Tag Archives: Christian

AN URGENT CALL TO PRAYER: DAY FIVE – Anne Graham Lotz

alarm clock

As we repent for our sins and the sins of our nation let us not forget: God does not use repentance as a form of punishment. Quite the contrary; it is our invitation to healing, power, wisdom, blessing and restoration. Repentance is a gift; it is our right! There is joy to be found in it.

 

Repent, then, and turn to God, so that your sins may be wiped out, that times of refreshing may come from the Lord, and that he may send the Messiah, who has been appointed for you—even Jesus. Acts 3:19-20 (NIV)

 

Click the below link to join Anne Graham Lotz for day 5 of An Urgent Call to Prayer.

 

http://www.annegrahamlotz.com/events/urgent-call-to-prayer/urgent-call-prayer-day-five/

The Johnson Family Miracle: Our Story Goes On

On January 18, 2014 I posted “Prayer and a Massage:  Widowhood and Practical Ministry”

In the post I referred to, Kristen, who is my dear friend and great prayer warrior partner from Colorado. She met me in Stillwater, Oklahoma, so we could shower our sweet friend, Lavern, with love after the death of her beloved, Tom.

Kristen sincerely desires for her life lessons and pain to be greatly used for the Lord’s purpose. She told me months ago she and her family were creating a video for the purpose of passing on their spiritual heritage in the Lord and to declare God’s goodness, faithfulness, provision and protection.

The below video shares the story of the accident Kristen and her family survived months after our visit with Lavern.

Kristen practices thriving despite difficult circumstances. This isn’t the first time, but this is the most profound time.

Do you love hearing stories of God’s hand at work in people’s lives? Me too!

Flashing Billboards on My Forehead

TOXIC TUESDAY warning

“I have learned that faith means trusting in advance what will only make sense in reverse.”

Philip Yancey

Conflicts: Dysfunctional. Abusive. Boundaryless. They can happen to anyone including Jesus followers who daily spend purposeful time with God through reading the scriptures, in-depth Bible study and consistent prayer. You may be a godly person and a good neighbor, boss, employee, co-worker, parent, spouse, child, sibling, relative or friend finding yourself in an unwanted and uncalled for difficult relationship or circumstance.

I have had relationships in which I interceded for the other person through prayer by asking Jesus to heal them of their dysfunction, mental illness or sin. Most scriptural records of Jesus healing a person were instant, complete and permanent. Even though the person I prayed for had not asked for the help or healing and I could not physically take them to Jesus; I could spiritually bring them before Jesus.

I have previously witnessed Jesus provide in ways that seemed impossible to me relationally, emotionally, spiritually, physically and even legally. He is so like that. When I have been at my wit’s end believing there was no possible way, no hope, no healing, no relief, no safety to overcome an obstacle; Jesus did the impossible. My mind had not previously conceived what He chose to do on my behalf. It was so out of the box that only He could have done it. There lies the beauty; Jesus has no box and I cannot put Him in one. Whoop — whoop!

That being exclaimed, I must also add that I have known Jesus long enough to realize not all prayers are fulfilled the way I wish, in my timing, or sometimes they may not be answered in my lifetime and I know I’ll have to wait until heaven to see how it is eventually answered. My heart may sometimes doubt Jesus heard my prayer but my mind always knows better. He hears, remembers and acts. Always.

If you use Pinterest, the online bulletin/pin board, you have likely read quotes about trusting your heart: “There is no instinct like that of the heart.” “Trust your heart. What is true feels good. What is false causes doubt.” – Monica De Liz. “Always listen to your heart.” “When you can’t believe your eyes you can always trust your heart.”  “Trust your heart and you will be with the one you love” -Aunt Wu.

Here is what trumps all these quotes: “The heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure. Who can understand it?” Jeremiah 17:9 (NIV). Our hearts need to be established in Christ first and even then scripture tells us not to trust in our heart, but with all of our heart, trust in God. “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding;” Proverbs 3:5 (NIV).

