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)

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Tightly Bound

The teaching at a recent Christian women's area retreat was from Beth Moore's "The Making of a More Honest Me." As Beth Moore took us deeper into chapters 32 and 33 of Genesis, she drew our attention to Jacob's distress as he prepared to meet his brother, Esau, and the 400 men with him. I think anyone of us would be distressed if the brother who'd vowed to kill us was coming fast to meet us face to face with an army of men!

Beth said the Hebrew word for distressed is tsarar, which means to bind, be narrow, be in distress, make narrow, cause distress, besiege, be straitened, be bound, etc. I couldn't write all the synonyms fast enough, so I looked it up in Strong's when I got home. Over all, this word used for distressed makes it clear that Jacob was extremely uncomfortable, to say the least!

But Beth didn't leave it at that. She noted that there's a positive use to this word in 1 Samuel 25:29. Abigail used this word when she told the future King David "the life of my lord shall be bound up in the bundle of the living with God." Beth said that the tighter we feel in God's care, the looser we will be among people, secure on all sides. I think that was opposite Jacob's initial reaction when he heard of his brother's impending arrival to his camp.

When you read these two passages, though, there's an interesting thing to note in Genesis 32:1. As the narrative begins in 32 there is a mere mention of angels meeting Jacob. When Jacob saw them, he said, "This is God's camp." It made me think, as it did Beth, that this experience may be similar to what Elisha's servant saw.

I sense that the Lord God was reminding Jacob that He was keeping His word just as promised in Genesis 28:15 (AMP), "I am with you and will keep (watch over you with care, take notice of) you wherever you may go, and I will bring you back to this land; for I will not leave you until I have done all of which I have told you."

I also believe that it is a reminder that our God's Presence is with us, and His Presence—even though we just like Jacob often struggle in faith, His very powerful Presence is greater still than any Esau, angry enemy army, or even perilous times. Though we can't see what Jacob or Elisha's servant saw with their eyes, we can see with faith knowing that our God camps with us.

I am so thankful!! Because, there really is no better place to be!

My prayer for us is that as we grow closer to the Lord through His Word and prayer that we will feel tightly bound up in His bundle, camped with Him, enabled to live through securely any distress this life brings.

But He said to me, My grace (My favor and loving-kindness and mercy) is enough for you [sufficient against any danger and enables you to bear the trouble manfully]; for My strength and power are made perfect (fulfilled and completed) and show themselves most effective in [your] weakness. Therefore, I will all the more gladly glory in my weaknesses and infirmities, that the strength and power of Christ (the Messiah) may rest (yes, may pitch a tent over and dwell) upon me!
2 Corinthians 12:9 (AMP)





Thursday, February 5, 2015

Distractions

A commercial for the United States Army declares, "And when they're asked what they did to make a difference, they will say, "I became a soldier."

Whether or not it is "kosher" today to call Christians "soldiers," the truth is that's what we are. We live in a world that is a battlefield between light and darkness, between truth and deception, between life and death. Paul even called those who worked with him to spread the Gospel soldiers of Christ Jesus. (See 2 Timothy 2:3 AMP)

That means, praying moms, just like the US Army soldier, we have a purpose that will make a difference. In fact, it is a work that was planned for our lives by our Soldier God, who uses His right hand in glorious power to shatter the enemy.

The Lord is a great soldier.
The Lord is his name.
Exodus 15:3 (ERV)

And consider these words penned by the prophet Isaiah—

He saw that there was no man,
And wondered that there was no intercessor;
Therefore His own arm brought salvation for Him;
And His own righteousness, it sustained Him.
For He put on righteousness as a breastplate,
And a helmet of salvation on His head;
He put on the garments of vengeance for clothing,
And was clad with zeal as a cloak.
According to their deeds, accordingly He will repay,
Fury to His adversaries,
Recompense to His enemies;
The coastlands He will fully repay
Isaiah 59:16-18 (NKJV)

"We are at war," as Christine Caine said. And when we pick up the sword of the Spirit, the Word of God, in prayer, the enemy is slashed! Those words our mouths speak in prayer echoing God's own are something the enemy hates—not just because he hears them, but also because we hear them!

