Sunday, August 28, 2005

A call to prayer

As we get ready this morning to go fellowship with the saints, I just want to say a quick prayer for those in the path of Hurricane Katrina:

Precious Father, we come to you in the name of Jesus and ask your protection for the poeple in the path of Katrina.  Lord, keep them safe as they leave their homes and possessions and put guardian angels around that area.  We pray that the damage done will be minimal and there will be no lives lost.  Hold your children in the palm of your hand, Lord.  We thank you for your love and compassion for us. In Jesus' name we pray, Amen

It's impossible for me to understand the devastation that can be caused by natural disasters, but even in the midst of this, the Lord can bring good from evil.  In the days ahead, we must look for God's blessings and pray for the people affected.  In this way, our light will shine.  A praying nation can bring nothing but good.  Let's all join cyber-hands and pray. 

 

Thursday, August 25, 2005

Living by Example

I suppose that one of the hardest thing for us as Christians to do is to live by example.  It is easy to quote scripture, write it out for a friend or loved one and sit smugly by while they see the error of their ways.  We are Living Epistles.  We might just possibly be the only Bible a person will ever read.  Are we setting a Bible example?

How often do we hear someone say, "Excuse my French, but . . ."?  Why the need for excuse in the first place?  Is it that we can't or don't want to give that up?  Are we screaming or belittling another person with one side of our mouth and saying "God Bless You" out of the other?  We are Christ's ambassadors here on earth.

Why is it so hard to live by example?  I think part of it is the free will our Father gave us when He created us.  He wants us to be more like Him, but He won't force us.  The truth is, that if we want others to come to Christ (I certainly do), we need to show them why the Christian life is better.  We can't be stealing or lying or cheating or swearing or any of those things.  We have to give back the extra money when they give us too much change at the store.  We also have to tell them when they didn't charge us enough.  Of course we can also tell them when they have overcharged - but we don't have to show anger for it.

I got angry at a customer yesterday.  She was verbally abusive and I was in a hurry to get to my doctor's appointment.  I tried my best to explain things to her, but she was using my words to try to trap me.  There's no reason I shouldn't be upset.  It was my reaction to her that was wrong.  I let the devil have the victory.  She wasn't going to change who she was for me.  I needed to stay who I was for her.  All she remembers now is the angry woman at the storage locker.  How better for the Lord if she had remembered a kindness.

I'm not putting myself down.  Although I am a bit disappointed in me, I can live with my mistake.  I will apologize to her if I see her again.  I'll use the seemingly bad to my advantage and seek to do better next time. 

There are may places in the Bible where it says that we cannot serve two masters.  We cannot hang on to the old way of life and serve God.  We need to be willing to let go of our way of doing things and do it His way.  there's no second-guessing God.  He's the creator.  We aren't going to hide any tiny sin from Him.  He knows before we do it.  He's just waiting to see if we can resist. 

I used to keep books in my house that I read when I was younger.  Some of them were demonic in nature thrillers or spiritually wierd stuff. I also hung on to some stuff about witches.  The Bible tells us to get that stuff out of our homes (tents) and not to consort with the devil.  I thought it was harmless.  These things were a spiritual stumbling block for me.  The devil's bait to get me to turn my back on God.  As well, I couldn't very well teach about God while I was holding my old life in my hands. 

This is what I mean by living by example.  For myself, I can't have a picture of Freddy Kruger (sp) on my wall and tell my neighbor that I love Jesus and want him to do the same.  It's a bad example. I need to be willing to let it all go.  So here's what I'm saying:

Be willing.  Be ready in season and out to be a Christian.  Use everything you have to share the gospel.  Don't be afraid.  Clean your house and your mind.  Get the cobwebs and the junk out.  Let your light shine. 

Mat 5:14 Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hid.

Mat 5:15 Neither do men light a candle, and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick; and it giveth light unto all that are in the house.

Mat 5:16 Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works,and glorify your Father which is in heaven.

Blessings,

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

Apples

I got this in an e-mail today.  I wish I could take credit for it.