I knew Jesus was capable of healing the person I was praying for. Scripture told me of His great power and; moreover, scripture states the power is for us. “I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in his holy people, and his incomparably great power for us who believe. That power is the same as the mighty strength he exerted when he raised Christ from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly realms,” Ephesians 1:18-20 (NIV). I have longed for this kind of power to be exerted in to the heart, soul, mind and strength of someone I knew on multiple occasions. The bottom line was they had to want it and believe Him for it. When they did not —I was not quick to give up on them. I’m stubborn like that.

Often when I sense God has released me from relationally reaching out to someone and has shown me the exit door from a dysfunctional, abusive or boundaryless relationship; I usually look for a detour and go back for the person. I find myself wondering, “Have I done everything I can?” I do not want to question if there was possibly something else that would have worked. I continue to pray and ask if there is please, another way. I must know I did everything I could and when I look back; have no regrets. If I am going to error I can live with erring in faith but I could not live with erring in what was convenient. I am capable of missing the proverbial boat when it comes to discerning the voice, the will, of God and I want to make certain I clearly understood his heart and will for this concern.

On the other hand, I have a history of allowing anger (toxicity) to be taken out on me so when it comes up in a relationship it feels natural but I know God is calling me to recognize and respond to it in a biblical way. This is anything but easy for me.

Sometime I imagine I have a flashing sign on my forehead that reads, “Easy to Manipulate: Free Test Try” or perchance “Bounaryless: Trespass without caution.” God keeps the lessons in these areas coming at a steady pace and He is determined to teach me how to soar by handling the issue without becoming nervous, shaky, lightheaded, heart pounding out of my chest or; as in my most recent lesson, feeling like Icy Hot was rubbed on my chest. I never before experienced this sensation during a difficult confrontation and fortunately was able to laugh at myself when the conversation had finished. Icy Hot — seriously — I never knew!

Thankfully, God is a patient teacher who does not give me a failing grade. He just keeps teaching me new applications and giving me new situations in which to work them out. God has also given me a godly, humorous private tutor who happens to be an Ace when it comes to practical application. God is very serious about me learning this lesson and passing on to you what I learn. I must add that these lessons are not easy and are sometimes painful. To quote Beth Moore from a lesson in Daniel: Lives of Integrity, “You want to learn this lesson in the classroom and not on a field trip.” I imagine I have more field trips logged than the average student.

In an upcoming post I will refer to toxic relationships, or what the Bible refers to as relationships with fools. Until then; if you, like me, have a flashing billboard on your forehead — turn it off! And keep clear of Icy Hot.

Faith-Friendly Public Schools

Are you or you children concerned about religious freedoms being silenced in the public schools. Don’t be! Help your child thrive in expressing their faith at school.

Today’s BreakPoint proclaims, “We Can Make a Difference” by Eric Metaxas.

Check out the link provided at the end of the article: School Improvement Checklist.

Click the link to read or listen to today’s BreakPoint.

http://www.breakpoint.org/bpcommentaries/entry/13/23597

Faith-Friendly Public Schools.

DIY PRAYER BOARD: Pass it on       

At this point in history, on our timeline, one way God shows proof of His existence is through individual believers. I have witnessed God beat great odds and do the impossible in my life on multiple occasions.  I must pass my testimony on which is the reason why I write on this blog.

I long for the return of Jesus when every knee shall bow and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord; but until then, some of the prayers of my heart are: “Allow Your word to become accessible to all people in our generation. Let me be found faithful. Empower my offspring to be found faithfully loving God and loving others. Come, Lord Jesus, come.” The wickedness I hear and read of in the news causes me to frequently ask for the return of Jesus.

I want to make God known for who He is to people in my circle of influence but most importantly I must make Him known to my children by teaching them how to have a daily relationship with Him. I can joyfully say that all of my children have asked Jesus into their hearts and proclaim Christ yet there is more for me to do. My calling as a mom is to pass my spiritual heritage on to my children which is to include the stories of God’s deliverance, protection, provision and healing in our lives through prayer and fasting. I consider this heritage rich beyond words because there is no measure for sufficiently telling about God’s great works nor is there any way to adequately describe Jesus to them. Any attempt always falls short because there is no perfect way, on this side of heaven, to convey in words the Father, Son and Holy Spirit.

