Sunday, April 20, 2014

God's Presence in Hard Times

Prayer Force:  His presence
The phrase, "he was  acquainted with grief" regarding Jesus from Isaiah 53 keeps going through my head.  Recently I listened to Joyce Meyer and her teaching on the well known "Bee Attitudes".   Her topic of the day was "blessed are they that mourn for they will be comforted".  I can relate easily to these topics because this season of time has been time of sorrows and wonderments for me and those around me. Sometimes I felt like I would be swallowed up in grief... but God's presence was enveloping me even when my efforts to reach out seemed limited. My simple "yes Lord" gave Him an open door to bring healing.  It is not always easy to see God's hand through brokenness.  Last February 2013 my 91 year old father passed into eternity leaving me and my siblings without natural parents on this earth...I miss hearing their voices and their godly council.  Almost a year later my brother passed very unexpectedly at a young age.  There are other things that have come and tried to rock my faith.  I'm sure you could share of things that have come this year.  However, in the midst I have seen the presence of God bring peace and strength and miracles.  Jesus was aquatinted with grief.  Look up today, believe upon Him, let him restore and bring miracles into your life.  Don't shut the door because of sorrows that have come, don't miss the compassion He has for you and the call He has placed upon you.  You are called to do more than survive this life....You are called to see victory.  Some may not see victory in the cross...but if there were no cross there would be no resurrection day.   This may sound different....but if Jesus didn't see the Father in times of sorrow and grief He would not have met the cross of His destiny.  The cross and Resurrection were Jesus' destiny from the foundation of the world.  The cross of our Savor paid the price for our sin and opened the door for our victory. 

Saturday, March 29, 2014

Cultivating Coming into the Presence of God: Part 1


Prayer Force:  Cultivating coming into the Presence of God

The presence of God is life changing and produces in a person the plan and purposes of God as they walk through their daily life.  It is not that you stop being a normal person with normal concerns…rather it is that you are strengthened by the presence of the King.  Many folks have tasted of His presence in church or a revival meeting and have placed His Presence in the once in a great while file…God wants us to cultivate a relationship with Him that will allow Him to be welcome any time of day or night.  His strength is powerful.  I won’t say it is always easy, but from experience I can say the rewards are great.  There are always obstacles to forming a good habit. Learning to come into God’s presence is no exception and in fact this habit is targeted for defeat by our enemy the devil.  An overcoming life that gives the believer strength to walk through life’s trials and difficulties with the ability to effectively reach out to those around us who are in need catches the attention of the enemy.  He knows that placing ourselves in the secret place of the Most High God brings us to that place of victory.  Don’t fret because Holy Spirit can help us overcome any obstacle and God has given us His armor to defend against any attack of the enemy.  The Word tells us to boldly come to the throne of grace.  Over the next days as we approach Resurrection day I’d like to discuss steps to coming into God’s throne room and into His life changing presence.

Today I found something I’ve been searching for since my graduation from Valley Forge Christian College in 1986.  A friend gave me a Scottish Bible that I loved.  It had Psalms from an old version.  I misplaced the Bible.  Here is Psalms 91 in that sweet version.  The wording is different than we are used to…but give it a read and tell God you desire His presence.  also here is a song that leads to the throne room.