A few years ago a group of salesmen went to a regional sales convention in Chicago. They had assured their wives that they would be home in plenty of time for Friday night's dinner.

In their rush, with tickets and brief-cases, one of these salesmen inadvertently kicked over a table which held a display of baskets of apples.  Apples flew everywhere. Without stopping or looking back, they all managed to reach the plane in time for their nearly missed boarding.

All but one. He paused, took a deep breath, got in touch with his feelings, and experienced a twinge of compassion for the girl whose apple stand had been overturned.

He told his buddies to go on without him, waved goodbye, told one of them to call his wife when they arrived at their home destination and explain his taking a later flight. Then he returned to the terminal where the apples were all over the terminal floor.  He was glad he did.

The 16 year old girl was totally blind! She was softly crying, tears running down her cheeks in frustration, and at the same time helplessly groping for her spilled produce as the crowd swirled about her, no one stopping, and no one to care for her plight.

The salesman knelt on the floor with her, gathered up the apples, put them into the baskets, and helped set the display up once more.  As he did this, he noticed that many of them had become battered and bruised; these he set aside in another basket.

When he had finished, he pulled out his wallet and said to the girl, "Here, please take this $20 for the damage we did. Are you okay?"

She nodded through her tears. 
He continued on with, "I hope we didn't spoil your day too badly."

As the salesman started to walk away, the bewildered blind girl called out to him, "Mister....." He paused and turned to look back into those blind eyes.

She continued, "Are you Jesus?"

He stopped in mid-stride, and he wondered. Then slowly he made his way to catch the later flight with that question burning and bouncing about in his soul: "Are you Jesus?"

Do people mistake you for Jesus?

That's our destiny, is it not?  To be so much like Jesus that people cannot tell the difference as we live and interact with a world that is blind to His love, life and grace.

If we claim to know Him, we should live, walk and act as He would.  Knowing Him is more than simply quoting Scripture and going to church. It's actually living the Word as life unfolds day to day.

You are the apple of His eye even though we, too, have been bruised by a fall.

He stopped what He was doing and picked you and me up on a hill called Calvary and paid in full for our damaged fruit.

Let's start living like we are worth the price He paid.

Start today!

Tuesday, August 16, 2005

Welcome

The Lord welcomes you every day.  He wants you to come into His rest and fill your heart with him.  In Ezekial 36:26-27, he makes the promise above.  He promises to soften your heart and fill you.  What better promise can we have?

On our trip up north, Robert and I ran into family members and friends who had hardened hearts toward God.  His niece, who needs a kidney transplant, says she's not ready yet.  Others took our love of the Lord as a joke.

Do you know someone who is like this?  Have you yourself been waiting "until the right time"?  The right time is now.  What can you say to your friend or family member?  Are you afraid of offending them?  Don't be.  How can they be offended if you help them find their way to heaven?  We will all rejoice there.

The question for my niece is this:  do you know where you will go if the Lord comes back today?  If you die today, do you have assurance of salvation?  Good won't get you into the Kingdom of God.  You can't earn it by being nice to people, donating hour upon hour to the poor, leading a sober, drug-free life and offering the best to your children.  You have to do just ONE thing to get into heaven.  Invite Jesus Christ into your heart, believe that He is the Son of God and died for your sins, rising again to give you eternal life.  I want to see you in heaven. I want us to spend eternity together with the Lord.  It breaks my heart when you say you're not ready yet.  When will you be ready?  The day after?  It doesn't work that way.  Let the Lord soften your heart.  I love you.  Come home to Him.  He will guide you and change your life.  You need Him, and He's waiting for you just as He waited for me. 

Please, don't wait until it's too late. 

Sunday, August 14, 2005

Loving my husband

 

Gen 2:22 And the rib, which the LORD God had taken from man, made he a woman, and brought her unto the man.

Gen 2:23 And Adam said, This is now bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh: she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man.


The first marriage is recorded in scripture here. The Lord God Himself performed the ceremony when he gave Eve to Adam. “ . . .bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh . . .” he says. That says something very important about marriage. It's not just a joining of a man and woman for tax reasons or to combine salaries so they can buy a home or have good benefits. It's the knitting together of two souls. When I love him and commit to him, I make that promise to become so close to him that I don't know where he ends and I begin.