If my children are going to be found faithful with the life God has given them, and be found fulfilling their God-given purpose they must be comfortable praying to God, their Father. This cannot be left up to chance so I have provided ways of helping them with their prayer life and below is one of the tools we use daily.

PRAYER BOARD

 I made this Prayer Board out of an old picture frame I no longer used.Prayer board

Adoration, Confession Thanksgiving, Supplication

A.C.T.S.

What is your heart and will in this matter, Lord? _______________ I petition this in the name of Jesus.

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“Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit.” Galatians 5:25

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“I believed; therefore, I have spoken.” 2 Corinthians 4:13

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Box of blank paper on which to write prayer needs.

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A.J. added the below request to the board tonight. The National League Championship Series now stands at Cardinals 2, Dodgers 1. Go Cards!

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Praying for the St. Louis Cardinals to win the 2013 NLCS. Go Cards!

Answered Prayers:

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There is relief, sometimes unexplainable, that only comes through prayer. So we pray for those we know and love and for those who ask us to pray for them.

My kids enjoy reading through the envelope of answered prayers.  Colson was just doing so and noticed that most of the prayers were answered in the way for which we had prayed. He also took note of the prayers that were not answered with the healings for which we had prayed. These were almost exclusively traumatic brain injuries.  Three of those were answered with complete healings in heaven. One did not have the complete healing A.J. received after his severe traumatic brain injury and another waits, after more than two months, to again be able to speak or move his body.

I do not understand God’s sovereignty regarding these T.B.I. prayer requests especially since I know there are no coincidences with God. He has for some reason brought to our attention the need to pray for several T.B.I. patients in the last year and a half.

We are thankful for the opportunity to storm the gates of heaven on behalf of others.

How I made my Prayer Board:

My nature inspired house is decorated with rustic and primitive style furniture in the colors of perpetual autumn so my goal was to make the Prayer Board blend with my other home décor.

  • I sanded, wiped clean and painted the frame the same pumpkin color as my wall.
  • After the frame dried I rubbed an old candle on the edges and in groves followed by two coats of flat black paint, allowing dry time between each application.
  • After drying, I used my Pampered Chef scraper to scrape off the candle wax revealing distressed pumpkin, then lightly sanded and wiped clean.
  • I sealed it with two coats of matte polyurethane.
  • I covered the original mat-board with coordinating fabric and measured where to place the twine in each direction (ribbon could be used).
  • I wrapped the twine all the way around the board and tied it in knots which are part of the overall presentation.
  • I used a hot glue gun on the back to help keep the twine in place then I stapled the twine along the edges for long lasting hold.
  • I cut an allergy medicine box to size then covered it with scrapbooking paper.
  • I folded and tore (or use scrapbooking scissors) brown paper grocery sacks into note size papers and placed them in the box for quick use when someone needs to add a prayer need to the board.

The Prayer Board hangs next to our table so every time we eat we can glance at it and pray for people and situations that we would otherwise most likely forget. This helped my, reluctant to pray child, become a ready to pray child full of confidence. We use the Prayer Board during our Bible study and prayer time in school also.

A chalk board, magnetic board, marker board or bulletin board could just as easily be used. My favorite part of writing the needs on paper is that when the prayer has been answered we write the answer and the date on the piece of paper and place it in an envelope to be kept for our future boasting in the Lord.

PROOF POSITIVE:

  • Create an atmosphere of prayer in your home with an easily accessible type of Prayer Board.
  • Date the prayer need when you place it on the board and date it when you know it has been answered. It will be your turn to brag on God!

The Increase: Adam Wainwright – My Story

The Increase: Adam Wainwright – My Story.

Here is how the worst injury  in the St. Louis Cardinals’ Adam Wainwright’s career helped him thrive in his personal life.

