Category Archives: Prayer

Best Battle Strategy Ever <3

I have on my heart to share a series with you this week. However, before we begin I do want to acknowledge this day in the history of our country.

While there are high schoolers who were not even born on that infamous day 16 years ago, I well remember the phone call from a friend asking me if I had the news on.

This was pre-smart phone days when we used wall phones to communicate and one by one, America found out that airplanes full of people had become a new form of weapon.

I remember sinking to my knees on the floor of our family room as the newscasters tried to explain how a plane had just flown into the side of a building, even as they realized another was headed to do the same to the sister tower.

In horror and with desperate prayers to God, many followed the events of that morning.

I do believe the increasingly less effective methods of destruction were in direct answer to the prayers of those around the world as this well-planned attack became exposed.

We have been told that across Maasai-land, our Kenyan brothers and sisters were in prayer for us as well.

Many around the world were interceding for us that day.

There is an enemy that seeks to destroy all that God has created.

And while we often want to put some tangible face to this foe, scripture tells us that our enemy is not flesh and blood.

Yes, the enemy works through people…through ideologies and governments and systems; through terrorists and agendas and despots; through exploitation and greed; through the exaltation of “self”…

I am reminded of the “I will’s” of pride outlined in Isaiah 14:13 – 14…

I will ascend into heaven

I will exalt my throne above the stars of God

I will also sit on the mount of the congregation

I will ascend above the heights of the clouds

I will be like the Most High

Playing God.

A dangerous game for anyone, with tragic repercussions for all.

The hallmarks of such thinking are destruction and devastation and death.

So for our nation today, I pray that we would learn well to remain humbly before the God who blessed this land with resources and with His Spirit.

I pray that we would enter into all warfare under His direction and counsel, availing ourselves of His guidance so freely given to those who seek His face.

I pray for those who still mourn the loss of lives in personal ways, for those first responders who showed true heroism and courage.

I pray for those who still suffer today from the physical and emotional sacrifice they gave to enter into a different kind of battle as they inhaled ash to find survivors.

I pray for those who are today fighting another unthinkable kind of warfare as rains and winds and fires sweep various areas of our nation.

I pray that we would be a nation that recognizes the power of prayer, not only for our own country but for the many many people who suffer around the world.

Devastations of man and nature abound around this globe and many do not have any kind of resources with which to bring aid to their people.

May God’s mercy and grace be poured out over us as we lift our hands to Him and invite Him to come and work in ways that only He can.

I hope you will come back tomorrow and each day this week as we look at what God says about winning battles His way.

Be blessed today in all that you do, as you bless others <3

 

 

Unless you become like a child…<3

Good morning to you!

I am hurrying around getting things done so I can head north and be an extra pair of hands for Rachel today.

It’s my Thursday and, even though she has a few weeks before she returns to work, I certainly don’t plan on missing out on that mess of crazy with the band of brothers and Sweet Caroline.

I will be toting some gifts with me because when they were here last week and we were downtown, they may have seen some things they wanted.

And being children, there is no filter or thought that perhaps they shouldn’t ask for them.

We had stopped in the store where I work and the owner, who is also my dear friend, gave me a jar of her husband’s new honey crop.

Graham announced that he likes honey and then asked if could they have one also.

Rachel and I scrambled to cover for his bold request, but Kim immediately said of course he could and she would bring one in so Lola could deliver it.

It might be mentioned that Emmett immediately let her know she need not bring him one as he is not a fan…

which of course embarrassed the heck out of mom and me, but Kim was unphased and laughed and said well…more honey for Graham, then.

Graham saw something good and asked for it; Kim had the capacity and willingness to meet his request at a later date.

Done and done.

We also stopped at the popcorn shop and he asked for a wax mustache and Emmett decided he needed a package of jelly beans.

Mom said no. Not today.

Request denied on this one.

Although, today, they may possibly be in a little sack with the honey waiting to be loaded in my car, but that’s another day’s story.

Again…they saw something they wanted and they asked.

They ask all the time.

When they are tired, they have meltdowns and when they are unable to do something they bring it to someone who can help.

They don’t worry that one of us will say yes to something harmful or no to something beneficial.

They just come to the one who has what they want or need or think they need and they ask.

Perhaps this was part of what Jesus was trying to tell us when He suggested we come to Him like a little child.

Perhaps we could stop overthinking what we are asking Him to do…

like deciding it is too big a task…

or too nice for us when we know who we are…

or too much in light of what we see others have…

or too little to bother God with….

or whatever other seemingly grown-up reason keeps us striving in our own strength or attempting to fill the longings in our souls out of our own puny resources…

how about we just keep going to Him…

day in and day out…

with all the flow of needs and wants.

Why not, when the God of all Creation is standing there with His hands full of good things for us….

but we are too mature, self-sufficient and independent to just ask.

This morning I have been asking for some big things from God.

Big things for our family, big things for our nation, big things for this hurting world, big things for the Body of Christ.

I don’t know how He will answer but I know He will do what is absolutely best for every request.

He is, after all, a good good Father…

and we…we are loved by Him <3

How much you want it determines how much you will get it <3

Greetings to you on this Thursday as we usher in the final month of official “summer”…although I happen to know that the school system has eaten a large chunk of the month by starting school midway through August…what is up with that????

Ah…that musing will have to wait for another day…

Because for some reason, I have this other thought that keeps rising to the surface so let’s follow it.

