The Righteous Judge

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Jesus told them a picture-story to show that men should always pray and not give up. He said, “There was a man in one of the cities who was head of the court. His work was to say if a person was guilty or not. This man was not afraid of God. He did not respect any man. 

In that city, there was a woman whose husband had died. She kept coming to him and saying, ‘Help me! There is someone who is working against me.’  For a while he would not help her. Then he began to think, ‘I am not afraid of God and I do not respect any man.  But I will see that this woman whose husband has died gets her rights because I get tired of her coming all the time.’”  

Then the Lord said, “Listen to the words of the sinful man who is head of the court. Will not God make the things that are right come to His chosen people who cry day and night to Him? Will He wait a long time to help them? I tell you, He will be quick to help them.

But when the Son of Man comes, will He find faith on the earth?” 

Luke 18: 1-8

 

This is not a passage that is traditionally used to promote divine healing. Persistent prayer, yes, but healing, not so much.

One day, however, this passage became to me a rhema word from God and my healing was manifested within in a few days.

I was forty-two years old. My husband and I were trying to have a child. First pregnancy ended in miscarriage, second was an ectopic pregnancy which nearly cost me my life.

Up until the second miscarriage, I had the support of family and friends. When my life was threatened, I lost that support along with our child and a fallopian tube. They said, “give up.”

My doctor said impossible.  He made it very clear that, in his opinion, I would never conceive again.  He backed that up with – but if you do, you will never carry full term.  He said, “give up.”

While I was weighing out the advice of the doctor and family, I stumbled onto this passage and the story resonated deep within me.

I could relate to this woman. Clearly, someone was working against me and I had no desire to give up and let my enemy win.  Similarly, I had a judge to whom I could plead my case and who would hear my grievances.

She went before an unrighteous judge and that’s where our similarity ended.  I knew a Righteous Judge! I said a quiet prayer to Him.  I asked Him to bring justice on my behalf as I had been robbed of two children.

The Judge heard my prayer, rendered His decision and brought justice on my behalf!

Our son John was born ten months later!

 

Words can’t even express my gratitude Father.  You are indeed the Righteous Judge, always ready to hear my cry and move on our behalf.  I praise You for making a way for me to come boldly to Your throne and let my requests be heard.  Thank You, that when Your gavel goes down and Your decision is rendered, no man can stop You from performing Your word on our behalf.  Amen.

 

pic credit:  ucg.org

 

 

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…at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those in heaven,

and of those on earth, and of those under the earth, 

Philippians 2:10

Some months ago, my doctor finally put a name on all the pain and confusion and sleeplessness I have experienced for the last eight years. Fibromyalgia. I expected as much; I had google this and come to the same conclusion. Even so, hearing the diagnosis hit like a ton of bricks. Years of going back and forth to doctors and trying this medication and that medication with the underlying hope that something, sometime would make a difference. One day I would live without pain, sleep without tossing all night, think clearly and move on with the hopes and dreams that have been put on back burner.

In his office, I knew better. I wouldn’t be getting better, not this side of heaven anyway, unless God intervened.

Having a name for this condition helped me because this verse tells me that the name of fibromyalgia must bow its knee to the name of Jesus.

God gave me an image one day. I saw the cross with Jesus still hanging. On the left side of the cross were small, thin rectangular shapes (grass or thin pieces of wood?) and on each blade was printed a name…cancer, lupus, arthritis, fibromyalgia, heart disease, etc.  The line of blades with names on extended far to the left of the cross.  On the right hand side of the cross, however, nothing was sticking out of the ground. While I was meditating on this, the blades on the left, in one accord, bowed down to the ground facing the cross.

In this image God gave me, diseases knew it was over for them. Their legal right to a believer’s body ended when Jesus paid the ultimate sacrifice.  Problem is, all too often, we don’t recognize that.  We receive a diagnosis or experience a new symptom or the recurrence of symptoms that have hung on for years and start to accept that this is what it is – the symptoms have won.

