Saturday, August 16, 2014

Like a Lion

School has already started for many. And for most moms, that would mean sending their child through the doors of a school building away from their presence into the unknown.

We moms do know that the enemy is out there desiring to have and destroy our children. Peter warns us that our enemy is like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. (1 Peter 5:8)

Well, did you notice that one four letter word? He is "like" a lion. It doesn't say that he IS a lion.

Moms, remember, you pray to the one who IS the lion. (Revelation 5:5)

When you pray, it might help to picture it this way—

The enemy dressed in lion skin is barring his teeth at your child's face.
But standing over your child, prepared to pounce, is a huge lion growling at your child's adversary.

If I were an artist, I'd draw you a picture, but let the words do that in your mind.

Your fervent righteous prayers joined with those of other moms will work mightily to thwart the plans of the loudmouth counterfeit lion.

Remember James' words? Here is my own paraphrase of James 5:16b.

The earnest, heartfelt, continued prayer of the righteous
make tremendous power available—
the power of the Omnipotent One—
to work wondrous things!





Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Why Record Our Prayers?

In our culture—well, you could probably say any culture—mothers are so busy. We don't have one track minds. We have minds that are busy thinking ahead and behind—all over the place—so we can keep up with our children and all the other tasks on hand. Our busy thinking often doesn't stop until after the house is dark and everyone else is snoozing away. And often busy thinking doesn't encourage our stopping to bring to mind the wondrous works of the Lord. We're too busy thinking of the next thing.

So, recording our prayers can be a very good thing for most of us. Our prayer sheet/journal becomes written memories that will help us stop to recall the wondrous works of the Lord which reveal He is!

And just the fact that we take time to write down our requests means that when we do that day by day we can't help but then look at what the Lord's hand has worked previously. That gives us hope that He will do the same today and in the future. After all, Jesus is the same, yesterday, today, and forever. 

King David wrote these words in Psalm 65:1-2, 5 (NKJ)—

Praise is awaiting You, O God, In Zion;
And to You the vow shall be performed.
O You who hear prayer,
To You all flesh will come.
By awesome deeds in righteousness You will answer us,
O God of our salvation,
You who are the confidence of all the ends of the earth and of the far-off seas.

Just recently, I met with several praying moms for a Moms in Prayer Potluck Joy Brunch and heard their thanksgiving joys as to how the Lord has heard and answered their prayers. Their words still echo in my mind—and in the Lord's, I am sure!  In fact, did you know the Lord keeps a record when we get together and talk about Him?

Then those who feared the Lord talked often one to another;
and the Lord listened and heard it, and
a book of remembrance was written before Him
of those who reverenced and worshipfully feared the Lord
and who thought on His name.
Malachi 3:16 (Amplified Bible)

That's how important it is to the Lord for us to speak out loud about His wondrous works. To do that brings us joy and, best of all, is joy to His heart.

Monday, July 28, 2014

Slow and Steady Until the Harvest is Complete



I love to watch a wheat field being harvested. Sometimes just one combine is traveling back and forth, but often there are two or even
more.

Each combine travels the wheat field with a slow and study pace, stopping only to be emptied of grain when it becomes full. They go across flat ground, up hills and down hills. They keep going until the harvest is complete.


Harvest near golf course.jpg

Have you ever thought what would happen if harvest time came and went but no one took the time to go out into the field to actually collect the crops?

King Solomon had these words to say about that in Proverbs 10:5 (NKJV), "He who gathers in summer is a wise son; He who sleeps in harvest is a son who causes shame." But hear the Message's paraphrase—

Make hay while the sun shines—that’s smart;
    go fishing during harvest—that’s stupid.

That sort of puts it bluntly. Going fishing isn't bad. But fishing when the harvest is ready to be collected—"that's stupid."

What does this have to do with praying for our children and their schools? A lot!

The harvest is a life-giving work. Do we see our prayers as priority life-giving work?

We are no different that the first disciples of Jesus, who He sent out into the harvest field to do His Father's work. (Matthew 10:12 The Voice) Prayer is important harvest work. In fact, the success of the harvest depends on faithfulness in prayer.

This is what Andrew Murray wrote: "The Lord has surrendered His work to His Church. He has made Himself dependent on them as His Body, through whom His work must be done. The power which the Lord gives His people to exercise in heaven and earth is real; the number of laborers and the measure of the harvest does actually depend on their prayer."