Tuesday, March 25, 2014

God wants to be in our presence

Prayer Force:  The Presence of God

My father taught Sunday School in our church for many years and one of his favorite experiences was the sharing of a weekly Scripture dealing with God’s desire to have fellowship with His people.  It started one day when He asked God a question.  “Do you enjoy it when we come into your presence?”  He didn’t receive an immediate answer, but as he went about his daily business the Holy Spirit spoke to his heart.  The family dog jumped up on the couch and Dad heard the Holy Spirit asked him, “Whose little dog is this?”  Dad answered back, “He is my little dog.”  The Spirit prodded one more time….”Do you like it when he comes to you on his own accord just to spend time with you?”  Dad understood what was being said.  “Yes, yes I do”   Some balk at the notion that the God of the universe would care about spending time with an individual.  They are quick to point out that God doesn’t need anything.  However, the Scripture tells us we were made for His pleasure.  My husband John and I didn’t need children to survive, but we desired them and it is our greatest joy even now that they are grown to be in their presence or to receive a phone call.  God desired fellowship and made us in His image….like him.  Two early circumstances in the Bible come to mind that speaks to this….one in Genesis 3:8 we see that God came to Adam and Eve in the cool of the day…which seems to have been a habit before the fall.  Then in Leviticus 26:11 as instructions are being given for the tabernacle we see that God desired to “tabernacle” or dwell among His people.  The tent of His presence was to be in the middle of the camp.  Today we are the temple of the Holy Spirit and He desires us to be willing vessels of His presence.  When we take time with Him, we become like him in character and mind, we are healed in body and spirit, and we are strengthened in heart and purpose.  This week as we anticipate the Lord’s Day and the gathering of ourselves together to worship let’s come into His presence in our homes and workplaces….worship can be so much more when it is our daily habit.  Instead of having to prime the pump…we begin to flow in His presence immediately. 

Monday, November 25, 2013

The Grinch that is Trying to Steal Thanksgiving

Many of you have heard that many retail stores are opening their doors for a good part of Thanksgiving day as a sort of pre Black Friday.  Debate abounds on the internet about the folly or the merit of the situation.  The lure of sales for Christmas and an extra day of shopping has many excited about the day.  In the past stores and gas stations sometimes opened for a few hours simply as a courtesy for travelers or families who might have forgotten one last item...but not at full capacity.  I've been glad to see petitions circulating to oppose this trend that is expanding even further this year.   

Here are some of the reasons I oppose retailors opening their doors on Thanksgiving Day. 

I know that some of you may be shrugging at my title not at all feeling that there is any threat on our nation, our families or our long standing traditions.  First I'd like to remind you that God was involved in the first Thanksgiving as the Pilgrims and Indians gathered and thanks to God was given.  The winter had been hard and lives had been lost...but the people still saw the hand of God and His great provision and protection.  This year has been hard for many of us, yet if we will look we will see that the Lord has not left our side. 

1.  Workers and their families are effected.  It snowballs
You may not be effected this year, but the snowball is starting.  Years ago Sunday was a day of worship and a day for families to rest and relax together.  Dinners were something special and being with Mom and Dad and visiting Grandparents, Aunts and Uncles, cousins and friends were the norm  filling hearts with memories. Retailers began to get the great idea that Sunday was no longer a day to be respected because just maybe they could make a few more dollars on the backs of workers many of whom would now miss church and the extended family dinner.  Maybe dinner doesn't seem like much, but those who have practiced family table ( or couch) know that eating together promotes communication and provide a time for simply memories to form producing life long security and confidence.  Think about this....if Mom and Dad are working who is watching the kids?  Where is the day to have for family for a tired worn out worker?

2.  Who is next?
"Well, that is only retail and that's the business," you may say.  I don't agree with that but let's take that idea for a minute.  If retail drives the force production will have to catch up and factories that make the product or distribute it will have to keep up. Already we see retailors feeling as if they have to compete with those who are opening their doors the same could easily happen to other industries.  There is already a concept in corporate America that desires to push as much as they can using the economy as its excuse.  If retail more and more stays open then by necessity other industries and other workers have to go to work as well.  Don't count on the idea that this will not eventually effect you and your family. 

3.  A Day to be with family and be thankful to God
I hope that Americans can see past their sale adds and see what is happening.  You may consider it just a few hours out of your day for shopping...but the worker and the children at Daycare or with Grandma waiting don't think of it that way.  Remember when a few retailors opened on Sunday no one thought it would become common, no one realized a weekly day to worship and relax with your kids and family that had been a part of our fabric as a nation would begin to disappear.   No one thought that in order to get many jobs a person would have to agree to work on Sunday. 

I urge you to think before you make your way to the store after a nice Turkey dinner.  What is this day like for the worker at the store you are going too?  Most importantly ask yourself what Thanksgiving Day will look like in a few years when many more are working?

Sunday, January 27, 2013

No Weapon

Isaiah 54:17
No weapon formed against you shall prosper, And every tongue which rises against you in judgment You shall condemn. This is the heritage of the servants of the Lord, And their righteousness is from Me,” Says the Lord.