But this verse tells us differently.  This verse is a beautiful reminder that Jesus has the final say.

Because Jesus humbled Himself through the cross, God has exalted Him above all, so that all will submit to Jesus as Lord.

Philippians 2:8-9

In the image God gave me, there were no shoots sprouting from the ground on the right hand side of the cross.  Why?  I believe that is because the names that exalt themselves against the name of Jesus knew they had lost, the battle won.  The price was paid and Jesus won!

The only time these sicknesses have a right to our body is when we come into agreement with the diagnosis, the symptoms, the doctor’s report and allow them to stay.

So the question becomes, who are we going to join in agreement – Jesus and His word or the names that are named against us that have no legal standing to remain?

Thank You Jesus for settling the issue once and for all.  Thank You for showing me the image of the ugly names of diseases bowing before You.  When I slide into agreement with the symptoms and the doctor’s reports, would You remind me again that the battle for my healing was won and that by Your stripes I am healed. Be exalted in my life I pray. Amen.  

 

 

Hello, It’s God Calling!

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I pushed the snooze button twice this morning. I don’t usually do that. But this morning, my bed was far more comfortable than usual, my pain level (normally an 8) was down to maybe 2 and the blankets were warm and the air coming in the window over my head was cool and it felt so right. Because of pain, bed is not always a comfortable place to be, but today it was all that.

I spent the time in quiet prayer. Just talking to God about nothing in particular, just whatever crossed my mind. Little kids at work come and sit in my lap and talk and talk about whatever is on their mind and this felt like that, like I was snuggling up in God’s lap and He was patiently listening.

For days leading up to this, I sensed a quiet cry in my heart to be comforted. I wanted desperately to be held and hugged. I never expressed my desire to be hugged to anyone, not even God, but of course, He knew.

When I did get up and read my devotional, this is what I read:

“Real worship is not mechanical or rote, nor is it habit or tradition. It is our inner response to the deepest callings of God on our lives”.

  James A. Davey

I have always thought of God’s callings as being something He draws us to so that we can do something for Him -ministry being one example. Being a performance oriented person, I never thought of God calling me just to comfort me.

What if these stirrings in my heart for the past few days were just that – God calling me to Himself?

At work, I make myself available to the kids that need snuggle time. I find a comfy chair, sit down and open my arms and invite them in. God makes Himself available to us as well, we just have to accept His offer to snuggle.

If, as Davey says, snuggling up in God’s lap and allowing Him to comfort me and hold me might  be my response to a deep calling of God, then snuggling with Him could be a form of worship.

If I view snuggling  that way, maybe approaching His open arms would come easier.

What about you?  Have you snuggled with God lately?

 

 

 

pic credit: comicbookfx.com

A New Thing ….. Hurry, Please!

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Most loving Lord!

You know my broken heart!

I am shattered and I just do not know how to come out of this disappointment.

Tears flow down my cheeks and I sink in my sorrow O Lord!

The scripture says that all things work together only for good.

Right now I do not understand Your ways but strengthen me to accept Your will.

I turn to You for help for I know, without You I can never come out of this depression.

Comfort me Lord and sustain me with Your sweet presence. I commit my future in Your hands.

Help me forget my past and let me start a new life with You as my guide.

Make me glad and grant me a glorious future.

Lift me up Lord from this depressed state and wipe away my tears with Your loving hands.

I cast all my burdens and disappointments at Your feet Lord!

Keep me in perfect peace.

In Jesus name I pray. Amen.

“Do not remember the former things, nor consider the things of old.

Behold, I will do a new thing, now it shall spring forth; Shall you not know it?

I will even make a road in the wilderness and rivers in the desert.”

 Isaiah 43:18-19

copied from turnbacktogod.com

pic credit: simplyjuliana.com

 

Borrowed Prayer

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Lord, I submit myself to You.