He goes on to exhort us to set apart time and give all of ourselves to our intercessory work for these reasons:
  • "It will lead us into the fellowship of that compassionate heart of His that led Him to call for our prayers.
  • It will give us the insight of our royal position as children of the King whose will counts for something with the great God in the advancement of His Kingdom.
  • We will feel that we really are God's fellow workers on earth, that we have earnestly been entrusted with a share in His work.
  • We will become partakers in the work of the soul.
  • But—[hear this praying moms]—we will also share in the satisfaction of the soul as we learn how, in answer to prayer, blessing has been given that otherwise would not have come."


So let’s not get tired of doing what is good.
At just the right time we will reap a harvest of blessing if we don’t give up.
Galatians 6:9 (NLT)

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Dancing in the Wind

It's been fairly windy this week. We've had several storm rush through, even bringing much needed rain. It was quite something to watch the trees "dancing" in the wind. They may be stuck to the ground, but that doesn't stop them from dancing in place.

What about us?

When we are stuck to the ground, especially in a place not of our choosing, and the wind comes along, do we dance anyway?

Tony Evans wrote, "If you want to have joy, then celebrate the Lord regardless of the circumstances."

That is what we need to do—what we NEED to do. It is what takes our eyes off the waves and puts them on Jesus. It is what reminds us that He is our strength of life, our Forza di Vita.

When you come before the Lord in prayer for the storms in your child's life, in your life, come first of all dancing in praise. Put your eyes on Him and remember who He is.

For He is—

—our Refuge and Strength [mighty and impenetrable to temptation], a very present and well-proved help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear, though the earth should change and though the mountains be shaken into the midst of the seas, though its waters roar and foam, though the mountains tremble at its swelling and tumult.
Selah [pause, and calmly think of that]!
Psalm 46:1-3 (AMP)

So, when the storm comes. Hold your ground. Keep praying and trusting.

Dance in place.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Take the Limits Off

I watched a video recently that illustrates how perseverance is key as we pray light into darkness. That is what Jesus taught in Luke 18:1-8.

Farris Long, who did the video wanted to do a visible demonstration to share with others something his mother told him about prayer. Here's a link to watch it: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aqG9_acZbZA.

His encouragement as he began was to encourage listeners to "keep praying, it's all going to become clear real soon."

He held up a clear plastic bottle filled with dark liquid, its lid screwed on tight. Taking off the lid, he said we have to take off the limits we put into our prayers. Then, Farris put the open bottle under the clear water flowing from the kitchen faucet, saying the water represented our prayers.

His analogy showed how as we keep pouring prayer into the darkness, after a while, the light will overcome the darkness.

He also pointed out that our persistent prayers reveal that we actually believe God hears our voice.

Isn't that what the woman in Jesus' story believed? She believe that the judge could help her.

Do we believe that the righteous Judge of all can help us?

Then the Lord said, “Notice how this dishonest magistrate behaved.
Do you suppose God, patient as he is, will not see justice done for his chosen, who appeal to him day and night? I assure you he will not delay in seeing justice done.
Yet, when the Son of Man comes, will he find men on earth who believe in him?”
Luke 18:6-8 (PHILLIPS)


Don't give up, moms. Every prayer you pray changes the color of that dark situation. Don't give up until you see the victory of darkness defeated.

Keep pouring your heart out like water before the presence of the Lord. (Lamentations 2:19)

Friday, July 18, 2014

Famine

As I watch the combines work the harvest, it is hard to think about famine.
 
Photo: Walla Walla wheat harvest--that's the Veterans Memorial Golf Course in the background.

But famine is a reality. And it manifests itself in different ways.
 
Are you praying for the "famine" in your child's life to end?
 
What if you are praying for the very thing to go away that the Lord has purposed to turn your child to Himself?
 
What does God's Word tell us about famine?
 
Here's a few things I've learned: 
  • Famine can be brought by God to test our faith. Will we trust the Lord's protection/provision? (Genesis 12:10)
  • Famine can be sent by God to call attention to sin so it can be dealt with. (2 Samuel 21:1)
  • Famine can be a tool of God to turn us back to Him in obedience. (2 Chronicles 6:13, 26-31)
  • Famine can be a punishment sent by God. (Isaiah 3:1-8; Jeremiah 14:11; 29:17-19; 2 Kings 25:1-3)
  • Famine has been sent by God throughout history as a consequence of sin. (Ezekiel 14:13-21)
  • Famine will be a part of life here in this fallen world particularly as we move towards the end times. (Luke 21:7-11)
  • Famine, though, can be used to benefit God's own people. (Genesis 41-43)
  • Famine can sometimes not be prayed away even by the righteous. (Ezekiel 14:13-21)
  • Famine, in fact, sometimes is not something the righteous should pray away. (Jeremiah 14:11; 29:17-19)

In other words—God is the One who brings/allows famine, through weather or other means. He sovereignly uses famine for His purposes—to test, to call attention to sin, to punish, even to protect/benefit His people and to orchestrate history (as He did by moving Israel to Egypt). God has done this throughout time and throughout the world.
 