It also means that I am going to submit to him as the spiritual head of my household:


Eph 5:22 Wives,submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord.

Eph 5:23 For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church: and he is the savior of the body.

Eph 5:24 Therefore as the church is subject unto Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in every thing.


You can also find this command in Col 3:18 The husband answers to the Lord for the spiritual fitness of his household and the wife answers to her husband as the Lord's representative. This has always been particularly hard for me because I had a hard time defining the difference between being submitted and being suppressed. I felt they were the same and independent woman that I am, I was not going to be suppressed by any man. I had to read the Bible and the dictionary to tell, finally what the difference was. I have no trouble submitting to God, therefore submission to the man that God has placed in my life should be easy. Most of the time it is. However, I am still human. Now look at the cammand for the husband:


Eph 5:25 Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it;

Eph 5:26 That he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word,

Eph 5:27 That he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish.

Eph 5:28 So ought men to love their wives as their own bodies. He that loveth his wife loveth himself.

Eph 5:29 For no man ever yet hated his own flesh; but nourisheth and cherisheth it, even as the Lord the church:

Eph 5:30 For we are members of his body, of his flesh, and of his bones.

Eph 5:31 For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and shall be joined unto his wife, and they two shall be one flesh.

Eph 5:32 This is a great mystery: but I speak concerning Christ and the church.

Eph 5:33 Nevertheless let every one of you in particular so love his wife even as himself; and the wife see that she reverence her husband.


Wow! I have to submit. He has to love and cherish me and care for me as Christ loves and cares for the church (all of us who love Him). That's a tall order, yet the Bible asks it of a man without question. How can we not submit to our husbands when they live out this commandment? When we talk about one another as husbands and wives, we need to remember that if we praise, we praise our own flesh and when we criticize, we criticize our own flesh. We need to let the words that come out of our mouths be kind and gentle, for most us us would not willingly hurt our own bodies and minds. When we curse, we are cursing ourselves. Let us all do as James suggests:


Jam 4:7 Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.


Edify your spouse today and always. The love of the Lord will shine through as a bright light in your firmament.


Be blessed today,

Friday, August 12, 2005

Bless You

What are we saying when we say God Bless to someone?  Are we asking God to bless them in a special way or are we saying it because it's easy and polite?  Lets look at what the Bible says about blessing.

In the verses below, God is blessing Abraham for his obedience.

Gen 12:2 And I will make of thee a great nation, and I will bless thee, and make thy name great; and thou shalt be a blessing:

Gen 12:3 And I will bless them that bless thee, and curse him that curseth thee: and in thee shall all families of the earth be blessed.

Gen 22:17 That in blessing I will bless thee, and in multiplying I will multiply thy seed as the stars of the heaven, and as the sand which is upon the sea shore; and thy seed shall possess the gate of his enemies;

Gen 22:18 And in thy seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed; because thou hast obeyed my voice.

Isaac wanted his brother's blessing and stole it from his dying father.  He later paid the price of agony in his heart for working against the Lord.

Gen 27:30 And it came to pass, as soon as Isaac had made an end oflessing Jacob, and Jacob was yet scarce gone out from the presence of Isaac his father, that Esau his brother came in from his hunting

Then we get to Job, who had seven sons and 3 daughters.  He offered burnt offerings for their sins and asked God's blessing and forgiveness upon his children.

Job 1:1 There was a man in the land of Uz, whose name was Job; and that man was perfect and upright, and one that feared God, and eschewed evil.

Job 1:2 And there were born unto him seven sons and three daughters.

Job 1:3 His substance also was seven thousand sheep, and three thousand camels, and five hundred yoke of oxen, and five hundred she asses, and a very great household; so that this man was the greatest of all the men of the east.

Job 1:4 And his sons went and feasted in their houses, every one his day; and sent and called for their three sisters to eat and to drink with them.