I realize that parenting a child in the way You would have me to is beyond my human abilities.

I know I need You to help me.

I want to partner with You and partake of Your gifts of

wisdom,

discernment,

revelation,

and guidance.

I also need Your strength and patience, along with a generous portion of Your love flowing through me.

Teach me how to love the way You love.

Where I need to be healed, delivered, changed, matured, or made whole, I invite You to do that in me.

Help me to walk in righteousness and integrity before You.

Teach me your ways, enable me to obey Your commandments and do only what is pleasing in Your sight.

May the beauty of Your Spirit be so evident in me that I will be a godly role model.

Give me the communication, teaching, and nurturing skills that I must have.

Make me the parent You want me to be and teach me how to pray and truly intercede for the life of this child.

Lord, You said in Your Word, “Whatever things you ask in prayer, believing, you will receive” (Matthew 21:22).

In Jesus’ name I ask that You will increase my faith to believe for all the things You’ve put on my heart to pray for concerning this child.

Amen. *

 

I struggle with prayer lately. I know I should pray. I want to pray. I need to pray. I am even part of a prayer team, but I don’t pray, not really.  I know that nowhere on earth do my words have the power to bring about what I hope, to fix what is broken, to right what is wrong, except in prayer.  But still, I don’t pray. The words just don’t come. Tears come, but not words. So I am borrowing words from others until mine flow as easily as my tears.

 

* copied from turnbacktogod.com

Praise Report!

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I interrupt this regularly scheduled devotion to bring you this praise report. Bruce, my husband, is home from the hospital, recovering well and giving God all the glory and honor!

He wasn’t supposed to be doing this well, according to the doctors that formed his team. He was diagnosed with neck and head cancer, scheduled for a 12 hour surgery, informed the surgery may disfigure him and leave him unable to speak or eat and sent to see a dentist, a radiation specialist and a chemo specialist. Oh, and if needed, a cancer support counselor. The day of the surgery, a team of nurses and doctors were called in for a safety meeting to discuss and prepare for this man who was going to have such a horrible ordeal.

I am not saying he didn’t have a horrible ordeal, but when the nurses who were prepped for this ordeal saw him for the first time, they couldn’t believe he was the man they had prepared for.

He was sitting up in bed, talking, and not disfigured. The surgery only lasted 7 hours. That’s still long, I realize but far less than they anticipated. He will still have radiation, but not chemo.  Whatever cancer may be there, they found it early enough to ensure a good outcome!

All of the tissue samples came back clean – no cancer! Praise God! Two lymph nodes were removed because they had HPV 16, but again, no cancer.

Bruce and I acknowledge God’s hand in all of this.

So many people prayed for him. So many people we are indebted to. And I just want to say thank you from the bottom of our hearts.

Thank you for the prayers, the encouragement, the love, the dinners, the visits to the hospital, the hugs, the laughter, the shoulder to lean on.

We aren’t done, but I know that with friends and family like you, and a God who is greater than cancer, we will be victorious even in this. Thank you.

 

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My Prayer

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O LORD,

I call upon Thee;

hasten to me!

Give ear to my voice when I call to Thee!

May my prayer be counted as incense before Thee;

the lifting up of my hands as the evening offering.

Psalm 141:1-2

Our prayer and God’s mercy are like two buckets in a well; while the one ascends, the other descends. –Ezekiel Hopkins.

The prayer group I attend is reading through a book on prayer.  It’s a great book talking of all different kinds of prayer. I have heard several people in the prayer group comment that they don’t feel confident praying, especially out loud in front of others. Implication being, that there is a good way or maybe even a perfect way to pray. We can make prayer out to be something so big and beyond us that we give up and leave prayer to the “prayer warriors”.

When I read through the Bible, I find all kinds of prayers being offered up to God. And I see all kinds of prayers being answered by God. Maybe He isn’t looking for perfect prayers, maybe He’s willing to look at our hearts as we pray and look past our seemingly imperfect prayers.

