What’s Your Request?

In a Bible study group recently, we had finished with our discussion and were submitting our prayer requests when one precious soul announced that she had a request; but she felt guilty asking for something from God all the time, sorry that her needs were many and that she felt she should be doing something more with her prayer time than asking for help and for the needs of herself and her family. Right or wrong?

 

To me, prayer is not only asking for ourselves, but it’s also an ongoing opportunity to provide intercession for others, to worship, to offer thanksgiving for provision and to offer our praise to our Creator, King and Author of the Universe. Our requests, however, do occupy a lot of real estate in our prayer lives. Situations and needs arise daily that push this part of our prayers to the forefront. That’s OK. He wants us to rely on Him in everything.

  

And, it is an honor for a believer to present another one’s needs to the Lord. Our sensitivity to the needs and pain of the world is heightened and we can minister more fully to this world we live in. 

 

In Genesis, He speaks and the world is created. How much more will happen in our lives when He speaks with us? 

 

After all, isn’t prayer an act of trust when we bring all to Him and submit our will to His?

 

I’ve turned this into a series, of a sort, because I’ve got so many words to share about this ongoing conversation I have with the Lord. 

Shall we begin?

 

See you at Midnight.

 

Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. Philippians 4:6

I am Blessed

Twue Wuv- (for you Princess Bride fans)

 

I am BLESSED.

 

In two weeks I will be celebrating 40 years of marriage to the man God intended me to marry.  We were kids-17 and 19. We grew each other up. We knew the odds against teen marriages. Our pastor told us not to even think that our marriage was even possibly going to be a success until we had been married at least 5 years. I’m surprised now that he gave us even that long!  

We have been broke, we’ve had money enough, we’ve gone without groceries, and we’ve over spent to share with others, we’ve made good choices and bad choices, we’ve been behind in paying our bills, we’ve paid them on time. But never once has God left us bereft, broken, and bleeding without hope.

Our backgrounds were very different. His family was intact; mine was not. His family went to church; mine sent me to church.  He had a sister; I had no sibling. He had lived in the same house all of his life; I had gone to 14 different schools between kinder and graduation from high school. He was still in high school, I had graduated 2 years before we married. He had self-reliance and self-assurance; the only reliance and assurance I had was from God on High.

What was clear was that we were very much the same in some ways. We love music. Period. We learned early on that we could not rely on family in all things. We had friends who weren’t the kind of friends that our church acquaintances would be caught dead with (sad but true). We both were out of kilter at home. We grew up in that transitional late 60s early 70s where the independence of adolescent children was a terrible threat to the parents. We were odd-bods- his only sibling was mentally challenged and took most of the attention at home, I was being raised by grandparents- my parents split when I was a baby and yes, to put it clearly, I was dumped on the grandparents.

God placed us where our paths would cross and made sure we knew that we were supposed to be together. Never ignore the Holy Spirit when He tells you something- it’s always important.

Through 3 children, three in-law children and now 7 grandchildren, God has indeed placed many arrows in our quiver. He is my best friend, sometimes my only friend. He will hop on a train with me to anywhere in England. He will drive across the country with me to see our daughter or anywhere else for that matter. We held each other up as our mothers were dying- within two weeks of each other.  We are comfortable together. Our conversations are never dull- sometimes they are too lively for our sons; but we are joined. We fit. Together.

I can’t wait to see what the next 40 years brings. Gladness. Sorrow. Anger. Joy. Loss. Gain. We will weather whatever comes and enjoy whatever comes because we are married to the person God chose us to marry. There’s a song out called “Dancing in the Minefields” by Andrew Peterson and no truer words were said about our marriage! We have danced in the minefields nearly every day of our life together and we will continue to do so. (video below if it doesn’t work the link is : http://youtu.be/_Gs3fg_WsEg)

Oh, and by the way, I LOVE HIM MORE THAN LIFE ITSELF.

 Now that I’ve gushed all over the place, here’s the key:

Communicate. Whisper. Yell. Be kind. Be critical (not hateful). But Communicate. Talk to, not at each other, and the most important part of communication- listen. 0h, and, name calling isn’t allowed. In time, Love will temper the delivery and your actions will reveal the true meaning of your communication with each other.  

 And, finally, the mystery of it all is this:

“Our hope is built on nothing less than Jesus’ blood and righteousness.” I’m so glad we listened to You, Lord!

Note: This was written 2 years ago, and there are now 9 grands and it’s so much better, every year! and Communication is still the chief skill that keeps us together- even the “mis-communication” that happens!

Please visit “Make Life Meaningful Monday” @ Changed by the Maker blog and view other blog links:

http://changedbythemaker.com/http:/changedbythemaker.com/make-life-meaningful-monday-total-disclosure/

 

Five Minute Friday: Opportunity

Opportunity. Does it really knock? Seems we are always looking for it. Or talking about one. It is the stuff that can make or break dreams. It can open doors for something new. We cry when we don’t have it. We are exhilarated when it comes to our door. In the Word we are told to make the most of every opportunity because the days are evil (Ephesians 5:16).  So what are we waiting for? We can find our opportunity in the everyday things of this world to make the most of by pointing them back to the Glory of the Father. A kindness in the grocery to the mom with the baby who’s crying in the check out line, the meal you take to the neighbor who’s just lost his wife, the note you write to your child’s teacher at the end of the year; all of these everyday things are an opportunity to be Jesus to them.  There art thou happy. Ding.

