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.



Friday, January 9, 2015

Little Faith

Faith isn't the power. Faith is the empty hand that receives the power from God.
John MacArthur

I was listening to Pastor John MacArthur recently and he made the point that "even a small amount of struggling faith can draw down the power of God in the life of a believer." He backed that up with reference to it being Peter's "little faith" that saved him.

And immediately Jesus stretched out His hand and caught him, and said to him,
“O you of little faith, why did you doubt?”
Matthew 14:31 (NKJ)

When Peter began to sink in the water, water he'd previously been walking on, he cried out to Jesus, the One who has not just the power to save but the mercy to save. Even his "little faith" brought him the saving touch of Jesus.

Jesus reminds us of this principle repeatedly in Scripture. When the storm arose and the waves began to swamp their boat, the disciples turned to Jesus, crying out, "Save us, Lord." Yet, Jesus said "to them, “Why are you fearful, O you of little faith?” Then He arose and rebuked the winds and the sea, and there was a great calm." Matthew 8:26 (NKJ)

When they took their "little faith" to Jesus, salvation occurred.

Praying moms, it is just the same with us as our Lord is the same now as He was then. Sometimes in the struggles of life all we have to cling to is little faith. But, remember, Jesus responds even to a little faith.

Then, it's our turn to marvel as did the disciples—

"Who can this be, that even the winds and the seas obey Him?"


 

Monday, January 5, 2015

Time-Waster

Did you know that worry is a time-waster?

Charles Swindoll wrote that worry intensifies our anxiety, whether it is about our own failures and mistakes---about what we should or could have done but didn't or what we should not have done but did. Honestly, no matter how old our children are, we moms can easily be caught by worry.

But worry not only is a time-waster, Pastor Swindoll also noted that when we worry, "you can forget about all the hassles connected with being happy, efficient, productive, and contented. Within a couple of months, those things won't even be on your agenda." He even calls worry a "faith killer." Know why? Because when worry grabs us, it means we have assumed the responsibility of life instead of leaning on the Lord. Oh dear, and that means, as you probably already know, that worry, being unbelief, is a sin.

So, what to do?

Pray. When we choose to pray, we choose to lean on the Lord's goodness and we choose faith over worry. In fact, we are choosing a practical demonstration of our faith.

More to the point, prayer is sort of like pedaling a bicycle. When we stop pedaling, we fall. If you've ridden a bike, I'm sure you've experienced that.

So, praying moms—"Keep pedaling, keep pedaling!"

Let's not waste our time with worry but practically demonstrate our faith with unrelenting prayer.



Saturday, December 20, 2014

Greater is He

I woke up this morning with the song "Greater is He living inside of me than he who is living in the world" sounding in the ears of my mind. And, then, a bit later, I heard Mercy Me singing it on the radio. This song takes these words from 1 John 4:4, where the apostle John wrote:

You are from God, little children, and you have conquered them,
because the One who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world. (HCSB)

John goes on to exhort us to remain in Him and keep His commands, the greatest of these being to love, which is a reflection of God's own love for us demonstrated by His sending His Son into the world so that we might live through Him. (1 John 4:9 HCSB)

Praying moms, when we choose to remain in Him, we choose to hear His voice. As Mercy Me's song so aptly puts it, we choose to hear the voice that calls us redeemed. We choose to hear the voice that tells us, "God is love." (1 John 4:16) We choose to have "No Fear," as a common bumper sticker proclaims. This is our confidence because "perfect love drives out fear." (1 John 4:18)

So, we can bring all the voices we wrestle with, the ones of doubt and fear, along with our tears to the Throne. Just like Joseph, we can listen to the voice that told him, "…don’t be afraid to take Mary as your wife, because what has been conceived in her is by the Holy Spirit. She will give birth to a son, and you are to name Him Jesus, because He will save His people from their sins.” (Matthew 1:20-21 HCSB)

We can wake up each morning with the realization that the One living inside of us is greater than anything we will face. We can keep doing the "labor of love" as those who belong to Him because He has all the strength we need to conquer. We can, through faith, conquer the world. We can have confidence in prayer to ask God anything according to His will knowing that He hears us. (1 John 5:4, 14-15 HCSB)

We can proclaim with joy—

The kingdom of the world has become the kingdom
of our Lord and of His Messiah,
and He will reign forever and ever!
Revelation 11:15 (HCSB)

He is GREATER!