 

 

Breaking Free from Abuse: Part 3

These are a few notes taken from Pastor Rick Warren’s lesson regarding abuse:

Hurt people hurt people. Abusers have typically have been abused. We have all learned unhealthy ways in some area of life and we are all broken so nobody is holier than anybody else. If you are abused or know someone being abused you can’t pretend it’s not happening. Christians have to stand up and protect the helpless, the offended, the defenseless, and the victims wherever they are.

Don’t confront an abuser by yourself. This is not wise or safe at home, at your office in the work environment or anywhere. In the Bible, Solomon talks about doing the difficult together. “Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves. A cord of three strands is not quickly broken.” Ecclesiastes 4:12. This is to be done in a spirit of love, restoration and gentleness…in truth. You turn on the light of truth in that area of darkness where things have been hidden. “Have nothing to do with the fruitless deeds of darkness, but rather expose them.” Ephesians 5:11. Healing takes place in the light. Then all your troubles will fade from your memory.

Begin the healing process. It takes courage to speak out and reveal the abuse; reach out to God…Jesus is your Savior. He came to save you from your sins and from your abuse, in every area of your life.  Put away any evil and wrong in your home: You may have to clean house relationally – emotionally. Get away from the abuse and get help then you have hope. There is no reason to suffer in silence.

Let God settle the score. Don’t get even or try to hurt them back. You have three places you can be in relation to the abuser: Beneath them morally, on the same plane morally or on higher ground morally. Be better than them. Getting even makes you no better than the abuser. You’re just even, but when you forgive them you are better than them. Jesus said, “Forgive.” I Peter 3:9 “Do not repay evil with evil or insult with insult. On the contrary, repay evil with blessing, because to this you were called so that you may inherit a blessing.” Never repay one wrong with another, one abusive word with another. Repay with a blessing. If you want God’s blessing you have to be different.  Maybe you are being abused physically, sexually or verbally. There is one person in this universe who understands abuse. He understands it more than anybody else. His name is Jesus Christ. See Isaiah 53. He was wounded and crushed (that’s abuse) for our sins. He was beaten and bruised so that we could have peace (that’s called abuse). He was mocked and whipped so we could be healed (that’s abuse).

If you’ve never met Jesus, your healing starts here.  Let me introduce you to your healer, His name is Jesus Christ. Nobody has been abused more than Jesus.  He knows the pain because He took the sin of the entire world including the guilt for the abuse that was done to you. That guilt He took on Himself and died for. He took every abuse ever done and took it on Himself and He died for that so that you could be forgiven, so that we could be forgiven, so that we could have peace, that we could be healed. You have to meet the Healer to be healed. There are examples of people who carried the pain all their lives and there are examples of people who let Jesus Christ heal them of that verbal, emotional, sexual or physical abuse. He understands, He knows, He feels the pain. Psalm 34:18 “The Lord is close to the broken hearted, those who have been crushed.” Nothing crushes your spirit more than abuse.

We have to deal with abuse because it is contagious and gets passed on from generation to generation.

Somebody has to break the chain. It is going to be you, today, now, with the power of the Holy Spirit. If you are the abused or the abuser know there is a way out. There is healing available for both abused and abuser.

No situation is hopeless.  See John 3:16 God sent Jesus to bring you home to Him. Even if no one else had been born on the earth except you, Jesus still would have come to earth so that you could come to know God.

Do you want to learn how to accept this Jesus as your Savior? Please click the Know God tab at rickwarren.org.

Listen to the link below to hear Rick Warren’s lesson on Breaking Free from Abuse: Part 3.

Be healed!

Breaking Free from Abuse: Part 3

Crazymaking: Part 2 of Breaking Free from Abuse

Crazymaking: Part 2 of Breaking Free from Abuse

Here are notes I took yesterday from Pastor Rick Warren’s  September series You Make Me Crazy. If you know a crazymaker or are a crazymaker God has much to say about abusive circumstances.