Be sure and convinced—"of this very thing, that He Who began a good work in you will continue until the day of Jesus Christ [right up to the time of His return], developing [that good work] and perfecting and bringing it to full completion in you." Philippians 1:6 (AMP)

Be excited!! We—you—are doing Kingdom work that makes a difference for eternity. And don't let the world or the enemy or even you distract you. As Beth Moore wrote, if Satan can't get to us with destruction, he will try distraction. So, speak over distractions as Nehemiah did:

I am doing a GREAT work and cannot come down.
Why should the work stop while I leave to come down to you?
Nehemiah 6:3 (AMP)


 
My prayer, my benediction, for us echoes Paul's—

And the God of peace will crush Satan under your feet shortly.
The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you. Amen.
Romans 16:20 (NKJV)

Friday, January 30, 2015

And So We Wait

As I was reading about Joseph in Egypt after his rise to power, I wondered—what was Joseph thinking while he waited for his brothers to return? (See Genesis 42-43) Trusting God, I'm sure, as that was his character. But it couldn't have been an easy wait. Joseph knew what the partial outcome would be. God had revealed that to him that in his dreams. His brothers had come once and bowed down to him. That was the first dream. But the second dream had prophesied something even greater. His father would also come under the influence Joseph's rule of Egypt. And so he waited. He waited with anticipation for the day he would embrace his father again.

Have you ever had to wait for something? I mean, wait for something you know is already settled, a sure promise you just don't yet have in hand?

We probably all can relate. Don't we pray as we have been told—asking, seeking, knocking—with the promise from the Lord that we will receive, find, or have opened to us? Yet, we find ourselves waiting.

We've been told that when we ask in His Name—His character/will—that our prayers will be heard and answered. But, He didn't give us a when. And so we wait.

Waiting is not easy—not for our children and not for us. But the one thing that really helps us wait is remembering Who we are waiting on—our Father.

Isn't it worth all the waiting to receive the answer of His embrace?


Wait and hope for and expect the Lord;
be brave and of good courage and let your heart be stout and enduring.
Yes, wait for and hope for and expect the Lord.
Psalm 27:14 (AMP)


 

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Ready, Set, Go!

A Facebook friend and fellow Moms in Prayer mom, Michele Bristol Frank, earlier this morning updated her status with the reminder that just like preparing for a race, we have to prepare for each day at its start. How true! If we don't prepare ahead of time, we can soon find ourselves in the midst of a disordered, disorganized, muddled up mess. Has that happened to you? Or, should I ask, how often has that happened to you. I admit that it has happened to me.

I loved Michele's reminder that like preparing for a race, we have to get on our marks in prayer. What a great analogy. That would mean beginning each day by getting ready through spending time with the Lord, even if just a few moments of leaning back into His Presence.

Without getting ready, we don't deliberately set our hearts, our minds and our priorities on our Lord Jesus. And that means we run aimlessly (1 Corinthians 9:26 HCSB). But when all these things are set in their proper place, we can GO with the control, strength and speed needed to finish the race and receive the prize waiting at the end.

That's a key teaching of Scripture. It is the example Jesus gave us. He took time, even with crowds clamoring for His attention, to be with His Father so His life was ordered and purposeful. It even meant that He could be quiet when the most difficult time of His life came about.

Sometimes our lives as moms can be hectic to say the least whether our children are not yet taller than our waists or taller than us and going in so many different directions. While even a moment of leaning into the Presence of the Lord before our feet hit the floor can make the difference the rest of the day, it is absolutely essential to running our race that we take time to spend minutes with our God. It is there, just like Jesus, that we will find the strength of life we need to run our race with the endurance to win.

Don’t you know that the runners in a stadium all race,
but only one receives the prize?
Run in such a way to win the prize.
1 Corinthians 9:24 HCSB

As each day is a new day in our lives, we need these reminders to keep ourselves abiding in the One Who is our Forza di Vita, our Strength of Life.

The Lord is my light and my salvation;
Whom shall I fear?
The Lord is the strength of my life;
Of whom shall I be afraid?
Psalm 27:1 (NKJ)


 

Friday, January 23, 2015

Restorer

Recently, I had to wait for a grain train to pass prior to driving up the road to my home. Of course, the railcars were covered in colorful graffiti. It seems those cars are just prime targets. But, as the cars traveled the tracks, one went by that caught my attention. In the center up high and noticeable was the word "Restorer."