Sometimes, words escape us. Sometimes, it’s just impossible to frame our fears, our concerns, our thoughts in words and express our heart to God or to anyone else for that matter. Some prayers can be wordless.  Some can be a simple body gesture, like lifting up our hands and trusting that God will receive that as the evening incense, an aroma pleasing to Him.

If you find yourself at a loss for words to prayer, try what a friend suggested to me – just read through the Psalms. You will encounter so many heart-felt prayers – some spoken out of deepest need and others shouted out in victory and praise. Surely, you will find your voice in there somewhere. Even if you don’t, know this – God knows the unspoken desires of your heart and the pain and sorrow that words can’t even capture. He knows your every waking moment and your sleeping moments and all the good, the bad and the ugly moments of your life. If you can’t find the words to whisper to His heart, just lift up your hands.

Who am I that You should hear my cries? How could You care so much for me with all the other things You have to take care of? To think that even when I don’t have words, You know what’s in my heart. As I lift up my hands to You, I pray that You would receive my prayer as the evening offering,  a pleasing aroma offered from a grateful heart to the God of my salvation. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

Picture credit: devomom.wordpress.com

 

Diary of a Wimpy Kid

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God said to Moses: “Why cry out to me?

Speak to the Israelites.

Order them to get moving.

Hold your staff high and stretch your hand out over the sea: Split the sea!

The Israelites will walk through the sea on dry ground.

Exodus 14:15-16

Working with kids gives me the opportunity to know more about the book series Diary of a Wimpy Kid than I would have known if I didn’t work with kids. I’m not saying this is a good thing; just saying. These books are a collection of diaries written by Rodney, a kid in middle school, who has a rough time. Remember middle school?  I do. It was rough. These books are incredibly popular; they are funny and well written and most of us can relate to times when we felt wimpy.

I imagine Moses felt wimpy when he reached the edge of the Red Sea and had the Egyptian army in hot pursuit behind him. I find this interesting that he cried out to God for help (which seems like the logical thing to do, as it was God who told him to go there) and God says “Why cry out to me?”

Instead of doing something for Moses, God told Moses – you do it. You speak to the Israelites. You tell them what to do. You stretch out your hand – you split the sea! Can you just picture that?  Can you picture a child who has been picked on, telling his parents, only to have them say – you do something – you stand up to the bullies – you hold your ground?  I’m not sure that would go over well with a kid, but that’s what God said to Moses to do. You do it.

I am convinced that sometimes, God waits for us to use the authority He has given us to pray prayers that move mountains and split seas and bring healing to hurting people and instead of praying with authority, we wimp out. We pray, please God, oh God, won’t You, God, if it be Your will. Sometimes that’s the best we can do at the time.  But Jesus didn’t say plead to Me when You face a mountain and I will speak to it and it will move, no, He said, you speak to the mountain, you lay hands on the sick, you speak the word, you cast out demons, you take authority. He has passed it on to us. We can wimp out or we can stand up.

I can’t even count Lord, how many times all I could say was oh God, help. I am so grateful that You hear me when I cry to You, no matter how wimpy my cries may be. I don’t want to be bullied by circumstances, symptoms, fear, pain, anxiety; teach me to walk in the authority You have given me. Cause me to stand up and speak to the mountain of adversity that blocks my path and I trust You to move it, to cast it into the sea. Thank You, Jesus. Amen.

Tattletale

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Bend down, O Lord, and hear my prayer;
    answer me, for I need your help.
Protect me, for I am devoted to you.
    Save me, for I serve you and trust you.
    You are my God.
Be merciful to me, O Lord,
    for I am calling on you constantly.
 Give me happiness, O Lord,
    for I give myself to you.
 O Lord, you are so good, so ready to forgive,
    so full of unfailing love for all who ask for your help.
Listen closely to my prayer, O Lord;
    hear my urgent cry.
I will call to you whenever I’m in trouble,
    and you will answer me.