No matter how bad your circumstances are you can count on God’s love and God’s power to break free from the abuse.

David describes 92 times in scripture what abusers do and what they use against and over you.

Breaking Free from Abuse: Part 2

1. Aggravation: taunting, picking on, provoking

Jesus: “The truth will set you free.” John 8:32

David: “I said, ‘I will not say anything while evil people are near.’ So I kept quiet, not saying a word… but my suffering only grew worse, and I was overcome with anxiety. The more I thought, the more troubled I became; I could not keep from asking: ‘Lord, how long will I live? When will I die? Tell me how soon my life will end.’” Psalm 39:1-4 (TEV)

2. Intimidation: Tells lies about you and threatens you, pressures you into compliance, scares you into compliance

Marks of Emotional Abuse – David’s Descriptions –

“My enemies taunt me day after day. They mock and curse me.” Psalm 102:8

“…they tell lies about me and threaten me.” Psalm 109:20

“…they make fun of me and ridicule me.” Psalm 22:7

“I have been insulted, put to shame, and humiliated.” Psalm 69:19

“Using words to kill; they bully their way with words.” Psalm 73:8 (Message)

“They push hard to make me fall.” Psalm 118:13 (GW)

“They spread rumors about me, and conspire against me.”  Psalm 31:13

“They mock me with the worst kind of profanity, and snarl at me.” Psalm 35:16

3. Denigration: Always putting you down, makes fun of you, ridicules you (not good natured teasing)

“Don’t be fooled by those who try to excuse these sins, for the anger of God comes upon all those who disobey him.” Ephesians 5:6 (NLT)

 4. Humiliation: Insulted, shame is the favorite tool of abusers, they demean, dishonor & disgrace you

“Look on victims of abuse as if what happened to them happened to you.” Hebrews 13:3b (Message)

“Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ.” Galatians 6:2 (NIV)

5. Manipulation: trying to control you, bullying, jeering, useing words to kill

“By yourself you’re unprotected. With a friend you can face the worst. Can you get a third person? A three-stranded rope isn’t easily snapped.” Ecclesiastes 4:12 (Message)

“Take no part in the worthless deeds of evil and darkness; instead, rebuke and expose them. It is shameful even to talk about the things that ungodly people do in secret. But when the light shines on them, it becomes clear how evil these things are. And where your light shines, it will expose their evil deeds.” Ephesians 5:11-13 (NLT)

6. Domination: They push hard to make you fall; control you in every kind of way, power plays, to show who is in charge

Advice to Job: “Put your heart right. Reach out to God. Put away any evil and wrong from your home. Then face the world again, firm and courageous. Then all your troubles will fade from your memory, like floods that are past and remembered no more! Your life will be brighter than sunshine at noon, and life’s darkest hours will shine like the dawn!” Job 11:13-17 (TEV)

7. Defamation: They spread lies and rumors about you, love to use gossip to defame you, embarrass you

“Never repay one wrong with another, or one abusive word with another; instead, repay with a blessing. That is what you are called to do, so that you inherit a blessing.” 1 Peter 3:9 (NJB)

“Christ never verbally abused those who verbally abused him. When he suffered, he didn’tmake any threats but left everything to the one who judges fairly.” 1 Peter 2:23 (GW)

8. Condemnation: They mock you with the worst type of profanity, snarl at you, use cursing for shock value, crude slang/name calling

If any of these words describe the environment you are in – you are being emotionally abused. This is not good nature stuff here. You need to admit it, name it and point it out. It is meant to harm you.

To hear what to do and what not to do if you are living or working in an abusive environment with a: spouse, boyfriend, neighbor, co-worker, relative or friend listen to this broadcast at:  Breaking Free from Abuse: Part 2

Breaking Free From Abuse: Listen, MP3 or Podcast

Breaking Free From Abuse: Listen, MP3 or Podcast

This is for sweet women suffering in abusive relationships who need to know God is on their side; I am too and I am praying for you.

