. And put them to use so you will be able to stand up to everything the Devil throws your way. This is no afternoon athletic contest that we’ll walk away from and forget about in a couple of hours. This is for keeps, a life-or-death
fight to the finish against the Devil and all his angels…
God’s Word is an indispensable weapon. In the same way,
prayer is essential in this ongoing warfare. Pray hard and long.
Pray for your brothers and sisters. Keep your eyes open.
Keep each other’s spirits up so that no one falls behind or drops out.
Ephesians 6:10-12, 17-18 (MSG)



Saturday, March 14, 2015

Life is hard, but God is good--ALL the time!

I was reading in Deuteronomy 8 this morning and verses 2, 3b, 5, and 16b stood out and reminded me of the words of Paul in 2 Thessalonians 1:5 and Philippians 1:27-30. Our trials, and those of our children, are meant to humble and test us to reveal what is in our hearts, to help us know that our life is in Him and in heeding His Word, and to do us good in the end. It is the loving discipline/instruction of our Abba Father.

May we have the mind to exalt Christ and rejoice as Paul. His and Silas' praise-filled singing in their jailhouse chains and pain brought others to salvation and strengthened their own faith. (See Acts 16:12-40) Life is hard, but God is good--ALL the time!

So, praying moms, fill your hearts with praise and thanksgiving. It will strengthen you and will strengthen those around you!


May God himself, the God who makes everything holy and whole, make you holy and whole, put you together—spirit, soul, and body—and keep you fit for the coming of our Master, Jesus Christ. The One who called you is completely dependable.
If he said it, he’ll do it!

1 Thessalonians 5:23-24 (Message)



Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Evil Rising, But…

We can't look at a media today and not recognize that evil is rising. What to do? Tremble in anxiety?

Jesus taught the disciples "that they ought always to pray and not to turn coward (faint, lose heart, and give up)." But several verses later, He asked, "When the Son of Man comes, will He find [persistence in] faith on the earth?" (Luke 18:1, AMP)

I thank the Lord for the ministry of Moms in Prayer which disciples women in being like the woman in Jesus' story of Luke 18. Our Lord desires us to be faithful, patient and persistent prayer warriors seeking His help for our children and for their schools.

One praying mom recently wrote to me, "Our prayers are essential to our schools! No locks, rules, or safety measures are going to stop the "Satan who prowls the earth like a roaring lion seeking whom to devour". But we serve the One who holds all power and we have a direct line of prayer to his throne." Profoundly true!

This is similar to the encouragement Jesus spoke to His disciples just prior to the cross—

In the world you have tribulation and trials and distress and frustration; but be of good cheer [take courage; be confident, certain, undaunted]! For I have overcome the world. [I have deprived it of power to harm you and have conquered it for you.]
John 16:33 (AMP)

Keep praying. The One we serve is the Name above every name who has the power to subdue and subject all things to Himself. (Philippians 3:21)


 

Sunday, March 1, 2015

Fighting What God is Doing?

Have you seen this commercial: http://youtu.be/enzh7v8d1AU? Now, I am not promoting its product but was reminded of something insightful when I saw it.

Sometimes—when things are going opposite the way we think they should—don't we in our human nature "fight" what God is doing?

I think as moms, we often believe we know what is best for our children. And, instead of trusting God to be working through our prayers, we start interfering.

Interference didn't work out well for the people in the video. Interference didn't work out well for Abraham and Sarah. Interference caused Rebekah and Jacob heartache. We can probably think of plentiful examples from our own lives. We are slow learners sometimes.

Praying mom, as you take your child to the Throne of mercy and grace in prayer, remember, it is just that—a Throne of mercy and grace. But it also the Throne of the all wise God who, unlike us, does know what is best. He knows exactly the path He wants our child to walk and how best to get his or her feet placed on that path.

So, pray for the best as you see it—and don't give up, even if your "church" collapses in the waiting. Instead, keep trusting when you see the worst. God may be up to something that He means to use to bring eternal salvation and glory in your child's life.


For now we are looking in a mirror that gives only a dim (blurred) reflection [of reality as in a riddle or enigma], but then [when perfection comes] we shall see in reality and face to face! Now I know in part (imperfectly), but then I shall know and understand fully and clearly, even in the same manner as I have been fully and clearly known and understood [by God].
1 Corinthians 13:12 (AMP)

Or—

We don’t yet see things clearly. We’re squinting in a fog, peering through a mist. But it won’t be long before the weather clears and the sun shines bright! We’ll see it all then, see it all as clearly as God sees us, knowing him directly just as he knows us!
1 Corinthians 13:12 (MSG)