Job 1:5 And it was so, when the days of their feasting were gone about, that Job sent and sanctified them, and rose up early in the morning, and offered burnt offerings according to the number of them all: for Job said, It may be that my sons have sinned, and cursed God in their hearts. Thus did Job continually.

There are so many instances in the Bible where God offers his blessing and His people ask for blessing.  It all seems so serious.  It is serious.  When we say "God Bless You" we are asking God to rain His blessing down upon the person or persons we are speaking to.  His blessing is the most wonderful thing we could have in our lives. 

Rom 12:14 Bless them which persecute you: bless, and curse not.

Why would we bless those who persecute us?  They need that blessing more than we do.  How much hurt is in their lives that they must do something to hurt others?  Wouldn't the blessing of the Lord make their lives better?  Maybe they still aren't going to be our friends, but we have offered the best for them - a blessing from the Almighty.  We can't know when or where that offered blessing may change a life. 

 

 

Thursday, August 11, 2005

Coming to Christ

As I listened today to Rob telling his cousin of his conversion to Christ and baptism in the Holy Spirit, I was once again in awe of what the Lord can do.  It's not for me to tell Rob's story here, but it is an amazing and wonderful one.  He was a hard case and the Lord changed his whole life.

As I've said before, I was brought up Christian and accepted Christ as my personal Saviour when I was 13.  That experience was one I will never forget.  I went to a Billy Graham Crusade in Los Angeles and was so moved to hear his words that I went down front with no urging from my friend's mother who had taken me there. It was a wonderful moment.  I received some study materials, sent them back and received more.  I studied this way for two years.  I thought of the Bible as my textbook for Jesus.  I loved it.

Then just being a teen and the influence of the world tempted me and though I never stopped loving the Lord, I walked away into a life of sin.  For the next 12 years, I was lost most of the time and looking for answers for my life.  I got married twice.  I had 3 children (not necessarily in that order) and drank a lot.  I never drank the Lord away though.  He was always there waiting for me, as he waits for all of us.

At age 27, I got sober and turned my life around.  I truly believed that God had saved my life.  As much as I believed, I wasn't ready to give it all back to Him as I had done in my teens.  I had too much pride.  I also had a few things I wasn't ready to let go of.  I went to church sporadically, but not too often.  But something was happening to me.  I missed that communion with the Lord that I used to have.

At 38, I was going to church more regularly and getting ready to get married for the 4th time.  I prayed often about this marriage, that God would take care of it because I certainly hadn't done well without Him.  We weren't married long when we were having a time of prayer and my husband said, "I really love the Lord."  With tears in my eyes, I said I did too.  Right then and there we got on our knees and rededicated our lives to the Lord, telling Him that whatever He chose for us, we would follow. 

That was 1987.  In 1989, we moved to Mexico, where God already hadplans for us.  We served him together until my husband's death 8 years later.  I have served Him sinceboth alone and now married.  Although not as dramatic as Rob's conversion, my own life with Christ is uniquely mine and important.

What was your conversion experience?  Are you willing to send it to me in an e-mail and have me post it here?  I love success stories. Send to firestormkids04@aol.com

May the love of Jesus surround you all,

Penny

Tuesday, August 9, 2005

Seek Ye First

 

Mat 6:33 But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.


This phrase comes about midway in the Sermon on the Mount – Matthew 5 – 7, where Jesus is speaking to his disciples. If you haven't read the whole thing, go back and read it, possibly with a commentary on the side or with your study Bible.


What's going to be added unto you if you first seek the kingdom of God? All that's needed. You will have the basics and much, much more. The Lord is generous and kind. He will see that you have food, shelter and clothing. He tells you not to worry about these things. And you probably say – that's easy for YOU to say – you're God, but I don't have enough money, etc.


This is where it gets sticky. Whose kingdom are you seeking when you are worrying about these things? Do you seek to do His will? Are you following His path? Is the world closing in on you? Who is the prince of theworld? Our enemy has control of the earth, but not of those that belong to Jesus. Our citizenship is not here onearth, but in heaven with the Lord. We are merely passing through this place on our way home.