A year of challenge, a year of new beginning, a year to trust the Lord.  As I watched a lady preacher that I hadn't listened to for awhile she put forth a simple testimony.  She had found that quoting verses 10 times rose her faith level.  We don't have to copy or mimic someone elses way, but I felt nudged of the Holy Spirit to start this same venture.  God gives me a verse for the day and through out I say it 10 times.  It has brought me faith, peace and trust in the midst of storm.  God is working upon our behalf. 

Monday, December 31, 2012

New Years Eve 2012...Peace by with you.

 If you are a LWF member I  hope you enjoyed reading your first chapter of the New Testament.  I know if it is your first time the begots of the first several verses can be challenging, but if you endured you began the Greatest Story Ever Told.  

Tomorrow brings us into a New Year.  Fiscal Cliffs along with pressures of this world threaten to dampen our enthusiasm for 2013.  Yet as I've prayed about the coming year I feel the Holy Spirit speaking the word Peace.  Jesus said, "Peace I leave with you, My peace I give you; not as the world gives do I give you, Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid."  John 14:27  Peace doesn't stick it head in the sand, rather it decides to put its trust in Jesus.  God tells us in the Word that He has good plans for us not bad ones.  All around us the voices of the world may shout all of the bad things that have happened or that are yet to happen...God whispers His good plan to us.  

I believe 2013 is a year of restoration and growth.  God has good plans for His children.  Part of growing in the Lord requires exercising trust that He will give us wisdom in the midst of storm.  Growth also comes in blessing as we learn to handle and appreciate the good things God gives us and makes us stewards over.   

Don't fear 2013.  God watches out for you and me.  

Friday, March 25, 2011

Reflections perparing for Resurrection Day

Resurrection Sunday is April 24th this year. During the weeks leading up to this special day of celebration we ponder the work of the cross and His resurrection.

The first reflection I'll share is about Mary and Joseph and their devotion to the things of God despite the obstacles they faced and how that godly character impacted Jesus.

Mary and the promise
The Messiah was promised in the book of Genesis. Every Jewish child heard about it and waited for His coming. We don’t know all the details of what Mary was doing when the angel came to visit her and gave the news that she had been chosen to bring the Messiah into the world, but we do know that it was very dramatic. Many overlook the treasure of things to be learned from her life because others wrongly ascribe worship to her. One of my favorite things about her is the statement…”Mary pondered all of these things” . To ponder means to think intensely or chew over an issue or event .The ponder statement is right after the description of the shepherds visit to the manger where they surely shared the story of the angels that came to their field and told them the Savior had been born.

She had a lot to ponder.
Mary encourages me because in everyday life there is a lot to ponder. To ponder means to intensely consider something or events. Walking out our life in God’s will can be like that…we can be right smack dab in the center of God’s will and yet have a lot to think about.

Being chosen and willing
Mary and Joseph were chosen of God to raise Jesus because of their godly character. It was a matter of the right time, the right place, and the right people. Sometimes serving God faithfully in our everyday life may not seem like an earth shattering thing, but God takes note of our love and devotion towards Him. While we know that Mary and Joseph weren’t perfect think a moment about the trust Father God put in them. Mary’s response at the end of her conversation with Gabriel was, “Be it unto me as you have said.” Every time I read those words of hers my mind goes to the garden where Jesus said to the Father, “Not my will but thine” Jesus is both fully God and fully human. He took on human flesh when Mary said, “Be it unto me as you have said.” and that human being needed parents who would whole heartedly obey God at every turn. He needed parents that would give Him that example in their daily lives. Mary and Joseph surely must have pondered, “why us?” but they rose to the task. We like Mary and Joseph may wonder at those things that God has placed in our spear of influence and responsibility. Sometimes we may wonder if we are up to the task. Their life shows us that God can take a person of character who is willing to obey Him and trust them with a great task. Remember others wouldn’t see the greatness of their task. Being parents seemed ordinary to those around them who didn’t understand who Jesus was and the circumstances for those unwilling to believe the truth would seem scandalous. The angel told Joseph, “Don’t be afraid to take Mary as your wife” and explained who Jesus was and that He would bring Salvation. “Not my will but thine”, He said…that last night in the garden…Can you see Mary and Joseph’s love and upbringing in that statement of total commitment.