 

Immortals All

“There are no ordinary people. You have never talked to a mere mortal. Nations, cultures, arts, civilization—these are mortal, and their life is to ours as the life of a gnat. But it is immortals whom we joke with, work with, marry, snub, and exploit—immortal horrors or everlasting splendours.” -CS Lewis 

 

Came across this quote of C. S. Lewis’s a while back. Didn’t know what to do with it. I think it had to percolate around in my head.  Here’s what I came up with:

 

It seems like a paradox that he says that all those things are mortal when we have evidence of them all around us, whether present or past. In my puny mind some of those things have been around forever- even if they are so old they are in a state of continual decay.  Yet, everything on this earth fashioned by human hands is made from the original substance of the created earth. The scrap of writing, the potsherd that predates everything known, the mummified remains revealing evidence of a culture long gone, the classic novel, the four hundred year old musical score that’s still being played, the work of art that takes one’s breath away, the artificial hip replacement, the medicine that kills the cancer, the technology that sends man out to explore the universe. On the other hand, us humans, we come, we go. Only a few of us make a mark that is indelible on this world; the rest of us make only a slight impression that soon fades into nothing. That’s what my earth-bound human brain sometimes thinks.  But I’ve been looking at the creation instead of The Creator.

 

C. S. Lewis knew better. He was thinking with his eternal Heaven-bound brain. He’s telling us that we are the stuff that matters-US. We are Eternal- we exist- forever. In order to get my head around that thought I had to consider it from the point of view of science – being a nurse has its drawbacks and its perks. Our DNA has evidence of every ancestor all the way back to the beginning; even if we can’t measure it.

 

The beginning- it all had to start somewhere, somewhen.  For those of us who believe the Word, it started with God creating the universe. Just because He could. 

Wow.

When I slow down enough to contemplate it thoroughly- I realize that what God chose to create is eternal. No buildings, no cities, no airplanes, no highways or byways. He chose to create life. Star life, planet life, plant life, animal, bird, bug and fish life; and then He created His Masterpiece- man and woman in His image. My brain came to a screeching halt here! Many would say we are the worst link in all of creation. After all, we can be pretty horrific towards our fellow man and beast and the environment of this world thanks to the fall of Adam and Eve and that crafty serpent. 

 

We are the next generation of the re-generation of “immortal horrors or eternal splendours”.  Lewis’ second half of this quote reveals that he knows our human nature well and calls our attention to the fact that we live forever. 

 

FOREVER, people. 

Let me say it again- FOREVER.

 

We love, we hate, we are naughty, we are nice, we are mean, we are kind, we are violent, we are gentle, we rejoice, we despair. We share in other’s lives and how we treat each other reveals what we believe. The Creator of the Universe wants us to understand that we were created to-be-HIS. The universe is forever changing, rearranging and regenerating; yet what He set in motion is life and it is His.  And that includes us.

 

And, while our bodies may crumble to dust; our souls, our spirit, that essence of who we are, US– we live on forever. Either as immortal horrors or as everlasting splendors.  

 

How do we become “everlasting splendours” to each other? God gives us the clues all the way through His word.

 

So God created mankind in his own image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them.  God blessed them and said to them, “Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it. Genesis 1:27-28

 

We are created in His image- there’s splendor for you. Do we see the image of God when we look at our neighbor?

 

Blessed is the one who does not walk in step with the wicked or stand in the way that sinners take or sit in the company of mockers, but whose delight is in the law of the Lord, and who meditates on his law day and night. That person is like a tree planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in season and whose leaf does not wither—whatever they do prospers. Psalm 1:1-3

 

The person who delights in and meditates day and night on His law is like a tree whose leaves do not wither- that’s pretty splendid to me. 

 

Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever. Psalm 23:6

 

If goodness and mercy follow me and I have the promise of living in the Lord’s house forever isn’t that splendid? And more so, if we share that promise with others.

 

Those who trust in the LORD are like Mount Zion, which cannot be shaken but endures forever. Psalm 125:1

 

When we trust in the Lord we have the promise that we will endure forever. That’s everlasting splendor.

 

“As for me, this is my covenant with them,” says the LORD. “My Spirit, who is on you, will not depart from you, and my words that I have put in your mouth will always be on your lips, on the lips of your children and on the lips of their descendants—from this time on and forever,” says the LORD. Isaiah 59:21

 

The Holy Spirit will not leave us and we will speak His words always, as will our children and their decendants – forever. The trace of spiritual DNA- He’s there in our hearts forever. And His words enable us to recognize that He is with us. Ahh, that’s everlasting splendour.

