Friday, November 30, 2007

Giving Thanks

Yesterday, at bible study, we wrapped up our fall study on women in the Old Testament who had walked from fear to faith. We did this by taking turns telling each other our own stories of walking from fear to faith. We were each allowed five minutes to share. In all my years of bible study I don't think I've had the opportunity to participate in that kind of sharing. It was great to hear what God is doing now or had done in the past to cause each one of us to believe that it is possible to crossover from fear to faith in God.

To see how God is as work in each life is so humbling. God is so big, so powerful, so personal. It doesn't take long to meditate on those truths before I feel ridiculous for not checking in with Him on everything.

After a morning like that it's not hard to take the advice of the psalmist who wrote in Psalm 136:

Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good.
His love endures forever.

I think the most lasting insight I received from these last few weeks of bible study is this. I have discovered another reason why quiet time with God is so important. It is our chance to sit quietly and ask God to show us what part of our lives we are feeling anxious about. Once we identify the fear we are dealing with, we can pray and ask God for what we need to overcome that fear so we can walk in faith. I bet that is one of God's favorite prayers to answer! I know its one of my favorite answers to receive!

May the peace of God rule in each of our hearts today! Amen.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Why pray?

There are many answers to this question.

to receive salvation
to get urgent help
because God said so
our prayers are used by God for the benefit of others

In the past these have all been reasons why I have prayed. At some point these answers didn't seem complete. What was I missing about the point of prayer? Why do some believers have testimonies of loving to pray? Why do some have passionate prayer lives?

I believe that God prompted these questions. I believe God got me to a place where I really wanted answers to these questions.

Getting answers to these questions has taken time. There were things I needed to unlearn. There were things I needed to learn. I did this through relationship with praying people that are in my life and through biographies of praying people. Also, through being taught by authors who have committed themselves to discovering and the sharing what God has shown them regarding prayer.

I mentioned the book called the Grand Weaver by Ravi Zacharias yesterday. There is a paragraph from this book on prayer that I couldn't agree with more:

"More than anything else, prayer enables you to see your own heart and brings you into alignment with God's heart. Prayer is not a monologue in which we imagine ourselves to be communing with God. Rather, it is a dialog through which God fashions your heart and makes his dream of you a reality. It is truly the treasured gift of the Christian that through direct answers and not-so-direct answers, the follower of Jesus begins to love God for who he is, not for what he may get out of him."

This paragraph is packed with profound motivations for praying. These realizations and motivations in my own life have made a staggering amount of difference in my passion and enjoyment of prayer.

One thing I love about all of this, is that the relationship with God that is created through these motivations for prayer makes it possible to serve others well through prayers for them.

Dear Lord,

I wish having an ongoing conversation with you everyday wasn't such a challenge. I wish there wasn't so much to overcome. But I'm grateful that you keep inviting us to be more and more aware of you and your work in our lives and the lives of those around us. I'm grateful it only takes the smallest amounts of faith to ask for you to open us up to what you have for us in conversation with you. Help us to see all the ways you respond to our prayers. Help us to have the courage to talk to you about absolutely anything. Especially the parts of ourselves that we are most disappointed exist. Help us to invite you to go to work on us.

Help each of us to see you working to make us into your dream of who you want us to be. Help us to be confident that that person, your dream, will be worth what it will take to get there.

Lord teach each one of us to pray.


Saturday, November 24, 2007

Grand Weaver- How God shapes us through the events of our lives.

A friend let me borrow their book called the Grand Weaver by Ravi Zacharias.

Here's a quote from this book: "Only if you are willing to pray sincerely for God's will to be done and are willing to live the life apportioned to you will you see the breathtaking view of God that he wants you to have, through the windows he has placed into your life."

I believe this statement is true. I believe this statement matches the journey I have been on for some time now.

God has been teaching me what it means to trust him enough to "pray sincerely for God's will to be done". Not easy. Not doable with out first dying to self. Not possible with out God's grace.

But oh the "breathtaking view of God" that exists in the midst of dying to self and sincerely praying for God's will...

The Christians who choose to live this belief inspire me. I marvel at their lives. By God's grace I want to live that life.

Sometimes my biggest struggle is being satisfied by what the Lord has apportioned to me. This time when it came up I had two images in my mind. They were very humble jobs as the world sees jobs. I sincerely want God to transform my heart to the point that I am truly content and joyful in whatever God has apportioned for me.

Dear Lord,

Forgive us for not understanding what and how you are weaving into our lives. Thank you for, in spite of our blindness, being a master at weaving yourself into our lives. Give us the ability to let go of the expectations of others and of our own expectations. Help us to see the necessity of being humble worshipers of you. Your ways are not our ways. Thank you for opening our eyes to your ways through worship.

In the precious name of Jesus Christ,

Happy Thanksgiving

Happy Thanksgiving!

Our family has been very thankful for a little adventure we got to go on earlier in the week.

We went to the Branson, MO area to see our friends Handy and Cindy. We met this couple 18+ years ago. At that time they had grade school and Jr. High girls. Now these young ladies are married with beautiful little children. We met this family in the first small group we ever joined. To see how God has answered so many prayers for their children was really really enjoyable.

I'm thankful God has provided them a beautiful home in the Ozarks.
I'm thankful they love to use their gifts of hospitality and loved having us for a visit.
I'm thankful for the Ozarks. The landscape is beautiful and the people are fabulously unpretentious.
I'm thankful that my family really loves road trips.... the talks... the music... the open road.
I'm thankful for the bond between believers that allows us to pick up right where we left off and get to the heart of the matter very quickly.
I'm thankful that at the end of the trip my son wanted to know when we could go back to see them again!

I'm thankful we got home in time to get everything together to host my husband's side of the family for Thanksgiving. It was wonderful to be together.

I hope you have had some time this week to reflect on the important relationships and the amazing provisions, the little things and random interactions with people that God has allowed into your life. It is so good to be a child of the King.

Sunday, November 04, 2007

changed. and desperate.

These are the titles of a couple of new songs that came my way via a friend this week...

some lyrics in changed.

You have changed the way i do everything
You have changed the way i wear my wedding ring
You have changed the way i treat my family
You have changed the way i see my friends
You have changed the way i spend my time
You have changed the way i use my mind
You have changed the things i spend my money on
You have changed everything i ever thought was mine
You have changed my emotions, you have steadied me
You have changed my eyes and what I let them see
You have changed the course of my history
thank God, You're still changing me!

some lyrics of desperate.

Lord, i thank you for this rain
healing waters when there's pain
there are rivers of Your providence
surrounding our obedience
in Your faithfulness, i put my faith
so Lord, i thank you for this rain
and i will always choose to praise you

music and lyrics by phil joel and dale evrist
the deliberatePeople

I love it when God drops the perfect song or album into my week. I wonder if song writers really understand how much God uses them?