If you or someone you know is suffering from physical, sexual, verbal or emotional abuse you need to realize, “The damage of abuse is lifetime damage unless you deal with it.” Don’t keep it secret. Name the abuse. “Revealing your feeling is the beginning of healing.” THE TRUTH WILL SET YOU FREE. Share your pain with someone you TRUST.

Pastor Rick Warren has a heart for the Lord and a heart for the Lord’s people.  Listen to Pastor Rick’s heart for women caught in abusive relationships. http://www.oneplace.com/ministries/daily-hope/listen/breaking-free-from-abuse-part-1-362323.html

HIDDEN HARDSHIPS BEHIND CLOSED DOORS

I received this devotion in my email inbox yesterday from Proverbs 31 Ministries. This is a beautiful testimony of how a woman lived through difficult circumstances by not forsaking her time with the Lord each day. Over three hundred years ago this woman made a difference not only in the lives of her children but in the eternal Kingdom of God.

Hidden Hardships Behind Closed Doors

By Sharon Glasgow

“On the day I called, You answered me; You made me bold with strength in my soul.” Psalm 138:3 (NASB)

Hidden behind the door of many homes is the reality of hardship. A devastated home isn’t always apparent on first impressions, is it?

Take Susanna Wesley’s life for instance. A quick glance reveals she was married to a preacher in the late 1600s. They had 10 children, two of which grew up to bring tens of thousands of people to Christ: John and Charles Wesley. Sounds like a sweet story, doesn’t it?

But if we look behind the door of her home, hard conditions were the norm. Her husband, Sam, couldn’t (or wouldn’t) manage their finances well. They disagreed on everything from money to politics. This couple actually had 19 children; sadly, nine died in infancy. Sam left Susanna for long periods of time—sometimes over something as simple as an argument—leaving the duty of raising their children to her alone.

One of their children was unable to walk. Another couldn’t talk until the age of six. Susanna herself was desperately sick most of her life. Their home burned to the ground twice; everything they owned crumbled to ashes. One of her daughters became pregnant out of wedlock. They had no money for food or necessities. Sam even went to debtor’s prison.

Long before Susanna had an inkling of how difficult her married life would be, she made the Lord a promise. When she was young, Susanna committed that for every hour she spent in entertainment, she would give the same amount of time to Him in prayer and in the Word.

Taking care of the house and raising so many kids made this commitment nearly impossible to fulfill. She had no time for either entertainment or long hours in prayer! This wife and mother worked the gardens, milked the cow, schooled the children and managed the entire house herself.

It would have been understandable if Susanna reneged on her promise to the Lord. But she didn’t. Instead, she gave the Lord two hours a day in prayer!

As you can imagine with 10 kids, she struggled to find a quiet place to get away with God. So she advised her children that when her apron was over her head, that meant she was in prayer and couldn’t be disturbed.

Susanna was devoted to her walk with Christ, praying for her children, and growing in the knowledge of the Word … no matter how hard life was.

This dedicated woman’s story may have never been known to anyone but the Lord and her children, except for the fact that her example greatly inspired two of her sons. They both said that their mom influenced them more than any other person.

John and Charles Wesley became powerhouses for the glory of the Lord. John preached to nearly a million people in the 1700s. He brought revival everywhere he traveled and taught the Word of God! Charles wrote over 9000 hymns, many of which we still sing today.

In the middle of great hardships, Susanna consistently tapped into her source of strength. She connected intentionally with the Lord every day. It’s amazing how her choices influenced not only her family, but also countless individuals, families and worshippers over the years.

Hidden behind the door of my home, I want my children to see a mom who prays, no matter how busy I am or how hard my circumstances. I’m going to continue letting Susanna’s example influence me. How about you?

Dear Lord, I need Your wisdom, peace and strength. Help me to rely on You and not myself. In Jesus’ Name, amen.

Related Resources:
Do You Know Jesus?

Visit Sharon Glasgow’s blog for more encouragement through hardships and enter to win a free apron.

Proverbs 31: Hidden Hardships Behind Closed Doors