It's not easy to keep your focus on heaven when you are cold or hungry or sick. This is when Satan has his best chance to try to steal us out of the Kingdom. Our weak point is his strong point. That's when keeping our eyes on Jesus is so important. When we earnestly seek His face, he will not fail us. We may not get well or a fancy coat or a 9-course meal, but provision will be there for us. Strength in the face of the adversary is being added each time we seek first the kingdom of God.


Does this mean it's a sin to worry? Or that if we are seeking Jesus in all we do that we won't worry? No on both counts. We are human and unlike our Saviour, we fail. But the word in scripture was seek, not have ye first. It is in the seeking that we receive the reward. For most Christians, that reward is a sense of peace in the midst of the storm. It's a knowing that no matter what, God will find a way.

Sunday, August 7, 2005

Faith

 

I got this from dictionary.com


faith   Audio pronunciation of "faith" ( )  Pronunciation Key  (fth)
n.

  1. Confident belief in the truth, value, or trustworthiness of a person, idea, or thing.

  2. Belief that does not rest on logical proof or material evidence. See Synonyms at belief. See Synonyms at trust.

  3. Loyalty to a person or thing; allegiance: keeping faith with one's supporters.

  4. often Faith Christianity. The theological virtue defined as secure belief in God and a trusting acceptance of God's will.

  5. The body of dogma of a religion: the Muslim faith.

  6. A set of principles or beliefs.


I got this from Hebrews 11


Heb 11:1 Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.


In fact, Hebrews 11 is called the “Faith Chapter”. In it, we find that from Old Testament to New Testament, men and women of faith are mentioned and rewarded by God. I recommend you read the whole chapter.


If faith is as Hebrews 11:1 says, “substance of things hoped for, evidence of things not seen” how do we get it? We make our commitment to the Christian life, read the Bible and feel a change coming over us. Is this faith? Yes, probably so. There is more.


Faith is unflinching. It means we believe or have faith even when things are at the worst. Or the best. It's not an easy thing to do. We have faith that the doctor will have the answer for our ills, yet our faith could also call on the Great Physician for healing. We don't have to stop relying on the medical profession, that would be foolish, but our faith in can move mountains.


Mat 17:20 And Jesus said unto them, Because of your unbelief: for verily I say unto you, If ye have faith as a grain of mustard seed, ye shall say unto this mountain, Remove hence to yonder place; and it shall remove; and nothing shall be impossible unto you.


Have you seen a mustard seed? How big is your faith? Do you believe it works for others but not for you? Let me ask you this: why would Jesus say such a thing if it weren't true? Do you believe him? Do you believe in him? Ask yourself these questions. It's a matter of trust, actually. We have to trust the Lord more than we trust the world and place all our faith in Him.


We tend to hold on to things, thinking that we can better solve the problem. If we trust God enough, He will answer every need. He loves us unconditionally. He wants us to trust him implicitly and let it all go to Him. The journey to fully letting go is a long one, possibly a lifetime journey. The Lord doesn't look so hard at the times we fail to have faith in Him,but He is blessed by the times we come toHim and leave our desires, our problems, our lives at the foot of the cross.


Are you willing to leave it all at the feet of Jesus? Pray with me.


Lord, I am tired of the burden of carrying my cares around with me. You have said that whatever I ask in Your name shall be given. Today I lay my woes and my wants at your feet and ask You to guide me. I offer it all to You, Lord. Thank you for loving me. In it all, I will give you all the honor, all the glory and all the praise. In Jesus precious name I pray, Amen.

Saturday, August 6, 2005

How many names do YOU have?

 Some of the more than 100 Biblical names for Jesus Christ:

Advocate   Author of Life    Almighty   Alpha and Omega

 Author and Finisher of our Faith   Bread of Life   Chief Cornerstone

 Christ    Counselor  Everlasting Father   I Am   King of Kings  

 Lamb of God    Light of the World   Lion of the Tribe of Judah  

             Lord of Lords  Morning Star   Man of Sorrows

             Only Begotten Son of God   Prince of Peace  

Resurrection and Life   Root of David    Savior    Son of God  

                True Vine  Wonderful Counselor  Word

Have a blessed Saturday,

Friday, August 5, 2005

I Surrender All

 

I surrender all, I surrender all,
All to Thee, my bless├Ęd Savior,
I surrender all.