The hardest thing for us moms, though, is that God will not turn back famine even at the request of the righteous until His purpose is accomplished. That is because no one can thwart the purpose of God. And His ultimate purpose is a reflection of Himself—righteousness.
 
So, what if the famine in your child's life is God's goodness or mercy in disguise, as Laura Story sings? What are you and I as mothers to do then?
 
If our prayers won't change the famine, then perhaps it is our prayers that need to be changed.
 
By example, Jesus taught us to pray.
 
Our Father in heaven, let Your name remain holy.
Bring about Your kingdom.
Manifest Your will here on earth, as it is manifest in heaven.
Give us each day that day’s bread—no more, no less—
And forgive us our debts as we forgive those who owe us something.
Lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.
[But let Your kingdom be, and let it be powerful and glorious forever. Amen.]
Matthew 6 (The Voice)
 
We ask for His kingdom rule to be manifest here in our own lives and in our children's lives. We do as the Lord spoke to Solomon.
 
…if My people who are called by My name will humble themselves,
and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways,
then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land.
2 Chronicles 7:14 (NKJV)
 
We pray these scriptures for our children so that the Lord's purpose of famine will be accomplished. So that the "times of refreshing" will come.
 
Repent therefore and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out,
so that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord.
Acts 3:19 (NKJ)
 
And we remember in faith—God is righteous. Psalm 145:17 from the Amplified puts it this way—
 
The Lord is [rigidly] righteous in all His ways
and gracious and merciful in all His works.
 
 
 
 
 


Monday, July 14, 2014

Relax

Many years ago, one of my responsibilities at my church was that of Vacation Bible School Director. It was always a big job, especially the recruiting of volunteers, but I loved it.

I loved it because VBS was a favorite summer activity of mine since childhood. My older cousin took me along with her and together we enjoyed these summer week long mornings of learning about Jesus. And, when I was a teen, I had the experience of helping.

Directing Vacation Bible School takes lots of work and creativity AND lots of prayer. One year, I was stressing out a bit over putting it all together. On my way to the church, my attention was drawn to a rental house that at one time had been a lovingly cared for family home. But this summer, it was abandoned and unkempt. The lawn was a scraggly field of weeds—large weeds. In fact, many were thistles, which in my area grow as big as bushes. The little goldfinches love to use the soft thistle blossoms for nesting material, but farmers and others are not a fan of this stickery, annoying, and hard to get rid of plant—it fights back!

As I passed the house, I let a prayer slip to God that someone would mow the lawn and just tidy up a bit. You know, love the property a little. And then I forgot my prayer, that is, until days later when I passed by again and was amazed to see that someone had trimmed the lawn and flowerbeds from the sidewalks to the fences, edge to edge. The difference was night and day. I was amazed!

Then, I was reminded of my prayer. It was as if the Lord was speaking to me, "Relax. I took care of this from the curb to the house to the fence. And, just the same, I've got VBS covered, framed in from edge to edge with My loving care."

And so He did.

What do you need taken care of? What in your life or your child's life needs framed in from edge to edge with God's loving care?

Relax and remember Who your God is. That's what King David did.

I will meditate on the glorious splendor of Your majesty, and on Your wondrous works. … The Lord is gracious and full of compassion, slow to anger and great in mercy. The Lord is good to all, and His tender mercies are over all His works. … The Lord upholds all who fall, and raises up all who are bowed down. The eyes of all look expectantly to You, and You give them their food in due season.
You open Your hand and satisfy the desire of every living thing. The Lord is righteous in all His ways, gracious in all His works. The Lord is near to all who call upon Him, to all who call upon Him in truth. He will fulfill the desire of those who fear Him; He also will hear their cry and save them. The Lord preserves all who love Him, but all the wicked He will destroy. My mouth shall speak the praise of the Lord, and all flesh shall bless His holy name forever and ever.
Selections from Psalm 145 (NKJV)

Relax and prayerfully put whatever it is in the loving care of the Lord your God.