I have always had a love-hate relationship with the piano.

Love the instrument itself…love the sound of it, the memories of my dad using a bulky electronic thing with gizmos and dials to rough tune pianos and then taking out his felt wrapped tuning forks and finishing the thing off by ear.

Loved how he could hear a song once and reproduce the sound.

Loved how he sat and held curved fingers over the keys and knew how to use the pedals and how easily it all seemed to come to him.

Hated that I couldn’t do any of that.

Loved the scales and exercise books with simple notes to read.

Hated the hours of practice and the way I couldn’t get the timing right and the sitting still and the …

well…

the discipline of getting my mind and my fingers to work together to make those confusing markings splattered across those five lines and four spaces with their flags and dots and squiggles to not look like some foreign language.

And while there is a place deep inside me that wants to be a pianist, there has never been enough love to move me to actually do the thing that is required to make it happen.

There has never been enough want in me to invest the time and heart and energy into moving beyond the simple songs I learned up to the point I quit my lessons as a child.

Thankfully my kind husband has put up with allowing me to move this clunky upright that I purchased for $50 from a church basement…that ended up being an original Steinway & Sons with all the innards unharmed by time and multiple moves and the merciless pounding of the band of brothers.

When our talented children and musical friends, who can produce real music, come; our home is filled with these chords that echo in my own heart and I will briefly think how I want to learn to play.

But they leave and I get busy with other things that I am really interested in pursuing and all desire to improve on those early lessons is abandoned.

Oh friend, please tell me you see where this is heading?

Because we can love all things church…we can love the fellowship and the feels.

We can love hearing from great teachers who have studied the Word and seen wonderful things in it…who have the gift to bring it to life for us.

We can go down front and have someone pray over us and leave feeling so much stronger.

And we can love everything about the church and miss being the effective, growing, thriving part of the Body we were intended to be.

Because we don’t love the discipline of prayer and study and meditation.

We don’t love the tedious steps that make up the walk behind the talk.

We don’t love Christ enough to actually do the things that will make us alive in Him; the hard work of working out our salvation with fear and trembling.

We can live a life of faith vicariously through the emotions evoked by others who are close to Him rather than do the daily discipline of walking it out ourselves.

And one day, all of that runs dry.

It comes a day when the ones we were relying on to provide our “experience” of Christianity close down the cover over the keys and they stop playing for us.

Maybe they pass on to glory…maybe they fall from glory…maybe they start playing a style that doesn’t resonate with us…but the music stops and we are left empty and void because we never loved Jesus enough to learn Him for ourselves.

We are so blessed to share much with the Body of Christ…the fellowship and corporate worship, the unity of communion with the saints…all of it is wonderful…but I pray we never let it become a substitute for that personal relationship He desires to have with each one of us individually.

Perhaps as we enjoy the last few weeks of summer, we can stir up one another to set aside time each day to dig into His Word and let that fuel our thoughts and our prayers in the dog days of August.

What a harvest we will take in if we will invest now in our efforts to learn the ways of our Lord.

Blessings on each of you <3

***Special invite to local readers! Lisa and Ravshan Uraimov will be visiting and sharing with us in room 201 at FCC at 8:00 am Sunday morning!!!

One nation…under God <3

Russ had to fly out of Bloomington Regional airport yesterday.

As he waited for the incoming plane to empty for boarding, he said about fifteen army rangers came off to attend the funeral of the young man who was killed in Afghanistan.

He said all the waiting passengers stood and clapped in respect and appreciation.

I may have cried.

Then and now.

Prayers for those who carry on here even as they grieve the loss of friends and family who gave their lives in service to this country.

Prayers for those who served and survived and yet bear the scars of war on their bodies and their hearts, their minds and their spirits.

Prayers for our leaders and those who have been placed in positions where difficult decisions must be made that ensure the greater good for all.

Prayers that our nation and its leaders would seek the face of God – His wisdom, His guidance, His direction , His heart.

Prayers for mothers and fathers, sisters and brothers, wives and husbands, children and grandchildren…aunts, uncles, friends…all who daily watch the chaos that is global knowing their loved ones are on the front lines.

I am not wise nor do I profess to know much and understand the politics and logistics and nature of kingdoms and democracies and such.

But I know what it is to love people deeply and to be helpless beyond prayer for their safety and well-being.

I am sure you do as well.

So today…

we pray

<3

 

That we would not look away but, instead, pray <3

This will be short.

I know because I truly have few words.

As I fixed my coffee this morning, the news was reporting on the devastation in Syria.

I watched as workers sprayed water from hoses over the legs and bodies of chubby infants and toddlers on a wooden table while others stripped chemical laden clothing off of them.

My mind thought of our own little Joely Bear most likely getting a diaper change 45 minutes away and I wept for these children.

For all the children.

The born and the unborn.

Because our love can grow cold in these last days.

And we can begin to shut down when it becomes more than our hearts can bear.

So this morning a prayer for God’s mercy on us all.

A prayer for the comfort of those who have lost loved ones, young and old.

A prayer for those who are working to save lives and bring healing.

A prayer for leaders around the world to have wisdom and courage to do what is right.

Like the widow with only two small coins to offer, my prayers seem so small in light of the great need of God’s Hand to move mightily.

But what I have I offer up in faith, believing in the promise that it is not the power of our words but the Power of our God that works effectively in places of devastation, pain and death.