Mat 4:18 And Jesus, walking by the sea of Galilee, saw two brethren, Simon called Peter, and Andrew his brother, casting a net into the sea: for they were fishers.

Mat 4:19 And he saith unto them, Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men.

Mat 4:20 And they straightway left their nets, and followed him.

Mat 4:21 And going on from thence, he saw other two brethren, James the son of Zebedee, and John his brother, in a ship with Zebedee their father, mending their nets; and he called them.

Mat 4:22 And they immediately left the ship and their father, and followed him.

How quickly do I follow Jesus in my daily life? Do I put down everything to do so? Or am I saying that things are different now – that it's not so easy to put aside everything for Jesus?

This is the truth: it was just as hard then for Peter, Andrew, James and John to leave their families and livelihood to follow the Master.

What is it about Jesus that makes one want to follow? For me, it's His unconditional love for me and a desire to serve Him in anyway I can. Have I dropped it all? I wish I could say yes. When I was in Mexico, it was easier for me. It seemed His direction was placed right in front of me. Here in California, there is so much distraction. The computer is a distraction. And of course, television and radio. We don't listen to worldly music in our house, but the television tends to invade sometimes.

Am I a hypocrite when I sing the hymn above? No! I want to please the Lord in every way. I pray to be able to do so. Then I begin to second guess myself. I feel that I am failing the Lord instead of following.


Lord, show me your way today. Give me strength to be your disciple. Let me respond as You would. Let my life glorify you. I want to praise you in everything I do. Thank you for loving me and giving your life for me. In Jesus' name I pray, Amen



Wednesday, August 3, 2005

WWJD

Change my heart, O God

Make it ever true.

Change my heart, O God

May I be like You.

You are the potter, I am the clay

Mold me and make me,

This is what I pray.

Change my heart, O God,

Make it ever true.

Change my heart, O God

May I be like You.

Isa 64:8 But now, O LORD, thou art our father; we are the clay, and thou our potter; and we all are the work of thy hand.

Every day we must try to be more like Him in every thing we do.  Perfection isn't possible for us, but in the striving, we see His perfection being attained in us.

He formed us deep in our mother's womb and loved us even then.

Psa 139:13 For thou hast possessed my reins: thou hast covered me in my mother's womb.

Psa 139:14 I will praise thee; for I am fearfully and wonderfully made: marvelous are thy works; and that my soul knoweth right well.

Psa 139:15 My substance was not hid from thee, when I was made in secret, and curiously wrought in the lowest parts of the earth.

Psa 139:16 Thine eyes did see my substance, yet being unperfect; and in thy book all my members were written, which in continuance were fashioned, when as yet there was none of them.

Psa 139:17 How precious also are thy thoughts unto me, O God! how great is the sum of them!

Psa 139:18 If I should count them, they are more in number than the sand: when I awake, I am still with thee.

How can we not want to be more like Jesus?  What must we do?  It's not an easy task.  Jesus was perfect.  He turned the other cheek.  When I have to do that, I feel the bile rising in my throat.  I want to be in control. 

Are we doormats as Christians?  Trying to be like Jesus, it seems we must allow others to walk all over us.  That's not true!  Jesus called the pharisees a brood of vipers.  He knocked over the tables in the outer court of the temple.  He had righteous anger.  Does this justify our anger?  No, certainly not.  We need to see when our anger is personal, petty or unwise.  We have the power of Jesus Christ to boldly take a stand against evil and usher it out of our lives.

So when the neighbor starts calling you names, you walk away, turn the other cheek if you will, and pray for him.  If he breaks the law in his unhappiness with you or hurts you physically or steals from you, you stop trying to be his friend and call the police.  But you don't drop yourself to his level and try to get even.  It's not our job to judge him. 