Psalm 86: 1-7

Kids tend to tattletale.  He said, she said, he did this, she didn’t do that and on and on.  Often times the telling of the event gets bigger the more times the story is told and too many times the story is told to other kids before it ever makes its way to a teacher who might be able to help.  Kids being kids.

Adults do the same thing.  Often times when we are going through a difficult time, we share the story with others.  This is a good thing; the Bible says we are to share each other’s burdens.  But there are times when the best thing we can do is limit what we say to others who can’t really help up and pour out our heart to the God who can.  I have been with people who would rather talk the problem than take it to prayer.  I have had moments like that, have you?

What if we purposed to spend at least equal time discussing the problem with others as we are willing to spend talking to God about the problem?  What might that change about our situation?

We are waiting on answers from doctors; answers that haven’t been all that easy to obtain. Talking the problem, speculating about the problem and googling the problem have all taken up a good deal of our time, and still we have no answers. I suggested to my husband last night, that we stop speculating and wait for the answers and pray and leave it in God’s hands. I have had to stop myself several times today from googling the symptoms and remind myself to pray.

It is so good to have people to talk to and be able to listen when others share their trials and I am very grateful for these relationships. My problem is, I tend to neglect prayer and seeking God and tend to talk with others more than I talk to Him. I purpose to give Him equal time, if not more. How about you?

Bend down, O Lord, and hear my prayer, You alone know the answers we are waiting on, You alone know what’s going on in Bruce’s body and You are  his Great Physician. I will call on You constantly, I hope, please help me to remember to do that. Please help me to remember when I am tempted to find answers on google that You are my source of our wisdom and healing. And when I just want to talk the problem, will You nudge me back to the solutions – Your word, Your faithfulness, Your love, Your compassion, Your power, Your wisdom and Your grace. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

 

 

pic credit: iteachkinderkids.blogspot.com

Day Planner

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I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.

Philippians 4:13

I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me, but just because I can, doesn’t mean I should. Saying no is a healthy thing.  It’s also a relatively uncomfortable thing to do. So much emphasis is put on getting stuff done. Day planners promise fulfilled days if we can just get organized. Our lives will run so much better if we only learn to plan every minute, every hour of our day and check and double check to make sure we are on track. Ugh!

I don’t know about you, but I like blank pages in my day planner. I don’t get many of those, but I like them just the same. I read yesterday that a very successful CEO of some company puts two things on his day as priority. He writes them down the night before. He suggested the readers might be more successful in reaching goals if we followed suit. It might be good advice. Two things, how hard is that?

Then today, at prayer group, the discussion came up of making time in our lives for committed, regular prayer. Of course, we could all think of how difficult that might be. Then we brainstormed ways to be gentle on ourselves and move in the direction of committed prayer time. It occurred to me that, perhaps, on our list of two items to be done the next day, prayer could be one of them. It could be a couple of minutes, we could be aided by prayers written by other people, we could just sing our prayers, light a candle and whisper our heart to God without the pretense of our words being so important that we trip over them. He knows what’s going on in our hearts. Prayer could be as simple as sitting quietly and allowing a little bit of His peace to infuse my life. We got these ideas from a book on prayer by Richard Foster.

Saying no to some events, even worthwhile ones, may be awkward, but it’s ok. We don’t have to have our minutes scheduled out to be productive, worthwhile people. God accepts us as we are, even on days when the day planner has blank pages.

Father, my life is so full sometimes, there is no room for You. I am not telling You anything You don’t already know. I think that in the busyness of my day, in the productivity of my day, I will find value, but You and I both know that I won’t. I have already been given value by You. So much value that You sent Your son Jesus to take my sins, to right the wrongs of my life, to bring meaning to my life, to lead me back to You – my source of value and worth. Thank You and please forgive me for the times I am just too busy to sit at Your feet. Help me with this commitment to prayer, help me make the time. In Jesus’s name. Amen.