Yes, that is who the Lord our God is—our Restorer. Just as the railroad company will eventually take those railcars and restore them to their original condition, sans graffiti, the Lord has the ability to do that with us...with our children.

One thing I love about the ministry of Moms in Prayer International is that as we come together as concerned moms, we are bathed in the truth of the Word of God and He restores our souls. No wonder the enemy fights hard to keep moms from joining us. His desire is for moms to stay in worry and anxiety and in busyness—doing all the human stuff possible to guard and keep their children but not laying them at the feet of the Throne. Add to that the enemy's desire to separate us and keep us as moms from being a forceful body against his desire for our kids.

I appreciate the moms that have prayed with me over the years with determination to fight for my kids and theirs. As Henry Morris wrote, they are warriors whose mouths are filled with prayers and bold speech; their swords have no scabbard, and retreat is unthinkable. And I am filled with gratitude for what the Lord has done in our children's lives—in spite of the enemy's lion-like tactics. And I am standing steadfast with them that our God, the Restorer, is still working in their lives to bring them back in every way to follow Him and have the rest of faith.

May it be so!


Pray always.
Pray in the Spirit.
Pray about everything in every way you know how!
And keeping all this in mind, pray on behalf of God’s people.
Keep on praying feverishly, and be on the lookout until evil has been stayed.
Ephesians 6:18 (Voice)


 

Monday, January 12, 2015

Vision

This past Sunday in church, we sang the old hymn, "Be Thou My Vision." The pastor then taught from Colossians 3:1-17. As he did so, my mind was thinking of the last verse of the hymn and its relation to this passage.

High King of heaven, my victory won,
May I reach heaven's joys, O bright heaven's Sun!
Heart of my own heart, whatever befall,
Still be my Vision, O Ruler of all.

In Colossians 3:2, Paul wrote that we are to set our minds on Christ. My Thomas Nelson NKJ Study Bible notes, "Christians must continually discipline themselves to focus on eternal realities, instead of the temporal realities of the earth." Focus is vision.

The pastor made the comment that when we lose focus, only bad things will happen. And Proverbs 29:18 warns us that without vision, people perish. However, just as the hymn tells us, when we keep focus, when we keep our mind set on heaven's Sun, Christ, our victory is won.

But how do we maintain focus? How do we keep our vision?

Paul gives us the "how" in verses 16 and 17, "Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, in all wisdom, teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord. And whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him." (NKJ)

My Bible comments that these words to the Colossians parallel Paul's words to the Ephesians where he wrote for believers to "be filled with the Spirit." In essence, to "let the word of Christ dwell richly in you" is the same as being filled with the Spirit. Vision comes from being filled with the Spirit, and the result comes out in the way we live life. In fact, my Bible's notes conclude that "the result of being filled with the Spirit or the word of Christ is singing." We certainly read in Scripture that Paul's life was a life that sang.

But there is one more thing we need to remember about these two phrases. Each is not a onetime thing. These are moment by moment things. As the Colossians passage indicates, these are things we do with intention, with focus, with vision set continually on Christ. That reflects what the hymn tells us, "whatever befall." This is the theme of "Be Thou My Vision."

Be Thou my vision, O Lord of my heart
Naught be all else to me, save that Thou art
Thou my best thought by day or by night
Waking or sleeping Thy presence my light

Be thou my wisdom and Thou my true word
I ever with Thee and Thou with me, Lord
Thou my great Father, I, Thy true son
Thou in me dwelling and I with Thee one

Riches I heed not nor man's empty praise
Thou mine inheritance now and always
Thou and thou only first in my heart
High King of heaven my treasure Thou are

High King of heaven my victory won
May I reach heaven's joys, O bright heaven's Sun
Heart of my own heart whatever befall
Still be my vision O Ruler of all

The Lord in us dwelling—a lived out vision of oneness with the Ruler of all, the Lord of our heart.




Our Most High God, we offer praise to You, the One who is seated on the Throne. May You be our Vision as we live out life on this earth until we reach heaven's joy. In the Name above all names, Jesus, amen.