 

To some C.S. Lewis’ statement may be simplistic and leave out details that, to them, may be crucial and would prove him wrong. However, to me, he has pared down the issue of life, death, heaven and hell to this one true thought: we will live forever, the question is where? And as what- horror or splendour?  The choice is ours.

 

 

 

Five Minute Friday: Perspective

Ok, The challenge is to write for 5 minutes only on a topic that we are given, I think I’m up to the challenge, here goes nothing:

Perspective

I’ve always been aware of other perspectives because my interaction with others has depended on knowing that perspective and adjusting my approach when speaking to someone. I’m a nurse, worse- I’m a pediatric nurse, worse yet- I was a school nurse for 16 years. So you see perspective is important to me. It’s a fine line we walk when we assume that someone knows or understands us just because they can speak the same language. Or whether or not I can grasp what their situation is between the lines of conversation. Often understanding the perspective of a person relies on knowing their life experience, their relationships and their attitudes on certain subjects. Grace is where God comes in- I’ve learned that in order to be heard and understood I have to be able to give out His grace and consider the other person’s perspective in determining what needs to be said and how to say it and in how to present myself.

Ok, my five minutes are up.

Run Away, Run Away!

Cue: Monty Python skit.

I’ve wanted to do that MANY times. I’d be on the way home from work, and that thought would just crawl to the front of my head: what if I kept on driving? How far would I get before I decided to turn around? Would I decide to turn around? Couldn’t I have just a little vacation, impromptu, incognito, invisible? Would I have to tell anyone? Oh, couldn’t I just go this once? And then I’d arrive at my stoplight, and I’d pull into the left turn lane and politely turn left into the neighborhood and drive on home.

Escape. Peace. Quiet. Solitude. There is a desire in me to have that daily. I learned from a young age to amuse myself; there were no other children to play with most of the time until I was probably 6 or 7. I was alone, playing with dolls, outside in the sandbox, playing in the backyard with the dog, or reading. Mostly alone. I was the grandmother/mother’s companion. I learned to be quiet in the presence of adults; she learned that if she gave me a book I would be quiet and stay in one place.  As a result, I read everything I could get my hands on. I developed the ability to be comfortable alone although I do enjoy company.  There are times when I just need to be alone. “Input Overload” I call it.  When that happens, I get snappy, grouchy, and just am plain not nice to be around.

RETREAT. NOW. QUICK BEFORE YOU SAY SOMETHING YOU SHOULDN’T.

So I do. Retreat. In my mind only. Over the years I developed a very grand imagination- all those years of daydreaming and having only God to talk with…

I sit back and think about how it would be if for a few days with just Him and me together…

Just think, a quiet little cottage on the top of a remote hill with trees close and a view that God prepared just for you.  You can only get there by a dirt road and the countryside is so varied that there’s no cell phone service, and there’s no phone in the cottage.  One sweet, plump bed with fluffy pillows and a window facing east for the morning sun.  A little kitchen with a fridge and a tea kettle and a coffee pot. A small stove waits for you to create a meal; and there’s a window over the sink that looks back into the trees.  Looking out, you see rabbits hopping about and a young deer in the distance. There’s a bright, open day room with a table, chair and a sofa to stretch out on. White curtains are rustling in the breeze over the open windows. A good reading lamp sits nearby- a must.  There’s a map of the area on the table with little trails well marked and directions to a point above where the rocks pile up and you can sit and view the land below for miles. You breathe a sigh and it sounds like the trees are answering you as the wind gently rustles through the leaves.

The Porch has a rocker that faces the west so that you won’t miss one color of the sunset, and as the day turns in, so will you.  You don’t need long, maybe a couple or three days at most to have those conversations with the Lord that there never seems time enough to have at home; to refocus and bring the calm back into your heart before you wade into the fray once more.

SCREECH.

The phone rings, the door slams, the kids yell at each other and Honey comes home wanting to know what’s for dinner. Back to the real world.  I’m forever amazed at myself when this happens. You know, I don’t really need to go away to that cute, little, cottage. That’s something that reading all those Country Living magazines has put in my head. It’s nice, but not necessary.  There’s a story about Susanna Wesley, the mother of John and Charles Wesley; that relates when she would pray, if she couldn’t be by herself, she would sit down and simply toss her apron over her head and pray. That was her signal for the children not to disturb her and it became her prayer closet. I would like for my prayer life to be that ordered; frankly, I’m not that organized in my life. But for me to be alone with God, to have those conversations that I long to have with Him, I have to actively, intentionally cultivate the atmosphere of prayer daily.  So I go back to the Word and escape with Him, if only for a brief moment.…

But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you. Matthew 6:6

In the morning, Lord, you hear my voice; in the morning I lay my requests before you and wait expectantly. Psalm 5:3

Evening, morning and noon I cry out in distress, and he hears my voice. Psalm 55:17

One of those days Jesus went out to a mountainside to pray, and spent the night praying to God. Luke 6:12

Pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus…. Brothers and sisters, pray for us.  1 Thessalonians 5:17-18, 25

 Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need. Hebrews 4:16