You've seen all the stuff around that has WWJD on it?  What Would Jesus Do?  I recently read a book called In His Steps by Charles Sheldon.  It's set about 100 years ago, but is relevant today.  I actually now have this book on my computer through E-Sword a free electronic Bible program I use.  In the book, a group of people decide to ask that question of every decision in their lives for a period of one year and act accordingly.  It's a wonderful read and very thought provoking. 

Do youreally want to be more like Jesus?  Or are you giving lip service by wearing the WWJD bracelet you have.  I'm afraid I fail often. 

Be blessed in the Lord today

 

Monday, August 1, 2005

Pray without Ceasing

 When Rob and I married, we started every morning with personal prayer. We sat together and read Psalms 145 – 150. This was our time of praise before speaking to the Lord. When we would get to the words “Praise Him!” we would shout them with joy. This is a sweet perfume unto Him.

We would then thank the Lord for all we had: for our marriage, the ministry, the clothing on our back and food in the pantry. Were it not for His goodness and love, we wouldn't have it. We thanked Him for good health and ability to do our work. We thanked Him for the sacrifice of His son Jesus.

By the time we were finished thanking him, we saw the pettiness of some of our actions for the last few hours and began to ask forgiveness for our sin. We could have done all of this by praying the Lord's Prayer – but we wanted to be clear that we weren't just praying by rote. It's so easy to do this.

Robert's way of praying seems so much more formal than mine. I am sometimes embarrassed because the wonderful words he uses when talking to his Father don't seem to work in my mouth. He sounds great when he says them and I am in agreement, but I feel a little phony speaking like that. In fact, that's why I was always asking someone else to do the praying. I felt inadequate.

God created words for us to use to our benefit, not to hurt ourselves or others. He doesn't care whether we are literate or not, what language we speak or what church we belong to. He wants to hear from us. Our petitions to him are a sweet fragrance unto Him and he guards them with special care.

I have learned that I can just talk to God and tell him what's on my mind. The truth is, He already knows because he's omniscient and omnipresent. He's everywhere at once. But he wants me to talk with Him, to take special time to communicate with him. So I say what's in my heart and let it go at that.

Recently, a friend sent me something called God's Yellow Pages. It's a wonderful resource to use when I get ready to pray. I choose a topic and then pray the Word over the need. Then I know that I have scripture to back up the request. I've had some health issues that just don't seem to be resolving and I looked into scripture and found this:

I Corinthians 12:9-10

9But he said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness." Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ's power may rest on me. 10That is why, for Christ's sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.

This is Paul speaking, who complained to the Lord about a thorn in his side. He wanted it gone. He wanted to be free of it. God had certainly done greater things for him. So I pray this way:

Lord, I thank you that you can work miracles. I am praying for that miracle in my own life. I want relief from the pain and the depression that comes with illness. I know that your Word says that there are times that your grace is sufficient and so I am at peace, Lord. I want to be strong in You. In Jesus name I pray, Amen.

None of this “If it's Your will, God, heal me.” I tell him what I want. I ask for it. I am bold before the throne. Having praised Him, thanked Him and having asked for forgiveness, I go forward. I ask for others, knowing that He already has the answers. I have faith that He knows just what to do.

If your life is busy and you think you can't make time for God, understand that He always makes time for you. He hears every prayer, sees every tear, shares all your joy as well. Pray in the car, in the shower, where ever you can take a moment. Then take a look at trying to make a dedicated prayer time every day.

The Bible asks us to pray without ceasing. This means that we should always have an attitude of prayer, being ready at a moment's notice to slip from everyday chores into conversation with God. See what is said in 1 Thessalonians5:17-18:

1Th 5:17 Pray without ceasing.

r1Th 5:18 In every thing give thanks: for this is thewill of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.

Even Jesus himself prayed for us. Read John 17: 1- 26 In this prayer, Jesus pleads for his disciples. We are those disciples today. His prayer is now as it was then before the Father.

Take time to speak with your Father. He loves you and wants to hear from you. Don't worry about how you speak, only that you speak.

Blessings in Christ,